11/11/18 Session #3

But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in colour
as well as sex
and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.
-Audre Lorde

We opened today’s meeting inviting students to imagine all the ways our ancestors  have worked for their liberation, imagine all the ways they are still figuring out, and see yourself in them. Recognize the hustle to get free. Beyond what stereotypes, see them as a freedom fighter and change maker. Now see it in yourself. In pairs we each broke off a spent a few minutes sharing ways in which you’ve created in your life that you’re proud of? On answer that stood out was a student I paired off with as he shared his experience in creating a Help the Homeless, a yearly project that collects funds to buy brand new warm clothes for folks living through homelessness in neighborhood of Humboldt Park.

We spent the rest of our gathering to learn from Dr. Mumm about Chicago migration history and begin to piece where our family’s experience may lie based on when, why, and how we got to the U.S and ended up in Chicago. None of these experiences are monolithic but are fascinating to thread the similarities and motivations as to why they migrated. Typically, in our U.S history curriculum at school we are limited to focus on how pilgrims migrated to U.S and people of color were imported as slaves. We center slavery as the beginning of history of for many while erasing the legacies they brought with them. Being able to contextualize push and pull factors of why many of our families moved here which was due to the political influence of the U.S on our home countries. For example, learning about such policies/ programs like the Bracero Program  for Mexicans and Operation Bootstrap in Puerto Rico gives us more insight on how migration isn’t merely a choice but a choice of survival. It’s exciting during the beginning stages of this process because as we begin to piece together more information from our families we can begin to draw more connections and map ourselves within history with more integrity.

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Mi mamá y yo

Mi mamá

Arrived to Los Angeles, California with her two sisters and mother. My grandmother sold their home and belongings to pay for a coyote,so they can reunite with my grandfather who worked as a Bracero.

After settling and arranging their next trip, they began their journey to Chicago, Illinois.

My grandmother rented a small apartment for five people in La Villita on the south side.

Mi mamá found a job at a factory in Edgewater. She commuted everyday to and from work for almost two hours for a low wage and no benefits.At the young age of 18, she was work more than eight hours for six days a week.
Mi mamá wanted to go back home. I ask her, what do you miss about home? She says, “todo”.

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Yo
“Ni de aquí, ni de alla”. So where do I go? I’m too Mexican for the United States, and too “American” for México. This inner conflict has been heard countless times that the authenticity of it seems to diminishes. However, the pain is very real.
I am not looking to fit in.
I am searching for the peace my ancestors did not find.

Meeting #1 06/27/2016

Agenda:

  • Introduction to the project and main goals
  • Activity: Stand next to the identities you relate to (Boricua, Latina, Latino, Latinx, Hispanic, Spanish people, Chicana, Chicano, Person of Color, ect)
  • 5 minutes of self-brainstorm and then share: Name all your identities, and what do they mean to you?
  • Glossary of Terms: Latino, Latinx, Hispanic, Decolonizing Slideshow.
  • Group Readings: (Gloria Anzaldua, Aurora, Joaquin,) report back (main points made by author, what do you think? What discussion questions do you have for us?)
  • Tell us about the oldest ancestor you know about, where did they live? Who was your first direct ancestor to migrate to the US?
  • What forms of media do you use and consume on a daily basis? What storytellers do you already follow? And what might be good mediums for us to use?
  • Create your ancestor meme, video, etc and report back.

Themes:

  • Colorism within the Latinx  and African American community
  • Internalized Racism/Oppression
  • Intersectionality
  • Dehumanization
  • Colonization
  • Generational Trauma
  • Bracero Program

Weekly Assignments: Bring 5 family pictures, names of members who first migrated to the U.S where they came from.