July 2019

Our four-year-old essay Vogue Is Not For Youand 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 Architecture 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.

BH

June 2019

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.

BH

May 2019

A quick April roundup before our updates for May:

We had essays in two new publications last month. The first was in the Advocate, and challenged the widespread notion that the recent election of Chicago’s first Black lesbian mayor, Lori Lightfoot—a corporate lawyer and federal prosecutor—was a victory for Black queer Chicagoans. The second was printed in the Chicago Reader, and reflected on the key successes of the #NoCopAcademy campaign. As youth- and community-led movements make headway in mainstreaming fights against austerity and militarization, holding newly-elected officials accountable, and demanding the redistribution of our city’s resources, we encourage you to keep supporting grassroots abolitionist organizing in Chicago and elsewhere.

We also led a Linking Anti-Blackness and Anti-Immigration workshop on April 16th as part of the Demilitarization School. The three-day summit, hosted by American Friends Service Committee and the War Resisters League, brought together youth leaders from across Chicago, uniting global struggles for justice through the framework of demilitarization. It was inspiring!

On Saturday, May 18th we’ll be teaching a bilingual Linking Anti-Blackness and Anti-Immigration workshop for Organized Communities Against Deportations’ monthly asamblea comunitaria, affirming Black and Brown solidarity in resisting the policing of all our communities. OCAD played a major role in the successful battle to permanently end Cook County’s racist gang database. Their work is indispensable, and it’s a joy to support them and their members!

We’re returning on Friday, May 17th to the Brighton Park Neighborhood Council’s Annual Youth Summit, teaching a new workshop for Black and Brown students on the school-to-prison pipeline. BPNC boasts some of the baddest youth organizers in the city, was a key endorsing org of the #NoCopAcademy campaign, and works hard for poor, worker, immigrant, and youth power. If we like how this new workshop goes, we may add it to our permanent roster!

On that note, we’re taking a break from vogue instruction, and so have removed Intro to Voguing and Vogue and the Prison Industrial Complex from our roster of workshops. Feel free to reach out and ask, based on the needs of your group, what we are available to teach, but be prepared that our voguing workshops may be off the table.

BH