The Association for Jotería Arts, Activism and Scholarship (AJAAS), a community of queer, trans, non-binary, Chicanx and Latinx, Indigenous and Afro-diasporic activists, artists and scholars committed to the eradication of injustice and white supremacy, vehemently denounces the egregious murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and others. While these are simply the most recent and visible, the unjustified killing of Black people is embedded in the history and fabric of this country and must end now.
As an anti-racist organization, we stand against police brutality and reject the systems of power that dehumanize and decimate Black people and other people of color through economic, social and physical violence. We stand against the militarization of our communities and the excessive use of force and violence to suppress and harm them. We also call for justice, the defunding of policing, and more direct investment in our communities themselves.
The protests against this continued violence reflect the outrage against the many forms of systemic racism, hatred or bias that have disproportionately impacted communities of color for decades, especially Black and Brown ones. The COVID-19 epidemic has also underscored socioeconomic and health disparities in our country, with the disease excessively impacting communities of color due to these disparities.
The theme of our 2017 conference in Minneapolis was “amor eterno,” or eternal love. We see the current actions of activists and protesters in Minneapolis and elsewhere as urgent manifestations of that love. For AJAAS, that eternal love is also about renewing our commitment to combat anti-Blackness within non-Black Latinx communities, including our own. And we remain committed to facilitating and engaging in dialogue and action to transform our communities.
As expressed in our vision statement, “We seek to live in a world free of all forms of ideological, institutional, interpersonal and internalized oppression” and one where “violence is challenged.” We remain committed to engaging in acts that help us work toward these goals.
Specifically, we commit ourselves to continuing to uplift Black and Afro-diasporic voices during our gatherings and in all our work, ensuring our committees and board are inclusive of Black voices, and allocating resources within the organization to fight white supremacy and anti-Blackness. We also commit to supporting and building coalitions with Black Lives Matter groups, Black trans/Black queer-led organizations, and other leaderships that have similar philosophies and goals.
Our mission calls for us to nurture our communities by strategically linking art, activism and scholarship. At this critical point, we ask all Jotería and allies to develop meaningful and effective ways to use this strategy for assisting and healing our communities now.
Special thanks to Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement (https://familiatqlm.org) for the list of resources below. Please check them out and share:
26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets
Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma
Bail Funds/Legal Help by City
How the Non-Black Latinx Community Can Demand Racial Justice
Black Visions Collective in Minneapolis, MN
Organizational Website-Vision- pro-immigrant, muslim, trans/gnc, queer, feminst Black
Minneapolis Protest & demand to #DefundThePolice ask to Mayor Frey- Instagram
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