Atlanta- Project South. Atlanta has been the crossroads of Southern social movements, historical Black liberation, and resistance for hundreds of years. Atlanta is also the crossroads where the corporate superstructures that moved to the Sunbelt in the 1980’s married the Old Confederacy and attracted millions of working class migrants, bringing together Black and Brown communities. Atlanta houses the main offices of the University Sin Fronteras for those same reasons.
San Antonio- Southwest Workers Union. San Antonio has played the role of a military geo-political space of significance for the last 500 years, dubbed the North American Free Trade Agreement city as well as the Military City USA with more than 8 military bases located there and an additional 6 military bases (missions) held by the Spanish for 300 years. San Antonio is majority Mexican people who became US citizens when the border crossed them in 1848 (or how the NW of Mexico became the SW of the US). Thus Texas is a bridge between the South and the Southwestern United States that make up the ‘Global South’ within the U.S. This UNSIF campus is rooted in the need to decolonize the borderlands.
Detroit- East Michigan Environmental Action Center. The destruction and abandonment of the auto industry has decimated the Black working class who are now losing their pensions. Detroit has become ground zero of the neoliberal plan for U.S. cities: bankruptcy, school closures, gentrification, land grabs, and an emergency manager whose task is to dissolve, legislative bodies and due process, and to establish an economic structural plan with the goal of eliminating city services. In Detroit it started with the privatizing of the water system and shutting off hundreds of thousands of people’s water connections. East Michigan Environmental Action Center brings together movement leaders across generations to teach one another the different ways neo-liberalism has changed the city of Detroit.
San Juan- Caribbean Institute. The colonial legacy of Puerto Rico began when Europeans set foot in what is known today as the Caribbean, first under the Spanish rule and later after 1895 under the rule of the United States. The place and space that the campus of the University Sin Fronteras holds in San Juan is unique. It is the study of decolonizing in the very colony and how to resist under direct imperialism. Through the San Juan UNSIF, there has been a focus on publications from the UNSIF campuses and on improving communications among organizations by sharing political education materials. Reynaldo Padilla, the campus coordinator, is currently editing and designing a toolkit where the process of the UNSIF and the language of decolonization and dismantling racism in our lifetime can be communicated across multiple communities.
Bemidji- Indigenous Environmental Network. The Indigenous Environmental Network anchors the newest campus in the University Sin Fronteras. The Bemidji community holds the Anishinabee worldview, a model for self-identity and cultural ReGeneration[i], not just a strategy for success but of survival. The reality of Indigenous people and the history of survival and resistance lie front and center on the Bemidji campus. The student-participants come from a previous generation of parents severely impacted by the systems of racist anti-Indigenous policies that created boarding schools and the ideology that “the only good Indian is a dead one.” The decolonizing process includes identity, regeneration of culture as a weapon of survival, and revival of cultural ceremony and sober community.
Jacksonville- New Jim Crow Movement. Florida was colonized by the Spanish empire and was an important state in the Confederate South. During the Civil Rights Movement, Jacksonville was the only city to ban Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s entry. Within this history, there was Indigenous resistance to the Spanish and to violent racism. Today, Florida is a front-runner in rejecting immigration reform and voting rights, while upholding the stand-your-ground laws that led to the murder of Trayvon Martin. The New Jim Crow Movement spotlights the history of oppression in Florida, and analyzes the different methods that racism has presented itself in governing bodies and laws. They importantly remember the resistance of the Deep South through their courses and remember that the space, place and context are creating a new knowledge that is re-writing the narrative of Florida and the process of decolonization.
[i] We refer to Re-Generation in three ways: a way to link people across ages and generations; a way to retell the historical stories of our peoples and communities; and a way to use these understandings of history to inform contemporary action