OLOC’s National Gathering 2012
By Jennice Thomas, 1940
This was my second National Gathering, and I did not think that anything could match the excitement I felt at my first, but this one exceeded my expectations.
What were the high points for me? Was it hearing the experience of Japanese Lesbians my age and realizing how similar were our views, our hopes, and our fears? Was it Carolyn Gage’s Sermon for a Tent Revival that lifted me out of the deadening reality foisted on us by patriarchy to soar with Harriet Tubman into a space where anything is possible? Was it hearing Vera Martin talk about her life and realizing what amazing strength and courage one woman could express? Was it the fact that Barbara Smith had the confidence to enter New York State politics and win new respect for Lesbians? Was it hearing Charlotte Bunch and viewing her film that carried me back and forth from 1975 at Sagaris to the present at OLOC and feeling how invincible is this Lesbian/feminist vision that sustains me? Or was it just sitting with my OLOC sisters and sharing our experiences?
Thinking back on that magical, marvelous four days at the Hilton Hotel in Woburn, MA, I am overwhelmed again by the wealth of intense encounters, and everything seems to have been perfect, from the marvelous food to the roommate OLOC found for me. I can’t wait for the next National Gathering, and even though I hate to travel, I’m ready to book a flight to California. Of course, I don’t have to wait for two years since there will be a Regional Gathering in St. Louis next summer. Will I see you there?
From Madeleine Winterfalcon, 1950:
Attending the OLOC 2012 Gathering was a wonderful experience for me. I attended interesting workshops, met many of the women whose work I have admired over the years, and got to see and hear Ferron once again. I also was able to meet women from other countries whom I would otherwise never have known. This was my first Gathering, so I did spend a great amount of time just checking things out. I was fairly overwhelmed the first day. It was like the Michigan Women‟s festival but with better beds!
From Marilyn Monteiro, 1941:
The conference was fabulous! I had a wonderful time meeting, talking, and sharing with new people and was very, very happy to hear Charlotte Bunch and view the films. It was also good to see old friends and new in one place. Many of the workshops were very fruitful. It was a good gathering and very fulfilling.
From Jackie Grover, 1943:
The conference itself was fantastic! I went to several workshops that were really well done! I especially enjoyed the ones on Feminist Lesbians and Disability, Interrupting Racism, New Forms of Leadership, as well as the “Tent Revivals” held by “Sistah” Carolyn Gage! The keynote speakers were excellent, the food hot and tasty and the conversation and friendships delightful!
From Sue B. Reamer, 1942 (to Steering Committee and Susan):
Thank you for your tremendous, awesome teamwork to give our OLOC sisterhood the joy of being together right here in New England! I loved being with you—each and every one—at this exuberant, re-energizing, hug-filled Gathering! Your mission of being inclusive, empowering, activist, and supportive was more than met by your thoughtful, caring planning—tremendous attention to details—with resulting superb diverse speakers, programming, and workshops