Art Community Events

In Love, Rage, and Grief: In the Wake of #GoddessDiamond, #PhilandoCastile, #AltonSterling

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– Danez Smith, Not an Elegy for Mike Brown

This blog is about queer culture in Chicago — it collects some of the embodiments of queerness that we have encountered so far. As Ele and I do this archiving work, this celebrating work, we risk the definitional power that comes from collecting things together under one name — here, the name “queerness.” This power is supersized when we, the collectors, are white and thus have the full force and violence of white supremacy pre-authorizing our voices and bodies (as valuable, as “correct,” as mattering).  As Jennifer Loubriel has already put it, “Part of white supremacy as a larger system is the idea that white people are “objective” and authorities over everyone else in the room.” 

In the face of this, I believe it’s critical to reiterate that our understandings both of queerness and of culture itself are only possible due to the (long history of) work being done by Black and brown trans*/women and femmes. We honor and attempt to be accountable to these folx and the work they have done and continue to do; this is an active process.

As part of that process, here are some things that people we name as our teachers — Black and brown trans*/women, femmes, and gender nonconforming people — have been saying/ offering up to the world, and that we are trying to take into our bodies and metabolize. Instead of providing analyses of our own, we are collecting and compiling things that have already been said and work that is already being done. We are so, so thankful for these teachers for calling us always towards struggle. 

*NOTE* There are events in Chicago happening TOMORROW 7/9, Saturday July 9th. We know of at least three so far:

A protest in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, 11 AM, Jackson and Wacker

Protest Police Brutality 1:30 PM, Millennium Park

Taste of Chicago Shutdown, 4pm – 8pm, 325 S Michigan Avenue  

1. “What Can I Do?” — Black trans*/women and femmes have already done the work of compiling ideas and questions in response. Here’s two examples:

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– @IjeomaOluo via Mariam Asad via Luis Mejico

2. Stay vigilant: educate yourself and remember history 

a) A few syllabi got created in the wake of Ferguson, collected on Twitter as #FergusonSyllabus, and here’s one, and another, and one other one online.

b) End the Police & Prisons

c) Police kill Black and Brown trans*/women and femmes

d) Black Trans women continue to experience violence beyond the named “police”

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This violence has been happening, and continues to happen. For white folx like me and Ele who don’t experience extreme unsafety at the hands of police and the state, we learn about this violence at a distance. People who experience the violence of white supremacy in their everyday lives — Black, Native, and Latinx peoples particularly — already know what’s going on. But it’s useful to know that:

3. Alternatives ARE possible (to the police state, to the state itself) — & people ARE (and have been!) fighting for them

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– Mariame Kaba

a) a Storify of Resources for “People who might want to radically engage” by Mariame Kaba

b) Event July 25th: Know Your Rights: Police Misconduct Workshop with SWOP and CALA

c) “Big Dreams and Bold Steps Toward a Police-Free Future” by Rachel Herzing

d) Too Many People in Jail? Abolish Cash Bail by Maya Schenwar

e) Donate to these orgs. If you have any money, there’s a really good place to put it. If you don’t see a place to donate, ask!

4. Start where you are

a) Look at and Support What People are ALREADY Doing Around You In the Place You Live

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  • Join if you can! And/ or…

b) Organize your own (white people, organize white people)

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-Via Mariam Asad via Luis Mejico

5. Art is vital to resistance 

Again, none of these ideas are new or my own. This is a collection of work that has been done by others, most of whom are queer, Black, brown, trans*/women, femmes, and/or gender-nonconforming. It’s v provisional, so let us know if there are resources we should add, if there are things we should be called on, if we need to credit someone, if there’s a better way to say something or a better way or platform to organize things.

– Helena + Ele

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