Intersectionality: On Ferguson, Immigration, Activism, and Poetry

Since the Ferguson decision came out, there has been an endless series of events occurring that have made me more and more cynical by the day…

  • The 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre, gone unacknowledged by our government
  • Important but insufficient executive action on immigration reform
  • The 43 disappeared students of Iguala, Mexico
  • Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Darrien Hunt, and countless others unjustly murdered by the police with lack of accountability
  • Police brutality and incarceration of protestors

We can’t breathe.

The intersectionality…discrimination, systemic institutional racism, lack of government accountability, the silencing of history, the militarization of the police, how some people profit off of other people’s misery, and how we’re all a part of this system, ayyyy diosssss!  And how every day it is perpetuated and deeply affects lives…. Though we are outraged by a corrupt system and the miscarriage of justice, we are inspired by the protest and solidarity from around the world to bring and end to this madness.

Last week at Puget Sound was an exciting time of celebrating diversity and bringing marginalized voices to the forefront on campus. Through these events I’ve been able to articulate feelings and thoughts I have always had but never knew how to express:

Undocumented Hondureño poet Fernando Fortín’s inspiring poetics on the social dynamics of being a dishwasher, black/brown relations, cynicism, racial discrimination, but also with a vision of hope.

A group of students including myself organized a panel called “Our Own Backyard: Tacoma’s Role in Perpetuating Injustice Against Immigrants” with Professor Oriel Siu’s talk about the ongoing history of racialized deportation and the disposability of lives of people of color, and undocumented activist Maru Mora Villalpando’s talk on social organizing inside and around the Northwest Detention Center (located just 15 minutes from this school). We lit candles to remember the connections among the tragic occurrences listed above. We will continue to work with Maru to bring attention to the issue of immigration and the Northwest Detention Center.

Kwanza, where we celebrated African heritage, shared delicious food, and honored the black men whose lives were ruthlessly taken away from us by police brutality.

“Slam Night for Social Justice, Identity, and Power”, where brave minority students performed their poetry and prose. I read a poem written by Fernando about Central American children who cross the border, a prose piece by a Native American on the isolation of ‘American’ society that I found on a Facebook page called ‘Ancestral Pride’, and a poem that I wrote myself inspired by the documentary “The Color of Fear.”

The trans south Asian art and activist collaboration ‘Dark Matter’ did a show on campus. Comprised of Janani Balasubramanian and Alok Vaid-Menon, they use poetry and art for “gender self(ie) determination, racial justice, and movement building” They are AMAZING!  Watch them on youtube!

These events were so inspiring, enlightening, enriching, and have come at a time when ‘America’ has woken up to where our country is at with regards to achieving ‘liberty and justice’ for ALL . I hope that as a community we continue to work together and not allow the energy to die out. We won’t. To let that happen would be a tragedy.

I have been trying to be understand why others make no effort to engage and learn about the world they are a part of, and much more about something that is happening right under their noses and affects the lives of people they may know and may care about. Maybe they just don’t understand it.  I can understand why people choose to ignore these things. It is easy to live within one’s privilege and be content with the status quo. Caring about these things can be emotionally consuming, time-consuming…and can get in the way of your progress over finals week… We all have priorities and responsibilities. 

But apathy and silencing are political tactics. There’s no way we can make a change unless we gather, in numbers.


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About Andrea Isabel Nable

My name is Andrea (pronounced ah n d r ai ah , not AN D - r ee - uh), and I dream of life at the beach in Costa Rica or Cartagena de Indias, or city life in Barcelona or Buenos Aires! I'm a senior Hispanic International Studies major, and Politics & Government minor, with an emphasis in Global Development. I just got back from a year abroad in Santiago de Chile and being back in the Pacific Northwest I am seeing it with a fresh perspective and intend on taking full advantage of my time here!