Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Assimilation is a Hellava Drug

With the Daca Supreme Court hearing, I've been having flashbacks combined with epiphanies of organizing for the dream act back in the day. I specifically remember the arguments and push back we got from everyone else who was older than us, veteran activists, executive directors of immigrant non-profits, and anyone who had a loud voice. You don't know any better, you should wait, this is not how things are done, etc. The excuses were endless and the push back was real. Despite all the haters that kept trying to stonewall the movement, there were twice as many folks supporting actions and ideas that paved the way for daca to become a reality today. 

All these years later and somehow I have turned into one of those haters. Life is a trip. It didn't really hit me till I chatted with the homie J about it on Instagram. We both shared the sentiment of how "these kids" had built their lives and identities around daca without knowing the full history of how it came to be in the first place. How they don't know the struggle of living and working under the table and having to rely on AB 540 to get an education. Actually, it shouldn't surprise me or anyone because once I left the immigrant rights movement, I got salty as fug lol

Both J and I eventually reached a point in our conversation in which we both shared that we want nothing but the best for all immigrants and for everyone to succeed against this evil world, but it wouldn't hurt for "these kids" to appreciate what they have and not just have it handed to them. That's when I started getting flashbacks of when we would get shitted on by levas who told us that the dream act was nothing more than a military recruitment pipeline.

I know and understand that drinking that haterade is hella toxic for one's health and I constantly question whether I have any say in how the current immigrant rights movement. Of the people that I came up with back in the day, almost none of them are active in the immigrant rights movement for a bunch of different reasons that equate to life moving forward. Those that are still a part of it fall into two extremes, they've either become too radical for the mainstream or have chugged the entire jug kool-aid that it makes you cringe. Unfortunately for the movement, those kool-aid chugging levas have placed themselves in positions to make decisions and tend to be in front of a camera at every possible turn.

As a result, the current narrative around daca has regressed to what it was in the early days of dream act organizing. That immigrants only have value if they can pay taxes, behave, follow the rules, and are innocent of their circumstances. The talking points you are probably hearing in the news is that 'they were brought here as children,' 'this is the only country they've known,' 'they're Americans without papers,' etc. It is hard not to feel salty and take a swig of haterade when all I read and see in the news is "these kids" spouting all these problematic talking points that they either picked up from others or just haven't been exposed to the larger movement for liberation. Shit, it took me a long time to get there myself and even to this day I continue to grow and unlearn all kinds of brainwashing.

Shit is all kinds of twisted and like everyone else, I don't have an answer. Do I wish that every person interviewed about daca shared how their liberation isn't tied to assimilation? Hell yes. That the goal isn't to just save daca, but to fight for the liberation of all immigrants in this imperialist country. That we should be joining and supporting everyone's fight for liberation and justice, not just for immigrants. Our movements and fights are all connected, it just takes a little bit of effort to see them, but we have to get out of our bubble in order for that to happen. We have to show up for each other and not just share things on social media, even though sometimes that's all we can do.

Whatever ends up happening with daca in the end, I can only hope that this becomes a moment for the current generation of immigrant rights activists to see the bigger picture and start creating real change. If not, then we can all be miserable together.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Born Day Reflections at 35

35 and still on DACA. I've been pondering about that for a while, reflecting on the last few years, don't really know why other than I'm getting long in the tooth. There's a bunch of social baggage that comes with turning 35 and while I'm pretty good about not carrying it with me most of the time, sometimes it just can't be helped. I'm reminded of it in ways that stand out to me because I'm in this mindset and can't help BUT not notice them. I'm annoyed that I put myself in this funk and start going down the road of self-reflection on a bunch of other things.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Immigration in Comics: Barrier

The immigration narrative told through the lens of science fiction is one of my favorite tropes in storytelling and pop culture. Most of the time, movies and/or stories about immigration are as direct as a slap on the back of the head. Other times, elements of that narrative are just borrowed or touched on because the focus of the movie and/or story is one of outsiders, exclusion, and othering. Finding those kinds of those hybrid stories in comic books is easy, all you have to do is look to characters like Superman and the X men. But every once in a while, something different comes along and Barrier by 
Brian K. Vaughan is that something. 

I read the first issue of Barrier when it was first published digitally in 2015. I don’t remember what my impressions were from that first reading, but I knew it would something cool because of the writer. I also figured it would be easier to wait for the story to finish rather than reading it as it was released. It took a few years, but the creators eventually completed the story and later announced that it would be available in print for a limited time. So rather than buying all five issues online as a digital copy, I waited to buy the physical comic instead. 

So, before I get into my thoughts on the book itself, there will be spoilers if you haven't read it or plan on reading it. I'd much prefer y'all read the story and then come back to read what I have to say.  

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Still Grindin'

For the longest now, I've been telling myself that I need to come back to the blog and post something up. Even if it is something dumb. I don't like letting months pass between post cause that is a sign that the person behind the screen is forgetting about the space. Funny enough, not a day goes by that I don't think about it, mostly cause I've been reminding myself to write something up. I'm still here. I renewed my DACA for the 3rd time at the beginning of the year, so things are covered on that end till the end of 2020 when it goes up for renewal again. Ain't that quite the coincidence? Since my DACA is in good standing, I'm still clocking in at the job I've had the last four years. Last year, around summertime, I stopped doing social media for the artist Favianna Rodriguez. It wasn't something I bragged about it because it was side hustle work and the only people that really knew were those in the social justice/non-profit circles. Still, every once in a while I flexed on foos just to see their reaction haha. I'm grateful to Favianna for bringing me on her team all those years ago and trusting me with her social media channels.

I had a good few months of free time now that I was down to just one part-time job vs having multiple at once. I got to catch up on some great video games, traveled to new states/cities, and genuinely enjoyed my time, but eventually, I picked up another side hustle by running social media on L.A. Taco. I have DEEP history with taco as they were the first place outside my school newspaper and personal blog that gave me space to do the journalism thing. I had a lotta fun back then and while I eventually faded out to get woke and fight for problematic legislation, I still contributed here and there. So when I saw the chance to jump in the mix again as the site took on a new role the L.A. media landscape, I was on it like white on rice on a white paper plate in a snowstorm. Last few months have been exhausting cause I'm back to grinding away at two part-time jobs that each carry the workload of a regular full time one. But brother, when the getting is good, the getting is good. I'm exhaustedly honored to be part of the current L.A. Team and handling their socials. Follow and become a member if you haven't already.

Lastly, the other reason I haven't been writing as often as I should be is because the podcast I started eats up the rest of the creative energy I have in a day. Also, I have a podcast! I'm having a lot of fun with it and chop it up with guest on a monthly basis. This is something I've always wanted to do and short of having my own tv, narrating, hype beast, eating tv show on Netflix, Vice or wherever, this is the closest I'll get. Like I tell most people, once the podcast stops being fun, that's when I'll put an end it to it and that isn't going to happen for a good while.

So, despite me flaking on writing on here, I keep myself busy. Doing all this makes the time go by faster, so much so that I'm taken back every time I realize I'm turning 35 this year. A 35 year old DACA recipient with multiple part time jobs, a podcast, and a mediocre social media following. I am my ancestors wildest dreams.