Friday, March 24, 2006
Immigrants, members of numerous organized groups from many ethnic groups, are holding a week long fast in front of San Francisco's Federal Building. The main stream media isn't giving these outsiders much coverage, but you can read all about it at their excellent blog.
The hunger strikers want Senator Feinstein, long something of an immigration restrictionist, to come out against the horrible House-passed bill, HR 4437, which would make being undocumented a felony. They hope for an immigration "reform" that would provide amnesty to many of the 11 million people working in this country without papers, that would end exploitation and harassment, and that would enable families to reunite.
They and the rest of us are not likely to get any of those things, since the country seems to be descending into one of its periodic immigration panics in which we scapegoat the latest crop of enterprising newcomers. We want their labor; we like the interesting, vibrant society their presence makes for; and periodically we get scared and pass fierce anti-immigrant laws, especially when, as at present, politicians use fear of people of different colors to rile up their base.
But the immigrants don't give up, just as the people in our families didn't. And just maybe the pols will tie themselves in hopeless knots this year and find their way back to sanity in the future.
These pictures are from the opening rally in Dolores Park on Tuesday and then from the Federal Building encampment after a couple of nights of cold and rain.
As always, it is about keeping the candle of hope burning.
A proud Mayan blessing greeted the rally.
Pastor Mauricio Chacon spoke of the Biblical witness to hospitality.
At the Federal Building, there was Tagalog in sight as well as Spanish.
It's cold and wet out there.
Life on the street is disorderly and uncomfortable.
Yes -- immigrant rights are human rights.
For more on the hunger strike, visit the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. The hunger strikers will lead a march to Senator Feinstein's office (yes, the same one we visited during the anti-torture demo) at 11 am, Monday, March 27. I'll be there.