In Orlando, the event at the Pulse nightclub was an egregious attack on a space that had been cultivated for Queer People of Color. This painful experience of grieving for lost loved ones has served as a reminder of the longstanding effects of heteropatriarchy, homophobia, and heteronormativity, where communities have been targeted because of their identities. The mainstream media has invisibilized Queer narratives and has instead focused on the shooter’s alleged identities to promote Islamophobia, enacting classic divide and conquer strategies that pit oppressed communities against one another.
In Oaxaca, teachers have taken a stand against capitalist reform that seeks to privatize the education system and dispossess teachers from their work. Courageously, educators have taken to the streets in defense of public education only to be met with government-sanctioned violence. Teachers have been imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, and killed, all in the name of bettering education through neoliberal policies and reform. We recognize this violence as retaliation against peoples who rebel against structures designed to dehumanize them.
Across the country, we witnessed more extrajudicial killings at the hands of police. Black bodies are policed, locked up, and killed under the guise of “safety.” We stand with the families of Alton Sterling, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and the countless other lives stolen by the police. We stand against the police and media that label young black bodies as so-called “thugs.” We stand with all those fighting for self-determination and dignity by defending themselves and their community against all forms of colonial violence to create a more just society.
The People’s Education Movement condemns all acts of violence and hate rooted in the colonial veins of dispossession, patriarchy, heteronormativity, capitalism, and neoliberalism. We demand that the Mexican government put an end to the repression of teachers and free all political prisoners. We demand that the US government and media not make what happened in Orlando solely about gun violence and that they stop reproducing narratives that promote Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and racism. We demand this country end its war on Black communities. We demand that our institutions create healing spaces to help facilitate the process of building hope, justice, and equity.
Looking at ourselves and reflecting on our own process, we invite folks to heal in ways that not only help us cope but that help us build solidarity and hope amongst and across our communities. Love, community, and healing must be at the center of our work in seeking justice and creating better worlds. These events are not only stark reminders of the hegemonic powers and ideologies that are entrenched in our society but also remind us of the urgency to continue the precious labor of love, hope-building, and reimagining within ourselves, with one another, and in our communities.
The People’s Education Movement