We are back in Chicago! #NoDAPL Carajo!!

Our group of 11 young people and 3 “old heads” from Chicago got back on the afternoon of “Indigenous People’s Day.” We are not the same people who left last Thursday.  The stories and the people we met, the way were welcomed by elders, participating in traditional dances, the drums and prayers, the smoke rising in air, the incredible spirit of community and vision for a future that respects all people and all of life–all of it changed us. We will be posting some more, but here are some reflections our young people posted about our trip to Standing Rock, ND! #NoDAPL

LSNA in North Dakota! Chicago solidarity #nodapl. This trip was so amazing for us in various ways. We were welcomed with a ceremony, danced in inner circle, were called and treated like brothers and sisters. So much learning from this. Thank you to all who donated money and supplies. Capitalism kills, water is life! 💙

Arely Barrera

18 hrs · Instagram ·

Staying with the Lower Brule tribe at the camp in North Dakota was a life changing experience. The stories shared and the lessons learned will be something I will carry with me forever. I will always be thankful for this opportunity and for the warm welcome of all of the indigenous people in North Dakota ❤️ #lsna2nodak #nodapl

Arely Morales

October 9 at 3:44pm · Instagram ·

Going to Standing Rock was an amazing experience, something I’m going to always remember is being welcomed and meeting everyone with a traditional dance. Definetly going to also remember seeing and hearing all of the traditional singing, dancing, and drumming. And the puppies/ wolf that were at the Lower Brule Sioux camp where we were welcomed to camp with.

Photo Credits to Arely Morales


Junot Diaz’s Speech at 29th Hispanic Heritage Awards gives this brown girl life (even though I hate the word “hispanic”)

Watch the Full Speech Here

It reminds me of how beautiful we are.

“We survived everything this world threw at us. We survived wars, survived dictators, survived torturers and violence endless violence and borders all the damned borders and hunger and the loneliness of the newcomer to a new land. We survived the loss of home, the loss of family, the loss of languages. We survived no one knowing how to say our names and we survived not knowing how to say our own names. We survived our parents suffering and their silences and their scars that speak louder than the bombs that put them there, we survived our confusions about who we were in a country that only seems to speak black and white, and we survived not speaking English, not speaking Spanish, not speaking and the paperwork all that damn paperwork we survived that too. And we survived the ingratitude of the nation where we settled, the nation we help build and for whom we always die. We survived the infinite heartbreak that is the true story of immigration and we survived the agony of not knowing how to bear witness to that story and to our selves. And we survived the hate—the hate that never seems to die—that hate that pretends to be patriotism, that pretends to be security, that pretends to be leadership, the hate that won’t listen to reason, to morality, to compassion. We survived it all; we are the people who survive—We survived everything, survived even the surviving which is one of the hardest survivals of all and in the middle of all that surviving some of us even learned to live. Our story is an epic, a saga, an odyssey. We crossed continents, we crossed oceans and every time there was no way we made a way. We are the children of bridges –bridges made from our backs our tears our sacrifice and from all the ones who never made it across with us.”

Brown in Chicago – Decolonizing our roots and future

With the Logan Square Neighborhood Association

LSNA’s youth organizing work is founded on the values of racial justice. Youth are vital leaders in the push for both policy and cultural responses to the violence of displacement.[1] Displacement destroys culture. Youth leaders find themselves in a neighborhood experiencing swift racial and economic transition that feels violent and painful. They no longer feel welcomed in their neighborhood hangouts or feel secure that their parents (working-class immigrants) will be able to keep pace with the rising rents and property taxes. For our youth the fact that gentrification is a racialized process is common sense. They see the buying power young white people have in their community, and LSNA’s organizers help deepen their analysis through workshops that emphasize the historical housing policies in Chicago that created the Black and Latino ghettos of our city.

This July a group of seventeen youth leaders with the Logan Square Neighborhood Association started a journey to fight the erasure of displacement by documenting their families’ migrations from Latin America to Chicago.  Youth leaders were also commissioned by their abuelitas and parents as they submitted DNA ancestry kits to see where their families’ journeys actually started. Our ancestry results capture the mixing of people’s brought violently together in 1492.  Our Mexican students –the great majority of the group–carry between 60-90% indigenous ancestry.  Africa is also present with us—all of our youth came back with some African ancestry. And our young people from the Caribbean have between 15-35% African ancestry.  We suddenly feel ancient and feel the weight of the loss of our indigenous and African identities–colonization is also erasure of one’s stories.


In partnership with the Genealogy and Storytelling Project LSNA youth will:

  1. Uncover the history of migration and displacement and the impact they have on their lives today;
  2. Boldly claim their own place in history as part of the Latin-American and Pan-African Diaspora;
  3. Dismantle the dominant narrative of white supremacy within the specific process of gentrification and more broadly;
  4. Engage more Latinx[2] families to celebrate their place and histories in the community as one weapon against displacement.

[1] In the past year, 110 youth have been involved in LSNA’s anti-gentrification work taking significant roles in outreach efforts to residents, develogeneology commissions 3.JPEGping actions, introducing new strategies and concepts, and meeting with local officials about the need to create policy solutions to address rising displacement.

[2] Latinx= The “x” makes Latino, a masculine identifier, gender-neutral. The “x” also encompasses genders outside of that limiting man-woman binary. Pronounced “La-teen-ex.

Meeting #9 10/1/2016

Next Gen Conference 

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Decolonizing our Organizing Work

“Decolonization” is more than a hashtag, it’s a commitment to reclaiming and celebrating our multiple, intersecting identities–ancient and futuristic.  Join us for a conversation to explore ways organizing for social justice looks, feels, and wins like when we center our work upon womanist, queer, immigrant, working class experiences.


-butcher paper, markers

-world cafe questions

-poetry handout

-definitions handout


  1. Opening Poem & Reflection: The mispronunciation or changing of our names is one of the first and most intimate ways we are colonized. For some of us an important step of decolonization is speaking our given names, all of them. For some folks, changing your name to more clearly reflect who you are in this world may be their form of decolonization.  (Lili) (2 mins)



your whole language


you don’t even have

enough language

in you

to pronounce

my name

–d. kaur

  1. Check in: (Violet) (10-15 mins)
  • Speak Your Name (natural annunciation) – briefly, where does it come from?
  • Pronouns (i.e. she/her/hers, they/them/theirs)
  • A feeling you are having today

3) Intent of our workshop: (Lili) (5 mins)

Organizing spaces can be just as toxic as the dominant culture to people of color, women, trans folks, queer, working class people, immigrants etc. But if our hope is to fight for all of our liberations, then how should our organizing decolonize toxic leadership structures, work ethic, and relationships?  Lili will begin with her reflections about this summer’s feminism conference.

4) Definitions of language we will use in this workshop: (Violet) (5 mins)

  • intersectionality, mujerismo, womanism, (Violet will create the sheet of definitions)
  • Contextualizing our work and processes through these frameworks (Why?)

5) World Cafe Group Questions: (Lili) (7 mins per group)

How do we create spaces to decolonize our identities and relationships In two ways:

    • what reflective practices do participants use to help youth explore their internalized oppressions? (Violet)*** find a poem
    • what reflective practices do participants use to create spaces that celebrate and name their youth’s identities? (Lili)

6) Harvest Round: Create a toolkit of ways we all decolonize with our youth. (Lili) (10 mins)

Bring everyone back together, put up sheets for all to see, ask:

    • What are common practices are emerging?
    • Are there practices here people want to learn more about right now?


  • Create a decolonization practices toolkit


*Optional* (Violet)

7) BrainStorm: how would decolonizing change our definitions of leadership, organizing outcomes (what we call a win), relationships, definition of power, the way actions are organized and carried out, etc.

8) Closing: (Violet)



Meeting #7 08/15/2016

1) Welcome and purpose La Cultura Cura 30 anos de cambios
2) Introductions with check-in question:

  • Diga por favor su nombre y su pueblo de origen.

3) Powerpoint about DNA and consent forms


4) DNA swabbing, email registering

5) Dinner

6) Presentation from Barreras & then Kerry

  • Fill out form with names of family born before 1950

7) Q and A
8 ) Closing ceremony- poem and un deseo que tienes Por su hijo