Sunrise at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Newburyport, MA. Credit: Matt Poole/USFWS

Combahee Conversations: At the Waves’ Edges

Saturday, June 26, 3-4:30 p.m.
At The Waves’ Edges: A Cross-Generational Dialogue on Black Feminism: Part 2
This two-part program will be live streamed on June 12 and June 26, at 3pm through our Youtube Channel!
Featuring Demita Frazier, Co-Founder of the Combahee River Collective

“The fecundity and power of oceanic and fresh water meeting in the brackish wetlands of sweet grasses, that is us as Black women coming together.” -Demita Frazier (2021)

At the confluence of the Combahee, history was made. Yet long since forming the name-sake radical socialist Black Feminist Combahee River Collective in Boston in 1974 and co-publishing the landmark statement in 1977, Collective Co-Founder Demita Frazier remains eyes forward. And basic justice remains elusive. And capitalism’s chokehold tightens. And academic echo chambers are not talking to crowds in the public square. So Frazier continues to seek flowing dialogue and fresh debate across generations around the promise and pitfalls facing Black Feminism today. Rather than crystallize the Collective’s past, Frazier harnesses her hindsight to critically explore present challenges and those ahead.

This program extends over two Saturdays to allow for deeply probative collective conversation with curators Arielle Gray, Cierra Peters and Jen Mergel and attendees, specifically around issues rising from the start of this project for the BCA in 2019, before and since the pandemics. Frazier will guide the discussion to consider Black Feminism through a range of lenses: Black Feminism as collective, and what it really means to build coalition; Black Feminism as care, and how this vulnerability requires strength; Black Feminism when commodified and how this limits radical change; and Black Feminism as classed, so how to connect across widening chasms. By “troubling the waters,” the goal of the programs is to stir up sedimentary thinking and invite fresh insights to mark this new historical chapter.

About our featured speaker

Demita Frazier, who co-founded the Combahee River Collective with Barbara and Beverly Smith, is the consulting adviser on Combahee’s Radical Call. Her experience as a Black Feminist organizer grew upon moving to Boston, where she went on to secure her JD from Northeastern University School of Law. Still based in Massachusetts, she has decades of experience in anti-racism curriculum development and facilitation for organizations across the country. Learn more at demitafrazier.com.

Combahee Conversations

Combahee Conversations is a series of FREE online dialogs organized by co-curators Arielle Gray, Cierra Peters, and Jen Mergel as part of the rolling citywide public art project Combahee’s Radical Call: Black Feminisms (re)Awaken Boston. To amplify the call-and-response nature of the commissioned art and to support values of tenderness and “sistering,” these Saturday afternoon coffee chats are offered as open and safe spaces to more deeply explore ideas shared by featured creatives and cultural innovators focused on Black Feminism(s). Selected speakers and themes will align with learnings available in the project’s related Virtual Reading Room.

Combahee’s Radical Call: Black Feminisms (re)Awaken Boston is organized by co-curators Arielle Gray, Cierra Peters and Jen Mergel. The project was made possible with funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ Public Art for Spatial Justice Program, with funding from The Barr Foundation. This project is also supported by grants from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation and the Krupp Family Foundation funds to the Curatorial Network Accelerator of Boston.

This program is funded in part by Mass Humanities, which receives support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.