Hemispheric Dialogue: "Accompaniment" led by Michelle Castañeda, Marco Saavedra, and Myrna Lazcano

Wednesday, February 19, 2020 4:00pm-6:00pm

This Diálogo proposes to discuss the role of accompaniment within the migrant justice movement. From accompaniment programs in immigration courts and detention centers to accompaniments at the U.S.-Mexico border, migrant organizations practice accompaniment as a form of care, solidarity, and resistance. The Diálogo features two leaders of the migrant justice movement in conversation with participants in an NYU course on Accompaniment as an Embodied Practice. This conversation will draw inspiration from the thinking of activist and healer adrienne maree brown, who proposes a radical rethinking of social movement strategy. 

We suggest reading the following in preparation for this conversation:

  • Excerpt from adrienne maree brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds (AK Press, Chico, California 2017).

Click here to download a PDF of this reading. 

This event is organized as part of our Ecologies of Migrant Care initiative. Watch our interview with Marco Saavedra here

Hemispheric Dialogues/Diálogos Hemisféricos invite key thinkers to lead discussions about some of the pressing issues of our time. The series envisions informal yet sustained dialogue among faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, artists, and members of the community. 

Hemispheric Institute
20 Cooper Square, fifth floor
New York, NY 10003

Michelle Castañeda is an Assistant Professor in the NYU Department of Performance Studies. Her research and teaching interests focus on migration, Latino/a and Latin American Studies, dance, and law. She is in the process of publishing a book titled, Imaginary Rooms: Immigration Law, Accompaniment, and the Mise-en-Scene of Disappearance, which focuses on the current escalation of legal violence toward undocumented people in the U.S. Rather than adopt a macroscopic perspective, Imaginary Rooms analyzes individual scenes of immigration courtrooms that Castañeda witnessed while participating in immigrant advocacy organizations and the Sanctuary movement. In the tradition of “writing as performance,” the book is intended to serve not only as an account of what she witnessed in those rooms but as a rehearsal space in which to imagine the decriminalization of migration.

Marco Saavedra is originally from San Miguel Ahuehuetitlán, Oaxaca, Mexico, and has been living in the United States with his family for more than 20 years. A graduate of Kenyon College, Saavedra began organizing as part of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance during the Obama Administration. In 2012,  he and Viri Martínez turned themselves in to immigration authorities as a way to infiltrate a detention center in Florida in order to provide support to detainees who qualified for asylum or other legal recourse. In 2013, as part of what would become known as the Dream 9, Saavedra self-deported to Mexico with other activists to demand relief for DACA-eligible migrants who were deported prior its creation. His activist work is featured in the 2019 film The Infiltrators.

Myrna Lazcano Olivares is a migrant activist and asylum seeker from San Hipólito Xochiltenango, Puebla, Mexico. Lazcano Olivares migrated to the United States in 1998, yet was forced to return to Mexico City in 2013. With the support of organizations and activists, Lazcano Olivares joined the Caravan for Peace, Justice, and Dignity, and was reunited with her family and friends in New York City in 2016. This experience has informed her work with migrant communities in fighting unjust and discriminatory laws and preventing family separation caused by deportation. Lazcano Olivares has been active in the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, Movement of Migrant Women and Their Families (MOMUMI), and Red de Pueblos Transnacionales. She is currently a student at The Resource Center for Adult Education (CREA).

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings and 20 Cooper Square is a wheelchair accessible venue.