If there was a time to take action, to make a concerted effort at becoming politicized, and taking the steps towards affecting change, the time is now. Bay Area-based artists, writers, and cultural producers have come together for 100 Days to provoke much needed dialogue and action around Trump’s first 100 days in office. This call is not only a call for daily action, but a way to provoke examination of one’s practice and take a critical step towards an enduring stand against white supremacy. Or, as bell hooks has aptly described our conditions for years as a, “white-supremacist-capitalist-patriarchy.” Although our recent political climate has caused tension and an inordinate, yet justified, amount of fear for our individual and collective futures, it is important to encourage and uplift one another as we seek to understand. As frustrating and infuriating as it may be to listen to opinions that differ from our own, we must move forward knowing that we have a lot of work to do. We have no choice but to fight harder than ever before.
“Or one meaning of here is “In this world, in this life, on earth. In this place or position, indicating the presence of,” or in other words, I am here. It also means to hand something to somebody-Here you are. Here, he said to her. Here both recognizes and demands recognition. I see you, or here, he said to her. In order for something to be handed over a hand must extend and a hand must receive. We must both be here in this world in this life in this place indicating the presence of.”
–Claudia Rankine, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric
On November 9, 2016, America seemed to hearken back to a time we all once thought we left behind. My heart ached as I realized the country of my birth seemed to state boldly that black and brown lives don’t matter. My teary eyed ride to work had me fearful for immigrant and undocumented friends and family. The eerily quiet nature of the office I stepped into had many heads turned down and unwilling to utter words at the state of our country. Although I am fortunate to have a brilliant and phenomenal circle of friends and family, for a moment, I felt a rush of loneliness and helplessness. But the election, sadly, confirmed many of the systemic and oppressive infrastructures fraught within our justice and political systems coming to fruition and confirming the deep seeded issues the US has been dealing, violently, with for years.
I wanted to touch upon something in direct relationship to the notion of citizenship and immigration. Scholar Dan-el Padilla Peralta presented a question at the 2016 YBCA 100 Summit that has been on the forefront of my mind. He posed a question that I hope serves as one of many prompts that encourage you to submit a work of art, writing, or performance to the 100 Days action. Peralta asked the YBCA Fellows, “How can we imagine a form of citizenship not predicated on a logic of exclusion?” The answers lie in how we face the challenges that the next four years will bring. As a creative community that prides itself on social, political, and cultural change, it is imperative we seek ways of recognizing and appreciating difference during these times. Our actions will be the things that make history, change the direction of a dangerous trajectory, and propel us into intellectual and emotional shifts we didn’t think we were capable of.
While it is often said that we should not repeat history, one thing is certain, the courageous and relentless souls of the civil rights movements, the freedom fighters, the Zapatistas, the People Power revolutionaries, political prisoners, the Black Panthers, the Third World Liberation Front are finding their way back into our contemporary consciousness and practices–and for good reason. They are allowing us to step and stand firmly on their shoulders to question authority, illuminate minds, and protest the deadly agendas that, for so long, have been upheld in a country that was founded on the backs, bodies, intellectual and emotional labor of people of color, especially women of color. We certainly are not free until we are all free. At the Bay Area Society for Art & Activism, we hope you join us by participating in this counternarrative known as the 100 Days Action. Learn more here: https://100daysaction.net
Dorothy R. Santos is a writer, editor, and curator whose research areas and interests include new media and digital art, programming, the internet of things, augmented reality, online performance, gaming, open source culture, and political aesthetics.
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