2020 Census

9 Questions with Sanctuary City Project

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As part of the digital experience Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America? presented under the umbrella of the Art+Action Coalition’s COME TO YOUR CENSUS campaign—powered by San Francisco’s Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA)—YBCA and Art+Action have asked participating artists to respond to prompts around activism, community-building, and art, in the format of the Census’ 9 questions.

Artists Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari lead Sanctuary City Projects, a public print shop where visitors can engage in dialogue while creating protest posters around topics of sanctuary, immigration, and self-empowerment toward political action.

What is your first experience in seeing/feeling the impact of art + activism?

Engaging with the work of William Pope L. In particular The Black Factory (2003-ongoing) project opened my eyes to the potential community impact these types of projects can have in an extremely creative way.

What makes you feel a deep sense of belonging?

When people can come together for a common cause or issue. Whether the cause is local, national, or global, the power of people to unite and act is an amazing thing to take a part of and witness.

What do you wish for your community?

I wish that we can remember what community means by learning to listen to each other and practicing empathy in a sincere way.

Who are the most vulnerable members of your community and how do you support them?

There are various reasons for people to be vulnerable within communities. Support for the vulnerable can take the form of anything–non-profits, education, creativity.  Positive support for the vulnerable can take place by combining these different tools.

What’s at stake in contemporary art when creating work that pertains to social and political reform?

Contemporary art is a powerful tool that allows a creative practitioner to deeply examine social or political causes or reforms and to consider new and creative ways to explore these polarizing issues. Whether it is uncovering what is below the surface, or bringing people together in constructive conversation, the artist can use these tools to create new ways of engaging with these issues.

What are some strategies for breaking through political disengagement, distrust or distraction?

Creating artistic platforms that can engage with community that brings together research, community conversations, and community feedback to examine and challenge these narratives.  

What would push you past your fear?

What would push me past my fear is knowing that doing this act will allow me to grow as a person and creative practitioner.  

What is at stake for you and your community by taking the census?

The 2020 Census comes at an extremely important moment in our country and everyone’s participation is needed. The power in numbers is crucial to confront the dangerous rhetoric and policy being spread through our country. Our participation in the 2020 Census allows our voice to be heard, giving us the power to ensure community health and strength.

What, if anything, is worth fighting for?

Fighting against injustice, which can take many different forms.