Chicanos and Women of Color Connect from East to West
La Cartita (8/18/2017) ---- From New York to California, Chicano/Mexicana women discuss issues affecting their communities. New York City's Semillas member meets with core members of Las Ovas in Boyle Heights. La Cartita joins Semillas and Las Ovas (a Boyle Heights collective) to discuss what drives both groups into organizing for their shared community.
"Step up or suffer" - Las Ovas (Ovarian-Psycos)
LC: What inspired the name "Black Mass"?
Las Ovas: The name of the action in the first years made some feel excluded, we dropped "clitoris" due to others not identifying with the anatomical feature which designates one as cisfemale. Those in the trans and queer community are victims of sexual violence. The new name came with old energy with current struggles such as the rapid gentrification/colonization of our neighborhoods which leads to displacement and increased police brutality.
It’s not a real action or protest if you have a permit. Permitted marches are parades fronting to be forms of resistance. You have to step up.-- Las Ovas
LC: Was last Saturday’s Misa Negra led by women Chicanos?
Las Ovas: It was led by women of color, but not necessarily [just] Chicano it was "melanated". While Chicano do make up the majority of the participants, the group prefers a more inclusive term of "melanated". Any person of color is welcomed to attend. Our brothers and sisters who hail from central America and South America also suffer at the hands of government repression.
LC: Is there more involvement from youth before or after Trump?
Las Ovas: Yes there has been an upsurge in youth involvement after Trump. But also "cyberactivism" online instant gratification is prevalent. It is much easier for individuals to express outrage online and share a news post in an instant. They feel as if that’s enough, but it isn't. While it is a great way to start, in order to counter Trump’s route towards fascism, and censorship, it is imperative that the community show up.
LC: Why is healing such integral part of your mission?
Las Ovas: We believe in community/collective healing. Many talk about "self-care" and individual healing, but you can’t achieve this if you're community is suffering. Thus, we host different practices of holistic group healing.
"Beware of the 501 k Nonprofits" ---- Las Ovas
Black Mass action Photo: Semillas
LC: Why is autonomy so important during this time?
Las Ovas: You have to commit to autonomy, this means no 501 k nonprofit, hand-outs, we must be self-reliant.
Bridging the divide between East and West Coast Chicanos
Las Ovas explained that during this political climate it’s important to protect movement spaces from non-profits who are exploiting communities in resistance.
Mexicanas and POC are vying for the autonomy of their community in the time of rampant fascism. Despite being seperated by geography. members of Semillas - a Mexican art and activism collectived based in New York - initiated a conversation with Las Ovas based on a shared commitment to similar notions of autonomy and community healing.
LC: Why did you decide to connect with Las Ovas?
Semillas: It is important that we learn from each other. Las Ovas understands that the struggle is beyond another Yankee executing the imperialistic agenda. The real goal is to overcome the effects and results of patriarchy and colonialism. Healing is essential in order for our movements to evolve and to reach true liberation. Ovarian-Psycos prioritizes healing as much as fighting. They exemplify a commitment to the kind of autonomy that we see in Chiapas from the EZLN. This space for example (La Conxa) offers free healthcares services, for the community. If we have more of these autonomous spaces in our communities, we will rise above Trumps agenda and the Trumps to come.