We’ve been doing a lot of writing! Our piece in Them Magazine celebrating Women & Children First bookstore is now up. Our collaborative poem for Trans Day of Resilience in honor of Layleen Cubilette-Polanco is also live, as is an accompanying essay annotating the poem and envisioning trans liberation through an abolitionist lens, published by Poetry Foundation.
To close out the year, we’ll be partnering with Embarc Chicago on the 11th to teach an intro to Chicago organizing to students from several high schools from across the city. In addition to highlighting some historic wins and recent campaigns, we’ll lead a Power & Privilege workshop, and guide students through imagining a world without prisons with Prison Abolition 101. On the 18th, we’ll link back up with our friends at STOP Chicago to facilitate an interactive discussion with young people on #PoliceFreeSchools, mapping out concrete visions of learning environments divorced from the prison industrial complex.
Finally, on the 12th we’ll appear on a panel at the Chicago Cultural Center along with other contributors to the anthology The Funambulist by its Readers: Political Geographies from Chicago and Elsewhere, commissioned for the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Staff from The Funambulist, a Paris-based magazine of art and architecture, will guide us through a discussion around radical anticapitalist struggles for space and autonomy in our city, and how architecture can more actively contribute to our movements.
Wishing you love and power into the new year,
We participated in a panel at the close of October with Organized Communities Against Deportations to draw public attention to the case of one of their members, Francisco Silva. It’s an honor to support OCAD’s efforts, and to remind non-immigrant communities it is our duty to #AbolishICE, divesting from incarceration and investing in support systems for undocumented and immigrant communities.
We also have a new feature in Them coming out shortly, highlighting the story of another OCAD member, Francisco Morales Torres, who has been in ICE detention for over a year, despite being granted asylum by a federal judge in March of 2019. His story highlights the indistinguishability of ICE and local police forces, how mental illness and lack of healthcare lead to the targeting of immigrant communities, and how trans and queer asylum seekers are in particular danger of violence while in detention. We hope you will share his story, and donate to his cause.
We are honored to be interviewed on the Crossroads Fund’s podcast Queering Left, celebrating radical queer organizing in Chicago in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall. We will be recording an episode alongside the legendary Eisha Love later this month, discussing trans- and queer-led prison abolition organizing. Stay tuned!
On November 14th we will be participating for our second year in Forward Together’s Trans Day of Resilience, dropping a poem titled “Layleen’s Bill (With Revisions)” in honor of Layleen Cubilette-Polanco Xtravaganza, who was found dead in her jail cell at Rikers Island prison this past June. This poem will accompany a remarkable painting by visual artist Glori Tuitt.
This collaboration is of particular importance to us in light of New York City Council’s recent awarding of a contract for the construction of four new jails to AECOM, the same conglomerate that won the contract to build a multi-million-dollar police academy here in Chicago. We mourn and celebrate Layleen this month, insisting that the only way toward gender liberation is through prison abolition—which means #NoNewJails!
Look out for our collaboration, as well as those of the other TGNC writers and artists participating in #TDOR2019!
We want to give a massive shoutout to Rachel Hoffman who helped us design and print a fancy new version of our Trans and Queer Resistance to Policing timeline, a core activity for one of our most popular workshops! Hit her up for all your graphic design needs!
The Chicago Architecture Biennial …And Other Such Stories is underway. In addition to an essay of ours being featured in a CAB-commissioned publication by The Funambulist, we participated at the end of last month in a public conversation titled Aesthetics of Violence and Resistance, from Fashion to Architecture, alongside Hoda Katebi and Leena Odeh. We appreciate the unique commitment of this year’s Biennial curators to Chicago residents, grassroots organizations, and radical struggles for a more equitable city.
We have our first feature in Them Magazine for their Queer History Month series, profiling the Women & Children First feminist bookstore, a Chicago institution celebrating its 40th year in business. The piece examines the store’s history, its unique commitments to disability justice, youth empowerment, and trans liberation as core to the feminist project, and future challenges the current staff are hoping to tackle. Look for it in the coming weeks!
We are taking the rest of October off! Summer was packed, the early fall has already included a lot of travel, and we are using the remainder of the season to settle into our new apartment, and reestablish some of our self-care routines that have fallen to the wayside in recent months.
Thank you for your continued support. It allows us to work, and it allows us to rest.