Story by Alicia Prieto and Mista Oh! – Photos by Nibor, Tashonna and Mista Oh! Know Your Rights by the Clash
Last January Tania Bruguera moved to Corona, Queens, in order to explore the conditions facing immigrants and their political representation. Her goal for this project: to meaningfully engage the community in building coalitions of people and organizations invested in redefining how immigrants and immigration are treated worldwide!
Alicia, Tashonna, and Tineal, along with Nibor and Mista Oh!, gathered with members of the community at Immigrant Movement International’s headquarters in Queens, at 10:30am for a DIY workshop to make pro-immigrant buttons, posters, and silkscreened t-shirts in support of The Rally for Immigrant and Labor Rights at Foley Square scheduled for later in the day.
After a hot lunch was served and water bottles distributed, the group, drums-a-beating, and proudly displaying their pro-immigrant slogans, colorful posters, buttons and t-shirts, boarded the 7 train towards Manhattan.
In the subway uring the ride downtown, Bruguera led the group in a “Mobile Workshop in Public Space”. Talking with strap-hangers on the train, we told them about our immigration stories and invited them to tell us about their own. We also gave out immigrant-made stickers from the members of the QMA’s New New Yorkers program. Working our way downtown, with a transfer at Grand central Station, we arrived at Foley Square to find the rally already in full swing.
Writes Alicia P. from cre8tive YouTH*ink, “…the place (Immigration Movement International storefront headquarters) was small and the vibe was positive. I’ve always viewed political movements as angry, heated things – and that’s what I expected. Instead, here I saw see people working together – quietly talking, and making posters. The many kinds of different people involved, reminded me of how immigrant rights issues affect everybody.
During the workshop, and the ride on the “7” train to the Rally, I talked to immigrants from Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Italy, Jamaica, and Mexico. I concluded that there is absolutely nothing that differentiates the needs of one immigrant group from another. We are all equally underrepresented and condemned for our drive to thrive in America as an American.
This day confirmed for me that everybody has something to offer us, and that I welcome and celebrate the diversity around me. Through mixing arts with politics, we can organize and unite people around common goals, and that we can all do something for us – all of us. Maybe that’s what the “us” in United States really means. — alicia p.
One Love – Mista Oh!