Tag Archives: Colorado

Grassroots Organizing for Change

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Hello there! My name is Jesse Escalante and I am a 21 year old student at San Francisco State University majoring in Sociology and Dance. This past semester I took Grassroots Organizing for Change in Communities of Color that focused on what it actually means to organize and the work that goes into it. One of the requirements was to volunteer at a local grassroots organization. Each week, we had guest speakers from various local organizations speak of their work and how it related to our class material. This is how I first heard of the Freedom Archives and with the help of my professor; I began to volunteer with them.

During my time at Freedom Archives, I added to the collection on control units and super-max prisons, specifically focusing on ADX Florence in Colorado. During this project, I was able to explore the archives and engage with various materials regarding control units (used inter-changeably with super-max) and ADX Florence. I read articles, interviews, letters from prisoners and accessed various media resources, such as video and audio files, which furthered my knowledge about the history of super-max prisons. By the end of my project, I not only had a better grasp of the work Freedom Archives does, but also more information into the use of control units.

Volunteering with Freedom Archives has given me an insight into what it means to be a grassroots organization. Although the work done here is vastly different than the work done in some large non-profit organizations, it still has an impact. Since my internship, I have been able to reflect upon my own K-12 educations compared to college.  I had never even heard the term “super-max prisons” until my internship. Now, I have a better understanding of the ways in which control unit prisons repress movements, torture those locked inside them and isolate people from their community and family. All this information is accessible through their website. Freedom Archives is providing a service greatly needed, especially in a political climate like now. I have benefited from their work and I know others will too. If you’d like to make a donation to support the work of the Freedom Archives, you can do it here.

-Jesse

Recent Outreach Updates

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WhenFreedomBecomesResponsibility2

Zine created and published by Brenda Montaño

Greetings,

This past week has been a busy one for the Archives! Please consider making a donation (on our blog) or here to help the archives continue to remain grounded in the community and conduct outreach programs such as these:

Asian Pacific American Library Association Conference at USF: We presented at the Building Bridges with Organizations Community Session which brought together a wide range of community organizations and Asian American librarians from all over the country. The session provided us an opportunity to showcase our resources, meet with potential collaborators in the Asian American community, and forge connections with libraries, information centers, and other organizations.

UC Berkeley Debate Camp: We visited a high school policy debate camp at UC Berkeley to talk with students about this upcoming year’s topic which is about curtailing domestic surveillance. We watched COINTELPRO 101 to provide students with a robust historical context on the issue of government surveillance and discussing the political stakes of domestic surveillance beyond individualistic privacy rights. After the documentary we split into breakout groups to further engage certain topics and get feedback from the students. The discussions were wonderful and the students were able to connect issues such as Stop and Frisk, TSA searches and Islamophobia to larger issues of counter-insurgency and state repression.

When Freedom Becomes Responsibility- Collecting Stories of Xican@ Resistance in Colorado: A former intern, colleague and comrade Brenda Montaño debuted her zine highlighting her experiences working with us in Colorado on our upcoming documentary on the Xican@ student movement. Lots of great stuff in this zine!!! To purchase her work search SING YOUR LIFE LITERATURE PRODUCTS on etsty.com.

-Nathaniel

Shape the Future: Symbols of Resistance

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We have traveled to the Southwest twice in the past year to work on an exciting project focusing on the Chican@ movement, the student martyrs and Aztlan land struggles. In May, we were honored to document an important and moving “Symbols of Resistance” gathering in Colorado, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of “los seis de Boulder” (six young Chican@ activists killed in two car bombings during the height of student and community protest in 1974) and three other activist martyrs from the same period. Three of us just returned from a second trip, this time to southern Colorado and northern New Mexico, where we shot in-depth interviews with leading activists for a documentary using this new material about the origins of the Chican@ movement and the resistance of and repression against it. This is an important story that needs to be more fully told. Check out a trailer compiled from footage shot in May.

Donate Here

Your ongoing support is absolutely essential to our ability to continue our work. Your help makes possible all the educational work we do: the internship program, the audio and video documentaries and books, the online resources and digital search site, and our outreach efforts from our Mission district community out to the nation and the world. Most importantly, your help ensures that this resource will be able to serve generations to come.

Please consider sending us a donation. You can also contribute on-line or become a monthly sustainer. Thanks very much for helping to launch our next 15 years!

-Nathaniel

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