Entre Nosotras

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Entre Nosotras is a collaborative project producing conversations around Latina and Chicana issues, social justice movements, and culture. Ilana Luna, assistant professor of Latin American Studies at the ASU School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies and Yessica del Rincon talk about the project.

José Cárdenas: Thank you for joining us. "Entre Nosotros" is a collaborative project producing conversations around Latino and Chicana issues, social justice movements and culture. With me to talk about this project are Ilana Luna, assistant professor of Latin American Studies at the ASU School of Humanities, Arts and Cultural Studies, and Yessica del Rincon, professor Luna and Yessica are both members of "Entre Nosotros." Welcome to both of you.

Yessica del Rincon: Thank you.

Ilana Luna: Thank you.

José Cárdenas: You were both in at the beginning of "Entre Nosotros." Tell us about why it was formed and what you are trying to do.

Yessica del Rincon: I can speak more directly on the question. I was in a class, a women's studies course called Gender on the Borderlands taught by another faculty member who is a part of the collective. We were discussing issues of gender, identity and how those issues kind of come together in terms of the border and trans-local issues. We were really interested in bringing awareness around these topics and creating events that promote these understandings in Phoenix.

José Cárdenas: Did you feel there was a void, nothing out there that was doing that?

Yessica del Rincon: Definitely. We did feel there was a void. There is a larger event and discourse going on in Phoenix in terms of undocumented and immigration issues, but nothing specifically focuses on gender and how these issues of immigration specifically affect women. That's where definitely the collective came about. The collective was addressing women, gender and immigration.

José Cárdenas: And Professor Luna, you've had about four events, give us a sense for the flavor of the events and how it is they fill the need Yesica was talking about.

Ilana Luna: As Yesica was saying, We wanted to focus -- there are a lot of people in Phoenix. We don't want to make the claims nothing is going on here, because that isn't true. We wanted to look at ideals and thoughts and identity politics and the way in which people engage art as a form of activism and express gender identities that maybe don't get as much air time or as much space. And so the first event that we had was a film screening with a filmmaker, Aurora Guerrero and screened Mosquita y Mari at the Tempe and west campe, she gave a master class, as well. The next big event we did we held a concert by a collective group of women performers of Son Jarocho who came out from L.A. at Civic Space park.. We then had a workshop that built into a multiday workshop on performance, and -.

José Cárdenas: You're talking about a particular style of dance?

Ilana Luna: It is a particular style of music from Veracruz, Mexico, and how it has sort of transformed as it has a conversation across borders. They use the term trans-local and it's a term we really like.

José Cárdenas: Let me ask you this. Why is it focused on art?

Ilana Luna: Why the focus on art? Partially it's because of our personal interests. This grew as a very sort of self-generated -- what are we interested in, what would we like to see more of, what kind of events do we wish we could go to here in Phoenix. It's been driven by things we think will speak to a larger community. And so art-ivism, term of activism, is another term we like to use as we look at what conversations can come out of bringing artists into a community and asking a community to then engage with the artists. One of the goals we've had in these first four events we've done is to create a space where groups of people from Phoenix or the Greater Phoenix area, who might not otherwise run into each other, have a common ground and have some kind of space to have a dialogue. So it's not just, oh, there's this cool thing we're going to sit for two hours and watch an event, or we're going to a gallery to look and then go home. We're asking people to really enter into a dialogue and engage. We have some die-hard fans that have come to all of our events.

José Cárdenas: And Yesica, how successful do you think the group has been in meeting the goal Professor Luna was talking about?

Yessica del Rincon: I think so far -- we've been active about two years and we've been successful and growing. We've been gaining more popularity throughout Phoenix, more followers. And the interesting thing is that we're seeing the same groups of people attend our events. We're getting more word around ASU campuses and it's definitely showing in terms of what support we're receiving by donors, whether that be ASU, various departments around campus, various grants throughout the community, different community organizations or such as the City of Phoenix.

José Cárdenas: Let's talk about the most recent event. You brought in a documentarian, and the film itself was pretty interesting?

Yessica del Rincon: It was very interesting. I think it brings the film -- about Oficina's Revolution, directed by Lucian Kaplan, and it was about an indigenous woman running for the House of Representatives in Mexico. And I think that the film brought an interesting issue to Phoenix and brought an interesting topic of discussion that probably isn't really explored and that information isn't accessible to mainstream audiences.

José Cárdenas: Professor Luna, one of the things that was particularly important about this most recent presentation, you and I talked about this off camera, was the fact that Luciana Kaplan is Latina. We talked about Latina, Chicana, and you've made the point that it's a broader experience you want to make sure people are exposed to.

Ilana Luna: Absolutely. As we were talking about some of the events that have happened so far, there's sort of a natural relationship with Mexico because we're in the borderlands. But it's important to us to sort of conceive of this notion of people whose identities are fluid, so people affiliate themselves with national identities but with larger movements, as well. What was really interesting about Luciana, who stayed with us for several days, she was born in Argentina and fleeing the dictatorship in the late 70s in Argentina. Her family moved to Mexico where she has, you know, lived since then. And so part of her master class or her workshop that she gave, she really talked about the ways in which that hybrid identity changes how somebody engages civically with the communities that they are in. So that's absolutely something that we want to highlight and we want to continue to build on that. Because we find that a lot of times, especially mainstream media, there's this notion of what Chicana or what Latina is. That's kind of what we're pushing back against. We want to create spaces where we think about people in different ways. So two of our events, Mosquita y Mari Aurroa Guerrero and Monica Palacio a playwright who came and did a one-woman performance and workshop on performance and storytelling, both have examined a sort of queer immigrant experience, which is something that doesn't get a lot of press.

José Cárdenas: Exposing people to really a broad range of experiences.

Ilana Luna: Correct.

José Cárdenas: Yesica, we're almost out of time. If people want more information about "Entre Nosotros" and the things you guys are doing in the future, how would they get that?

They can look on our Facebook page, Entre Nosotrasn and we put out information via ASU news outlets, as well.

José Cárdenas: That's great. Thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte" tonight.

Ilana Luna: Thank you.

Yessica del Rincon: Thank you.

Ilana Luna:Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies at the ASU School of Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies; Yessica del Rincon:Student;

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