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China Martens


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China’s short story, “On the Road (with baby)” was published in Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers (Seal Press, 2001) and has had various other essays printed in publications such as Baltimore Indypendent Reader, HipMama, WIN Magazine, and Revolutionary Motherhood. She also is a zinestress extraordinaire producing titles such as BWI Spy, Supermarket Supermodel, and Catbird; was the submissions editor for the collaborative mama/papa zine project Mamaphiles #4 “Raising Hell”; a columnist for DIY newsprint publication Slug and Lettuce (from 1994 to 2004) and won Baltimore City Paper “Best Zine” Award for I was . . . a Student Nurse!

Since 2003, China has facilitated workshops to create support for parents and children in activist and radical communities. In 2009, she co-founded Kidz City, a radical childcare collective in Baltimore. She is currently collaborating with Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Mai’a Williams to create This Bridge Called My Baby: Legacies of Radical Mothers, an anthology centering the writing of mothers of color, low-income mothers, and marginalized mothers.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs guest-hosts The Laura Flanders Show and talks Revolutionary Mothering with China Martens, Mai’a Williams, Victoria Law and Cynthia Dewi Oka


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rev mothering

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines
Edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams with a preface by Loretta J. Ross
Publisher: PM Press
ISBN: 978-1-62963-110-3
Published: 02/2016
Format: Paperback
Size: 9x6
Page count: 272
Subjects: Women's Studies/Family-Parenting
$17.95


Inspired by the legacy of radical and queer Black feminists of the 1970s and ’80s, Revolutionary Mothering places marginalized mothers of color at the center of a world of necessary transformation. The challenges we face as movements working for racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice, as well as anti-violence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation are the same challenges that many mothers face every day. Oppressed mothers create a generous space for life in the face of life-threatening limits, activate a powerful vision of the future while navigating tangible concerns in the present, move beyond individual narratives of choice toward collective solutions, live for more than ourselves, and remain accountable to a future that we cannot always see. Revolutionary Mothering is a movement-shifting anthology committed to birthing new worlds, full of faith and hope for what we can raise up together.

Contributors include June Jordan, Malkia A. Cyril, Esteli Juarez Boyd, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Fabiola Sandoval, Sumayyah Talibah, Victoria Law, Tara Villalba, Lola Mondragón, Christy NaMee Eriksen, Norma Angelica Marrun, Vivian Chin, Rachel Broadwater, Autumn Brown, Layne Russell, Noemi Martinez, Katie Kaput, alba onofrio, Gabriela Sandoval, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, Ariel Gore, Claire Barrera, Lisa Factora-Borchers, Fabielle Georges, H. Bindy K. Kang, Terri Nilliasca, Irene Lara, Panquetzani, Mamas of Color Rising, tk karakashian tunchez, Arielle Julia Brown, Lindsey Campbell, Micaela Cadena, and Karen Su.

Praise:

“This collection is a treat for anyone that sees class and that needs to learn more about the experiences of women of color (and who doesn’t?!). There is no dogma here, just fresh ideas and women of color taking on capitalism, anti-racist, anti-sexist theory-building that is rooted in the most primal of human connections, the making of two people from the body of one: mothering.”
—Barbara Jensen, author of Reading Classes: On Culture and Classism in America

“For women of color, mothering—the art of mothering—has been framed by the most virulent systems, historically: enslavement, colonialism, capitalism, imperialism. We have had few opportunities to define mothering not only as an aspect of individual lives and choices, but as the processes of love and as a way of structuring community. Revolutionary Mothering arrives as a needed balm.”
—Alexis De Veaux, author of Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde

“Although it is primarily written for mothers of all ages, the issues that are raised—about family, love, struggle, sacrifice, and acceptance—are universal as they speak to the revolutionary that exists within all of us.”
—Karsonya Wise Whitehead, PhD, assistant professor of communication and African and African American studies, Loyola University Maryland

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines is juicy, gutsy, vulnerable, and very brave. These women insist on having their children in a society that does not welcome them, in a world that is rapidly falling apart. Their dream for their children, based on their love of them, encompasses the sorrow and the joy that mothers everywhere, whether human, animal, or plant, feel at this time. A radical vision, many radical visions of how to mother in a time of resistance and of pain.”
—Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist

“This is the book for readers who know mothering is not just about a baby and a mother or parents in an isolated suburban nursery, but that mothering happens in a context of generations, a context of racial history, and in a spiritual context; that it takes place from the shore line to the front line, in times of scarcity and abundance; that it is queer and love-filled. Here, revolution, love, and mothering are an inseparable unity.”
—Faith Holsaert, coeditor of Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts of Women in SNCC

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don'tleave

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities
by Victoria Law & China Martens
Published: September 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60486-396-3
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 256
Dimensions: 6 by 9
Subjects: Politics-Activism, Family-Relationships
$17.95

Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind is a collection of concrete tips, suggestions, and narratives on ways that non-parents can support parents, children, and caregivers in their communities, social movements, and collective processes. Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind focuses on issues affecting children and caregivers within the larger framework of social justice, mutual aid, and collective liberation.

How do we create new, nonhierarchical structures of support and mutual aid, and include all ages in the struggle for social justice? There are many books on parenting, but few on being a good community member and a good ally to parents, caregivers, and children as we collectively build a strong all-ages culture of resistance. Any group of parents will tell you how hard their struggles are and how they are left out, but no book focuses on how allies can address issues of caretakers’ and children’s oppression. Many well-intentioned childless activists don’t interact with young people on a regular basis and don’t know how. Don't Leave Your Friends Behind provides them with the resources and support to get started.

Contributor include: The Bay Area Childcare Collective, Ramsey Beyer, Rozalinda Borcilă, Mariah Boone, Marianne Bullock, Lindsey Campbell, Briana Cavanaugh, CRAP! Collective, a de la maza pérez tamayo, Ingrid DeLeon, Clayton Dewey, David Gilbert, A.S. Givens, Jason Gonzales, Tiny (aka Lisa Gray-Garcia), Jessica Hoffman, Heather Jackson, Rahula Janowski, Sine Hwang Jensen, Agnes Johnson, Simon Knaphus, Victoria Law, London Pro-Feminist Men's Group, Amariah Love, Oluko Lumumba, mama raccoon, Mamas of Color Rising/Young Women United, China Martens, Noemi Martinez, Kathleen McIntyre, Stacey Milbern, Jessica Mills, Tomas Moniz, Coleen Murphy, Maegan 'la Mamita Mala' Ortiz, Traci Picard, Amanda Rich, Fabiola Sandoval, Cynthia Ann Schemmer, Mikaela Shafer, Mustafa Shakur, Kate Shapiro, Jennifer Silverman, Harriet Moon Smith, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie, Darran White Tilghman, Jessica Trimbath, Max Ventura, and Mari Villaluna.

Praise


"This book is mind-blowing, brilliant, and urgently needed! It is full of useful models and strategies for creating resistance that breaks down barriers to participation for children and people caring for children, and integrates deeply transformative commitments to building radically different activist culture and practice. This is a must-read for anyone trying to build projects based in collective action." —Dean Spade, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law

"Don't Leave Your Friends Behind is an essential resource for the interdependence revolution in progress. As a queer, chronically ill woman of color who loves and needs the parents and kids in my communities, I am hungry for these on the ground stories of how parents, allies, comrades, fam and friends are rewriting the world by refusing to hold mamas, papis and kids anywhere but at the center of our movements and communities, where we're supposed to be." —Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, co-editor, The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities

"Activist mothers Law and Martens propose that radical movements interested in winning must welcome parents and their children—the youngest rabble rousers. They have created a practical guide for us all to do just that, but with zero guilt trips and moralizing. Don't Leave Your Friends Behind puts teeth into the slogan, Another World is Possible by showing us what a healthy left might look like."
 —James Tracy, co-author of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times

"A powerful mixture of self-help and literature, putting ‘family values’ in a new light and on the agenda of social justice movements. And it's not just self-help for radicals who are parents, but food for everyone who seeks to become their better, more compassionate selves." —Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, activist, teacher, author of Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years: 1960-1975

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Revolutionary Mothering: A Review
By Almah LaVon
Novel Niche
October 8th, 2016

Revolutionary Mothering is a dreambook. Place it on your bedstand and when you awaken, scribble your not-quite-daylight visions in the margins so your dreams will be in good company. With its protean take on mothering, expect to pick up a new book each time you open it. And while we’re dreaming, I would have loved more voices from mothers who embody the truth that “mother” is “older and more futuristic than the word ‘woman,’” as Gumbs wrote. Also invoked by Gumbs, I want more stories from the house mothers of ball culture themselves. Next time, then. I have gotten into the habit of collecting radical anthologies, and this one ranks among my favorites: I was rocked and healed and mothered by this open-armed anthology itself, and suspect it will go on to give birth to other anthologies, other worlds. Mothering got next....."

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Revolutionary Mothering: A Review
By Cantrice Janelle Penn
Black Girl Dangerous
July 15th, 2016

"I cracked open Revolutionary Mothering, finding story after story detailing real shit—the raw, the unpopular, the vulnerable. Stuff we’re not supposed to admit to in “woke” communities. Like the mother with dark skin who secretly hopes that her unborn child won’t inherit her own melanin and seems quite aware of how deep the well of internal oppression can run. Or the mother in the US who attempts to adopt a child from her home country, only to find herself navigating the very western, white systems that she otherwise actively resists. Or the mother who reflects on a heteronormative relationship maintained with her then-husband whom she carried financially through school while suppressing her budding identities...."

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Revolutionary Mothering: A Review
Urban Spectrum Newspaper
August 2016

“Revolutionary Mothering” is an initiation into the secret thoughts, fears, joys and pain that mothers feel for the moment of conception, in the midst of childbirth, through the ascension of their children into adulthood. From Loretta Rosses’ preface about being a feminist mother to Alexis Pauline’s Gumbs’ essay titled, “Black Queer Feminist Genealogy For Radical Mothering”, this incredible collection opens a window in mothering history that can never be shut.

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How to Understand Mother as a Verb This Mother’s Day and Alway
By Dani McClain
The Nation
May 7th, 2016

"News reports such as the one that brought this legislation to national attention often describe the problems mothers on the margins face, but it’s rare that we hear women who fall outside idealized notions of motherhood speak for themselves. The book Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines, published earlier this year by PM Press, sets out to change that. It showcases the parenting experiences of people in poverty, teenagers, women with children in the court system, unmarried women, women committed to radical politics, and others too often overlooked in public discourse on parenting. The contributors to the anthology, edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams, are not victims acted upon by policies or pushed into ill-fitting categories by politicians. Instead, they are experts on their own lives, presenting solutions for the challenges they face and stories of the transformations they’ve experienced through mothering or being mothered..."

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11 Must-Read Books about Black Women’s History
By Danielle S
MamaDemics
March 31st, 2016

“Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines is an anthology that centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers’ voices—women who are in a world of necessary transformation. The challenges faced by movements working for antiviolence, anti-imperialist, and queer liberation, as well as racial, economic, reproductive, gender, and food justice are the same challenges that marginalized mothers face every day. Motivated to create spaces for this discourse because of the authors’ passionate belief in the power of a radical conversation about mothering, they have become the go-to people for cutting-edge inspired work on this topic for an overlapping committed audience of activists, scholars, and writers.” ~Amazon

There are 9 months left in the year, which books from this list are you committing to reading before the year ends.

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Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities
by Kjerstin Johnson
Bitch Magazine
December 2012

What do nonparents overlook when it comes to family-inclusive organizing?

China Martens:
There isn’t any one-size-fits-all answer. That said, here are some points to remember: All issues are also parents’ and children’s issues. If you do not see parents and children around you, ask why. Planning for family inclusion needs to start at the beginning, not at the last minute. Remember to discuss childcare issues and possible solutions collectively.What are some basic steps to make organizing family-inclusive?

VL:
Talk with families—both caregivers and kids. Find out what they need to participate! 
Some need childcare, others need people to help with their children in the same room. Remember that not everyone’s needs are 
the same.

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Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities
By Eleanor J Bader
Truthout
November 16th, 2012

All told, the collection is stimulating, and whether we are parents, eldercare providers, or simply concerned human beings, inclusivity - not leaving anyone behind - is key to making the changes we wish to see. After all, if another world is possible, doesn't it have to include the young, the old and the in between - whether able-bodied or not?

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Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities
HipMama Magazine
June 2012

There are many books on parenting, but few on being a good community member and a good ally to parents, care- givers, and children as we collectively build a strong all-ages culture of resistance. Any group of parents will tell you how hard their struggles are and how they are left out, but no book focuses on how allies can address issues of caretakers’ and children’s oppression. Isolated by age within an individualistic society, many well-intentioned childless activists don’t interact with young people on a regular basis and don’t know how. Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind provides them with the resources and support to get started.

Read more | Buy the book now | Download e-Book now | Back to reviews | Back to top


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