From the Field

UndocuNation: Artists Speak Out Against SB 1070

Imagine 2050 Staff • Apr 30, 2012

Last week, the Supreme Court and Congress debated the fate of controversial anti-immigrant law SB 1070. But a regional collection of visual artists, writers and filmmakers are also weighing in during a historical event this Thursday, May 3rd.

CultureStrike, the Center for New Community and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts will host UndocuNation: An Evening of Artists for Immigrant Justice to speak out against SB1070 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco from 6-9pm on May 3, 2012.

Activists, organizers and artists will present an evening of performances, film excerpts, art installations, music and literary readings on immigrant justice. Cultural workers and artists of different racial backgrounds, immigration history and documentation statuses will bring their art and perspective to the community.

UndocuNation will feature over 50 visual artists from across the nation. Highlights from the event include performances by award-winning author Daniel Alarcón, comedians from the national tour Laughter Against the Machine, critically acclaimed playwright Sean San Jose, DJ and producer Sloe Poke, films by pro-jectPRO:JECT and undocumented student collective Dreamers Adrift, and poetry performances by Yosimar Reyes and Walidah Imarisha.

“There have been more deportations on President Obama’s watch than at any time in American history. Continuing these massive deportations is a devastating betrayal of the diverse immigrant communities that helped to elect him,” said Favianna Rodriguez, a visual artist and co-host of UndocuNation: An Evening with Artists for Immigrant Justice. “As writers and artists, we are speaking out against federal programs that tear families apart.”

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of SB 1070 last week.  Several measures were challenged by the US Department of Justice, including those that provide for arrests and penalties under the so-called “reasonable suspicion” of being an undocumented immigrant. The final ruling on SB 1070 will not be released until June.  Community organizers and artists know that whatever the outcome, the work for immigrant justice will continue.

“We want to broaden the discussion beyond the courtroom and into the community centers, the classrooms, labor centers, and street corners where communities can actually participate. SB1070 and copycat legislation is being driven by organizations that scapegoat immigrants for environmental, economic and social problems. Art is a profound vehicle to expose the racist roots of anti-immigrant laws and bring communities together that are working for justice,” says Cloee Cooper, an organizer with the Center for New Community.

“We must challenge laws that legitimize racial profiling and inhumane treatment. UndocuNation is an artististic tribute to the long fight for immigrant justice.  We will not sit still while laws like SB1070 spread through our communities. We must find ways to shift the national imagination on what ‘America’ should look like,” continued Favianna Rodriguez.

Visit the UndocuNation event page on Facebook for more information.

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