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This queer anti-Trump protest wants you to #WERKNotWalls

Josh Jackman December 20, 2018
A still from a video of the founder of queer protest group WERK for Peace, Firas Nasr, dancing at the Berlin Wall

#WERKNotWalls is a queer dance protest which aims to help migrants (WERK for Peace/facebook)

A queer dance campaign has been launched which opposes Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies with twerking.

WERK for Peace, which was created after the Pulse gay nightclub shooting in 2016, explained that its #WERKNotWalls initiative was meant to draw attention to the mistreatment suffered by queer migrants by using “dance as a means of expressing dissent.”

The movement highlights the plight of—among others—Honduran citizen Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a trans woman who was beaten in US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody before her death in May, according to an independent autopsy report released in November.

“We are here and we are not going anywhere. And we demand respect for our existence”

— WERK for Peace founder Firas Nasr

After holding a queer dance party outside the home of Trump’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller earlier this month, the group launched its latest campaign with a video of WERK for Peace founder Firas Nasr twerking all over the remains of the Berlin Wall.

The collective, which was also part of the dance party which welcomed Vice President Mike Pence to his official residence last year, encouraged all LGBT+ people and allies to “WERK for a world free from oppressive and imperialist structures that seek to divide and separate us.”

WERK for Peace founder Firas Nasr explains queer dance protest

In a statement, Nasr described #WERKNotWalls as “an ode to the celebratory history of the immigrant/refugee/POC/oppressed queer and trans community in the face of oppression and marginalisation.

“In times where our communities are being attacked, we celebrate our existence. And in that celebration, we find the resilience to heal; we find the strength to continue the work, and we declare our conviction to survive and thrive.

Watch WERK for Peace founder Firas Nasr twerking at the Berlin Wall:

“We are here and we are not going anywhere. And we demand respect for our existence.”

They added that they wanted to show LGBT+ migrants that they had supporters, saying: “The US government is denying dignity and respect to queer and trans individuals fleeing violence in their country of origin, much of which is the direct result of US imperialism.

Queer dance protester Nasr twerks against a section of the Berlin Wall
Nasr dancing against graffiti reading: “It is necessary to destroy many walls” (WERK for Peace/facebook)

“We are here to send a counter message to our brothers, sisters, and non-binary/GNC siblings—we see you, we support you, and we will WERK to ensure you are able to live in a world free from violence.”

Nasr also pre-empted any criticism of their use of twerking, insisting: “I seek to honour the history of twerking through my use of it rather than appropriate it.”

More: #WERKNotWalls, Dance, Donald Trump, ice, immigration, migrants, Mike Pence, Politics, Queer, Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, Stephen Miller, Trans, US, US, WERK for Peace

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