Queering Left

 



"I was a radical, a revolutionist. I am still a revolutionist... I'm glad I was in the Stonewall riot.

I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought: 'My God, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here.'"

- Sylvia Rivera

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Crossroads Fund is celebrating fearless queer-led organizing in Chicago through a podcast named “Queering Left.”

Queering Left is a series of interviews with organizers who have participated in transformative and visionary Chicago movements and organizations. These interviews will trace how being queer has been defined as a radical political act and how new generations of queer organizers have continued to evolve the definition of queer politics since Stonewall. We hope to illustrate how queer rights are intersectional. Queer rights are women’s rights, immigrant rights, worker rights, the fight for abolition, and more.

Take a listen to each episode below.

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Episode Three: Legacy of Puerto Rican Resistance
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 9:00am

On today’s episode of Queering Left we will hear from Ricardo Jimenez and Jessie Fuentes, two activists from the Puerto Rican community.

To give a brief historical reminder, Puerto Rico was a territory of Spain that, in 1898, was taken by the United States during the Spanish American War. Since the US set foot on their soil, Puerto Ricans have been in struggle with the US colonial government.

The US government has attempted to strip the island and the people of their language, culture, resources, and autonomy while committing atrocities against the Puerto Rican people. Starting in 1941, the US military used the Puerto Rican island of Vieques as a bombing target and testing site, destroying the sugar cane industry, fishing habitat, and ecology. US pharmaceutical companies have experimented on Puerto Ricans while polluting the waters and environment. Most recently, the US government turned its back on Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

Over 120 years of US colonialism, Puerto Ricans on the island and within the diaspora have fought in all sorts of ways to maintain their land, dignity, and independence.

Our two guests have had their own distinct relationship and roles in the fight for Puerto Rican independence. Ricardo Jimenez was born in 1956 and moved to Chicago as an infant with his family. He was captured in 1980 because of his involvement with the independence group Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional, or Armed Forces of National Liberation, and, along with 9 others, was convicted of “seditious conspiracy” in 1981. Ricardo was sentenced to 90 years in prison but President Bill Clinton granted him clemency in 1999. Soon after his release from prison, Ricardo came out as gay.

Jessie Fuentes is an activist and educator who came up through the youth programming of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and is a graduate of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School – the Puerto Rican Cultural Center’s very own educational institution. Fuentes has done work around empowering young people in the community, the release of Oscar Lopez Rivera, a former political prisoner, anti-gentrification activism, and organizing around the independence of Puerto Rico. Jessie began her political work as the Director of a youth organization in Humboldt Park called Batey Urbano, an alternative space for youth to creatively express themselves through theatre, poetry, hip hop, and dance.

Both Ricardo and Jessie are currently active in advocating for Puerto Rico’s independence and with efforts to address the devastation from Hurricane Maria on the island.

The interview is available on Spotify, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Click here for more information on the Puerto Rican Independence movement.

Return to the Queering Left homepage.

Episode Two: Queer, Undocumented and Unafraid
Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 3:00pm

In the premiere episode of Queering Left, you’ll hear from Tania Unzueta and Rey Wences. Tania and Rey are two of the co-founders of the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL). IYJL was founded in 2009 by a group of undocumented students fighting against the deportation of co-founder, Rigo Padilla. Believing in the legal system, Rigo attempted to fight his deportation through the courts, but soon was told that he had run out of legal options and would be deported. IYJL organized a grassroots campaign that eventually won the support of five members of Congress, a Senator, the Chicago City Council, community organizations, and thousands of Chicagoans. Padilla’s deportation was deferred days before he was scheduled to travel back to Mexico. After the successful defense of Padilla, IYJL continued to call for passage of the DREAM Act with different actions, sit-ins, and hosting an annual “National Coming Out of the Shadows” day where undocumented youth proclaimed to the public that they were “undocumented and unafraid.” IYJL took inspiration from the radical queer organizers that came before informing their language, strategies, and tactics. IYJL evolved into Organized Communities Against Deportations and remains one of the strongest voices for immigrant rights in Chicago.

The interview is available on Spotify, iTunes, and Stitcher.

Click here for more information on the Immigrant Youth Justice League.

Return to the Queering Left homepage.

Episode One: Introduction
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 - 10:00am
 

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Crossroads Fund is celebrating fearless queer-led organizing in Chicago through a podcast named “Queering Left.”

Queering Left is a series of interviews with organizers who have participated in transformative and visionary Chicago movements and organizations. These interviews will trace how being queer has been defined as a radical political act and how new generations of queer organizers have continued to evolve the definition of queer politics since Stonewall. We hope to illustrate how queer rights are intersectional. Queer rights are women’s rights, immigrant rights, worker rights, the fight for abolition, and more.

Crossroads Fund will be releasing one interview per month starting in July on our website and other platforms. Each interview will be available to stream, download, or read and will feature other photos, videos, and other media that provides a glimpse into the powerful organizing work of the activists.

Be the first to get each new episode of Queering Left in your inbox.

In an effort to not crowd your inbox, we invite you to voluntarily sign-up to receive an email when each new episode is released. Please complete the form on the Queering Left homepage.

Return to Queering Left homepage.