In East LA a movement is happening. A core group of chicanas ride their bikes for awareness, protest, and for solidarity and health. These badasses are known as The Ovarian Psycos.
Kate Trumbull and Joanna Sokolowski, who met at UC, Santa Cruz’s Social Doc Film Master’s program first heard about them from producer Virginia Espino (Mas Bebes). They were immediately compelled and approached them. After tagging along on one of their night rides, Kate was impressed by their tight knit solidarity; they rode as a group, circling back when someone got stuck. Kate and Joanna approached them with the documentary proposal and over the next six months got to know them. It wasn’t until the Ovarian Psycos deliberated as a group and said yes, they moved forward with the project; applying and receiving a small ITVS development grant. Now about to enter production they need our help to raise what they can to sustain production. I couldn’t recommend this Kickstarter campaign more. It ends soon on February 23!
I recently sat down and talked to Kate who told me a bit more about this fascinating all women of color brigade. She used words like unapologetic, ferocious along with sweet, to describe the ladies. The sisterhood started in the summer of 2011 and through online efforts they have organized many day and night bike rides including last August’s Clitoral Mass, a take on the monthly testosterone driven night ride, and the full moon night rides known as Luna rides. Each event has a theme like sexual health, violence against women, women safety and after the ride there is an open dialogue to discuss and exchange ideas with the purpose of promoting awareness. Their vision statement: “We envision a world where women of color are change agents who create and maintain holistic health within themselves and in their respective communities for present and future generations.”
All womyn (and female identified) individuals are invited to join but there are 13 core Ova members who share and pass authority roles among them. The Left Ovary and the Right Ovary are the designated co-leaders, the Clit Rubber denotes the one tasked to keep the peace. It use to be much more informal but now as their impact rises and bigger interest takes hold, the group are finding ways to develop an infrastructure inside and out the neighborhood near Corazon Del Pueblo, the arts, education and arts collective in Boyle Heights. Women interested in joining go through a process known as SLIT, Sister Leader in Transition. The girls ride through the hood like a sea of change rolling in. They exchange literature and are very concious of their social and historical context in the birthplace of the Chicano movement.
Why bikes? It represents freedom and its grassroots. It’s also a symbol of the most viable source of transportation that low income communities tend to have.
It is an exciting time to follow the Ovarian Psycos and the documentary aims to track their ongoing (r)evolution as well as zoom in on the compelling women’s individual stories. Kate and Joanna plan on giving the women cameras to allow them to tell their own stories. Each of them, Kate says has an amazing story and are highly involved within the vibrant East LA community. One of the founders, Xela de la X, AKA Cihuatl Ce, is an MC who performs regularly singing tracks like Fuck Your Pretty, I’m Ferocious
So get to know the Ovarian Psycos and check out the Kickstarter campaign for more info and donate! The rewards are pretty cool – custom designed Tees and stickers from the girls themselves- I know my ass wants in on that mix tape, as I’m sure it will be dope.