The treatment of immigrants who arrive at the southern border of the United States has been a worldwide talking point for quite some time now. The conversation is full of talks about border camps, who can be considered legal, what constitutes humane treatment and who needs to be held accountable. The conversation often turns to anger at Trump - but at least one group thinks we may be missing a key figure in this debacle. As far as activist group WERK for Peace is concerned, people need to be paying more attention to Stephen Miller. So they threw a queer-friendly dance party on his lawn - that's guaranteed to catch people's eyes.
The groups organizer, Firas Nasr, has a lot to say about Miller. Nasr sat with The DCist to discuss the protest party and had this to say about Stephen Miller:
"Stephen Miller is the architect behind the Muslim Ban and the architect behind the response to the migrant and refugee caravan that is currently making its way to the U.S.-Mexico border. We wanted to shed light on him and on the Trump administration's egregious response to the migrant and refugee caravan. What better way to do it than to bring a whole crowd of people dancing to Arabic music and Spanish music to him?"
Interestingly, Miller was not likely to be at his house at the time of the protest - and organizers knew that. They learned of his schedule shortly before the event but opted to go ahead with it regardless of whether Miller was home or not. Nasr says that WERK protests are not so really about pestering people like Miller. They're about drawing attention to the issue at hand while also showing marginalized people that they are accepted:
"Quite frankly, we don't really care [if Miller is home.] As with many other protests, while it's about Miller, it's about centering and uplifting our trans, queer, people of color, and immigrant community, and to send a clear message that we see you, we accept you, and we will work until you are able to access safety and security."
Digital journalist Alejandro Alvarez captured some incredible moments:
From the people who brought you an LGBT dance party at Pence’s house, it’s #WERKNotWalls, twerking their way to Ste… https://t.co/35c6166Iv6— Alejandro Alvarez (@Alejandro Alvarez)1544659614.0
They just danced through Palmer Alley throwing rainbow confetti and chanting “Stephen Miller what a villain, lockin… https://t.co/lms1TrYliC— Alejandro Alvarez (@Alejandro Alvarez)1544660393.0
Outside the building where Miller apparently lives: Firas from @werkforpeace wants him to come out and dance “with… https://t.co/oiYOdnT152— Alejandro Alvarez (@Alejandro Alvarez)1544661055.0
...aaaand now it’s a party in the street outside Miller’s apartment building. My god it’s snowing confetti.… https://t.co/sjAZsuOkv8— Alejandro Alvarez (@Alejandro Alvarez)1544661558.0
#WERKNotWalls: A few closing words from Nasr, who says queer and trans immigrants + refugees are especially at risk… https://t.co/2iKeooczHY— Alejandro Alvarez (@Alejandro Alvarez)1544665064.0
People were SO into this protest.
We start with a moment of silence for those migrants and refugees who work to find safety, and cannot.… https://t.co/91wWFYWOP2— Alexis Goldstein🔥 (@Alexis Goldstein🔥)1544656692.0
@aletweetsnews Act Up tactics. I love it.— Smocking Gallery Chapel (@Smocking Gallery Chapel)1544661944.0
I missed this party! Maybe next time? Thank you for your creativity and solidarity, #WERKNotWalls https://t.co/Kd3Arlruzi— Kica Matos (@Kica Matos)1544727402.0
@aletweetsnews I want to be a part of that team - they got my support 😍🙂🙂🙂👏👏👏👏— Artemisia (@Artemisia)1544660867.0
@B52Malmet He is abominable and GUARANTEED jealous as hell of anyone with rhythm(you’d have to have some soul)! THA… https://t.co/XED2dKoeSS— JOSEPH SHIELDS (@JOSEPH SHIELDS)1544681316.0
“The most radical thing we can do in this administration is love and celebrate vulnerable communities.”… https://t.co/MBNSl6QWIP— Daniel Muñoz (@Daniel Muñoz)1544663939.0
Filling the streets with confetti (BIODEGRADABLE YALL) for #WerkNotWalls @werkforpeace 🎉 https://t.co/GYQ3gTVzyX— Alexis Goldstein🔥 (@Alexis Goldstein🔥)1544658257.0
Of course there were naysayers and people who feel that the entire premise of WERK for Peace is ridiculous and confrontational. Lots of people believe that taking these protests to politicians at their homes, offices, or places like restaurants is invasive. Nasr isn't worried about them, though:
"Our celebrations are ones that are joyful and ones that are very peaceful, but we believe in a diversity of tactics. Politicians need to know that when they create policies that directly and affect and marginalize us in our private spaces, they can't just go home and expect to feel safe. Privileged people want their safety and they deserve it, but so does everyone else. We are working for a world in which everyone receives the safety and security they need."