We’re grateful to be back in Chicago after an amazing experience in Puerto Rico with Ivelisse Díaz, Edrimael Delgado, and the Navigating Blackness/Navegando lo Negro exchange. In addition to the incredible conversations that took place during our week of programming, we were also able to join La Escuelita Bombera de Corazón for part of their De Paseo tour, making stops in Guayama, Ponce, and Bayamón. Puerto Rico is such a profound site of cultural maintenance, militant resistance to empire, and a true touchstone for the entire Black diaspora. It was an honor to return after many years of absence, and to be welcomed with such generosity. Deepest gratitude to Espicy Nipples, La Goyco, and LaBoriVogue, to those who participated in the exchange’s events, and to those of you whose support made it possible! We hope it will not be the project’s last iteration.

We closed out the summer by teaming up with Robin Reid Drake for a joint reading at the Wicker Park Secret Agent Supply Co. in honor of 826CHI’s printing of the “Tomorrow’s Titans” anthology after some supply-chain-related delays. We also filmed a final roundtable with the cohort of teaching artists we worked with at Young Chicago Authors, reflecting on the experience together, and documenting its lessons for the organization.

Though we’re taking some time to recuperate this month, we will join Brighton Park Neighborhood Council and STOP Chicago for a special Linking Anti-Blackness & Anti-Immigration workshop, building solidarity between Black and brown communities on the west and south sides. We’re also excited to share that we’ll be teaching a virtual Intro to Prison Abolition workshop for audiences at the American Repertory Theater in conjunction with their remounting of Anna Deavere Smith’s classic play “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.” The newly revised production seeks to connect the Rodney King case to the current blizzard of police violence 30 years later. We hope an abolitionist intervention will help viewers understand that we will be forced to have the same inevitable conversations over and over until we take collective action in the direction of a policeless and prisonless world. You can register for that event here.

More big announcements to come, so stay tuned!

BH