Through this workshop participate with us in practising attention as taught by black feminist prophetic traditions. We will learn how to re-weave connection with ecological modes of listening, noticing patterns, and caretaking through the wisdom of our attention.
Led by brontë Velez with Jiordi Rosales.
Lead to Life is a trans-local collective (predominantly rooted in Oakland, California in the U.S., occupied Ohlone territory) led by black and queer artists, healers & ecologists devoted to embodying Mark Anthony Johnson’s prayer that “Black wellness is the antithesis of state violence.”
Bridging racial and environmental justice through ceremony and art practice, Lead to Life explores their commitment to decomposing systems of oppression through what they call applied alchemy – wielding alchemy to provoke radical imagination toward justice.
Applied alchemy looks like a public prophetic practice transforming guns into the otherwise, in ceremony, with predominantly black families and community members impacted by the wake of police brutality and environmental racism, hosting ceremonial tree plantings using tools made from those transformed weapons at sites impacted by violence (to black folks and/or to the land), and grounding their impact with media, pedagogy, campaigns, and experiences with local partners across their intersections to nurture organizing that fortifies black livability and interspecies liberation.
On the workshop
In January 2019, Lead to Life hosted a public alchemy ceremony where community members gathered from across Oakland, California to melt guns into star-moulds reflecting the constellations above Oscar Grant the evening he was murdered ten years prior at Fruitvale Station in Oakland by the police. Oscar Grant’s murder and it’s filming set a precedent for a new era of amplifying contemporary racial terror lynching at the hands of the state towards black folks in the U.S, a significant impetus towards the 21st century movement for black lives.
In this workshop, we will utilize live music, poetry, and film, to trace the soundscape of Lead to Life’s Jan 2019 public alchemy ceremony in Oakland, California. In re-tracing this soundscape and imagery, we seek to instigate what Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips call “black quantum futurism.” Through collapsing dominant orientations towards linear time and the fixedness of “events”, we are called to revive the prophecies that emerged from that evening and fold participants into that memory as a practice of cultivating kairos, divination, and prophetic community.
Throughout dominant histories, acts of prophesying are often focused on discrete instances of grand proclamation from a single, messianic individual. We seek to refocus our attention to prophecy as an act of receptivity rather than assertion — ecologizing the prophet into communal gesture rather than one individual’s ascent above the flock. In this experimental exercise, we will explore several dimensions and states of listening through which to instigate collective receptivity to divine interruption.
Black feminist prophetic attention can open us into black ancestral technologies that permit us to connect with ancestors and future beings (human and more-than-human) across deep time and space. It is about a re-weaving of connection with ecological modes of listening, noticing patterns, caretaking through the wisdom of our attention.
brontë velez will lead this workshop with Jiordi Rosales as a co-host. Jiorid is an ecomusicologist and will support with live music as a cellist and luthier, weaving in the wisdom of Jewish and “nepantlerx” prophetic lineages, to accompany the practice of black feminist prophetic attention.
Listen to a podcast conversation with brontë velez here:
This workshop is part of the series Listening to each other, Listening to Earth. This event strand is a response to the urgent need for climate justice and building peace with Earth as a sacred living being. It explores the integration of spirituality with grounded action through the lives and leadership of Black people, and people of colour.
St Ethelburga’s is a ‘maker of peace-makers’. We inspire and equip individuals and communities to contribute, in their own particular contexts, to activating a global culture of peace.