Camilo Godoy is a visual artist/activist studying in New York City. He was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1989 and immigrated to the U.S.A. with his mother in 1999. Currently, he is a fourth year student pursuing a BFA in Photography at Parsons The New School for Design and a BA in Education Studies at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts. Godoy’s academic research and practice as an artist/activist is particularly focused in the opposition of detention and the heteronormative policies and practices that seduce us to participate in the logics of hegemonic nationalist projects.
The expansive effort to select who may legally enter and be in the U.S.A. has produced aggressive networks of punishment, mass warehousing, and criminalization that deploy an unjust system of immigrant detention and deportation. Today, Camilo is forced by the U.S.A. to be separated from his boyfriend who was detained and deported from this country a year ago. As a result, he feels obligated to turn his academic research and practice as an artist/activist to the opposition of detention and deportation. Since November of last year Camilo began attending a visitation program with the organizations First Friends (http://www.irate-firstfriends.org) and Sojourners (http://sojournersvisitorprogram.blogspot.com) at the Elizabeth Detention Center in Elizabeth, NJ. At this detention center Camilo visits innocent strangers who have been converted into undesirable immigrants by the “nation of immigrants.” Also, from May to July of this year Camilo led a series of summer art workshops for children who are affected by the detention and/or deportation of their relatives. The workshops were held at the American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program in Newark, NJ (http://afsc.org/office/newark-nj) and they aimed at providing a meaningful encounter between the children’s creative endeavor and their immigrant experiences.
Camilo is one of the organizers of QUEEROCRACY (http://queerocracy.org), a recently formed queer grassroots activist organization interested in using direct action and creative tactics to fight for social justice. They have been actively collaborating with Health GAP (http://www.healthgap.org) and the Student Global AIDS Campaign (http://www.studentglobalaidscampaign.org) to fight global AIDS. QUEEROCRACY was recently awarded The Grassroots Activists Award at Health GAP’s fourth annual Global Health Justice Awards. Together in collaboration with QUEEROCRACY, artist Carlos Motta, the Museum of Arts and Design, and several other individuals and organizations, Camilo is helping to organize a social intervention-based performance tittled “A New Discovery: Queer Immigration in Perspective.” Taking place on Columbus Day and at Columbus Circle in NYC this intervention utilizes this symbol of immigration and the new world to address the way immigration and queer politics intersect in the public sphere in ways that both confront, challenge and transform the state mechanisms that police borders and bodies in the U.S.A. and in other receiving states.
How much more can we take? This question finds a persistent voice in our current historical moment. Many people like Camilo grapple with concerns over social justice to find no easy answer in a divisive national debate over numerous issues. Some of us are brave, and as an artist/activist, Camilo Godoy leads his actions to fight injustice with the words of Frederick Douglass: Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
“A brave group of people stood up and fought and in some cases died so others might live and be free.”
-Vito Russo, 1988