Defund Hate

The Latino Cultural Center had a full house this past Wednesday, November 29th, when Gabriela Marquez-Benitez and Barbara Suarez Galeano, organizers with the Detention Watch Network, led a presentation and discussion on dismantling the detention and deportation machine in the U.S. As part of the LCC’s Zona Abierta program series, audience members had the opportunity to participate in a communal discussion about the expanding U.S. immigration detention system, its impact on communities, its relation to the UIC campus community and how to dismantle it, but supporting the #DefundHate campaign. Audience members also took action to protect and defend DACA and TPS by writing a message of support to their representatives.

Find out more about the #DefundHate campaign here

Write your own postcard to support immigrant communities here

Watch a video shown at the event, featuring a local politician highlighting immigration funding

Theatre of the Oppressed

We had a fun and insightful night on November 16th, when Teresa Veramendi came to the LCC to lead a workshop using Theatre of the Oppressed techniques. Veramendi shared improvisational theater tactics to help us understand and fight oppressive forces in our immigrant communities. This event is part part of our ongoing ARTivism program series which seeks to advance social justice through creativity and the arts. The image above was part of an activity where we explored vulnerability and control.

Dia de los Muertos 2017: Ceremony & Exhibition

As part of a celebration of Dia de los Muertos, the UIC Latino Cultural Center hosted a series of interactive events both on and off campus. After setting up an altar of ofrendas (offerings) at the center on October 30th, a workshop on November 1st allowed for students to decorate sugar skulls, construct paper flowers, and create seed bombs to celebrate, life, death, and the cultural practices behind day of the dead.. This same day, the Latino Cultural Center honored the late environmental feminist activist, Berta Caceres through an altar at the National Museum of Mexican (see other spotlight).

The next portion of the year’s day of the dead celebration took place on November 2nd and consisted of a ceremony. For the ceremony, Nahua Lessons visited the center to instruct students in Indigenous dance and conducting a symbolic cleansing ceremony. A final event took place at Casa Michoacan as an a collaborative art installation with artist Esperanza Gama, honoring Mexican artisans. This series of events was open to the public and done in an effort to enrich cultural understanding and participation of the practices behind Dia de los Muertos.

Dia de los Muertos 2017: Berta Cáceres Ofrenda

On Wednesday, November 1st, 2017, the UIC Latino Cultural Center partnered with the National Museum of Mexican Art to showcase an ofrenda altar installation at the NMMA’s Dia de los Muertos: After Dark event. The ofrenda honored Berta Cáceres, a Honduran environmental and human rights activist who was murdered last year as a result of her activism. This interactive installation showcased aspects of a traditional ofrenda, while allowing visitors to contribute to and learn from it. Visitors added objects such as bread, candles, and sugar skulls to the installation. In addition, a river model was created, representing the importance of water to human life. Visitors were encouraged to contribute messages about their own connections to nature and natural resources. Visitors were also invited to learn more about Berta Cáceres and the Latino Cultural Center, through videos, zines, and souvenirs. Highlights of this ofrenda included a t-shirt created for the one year anniversary of Berta’s assassination given to us by Gaspar Sanchez, a current leader of COPINH and a portrait of Berta Cáceres by local artist Esperanza Gama, who the LCC collaborated with for the ARTivism: Stolen Lives.

Artistic Intercambio

On October 26th, members of The National Museum of Mexican Art artist residency exchange program were invited to the Latino Cultural Center to participate in an open dialogue. The panel consisted of artists as well as curators from both Chicago and Havana who had concluded their visit in Havana and were beginning the second half of their cultural exchange here in Chicago. During the dialogue, panelists discussed the social issues and political climates of their home countries and explored how art is being used as a medium for influencing positive social change.