Monday, April 10, 2006

Immigrant Unity Press Conference, San Francisco

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Today at noon, while so many thousands marched in other cities, the Deporten La Migra Coalition invited the press to 24th and Mission, the heart of immigrant San Francisco. Our march is tonight, after work. Meanwhile, the folks who led the immigrant hunger strike against HR4437 had a message: UNITY.
  • Unity in opposition to any partial legalization legislation that would create different tiers of rights for immigrants.
  • Unity in demanding a path to citizenship for all who want it and the same rights and protections enjoyed by anyone else in the country.
  • Unity between the various communities of immigrants.
The various communities were certainly represented.
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The need for unity is great. N.C. Aizenman wrote a perceptive article in the Sunday Washington Post on the emerging immigrant civil rights movement that raised some important issues:

They face the challenge of appealing to a population that is divided economically, racially and by national origin, a fact that has perplexed marketing and political strategists alike....

[Frank Sharry, executive director of the National Immigration Forum] said activism could be undermined if legislation similar to the Senate proposal ever finds its way into law. "I suspect a lot people will start busying themselves with getting on the path to legal permanent residence, and that could take the political momentum out of [the movement]." ...

"Without a Dr. King-like figure, we lack the capacity to create that personal connection, not just within our own community but with folks on the outside," said Cecilia Munoz, vice president of policy for National Council of La Raza, a Latino advocacy group. "Someone with that kind of visibility is really useful in terms of educating people."...

Although there is no identifiable leader to reconcile the inevitable fractures that have emerged as so many groups try to harmonize their activities, [Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles] said the decentralized nature of the movement also has an advantage.

"There's no one leader who could disappear and affect the movement," she said. "Instead, you have all these local communities with their own independent local leaders."

Today's press conference certainly showcased the local leadership and diversity of local Bay Area immigrant communities. The speakers pictured above were Latino, Filipino, Palestinian, African-descended, and European (Dutch).

U.S. citizens who have been here awhile can forget what newcomers bring with them: the ones who come are tough survivors. They are often quite sophisticated members of their home societies. Many have experience of hard, dangerous political struggle under authoritarian regimes. We are enriched, over and over, by their determination and moral clarity.

And as the speakers today reminded any who could hear: the young people of these communities are our future.
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3 comments:

FooBarBin said...

This is such horseshit. I know that your heart is in the right place, but these people are breaking the law. This is not a question of civil rights, but a question of legality.


U.S. citizens who have been here awhile can forget what newcomers bring with them: the ones who come are tough survivors. They are often quite sophisticated members of their home societies. Many have experience of hard, dangerous political struggle under authoritarian regimes. We are enriched, over and over, by their determination and moral clarity.


This has got to be the lamest excuse that I have read on the whole debate. Well, except for the inflation excuse.

I agree that if people are going to be here, they need the same rights. Guest worker programs are crap, and will lead to more problems. They are an excuse to exploit people.

I should probably stop. I think that I might have offended you.

TBLJ said...

foobarbin
You seem to have a lot of hostility about this issue. This is a civil rights issue. Especially when you have families that can be torn apart.

Ex. the father may not be legal the mother is legal and the children or legal also what if the father were the bread winner. I ask you, do you want to break families up? Now you have a situation where the mother is a single parent and may have to rely on the the state for help.
Also this is a bigger problem than illegal immigration, it is about immigration and poverty, fair wage, fair treatment...
Did you know that there are companies that hire illegals make them work and then have them deported with out paying them. Instead of trying to say that these people are breaking the law why not go after the corporations that are hiring them. Why should anybody be criminalized for trying to take care of themselves or their family.

I could go on but you would probably get tired of it.

TBLJ said...

Janinfran,
You should read what I wrote on my blog about this article
http://thatblacklesbianjew.blogspot.com/2006/04/from-latinos-rally-hopes-for-movement.html

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