Refusing to be Refugees: Mapping Sites of Chicanx/Latinx Defiance and Activism in California

Daisy Herrera
UC Riverside

“Refugees” are understood as communities escaping cross-border sociopolitical and economic violence entrenched by histories of colonialism and imperialism. In the 20th/21st centuries, Chicanx/Latinx populations have been subjected to displacement due to military-sponsored wars, exploitative trade agreements, deportation and detention, urban renewal and highway projects, and the expansion of logistics. As a result, their cultural, educational, social, and political participation is impoverished as they fight to remain in their communities and claim a sense of place and belonging. Refusing to be uprooted is a call for resistance through critical Chicanx/Latinx placemaking and decolonial cartographies against the forces of settler colonialism and White supremacy. This project engages in digital humanities by mapping sites of defiance and activism of Chicanx/Latinx communities throughout California. By developing an ARCGIS StoryMap, we expand the presence of historically-overlooked locations and trace the resistance and activism of our communities. We cultivate radical imaginaries, encouraging other scholars to critically examine patterns of (im)migration, study networks of ethnic support and solidarity, and expand the historiography of twentieth century Chicanx/Latinx struggles and movements that shape the ethnic population of California.