Saturday, February 02, 2013

Love & Migration: Migration is Beautiful & Natural. So is Solidarity.

Febuary is here and with it, a month to celebrate Love in it's Many Forms.  While February is sold as the month for romantic love, there is no reason to limit ourselves to this one form.  There's self-love, community-love, family-love (chosen family &/or blood family),  community work/labor-of-love, and global/universal/solidarity-love, to name of few.  These forms of love are not separate and exclusive.  There's overlap.  Our romantic and/or family love can feed our community work/labor-of-love.  Our self-love is vital in order for us to be fully engaged and healthy in that community work.  And that global/universal/solidarity love feeds our day-to-day community activism love.  And there's so many ways to celebrate these all - ie. reflecting upon and appreciating the love in our lives, cultivating more, sending love notes to friends and family near and far, breaking bread together, creating a culture of love.  

I strongly believe in Khalil Gibran's quote "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."  I take great comfort knowing that a broken heart is an open heart.  And a vital way for my heart, in all it's battled and bruised glory, to keep open, and for me to be and feel fully alive, is being part of movements for social justice.

In celebration of Love in it's Many Forms, let's focus on the global, take-action! love.  We're beginning with migrant justice, a movement that's near and dear to my heart.  I am so heartened by the courage and creativity of everyone in this movement that are working not only to change policy, but to liberate our minds from racism, xenophobia, and other divisive forces that create a climate of violence, target communities, separate families, and break hearts.

Favianna Rodriguez is a fierce creatrix of community and art.  She's co-founder of, is a national organization that amplifies the political voice of Latino communities (on Facebook here).  Migration is Beautiful: Voice of Art is a recently-released program that shows how artist-activists are creating a culture of resistance and transforming conversations and perceptions  around (im)migration in the U.S.

 Also, check out Dignidad Rebelde, a graphic arts collaboration between Oakland-based artist-activists Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes, as well as the art of undocumented, queer artivist Julio Salgado.

I love when artists, actors, musicians, politicians and others use their influence to send a powerful message of truth and solidarity.  Wisin & Yandel take a romantic-love song, 'Estoy Enamorado' (In English: I'm in Love), and using powerful images, create a video that's a call to action.  While mainstream US culture often clumps all Latin@ cultures together, I think it's important to note that while the images in the video are most likely of people originally from Mexico and Central and South America, Wisin & Yandel are Puerto Rican.  Mainstream US culture often portrays Puerto Ricans in "those people" terms, and many people don't realize that Puerto Ricans, either living in the US or on the island, are US citizens.  Sometimes Puerto Ricans and other Latin@s with US citizenship/papers are pitted against others who lack documentation, or are perceived to lack documentation.  For this reason, Wisin & Yandel using the video to send a clear message about inhumane immigration law in the US is a blatant refusal of divide and conquer tactics and beautiful act of solidarity!

The message at the end of the video is: 

"Creemos en la protección de los derechos de todo ser humano. La Ley SB1070 representa una violacion de esos derechos y una injusticia contra la integridad de nuestras comunidades. En nuestra unión esta la fuerza. Unámosnos. Recuerda en este mundo TODOS somos iguales!"

In English: "We believe in protecting the rights of every human being. (Arizona) SB 1070 Law represents a violation of those rights and an injustice to the integrity of our communities. In our union there is strength. Unite. Remember, in this world, we are ALL equal!"

Activists and artists are making it so easy and so beautiful to become educated and get involved.  Through this movement, I am continuing to unlearn racism, reclaim my humanity, and know true solidarity.  As a white, English-speaking U.S. citizen, and with respect for my ancestors and their journeys from Ireland, Scotland, and England, I feel so blessed to be on the right side of history and part of such a creative, beautiful, loving, and fierce movement.  

Please see National Day Laborers Organizing Network's arts and culture page for more powerful videos (in English and Spanish).

image by Julio Salgado

Other good resources:

Drop the I-Word
No More Deaths/No Más Muertes
(Im)migration and Lip Balms for Social Justice?! blog post

1 comment:

  1. Very positive/uplifting reading and certainly it will be shared with others. Well done, Dana!
    Love, Mom