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This year marks the 10 anniversary of the third world Liberation Front Hunger Strike, where seven college students camped outside of California Hall and fasted for what they believed in. I was at Chicana/o Studies conference in Texas when the strike started. I was there with friends that attended UC Berkeley) and we were spreading the word of the upcoming strike and the struggle to keep the Ethnic Studies Department alive and keep it from getting folded into the Cultural Studies department.
I was a student at SF State where I was in the Raza Studies Department. Sf State is where the Third World College was established in 1969 after its own student struggle won it. I lived in Berkeley and had been a part of MEXA and Layout Editor of La Voz de Berkeley since 1994 and had been making flyers for organizations on campus since. Starting with the the third world College action in 1997 to the Crossing Over Conference in 1999 and the Hunger Strike I made flyers to promote the work that was being done.
I returned from the conference 4 days into the strike and I went to meet up with friends who were camped out in front of California Hall. I was going to leave before if got dark but people started talking about something going down because all the cops were getting together at their Sproul Hall office. It wasn't until 3 or 4 am that the police came down to the encampment and issued their order for people for protestors to disperse. At that point there were people who had decided to get arrested as a strategy and they gathered in front of California Hall and prepared to have their camp to be ripped apart by the cops. My friend and roommate Sean O'shea was going around taking pictures with his digital camera and we stayed around protesting as the cops started hauling people away.
After the police finished taking people away we headed home and downloaded the pictures and started working on a series of posters about the arrest and the tactics that were used by the University to shut down the Hunger Strike. I worked on 7 posters that morning gave them to a friend to make copies and by 8am the campus was covered with the images of protestors being dragged away by cops in the middle of the night. I continued making posters every night to post in the mornings, each day announcing what day of the strike it was, what time the rally was for the day and to urge the chancellor to deal with the Hunger Strikers. On the eight day the University finally went into serious talks with the students and came to various agreements.
It's been ten years since the strike and UC Berkeley still does not have a Third World College after being promised one 40 years ago, but students continue struggling to make sure the Ethnic Studies department is not dismantled. One victory last year was the opening of the Cultural Center that was promised 1999, little by little the students keep making progress.
Jesus and I have been invited to speak at UC Berkeley working as movement artists, working in collaboration with other community and artist activists as well as working in collaboration with grassroots organizing groups. We are both very excited about having the opportunity to do this presentation and talk as part of a Chicana/o Studies class MeXicana/o Art Thought and (Art)Practice. Jesus is excited about presenting at UC Berkeley because he emerged as a graphic designer/artist-activist during the 1999 twLF (third world Liberation Front) hunger strike and actions. I am particularly excited because my art practice also grew out of my experiences at Cal
Celia Herrera Rodriguez an incredibly talented and sage Xicana artist and bad ass professora encouraged and pushed me to create art even when I was afraid of the process of creating art because it told me so much about myself. Because Celia helped me become more grounded in my worldview my politics became that more clear.She brought in amazing artists to our classes in my eyes were celebrities because of their profund and prolific work. I had the luck of meeting amazing artists like Cherrie Moraga, Juana Alicia, Yolanda Lopez, Emmanuel Montoya and Consuelo Underwood Jimenez in her classes. And now...I am both proud of and humbled by what her mentorship has helped me to achieve and am happy to be invited to her classroom to share my practice and art.
I was recently asked by the planning committee of Youth Together's Ethnic Studies Conference to design the t-shirt for the upcoming gather. Youth Together was the first organization whose social justice work I became familiar with when I moved to the Bay Area from Los Angeles. During my short time at UC Berkeley I helped on the planning committee and in follow years helped support as much as I can. I majored in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and truly believe in our pursuit of liberation from structures of oppression that we must learn our histories to understand where we are going.
Ethnic Studies Conference
March 10th, 2009
8:30 am Registration Time
San Francisco State University
The major goal of the conference is to promote and introduce high school students to ethnic studies and higher education. Students of color access to higher education are diminishing due to the current attacks on public education. We want to illustrate to students what real history is and what education should really be like. We've been successfully providing such important opportunity for over 6,000 students over the last 7 years. For 2009, we're bringing the conference back to San Francisco State University, where 40 years ago students organized for the creation of Ethnic Studies. We believe that there is a crucial need to readdress history and to provide education that empowers our people to fight for justice and that all this should be done in creative and innovative ways.
***Please contact Jamileh Ebrahimi if you have any questions or concerns regarding registration, volunteering, conducting a workshop, etc. @ 510-645-9209 x. 305 or firstname.lastname@example.org***
I was approached by the U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to create a poster for their campaign. I was really excited that they asked and felt honored to create a poster for them, they are going to use it to post in Universities across the country to help with their campaign.
This is the organizations Mission:
Responding to the call of Palestinian civil society to join the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement against Israel, we are a U.S. campaign focused specifically on a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions, as delineated by PACBI (Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel):
“In light of Israel's persistent violations of international law, and Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel's colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine, and In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions;
Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression, We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.
These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:
1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;
2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.”
Join Jesus and at at Mama Buzz Cafe in Oakland for the closing reception of the Anti-Police Brutality Show.The reception will take place on Friday, February 27th from 6pm-9pm at 2318 Telegraph Ave in Oakland.
The show consists of works on paper from us, our friends at Political Gridlock, Paul Barron, among others. During such times of repression and State violence against people of color in particular we need to see artists stepping up to tell the stories that corporate media doesn't. These pieces tell stories of not just a renegade police office under stress but a whole system of police training and practices that terrorize communities and repress any kind of dissent.