The Color of Violence: A Space Where People at the Margins Are Centered
By Dominique Hazzard
My small group, one of my best friends and three folks I had just met, was charged with creating a world together. We decided on an an Earthlike planet with an underwater, communal society that was recently colonized by corporate, oligarchical land dwellers who instituted a carceral system and hijacked oceanic portals to the ancestors for commercial use. This world we wrote during the science fiction workshop, hosted by Octavia’s Brood, was a fantasy.
The Color of Violence 4 conference — where melanin, queerness, and femininity were the norm- sometimes felt fantastical itself, like the Hyatt Regency was hosting an delightful, imaginary world. But, luckily, it was all real. COV 4 was a space where people at the margins were centered, and where alternate realities were spoken into existence. It was a space where dreams — a world without prisons, queer family structures without patriarchy, social movements that heal the spirit — were articulated with a certain firmness and determination.
Even with all the beautiful people milling about, with all the healing and affirmation, there was a sense of urgency and danger in the building, as there should have been. Indigenous women are missing. Trans people are dying. Black women are being criminalized. Families are being torn apart by the state in so many ways. And there were questions in the air that have no easy answers — how can we develop strategies to deal with the violence we enact upon each other, even in a space like COV 4? How do we center trans people in our work? What does it look like to ally ourselves with indigenous communities, even as we live on their occupied land? How do we call out anti-blackness in POC spaces? What should accountability look like when organizations make mistakes?
But my weekend in Chicago made me believe that we can answers these questions, and renewed my faith in this declaration: I believe that we will win.
Dominique Hazzard laughs in the face of the white heteropatriarchy while skipping merrily through the District, creating interfaith tools to address poverty, and eating bacon.
Photo: Color of Violence