Creating Change 2013 · Uncategorized

“Home-Queer-Home” Rural Organizing

alex picBy Alex Aldana
Blogging Scholarship Recipient
Recap on Saturday’s SONG Rural Organizing workshop
 
 
 

A wrong turn down the second floor, in the hopes I could find the nearest wash room, and listening to the  echoes of vivid voices  on this particular room,, made me forget about my personal deeds in the toilet to what I thought would be one of the most relevant  and charming workshops on Saturday afternoon at the conference.

It took me a minute to sit down near the exit (in case I had to go really bad) to blend it with the topic under discussion. I had actually bookmarked the workshop and perhaps had forgotten about it. No coincidence again I was meant to be here.

SONG’S Rural Organizing Workshop brought me back to my community, to the desert.  In the Coachella Valley, being distant from all other cities and services from California, definitely brings to light good ideas not only to “queerify” spaces, but also to invite by immigrant community, including the farm workers, students, artist and allies to create something like the work SONG does in the South:

“We Decide Who We Are. We Decide Who We Love. We Decide How We Survive and Thrive”

5 of 6 SONG Founders celebrating 20 years of SONG

 

“We believe that Community Organizing is the best way for us to build collective power and transform the South. Out of this belief we are committed to building freedom movements rooted in southern traditions like community organizing, political education, storytelling, music, breaking bread, resistance, humor, performance, critical thinking, and celebration” -said along the lines of one of the presenters representing Southerns On New Ground.

It’s amazing to have organizations like these in the south, facing all the “anti-immigrant” sentiment that impacts the well-being of many.

What really touched my heart is to remember my origins, the land in which me and my mother migrated. yet my work comes with me to every city or state I find work and opportunity, i find the moral obligation to come back home, whenever I can, and remain active, engaging, helping the inter-generational activist to create spaces that don’t exist, but also bridge those who do exist and yet don’t work with one another. The power of collaboration.

I’d love to see Catholic Charities work with our Queer groups in the Desert! (Sarcasm).

I think It is time for me to come home after a long year of learning. I’m hopeful to bring back home this tool to refine our communities understanding of what the queer immigrant life has looked like, and could look like, outside the urban context, and understand how queer life and rural life came to be positioned in many people’s minds as categories that often feel like they’re mutually exclusive.

Problems like crystal meth use among young man having sex with man (YMSM), hostile border patrol offices, bullying and new HIV infections continue to affect this land that I grew up. A Land divided by the expensive golf club and fancy hotels. With a Music Festival that brings Thousands, but is nowhere in our youth’s budget to attend or makes a positive impact to address our struggles in the community.

The Legacy and Dream of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer communities as committed to liberation, dignity, and safety for all people must be remembered, amplified, and carried forward….

I never forget where Home is in my heart. Year after year, I’m grateful to bridge services and empowerment to my younger generations that probably think moving to West Hollywood and Los Angeles is the best option that they have to succeed as queer youth.

The best remedies practiced for many generations are found in the house, with our elders. In our community. Never forget to give back to yours.

Creating Change 2013

How being an Undocumented Queer Immigrant Brought me to Creating Change

alex pic
By Alex Aldana
Blogging Scholarship Recipient
Recap on the Latino Institute 
 

 

For the first time in 24 years, the National Conference on LGBT Equality Creating Change will be having its first Latino  Institute on Thursday, January 24th, 2013. The day-long institute’s most demanded topic by national organizers will be to discuss the next steps within the Latino LGBTQ community and Immigration and how we can best strategize efforts to bring justice and dignity to both of our communities.

I cannot help but to feel enthralled to meet amazing familia that is dedicated to serve the latino LGBTQ community at a national level and that have made it possible for me to be part of these conversations.

The real excitement however, comes from the community, from the land in the south.Two years ago I had the fear of traveling even within my own community. After Liberating that fear by coming out of the shadows about my legal status, I decided to deport such fear and make it into self-empowerment to mobilize power to the people.

The chills I get on realizing the community in which the conference will be taking place is Georgia, one of the worst  anti-immigrant states in the country ,in which many families had been separated, young undocumented students don’t have rights to go to school, and looking brown on the streets, adds another burden to your identity as a queer person.

That is why, our opening ceremony will be joined by some of the bravest radical DREAMers in Georgia that have made a difference to many families.

Dulce Guerrero, among 2 other queer undocumented youth will be representing the community of Georgia and the National Immigrant Youth AllianceDream Activist GA which has helped prevent many deportations and has fiercely empowered those who continue to resist HB 87 locally ,and the current separation of families that has reached millions of deportations with programs such as Secure Communities and 287g nation-wide”.

queer undocumented youth from Los Angeles

Georgia Dreamers will encourage anyone attending the Institute to helps us build a “Community Altar” with offerings, blessings, pictures, banners and other items that represent your State, Country or Territory. In short, The work that drives you to be part of creating change, the community you serve, present in a visual way.

Participants will be welcomed to simply join the opening ceremony to be part of the circle, which will be blessed with good intentions to follow up with an intense agenda full of energies. The Institute welcomes all types of religious backgrounds and beliefs.

I’m so humbled to be part of this dialogue with the Institute, because equality to me goes beyond false borders and hate in our communities, because It is important for us to speak for our selves and not allow political figures to decide for our future existence in this country.
The complexity of struggle in our queer communities of color goes beyond Marriage Equality, it is about dignity and respect as human beings.

The Altar will be present throughout the day to remind us that even though we might come from different places or have different opinion, migrations continues to open those borders for us to work together as freely as they did hundreds of years ago, continuing to preserve proudly our culture and our roots, so we can build together a better future.

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