While many have naively equated Latinxs’ growing presence in the U.S. as a sign of increased power, the folks behind Mijente understand that our influence is halted by systems of white supremacy and xenophobia.
"Alongside these numbers of growth is the proliferating criminalization of our people, the lack of opportunity for a quality education, an erosion of government and democracy, the stealing of the commons, destruction of our planet and sinking of the economy," co-founder Mariso Franco writes in an introduction post published on the Mijente website.
To dismantle these systems of oppression, Latinx leaders, advocates, organizers, cultural workers, media-makers, writers and theorists must come together to make the culture and policy changes our community needs. But unlike Latinx social movements of the past, which were often marred by separation and a lack of solidarity among our own people, the change-making of our future must be inclusive of all Latinx identities and struggles – there’s no other way.
Mijente, as a political home filled with movement-makers who do not need to be convinced that sexism, xenophobia, anti-black and anti-indigenous racisms, homophobia, transphobia, ableism and classism must be thwarted within ourselves, among our families and throughout society, hopes to help forge this movement. And Lànzate, the two-day convening that commemorated the start of the national hub, demonstrates that it is capable of doing just that.
The conference, which took place at the Instituto Del Progreso Latino, included talks, workshops and panels by women, both cis and trans, black Latinxs, undocumented folks, gender non-conforming people and youth who discussed everything from mass incarceration, immigration, anti-blackness and colonialism to trans justice, reproductive justice, art and media, among other issues.
Alexis Meza, a mexicana who traveled from Kentucky to attend the Chicago convening, said that Lànzate was one of the first large Latinx conferences she attended where the Latinxs in her state were not overlooked.
"As people fighting for dreams and holding it down in our communities con la esperanza de un mejor mañana, I feel that change begins with us, and it is important to share space with our trans brothers and sisters, our black brothers and sisters, our indigenous brothers and sisters. When we do this, that’s when change starts to happen," Meza said. "We can’t pretend we are the only ones being marginalized when all of us are in this together and only together can we work toward a better day. Mijente es un espacio donde las raices se sienten, nuevas ideas se plantaron, y nuevos frutos naceran en el futuro."
If you’re ready to be a part of the social and cultural change for Latinx and Chicanx people, check out Mijente’s website, and follow its social networks to learn more about the goals, plans and upcoming programs for this political hub.
As Meza explains, "Mijente is our people, no matter where in the country or what country you come from. Mijente is home."