By Liisa Wale
Arizona Community Press | www.azcommunitypress.org
Recently Arizona Community Press had the opportunity to get together with Puente Ink at their offices in Phoenix and learn how to silk screen t-shirts. Puente Ink is one of a number of programs which members of Puente Arizona are working on. The group is most well-known for the posters and banners which are seen at migrant justice marches and rallies.
Puente Arizona is “part of the global movement for migrant justice and human rights. As a grassroots community-based group Puente promotes justice, non-violence, interdependence and human dignity. Puente Arizona works to empower the community and build bridges by working collaboratively with various organizations and individuals.”
One way the group does this is through art and that is where Puente Ink and the silk screen workshop assist in their message. The banners, t-shirts, and posters are a form of “self-defense” and provide a voice through words and graphics. Orlando Arenas, one of the members of Puente Ink, stated this about the work that they do – “Our words and art are our weapons”. Thanks to donations the group has equipment such as heater to dry the art and a “spider”. This equipment helps them to be able to produce banners and posters quickly.
Social movements such as civil rights, women’s rights, and farm workers have long used screen printing as a way to get their messages across to the public. It provides a inexpensive means to reach a wider audience through colorful images and words. This is also a way to get one’s message across in a fun and empowering way. Not only is it empowering for those creating the art, but for those who see it.
Puente Ink not only creates posters for their organization and migration justice, but for other social justice movements as well. Some examples of that are the recent Trayvon Martin and Bradley Manning rallies and marches that occurred in Phoenix area. They made posters and brought them to the rallies. It is a way for groups working toward the same goal to come together and work in solidarity.
On the afternoon Arizona Community Press learned to create t-shirts the group was shown by members of Puente Ink the process from start to finish on what it takes and some of the challenges. Puente is hoping to soon be holding workshops for other groups and individuals in the community. Members of Puente Ink were trained and given the knowledge and want to pass it on to others in the community.