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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Five years ago, in June of 2014, 10 months before the Uprising, D. Watkins was still on the come up, a freelance essay writer grinding towards success. His viral essay "Too Poor for Pop Culture" had dropped earlier in 2014, putting him on the map for a local and national audience for the first time. Red Emma's had the honor to partner with D. on his first print publication, a zine version of this essay and a few others.  At the time, we wrote that "D. Watkins' essays for Salon and elsewhere, chronicling the struggles and hustles of Black Baltimore and his own trajectory from street dealer to creative writer, are no doubt the first shots fired by a major literary talent in the making." Turns out this was a fair assessment. With his third book in five years out, writing in the New York Times, and a high-profile gig as a regular Salon columnist and videomaker, D. is a voice to be reckoned with, and one who has studiously made a point of using his success to lift up new rising voices from Baltimore's streets. To mark the fifth anniversary of his first print publication, D.'s coming to Red Emma's for a conversation with the essential Lisa Snowden-McCray of the Baltimore Beat for a conversation about what's changed, what remains to change, and how his new book We Speak for Ourselves fits into this picture.

In "Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s," Traci Parker examines the movement to racially integrate white-collar work and consumption in American department stores, and broadens our understanding of historical transformations in African American class and labor formation. Built on the goals, organization, and momentum of earlier struggles for justice, the department store movement channeled the power of store workers and consumers to promote black freedom in the mid-twentieth century. Sponsoring lunch counter sit-ins and protests in the 1950s and 1960s, and challenging discrimination in the courts in the 1970s, this movement ended in the early 1980s with the conclusion of the Sears, Roebuck, and Co. affirmative action cases and the transformation and consolidation of American department stores. In documenting the experiences of African American workers and consumers during this era—including in Baltimore City—Parker highlights the department store as a key site for the inception of a modern black middle class, and demonstrates the ways that both work and consumption were battlegrounds for civil rights.


In 1911, leading English suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst visited America. Unlike other suffragette leaders, who spent their time in America among the social elite, Pankhurst wasted no time getting right to the heart of America’s social problems. She visited striking laundry workers in New York and female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago, and she grappled firsthand with shocking racism in Nashville.


This book gathers Pankhurst’s writings from the year-long visit, in which she reveals her shock at the darkness hidden in American life, and draws parallels to her experiences of imprisonment and misogyny in her own country. Never before published, these writings mark an important stage in the development of the suffragette's thought, which she brought back to Britain to inform the burgeoning suffrage campaign there.

@ Red Emma's

Come celebrate the summer with SWOP, learn about what SWOP Baltimore is working on and how you can get involved, and enjoy specials on cocktails (alcoholic and non-alchoholic) at the bar and patio at Red Emma's!

SWOP Baltimore is a local chapter of The Sex Workers Outreach Project, which is a national network of sex workers and allies organizing to decriminalize sex work, fight stigma, and build power among.

America’s suburbs are not the homogenous places we sometimes take them for. Today’s suburbs are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, with as many Democratic as Republican voters, a growing population of renters, and rising poverty. The cliche of white picket fences is well past its expiration date.

The history of suburbia is equally surprising: American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing. We have forgotten that we built suburbs like these, such as the co-housing commune of Old Economy, Pennsylvania; a tiny-house anarchist community in Piscataway, New Jersey; a government-planned garden city in Greenbelt, Maryland; a racially integrated subdivision (before the Fair Housing Act) in Trevose, Pennsylvania; experimental Modernist enclaves in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the mixed-use, architecturally daring Reston, Virginia.

Inside Radical Suburbs you will find blueprints for affordable, walkable, and integrated communities, filled with a range of environmentally sound residential options. Radical Suburbs is a history that will help us remake the future and rethink our assumptions of suburbia.

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Join us for the launch of Fred Scharmen's Space Settlements!

In the summer of 1975, NASA brought together a team of physicists, engineers, and space scientists—along with architects, urban planners, and artists—to design large-scale space habitats for millions of people. This Summer Study was led by Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill, whose work on this topic had previously been funded by countercultural icon Stewart Brand’s Point Foundation. Two painters, the artist and architect Rick Guidice and the planetary science illustrator Don Davis, created renderings for the project that would be widely circulated over the next years and decades and even included in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee. A product of its time, this work is nevertheless relevant to contemporary modes of thinking about architecture. Space Settlements examines these plans for life in space as serious architectural and spatial proposals.
Fred Scharmen teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University's School of Architecture and Planning. His work as a designer and researcher focuses on how architects imagine new spaces for speculative future worlds and who is invited into those worlds. Recent projects, with the Working Group on Adaptive Systems, include a mile-and-a-half long scale model of the solar system in downtown Baltimore (in collaboration with nine artists), and a pillow fort for the Baltimore Museum of Art based on Gottfried Semper's Four Elements of Architecture.
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Single payer healthcare is not complicated: the government pays for all care for all people. It’s cheaper than our current model, and most Americans (and their doctors) already want it. So what’s the deal with our current healthcare system, and why don’t we have something better?

In Health Justice Now, Timothy Faust explains what single payer is, why we don’t yet have it, and how it can be won. He identifies the actors that have misled us for profit and political gain, dispels the myth that healthcare needs to be personally expensive, shows how we can smoothly transition to a new model, and reveals the slate of humane and progressive reforms that we can only achieve with single payer as the springboard.

In this impassioned playbook, Faust inspires us to believe in a world where we could leave our job without losing healthcare for ourselves and our kids; where affordable housing is healthcare; and where social justice links arm-in-arm with health justice for us all. Single payer is the tool—health justice is the goal!

TIMOTHY FAUST‘s writing has appeared in Splinter, Jacobin, and Vice, among others. He has worked as a data scientist in the healthcare industry, before which he enrolled people in ACA programs in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, where he saw both the shortcomings of the ACA and the consequences of the Medicaid gap firsthand. Since 2017, he’s been driving around the United States in his 2002 Honda CR-V talking to people about health inequity in their neighborhoods. He lives in Brooklyn.
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From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a bracingly original approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it.”


Join us as we celebrate the release of an essential new anthology on the political and racial economy of urban life in Baltimore. Full details TBA, but save this date now!

Nicknamed both “Mobtown” and “Charm City” and located on the border of the North and South, Baltimore is a city of contradictions. From media depictions in The Wire to the real-life trial of police officers for the murder of Freddie Gray, Baltimore has become a quintessential example of a struggling American city. Yet the truth about Baltimore is far more complicated—and more fascinating.
 
To help untangle these apparent paradoxes, the editors of Baltimore Revisited: Stories of Inequality and Resistance in a US City have assembled a collection of over thirty experts from inside and outside academia. Together, they reveal that Baltimore has been ground zero for a slew of neoliberal policies, a place where inequality has increased as corporate interests have eagerly privatized public goods and services to maximize profits. But they also uncover how community members resist and reveal a long tradition of Baltimoreans who have fought for social justice.
 
The essays in this collection take readers on a tour through the city’s diverse neighborhoods, from the Lumbee Indian community in East Baltimore to the crusade for environmental justice in South Baltimore. Baltimore Revisited examines the city’s past, reflects upon the city’s present, and envisions the city’s future.