FAQs – People of Color Space / Frente X

  1. How did the People of Color Space (POC) Space or Collective Space at the Encuentro come about?
  2. Is the People of Color Space, Collective Space, and/or Frente X only open to People of Color?
  3. What is Frente X?
  4. Why the name Frente X or Frente X for International Liberation (FXIL)?
  5. What exactly does solidarity among different groups of People of Color (including LGB, trans and gender non-conforming People of Color included) look like?
  6. Why haven’t we been able to stop imperialism when we have diasporas from around the world here in the U.S.?
  7. How can we overcome prejudices and barriers (such as compounded racism, machismo, misogyny, transmisogny, trauma) in order to build solidarity models that liberate?

1) How did the People of Color Space (POC) Space or Collective Space at the Encuentro come about?

SOA Watch held a strategy session with staff, council, and key allies in June of 2016. Among other things, there was a general mandate to:

  • Broaden (step-by-step, and by walking with our supporters and allies) our work to address not just imperialism/state violence in Latin America and immigration detention in the U.S., but also other forms of state violence throughout the Americas, e.g. police brutality, surveillance, and mass incarceration in the U.S. & Canada. To a lesser degree we’ll also be connecting imperialism/state violence in other regions of the world to these struggles, primarily through working with different diaspora communities. It is understandably more difficult to ask other People of Color, migrants, & diaspora to devote time and energy into solidarity with Latin America/Latin Americans when their own communities face crises caused by imperialism other forms of state violence.
  • Increase organizing efforts with the directly affected (by both domestic and international state violence), migrants & refugees, Black and Brown youth, youth in general, and build new alliances and forms/directions of solidarity.
The November Vigil in Georgia has been a powerful place for all to join, learn, and resist imperialism/state violence. Vigil attendees, SOAW supporters & staff, and Prisoners of Conscience have contributed much to the struggle for justice in the U.S. and Latin America. However, in practice the Vigil and greater “solidarity work” often is alienating for Latinx, other people of color, youth, LGB, queer, trans & gender non-conforming people and others. At first, the POCS or Collective Space was conceptualized as an opportunity to build solidarity among the “Directly Affected” in the U.S. and Latin America during the Encuentro in Nogales AZ & Mexico. The focus was first on Black/Brown unity, given similar struggles and overlapping identities (e.g. the Drug War, forced migration, private prisons/immigrant prisons, African diaspora in Latin America). We soon came to the conclusion that other People of Color should also be included. The moral necessity to make the Encuentro/Convergence accessible to our undocumented family led us to instead create the POCS in Tucson, AZ, where people are not forced to traverse a Border Patrol checkpoint in order to arrive. In August, we began in earnest to organize the POCS in Tucson. It quickly became apparent that the majority of those interested in putting in the work to address inter-sectional issues around state violence at the Encuentro were Womyn of Color. The core organizers decided it was necessary to utilize the opportunity to also include gender justice as a founding principle of the POCS or Collective Space. The evolution of the Space and coalition, with all of its flaws and limitations, has occurred organically and is by no means a complete process. We know this work needs to continue past the Encuentro, which is more of a starting point than an ending point.

2) Is the People of Color Space, Collective Space, and/or Frente X only open to People of Color?

For this year, one must self-identify as a Person of Color to attend the Encuentro’s People of Color or Collective Space. However, we know that all justice-minded people, including White Americans, need to work together to dismantle the intertwined and oppressive systems of capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy, and cis-heteropatriarchy. We believe it is the targets of these systems that have the most to lose and the most to gain from the ongoing struggle, and therefore are best positioned to genuinely lead successful “solidarity movements” or international movements against state violence. Yet many Latinx and other POC have often felt excluded and unheard within the “Latin American solidarity movement”. We seek to re-imagine and focus on building solidarity among the various communities who are the primary targets of these oppressive systems. These groups include, but are not limited to, the poor, migrants, refugees, queer, trans & gender non-conforming people, laborers, service workers, sex workers, Muslim, Native, Black, Latinx, API, South Asian, African, and other People of Color and diaspora. This is not an exhaustive list of identities, nor are they mutually exclusive of one and other. It is unclear if the POCS, Collective Space, and/or Frente X will be open to non-POC after the Border Encuentro. For the time being, we felt that this was the least imperfect, yet necessary way to limit participation. The workshop, “White Allyship: Processing Accountability and Healing Together” was organized in conjunction with the POC Space. It will take place in Nogales, Arizona on Saturday 10/8 at 5:15-6:25 PM.  Anyone, including white allies, can donate to the POC Space using this link (click “Register” and a Donation option will appear).

For POC, QTPOC, and Youth of Color planning on attending the POC or Colective Space in Tucson, AZ on Saturday 10/8, please register using this Eventbrite form.


3) What is Frente X?

Frente X for International Liberation, or “Frente X”, is a new, evolving collective/coalition organizing against state violence at home and abroad (e.g. imperialism, police brutality, militarization, incarceration, surveillance). Developing through the organizing for the SOAW Border Encuentro (specifically the POCS or Collective Space), the founding members of Frente X are predominantly Womyn of Color.  Our first tasks have been to create the POCS at the Encuentro, and help mobilize People and Youth of Color, QTPOC, those most affected by the oppressive systems of capitalism, imperialism, white supremacy, and cis-heteropatriarchy to that Space in Tucson on October 8. We hope that we are able to then plant the seeds to a more permanent network of people committed to confronting and dismantling the above mentioned oppressive systems. Click here to read our “Living Statement” Preliminary Principles and Goals of the POC Space (Frente X for International Liberation), which will be completed, revised, or replaced at or after the Encuentro.

Frente X intends for POCS participants gather in order to conceptualize  and strategize on how to confront state violence and practice solidarity with each other and those resisting state violence across the globe. We hope to create a space in order to learn, heal and transcend together. We are inspired by, and seek to be in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives, the migrant rights’ movement, the Native-led resistance in Standing Rock and other indigenous movements, the LGB, Queer, Trans and Gender non-conforming rights movements, and other foreign and domestic resistances. Although we know that, for various reasons, not all groups/identities will be well-represented at the Encuentro, we invite our native family, migrants, refugees, queer, trans and gender non-conforming POC, laborers, sex workers, Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islanders, African, and all POC, Indigenous, and 3rd World diaspora interested in this endeavor to join us in Tuscon, Arizona on October 8th for the People of Color Space., at the Dunbar African American Culture Center, a fitting venue given its history and ongoing mission.


4) Why the name Frente X or Frente X for International Liberation (FXIL)?

(NOTE: Some love the name and have been inspired to join the Encuentro partly because of it. Others aren’t too fond of it and/or roll their eyes after hearing the explanation for it. We simply wanted to separate ourselves from just being called “the POC Space”, and to signify our intention to keep working together after the Encuentro. The name could be changed, reaffirmed, or irrelevant, who knows.)

The name Frente X for International Liberation, and especially the X, was decided upon for many reasons. The entire name is a nod to and variation of the names of Latin American liberation groups like the Zapatistas or Sandinistas that prefaced “Frente” or “Ejercito” to the name of a national hero and then added “National Liberation”, (e.g. FMLN, FSLN, EZLN). Instead of “National” we decided upon International, although Transnational has been suggested as a more accurate term. It is purposefully a bilingual name, as Frente means “Front” in Spanish, but we do not intend on ever translating it into English. We will also normally not translate the “International Liberation” into Spanish as a way to signify our inter-racial, international make-up and purposes.

The X is an allusion to the many forbearers of the Black radical tradition whom chose X as their last names. We didn’t want to unnecessarily uphold any one person, so X is also a stand in representing all of us. In Spanish, gendered words are the norm, but as reflected in the relatively new term Latinx, there are a growing amount of people that recognize that language impacts gender inclusion/exclusion. Instead of using “O” (masculine) or “A” (feminine), “X” is used to make some words gender neutral, like Latinx. Utilizing traditional name patterns (e.g. Zapatistas), the nickname for the group could also be Xistas in Spanish, which sounds similar to “exista” o “existo”, an affirmation that we exist. These are some of the ways that the name itself reflects the values of POC affirmation, inter-POC unity, and gender justice.


5) What exactly does solidarity among different groups of People of Color, including among and with LGB, trans and gender non-conforming People of Color, look like?
6) Why haven’t we been able to stop imperialism when we have diasporas from around the world here in the U.S.?
7) How can we overcome prejudices and barriers (such as compounded racism, machismo, misogyny, transmisogny, trauma) in order to build solidarity models that liberate?

 

We don’t have answers to these questions, only an invitation and genuine desire to address them, learn, and build with one another.