NEW YORK—To this South Bronx native whose parents are first generation immigrants from the Dominican Republic, “life is a political project.” Claudia De La Cruz, creator of Da Urban Butterflies, a center meant to develop the character of leadership among young women, has been hard at work for the last two decades on that project. She is dedicated to the deconstruction of systems of oppression and exploitation and toward the imagining of a radically different world for humanity.
Currently, she co-chairs The Popular Education Project (PEP), a collective of organizers and popular educators committed to create spaces for the study, discussion and reflection of political economy and popular education. She is also co-host and producer of TeleSur English’s “Ñ Don’t Stop,” with the hiphop duo, Rebel Diaz. She holds a degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College and a double masters in Theology and Social Work from the Theological Seminary of Columbia University.
Ms. De la Cruz sees education as providing students with the ability to contribute in the processes and acts of personal and collective liberation. Young women especially need this ability, as the guideposts of the women’s struggle locally, nationally and globally continue to be erased by Patriarchy and Capital.
She will bring this unique perspective of more than two decades of engagement as a community organizer, educator and journalist to the panel “Constellations of History.” The panel brings together five legendary women, each with her field of work and constituency, but united in the vision of a more amiable human society for women of color.
The panel will be followed by a remarkable presentation by the incomparable Pura Fe, who brings to the conference, the legacy of eight generations of Tuscarora Nation musicians.
NEW YORK–The legacy of eight generations of Tuscarora Indian Nation music will resound at the October 21st Center-Shift Conference of AF3IRM, an organization of transnational women, with the participation of Pura Fe, renowned singer, composer and lap key guitarist.
Ms. Pura Fe’s music was once conferred by the Academie Charlos Gros of France with the “Best Global Album” award and she was named best female artist by the Native American Music Award. Her most recent composition was the song for the Idle No More Movement, the First Nations movement which has gone global in its scope and influence.
Ms. Fe combines artistry with advocacy for rights of native Americans and indigenous peoples. In 2014, she was part of the Honor The Earth; Love Water Not Oil tour with Winona LaDuke to stop the Enbridge Expansion and tar sands and fracking pipelines.
She will present an annotated performance at the AF3IRM’s Center-Shift II: Roots and Routes, contributing both her artistry and her wisdom toward a new direction for the women’s movement. Though raised in New York City, where she was involved with the American Indian Community Center, Ms. Fe will join the Conference from Saskatchewan, Canada, where she has been residing recently.
Ms. Fe’s lifework dovetails into AF3IRM’s current concerns regarding the foundational ideas of US feminism. “The entire purpose of my life is the regeneration of traditional music, clothing, instruments and other ‘art forms’ in a contemporary tribal world. The traditional then becomes the contemporary and the cycle merely continues,” she explained in an interview.
The Roots and Routes gathering will be the second of AF3IRM’s “harvest of ideas, strategies and tactics” toward a shifting of the concerns of the women’s movement and the centering of the needs and visions of women of color. Held only every two years, the October 21st Conference will be a whole day affair, starting at 9 am and lasting to late afternoon. Plenary sessions are held in the morning while six workshops will fill the afternoon.
The Conference will be held at the Center for Social Innovation, 601 West 26th Street Suite #325, New York NY 10001 (cross-street 11th Avenue).
A sliding registration fee is asked of those who wish to participate. Registration is online at http://bit.ly/af3rr17. The registration fee includes a digital copy of papers and minutes of the workshop discussion, as well as resolutions. Lunch will also be available for those on full registration fees. For further information, please contact [email protected]. — ###
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has maintained, throughout the first year of his term, a revision of Philippine history toward the rehabilitation of the memory of the ousted late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, and his clan and cronies.
Having accepted campaign funds from the Marcos clan and cronies, he has wholeheartedly embraced his subservience to the oligarchy that laid waste both the Philippine economy and Filipino lives.
He has had the skeleton of the dictator buried in the Cemetery of Heroes, labeled the son Bongbong Marcos, though defeated in the last elections, “possibly the country’s vice-president,” proclaimed Marcos’ birthday a holiday in his home province and has now declared the 21st of September a national holiday.
He has moreover continued to mimic his dead tyrant-idol through wholescale destruction of the check-and-balance agencies in governance, defunded the Commission on Human Rights, jailed a proclaimed and sworn-in senator on the contrived evidence of photographs and degraded her with a claimed sex video which was non-existent, pushed to have the Philippine Constitution changed to federalism which would enable him to stay in power until 2025, and freed those charged with corruption and used convicted drug lords’ testimony, fake news, trolls and click farms to demonize the opposition.
More, Duterte unleashed a supposed “war on drugs” which was actually a massacre of the poor and the hapless, 13,000 + dead, while those accused of being drug lords were handled with kid gloves and eventually exonerated. This war on the poor morphed the entire Philippine National Police into an assassins’ guild, with quotas for nightly kills, irrespective of guilt or innocence.
And to further imitate his tyrant-idol, Duterte occasioned the most serious armed conflict in Mindanao, with the Muslim city of Marawi reduced to rubble and thousands of refugees continuing a perilous existence in evacuation centers where 39 have died from disease.
This is our response: As we opposed the Marcos Dictatorship through all the two decades of its murderous rampage and rapacious looting, so shall we oppose Duterte’s ambition to channel his dead tyrant-idol and destroy all the democratic processes in the archipelago. Overseas Filipinos have worked under the most stringent conditions to re-establish a bright possibility for the archipelago, accepting some of the most demeaning jobs in the world in order to remit financial resources to enable their families to survive and thrive. We oppose any attempt to nullify this nearly 50 years of sacrifice of those exported overseas to pull Philippine economy up from where it had been trashed by the Marcos clan and cronies, and to restore wealth to the Philippine treasury so looted by the same oligarchy.
As we have and continue to call for justice against malfeasance of the Marcos clan and cronies, so we call for justice against the Duterte Regime for a) murder of 13,000; b) exacerbation of armed conflict; c) enabling the theft of Philippine territory and resources; d) destruction of the democratic procedures fought for and won against the Marcos Dictatorship.
UPHOLD THE JUST STRUGGLE AGAINST THE MARCOS-DUTERTE REGIME!
NO TO MARTIAL LAW! NO TO DICTATORSHIP! NO TO FEUDAL FEDERALISM!
DISMANTLE ALL POLITICAL DYNASTIES AND WARLORD CLANS!
DENOUNCE THE MISOGYNOIR OF DUTERTE’S NEO-FASCISM!
PUSH BACK AGAINST THE WAR ON THE POOR!
TURN THE DRUG TAP OFF AT THE SOURCE!
To sign or endorse this statement, please go here.
On Tuesday, September 5th, the current presidential administration signaled the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy. AF3IRM, along with other organizations and community groups, have spoken out against this, as well as this administration’s continued attacks on immigrant rights and the xenophobic and white nationalist agenda it espouses. As transnational/women of color, AF3IRM knows that liberation for im/migrants means more than DACA – and we will continue to fight to end the criminalization of im/migrants and against detention centers, borders, unjust citizenship and immigration policies, and other forms of state violence that have been used to terrorize im/migrants, indigenous and native peoples, and people of color. AF3IRM has been organizing and participating in demonstrations and rallies across the country, including the DefendDACA March in Oakland and the Defend DACA March and Rally in Los Angeles. Versions of the following speeches were delivered at the Defend DACA March and Rally in Los Angeles on September 10th, which was co-lead by AF3IRM.
BY AF3IRM NATIONAL CHAIR IVY QUICHO
My name is Ivy and I am the National Chairperson of AF3IRM, a transnational feminist, anti imperialist organization of women of color, with a 28 year history of grassroots organizing.
We are here today because this war against us has been waged long before Trump- it began when women became the first form of property, it was when class society was set-up, it was when our peoples were first colonized, it was when free trade agreements were passed and imperialism boomed and forced us to migrate out of our countries of origin in the first place… the only difference is that our society has now reached this fascist state where our enemies have become more overt in their vision to bleach this country white, to purify it with only Christians, and to lead it as rich, corporate, misogynist, men… but we are here to remind these fascists, the KKK, the alt right… that after centuries of attempts, and thousands of years later, we are STILL HERE and we are NOT GOING ANYWHERE!
We in AF3IRM know that this ongoing war has a woman’s face. It is no coincidence that we transnational, im/migrant women are the majority of immigrants imported between and among countries; that we are the most vulnerable to detentions and deportations, particularly our trans Latina sisters who are unable to find jobs due to discrimination and live off of less than $10,000 a year, as we often work in the informal economy as caregivers, garment workers, street vendors; that we are transnational mothers caring for our family members in several countries and are often separated from our children; that we are those who are sexually assaulted, raped, and trafficked/prostituted during our journey, once we arrive, and when we are detained; that we are the majority of low wage workers; that we are the fastest rising population of mass incarceration; that we are the fastest rising population of homeless people, are quite literally being killed off or disappeared whether it be our Muslim sisters such as Nabra Hassanen, or our THOUSANDS of indigenous women such as Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, or the 64,000 missing/murdered Black women such as the murder of black trans woman, Kiwi Herring by St Louis police. And now, they are attacking our babies, our immigrant youth, because they are the future generation of people whom these bigots want obliterated.
But we in AF3IRM know that they INTENTIONALLY target us women, youth, and people of color for one reason, and one reason alone– because we are powerful.
We stand here today on the shoulders of women past and present from the women fighters who resisted the first colonizers, to the women who continue to resist and organize women’s strikes in the Texas and Pennsylvania detention centers. Sisters- they may try detain us, to deport our people, to oppress our communities, to hunt us down… but they will never, ever kill the revolutionary spirit of women!
We have been here before- they tried to get rid of us with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, with Operation Wetback in 1954, with HR 4437 in 2006, and Arizona’s S.B. 1070 in 2010, but what they fail to realize is that their oppressive immigration policies have only fueled our rage and strengthened our determination.
My community we are here because not only will we survive again, and again, and again… we will TOPPLE DOWN Trump and his cronies, we will DISMANTLE this entire government that was never set-up for us… and WE WILL BUILD A NEW SOCIETY!!
We in AF3IRM do NOT want to live in a world where policies like DACA are even needed– we want to look beyond DACA and other reforms, many of which have been men-centric, and defend ALL immigrants including those who didn’t go to college, those who may have made mistakes in their lives, those who have been deported, and those currently detained such as our trans Latina sisters; we want to shut down detentions centers; and we want to build a world where we live freely without fear and violence and with dignity as PEOPLE.
We do NOT just want to be able to stay here to work, to keep our “economy booming”, an economy that is dependent on the exploitation of our bodies whether for labor or sex, so that the rich can just continue to get richer– we want to eliminate the global assembly line and build a world where we do not live to survive, but we live to thrive.
We do NOT just want citizenship for all, we want an END TO BORDERS, an END TO NATION STATES, an END TO CORPORATE IMPERIAL POWERS — all of which only exist to divide and accumulate power and profit for the few.
My community, let us UNITE, let us FIGHT like we’ve never fought before, and let us TRANSFORM our dreams of freedom, into realities of liberation!
We in AF3IRM say a woman’s place it not in the home, it is not in the kitchen, it is not in the bedroom… a woman’s place is here in the STREETS at the HEAD of this struggle for the liberation of all humanity!
BY ALMA of AF3IRM LA
My name is Alma and I am a member of AF3IRM LA, a transnational feminist, anti-imperialist organization.
I am a woman, I am a mother, and I am undocumented. I came to the U.S. when I was 6 years old (not too long ago just 27 years ago!) I have experienced the pain of family separation due to deportations; I have gone through the fear of not coming home to my family, children, and to my community. I had lived in the shadows for 15 years. I have experienced Depression, anxiety, anger and pain due to my immigration status.
In 2005, my older brother was deported. I did not have the tools to help him and to organize for him. His deportation broke my family apart. He was deported to our home state Guerrero, where drug cartels and violence have now taken over. There is not one day that my mother doesn’t cry for him. I don’t want more families to go through the pain that my family went through and that is why I decided to organize and fight against this deportation machine! In 2011, when 4 activist and I went inside the Metropolitan Detention Center as an act of civil disobedience to protest against 287g secure communities, one of the officers that was guarding told us that ICE did not want to deport us, that instead ICE wants to deport our family members or the people who do not speak English and don’t know their rights or how to organize.
And he was right, the most vulnerable in this inhumane immigration problem is not us, it is our brothers and sisters who don’t hold a college degree, those who never had a DACA status. Some of them have worked hard for us to have AB540, for us to have the CA Dream Act, and for us to even have DACA.
Now it is our duty to stand up, to rise once again, to make the changes that we want to see! Today, we must not forget the major problems that this inhumane immigration system brings to our undocumented immigrant community. We must stand and demand to stop the mass deportations that are occurring as we speak, we must demand to stop the killings of our undocumented transgender sisters, and we must stand with our Undocumented non-Latino brothers and sisters. We are more than a temporary program, we are more powerful than them so don’t sit and wait for a solution, don’t let your energy end here. Today we must rise up and organize! It’s time to demand dignity and respect for all!
So now, let me ask you: When immigrant rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When transgender rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When refugees rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!
We are just over a month away from CenterShift II: Roots and Routes! The theme of the conference, Roots and Routes, focuses on the roots of feminism in the USA, which was inspired by the original communal Iroquois Confederacy from which pioneering feminists drew the concept of equality, and the current routes and further developments based on these foundational feminist ideas, current movements, and needed conditions for genuine liberation. We aim to bring together our allies to shift the women’s movement toward concerns and issues of women of color and transnational women, enhance women of color leadership in deepening the theory and practice of transnational and intersectional feminism, and build a common front of resistance among women of various ethnicities.
If your organization is interested in endorsing, tabling, or vending at Roots and Routes, please fill out this form by September 21, 2017. Note that we have space to accommodate a limited number of vendors. In exchange, we are asking for a $20 donation sent via PayPal: [email protected]
You can register for the conference here: http://bit.ly/af3rr17
Our main Organizational Endorser asks: 1. Send a representative from your organization to attend the conference, 2. Share widely with your networks on social media, your website, and/or networks, 3. Send your logo so that we may recognize you in our materials, and/or 4. Donations are always welcome.