Follow up about gender justice organizing at Cal State, Long Beach

Editor’s Note: Below is a follow up letter regarding the organizing led by Conciencia Feminil, a Chican@ student organization at Cal State University, Long Beach and the gender violence on campus that they are resisting.

Herman@s in the struggle,

Thank you for your expression of support and solidarity.

The anti-GLBT and misogynous hate violence continues at CSU Long Beach, targeting Chicanas, Chican@ Feminists, Indigenous folks, Queer Chican@s and a white trans student who was attacked and left with a carving of the word “IT” on his chest. The most recent hate violence appeared 2 days ago as a comment on the school newspaper inciting the beheading of gays, lesbians, including named artist Alma Lopez. Some of the prior hate violence has threatened indigenous communities with violence and referenced an appropriated representation of Aztec Law calling for the murder of gays and lesbians with explicit and detailed instructions as to how to carry out killings. With significant pressure, the campus newspaper instituted a new policy to moderate comments and remove hate speech but their response has wavered and sometimes comments take days to be removed. We would like to ask for the newspaper to screen all comments for threatening language before they are posted to prevent even one member of our community having to experience the trauma of hate violence. We are weathered but enduring and we call for your support for us to continue this vital struggle to intervene in and end the violence against us at CSU Long Beach.

The Campus Administration has moved slowly to respond to the near 6 weeks of ongoing hate violence and although President King Alexander recently addressed what he and the university publicly referred to as the “isolated” hate crime against a trans student, he has not responded to communication nor addressed the campus community about the ongoing hate violence and the interrelatedness of 19 multiple incidents of hate violence and the institutional context and climate that supports them.

The inspiring and courageous leadership of Chican@ students from Conciencia Femenil has drafted a response and set of demands that if implemented might prevent future violence. They request your support by signing and circulating their petition at:
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/csulb/signatures?page=7

The CSULB GLBT Task Force, a campus group that has asked for and been denied University support and recognition in the past, has published a statement requesting specific action to help mitigate the violence and to create a more hospitable campus for GLBT folks.
http://www.daily49er.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-faculty-and-staff-of-lgbt-task-force-respond-to-campus-climate-issues-1.2245184

Conciencia Femenil took leadership in organizing the much needed Chicana Feminisms Conference that addressed the early roots of misogynous violence against Chicana Feminist organizing at CSULB. A reunion of the historic Hijas de Cuauhtemoc shed light on some of the egregious tactics deployed against Chicana leadership by MEChA in the early 1970’s. Regrettably, the legacy of heteropatriarchal violence endures with the most obvious, recent, and ongoing example as the current violent backlash against a new wave of Chicana Feminist organizing at CSULB.

We ask for your support in holding the University and Chicano/Latino Studies Department accountable for their lack of action in intervening in the violence and creating more hospitable environments for GLBT folks and Queer and Feminist Chican@s.
You may express your concerns to:

King Alexander, President CSULB, fkalexan@csulb.edu
Mike Hostetler, Associate Vice President of Student Services and Dean of Students: jmhostet@csulb.edu 562/985-8670
Toni Beron, Associate Vice President of University Relations, tberon@csulb.edu 562/985-8201
Luis Arroyo, Chair Chicano/Latino Studies, llarroyo@csulb.edu, (562) 985-4640

We also welcome creative forms of protest and action in solidarity. The escalation of heteropatriarchal and racist hate violence, including recent attacks at CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Chico, and Claremont Colleges (in addition to UC San Diego, UC Riverside and UC Davis) shows a need for creative community reflection, strategizing and action to inspire mechanisms of accountability and a transformation to end the violence our communities are experiencing on university campuses throughout California.

In solidarity and struggle,

adelante!

clarissa rojas
clarissita@gmail.com

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Stand in Solidarity with Chican@s at Cal State University of Long Beach

Conciencia Femenil

Below is a call for solidarity from Conciencia Feminil, a Chican@ student organization at Cal State University, Long Beach.  They ask for supporters to stand in solidarity with them by signing this petition.  Their facebook page is here.

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As Conciencia Femenil we ask for your support to help bring change and stand in solidarity with Chican@s at Cal State University of Long Beach.

We formed as Conciencia Femenil in the summer of 2009. We were inspired by our foremothers, Las Hijas de Cuauhtémoc, who were also students at Cal State Long Beach in 1970. Las Hijas stood up valiantly for the rights of mujeres in a Chican@ movement that though inspiring was machista and exclusionary. As a collective we decided to organize a Chicana Feminisms Conference to address the cycle of zero, or chronic erasure of marginalized communities, which includes Queer Chican@s. In 1971 M.E.Ch.A held a mock funeral procession that was a ritualized attempt to kill Las Hijas.They carried caskets and walked with candles to a makeshift graveyard with gravestones for Hijas leaders and a lynched effigy of Anna Nieto Gomez (with her name inscribed). This history has never been written nor confronted which is why we feel it has repeated itself.

The Chicana Feminisms Conference took place at CSU Long Beach from March 17-20, 2010. And we too were recently attacked with misogynist and homophobic violence. In response to an article announcing the conference, hateful homophobic and sexist attacks against the organizers and conference speakers Cherrie Moraga and Alma Lopez were displayed on our school newspaper’s website (“the daily 49er”). The homophobic slandering attacks intensified and eventually escalated into remarks that referenced an appropriation of an Aztec calling for the murder of gays and lesbians with explicit instructions as to how to administer the killings. We recognize that this is not an isolated event but is deeply intertwined with the recent hate violence at UC San Diego, UC riverside, UC Davis and Washington State.

The escalation of visible hate violence both on our campuses and communities only brings attention to the everyday violences we experience as low income, Chican@, women, women/people of color, undocumented, disabled, and queer/trans gente.
Those who do not see the violence are blinded by their privilege. We who are marginalized by the interlocking systems of oppression are forced to face the frequent wrath of violence. The ideology that silences/erases us from our communities, our curriculum and classrooms, demonizes us, scapegoats us, and keeps us out of positions of decision making power, forms the breeding ground for hate violence. The delegitimization or constant discrediting of queer, feminist, ethnic studies and queer feminist ethnic studies within academia institutionalizes our marginalization and is a form of violence itself. We recognize that the sting of a virulent heteropatriarchy lashed out at us is an attempt to undermine, silence, threaten, and intimidate our organizing. We were calling for an intervention to hold accountable a curriculum and a community that strives for liberation but falls short by refusing to see the intersections of racism, classism, heterosexism, sexism, and colonization. We will not be erased, defeated or discouraged by academic and community attempts that fail to account for the way that these system of oppression intersect.

A movement that is not down for all of us is not down for its people.

From the margins, we clearly see the connections between our disenfranchisement on campus and that faced by our communities, as well as that imposed by our communities, and we recognize that these many layers of oppression are responsible and complicit with the hate violence used against us. So we ask the for the accountability from all of the following in order to prevent further violence: Student organizations; Chican@/Latin@ Studies, Ethnic Studies, and all Departments; The School Newspaper, the University, and Chican@/Latin@ communities.

As Conciencia Femenil we ask for your support to help bring change and stand in solidarity with Chican@s at Cal State University of Long Beach.

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