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It is our intent to frame the discussion this evening with a focus on colonial and white supremacist violence in the innumerable and often insidious manifestations they appear; both within the broader society and in our movement spaces. As we come together we acknowledge there can be no safe spaces in a settler colonial nation state in a world under the control of institutionalized systems of domination which threaten the earth and all of it’s inhabitants. As a result of these systems we recognize continued and heightened attacks on indigenous sovereignty, cultures, and livelihoods worldwide and we seek to create confrontational spaces which challenge the normalization of white supremacist settler colonial violence.

We recognize that the phenomenon of missing and murdered indigenous women, girls, two spirit, queer and trans people is a direct consequence of the settler colonial project of elimination and extermination. We know that wherever invaders are our bodies can be found left in trash cans. We know that wherever invaders are rivers must be dredged and ditches must be searched to find our bodies. We recognize that attacks on indigenous women are attacks on our clans which are attacks on our governance structures; an attack on indigenous nations themselves. We know the majority of perpetrators are white men and we know these actions to be part of ongoing war and genocide on indigenous peoples and our lands.
We extend this scope and acknowledge the disappearances and murders of Black women, girls, queer and trans* peoples which remain almost completely ignored by mainstream media and perpetuate a legacy of specifically misogynoiristic violence. We acknowledge Black and Indigenous identities intersect and that the binary created is a tool of conquest to keep us from each other. We gather today on Trans Day of Remembrance, we seek to hold space for those stolen, missing, and murdered by the hands of a colonial society whose cissupremacy is so deeply intertwined with white power and patriarchy that the bodies and lives of trans women are relentlessly targeted. We miss you, we love you and you are not forgotten.

Further we understand settler colonialism and anti-blackness to be co-constitutive of one another and that these ongoing attacks against indigenous peoples are inextricably linked to continued white supremacist terrorism against black communities. The 2012 annual report “Operation Ghetto Storm” conducted by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement calculated that every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the US government killed a Black man, woman or child. This omnipresent threat to black communities is genocide and a part of the maintenance of structural anti-blackness in service to the continuation of the settler colonial project.

We recognize the regularity of these occurrences as part of the legacy of lynching and the desensitization that is created by the media to the loss of Black life as a part of an effort to normalize lynching and continue to impose a system of slavability onto the bodies of black people. We are in support of the Ferguson insurrection and all Black led resistance to white supremacist violence. We remind you to remember that while the governor of Missouri has issued a declaration of a “state of emergency” in an effort to contain and quell insurrection in Ferguson, systems of anti-blackness and white supremacy force Black people in so-called Amerika and beyond into a constant state of emergency.

As we are gathered here in the Africana Center at Cornell University we acknowledge the legacy of Black student struggles to claim emancipated space for education in a supremely hostile environment. In 1969, Black student activists took over the student union building to demand a space and resources dedicated specifically to the knowledge production of peoples of African descent. Their efforts resulted in the creation of only the second Black Studies program within the US empire, which held significant institutional autonomy and control over knowledge production & became a model that many sought to achieve elsewhere. Africana Studies and Research Center’s institutional autonomy has been attacked by the university and racist campus elements repeatedly throughout its entire existence, since it was burned down in 1970 in a white supremacist arson attack to repeated attempts to remove Africana’s institutional autonomy despite international campaigns to preserve the space as it was initially formed. This legacy of continued resistance is why this space continues to exist today.

We recognize the long legacy of indigenous and student led resistance in the settler colonial nation state known as Mexico, who along with the United States have created a militarized border zone which crosses the territories of many indigenous nations and perpetuates violence not only onto these nations of peoples but onto the bodies of migrants. We recognize these migrants as peoples who have been expelled and displaced from their homelands through the use of extractive and colonial violence which forces them to follow the flow of capital for survival. We recognize that the 43 Ayotzinapa students did not just disappear – that they were kidnapped and are presumed dead, and that someone knows where those bodies are. These Ayotzinapa students represent just 43 of the millions of people who have been massacred and disappeared throughout both Mexico and the territories known as central and south america. Further we recognize the violence of all empires who colonially enforce borders.

We stand in solidarity with Palestinian people against the colonial forces of white supremacy embodied in the state of Israel and we support the Palestinian call for a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) targeting the occupation and urge the use of a variety of direct action tactics to be employed to achieve this goal. We must acknowledge Cornell University’s continued investment in apartheid and genocide through its collusion with corporations that profit from Israel’s occupation such as G4S, Tata Motors, Raytheon, IngersollRand, Sodastream and Hewlett Packard. We must also acknowledge Cornell’s Partnership with Israeli University, Technion, in the construction of a 2 billion dollar facility which serves to strengthen the Israeli military apparatus. We recognize that the corporations and paramilitary resources used to police and enforce the apartheid wall in Palestine also hover over the borders of our homelands and police the bodies of Indigenous peoples on both the Canada/US & US/Mexico borders. We acknowledge that our struggles are tied intimately together as the same colonial tactics, such as scorched earth campaigns, which have been used against our people in Anowara’kowa Kawennote (Turtle Island) are now being used against Palestinians in their own lands. We are connected through our grief for our homelands and through our relentless resistance – From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.

We would also like to acknowledge the fierce resistance of the Black Power & Indigenous sovereigntist movement in socalled Australia. To our relatives across many oceans, whose bodies were shackled and chained as common practice up until the mid-70s, whose territories continue to be invaded by mining corporations and desecrated by extractive industries, whose peoples continue to survive the white-supremacist penal colony known as Australia. The racism of which is described as 20,000 miles south of the deep south of alabama. We acknowledge your resistance to the G20 meetings held in Brisbane earlier this November, aptly termed the Genocidal20. We support your action to set ablaze the Australian flag, and we send gratitude to all those who continue to resist the global powers of colonial-capitalism that lubricates the gears of its death machine with our blood. Our smoke and prayers connect with yours on our paths of resistance and resurgence, because we know that Australia has a black history and it always was and always will be aboriginal land.

From Haudenosaunee Territory to Ferguson to Palestine, Ayotzinapa to Brisbane in so-called Australia, we take up this position of solidarity against the forces of white supremacist settler colonial violence.

In Solidarity,

kat yang-stevens

Amanda S. Lickers

Anika Paris

Suze Leon

Nancy Morales

Victor Puertas

Kristin Herbeck

MODERATOR & PANEL ORGANIZER, KAT YANG-STEVENS is a cisgender queer woman & first generation Asian American of Chinese ancestry who grew up on and currently lives on occupied territories belonging to the Onondaga and Cayuga Nations in so-called New York. Narrowly avoiding the school-to-prison pipeline & having no formal education or degrees, they understand the need to create spaces for education outside state and private structures and are instead linked into larger projects committed to community well being and liberation. They are the founder and curator at Groundwork for Praxis. A main focus of their work includes supporting the self determination of Indigenous, Black, and other migrant/diasporic/settler communities of color engaged in community self defense as well as fiercely addressing intra-movement racism and the barriers that it presents to creating meaningful multiracial alliances. Kat has been involved in several direct action campaigns to halt construction of infrastructure which would further the exploitation of tar sands and fracked gas for the purposes of the continuation of colonial capitalism. Their work includes critiques of the non-profit industrial complex and work to subvert the placating and incapacitating effects that Big Greens have over struggles against extractive industries.

AMANDA LICKERS is a member of the Turtle Clan, Seneca (Onondowa’ga) nation of the Haudenosaunee confederacy, a public educator, orator and film maker based in montreal. Holding a B.S. of Environmental Sciences, she was first involved in environmental and climate justice in 2009 as a participant at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission hearings against General-Electric Hitachi Canada. After this successful campaign which rendered GE unable to process low enriched uranium, she has gone on to present at the CNSC hearings on an ongoing basis speaking directly to Indigenous experiences of land struggle and contamination. Amanda has expanded her quest for environmental justice to include tar sands and fracking projects across her territories, participating in National Energy Board hearings as well as direct action campaigns which seek to end resource extraction within a post-colonial context. Amanda supports the work of many indigenous run and solution based projects or networks, including the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, Mi’kaq Warrior Society, Uni’sto’ten Action Camp, Awe Aku, Families of Sisters in Spirit, Dooda Fracking, Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and more. Amanda co-produced her first short film focusing on Indigenous resistance to tar sands pipelines with the support of Franklin Lopez of and continues to curate the cross-border network, Reclaim Turtle Island (

NANCY MORALES is a former lecturer for the Latina/o Studies minor in the Center for the Study for Culture, Race and Ethnicity (CSCRE) at Ithaca College where she developed and taught the course, “Maid in the US: Latinas and Care-work” exploring how domestic workers’ lives intersect with emerging low-wage workers in their demand for dignity and respect inside and outside the workplace. She has done research for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and for the National Domestic Workers’ Alliance (NDWA) in order to further explore how race and gender become necessary for understanding workers’ struggles within the Immigration, Labor, and Civil Rights Movements. Morales has research interests in U.S third world feminist theory, immigration policy, labor relations and sound studies, focusing on how Latina/o workers and immigrant workers have been excluded from the ranks of the working-class because of their racial, cultural, gender and immigration-status differences. Morales is engaged in frontline resistance to the violent policies and practices involved in the policing and militarization of the U.S. – Mexico border.

VICTOR PUERTAS is a member of the Yagua nation, one of the many Indigenous Nations of the Amazon area of so-called Peru. Colonization, land theft, civil war and environmental destruction brought him and his family to the U.S. 17 years ago. Due to this forced relocation and life experience he also considers himself a migrant/refugee person. He began getting involved with migrant rights and justice in so-called Salt Lake City, Utah (occupied territories of the Ute, Shoshone, Goshute, Dine and Paiute nations) several years ago. His participation in this work led him to make connections and work closely with other impacted front-line communities, especially indigenous nations and communities. Victor continues to provide support and solidarity in any way possible. Much of his work focuses on the intersections of land and water defense, indigenous self-determination/ autonomy, and migrant rights with an emphasis on climate justice and communal liberation. Currently, he is primarily working with 3 different organizations, Utah Tar Sands Resistance (UTSR), Peaceful Uprising, and Deep Roots United Front (an organization he co-founded for people of color working at the intersections of environmental destruction and environmental racism). He is currently involved in the UTSR permanent campaign to stop the first U.S. tar sands mine on the Tavaputs plateau in the eastern part of so-called Utah.

ANIKA PARIS is a Black feminist, prison abolitionist, and archivist-in-training based in Brooklyn, New York. Anika has worked with Interference Archive (IA), an open stacks archive of social movements’ culture and production, for over two years. She co-curated IA’s exhibit Self-Determination Inside/Out: Prison Movements Reshaping Society, which included a full slate of programs alongside a gallery exhibition. Anika spent more than a decade as a collective member of Books Through Bars NYC, and has worked on a number of projects and actions related to ending the prison system and building with people inside. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Library Science and Archives Certificate at CUNY Queens College.

SUZE LEON is a queer Hopi and Comanche Indigenous liberationist based in the Southwest. She is a documentarian and media strategist who has previously worked as Media and Education Coordinator at Winona LaDuke’s organization, Honor The Earth. Suze participated in and photographed of a series of horseback journey’s dubbed, “The Triple Crown” which took delegations of Anishinaabe and Lakota riders along the routes of 3 major pipeline projects including the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Suze’s work focuses on Indigenous self determination, she has also been involved in many projects organizing for collective liberation and to stop the commodification of the earth and the extractive industries that facilitate destruction.

KRISTIN HERBECK hails from dirty jerZ and now lives in Minneapolis, Dakota territories. Kristin is a prison abolitionist and anti-violence activist with over six years of experience in doing survivor support & abuser accountability work in both radical and non-radical communities and addressing violence both inside and outside state institutions. When she’s not busy struggling to survive and make ends meet, she works to make critical connections between various struggles and building capacity toward the larger liberation project of transformative justice. She’s also been involved in the struggle to defend the 2nd oldest Black Studies program from the academy’s ongoing neoliberal & white supremacist attempts to erase the contributions of and remove Black Studies and the knowledges of Indigenous peoples and peoples of color from higher education. She’s interested in keeping her friends alive, prison abolition, anti colonial action and organizing for collective liberation outside of US colonial rule.

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