On March 24th and 25th, GLAHR had its first State Assembly (Asamblea Estatal), where all of the groups GLAHR has been working with from across the state met and had discussions about immigration reform. These were all people from the state of Georgia, many of whom came from rural/south Georgia. The event had an amazing turnout with around 100 participants. Over the course of two days they discussed campaign strategies for the fight for immigrants rights over the next two years. KCCA was delighted to be able to provide child care for both days. We hung out with 13 awesome kids on Saturday and 11 on Sunday. Many amazing popsicle stick/feathered/glittered puppets were made, much play-dough mashed into cookies and other assorted goodies, dozens of soft balls thrown across the large hotel room, games of Red Light Green Light were played, and even a few naps were had. Enjoy our pictures!
Sam and myself recently attended the Agnes Scott Do It Yourself Festival, the first of its kind! We had a fabulous time talking to dozens of Agnes Scott students and assorted visitors about what KCCA does and how we do it. Most awesomely, we filled four and a half pages with names, e-mails, and phone numbers of people interested in volunteering with KCCA! And about 90% of these folks specifically told us that they want to do child care with us! We also sold a few of our radical coloring books, ate some popcorn, and learned how to make some really cool hand scrub. Agnes Scott folks were so receptive to our message and our organization in general that we are hoping to have our next few volunteer orientations on campus.
Speaking of, check out our calendar! It is finally up and running again, and dates/times are up for upcoming orientations, meetings, and volunteer opportunities.
Also! Look out for more details on our upcoming fundraiser on June 8th at the Phillip Rush Center. We are raising funds to help get KCCA volunteers to the Allied Media Conference this year. More coming soon!
Things are moving and shaking in 2012 for KCCA!
Wrap-up of Recent Events:
We had our coloring book binding party on January 6th and got all 18 of our new books bound! This batch of radical coloring books includes several new pages with awesome drawings by KCCA volunteers. We use these books to fund-raise and start conversations whenever we table or hold our own events. We made this batch with folders of various colors to make the covers a little more exciting, and one of our volunteers is creating a silk screen with our logo to put it on the front page, and eventually to make t-shirts!
We had our second Kid’s Corner at Charis Books and More, our local independent feminist bookstore located in Little Five Points on Sunday Jan. 8th. Just like the first one, this was a great success with lots of kids and parents showing up to experience some of Charis’ awesome selection of progressive kid’s lit and to eat free pizza. We sold a coloring book, handed out several flyers, added a volunteer to the list serve, and had lots of fun hanging out with kids and parents, reading about how to be more environmentally-friendly in our every day lives. Our next Kid’s Corner at Charis will be February the 5th at 2pm. Come out, and bring the kids!
Get Sleazy for Social Justice New Years Extravaganza was a wildly successful party. Around 60 people showed up throughout the night and we raised $175. We also have tons of leftover alcohol so another fundraiser will be in the works soon! This fundraiser and our next will help fund our trip to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference, toy box supplies, pizza for our Kid’s Corners at Charis, materials for coloring books, and possibly t-shirts, buttons, and stickers in the future. Update on the budget: KCCA now has $497 in its account. Woot!
Kid’s Corner at Charis, Sunday February the 5th, 2pm
New Volunteer Orientation Saturday Feb 4th, 5pm, location TBA
Planning Meeting Sunday February the 15th, 6pm, Charis Books
KCCA is providing childcare at the Death Penalty Abolition Summit Saturday January 28th, 9:30am-2:30pm, at Ebenezer Baptist Church
Last year, several KCCA organizers went to the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. There, we participated in the Kid’s Track, got lots of footage for our radical childcare documentary, built relationships, organized, and strategized with other childcare collective activists from across the country with the Intergalactic Conspiracy of Childcare Collectives (ICCC,) and talked to tons of folks who came to our table about how to start a childcare collective, nuts and bolts of running one, etc. It was incredibly inspiring and productive and we are excited to be planning for the 2012 AMC! Last year, caucuses served the function of allowing folks in similar networks to come together and further their relationships, and talk strategy and long-term organizing. These took place during meal breaks and were way too short to accomplish everything we hoped to accomplish during the childcare caucus! Fortunately, this year, AMC is structured a little differently, and is featuring a full day on the Thursday before the AMC starts for folks to have network gatherings; basically a one-day mini conference for folks in various networks to do all the things we tried to squeeze into caucus meetings. The AMC gives ICCC members a yearly collaborative project and it has been a wonderful launching point for us to work together collectively. We will be having a radical childcare network gathering at the AMC this year, and folks from KCCA and several other collectives from other states will be busy coordinating it in the coming months. Here is our official description of the gathering which will be in the program:
The Intergalactic Conspiracy of Childcare Collectives (ICCC) is a network of collectives who support grassroots organizing through childcare. We began to take shape two years ago at the US Social Forum and continued building together by organizing the Kid’s Track at last year’s AMC. This Network Gathering will be a space to discuss shared politics and our vision for a movement that prioritizes kid friendly spaces, intergenerational invovlement, and communal caretaking. The day will include discussion on why we are doing this work and why it’s important, a creative project that will give us something tangible to leave with and share, and general relationship building. The room is open for anyone who is interested in radical childcare collectives, but we will be focusing more on vision, networking, and our experiences in doing this work, not on how to start a new collective. We will be also be tabling throughout the weekend which will be a time for more intra-collective nuts and bolts discussions, as well as building new relationships with potential new collectives.
Woohoo! Thanks for reading, more updates coming soon!
So, KCCA is almost halfway into our second year as an organization and we have accomplished so much. There is SO much going on in Atlanta right now, and of course in the US and around the globe in terms of the people fighting back against capitalism, racism, classism, etc. KCCA has been involved in amazing things – Freedom University, Occupy Atlanta, the Intergalactic Conspiracy of Childcare Collectives, and bridge-building between so many awesome social justice organizations. It is time for those of us who are dedicated to childcare activism as an integral part of building the world we want to see to come together and talk about our vision for childcare activism in the coming months and year. We are having a planning meeting on Sunday, December 4th, at 6pm at Charis Books and More in Little Five Points. Click HERE and RSVP to the Facebook event, and Join our FB Group.
If you have never been to a KCCA meeting, now is the perfect time to start getting plugged in! We don’t just need folks to help take care of kids (although we do need them!) We also need organizers to help with a myriad of tasks, like creating and administering trainings, outreach, fundraising, website maintenance, volunteer coordination, and media (helping us put together the documentary we’ve been working on, creating flyers, etc.) Whatever your skill set, we can put it to use!
Hope to see lots of new faces at the meeting this Sunday!
Other Radical Childcare News
In other news, the awesome zine series Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind (follow the link to the blog) is being turned into a book set to be published by PM press soon and my essay “Radical Childcare Collective Start-Up Notes” is officially going to be in it! From their website:
“Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind is a book geared towards the non-parent radical community on ways to be an ally to the parent(s) in their midst.
Over the past five years, we have been collecting stories, how-to lists and words of advice on how to support caretakers and children in the radical and activist community for the zine series Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind. Now we are taking those experiences–plus more– and turning them into a book!
Let’s make a better world WITHOUT leaving out the mamas, papas, partners, child-care providers & children!”
9 to 5 Working Women’s Atlanta branch, one of our beloved partners, has informed us that they will be honoring KCCA at their upcoming Winter Social. We are so honored ourselves to be able to work with the awesome Mamas and their children at 9 to 5. Thank you 9 to 5 for all the amazing work you do!
Project South is having a fundraiser that I encourage everybody to attend!
“Project South: Institute for the Elimination of Poverty and Genocide was founded in Epps, Alabama in 1986. Why? That year, leading Civil Rights workers were federally charged with voter fraud for registering Black absentee voters in West Alabama. Several organizations came together to launch a national campaign called “I’ll Vote On” to fight the charges and ensure voting rights for Black Communities.
Project South emerged from these struggles.
On Saturday, December 3rd from 7 pm to midnight, we will honor TWENTY-FIVE years of movement building, organizing and resistance in Atlanta, across the Southeast and Southwest, and beyond.
We invite you to honor the victories and struggles of the past twenty-five years with southern blues and international reggae, delicious soul food, and hand-crafted cocktails.
Join us as we celebrate the fearless founders, members, allies, and freedom fighters who have paved the way for the next 25 years.
Save $5 and buy your tickets NOW! ”
Thanks for reading!
I will be posting very soon about KCCA’s involvement with Freedom University, the Women and Girls in Georgia conference at UGA, Occupy Atlanta, and GSU student group Georgia Students for Higher Public Education, but for now I just want to get out a short list of upcoming events. (We’re having some issues with our calendar at the moment so this will have to suffice.)
What: Radical Childcare Organizer Training
When: Wednesday, October 26th, 6:30 PM
Where: Troy Davis Park, formerly known as Woodruff Park, near the Childcare tent.
Why: Occupy Atlanta (assuming it lasts until Wednesday – I am hopeful) desperately needs childcare, and especially childcare organizers. Frankly, ATLANTA needs more childcare organizers. This training will specifically address the logistics of coordinating childcare in an occupied park, as well as basic volunteer procedures and expectations, and a short discussion about what radical childcare is and why it is needed in the first place. (This is not the focus of the training however, please come if you are interested in learning how to organize childcare and contributing to Occupy Atl or KCCA in general in this capacity.)
What: Pizza and Story Time with KCCA
When: Sunday, November 6th, at 2pm
Where: Charis Books and More in Little Five Points
Why: Because KCCAers are ready to kick back with some adults and kids and eat some pizza and chill! We will be reading books about awesome kids who don’t conform to gender norms. (My Princess Boy, The Boy with Pink Hair, and possibly more.) Please bring yourself and your little ones if you have them. The pizza and the event is free, although donations are welcome! Come meet KCCA folks at our first kid-focused Atlanta event at your local independent feminist bookstore!
Also, look out for the upcoming book Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind (visit the blog HERE,) which will include my essay “Radical Childcare Collective Start-Up Notes” to help folks interested in organizing childcare collectives!
Also, thank you to Nive, Sam, and Zahra who traveled up to Athens recently to help out with childcare at the Women and Girls in Georgia conference at UGA. Y’all rock!
Hey y’all, Amariah here. I know it’s been a minute, but I am excited to sit down and give some report-backs about my experience at the AMC with KCCA. The trip proved to be incredibly beneficial for the organization. Even without all of the amazing workshops we got to attend, the trip was worth it for the connections we made with other childcare activists and collectives, the alliances we’ve formed, the ideas we’ve brainstormed and will continue to work on collaboratively, the awesome footage Sam shot of interviews with childcare activists from all over the US, and the experience of working with other collectives to create entertaining, safe, and engaging spaces for children at a social justice-oriented conference.
I ended up going to fewer workshops than I had planned and doing far more tabling than I expected to. I really enjoyed tabling; I got to talk to dozens of people who were very interested in the idea of childcare collectives, many of whom were hoping to start on in their own city at some point. I got to talk to folks about why childcare activism is important, what kinds of things one needs to do to start up a childcare collective, and how our work is connected to all the different kinds of movement-building represented by various organizations at the conference. (Not to mention selling KCCA coloring books – many of our awesome books now have homes across the country and even in Canada!)
Still, I did get to attend some insightful and inspiring workshops. One of them was called “Flipping the Script on Detention and Deportation” with Carlos Perez de Alejo and Silky Shah. Our presenters gave us a useful 101 lesson about how immigration law enforcement looks in the US. I’ll list some highlights of this part of the presentation.
**On any given day, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) detains over 33,000 immigrants, triple the number from 1996: Last year 392,800 immigrants were detained, costing taxpayers 1.77 billion at an average of $122 a day per bed. The number of people in detention has skyrocketed in the last five years while the unemployment rate has remained steady.
**ICE uses 350 facilities of which it owns and operates 7. Immigrants are housed at 16 facilities contracted with private prisons.
**Many people think that only folks affected by ‘illegal’ immigration are taken in, however: both undocumented and documented immigrants are detained, as well as survivors of torture, asylum seekers, families, and unaccompanied children are in detention, and other vulnerable groups such as LGBT and trans folks are automatically put in solitary confinement.
**Once detained, folks are often transferred across the country from their families; they have no right to counseling and have very few legal resources.
**In 1996, a law passed that made it so that anybody who is not a US citizen can be deported. This law created a category of crime called ‘aggravated felony’ which is not a felony and includes many crimes no one would describe as ‘aggravated.’ It is basically a list of things people can get deported for doing. This law is retroactive, so somebody who already served time for a crime and was let go can be subject to deportation. There is no judicial discretion; detention and deportation are mandated for people with aggravated felonies. When the law first passed it was not heavily enforced. However, since 9/11, the budget for deportation has skyrocketed. ICE was created under the department of homeland security in 2003.
**In 2004-2009, congress gave ICE $24 billion while schools had been (and continue to be) closing due to budget cuts.
**In 2007 Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) had record earnings of nearly 1.5 billion.
In 2001, right before 9/11, the prison industry was bankrupt. Now, almost 50% of people who are in detention are in private facilities. It has all been about business. The CCA has spent millions on lobbying and has been very involved in creating anti-immigrant bills.
Families are being torn apart and people are being treated without a shred of respect, dignity, or humanity. We discussed in the workshop how all of this greed and violence has been justified through rhetoric and popular ideas about the evils of immigrants. We were shown a series of historical propaganda images with very targeted messages; they all featured representations of people of color that completely dehumanized them while playing towards people’s fear of scarcity – the idea that people are ‘taking from us,’ using welfare to take resources that other people ‘deserve.’ (The implication being, somehow people born in the US deserve basic rights while folks born outside of the US do not.) They suggested that more people coming would result in overcrowding, that immigrants were coming to ‘take over’ – they’re coming for us, it’s unstoppable, and they will use whatever means necessary to take advantage of our vulnerabilities.
This is the kind of rhetoric that is absolutely pervasive and controlling in the US. It posits human beings as an annoying problem – like pests crawling all over our previously clean homes. The question is never, What is forcing people to leave their homes? What is making them want to come here? Economic, political, and ecological problems that the US causes are never discussed.
So the last part of the workshop was talking about ways we could battle this rhetoric. We looked at examples of pro-immigrant propaganda that showed the ‘immigration problem’ from different perspectives. We were given large paper and markers and instructed to try and design our own pro-immigrant poster. The exercise helped us think more in depth about what messages are out there and how to effectively combat them.
Our group came up with the idea of a poster which was split in half between two images: on the left a scene of a family at a dinner table eating together, looking surprised and frightented as ICE agents burst into their home, unhinging the door. The image on the right was of folks at work – it could have been folks serving food, writing an editorial for a newspaper, or fixing a car. The headline in bold letters across the bottom of both images read “Which looks like an invasion to you?” This is a confrontation of the language of ‘invasion’ that is used to describe the actions of immigrants who actually come here to work and support themselves and their families.
The facilitators were folks from the Detention Watch Network, (from detentionwatchnetwork.org)
“A national coalition of organizations and individuals working to educate the public and policy makers about the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for humane reform so that all who come to our shores receive fair and humane treatment.
They are lawyers, legal workers, activists, doctors, psychologists, national advocates, social workers, community organizers, artists, clergy, students, formerly detained immigrants, and affected families from around the country. They are engaged in individual case and impact litigation, documenting conditions violations, local and national administrative and legislative advocacy, community organizing and mobilizing, communication and messaging, popular education, teaching, and social service and pastoral care.”
I am grateful for their work in the Network and in creating and facilitating this enlightening and inspiring workshop. Collectively, KCCA activists (especially those of us who are white, documented US citizens) must be are aware of the enormity of the oppressive and inhumane actions of the US government and various law enforcement agencies, as well as the blatant racism and hate that is constantly directed at our immigrant comrades, both documented and undocumented. We must support immigrants in our community, whether by providing free childcare at meetings and events for groups fighting back in the war on immigrants, sharing food and camaraderie, or simply showing our support and solidarity at rallies, marches, and other acts of resistance led by our comrades on the front lines. Our friends and families suffer under capitalism and state fascism in countless ways. The exercise of formulating our own rhetoric, our own media, our own propaganda that represents our struggles and realities is so important. A topic on the agenda for the next meeting is formulating workshops for kids and/or adults that KCCA can facilitate, and I think something similar/related to this workshop is a great idea.
Sorry for the lengthy post, thanks for reading, and stay tuned!
Neil’s Favorite Session from the Allied Media Conference: Bring the Peace, Fight the Police: LGBTQ Youth “Know Your Rights” Media
Hey y’all, it’s Neil again! Though it’s not directly related to childcare collective work, I did want to share what I got from one of my favorite sessions at the Allied Media Conference. I attended “Bring the Peace, Fight the Police: LGBTQ Youth “Know Your Rights” Media,” a session organized by youth in Streetwise and Safe, a group for queer and trans youth of color structured to resist police violence and the prison industrial complex. This session was largely a skillshare, where they discussed the creation of their excellent guide that takes you through the process of an arrest in New York City.
Each section of the website takes you through different choices that you have when encountering the police. Because LGBTQ youth of color are so often targeted by police for sex-work related offences, “lewd” or “sexual” conduct or the like, the guide is specifically geared to inform their audience of ways the police might be operating in that framework. We learned one really chilling example of this: in NYC, having three or more condoms on your person at any given time can be used as evidence that you engage in sex work–something that very distinctly could be used to target queer and trans folks. Their website incorporates audio and video along with text to walk you though each step of the criminal [in]justice system in New York City. While a lot of the information is local, many of the tactics of working with the police presented on their site could be used anywhere.
There are a lot of “know your rights” resources out there, but it’s great to see one geared specifically towards trans and queer youth of color. Definitely check it out!
Hey y’all! This is Neil. Amariah, Sam, Alejo, and I are all back home from our trip to Detroit for the Allied Media Conference! We have so much to share with you, starting with this post where I’ll talk about what we did at the Kids Track. One of the folks who brought their kids to the childcare at the AMC chatted me up about the process of planning the Kids Track, so I thought I’d write a post about why and how we planned kids programming.
I started getting on conference calls several months ago with representatives from childcare collectives all over the United States to put together the Kids Track. We worked with childcare collectives located in New York, Philadelphia, Austin, the Bay Area, and Chicago. Folks from each collective broke into smaller groups and planned ten workshops just for kids at the AMC–something for every session block!
All of our workshops were built to be fun and informative for the kids, teaching them about social justice issues in ways that were accessible and engaging to them. We started off with an introduction where all the workshop presenters introduced themselves and the kids laid ground rules for how they would treat each other during the week. We also asked kids to think about what would happen if their name was a magic spell. I said that my name would make cupcakes appear!
The kids learned about all sorts of different social justice issues through media and art. Two separate workshops that were incorporated into the Kids Track taught folks how to draw anime characters and how to start doing research that incorporates interviews. The Kids Track also took a field trip to Catherine Ferguson Academy to learn about making seed bombs and the importance of caring for the earth!
I was involved with planning the workshop that met up with the Elders Track for story sharing. We went downstairs to the story sharing room, where five elders from the Elders Track met us to tell us their stories about what home meant to them. The kids all shared their stories in turn and we all found out that we have a lot in common and that home can mean very different things to different people. It was really great to have a workshop where elders, adults, and kids were all spending time together learning from each other!
All of the childcare collectives helped out with childcare at the conference, too. This year we structured it so that kids could go easily between the Kids Track programming and the childcare room in case they needed time to chill out or to just play and interact with other kids.
Altogether, I’d say the Kids Track was pretty awesome! Stay tuned to the website for some more updates about our trip to Detroit.
Last night, KCCA members Amariah, Neil, Tom, Harlan, and Alejo met with Eva Cardenas, a lead organizer in GLAHR, the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights.
From their Facebook page:
“GLAHR is a non-profit grassroots organization created to help educate and organize Latinos in their own communities with the purpose of increasing community participation in the struggle for human and civil rights focusing on low income communities without regard to their immigrant status.
GLAHR persists on building and fostering collaboration between the leaders and community organizations to advance social justice and the well-being of the Latino community. At the same time, promoting a healthy integration into their new communities.
GLAHR seeks to disseminate information and educate the general public about the diverse benefits that the immigrant community brings to this country and in that manner counteract misinformation.”
Eva gave us a brief overview of the projects they are currently working on and we discussed KCCA’s criteria for partners as well as our service user agreement. Everybody present was thrilled to be joining up with GLAHR, we are all familiar with the awesome work that the organization has been doing for immigrants’ rights. Our first time providing childcare for GLAHR will be this weekend for their two-day grassroots organizing training sessions. So exciting! Make sure to check out GLAHR’s website linked on the right.
We are going to be providing childcare for folks at Project South next week during organizing trainings as well. Project South is one hell of an awesome organization, check them out HERE!
Check out this Indymedia Article about KCCA’s work, vision, and needs. We are currently working under-capacity and looking to provide more services!