Adventures in Activism – SB1070

Protestors in San Francisco's Mission District

On July 29, 2010, people all across the United States gathered in cities to voice their concern about Arizona’s infamous law SB 1070.  I proudly spent that chilly, windy Thursday evening in San Francisco’s Mission District, with people of all ethnicities, young and old, protesting against this ridiculous and vicious law.

SB 1070 is an Arizona law that would require all immigrants to carry alien registration documents and enable police officers to question and perform checks on anyone they believe to be in the United States illegally, based on “reasonable suspicion.” If someone, stopped by an Arizona police officer, did not have the proper ID and papers to prove his or her immigration status, SB 1070 would also allow the police officer to arrest that person for not having the proper ID. Being caught without the required ID, under this law, is a misdemeanor crime. If the person without the proper papers is arrested, they would remain detained until they are proved, with the proper identification, that their status is legal.

The controversial law poses many concerns and questions; what is “reasonable suspicion?” Is it having an accent? Is it a type of behavior? Without this being clearly defined, it is easy to conclude  that this kind of legislation not only enforces, but encourages racial profiling. With 7, count ’em, folks, 7 lawsuits challenging SB 1070, a partial injunction was set to block certain provisions of the law, by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. So although the law is on hold for now, the injunction was promptly appealed (less then 48 hrs, after the injunction was announced) by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. The fight is clearly not over.

So why care about a law in a state that I don’t even live in? For one, MOSQUITA Y MARI, deals with these issues. Mari and her mother struggle to provide a better life for themselves, sometimes by any means necessary. When I first read the script, I was touched by how much their struggle reminded me of my parents and how difficult it must have been for them. It is important to share these stories, to give a voice and face to the people behind them, to connect one another in solidarity, and to support one another beyond race and class.

Its simple, really. We are all immigrants. None of us, except my Native brothers and sisters, are originally from the United States. In fact, I’m only here as a by-product of good old-fashioned American Imperialism. But my parents decided to live here so that I could have better opportunities than they had, a decision most immigrants have made, in order to provide a better life and future for their families.

This decision has come with decades of sacrifices, struggle, and worst of all shame for many immigrants and their families. It is tough, very tough, to legally immigrate here and it is also very tough to illegally come here, and risk your life everyday in order to provide a better life for your family. I’m not advocating for lawlessness with immigration, what I am advocating for is fairness. I just don’t think it fair to continually marginalize immigrants (legal or illegal) through legislation. I think there are far better solutions than building a wall, and it starts with the simple realization that “immigrants” are humans.  I’m not just for “immigrant rights,” I’m for human rights.

Alex Hernandez of LA MISSION, joins the protest

For more information on SB 1070, visit:

http://tinyurl.com/2epsy4g

And for information on how you can get involved:

http://tinyurl.com/ykusmp9

This Adventure in Activism was brought to you by:

Charlene Agabao

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