Prefiguring the World We Want to Live In
About the event
By refusing to be defined by the systems of violence that seek to oppress them, or to replicate the state’s violent logic of who is disposable, punishable or can be exiled, how do trans, queer, anti-racist struggles practice their entanglement together here and now? What are our alternative forms of kinship and mutual aid? How do communities practice being one another's means, in order to address the material problems facing them - criminalisation, immigration enforcement, poverty, health care access and homelessness? And through practicing, do they prefigure and bring about the world they want to live in, however much under duress, making that world here and now, every day?
Since the late 1970s, Kai has been an inspirational figure in abolitionist grassroots organising in the USA: she was one of the founders of Critical Resistance, a major prison industrial complex-abolitionist organisation, and played a leadership role in groups such as the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika; the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; the Black Panther Newspaper Committee; FIERCE! INCITE! UBUNTU; SONG, and Queers for Economic Justice (to name but a few). In our experience, she is a fierce, committed and hilarious revolutionary.
Miss Major is an iconic black, formerly incarcerated, transgender elder and former sex worker. A veteran activist born and raised on the south side of Chicago and currently living in the Bay Area, she participated in the Stonewall rebellion in 1969 and was politicised whilst in Attica prison in the wake of the rebellion there. She is a father, mother, grandmother, and grandfather to her own children and to many in the transgender community and works to instil hope and belief in a better future to ‘her girls’, whether they are currently incarcerated or coming home. She’s worked at HIV/AIDS organisations throughout California and was until recently the director for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, a group of transgender, gender variant and intersex people - inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centres - creating a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.
Che is a Black genderqueer archivist and activist whose work excavates the queer of colour AIDS activist and trans archives. A recipient of multiple awards and grants, they have spoken publically and written about legacies of black queer solidarity with queer necropolitics in Palestine, prison abolition and (anti)blackness. Right now Che is especially interested in abolition as worlding, the radical potentiality of black study/thought and how it forces a rethinking of critical animal studies. They are working on a book project titled Blackness, the Beast and the Non Sovereign.
One of our closest allies, Reina is an activist, writer, and filmmaker. Along with Sasha Wortzel, Reina wrote, directed and produced Happy Birthday, Marsha!, a short film about legendary trans activist Marsha P. Johnson. She has produced and directed teaching tools used to spotlight the ways oppressed people are fighting back, surviving and building strong communities in the face of enormous violence, and along with Eric A Stanley and Johanna Burton is editing the forthcoming New Museum anthology on trans art and cultural production. Reina has worked for the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Queers for Economic Justice and Critical Resistance, lifting the voice and power of trans and gender nonconforming people. She led the successful campaign to end healthcare discrimination against low income trans and gender non conforming New Yorkers, and organised with low income LGBTGNC New Yorkers in a campaign that successfully stopped the building of a new $375 million jail.
On the web
- Trans Oral History: Miss Major "Everybody Transitions"
- Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 1): Prison Abolition + Prefiguring the World You Want to Live In Video
- Gallery of the Streets Introduction Video
- Reina Gossett + Dean Spade (Part 2): Practicing Prison Abolition Everyday
- Major! Film Trailer
- Reina Gossett and Dean Spade: Imagining Justice Beyond the State