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ALMA marks 30 years of activism by opening archives
by Tim Peacock
2019-11-18

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The Association of Latinx Motivating Action ( ALMA ) celebrated its 30th anniversary Nov. 15 by opening its archives to the public at the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance ( PRAA ), 3000 N. Elbridge Ave. ALMA additionally hosted a lively discussion with a panel of LGBTQ Latinx activists who shared their thoughts and experiences.

The evening also featured an interactive art installation created by young members of After School Matters' program, BLOOM.

The archives effectively told ALMA's 30-year story through photographs and other visuals.

Lead by moderator Emmanuel Garcia, the panel offered reflections on ALMA's past as well as its growth into the more inclusive organization it is today. Panel speakers included ALMA Vice President Kenny Martin-Ocasio; Tania Cordova, of the LGTBQ Immigrant Rights Coalition; non-binary Latinx high school student AJ Soto; Evette Cardona, co-founder of the now-defunct organization Amigas Latinas; and Monica Ortiz, a queer AfroLatina CPS nurse.

Discussing ALMA's name change to make the organization more inclusive, Martin-Ocasio said, "Going through the change of the name forced us to have conversations that we had neglected to have—that were about inclusion, that were about the entire community, that were about women, that were about transgender, that were about things that perhaps, up until that point, had taken for granted."

Discussions about inclusion permeated the evening with particular focus on the transgender community.

Cardona touched on this later during a question about why the Latinx community needs its own LGBTQ groups, saying, "It's not about exclusion; it's about affinity."

Following the panel, ALMA President Julio Rodr�guez spoke both of PRAA as well as ALMA, noting, "It is still about creating a safe space for us to be who we are however we choose to define it."

For more information about ALMA, visit ALMAChicago.org; see PRAAChicago.org to learn more about PRAA.


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