This month marks our five year anniversary facilitating for Chicago Desi Youth Rising’s summer leadership retreat! As such, on August 10th we will be teaching not one but three consecutive workshops for the South Asian youth organization: Intro to Prison Abolition, Linking Anti-Blackness & Anti-Immigration, and Intro to Neoliberalism. Phew! Our relationship with CDYR is one of our longest and most cherished in Chicago. We love this collective, and can’t wait to celebrate and throw down together!
We’re closing out our summer with Engage Chicago students with site visits to Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and Organized Communities Against Deportations. It’s been enjoyable to acquaint undergraduates with the ethic of abolitionist organizing, and exciting to watch them make their own connections with Chicago’s phenomenal youth organizers.
We’re moving this month, and our rent is about to go up. Our Patreon page is still live, so if you haven’t already, please consider becoming a monthly donor there. This would be especially helpful for covering our upcoming moving costs and higher rent. Thank you so much to those who are already patrons!
Finally, we’re excited to share that September 2nd-6th we will be an artist-in-residence with the Academy of Theater & Dance at the Amsterdam University of the Arts! While there we’ll be teaching a weeklong intensive to undergraduates from multiple disciplines entitled performance as protest/protest as performance, and will also remount our solo performance piece Dancer As Insurgent.
The next time we write to you, it will be from Amsterdam!
Our four-year-old essay Vogue Is Not For You—and a transcribed conversation between ourselves, Pony Zion, Pato Hebert, and Robert Sember in conjunction with it—have both been published on ArtsEverywhere. It was such an honor to get to sit down with other artists and educators we deeply admire, have real talk, and see our own values around teaching voguing both challenged and affirmed. Please take some time to read the interview!
This is our first week of site visits with Engage Chicago students in the Community Organizing concentration. We’ll visit with Chicago Freedom School this Wednesday, where we’ll be learning about adultism and transformative justice, and will be traveling to American Friends Service Committee and Asian Americans Advancing Justice later in the month. Stay tuned for more!
In terms of our own facilitation, we’ll be returning on July 11th to Brighton Park Neighborhood Council to teach an Intro to the School-to-Prison Pipeline workshop. We just led the same workshop in May at BPNC’s Annual Youth Summit for middle-school-age students from across the southwest side. This time around we’ll be working with youth from BPNC’s Youth Organizing Fellowship. We’re also leading a Pod Mapping workshop for the Towards an Accountable Chicago training series on July 16th, and will close out the month with a Queer & Trans Resistance to Policing workshop on July 24th for Pilsen Alliance’s Youth Summer Institute, an organization of families and neighbors fighting gentrification and displacement in the Pilsen community. We told y’all it was busy season!
Lastly, in an effort to include more left-leaning voices, the curatorial team of the 2019 Chicago Architectural Biennial has commissioned Paris-based magazine The Funambulist to publish analysis of Chicago’s cultural and political landscape from the perspective of local activists and organizers. This joint publication will include a revamping of our piece on #NoCopAcademy recently issued in the Chicago Reader, incorporating more details about the campaign itself, and our path to becoming part of it. The publication, and more details related to it, will be released in September 2019, in conjunction with the Biennial.
It’s summertime, which means it’s the busy season!
We’re back working with Northwestern University’s Engage Chicago program from June through August. We’ll be accompanying undergraduates in the Community Organizing concentration on weekly site visits to various grassroots organizations around the city—including Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Chicago Freedom School, and others. The eight-week session kicks off on June 27th. We’ll keep you updated on the journey here.
We’re also returning to our loves at PASO West Suburban Action Project on June 10th to teach a Queer and Trans Resistance to Policing workshop in Spanish. PASO recently expanded their membership from exclusively Melrose Park residents to include their neighbors in Berwyn and Cicero. We’ll be helping introduce new members to PASO’s commitments to police abolition and trans and queer inclusion in the fight for immigrant justice.
On June 15th we’ll be leading a daylong retreat for our comrades at Organized Communities Against Deportations, focusing specifically on developing structures for group decision making, and reflecting on some of the collective’s recent campaigns. We had an amazing time teaching a workshop on Linking Anti-Blackness with Anti-Immigration to OCAD’s community leaders last month, and we’re grateful to be back supporting core organizers.