CultureStrike began in the summer of 2010 as a petition to honor the boycott of Arizona after that state passed its anti-immigrant law SB 1070. The petition has been signed by hundreds of novelists, poets, playwrights, journalists, and other writers, including Chris Abani, Tariq Ali, Russell Banks, Amiri Baraka, Noam Chomsky, Sandra Cisneros, Mike Davis, Thulani Davis, Junot Díaz, Martin Espada, Eduardo Galeano, Jessica Hagedorn, David Henry Hwang, Ha Jin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Naomi Klein, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chang-rae Lee, Ruben Martinez, Michael Ondaatje, Ed Park, Francine Prose, Ishmael Reed, Adrienne Rich, Luis Rodriguez, Salman Rushdie, Andre Schiffrin, Helena Maria Viramontes, Anne Waldman, and John Waters, among many others.
CultureStrike, which includes Wordstrike and Artstrike, seeks to organize artists, writers and other creative workers to strike back against anti-immigrant laws and attitudes. We hope to spark and support new writing and publishing about immigration, to explore new ways of disseminating writing, and to bring writers together both online and on the ground to fight for immigrant rights and migrant justice.
Our work is premised on the belief that culture, as the realm of ideas, images, and stories, is where people make sense of the world, find meaning and forge solidarity. Cultural change is part of political change.
Culture is the realm of ideas, images, and stories; it is where people make sense of the world, where they find meaning and forge community. History shows that when the culture changes, politics follows.
Culture Strike is rooted in the conviction that images and stories can transform the debate around immigration. We believe that when we share our images and tell our stories we can advance our values and turn the conversation around.
Through cultural strategy and cultural organizing, we will work with some of the most accomplished and acclaimed artists, writers, arts organizations and writing organizations across the country to build the public will to support humane, just ways to address the immigration crisis.
We believe that immigration is the human rights issue of our time. Arizona represents the epicenter in this battle. We believe the passage of SB 1070 and the spread of SB 1070 style laws demonstrate not just a failure of politics and policy—but a failure of imagination, language, and vision.
In order to be effective, we believe our work should be grounded in an understanding of the present moment. We will cultivate innovative collaborations between writers, and other cultural workers and organizers supporting individuals and communities fighting repression on the ground.
But in a larger sense, CultureStrike is an intervention into the debate around immigration that reaches audiences beyond the bounds of what community organizing and policy-based organizing can do. This is why CultureStrike seeks first to organize artists and writers. By showing our images and telling our stories, we illustrate the human struggle and win over broad audiences.
Advance a community-informed cultural strategy to challenge and displace the dominant anti-migrant narrative by infusing the national narrative with creative values-based, pro-migrant images, ideas, and stories.
Advance cultural organizing and infrastructure-building in the visual arts and the writing fields by bringing together engaged artists and writers and arts organizations to learn, teach, share skills and resources, and conceive and execute new works in a supportive, non-exploitative space.
Model and strengthen a broad cultural front approach to attacking social ills by welcoming interdisciplinary fertilization and fostering collaborations.