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Keeping Tabs: Shelter

Equipment for frigid temperatures, self-protection in the digital form, tools for resistance, and more.


Our last few Keeping Tabs — Signal, Direction, Junction, and Parking — have taken us out and on the ground. Take cover as temperatures reach extremes with this week’s Keeping Tabs. We’ve got additional resources for safety, strategies for intervention, as well as more on approaching vulnerability and forms of support. Wherever you are, gather ‘round — we’re building this space for you.


Cold Weather Survival: Tips For Defending Our Communities Against The Cold by Kelly Hayes

Although written specifically for Chicago, Kelly Hayes offers several tips to protect each other for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere where the temperatures are quickly dropping, on Lifted Voices’ blog.

As some of you know by now, we have transformed our upcoming action for Bresha Meadows, scheduled for Wednesday, December 14, into an interactive, online art exhibition. We are bringing the action online, and out of the cold, to keep the event accessible and our community safe. Since we believe it is our duty to care for and protect one another, we have also put together a short list of ways you can look out for vulnerable community members as temperatures plunge in the coming days. No one should freeze to death in Chicago, but every year, dozens of lives are lost this way. So let’s bring love, protection and warmth everywhere that we can.


Indivisible: A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda by Ezra Levin, Angel Padilla, Jeremy Haile, and Leah Greenberg

Former congressional staffers Ezra Levin, Angel Padilla, Jeremy Haile, and Leah Greenberg compile various concrete tips for constituents to organize and urge Congress to listen, from forming local groups to sit-ins to mass calls.

We believe that the next four years depend on citizens across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize our fellow citizens. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.


A Practical Web Tutorial to Bystander Intervention and De-escalation Tactics by Jes Skolnik

On Watt, Jes Skolnik provides a clear guide of strategies for de-escalation and intervention, and everyday actions we can take to contribute to the safety of those around us.

As a marginalized American—intersex, queer— whose fear of public violence has gotten worse personally and who fears for many of their friends’ lives as well right now, and as a musician, I’m writing this guide today that centers on the kinds of public spaces that we musicians often find ourselves in but is certainly not exclusive to those spaces. I believe that we have a deep responsibility to care for one another and for the people who come to see us play, and that though any kind of independent musical community is immensely fractured, some of those fractures can be healed by everyday thoughtfulness.

Content warning in the following section for mentions of nudity and murder.

How Police Are Watching You on Social Media by George Joseph

Pulling together information from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office to the New York Police Department, George Joseph for CityLab outlines the tactics used by police departments and officers to monitor online usage and profiles, especially of Black social network users.

Matt Mitchell, a security researcher with the racial justice organization CryptoHarlem, notes that the NYPD has carried out these operations by building intelligence dossiers on social media users over years, as the CCSO appears to be doing. ”The police are saying, ‘I’m going to follow you everywhere you go, write down every word you say, and look at every picture you take’, and now with these undercover accounts they are your friend hearing everything you say in confidence,” says Mitchell. “If you’re black or brown, your social media content comes with a cost—it’s a virtual prison pipeline.”


An Open Letter to Fellow Minority Journalists by Jay Caspian Kang

Jay Caspian Kang forecasts the incoming wave of change in hiring practices for major media outlets and assesses the status quo in journalism, on Medium.

After Ferguson, I remember being in meetings for the web team at The New Yorker where it became painfully obvious to everyone in the room that we simply did not have a writer to tackle the massive change that was happening in the country. Good hires were made and over the next two years, the magazine and web (mostly the web) brought on almost a dozen new minority writers and editors. This, even when I worked there in 2014, would have been a completely absurd scenario. Back then, me and one of the only other minorities on the 20th floor of the old Conde Nast building would have to routinely schedule lunches just so we could vent about the totemic whiteness of the place we had dreamt of working our entire lives. If you look at the employee rolls of all these prestige print and web outlets, you’ll see the same, exact pattern of hiring over the past two years. I used to think this changing of demographics in prestige places could lead to a new era of enlightened and forceful publishing. I am no longer so optimistic.


Report from the Field: Getting Along Shouldn’t Be an Ambition by Jean Ho

After attending the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, writer Jean Ho reports for VIDA on her experiences with the waiter scholarship, anti-black racism, and cultural hazing in the name of ‘tradition.’

Claudia Rankine, in Citizen, describes the paradigmatic tension of invisibility/hypervisibility as a manner of understanding how racist language works. She writes: “Language that feels hurtful is intended to exploit all the ways that you are present. Your alertness, your openness, and your desire to engage actually demand your presence, your looking up, your talking back, and, as insane as it is, saying please.” The position of a waiter at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as I experienced it, created a totalizing identity/non-identity in which my vulnerabilities as an emerging writer were exploited. In the first few days, I consciously curbed any negative feelings I had about the demands of the waiter job which caused me to miss parts of the conference, because of direct scheduling conflicts or because I was so tired, and skipping that craft seminar meant catching an hour-long nap to recover. A silent voice in my head told me: This is an unbelievable opportunity. This is what leveling up feels like, and no one said it would be easy. More than anything else, this voice said: Be grateful.


The Indigenous Revolution by Julian Brave Noisecat

Julian Brave Noisecat’s article for Jacobin situates the long history of indigenous resistance in the U.S. alongside global indigenous movements and Standing Rock, and urges the importance of an indigenous-Left alliance.

As Standing Rock has shown, indigenous nations that use their unique standing to advocate for viable alternatives to unjust systems will gain supporters. Our traditional territories encompass the rivers, mountains, and forests that capital exploits with abandon. Our resistance — to the pipelines, bulldozers, and mines that cut through our lands and communities — has greater potential than yet realized. Ours is a powerful voice envisioning a more harmonious and sustainable relationship with the natural world rooted in the resurgence of indigenous sovereignty.


Six and a Half Ways to Disappear by Ryan Lee Wong

On the Offing, Ryan Lee Wong reflects on the work of Tehching Hsieh, a prominent painter and performance artist known for his intensive years-long projects.

You can read into Hsieh’s works a relation to almost any major concept in modern society. They are statements on existentialism, time, love, isolation, ennui, angst, interconnectedness, freedom; they raise political questions of incarceration, homelessness, bureaucracy, immigration and citizenship, public space.

At the same time, the works are solely about experience: intangible, ephemeral, beyond words and ideas. They are fully contained in action. Hsieh’s works are so compelling, in part, because anyone could do them; to my knowledge, no one has tried. Unlike other works of art, they are not a question of originality, or talent, or concept, or fame. They are a question of will.


Episode 26: Mimi Khúc and Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, editors of Open in Emergency by Mimi Khúc, Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis, and Cathy Hannabach

Following last week’s link roundup which featured Ideas on Fire’s episode with Mimi Nguyen on punk and politics, Mimi Khúc and Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis discuss writing, vulnerability, and mental illness in the academy.

What does wellness and unwellness look like in the context of Asian America? In the context of academia? How can we transform our spaces to allow for more interpretations of healing practices? What role can students play in reforming how we discuss mental health in the academy?

In this episode of Imagine Otherwise, host Cathy Hannabach chats with guests Mimi Khúc and Lawrence-Minh Bùi Davis about how academia can better address parenting, mental health, and wellness, as well as the forthcoming special issue of the Asian American Literary Review.


Community Praise and Worship Night by SHYBØI and RIZZLA

Members of queer art collective SHYBØI and RIZZLA underlie cries of victory with evangelical spiritualism, mixing hymnal choir voices with garage noise to open up space for celebrating community futures, on SoundCloud.


Speculating Futures by Francis Tseng

Alongside the release of the New Inquiry’s Science/Fiction volume, Francis Tseng’s ongoing syllabus spanning nodes from science fiction visionaries Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia Butler to imaginings from ‘now’ of alternative futures from state violence to neocolonialism.

Speculating Futures looks at past speculative narratives, like those of Ursula K. Le Guin, and past attempts at creating technological utopia, like Chile’s Cybersyn. These readings examine the shortcomings that prevented these visions from being fully realized and how they may have been limited or exclusionary. These texts also tie these visions to the contemporary issues/present dystopias that need to be addressed in subsequent utopian imaginaries. To paraphrase Gibson, “Utopia and dystopia are here, they’re just unevenly distributed.” Feeling like there’s a future is vital for moving through the present, so we’ll also envision our own utopian futures to work towards.