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Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social/Women Active in Letters and Social Change is an all-volunteer, national organization of Chicana, Afro/Asian–Latina, Indigenous women, trans and gender non-conforming people that strives to represent and support such groups in its communities as well as in institutions of higher learning.

The annual MALCS Summer Institute features intellectually challenging and creative papers, performances, workshops, lectures and social activities that honor our whole, intersectional selves in a safe and supportive space.

Summer Institute Theme

Our roots are part of our whole selves. And yet, even our roots transform and grow. Beneath sight, they move deep and out, stretch as far as they need, break the boundaries that would keep them static. They transform and send their energy up in order to strengthen and stabilize our visible bodies. In so doing, routes/roots decolonize our siloed selves and bloom into our whole selves. We live the intersections of our bodies, identities, our work, culture, land, research, art and activism. We understand that recognizing intersectionality is critical—it provides pathways to honoring our multidimensional selves and leads us toward the reconnections necessary for balance and wholeness. This is the goal of the 2015 Summer Institute.

Alma López, queer Chicana artist born in Sinaloa and raised in L.A., writes of the monarch butterfly: “When the Monarch migrates ‘home,’ that is, back to its place of origin, which may be either north to the United States or south to México, it is the child of the butterfly that originally migrated north or south. Instinctually the child knows how and where to return. The journey home is encoded into its DNA” (2011). Leslie Marmon Silko, a writer of both Laguna Pueblo and Mexican ancestry, reminds us that our ancestors, like the Monarch butterfly, moved back and forth across this landscape. We “shared cosmologies, and oral narratives about the Maize Mother, the Twin Brothers, and their grandmother, Spider Woman, as well as Quetzalcoatl” (1996). This migration is our inheritance and we are dedicated to honor and respect that inheritance. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the passage of New Mexico Senate Bill 582, we recognize the place of migration in intersectionality. When anti-immigrant legislation proliferated nationwide, the New Mexico State Legislature passed SB582, which provides a pathway to secondary education for undocumented students. SB582 honors the routes students have taken to fulfill their life and educational goals. It provides them the resources they need to establish roots so they may flourish in whichever movements they choose.

To move is to survive and thrive. These movements are the beat of a heart, the draw of a breath. They are the decisive shifts, which transform us into our root selves, our whole selves. Our movement is constant; our route is ever changing. We do not stay still because we cannot. Migration is our home. Intersectionality is our life. This summer, we can bring our whole selves together in the spirit of growth and transformation.