Mariposas Sin Fronteras was formed in 2011 by LGBTQI people within the immigrant rights movement in Arizona to end the systemic violence against LGBTQI people in detention and to create opportunities for their self-determination.
Mariposas Sin Fronteras was formed in 2011 by LGBTQI people within the immigrant rights movement in Arizona to end the systemic violence against LGBTQI people in detention and to create opportunities for their self-determination. Their work has three main components: direct support for LGBTQI immigrants in and out of immigration detention, campaigns against the criminalization of immigrants and LGBTQI people, and leadership development of formerly detained immigrants. At the local level, they have run campaigns to release individual LGBTQI people from detention and hold ICE accountable when people have faced additional violence in custody. They also organize with the broader immigrant rights and sex workers rights movements to end the detention bed quota, stop collaboration between Tucson police and border patrol during routine stops, and end the criminalization of trans women of color profiled under draconian local anti-prostitution laws. Since they were founded, they have raised over $50,000 in private donations to go towards a revolving bond fund to support LGBTQI people in detention. They have also expanded their arts and cultural organizing, developing creative partnerships with groups like CultureStrike and Vox Urbana to produce original artistic content informed and led by the experiences of LGBTQ people in detention, as well as supporting the leadership of undocumented LGBTQI artists themselves.
Nia Witherspoon is a multidisciplinary artist-scholar producing work at the intersections of indigeneity, queerness, and African diaspora epistemologies. Working primarily in the mediums of vocal and sound composition, playwriting, and creative scholarship, Dr. Witherspoon’s work has been recognized and supported by the Mellon Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, and the National Queer Arts Festival. Her original play, The Messiah Complex, is a multi-temporal meditation on the loss of parents in black and queer diasporas. Messiah was performed at New York’s prestigious Downtown Urban Theatre Festival (HERE Art Center) where it received the Audience Award and placed second for Best Play. Witherspoon’s work as a vocalist, both independently and with acclaimed ceremonial-music duo SoliRose, has spanned stages, ceremonial spaces, and activist organizations from the San Francisco Bay Area to Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Beirut, and her creative nonfiction is most recently featured in Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought. Witherspoon has forthcoming publications in the Journal of Popular Culture and Women and Performance, and she is currently at work on a book project, “The Nation in the Dark: Reparations of Ceremony in Diaspora,” which asserts that nationalism, far from being dead, is essential to radical women of color re-envisioning indigenous religions. She received a B.A. from Smith College and a PhD from Stanford University.
The #Not1More Deportation campaign was launched in 2013 to pursue just and humane immigration policies, starting with a stop to deportations.
The #Not1More Deportation campaign was launched in 2013 to pursue just and humane immigration policies, starting with a stop to deportations. In a context that saw a continued rise in state and national anti-immigrant policies along with diminishing possibilities for immigration reform, the campaign viewed criminalization as a central threat and fundamental to true legalization for undocumented people. Originally launched as part of NDLON, the campaign became independent to deepen the links between efforts against mass deportation, mass incarceration and state-sanctioned violence, and serve as a national vehicle for continued intersectional collaboration between community, labor, undocumented and LGBTQ organizations. By 2015 the campaign and its members became a crucial foundation for the forming of Mijente, a national grassroots and online organizing hub for Latinx and Chicanx in the United States. Significant successes include generating national momentum and changing the immigration debate to focus on the human cost of deportation. They catalyzed unlikely alliances across the country, supported the passage of dozens of local and state laws to undermine police-ICE collaboration, supported of campaigns to stop the deportations of hundreds of community members, and generated substantial pressure toward the legal, political and moral arguments that moved the President to announce executive action in November 2014. Over the past year, they significantly increased their collaboration and support of LGBTQ groups and issues, with SONG, Familia and the Transgender Law Center joining their campaign leadership. Last year, they co-hosted the “Queering Immigration Regional Kinship and Strategy Meeting” with SONG in Atlanta to bring people together to strategize organizing against immigration enforcement and detention policies in the South. They also organized a retreat for trans latina women organizers with TLC and Familia and a strategy session for the Not1More LGBTQ Deportation campaign.
Trans Queer Pueblo is a base-building racial and gender justice organization that is collectively governed by a growing membership of 300+ trans and queer undocumented and documented migrants and people of color in Phoenix who organize to transform our city toward fellowship, family, community autonomy, self-determination and liberation.
Photo credit: Diego Nacho
We are an autonomous LGBTQ+ migrant community of color who works wherever we find our people, creating cycles of mutual support that cultivate leadership to generate the community power that will liberate our bodies and minds from systems of oppression toward justice for all people. Our projects are focused on creating health justice and autonomy including a free clinic, building the power of migrant mothers through theater and literature, ending the criminalization and incarceration of LGBTQ+ people of color through community-run legal clinics and support of LGBTQ+ detainees throughout Arizona, reclaiming our own stories through art and media, inserting our voices into politics and public life through creative and strategic direct actions and campaigns like #NoJusticeNoPride and #EndManifestationLaw and building local queer and trans economies by creating cooperatives and businesses run by TQPOC. We combine service providing and community organizing to create autonomous community power to transform our city.