Chicago

by undoingborders

Leaving Toronto and heading toward Chicago we stopped into Detroit and spent the evening at Essex’s mom’s house.  In the morning we were joined by Essex’s father for brief hellos and goodbyes before taking off for our next destination.

We arrived in Chicago that evening at Biblioteca PopularWe were greeted by Fancy and others and were introduced to the lovely space (unfortunately we forgot to take pictures >_<).  After getting food and prepping we returned to a full house of many different people, reflective of the many groups that sponsored the event.  GenderJUST, Mexico Solidarity Network, Immigrant Youth Justice League, The Women’s Cleaning Collective, Moratorium On The Deportations, and AREA Chicago were present to support the event.

((Check out AREA’s new reader which deepens the discussion around borders and how they are experienced))

Also in attendance was one very cute and rambunctious child who, amazingly, got through the entire evening without much fuss. Dont-e Disaster facilitated the discussion and after opening the floor to all the sponsoring groups for introductions we began our presentation.  In the beginning we checked in to ask if we should give the presentation bilingually and were encouraged to do so.  Li ended up translating not only the entire conversation, but also the majority of Q&A time and other general comments from the audience, which was nothing short of an amazing feat!  We got some great suggestions from the audience for how to translate some of our invented words, like fabulosity (“fabuloisidad” or “fabulisismo”).

During the conversation people also drew comparisons between fabulosity and indocumentalismo, both of which document political and social cultures with similar roots in attempting to dismantle and exist outside of physical and social borders set in place through histories of colonialism and capitalism.

The conversation in Chicago was great in many ways.  There has been tension within activist communities in Chicago around The DREAM Act and many people on either side of fence were present for the event.  Still, the discussion flowed in a challenging but productive manner, with attendees reminding one another to not let the conversation derail into arguments.  We hope that the experience and some of the dialogue that was sparked that evening allows for a continuation of dialogue about The DREAM Act and overall resilience in coalition building.

After the discussion closed the night continued on in the form a dance party, started off by Dont-e and wrapped up by Essex, along with more informal conversation and celebration.  We left the next morning feeling renewed and eagerly anticipating our final stop in Denver.

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