Letter from the Editors

Dear reader,

Men joining roller derbies, theater with audience as actor, a stolen lamp that took a church’s history with it. Urban squash leagues and Tolstoy marathons. Budget cuts on food stamps and a gang initiative that tries to define community. The stories we’ve loved publishing in our five issues have been about borders of all kinds—about setting and learning them, about crossing or bridging them. Borders give us order, marking guarantees and edges. They tell us what we are, and help us decide who we want to be.

Our state borders are at their most militarized, with almost two million deported under Obama; meanwhile, the line between private and public is dissolved with “global surveillance.” Questions of borders are more pressing than ever. Are they human nature, and will they always be? When we study any moment of history, we see that progress is always about breaking down the arbitrary demarcations about familiarity, custom, and ego that separate people, and about living out the natural ones that connect: fear and pride, grief and hope, life and death.

We’re told that good fences make good neighbors. We are interested in trespass. This issue brings you the stories of a disappearing coastline and a fight over a narrow walkway; city maps, new and old; a prisoner taking freedom through words; the blurring between activist causes. Rules are useful—until they control you, in the same way that walls can be great friends and great foes. We hope that in this and our other issues, we’ve given you a window through.

Thank you to our talented editorial board, our wonderful and wonderfully honest advisors, and of course, to our loyal readers.

With Love and Squalor,

Sophia Nguyen and Cindy Ok

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