As part of our participation in the Lab Artist Program, we were lucky to have a photo shoot last month with William Frederking, a photographer who has been documenting dance in Chicago for over three decades. Our portraits will join his archive at The Newberry, and will also be used for promotion by ourselves and Chicago Dancemakers Forum as the Lab Artist year progresses.
We wrote our first op-ed in South Side Weekly, describing both the racial tensions around the city’s decision to house asylum seekers in the closed Wadsworth Elementary School, and the Black and brown solidarity that has emerged in the midst of the crisis. It has been a painful few months in the Woodlawn neighborhood as the city has actively pitted recent migrants and longterm Black residents against each other in a competition for basic resources. We want to thank STOP, OCAD, United Working Families, The Chicago Teachers Union, and all those working to combat anti-immigrant racism, while also creating accountability for city government, and for demanding #SanctuaryForAll—that real and meaningful investments be made in all our communities.
This month we link up again with Dissenters, helping to onboard new staff and introduce them to our handbook on fighting gender-based violence within the organization, designed by all of us on the Safety through Practice and Accountability (SPA) team. (We recently wrote a book chapter outlining some of the work we’ve been doing with the SPA team through an anarchist, feminist lens, so keep an ear out for when that anthology drops!) On February 10th we’ll also sit on a panel for the anti-war group’s regional gathering titled “State of the Empire, State of the Movement.”
On the workshop side, we’ll return to work with our loves at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, this time around to lead a professional development series for their staff. Over the course of February and March we’ll teach Gender, Sex & Sexuality 101, Linking Anti-Black and Anti-Immigrant Racism, and Intro to Prison Abolition workshops for their 50 or so bilingual staff members, focusing on inter-community solidarity and youth organizing. We’ll also teach a Trans & Queer Resistance to Policing workshop to students at Northwestern University through their Women’s Center on February 8th.
Times are hard, but the fight must continue, and art can sustain.