For those who don’t know about us, the Wom*n of Colour Collective is a collective existing primarily online for wom*n who identify as of colour, from an ethnocultural background, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or otherwise marginalised by white supremacy. Due to the complexity of experiencing both racism and sexism, we founded this collective to give wom*n of colour a space for solidarity.
We held a dance party on the 25th of April, at the Newsagency in Marrickville – a big thank you to all that came and to the Newsagency for supporting us. Shareeka curated the playlist which swung between blues, sixties pop, and then a medley of M.I.A., Solange, and Beyonce’s most recent album. Wom*n of colour staples. I can now say happily that I have danced until sweat fell in droplets to Matangi with a group of other wom*n of colour who, yes, also knew all the lyrics.
Being vaguely responsible for the night, I decided not to drink, and it struck me over and over again how relaxed and inhibited I felt anyway as the hours ticked by. It’s hard to convey it to those privileged enough to not know how it feels to be in an autonomous space, or those who aren’t privileged enough to be able to access it. But there’s a liberating sense of joy in finding or creating spaces that allow you to acknowledge the truth of your experiences, that not only act as sanctuaries from daily oppression but allow you to be a little more yourself.
While people might believe that autonomous collectives are divisive – especially ones as specific as ours – to me, that’s an irrelevant claim to make. Asides from the knowledge that the collective creates a uniquely inclusive and empathetic space, it seems obtuse to ask wom*n of colour to participate outwardly without allowing them time and space to nurture themselves. Young wom*n especially need time to crystallise their sense of self and shelter themselves while they grow. It would be shortsighted to think that’s all activism should be, but it’s important to keep a balance and to take care of yourself.
If your identity falls in line, come join our facebook group. We’re thinking of holding another event around the end of semester which looks to be less sweaty and more cosy. It would be nice to see more faces!
Shareeka Helaluddin and Tabitha Prado-Richardson