WAM!2008 Post Conference Wrap-Up

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Carmen, Wendi, and I just got back from WAM!2008 and I think I speak for all of us when I say the conference was amazing.

Some quick highlights:

* I get to Boston and my cab driver is also African-American. He informs me that when he came to Boston in the 1970s, there were not a whole lot of African-Americans living in the city. In 2008, this is still true. Considering the weather conditions which converted my hair into a birds nest, I have an idea why more black women aren’t there. Also, people were jogging in the 35 degree wind and rain like it was nice outside, as I was shivering and miserable. Amazing. Me, Wendi, and Carmen learned the hard way that Boston tends to shut down around 10:00 PM – tough finding a restaurant, even tougher to find alcohol. Oy.

* Wendi and I got lost on Saturday but managed to make it to the conference in time to participate in the caucus and the session hosted by the Radical Women of Color Bloggers, titled We B(e)lo(n)g. Sudy, Black Amazon, Alexis, and Nadia managed to hold a session that was audience driven, cathartic, and informative which was a welcome change of pace from the standard presentation style. We also got to meet BrownFemiPower, Donna from the Silence of Our Friends, Angry Black Bitch, Thea from the Shameless Blog, and Elisa Gahng of the Women of Color Resource Center during the caucus. And there were a lot more people representing in the session, including the Op-Ed Project, the Culture Kitchen, Feministe and Viva La Feminista.

(Note from Carmen: sorry to hijack this post, but I wanted to point everyone to a great story in the Utne Reader about feminist blogs – and it includes many of the  WOC bloggers mentioned here. Congrats, y’all!)

* I headed over to a panel on Backlash, co-hosted by Carmen, Jessica Valenti, Miriam Zoila Perez, and Patti Binder. An excellent conversation got under way, and after the panel I had the pleasure of meeting Stacey May and Megan Griffith-Greene (also of Shameless Mag). Wendi decided to check out the panel on Sex Workers and Media Representation, hosted by Audacia Ray.

* That evening, we met a big group of people for dinner including more members of the Feministing Crew. After that, we managed to head out to the Queer Women of Color reception and generally hung out with Thea and Pike until we remembered we had a 9 AM presentation.

* The next morning, we headed over to our presentation to find…two people. I guess everyone had a hard night. Fortunately, people kept trickling in until we had a nice group of about 20 or so to discuss whether or not blogging could end racism. If you attended our panel, please say hi in the comments!

*After the presentation, Wendi went to the Hillary Clinton panel (I think), Thea stayed for the panel on Hip-Hop Fiction and I headed out to the panel on Sexism in Gaming. While I was crying on the inside since I love Sofia Quientero’s work, I think I made the right decision as Roy and Naomi rocked their presentation. And luckily for me, in addition to learning a ton of new information and statistics, I met a whole new clan of gamer girls! (Hey Vanessa, Stephanie, Izzy, Melissa, Anna, and EK.)

I’m home from work today, trying to recover from the Boston/DC weather craziness.

Did anyone else attend WAM? If so, what were your thoughts?