While 2015 was a year full of unimaginable violence and exploitation, it was also a year of resistance, growth and strength. AF3IRM centered transnational im/migrant & women of color within the women’s movement, we marched against the genocide of womankind, we followed the lead of our Black brothers and sisters to assert that #BlackLivesMatter, we rallied alongside the Palestinian community, we built schools of activism across the country, and we asserted our right to theory-build and imagine a new world.
Thank you to everyone who joined us this year! Be part of our momentum in 2016 and join or start a chapter near you. The world needs you.
Highlights from 2015:
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MARCH
On March 8th, International Women’s Day, AF3IRM with Ovarian Psyco-Cycles brought together over 2,000 people in downtown Los Angeles to march against the genocide of womankind. Those in attendance joined together on International Women’s Day in the name of women’s issues and lives and to continue the fight against oppression and violence. Speakers and participants addressed diverse issues to reflect the intersectionality of women’s oppression, including police brutality, state violence and occupation, immigration rights, economic justice, transwomen rights, and reproductive justice. The march had several rally points, as participants gathered at City Hall, moved to LAPD, the Federal Building and the Detention Center, and finished at Mariachi Plaza. Representatives from the Fight for $15, BlackLivesMatter LA, Immigrant Youth Coalition, Labor Strategy Center, Translatin@ Coalition, and others, who were among the more than 70 groups that endorsed the march, educated and fired up the crowd.
Read more about the march here.
AF3IRM was a national sponsor of the Dalit Women Fight Tour, which brought Dalit women activists from India to different cities around the United States. Members from our own chapters not only attended and hosted events with the Dalit women, but met directly with these activists, breaking bread and sharing experiences.
AF3IRM was proud to be able to provide support for the Dalit women activists and to learn firsthand about their work, their acts of resistance, and the struggles they face not just as Dalit within a caste system, but as women. We exchanged stories of misogyny, sexual violence, and abuse, but also our theories, our strength, our vision, and our methods of fighting back against systems of oppressions.
SUMMER SCHOOLS OF WOMEN’S/YOUTH ACTIVISM
This year AF3IRM was able to lead three Summer Schools in Iowa, New York, and California – building transnational feminism from coast-to-coast! With each session, we worked with a variety of women and youth of color, who came away with fresh new ideas, skills, and a heightened determination to revolutionize the world!
Summer School of Youth Activism in Iowa
In collaboration with the Monsoon Asian Women United of Iowa, AF3IRM led the second Summer Schoolof Youth Activism alongside KmB. Participants came from a variety of backgrounds, identifying as Laotian, Somalian, Vietnamese, Latino, Filipina, Thai, Muslim, queer, transgender, white, and biracial. The youth heard from different organizers and leaders across from the county, learned organizing tools and practices, and used art and creativity as a tool to address oppression and express their dreams.
Summer School of Women’s Activism in New York City
The New York Summer School of Women’s Activism is our longest-running program and this year brought even more stellar guest speakers and included skill-building sections. Topics ranged from human trafficking, militarism, and discussions of women’s struggles around the world. You can read more about each session online on our website!
Marginalization of Women: A Socio-Economic History | Session 1
The Many Faces of Human Trafficking | Session 2
Militarism, Militarization, & the Assault on Women of Color Communities | Session 3
SSoWA NYC 2015 Wraps Up With a Power Panel | Session 4
Summer School of Women’s Activism in South Bay
This year marked the inaugural South Bay-Los Angeles Summer School of Women’s Activism. Held in Wilmington at Communities for a Better Environment, the South Bay SSoWA brought a much needed space for women in the area to talk about issues such as politce brutality and eco-feminism. Facilitator Hasley Pineda “learned that you really did not need a college classroom to have a conversation about putting theory into praxis. All you need are open minds that are wiling to learn and deconstruct our society to see what can be changed. These group of women did just that.”
If you are interested in participating in a summer school or bringing a summer school to your area, please contact us at [email protected]!
Our Summer Schools were featured in the Winter 2015/Spring 2016 issue of Make/Shift Magazine.
More 2015 Highlights from a few of our chapters!
In Spring 2015, AF3IRM Central Coast launched “Women’s Dialogues: Confronting Internalized Oppressions,” a 3-part transnational feminist discussion series that addressed how we not only experience but also perpetuate patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism in our daily lives. This discussion series, co-sponsored by the UCSC Ethnic Resource Center, was created by, created for, and led by women of color. Citing historical events and naming personal experiences, we focused specifically on police violence, “safe” community spaces, and colonial mentalities to illustrate how misogyny, anti-Black racism, and capitalism interconnect. Together, we mapped possibilities for confronting patriarchy and white supremacy within ourselves and our communities, supporting our collective struggles, and building collective resistance.
Earlier in the year, AF3IRM LA worked convened the International Women’s Day March in downtown Los Angeles, as well as formed a women’s contingent for the annual May Day Rally. AF3IRM LA continued to build upon this massively successful public events, and finished out the year with an inspiring anti-Thanksgiving celebration. On November 19, 2015, AF3IRM Los Angeles hosted “Our Rituals of Resistance: Honoring Women Against Colonization” in an art gallery in Chinatown. The event paid tribute to our women ancestors, teachers, and revolutionaries who resisted colonization and occupation, as well as honored the women warriors who continue to inspire us. Artists, poets, educators, musicians, birth workers and organizers came together to lead a night of subversive art, dialogue, and celebration of our resilience in the face of pillage and erasure.
AF3IRM NYC closed out a year of taking it to the streets, the 5th Annual Summer School of Women’s Activism, feminist dinners, tabling, and paneling at the Los Encuentros de Mujeres Latinas en NYC by Standing in Mourning with missing, murdered and/or trafficked women. As part of the larger Purple Rose trafficking campaign launched by AF3IRM National, AF3IRM NYC stood in mourning and chalked Union Square with the names of women missing, murdered and/or trafficked. The speak-out, altar and chalking stood in stark contrast to the rows of holiday market vendors and shoppers in Union Square. In defiance of the numerous times we were approached by security to move our altar, AF3IRM NYC proudly stood our ground and continued to write names, speak out and carry the banner of women of color, native and aboriginal women missing, murdered and trafficked. With the pulse of a single drummer, the most powerful moments of the event were when onlookers made the decision to hold space, participate and scribe the names of women in their own lives, known to be missing, murdered and trafficked.
Throughout the altar and speak-out, AF3IRM NYC members reminded those walking by that:
- When you speak of poverty, remember that the poorest of the poor in every community is a woman.
- When you speak of exploitation, remember that the lowest paid is a woman.
- When you speak of violence, remember that violence against women is pandemic.
- When you speak of liberation, remember that the one with the greatest need and use for it is a woman.
AF3IRM OC took their educational discussions to the airwaves as Kelly, Lizzi, and Zeena came together in the studio with Radio Santana at El Centro Cultural de Mexico to talk about “Redefining Love, Reclaiming Community” on Valentine’s Day. The chapter discussed bell hooks’ All About Love and about learning how to instill love within us in as much as possible in unconventional ways.
The AF3IRM SF Bay Area Chapter put transnational feminism into practice this year by building deeply in our local communities and horizontally across national borders in militant sisterhood.
Photos above (Starting top-left, going clockwise):
(1) AF3IRM SF Bay Area hosted “Dalit Women Fight!” in October, during their 2015 North American Tour. We protested alongside our sisters to oppose Prime Minister Modi’s genocidal administration and sponsored an event at Santa Clara University to demand an end caste apartheid and caste-based sexual violence.
(2) For the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we organized an educational workshop at Urban Promise Academy in East Oakland with 6th-8th grade students, parents, and community members. The workshop was led by 6th and 7th grade young women, who spoke about Black Lives Matter and police brutality, the murder of a transgender woman in the Philippines by a U.S. Marine, the war in Yemen, Islamophobia, lack of access to education for Muslim young women, and the displacement and migration from Guatemala in response to civil war (backed by U.S. Imperialism), genocide against Mayan peoples, and socio-linguistic discrimination against Mam speakers.
(3 & 4) We have been building the capacity of our chapter with the addition of some strong new membership. Finally, we conducted a workshop on “Transnational Feminism: From Theory to Praxis” at the Conference on Third World Multiracial Solidarity and Community Engagement at UC Berkeley.
Being aware of the transnational feminist issues in our community has been a priority for South Bay LA. At our South Bay Summer School of Women’s Activism women and women identified gather together to build, discuss our community, and share our struggles as well as fight against the intersecting injustices we see and live. On our first day AF3IRM women facilitated a discussion, asking women, “When people here Feminist what do they think?” “What are stereotypes of feminists?” We discussed each of these stereotypes, explaining how and why they are untrue. Next, we developed and reviewed the various waves of feminism including our current wave, the 4th wave of Transnational Feminism. Then, we talked about the timeline of our history, showing each other the work we have done, and the work we continue to do. As AF3IRM and practicing transnational feminists, we do not want to participate in our own erasure, we want to document feminist history, build feminist herstory, and show our local community and the world that we are at the head of the struggle, fighting for justice and liberation.