Copy Cats, Frontier States, & Nativist Extremism: Jeff Biggers on the Arizonafication of America

with Jeff Biggers, Rinku Sen, Aura Bogado, Felipe Baeza, & Chude Mondlane

Monday, September 24, 2012 7:00pm
Performance Project
184 Eldridge Street
New York, New York 10002

Media Gallery

American Book Award-winning author Jeff Biggers joins us on the East Coast to report on the situation on the ground of Arizona post- SB 1070. In his new book, State Out of the Union: Arizona and the Final Showdown Over the American Dream, Biggers diagnoses the root of the problem in Arizona’s past—attributing the 48th state’s current nativist anxieties to its turbulent entry into the Union and identity crisis as frontier country. With anti-immigration hardliners infiltrating local legislatures and copycat legislation spreading across 25 states, what happens in Arizona doesn’t stay in Arizona. Pulitzer Prize finalist Luis Urrea states “Jeff Biggers has the unblinking gaze of the honed journalist, a novelist’s sense of image and story, and a prophet’s cache of outrage.” Don’t miss Jeff Biggers’s riveting account of the Arizonafication of the United States and what you can do to strike back against rightist extremism in a new civil rights movement.

Following the reading is a discussion on immigration reform moderated by Rinku Sen, the publisher of Colorlines.com and author of The Accidental American. Accompanying Sen and Biggers are Mozambican singer Chude Mondlane and journalist Aura Bogado, who will be talking about her experience on the UndocuBus, a tour of anti-immigrant states inspired by the freedom rides of the Civil Rights Movement. Brooklyn-based UndocuQueer artist, Felipe Baeza, will decorate the event space with prints from CultureStrike’s poster project.

*This event is presented by CultureStrike, a project at the frontlines of the national arts movement around immigration.


Check out this Q&A on The Margins with Jeff Biggers & Michelle Chen on the origins of the book and his meandering journeys in journalism and politics.

Jeff Biggers is the American Book Award-winning of The United States of Appalachia, and In the Sierra Madre. He has worked as a writer, radio correspondent, and educator across the United States, Europe, India, and Mexico. His award-winning stories have appeared on National Public Radio, Public Radio International and in numerous magazines and newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Nation, The Atlantic Monthly, Salon, among others. He splits his time between Tucson and Illinois. His website is: www.jeffbiggers.com

Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com. A leading figure in the racial justice movement, Rinku has positioned ARC as a national home for media, research and activism on these issues. Over the course of her career, she has combined journalism and activism to make social change. Rinku is the author of Stir It Up, a primer on best practices in community organizing, and The Accidental American, a book about Moroccan immigrant Fekkak Mamdouh, who co-founded the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York in the aftermath of September 11. Rinku lives in Queens, New York.

Chude Mondlane is a Brooklyn and Maputo-based vocalist, performer, community activist, foodie, and parent—nesting between the places where her heart lays: Mozambique and the United States. Find her on twitter @chudemondlane.

Aura Bogado is the community journalism coordinator and blogger for Voting Rights Watch 2012. Aura has reported in Spanish and English from Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and the United States. Her work has been published in Mother Jones, Newsweek Argentina, AlterNet, and The Huffington Post. With the support of the Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, she conducted an in-depth examination on the consequences of immigration enforcement by local police in Arizona. Aura has worked as a national host and producer for the Pacifica Radio network.

Felipe Baeza is an activist and undocumented artist who currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 7 he immigrated from Guanajuato, Mexico, along with his sister to be reunited with his parents in Chicago. In 2009, Baeza graduated from the Cooper Union with a BFA in studio art. His art primarily focuses on the injustices that affect the LGBTQ and immigrant communities. Baeza has also been at the forefront of the immigrant youth movement. In 2011, he participated in a sit-in, risking deportation, protesting anti-immigrant legislation HB-87 in Georgia. Baeza’s commitment to National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) and the Brooklyn Immigrant Youth Coalition (BIYC) allows him to build community for people directly affected by the flaws in the current immigration system. His website is: www.felipebaeza.com.

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