letter from the editors
"We as queer and trans Latinx people need to see what happened in Orlando as a reminder that our human dignity, our lives are connected to the liberation of Black people, Muslim people, of women, of Trans people. So we cannot move forward without working with these communities to end White supremacy, patriarchy. And that when we say "Latinx" we mean, and it includes, Asian folks, Black people, Muslims, Native Americans"
—Jorge Gutierrez, “Trans and Queer Latinxs Respond to #PulseOrlando Shooting”
bozalta’s second edition, #bozalta4BlackLives, is a response to the Black Lives Matter Movement’s call to action that we do more to recognize the intersectionalities of Black lives and the multifaceted oppressions that Black people in the US and the world at large experience daily. Seeking to be in solidarity with BLM and to actively listen to what the movement asks of us, we put out our 2016 Call for Contributions. We were humbled and moved by the range of radical works we received. Speaking to a multiplicity of subjects and concerns — anti-blackness in Latinx communities, police brutality, mourning, love, solidarities, cross-border familias & the violences of diaspora, etc. — the contributors to #bozalta4BlackLives offer images, sounds, and texts that generate critical hope in the midst of relentless institutional violence. Their works promote revolution as a form of healing and enact new moral imaginations to dismantle systemic oppressions.
We invite you, our readers, to explore and move through this digital edition however you desire, in any way that feels good to you. That said, we have organized #bozalta4BlackLives into four interrelated themes. By organizing the contributions in this way, we intend to give our readers a guided path to “reading” the poems, videos, visual art, scholarly articles, and musical pieces. Our first theme, “Land, Life, and Labor,” considers the layers of violence that not only undermine dignified living, but also inflict pain on land and our homes. The second theme, “State Violence,” speaks directly to institutional White supremacy, police brutality, and the carceral regime. Following the BLM Movement’s directive to #SayTheirNames, several pieces in this section speak the names of those we have lost to state sanctioned violence. Our third theme, “Afro-Latinidad,” celebrates Black Latinidad while it also examines sentiments of anti-blackness present in Latinx communities. In our final theme, “Otros Mundos,” the contributors share expressions of hope, peace, and acceptance that together envision and bring about alternative realities and freedom dreams.
Taking our cue from women of color theorists and writers who came before us, we developed our own methods for selecting the contributions published in this edition. We made a collective decision to move away from a (color)blind review process and instead privileged contributors’ identities, politics, situated knowledges, and life experiences when making our editorial selections. Our method sought to recognize our communities and empower their visions as activists, artists, and scholars. After visiting and revisiting works, debating and learning from each other as a collective as well as from our contributors, we are very proud and pleased to share #bozalta4BlackLives with friends and community all over the world.
We understand that we are joining many voices already in dialogue about how to be, and how not to be, in solidarity with the movement for Black lives. We also understand that this edition is not conclusive. Our intention for this edition is to urge our readers to join us and others in responding to the BLM call to action, building new worlds, and recognizing ourselves in others, especially as we collectively experience and mourn tragedies in #Orlando, #Ayotzinapa, #Oaxaca, and more. We hope #bozalta4BlackLives inspires dialogue at the dinner table, on the ground activism, art, writing, singing, and reflection.
We would like to specifically thank the following folx who have supported us with their mentorship, resources, webtech expertise, artwork, and love. Gracias a Judy Baca, Charlene Villaseñor Black, the UCLA Department of Chicana/o Studies, UCLA Graduate Student Publications, Stacey Meeker, William J. Wiltschko, Miguel Angel Flores, and Christopher J. Palomo.
The bozalta Collective
Isabel Durón | Alana de Hinojosa | Joseph Rios | Kaelyn Rodríguez | Rose Simons | Rafa Solórzano