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Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D and Julia Wallace, M.Div. will be recognized in the May issue of the The Advocate – the leading gay magazine in America – on the “top 40 under 40” list for their creation of the nationally known Mobile Homecoming project. Mobile Homecoming is an intergenerational experiential archive project that amplifies generations of Black LGBTQ brilliance.
The Advocate says of it’s honorees, “these budding powerhouses, leaders in media, politics… are facilitating our future.” Alexis and Julia are two of only 4 honorees from the Southeast on the list.
As a self-identified “queer black feminist troublemaker,” Alexis also travels the country facilitating workshops, seminars and lecturing on the legacy of Black feminism. Julia, a self-identified black queer theologian, multimedia artist and consultant, says, “Alexis makes trouble that looks like love and IS love.”
Alexis and Julia travel the country in a 1988 RV they call Sojourner, interviewing Black Lesbian elders and Trans Men, facilitating intergenerational community conversations and hosting replay events. Julia explains, “the replay event is a technology where we not only learn about the history of these visionaries but experience the practices that has sustained them.”
Alexis is not new to this sort of national recognition. She was one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World” in 2009; a Black Women Rising Nominee and a Reproductive Reality Check Shero in 2010; and a recipient of the Too Sexy for 501C-3 trophy in 2011. Alexis has been featured on North Carolina public radio and UNC-TV. She and Julia were also featured on the cover of Durham Magazine – that celebrates the city’s style and creativity – for a feature story suggesting that Durham, NC is the lesbian haven of the south.
Alexis and Julia drove their RV across the country in 2011 taking detours and making stops along the way to honor and listen to elders. They say, “it was like a tour of super heroes… our elders had to develop super powers to survive as black people, as women, let alone as LGBTQ people, 20, 30 plus years ago.” So far, they have been to over 50 cities in over 11 states and interviewed over 50 black queer visionaries. They take a “by every means possible” approach to getting the word out about this history and their intergenerational imperative via tumblr, short Facebook videos, an upcoming documentary film, a web series on Q-Roc.tv, and T-shirts, to name a few.
Next up for Mobile Homecoming is learning about sustainable building and living practices that will allow LGBT communities to take care of their elders as they age. They will also be launching a fundraising campaign to resurrect Sojourner or refit another vehicle with a veggie fuel engine to model their vision of sustainable mobile media making.
These “architects of the next decade,” as The Advocate describes them, both have advanced degrees and are founders of many organizations. The Mobile Homecoming project is affiliated with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), supported by Kitchen Table Giving Circle and has collaborated on events with many groups across the country including AARP, The DC Center in Washington D.C., Audre Lorde Project in NY, and Allied Media Projects (AMP) in Detroit. Alexis and Julia believe that “connecting community across generations is what will give us all access to the future we deserve.”