Monday in New York
New York was a whirlwind, but what else could we have expected? First things first: a big thank you to all of our hosts: Billie, Anna, and Maris, who shared their spaces with us in a city where space is hard to come by.
A second big thanks to The Borderlands Collective, who put together THREE amazing events while we were in town. Hunter, Max, Ros, and Jen put tons of work into setting up great panels, finding venues, funding, and spreading the word far and wide. We felt really lucky to get to show up and enjoy their efforts.
When they’re not putting together stops on the Undoing Borders tour, the Borderlands Collective works to make visible and confront the manifestations of the border in New York. Collective members have all spent some time volunteering with No More Deaths, the Tucson-based humanitarian aid group we visited earlier on the tour.
Our first stop was at Bluestockings Books, a collective & volunteer-run bookstore in the Lower East Side. There, we spoke on a panel with Ravi Ragbir from the New Sanctuary Coalition of NYC and Lauren Melodia from Milk Not Jails. Ravi offered a helpful overview of the current context of im/migration issues and some local organizing efforts to confront deportations and criminalization of migrant communities, including an effort to get ICE out of Rikers Island. Listening to Ravi speak, we were reminded that when we talk about categories like “Criminal” and “Illegal” that impose racialized systems of control onto individual bodies, we should remember the ways that is done through the category of “Terrorist” as well.
Lauren spoke about Milk Not Jails, a project that seeks to create alternatives to the Prison Industrial Complex in upstate New York, where prisons are becoming the primary source of income for towns devastated by the loss of small dairy farms. She also spoke eloquently about the links between capitalism, criminalization, and our current systems of mass incarceration.