Written by Sam Moore
On the morning of May 20th, I carried a box of food from a car into Shattuck Hall at Portland State University. The walls of the room where the food was lain were decorated with maps and butcher paper where people could write feedback.
Resistance GIS https://resistancegis.wordpress.com/ was a grassroots event that created a discussion about using GIS for purposes more constructive than resource extraction, commodity consumption and surveillance.
For example, speaker Veronica Velez shared how she used cartography to assist a Latinx community in its struggle for educational opportunity equality. She advised the audience to become an integral part of the community with which one collaborates. Do not play baseball- that is, don’t be an opportunist who is “helping” for personal gain and is liable to run when staying becomes inconvenient.
Another presentation that I found inspiring was made by Erin McElroy. She introduced me to the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. This endeavor is the product of a small collective that is using interactive maps personal stories, and direct action to illuminate the injustices perpetrated by landowners upon the dispossessed in California.
There was ample time to meet one another, share our interests and skillsets, and chat about the topics raised over the course of the conference. The idea that we have the capacity to become a force of change by helping the underrepresented speak for themselves gives me hope for a better future for our nation and the world.