Intersecting Struggles for Democracy in the City: Grassroots Activists in the Immigrant Rights Movement and the Movement for Black Lives

Friday, April 16, 2021, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Type: Roundtable Discussion

Tags: African American; Labor and Working-Class; Latino/a; Race

Abstract

This roundtable brings together Chicago activists who are organizing several intersecting social movements that resonate at both the local and national levels: immigrant rights, socialist electoral politics, and the Movement for Black Lives. Each of the separate struggles are themselves intersectional, confronting structural racism and class inequality while also centering issues of gender and sexuality. Typically these activists do their work in isolation from another, but they come together in the streets and in the arena of electoral politicsas they translate protest into power. 

Session Participants

Chair: Paul Ortiz, University of Florida

Panelist: Page May, Assata’s Daughters
Page May is a Black abolitionist organizer originally from rural Vermont. She moved to Chicago in 2010 to work with a city farming organization and has carried this passion for environmental justice into her organizing against police and violence. In 2013, she helped start up the Chicago Chapter of Black & Pink, and focused on recruiting free world pencils and running study groups. In 2014, she participated in the We Charge Genocide response to the police murder of Dominique “Damo” Franklin. As a member, she wrote the shadow report that was submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture and was one of 8 delegates who traveled to Geneva to testify before the UN committee about police violence in Chicago. Over the years, she has helped lead several actions and campaigns including Black Out Pride, Bye Anita, and No Cop Academy. Recognizing the need for organizing spaces that centered teens and children, she co-founded Assata’s Daughters in 2015, and currently works as the Organizing Director. In 2017, she co-created The Lit Review, a podcast that interviews organizers about the books that have influenced and guided their theories and practices. She still works in gardens, growing free organic food for her neighbors. In all of her work she is committed to studying and building the momentum of the Black radical tradition to abolish prisons, police, and all manifestations of anti-blackness.

Panelist: Jorge Mujica, Chicago immigrant rights movement
Jorge Mújica was born in Mexico City and participated in several popular movements in Mexico until he moved to the United States in 1987. As a journalist, he worked in several Spanish language newspapers, in Univision and Telemundo Spanish TV stations, and won two “First Place” awards by the National Association of Hispanic Publishers. As an activist, Jorge has collaborated with many labor unions in organizing and election campaigns, picket lines, and strikes, and is a member of several community organizations dealing with Mexico-USA issues, from remittances to the right to vote from abroad. He is one of the three conveners of the historic immigrant rights marches in Chicago in 2006, and ran for the US Congress in 2009, representing the immigration movement in the electoral arena. As Strategic Campaigns Organizer he works with large groups of workers who are interested in organizing for long-term workplace improvements. Jorge is bilingual in Spanish and English.

Panelist: Aislinn Pulley, Chicago Torture Justice Center
Aislinn Pulley is a co-executive director of the Chicago Torture Justice Center founded out of the historic 2015 reparations ordinance for survivors of Chicago police torture. Aislinn is also a lead organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago. She was an organizer with We Charge Genocide, a founding member of Insight Arts, a cultural non-profit that used art for social change, and a member of the performance ensemble, End of the Ladder. She is a founder of the young women’s performance ensemble dedicated to ending sexual assault, Visibility Now, as well as the founder and creator of urban youth magazine, Underground Philosophy. 

Panelist: Arianna Salgado, Organized Communities Against Deportations
Arianna Salgado is a queer immigrant who was born in Mexico and arrived to the United States at the age of 6. She began organizing in high school with the West Suburban Action Project, Nuestra Voz, and the Immigrant Youth Justice League; undocumented led organizations that sought to create safe spaces for undocumented people and resources for higher education.Arianna currently organizes with Organized Communities Against Deportations, a grassroots organization that fights against the criminalization and detention and deportation of undocumented people. She currently lives and works in Chicago.