Undocumented Fears: Immigration and the Politics of Divide and Conquer in Hazleton, Pennsylvania

Thursday September 29, 7:30PM

@ Red Emma's

"Using a magnifying lens to study immigrant bashing in his hometown, Jamie Longazel brings into sharp focus the anti-Latino racism at the heart of national politics today. Even as we as a society struggle to build solidarity across racial divisions, powerful forces seek advantage in tearing us farther apart. The concentrated focus of Undocumented Fears helps us understand not only why this occurs but also how we might help replace fear with friendship, social division with a sense of shared humanity."—Ian F. Haney López

The Illegal Immigration Relief Act (IIRA), passed in the small Rustbelt city of Hazleton, Pennsylvania in 2006, was a local ordinance that laid out penalties for renting to or hiring undocumented immigrants and declared English the city's official language. The notorious IIRA gained national prominence and kicked off a parade of local and state-level legislative initiatives designed to crack down on undocumented immigrants.  

In his cogent and timely book, Undocumented Fears, Jamie Longazel uses the debate around Hazleton's controversial ordinance as a case study that reveals the mechanics of contemporary divide and conquer politics. He shows how neoliberal ideology, misconceptions about Latina/o immigrants, and nostalgic imagery of "Small Town, America" led to a racialized account of an undocumented immigrant "invasion," masking the real story of a city beset by large-scale loss of manufacturing jobs. 

Offering an up-close look at how the local debate unfolded in the city that set off this broader trend, Undocumented Fears makes an important connection between immigration politics and the perpetuation of racial and economic inequality.

Jamie Longazel is Assistant Professor of Sociology and a Human Rights Center Research Fellow at the University of Dayton and co-author (with Benjamin Fleury-Steiner) of The Pains of Mass Imprisonment.

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This Vibe will occur in the midst of the 2020 election season, a dire time—no matter who wins the Office of President.  We will want—NEED—poetic cleansing, a space to process trauma, express ourselves, and be in a supportive, creative space!  Join us for an online open mic of justice, conscious thought, spirituality, fam, real life—whatever advances the village!  In the tradition of Emma Goldman’s “Mother Earth” magazine, come drop some rad “fiyah” on us, or contribute just with your presence and energy.  Our theme is “Peace, Justice, Poetry!”  By the way: it’s a non-erotic venue, so rather than a love & erotica evening, we focus this night on justice and other matters of life.  And, almost needless to say, leave the misogyny, homophobia and other unnecessary ish outside! 

This event will take place on Instagram Live @redemmas.  Sign up for the open mic will be posted on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 72 hours before the event.  If time permits we will take names onto the list during the event as well, after those who have signed up have performed.  One piece/five minutes.

Our feature this evening is one of the pillars of the Connecticut poetry scene!  Baub (pronounced “Bawb”) Bidon is a Haitian/African American poet, actor, writer, and playwright based in New Haven.  He has worked on sets with artists ranging from Busta Rhyme, Black Rob, and Pharaoh Monch to Missy Elliot, Nas, Eve and Mary J Blige, naming a few.  Inspired by poets such as Ngoma, James Baldwin, Gil Scot Heron, and Saul Williams and playwright August Wilson, Baub chronicles urban life.  He writes to tell the stories often marinated in ghettos and jails throughout the United States.  His poetry speaks of injustice and poverty, and he hopes that his work uplifts and empowers those who are, and have been, victims of oppression.  Baub has worked in prisons alongside Lyrics on Lockdown, in schools and after-school programs, and more.  Delivered with Hip Hop and Jazz fused with Blues, Baub’s work conceptualizes the idea of a better tomorrow, and a brighter day.  He is a member of the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) and was a member of the 2012 Connecticut slam team, Verbal Slap.

Baub is the author of “A Glimpse: Spoken Word in Back Pockets (Collected Poems),” and has produced a CD by the same name.  As a member of the Blackout Arts Collective, he was a writer for the production of What It Iz: the Spoken Wordical, a Hip Hop/Spoken Word adaptation of the 1970s musical and film, “The Wiz.”  He has appeared in various film and theater projects and has contributed to written anthologies.  Baub Bidon is the founder and Host of FREE 2 SPIT (www.facebook.com/free2spit), a poetry open mic and potluck which takes place every first Friday of the month (except for January) at the New Haven Peoples Center.

goodgrafix@gmail.com

Twitter: @baubbidon

www.facebook.com/likebaub

Instagram: @0negod 


Holdin’ it down for the evening is Analysis—poet/spoken word artist, rad minister and bookseller, educator, justice & human rights theoretician… Y’all know what’s up! 

www.facebook.com/analysisthepoet 

Twitter and Instagram: @analysisthepoet

www.artistEcard.com/analysisthepoet

CashApp: $AnalysisThePoet

In lieu of our usual in-person collection to support the feature, PLEASE support the artist directly (methods to be announced) and the host in order to ensure the continuation of the venue.  SUPPORT THE ARTS! 

The evening is brought to you by Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse, a worker-owned and collectively-operated restaurant, bookstore, and community events space located in Baltimore's Mt. Vernon neighborhood that is dedicated to putting principles of solidarity and sustainability into practice in a democratic workplace!  You can continue to support us during this time by purchasing books online or donating to our worker support fund!  Thank you.  

http://redemmas.org   https://www.facebook.com/redemmas  Twitter & Instagram: @redemmas

Remember: PEACE, JUSTICE, POETRY!!  Will we see you there?  :)