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Action Arts Camp for Alabama Migrant Rights Community

Ruckus Action Arts trainers headed back to Alabama this February 22-24, to host a 2 day mini-camp sharing tools for creative resistance and action!

Alabama participants from the 2012 Action Camp for Migrant Rights in Tennessee joined seasoned Ruckus trainers to help spread their skills to more folks from the Alabama migrant communities who are fighting some of the harshest anti-immigrant laws in the country.

Trainer Sandra Castro-Solis (whom we've been working with since our work in Arizona in 2010, and who is now a Ruckus trainer), reports on the weekend's trainings:

This weekend I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama, along with other Ruckus art trainers and gave a two-day arts training to the migrant community of Alabama. ACIJ (Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice) is a network of migrant rights organizations across the state of Alabama who are currently fighting back against anti-migratory policy HB56. The Ruckus art training was hosted at the HICA office in Birmingham. Throughout the weekend we had a wide variety of community members participating in the arts tracks. Our workshops were full of community members, students, allies, professors, university students, and even organizers from the state of Georgia (whom Ruckus worked with in 2011-2012). This weekend we were able to teach new skills and train over 60 participants who were taught new art skills that they are able to take back home and teach their organizations.

As one of the art trainers, I took my track through the process of creating an original stencil and canvas. Our group went through the process of learning message strategy, imagining the canvas and stencil, designing the image, and cutting and painting. Our track learned several different methods of creating stencils and banners including using a projector and simply copying and pasting the image. The goal this weekend was to get everyone motivated to create art, and comfortable using exacto knifes and paint brushes. A highlight of the training was witnessing the community members begin to take on their projects within the hour of being taught how to stencil. We had several community members who were painters who would bring new painting concepts and teach the track how to set up a painting space and clean brushes. It was great to see community members step up and become trainers within the training!

I want to thank Ruckus and ACIJ for inviting me back to Alabama and work with the community who I already had a relationship with from the previous year. When HB56 was put into effect, ACIJ made a call out and had several trainers from Arizona come out and help organize the communities in Alabama. Last year I organized all over the state of Alabama for a month but did not get the opportunity to teach the organizers art and communications. It was a pleasure and honor to be welcomed back to the state of Alabama and work with the communities there and see how much stronger the organizations have become. It is crucial that we continue our relationships with grassroots communities to assist their development, help empower them, and show them how to use the tools and skills they already have to push their movements forward.


See more photos of the training on our Facebook album!

Then, after the training, participants put their new art and skills to use in a Black and Brown Unity action where immigrant leaders with the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice traveled from around Alabama to join African American communities in crossing of the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL, on Sunday, March 3rd. Communities are uniting for Civil, Voting, Immigrant, Workers, LGBTQ, Disability and Children’s rights. People are marching over 50 miles from Selma to Montgomery this week.


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