Social Activist Harsha Walia To Speak At UO

Author and social activist Harsha Walia is best known for co-founding the Vancouver chapter of the movement No One Is Illegal, a network of anti-racist groups that campaign for and represent non-resident immigrants. Her book explores immigrant rights movements through an international look at capitalism, labor exploitation, settler colonialism, state building and racialized empire. In it, she offers strategies for social movement organizers to develop strong communities whose ultimate goal is liberation.

Walia will speak at a launch for her book, Undoing Border Imperialism, an event presented by UO’s Multicultural Center, Survival Center and Native American Student Union. The book launch will take place at 7 pm Monday, Jan. 7, in McKenzie 240C on the UO campus, 12th Avenue and Kincaid Street.

Border imperialism is “the processes by which the violences and precarity of displacement and migration are structurally created as well as maintained,” Walia writes. Four major structures are part of this definition: displacement and exclusion of migrating peoples, criminalization of migrants, entrenched hierarchy of status and state-legislated exploitation of migrant labor.

“It’s important to understand immigration in the context of global border issues,” says Paige Corich-Kleim, co-director of the Survival Center. This campus organization aims to provide support for different campaigns and activists, specifically those concerned with both social and environmental issues.

The organizers of the event want the community to know about the history of the land that today we call Eugene. The Willamette Valley was the traditional homelands of several Kalapuya tribes, but through the Willamette Valley Treaty of Jan. 22, 1855, most of the tribes ceded their land to the U.S. in exchange for certain rights. The peoples of these tribes were removed to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation in 1856. Today, they keep a strong connection to their homelands as members of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

After the event, which will include a presentation, Q&A and potential discussion, Walia and local contributors will be available for book signing. Books will be on sale for $16-$18, cash only.