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“We the News”: Studio Visit with Lizania Cruz

June 21, 2017

On Saturday on June 17, the weekend before Juneteenth, The LP’s 2017 Create Change Cohort visited current Bed-Stuy Artists-in-Residence Lizania Cruz, who welcomed us into her studio. She shared about her project “We the News,” which will start next month in partnership with Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and Bed-Stuy’s Hancock Community Backyard Garden Park. With a glimpse into other projects she has worked on, we also learned more about Lizania’s commitment to working around themes of immigration, migration, and justice.

 

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Lizania shared that BAJI IS A NATIONAL ORGANIZATION THAT INTERSECTS ISSUES OF STRUCTURAL AND SYSTEMATIC RACISM, SUCH AS INCARCERATION AND DISCRIMINATION, WITH ADVOCATING FOR JUST IMMIGRATION POLICIES. With her project’s intent to CENTER THE STORIES OF IMMIGRANTS, she and BAJI were drawn to working together on “We the News” through a series of story circles they would organize at Hancock Community Garden. The stories shared from participating immigrants will ultimately be published through printed zines distributed through newsstands in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood.

 

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lizania showed us dried up bouquets and photographs in her studio from one of her previous immigration-focused projects, “Flowers for Immigration.”  she connected with immigrants who ran florists stands throughout New York City and asked each person to design their own floral bouquet to send a message to the Donald Trump. Many, if not almost all of the flowers incorporated into these bouquets originated from outside the United States.

 

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LizaniA explained that She has also been working to cast a “friendship”-style necklace that consists of interlocking pieces of the countries Haiti and Dominican Republic for her project  ”JUS SANGUINIS,”  which ADDRESSES IMMIGRATION AND IDENTITY symbolic of the relationship between the people who cross borders between the two countries. Lizania was born and raised in the Dominican Republic.

 

Our visit ended with a zinemaking session in which our 2017 Create Change cohort and LP staff participated. We each designed a zine spread inspired by our ideas of the meaning of “Sanctuary”:

 

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Stay tuned on our social media channels for the release of a digital version of our collective zine, and for more updates on Lizania’s Create Change Artist residency events. Click here for more information on Lizania’s project We the News.




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Black #infosec matters by Candace Williams

June 21, 2017

Photo Credit: wocintechchat.com #WOCinTech

 

A breezy summer web security guide for folks under siege, dissidents, and engaged artists by 2017 Create Change Fellow Candace Williams. Candace is the first of our 2017 Create Change cohort to be featured as a guest writer on The LP’s Spin Cycle blog this year:

 

On the morning of November 10, 2017, a few days after the election of Donald Trump, I took 20 minutes to jot down a few web security notes on Medium. I started researching web security before the election but wanted to jot down a few initial findings and questions geared toward dissident artists, activists, journalists, lawyers, people of color, queer folks, and other people under siege. The piece received 10,000s of views and many reactions via the comments section, Twitter, and Facebook. Since I wrote the first draft of the piece, I’ve been invited to give crypto trainings at Eyebeam, Anti-Trump Free School / Escuelita Libre Anti-Trump, and Art is Labor.

 

Something I’ve noticed at these trainings is that the audience who self-selects into these trainings are mostly-white. Many folks who attend already have freelance or full-time jobs in tech. Stated another way, many of the people who seek out information about info security are those who have lower threat levels of surveillance and violence at the hands of corporations, local law enforcement agencies, ICE, federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, emboldened trolls, and other groups who have a vested interest in surveilling, silencing, subverting, and even murdering folks under siege because of their racial identity, relationship to Islam, immigration status, involvement in sex work, queerness, gender, and other identities and experiences. These dangers are multiplied when these folks also engage in activism, protest art, organizing, and witness to inequalities and violence perpetrated by state and non-state actors.

 

In a world where capitalism is accelerating toward business models driven by surveillance and the strategic deployment of psychological triggers to influence consumer behavior, and state and federal agencies like the NSA have built the technology infrastructure and legal backbone to surveil at scale, everyone who uses the Internet and related technologies has some level of threat. Folks under siege, protest artists, and dissidents have a higher risk of being the target of surveillance and violence than folks from privileged groups. Historical and contemporary examples include everything from COINTELPRO to the Predictive Policing algorithms used by local and federal law enforcement agencies to surveil and entrap folks they label gang members and terrorists. One of the biggest shifts in policing and surveillance over the past few decades is that the mere algorithmic threat of someone committing a crime can trigger violence at the hands of law enforcement. For folks under siege, the threats can range from local law enforcement agencies and ICE to intimate partners, trolls, and political opponents.

 

You might be asking: “Ok, I’m a POC..What the heck should I do now?”. The best three pieces of advice I can give you is to adopt a growth mindset when it comes to your security, involve your community, and go easy on yourself. The goal isn’t to make yourself safe. It’s to become safer and more secure over time by taking steps that are proven to add another layer of security. Security happens in layers—if you put the right security layers over your information and habits, accessing actionable information becomes prohibitively difficult and costly. Another thing to remember, is that your community matters. As you learn more, you should share that information and encourage folks you communicate with to adopt similar strategies. If you take steps to secure yourself but don’t help your community-members secure themselves, then you won’t reap the benefits of that security.

 

Take it easy and try a few concrete strategies this summer:

 

June and July

 

  • Enable Two-factor authentication (also called 2FA) on your email, social media, and other accounts. Whenever you (or someone else) tries to log in to an account secured with 2FA, you’ll receive a text message with a one-time code.
  • Strengthen your passwords and consider using a password manager.
  • Make sure all of your devices have the latest OS and security updates offered by the manufacturer. Keeping your devices updated decreases the number of known vulnerabilities.
  • Download Signal for Desktop and your mobile device. Signal can replace SMS/text messages, iMessage, WhatsApp, and similar services. You can even conduct encrypted voice and video chats and send encrypted files. When you communicate with someone in-person or online, try to get them to use Signal as well.
  • Go to a CryptoParty. These are gatherings that are designed to demystify crypto and help you build community around web security.

 

August

 

  • Consider using a VPN to protect your browsing from snooping on public networks.
  • Encrypt your smartphones and hard drives to make it almost impossible to access their contents without a password.
  • Make your browser more secure by installing HTTPS Everywhere and Privacy Badger. Consider using the TOR browser
  • Audit your Internet and device usage. Where is your information stored? What sites do you use? Can you stop using some services, send less emails, and store less information online? What are your critical habits and what are the easiest steps you can take to protect yourself?

 

Beyond

 

 

Links and Reading

 

Books

 

 

The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Laundromat Project or any employee thereof. The Laundromat Project is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the author.



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Meet Daria Harper, Development & Communications Intern

June 19, 2017

Get to know Daria Harper, our Summer 2017 Development & Communications Intern:

 

So, what made you decide to intern with The LP? How does the internship relate to your studies?

I am currently studying Journalism + Design and Ethnicity & Race Studies at The New School. I am passionate about community organizing and felt as though my love for writing and communications would mesh well with the work and the mission of The LP. I am also greatly appreciative of the way that The LP engages with its 3 anchor neighborhoods.

 

Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!

I have danced ballet, modern, other forms since I was 9 years old! I’ve always loved dancing. I also like writing poetry and have recently performed in my first spoken word open mic, which was a blast.

 

Can you tell us about an artist or project that has inspired you?

An artist that has inspired me is Elise Peterson. I especially love her collage work, which often features photos of historical black figures edited with the art of classic and modern artists. My favorite piece by Peterson is called “Assata Shakur.”

 

What is your favorite… film?

Dreamgirls…I know every single word!

 

…album?

Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder

 

…food?

My Nana’s macaroni & cheese or her iced poundcake

 

Where do you do your laundry?

1st Ave Laundry Center on East 2nd St and 1st Ave
 

In your opinion, why does art matter?

I believe that art is essential to life. Whether creating or experiencing it, art offers one of the most powerful exchanges to be experienced by humans. Art often offers a more enriched understanding or interpretation of what our world looks like, and I think we need it to survive.
 

Daria Harper is a Junior Journalism + Design Student at The New School University that focuses primarily on identity and culture writing. Daria was born and raised in Dallas, TX and now lives in lower Manhattan.