Three big stories are all over the airwaves this week, and they all pertain to space in very broad, yet significant ways. While putting together this issue, I couldn’t help but think about how space pertains to these three events, especially when considering the power dynamics at play in each. Each instance invokes the concept of space in some way, and they could not go unrecognized…
George Zimmerman, a 29 year-old Florida man, is on trial for the murder of someone he deemed “suspicious” based on factors that apparently had little to do with what the victim, Trayvon Martin, was actually doing (walking with Skittles and tea), and more to do with where he was. 17-year old Martin was walking through space to which he didn’t belong — at least in Zimmerman’s eyes. Martin was intruding on Zimmerman’s safe space that evening, and it was the job of this self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman to confront the teen in the hopes of banishing him from the gates of the community. Instead….Well, you know the rest.
Nationally, Senate Republicans are pushing for the passage of an immigration bill that on the surface appears to be a “pathway to citizenship” for the 11 million (give or take) undocumented immigrants living in the United States. An important condition of this bill, however, is that border enforcement must be increased by 100%. That means 20,000 additional Border Patrol agents will be added to the already 20,000 strong force at the US-Mexico border. To put it into perspective, the only other border with 40,000 US guards is North Korea’s . The highly racialized militarization of the southern border ignores the ineffectiveness of these policies that not only fail to curb “illegal” migration across boundaries, they further dictate who is allowed the privilege of mobility. Not to mention the majority of America’s undocumented population isn’t Mexican, but people of different nationalities who have overstayed their visas.
Of course, spatial boundaries go beyond who belongs where. Boundaries are also personal and corporeal. I was able to participate in a demonstration in the Capitol rotunda in Austin, TX as State Senator Wendy Davis staged a nearly thirteen hour filibuster to block a measure that would all but ban abortion in the state. Senator Davis, along with other Texas Democrats, literally stood up to men in power who are projecting their legislative power into the bodies of Texas women. Last night, the filibuster and the occupation of the Capitol building by the 1,000+ women’s rights advocates killed the bill that would threaten the bodies of Texas women by limiting abortion access to wealthy women in urban spaces. The bill was killed at 3am this morning, June 26, 2013.
When you consider geographical and corporeal space in relation to these issues currently making headlines, themes of power and agency become apparent, making these stories more than just item-of-the-week headline fodder. The above issues fall within the larger spectrum of civil rights in the United States and who has the right to move, to choose.
With this in mind, we offer you different interpretations of the word “Space” in the following pages. So, without further adieu, or “blast off” puns, I happily introduce ISSUE 03: The Space Issue.