There were some unexpected additions to our January calendar. We shared several poems as part of the Guild Literary Complex’s monthly Exhibit B reading series. We also returned virtually to Phillips Academy Andover, offering an Intro to Prison Abolition workshop for their MLK Day celebrations, and guest lectured in Professor Amber Hickey’s class Surveillance Cultures in the American Studies Department at Colby College. And finally, on January 28th an excerpt of our performance Dancer As Insurgent was featured as part of conversation hosted by Mosaic Theater in D.C. on Black masculinities in the arts.
Our essay In A Pandemic, Prison Abolition Is Necessary And More Possible Than Ever, originally published in Out of Print will be shared in an updated version in Never Normal Again, an anthology put out by The Hoodoisie, celebrating the massive explosion of radical imagination in 2020. Keep in eye out for the anthology when it has been made widely available.
For Black History Month, we’ll be returning to our friends at Cicero Community Collaborative to teach a Linking Anti-Blackness with Anti-Immigration workshop (this time in English). We’ll also have our first ever piece in Time Magazine, cowritten with Michael Roberson of House Lives Matter, on what voguing has to teach us in our current moment of history about joy and resistance in the face of catastrophe. We’ll share it here when it’s out!
Welcome to a new year of love and struggle.
We closed out 2020 co-facilitating several workshops hosted by the #DefundCPD campaign. It was an unprecedented year for abolition, and the mainstreaming of the demand to defund the police and prison systems and reallocate resources to the social programs that actually keep us safe. If you live in Chicago, you need to be supporting this campaign and the struggle to abolish our police department! If you live elsewhere, follow #DefundCPD and uplift its messaging in your own town or city.
We’re kicking off the new year by looking back on the old one. We’ll participate in a virtual poetry reading on January 8th for the Signs of Change exhibit opening, hosted by the Gallery of Contemporary Mosaics, alongside other poets and artists such as Elizabeth Marino, Cori Lin, and Natalia Virafuentes. The show displays signs, banners, and other visuals from the global uprisings that occurred over the course of 2020. We’ll be reading our poem Layleen’s Bill (With Revisions) in honor of the Black trans lives we lost this year, but also in acknowledgement of the unparalleled developments in the movements to end solitary confinement, defund police, and abolish prisons.
We’ll also be reconnecting with our friends at The Funambulist. We first worked with the Paris-based magazine when they came to Chicago in 2019 as part of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. In 2021, we’ll be writing two essays for them, representing Chicago alongside 25 other global cities as part of their Corespondents series. Keep an eye out!
While the struggles of 2020 continue into the New Year, we hope to see them flourish and expand in ways unpredicted. Stay posted here as our own work shifts and evolves in this next chapter.
We had a special experience at the MacDowell residency, and can now see a path through to the completion of our piece World After This One, which we hope to find a way to present to the public in 2021. We were lucky to share the residency with old friend Kay Ulanday Barrett, and new friend Wo Chan, who were instrumental in helping us workshop and develop the piece. What an unexpected joy to be accompanied by other trans and gender-nonconforming artists of color on this journey.
Serendipitously, our interview with South Side Weekly as part of their Envisioning New Futures series can be listened to here. Check out the rest of the interviews with the series here.
We’ll be taking the remainder of 2020 to rest up from an eventful fall, to safely spend time with family and loved ones, and to prepare ourselves for the fights ahead. We hope you find rest, connection, and joy in these dark months.