What does it mean to imagine your own future?
We continue to wait for some politician or some social justice savior to make the changes we seek or we are entranced by political rhetoric and whipped up into emotional fervor that has
nothing to do with our actual suffering. This is happening all around the world and is starting to feel overwhelming. In the end, it is clear that we are the only ones who can end our suffering but the question remains, “How?”.
Recently I’ve found hope in the organizing of racialized communities in Spain to end structural racism.
In the past few weeks I got involved in organizing security and care for the march Un día sin racismo. Specifically, I lead a couple of peacekeeper and non-violent direct action trainings to help ensure the safety of the marchers, create and maintain an open and joyful environment as well as help participants become more mindful of their intentions and purpose. What’s become clear is that this march is part of a burgeoning anti-racism movement that ́s being conceived, organized and led by various communities of color. In all my years of organizing I can say I’ve never seen racialized communities come together so quickly and in such a powerful and principled way. And Spain has never seen anything like this before either. When I talked with folks in the organizing group many downplayed the significance of it and simply said it was time.
Just last month ago a small group of racialized activists decided to have a march to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of Lucrecia Perez, an Afro Dominican domestic worker who was murdered in cold blood by a far right police officer. This was the first recognized hate crime. This group decided they wanted to memorialize this tragic event but also use it as a way to talk about the ongoing systemic racism in Spanish society in general. The march Un día sin racismo focused on the repeal of the Ley de Extranjería which ruthlessly pursues, jails and deports almost exclusively immigrants of color and thclosure of the CIE, Centro de Internamiento de Extranjeros which holds these immigrants while their fate is being decided.
The march, held this past Sunday, went off without a hitch. Between 5,000 to 7,000 people showed up to let their voices be heard. Never before have these communities been so visible, with many participants were marching for the first time. The marched proudly proclaiming their presence, asking for justice and sharing their visions of a world without racism. It was beautiful. At the rally in Sol Asian, Gitano, Arab, African/Afro-descendents, Latino communities read manifestos that outlined the injustices they sought to address and the kind of world they wanted to create. It was one of the best examples of engaged and mindful activism I’ve seen in some time. And it marks the beginning of a long struggle but one filled with joy and hope. I’m so glad I was able to be a part of this promising beginning and look forward to helping it take shape and grow.
Here are some articles for more context and information
Lucrecia Pérez Matos asesinada por ser extranjera, negra y pobre