Critical Literacy and Youth Organizing
Chapter 11. Articulating Activist Identities
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Vaga De Franx articulated her identity as an undocumented student and community organizer. She is committed to local organizing and involves herself with citywide coalitions of other self-identified social justice activists. She identified moments and situations of injustice, such as a lack of access to affordable higher education in New York City, to organize against economic stratification and exclusion. She located her activism in relation to her personal life and her learning. In doing so, she highlighted the importance of understanding our histories through international, independent sources and using the mainstream media against itself. She made deep inquiries into who produces information and policy positions around topics such as the War on Drugs and the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk. She positioned her own activist work in relation to international struggles, building off of international models while recognizing the unique makeup of her communities in New York.
As an organizer, she facilitated anti-oppressive learning around publishers, Marxists, liberals, and progressives through peer education, study groups, teach-ins, and workshops. In that context, she asked probing questions that ← 121 | 122 → focus on elements such as shared readings, generative brainstorms, collective experiences, and the creation of a space for stories. She dissected the importance of and challenges around creating safe space for nonsectarian educative sessions. At the same time, she troubled elements of ideology in relationship to activism, advocating for forms of neutrality that do not push immovable political positions.
For Vaga De Franx, to be an activist means to...
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