Community and Activism

Grains of Truth

Tracing the Shifting Sands of Migration
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Flood, wave, mass, swarm, tide...The words we use to describe migration and migrants are often colorful, but often deceptive. They reveal perhaps more about how we perceive newcomers than about who “they” are. We use referents of nature to reflect on a social phenomenon--maybe out of respect for the “natural” process of migration (becoming a citizen, too, is called “naturalization” of another sort). But we also wield those metaphors to distance ourselves. The flood becomes a wild, uncontrollable force in the public imagination, beyond the control of states or communities.

Pushcart Politics

Savoring Democracy on Every Corner
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A few weeks ago the nation was up in arms over a Trump endorser’s forewarning to American voters: opening up the borders to Mexican immigrants would usher in an era of “taco trucks on every corner.” The meme set the internet alight and flooded social media with both panic and celebration over the tantalizing--and to some repugnant--idea of mini Mexican eateries swarming like locusts over Middle America, in

This merits a response

A response to the “Take This Hammer” exhibit
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This merits a response

First: Gentrify my love.

“You haven’t seen it? Wait, you have to see it.” We interrupt our regular Pigeon Palace weekly co-op meeting to break into a “Google Google Apps Apps” viewing party. It’s 2013 and bodacious queens scurry across a screen in my top floor rent-controlled apartment in the Mission to the dance beat of “gringa gringa apps apps” with punctuating bellows of “I just wanna wanna be WHITE!”


A song featured in the "Take this Hammer!" exhibit
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"Revolution" evolved while I was a member of the sound committee of Occupy Oakland. After setting up our sound system for rallies and actions, I found myself doing the routine sound checks with songs and verses I had written. I vividly recall how my voice seemed to travel from 14th and Broadway all the way to Jack London Square on the General Strike sound system. We ensured that our speakers, such as Angela Davis, would be heard.

Strike this Hammer!

Bay Area Writers at the Art-Activism Nexus
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The exhibit Take This Hammer: Art + Media Activism at the Yerba Buena Cultural Center in San Francisco reveals the intersection of art, activism and culture in a light that is by turns brilliant, bleak and critical. Featuring the work of local artists who put their communities and social movements at the foreground of their work, the exhibit uses a variety of media to express ambivalence and aspiration about the massive cultural evolutions that the Bay has undergone.


A Message from CultureStrike Executive Director Sham-e-Ali Nayeem

"It is through art and culture that we are able to shift our collective consciousness and transform this grim political climate we find ourselves in. There is a significant cost our communities pay when we are not the ones uplifting our own truths. We have a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our creative alliances and shift cultural narratives that harm us. I invite us all to imagine the kind of world we wish to see and assert the safety and dignity of our communities." Donate Now!