micha cárdenas Exhibits UNSTOPPABLE


IAS faculty member micha cárdenas exhibited her project UNSTOPPABLE in collaboration with Patrisse Cullors, Edxie Betts and Christopher Head at the INCA Artist Run Space, hosted by IAS faculty members Bergman and Salinas. The project intends to find affordable bulletproof materials for use by marginalized groups, with black trans women being a specific group of primary concern.


A conversation that took place on December 18, 2015 with micha cárdenas, Edxie Betts, Kiyomi Fujikawa, C. Davida Ingram and Nikkita Oliver.

At the 2015 Allied Media Conference opening ceremony, Patrisse Cullors asked “what would technology for black lives be,” while wearing a shirt designed by Foremost and Damon Turner with the words BULLETPROOF #BlackLivesMatter emblazoned across her chest in gold. Inspired by this idea, micha cárdenas, Patrisse Cullors, Edxie Betts and Chris Head are collaborating to develop UNSTOPPABLE, a set of materials and processes for producing DIY bulletproof clothing at low to no cost. UNSTOPPABLE is art as intervention. The artists have developed a set of instructions for making these garments for wide dissemination. These clothes and prototypes will be the basis for a series of workshops, round tables and conversations about direct action approaches to ending the murder of black people, in particular black trans women, at universities and community centers around the US, and wherever there is interest in hosting these conversations.

The project name comes from the words of Sylvia Rivera, a trans latina leader of the movement for freedom for transgender people, who said “a lot of heads were bashed [at Stonewall]. But it didn’t hurt their true feelings — they all came back for more and more. Nothing — that’s when you could tell that nothing could stop us at that time or any time in the future.” Also, the name refers to the idea of that firearms’ capacity to cause harm is called stopping power. We are unstoppable.

The conversation included the audience and centered on these questions:

  • What direct action strategies can we imagine to stop the murders of black trans women, black people and trans women of color?
  • How have you used art to create change to save black lives? – How can artists and organizers work together to create change, now, without asking other people to do it for us?
  • Relative to our art and expressions, for those of us whom are either black or trans or both, what are ways we can heal ourselves and uplift each other from some of the deepest internalizations of white supremacy, anti-blackness, and trans misogyny without perpetuating ‘master narratives’ and symbology that say we will always be oppressed?

UNSTOPPABLE was co-sponsored by the University of Washington Bothell Community-Based Learning and Research Fellowship and Uzuri* Productions.

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