Creating Communities where everyone Belongs
Activate Labs leads community focused projects that build bridges, heal trauma, and use story, art and culture to fight social exclusion and violence. We have ongoing projects such as the Beautiful Resistance and Refugees Welcome Guidebook and also support national campaigns in response to the current political and social environment in the United States of America and around the world. Our intersectional and grassroots led work uses the arts, narrative change, participatory trauma informed workshops and creativity to reframe the resistance into one of growth and peace.
Bridges to Belonging: trauma healing, art and baring witness with Separated families in McAllen, Texas
In late July 2018, Activate Labs brought together a team of 7 volunteers to McAllen, Texas and Border area to accompany families that had been separated due to the Trump administration “Zero-Tolerance” policies towards asylum seekers and refugees from Central America. In partnership with a local humanitarian aid organization: Matthew 25:35, Activate Labs supported with nightly dinners for 7 days- serving more than 1000 dinners. Leading art, music and painting workshops for children to help them heal, tell their stories and offer a little hope. We visited and served youth that were temporarily released from detention camps to attend mass and visiting a temporary shelter that housed more than 20 nationalities. This rapid response effort was an answer to the call for a #beautifulresistance on the border regions.
Art, Guerrilla Gardening and Music with the Migrant Caravan
Palestine to the Pipeline Solidarity Campaign at standing
Activate Labs partnered with the Arab American Civic Council and Palestinian Youth Movement to connect the shared narrative of stolen land and historical erasure of the Palestinian people to Standing Rock. Over the course of 4 days, Activate Labs brought the Beautiful Resistance with the Palestine to the Pipeline Initiative, which brought suitcases full of palestinian kuffiyas to gift to indigenous elders and water protectors. The powerful linking of both narratives shows us both the reality of levels of oppression repeating in history, but also the potential to overcome these struggles as united people.
Orange County Women’s March
Activate Labs was an active member of the Orange County Women’s March planning committee for both 2017 and 2018. Activate Labs supported the march through leading social media platform management and producing a series of 16 posters demonstrating intersectionality within the movement. Posters are locally available for purchase in Southern California and in special circumstances can be shipped.
Travel Ban at the Airports - Refugees Welcome
In January 2017, Activate Labs partnered with a coalition of advocacy and immigrants’ rights groups to respond to the Trump administration's travel ban against immigrants and refugees arriving from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. Activate Labs created poster art and distributed more than 200 posters at two rallys. These rallies worked to reunite an Iraqi refugee with cancer to her family in Orange County and released a family of 6 from Afghanistan. Activate Labs led a rapid response action for more than 10 hours at the request of partners and refugee resettlement agency World Relief,, in addition to working on rallying for the multiple iterations of the Muslim Ban released after January. The art produced in this context is still being distributed and reused throughout rallies and campaigns within the refugee and immigrants’ rights movement.