Herstory

coyolxauhqui

Before the initial invasion of the european colonizers, indigenous people throughout Anahuac and Turtle Island were largely matriarchal societies, in which womyn and our Earth Mother were not only respected as care givers, leaders warriors, comrades but most importantly, as the foundation of a thriving, balanced and holistically healthy nation.

We, as Ovarian Psycos firmly believe that Womyn of Color and the land are now and always have been interchangeable. We both continue to be simultaneously exploited, occupied and raped within patriarchal societies, specifically by the foreign power structures of white supremacy. We view government and their agencies acting on their behalf as actively engaging in strategies to annihilate, displace and enslave people of color while progressively harming our people and Mother Earth in the process.

OPC was established in the summer of 2011, due to a lack of sisterhood within our communities. The legacy of oppression dating back 500 years has created conditions in which many of us come from broken homes and are survivors of abuse. We choose the bicycle not only because it allows us to exercise our bodies,  while trying to reverse the cultural shift from a profoundly respectful relationship with Tonantzin, Mother Earth, into a concrete barren urban jungle, but also because we’re are broke inner-city oppressed peoples and cycling is our only means of transportation. For these and many other reasons, we recognize how vulnerable we are on bicycles and work to empower womyn to take back the streets with an understanding that sisters have our back.

OPC exists in Los Angeles because LA is dominated by car culture and bike culture is dominated by middle and upper class white men. We believe that it is dangerous to live in a society that doesn’t cultivate community, sisterhood, brotherhood and companerism@.

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Ovarian Psyco-Cycle Brigade (OPC) are womyn of color, sisters, mothers, overgrown knuckleheads, riders, writers, students, wage slaves, hustlers, artists, MCs, poets, intellectuals, radical scholars, passionate womyn, environmentalists, urban farmers, medicine womyn, militants, feminists, renaissance womyn, fearless fierro riders and modern-day charras on steel horses!

Outside of working with OPC – we work with youth and the community. We do because it heals and fuels us. We were raised under cultural norms that told us that brown is not beautiful, that Womyn of Color are to be meek, subservient and what we should be afraid of freedom. We work daily to break these norms. We know that another world IS possible and it is our duty and responsibility to pass that knowledge on to other young Womyn of Color.

Recent Posts

The Ovas Featured in Planetizen

Check out this dope interview with Planetizen about the Ovas, our founding, our grassroots organizing, La Conxa, and what you can expect next from us Thanks so much for the support <3

The Ovas in 2014 at Mariachi Plaza.

The Ovas in 2014 at Mariachi Plaza. [Photo courtesy of Michael Raines]

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Here’s a short excerpt written by Ma’ayan Dembo:

What have been some of the significant changes the Ovarian Psycos have undergone that changed the way you operate and achieve your mission?

Last year, we acquired a space, named La Conxa, on the Eastside. La Conxa is not just for us to have meetings there and organize, but now we want to provide this space for the community. One of our goals is fundraising to keep it open. We are not an organization or non-profit; we are an autonomous group, so we’re making sure we keep the space autonomous and away from corporate money.

So, with this new space, you’re able to really solidify your roots within the community. What kinds of actions or ways are you engaging with the folks surrounding La Conxa?

Another way we provide this space for the community is through our programming. So far, we’ve been collaborating and sharing space with other collectives like Mujeres de Maiz, Comidas no Bombas, and ACRAS, to name a few. We’ve also organized movie nights, including post-screening discussions with the filmmakers, and we’ve hosted bands and held fundraisers.

One of the things we really push for as well is encouraging women to learn bicycle mechanics. In these mechanic nights, we invite women, trans, gender non-conforming, basically anyone who doesn’t identify as a man, to come in and learn bicycle mechanics. Because as women cyclists, bicycle mechanics are heavily needed for you to be autonomous and not rely on anyone else to fix your bike.

In addition, we’re trying to address some of the issues going on in our communities, like gentrification, displacement of residents, and militarized policing, through programming in space and also in the Luna Rides. Each of our monthly full-moon Luna Rides revolves around a different theme. Usually at the end of the ride, we share a circle. A lot of personal and deep-rooted things come up. For most women, that first ride is really scary. But afterwards we see women progress and feel more comfortable and trusting of the space, and they really open up. It encourages women to be change agents in their communities and share what is going on there with the other riders in the circle. The first step in becoming a change agent is knowing yourself as a person and having the courage to speak up about those kinds of things.

But we have limited capacity, nobody gets paid to be part of the collective, everyone is either a student, a mother, or working class. Many of us are from low-income communities and need to work full time. But nonetheless, we’re able to put on these bike mechanic training nights, safety trainings, and rides centered on issues in the neighborhood with elements of education.

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