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Resisting Borders, Returning Land: Building Movements of Solidarity (African & Native Solidarity PDX)

PSU Smith Center, 1825 SW Broadway
1825 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201, US (map)

SMSU 328/9



As border militarization and mechanisms of state security and surveillance dominate national discourse in the wake of the Trump administration, social movements are responding to rapidly organize in opposition to regimes of deportation, violent border enforcement, incarceration, and population and demographic management, and the xenophobic, racist and heterosexist ideas that they mobilize. As support for migrant and refugee justice gains more popular support, it is critical these movements do not fall victim to the state's narratives of respectability and legality. There exists a well-intentioned myth of the hardworking and tax-paying immigrant, the patriotic refugee, or the heteronormative nuclear family who are business owners, all of whom are deserving of support and sanctuary because they assimilate into US capitalism and hegemony. Movements that fall in line with that narrative and myth sacrifice the communities most vulnerable and impacted by western imperialism and European settler colonialism, only to reify the position of the state as a legitimate and neutral arbiter of immigration and border policy, instead of a source of great structural and systemic violence.

This panel brings together scholars and activists from different movements and communities to open dialogue on building and sustaining movements for migrant justice that are rooted in anti-colonial politics. The presenters will foster discourse critical of the state and capitalism as the drivers of violence and war, forced migration, displacement, dispossession, occupation, and border militarization. This event seeks to build out strategies for movement building and coalition building, drawing upon the amazing organizing of work of the panelists, and centering the freedom to move, the freedom to stay, the freedom to return, and the returning of stolen land as political pillars moving forward.

Maru Mora Villalpando is a community organizer, trainer, political analyst, consultant, and founder of Latino Advocacy, LLC. – a true micro entrepreneur. She is part of the core leadership team at C2C, lead organizer with NWDC Resistance, Outreach Coordinator with Surge Reproductive Justice and Communications Coordinator for Familias Unidas por la Justicia. Mora Villalpando is a bi-lingual statewide community organizer and trainer with more than ten years of experience, primarily focusing on immigrant, racial, and reproductive justice issues. She was one of the lead organizers for the 10th Annual March for Immigrant rights in Seattle, where thousands of people demonstrated their support for immigration reform. Mora Villalpando has conducted numerous bilingual and monolingual trainings in different states, ranging from basic community organizing, legal rights for undocumented workers, how the legislative process works, using local and national media outlets for community organizing, and developing long-term organizing strategies for social change. Mora Villalpando organized the successful campaign in Snohomish County to ensure that interpretation for immigrants in local hospitals be provided, lead the effort to defeat anti-immigrant bills in the 2011 State Legislative Session, has provided numerous workshops on detention, deportation defense and immigrant justice, helped pushed for farmworker rights with Sakuma Farms, and organized in the aftermath of the spring of 2014 hunger strikes at Tacoma Detention Center, which had a rippling effect to the rest of the nation.

She is a regular political analyst guest on Radio and TV in local and national media outlets. She is a speaker on behalf of immigrant rights, serves in the Blue Ribbon Commission of the Undocumented and Former Undocumented and joined the national delegation of the Not1More deportation to Fergusson MO.

Alex Soto is a O’odham activist and musician. Francisco Habre is a Chicano activist and musician. Through their vintage beat production and empowering rhyme delivery, Shining Soul has made and name for themselves and has carve out their own unique lane in the AZ Hip Hop community and beyond with their distinctive blend of socially conscious, yet soulful brand of Hip Hop. Emcee Liaizon, Bronze Candidate and DJ Reflekshin have proven time and time again that their music is universally accessible and has the power to start the healing process regarding the social ills we all face through the medium of Hip Hop. Whether opening for major acts such as Phife Dawg, Ana Tijoux and Pharoahe Monch or “spreading their medicine” throughout the U.S., Canada and Germany with their rigorous tour schedule, Shining Soul reaffirms Hip Hop can be a conduit for positive change, internally and externally.

Dean Spade teaches classes about poverty, racism, gender and social movements at the Seattle University School of Law. In 2002 he founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit collective that provides free legal help to low-income people and people of color who are trans, intersex and/or gender non-conforming and works to build trans resistance rooted in racial and economic justice. He is the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (Duke University Press, 2015). His 2015 documentary, Pinkwashing Exposed: Seattle Fights Back tells the story of Seattle activists getting Israeli Consulate-sponsored LGBT-themed propaganda events cancelled and facing a backlash (online free at pinkwashingexposed.net).

African & Native Solidarity PDX is a community organization. "We are a collective of organizers of African and Indigenous descent who understand that the liberation of our peoples is inextricably connected."