migrant-justice

Hello, new pages will start next week. Sorry for the hiatus. After the election/current direction of the country, just got discouraged. I want to apologize for that. 

Someone told me today that history is defined by the voices and stories of the marginalized. I guess its time to pick myself up, get to work.

Anyway, enough rambling. Chapter 3 will continue where chapter 1 left off. Here’s a little recap.

8

Cucarachas (Roaches)

If you wish

you can call us

cucarachas

because even when you kick us out

even when you kill us

we always come back

multiply withoutpermission

and do what we need todo

to survive.


You tried to drown

our family down the drain

but they swan through sewage

to make it back into your mansion.


We always remain

no matter how many times

you stepped on our friends

so get out of the kitchen

and let us cook

you know you love

our cucaracha food

so get out of the music room

and let us play

you know you love

our cucaracha tunes

so let us serve behind the bar

you love our drinks you do.


We are leaving the basement

crossing every border of poison

on your doorways

and entering your room

like it or not

we stalk dreams and hope

while you snore

we make things move

at dusk

that is why your socks

are missing

and your underwear has black tracings

of our dinner

we prey upon your crumbs

clean your floors with our tongues

and scatter when the lights go on.

 

We work in the shadows

of your rejection

so you can eat fresh cilantro

and ripe tomatoes

with your breakfast

so you can lounge in a dust free home

so your restaurants

run oh so smoothly

so your hotels are shiny.


We are everywhere

here there here there

everywhere

swarming on your dishes

until you can see your reflection

infesting and organizing your produce

hiding and constructing your buildings

some of us teaching your children

many of us raising your children

until they speak our cucaracha language

all products of moonlight migration

crawling through your hallways

invading and fixing your engines

so you can drive to a store

to buy Raid venom

and even when you spray us

we will always come back

like cucarachas

so you should start being nice

and leaving us

the welcome mat.

-By Eric Eztli

The fact that there are people who think the term “social justice” originated on the internet and has nothing to do with “real life” activism still really boggles my mind tbh, as do the things people associate with “social justice” online, it’s weird? because long before I was on tumblr I was working with (self-identified) social justice organizations, and here are some of the things we did:

  • professional skills training programs for at risk youth
  • events promoting artists/craftspeople from low-income areas/communities
  • anti-violence campaigns
  • border justice campaigns (migrant rights, etc)
  • prisoner solidarity work
  • literally organizing at an international level for anti-war initiatives
  • campaigns for accessible education
  • advocacy for people navigating healthcare systems (esp w/r/t gender stuff and reproductive rights)

… and etc, like, there’s lots more! but my point is: that is “social justice”. That is what “social justice” historically and realistically MEANS. I will never abide by a definition of “social justice” that implies that this is strictly the domain of bloggers/the internet and has no “real life” implications. The people I know who are the fiercest and most strongly self-identified “social justice advocates” don’t even HAVE blogs. They spend their days in courts, universities and public school systems, non-profit organizations, human resources departments, in poor communities, in communities of colour, in communities of religious minorities, in hospitals and clinics, doing more work than most dudes who complain about “social justice warriors” on reddit and tumblr could ever comprehend. My days as a real-life social justice warrior were some of the most strenuous, emotionally taxing, but ultimately rewarding days of my life. If you called the people I worked with during this time “social justice warriors” to their faces they would probably be like “…. yeah, and? Sorry, I’m late for a demonstration.”

tl;dr I find people whining about “social justice warriors on the internet” to be fundamentally out of touch with the reality of what the phrase “social justice” has meant throughout basically all of human history, but especially like, the contemporary implications of the phrase “social justice”, and it bothers me. 

Fieldwork: done (for now)

Covered in: bruises (dirt has been washed away)

Drinking: sweet red wine

It’s been an emotional roller coaster - my first real excavation, the exhaustion, hovering reporters, the camaraderie, the injustice of the situation, the generosity of strangers - but I can’t wait for the next round.  Our work is unfortunately never, ever done, and I am more ready than ever to fight the good fight.

The other day I was walking through a small farm town outside of Vancouver on a Sunday evening as the sun was setting, and I passed a school with a large grassy soccer field. The grass and its surroundings were lit a warm hue from the setting sun, and I watched as several people kicked around a soccer ball, listening to the pleasant cacophony of indecipherable voices and laughter.

As I got closer, I noticed there were several more people sitting on a grassy knoll surrounding the field, as well as what seemed to be 20 or 30 bicycles sitting in a pile near the side of the road. I realized that they were all migrant workers from Latin America. I stopped cold in my tracks and felt my heart sink and my cheeks start to get hot. I scanned their faces and my mind was immediately filled with memories of the individuals I see each time I go to Guatemala; people working so hard and so long and yet smiling earnestly, glad for the few cents they earn.

I wanted to run up to them and to tell them that they mattered, that I knew how hard they were working. I wanted to ask them where they were from, what brought them here, and what they left behind. But of course, I couldn’t dare. So I reflected quietly for a moment, and continued walking. But my heart felt heavy. I don’t know if I believe in fate or destiny, or God or anything like that. But I think that’s because I don’t like the world we live in; I don’t like the way it’s rigged to favour some while exploiting others. My heart breaks constantly: when I think of the migrant workers in the US and Canada who have recently entered picking season and pick fruits and other produce almost every single day from 5am to 10pm, as long as the sun is out, for just a few dollars to send back home. It breaks whenever I think of the desperate North Africans who fling themselves and their families onto boats that symbolize a better future not knowing whether or not it will capsize in the middle of the Mediterranean sea or be intercepted before they get there. My heart breaks when I think of families, even little children, who spend their lives in Chinese factories and never see the light of day because they are too busy building things for Western countries that nobody really needs. My heart breaks for African Americans who are continuously forced to fight for their freedom, safety, and dignity in a country that does not care enough.

My heart breaks and breaks and breaks every day. And I try to stay positive, I really do. But the reality is that this world is harsh and cruel and unfair. We are all out here just trying to make it. We are all just trying to survive. But how are we supposed to fix a broken world made up of broken systems? How are we supposed to get ahead when so many of us are being held down by forces that are too strong to overcome? Some days I manage to block some of this out and feel better for a while, but eventually I am always reminded of the ugliness that exists. I feel small and helpless today.

youtube

Micha on the Transborder Immigrant Tool, and science of the oppressed! SO inspiring to see femmes/women using science and art together, and creating some badass necessary tools in service of the people!