Audre Lorde Now

As part of the CUNY Adjunct Incubator project “Radiating Black~Puerto Rican~Women’s Teaching Archives from CUNY to the Americas and the Caribbean (and Back Again),” Conor Tomás Reed writes and gathers reflections on Audre Lorde’s vital legacy in the time of a health pandemic and social uprisings. “Audre Lorde Now” features essays from Reed alongside Tito Mitjans Alayón, Diarenis Calderón Tartabull, and AnouchK Ibacka Valiente--three Afro-Cuban queer and trans cultural workers based in Cuba, Mexico, and Germany--as well as English/Spanish translations of these works by Julián González Beltrez.

This project will radiate further outward in an archival arts residency at Wendy’s Subway during November 2020-January 2021. In addition, two 2021 publications will emerge: a trilingual anthology on Black Women’s Studies in the Americas and the Caribbean by LÁPIZ Journal, and a book in Spanish on Audre Lorde’s life and pedagogies by Tinta Limón Ediciones.

Read the essays from the Audre Lorde Now series on Distributaries, our online publication of collaborative and creative work in the humanities at CUNY.

Emotional sustainability in the time of COVID-19

Diarenis Calderón Tartabull turns to the work of Audre Lorde to think through questions of how to preserve and nourish communities and our selves––physically, spiritually and emotionally––in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"may we use language and walk together to stop colonialism. May we take responsibility to spread medicine, sisterhood, spiritual practices, hope, and sustainability. Time has turned into us. Let’s transform ourselves."

Letter to Audre Lorde from the Future

Tito Mitjans Alayón
's letter to Audre Lorde connects the intimately personal impacts of Lorde's reflections on "the political value of survival, eroticism and spirituality" to conditions of contemporary life.

"Your reflections on the political value of survival, eroticism and spirituality helped me develop a muscle of survival strategies that are always being exercised and renewed in a genocidal anti-black and anti-trans liminal space such as this border."

Audre Lorde and the Afro-German community

AnouchK Ibacka Valiente
reflects on the transformative effects of Audre Lorde's work on Afro-diasporic / queer communities in Germany.

"Lorde's workshops would mark the beginning of the political work of building the Black movement in Germany. From there began the labor of accompaniment to tell their own stories, recognize themselves, and share their life stories. Lorde shared her experience, her visions, with those women and lesbians to support them in expressing themselves and see what needs they had and how they could fight against the discrimination suffered over the course of a lifetime."

Audre Lorde’s rebellious health crisis lessons

Conor Tomás Reed
reflects on how the legacy of Audre Lorde's life and writing might be a means and medicine for living through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

"In this incomparable epoch of endangered mortalities, distressed essential labors, mounting austerity waves, explosive opposition to the innate brutalities of policing, and social regenerations, the medicine I have sought the most is the writings of Audre Lorde. Our abolitionist pandemic poet laureate, Lorde dedicated her life to conjure radical dignity and self-awareness despite the indignities of socio-economic suffering."


AnouchK Ibacka Valiente

AnouchK Ibacka Valiente is a 48 year-old Afro-Cuban, of a Congolese father, born in Havana and raised in Europe. They studied International Law, and organize events around trans non-binary themes; multifaceted practices of expression between the arti...

Conor 'Coco' Tomás Reed

Conor ‘Coco’ Tomás Reed (all) is a Puerto Rican/Irish gender-fluid scholar-organizer of radical cultural/pedagogical movements in the Americas and the Caribbean, and the Program Director of the Shape of Cities to Come Institute. Coco’s new b...

Diarenis Calderón Tartabull

Diarenis Calderón Tartabull has a Bachelor of Science in Religions, and is a curator of visual arts, popular educator, and coordinator of the Nosotrxs Collective. For approximately 15 years, Tartabull has worked in and investigated Cuban culture–its ...

Julián González Beltrez

Julián González Beltrez is a radical librarian and historian from the islands of Ayiti and New York. They studied Library Science and History at Queens College, with a focus on the Haitian Unification period (1822-44) and decolonizing historical narr...

Tito Mitjans Alayón

Tito Mitjans Alayón has a doctorate in Feminist Studies and Intervention at UNICACH, Chiapas, Mexico. Mitjans Alayón is an Afro-Cuban feminist activistx, non-binary, fantastically fat, Trans masculine historian whose research areas include Black Femi...