This weekend, several social organizations have organized a podcast marathon to support the campaign for the regularization of migrants in an irregular administrative situation in Spain. During this Saturday and Sunday, Madrid will host a podcast festival with a live show of almost 24 hours. Your goal is get the 500,000 signatures needed to present in Congress and force debate on the popular legislative initiative (ILP) that could give papers to nearly half a million people.
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“People from the migrant community usually go to our anti-racist demonstrations and very few people from outside of it,” explains Gabriela Wiener, one of the participants and a columnist for elDiario.es. “That’s why we came up with the brilliant and bizarre idea of allying two things that seemed distant: podcasts as a phenomenon of success and public and the campaign for regularization.”
The event, which will take place in the Madrid neighborhood of Embajadores, in the spaces of La Parcería, La Maliciosa and Espacio Afro, includes podcasts such as No blacks in Tibet, We will come out better, I can speak and People 20/20, and artists and activists such as Alba Flores, Pamela Palenciano, Hajar Brown and Moha Gerehou (the complete poster can be consulted here).
The artist Asaari Bibang, one of the creators of the podcast There are no blacks in Tibet, points out the importance of “taking advantage of all communication spaces and codes” to do something that transcends “the initial idea of art and that contributes this awareness and this anti-racist fight”. “I, who have always worked from a gender perspective and with a fairly clear awareness of my identity, have always taken advantage of all communication spaces and codes,” she says.
The artist was encouraged to create the podcast with her colleagues because “there was nothing like it” on the market, something with touches of humor and not with such pedagogical aspects. Bibang believes that humor and podcasts can serve to bring the anti-racist and feminist fight to the public, for her there are no limits. “Any space that has the opportunity to reach the public can be a good method,” she says.
Podcasts can be a space that also serves to give voice to minorities and everyday issues such as fragile masculinity, motherhood and gender violence. It is a growing format that stood out in 2021 exceeding one million daily listeners.
Bibang says that “it is a wonderful opportunity that as artists we can access these types of spaces.” The artist explains that, apart from the show and the humor, it is her “responsibility” to do them from honesty and seek that “something else” can be transmitted.
The people who participate in the podcasts are “allies” and reach places “where we cannot reach,” says Marita Zambrana, from the Regularization Now platform. She also does not reject using humor and entertainment to deal with the fight against racism. With political clarity, Zambrana points out, you can communicate with humor and use emotions to reach a larger audience.
Wiener says that the issue of migration is “uncomfortable” and people “prefer to look the other way.” He complains about the slowness with which the collection of signatures is progressing throughout the territory, just over 150,000 so far, because “even in the media they do not speak as they should about its urgency.”
“We are very lonely, that’s the truth,” says Wiener. “We do not manage to make our struggles sexy, massive, that they are in the media, that they are in the mouths of politicians, that they are hegemonic like feminism.” According to her, the indifference has to do with the racism that many migrants suffer daily.
He believes that this festival is a historic opportunity to “dream of one in which the rights of migrants are not something marginal.” And he says that they not only seek to collect enough signatures, but “to become strong together in anti-racism in a context taken over by the extreme right”, using humor, anti-racism and feminism as “weapons of self-defense”.
Gabriela says that the fight will not end once enough signatures are collected and the popular initiative has to be debated in Parliament. “We depend on Congress. Or what is worse, we depend on the PSOE. It seems impossible, but we are trying to make it possible,” she says.
But Zambrana is more optimistic and assures that they appeal to the progressive parties and to the “historical heritage” in order to approve the initiative. “In this case [de herencia histórica] I’m talking about the PSOE”, he says, and points out that the socialists regularized migrants four times during the democracy.