Mexico today is gripped by a major sense of despair. The country has become an open field for massive extractive industries, particularly mining and fracking. The so-called war on drugs, has dragged on for over more than a decade and wrecked regional economies, causing widespread migration across and out of the country.
I worked as a community and political organizer in Wayne County, Michigan, during the 2016 election. Frustrated by the ignorance and outright dismissal of grassroots strategies by various interest groups and individuals with stakes in the election, I decided to focus my emergent doctoral research on the implications of grassroots organizing in conflict and coordination with other modes of political action.
On March 18, 2018, Stephon “Zoe” Clark was shot in his grandmother’s backyard 20 times, at least six in the back, by two Sacramento Police officers. In the resulting community-led protests, shutdowns, and ceremonies, the 23-year-old father of two has been poignantly mourned for the singular person he was, while his name joins the litany of African-American men, women, boys and girls who have been victims of police aggression and homicide.
As two junior faculty members with precarious positions as visiting associate professor (David) and postdoc (Megan), and respective research among white and Latinx working-class populations on the East and West coasts, we have been asking ourselves what particular interventions an anthropology of North America can and should make in the discipline and beyond. Why might this particular regional grouping be good to think with at this point in history?