Video from the Intercambio: Intersections In Our Work
Intersections In Our Work is a particularly powerful and insightful video because of its focus on hearing from our comrades from JASS and MesoAmerica more generally. From drawing parallels between Womxn of Color taking up land defense and human rights work, to experiencing youth play their marimbas and perform ancestral creation stories for us at the K’astajib’äl Educational Center, to witnessing Joanna Wetherborn speak to Black womxn’s experiences of being the perpetual other and survivors of sexual violence, to hearing how militarism and violence is seamlessly weaved into the orchestration and criminalization of the migration crisis. It’s not just that things are said or shared in multiple languages, but it’s also the power of being able to create a container and learning space where folks do not have to filter their brilliance, analysis, and experiences through a standard English or Western frame of thinking to be heard and seen as an expert.
It is through this creation of a multilingual space and one grounded in a Language Justice framework that even deeper political connections can be made. Like when we hear from Robina Niaz, a member of MEV Cohort 4, draw connections between the land struggle in Mesoamerica being led by Indigenous womxn and the struggle of the Palestinian people, or being able to hear directly from Honduran community members sharing the realities of what it means to have their communities be emptied and witness that migration, their relocation, their deaths and loss, their trauma, and at times, their returning.
With the Spanish language specifically, MEV holds the tension of Spanish being a language used by colonizers to attempt to eradicate indigenous languages, peoples, ways of being and entire cultures, from the continent of Africa to the Americas and the Caribbean. We constantly grapple with this violent history that very much lives in our cellular memory and even our families today. And we also know there is a different kind of depth, connection, and intimacy that is shared when people are welcomed and encouraged to speak the languages they feel most comfortable in. And so, when Spanish is that language, we choose to engage with the complexity for the sake of our movement. I very much look forward to continuing to take on this work with MEV and reimagining what it can look like in the next cycle!
My questions to you are:
- Seeing Nikte Caal speaking and other young people organizing at La Puya, what can your organization be doing more of, to open pathways and to support the right of young people to organize?
- How do you/your organization practice making space for the leadership and expertise of community members and organizers across language/dialect, accent, and geography?
- As you saw here, breath and community movement were weaved into the way our Intercambio was held. How might breath and movement support you/your organization to do your work differently?