I grew up in a world where Civil Right was already fought and paid for by my Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Mother, Father, Tias, and Tios. They fought for the rights I was born with as a free-brown-skinned Chicana (American of Mexican ancestry). They walked out of schools and work places in protest for not having the same educational and workers rights as every white American did/does. I grew up in a world where I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could go to school, learn about the walkouts1, Cesar Chaves, Hidalgo, Zappata, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King in one class room, from one history book. I grew KNOWING for sure that I could go to college and live anywhere in the United States as a free person because I was lucky enough to be born in Indiana, raised in Texas, then New York.
It seems painfully obvious that Arizona law is staring down the barrel of white supremacy discrimination- thinly veiled in “English-Only” patriotics. Republican State Representative Russel Pierce, the Nazi-hugger, and Kris Kobach, a birther and attorney for the immigration law institute, co-authored the new Arizona law3. The agenda of these two men, who are very deeply involved with eugenic and white supremacy coalitions, has leaked into and corrupted the government of Arizona. Beyond the “Papers Please” sb1070 law, gov. brewer has also allowed for a second measure to take place of ridding all public and charter schools of any ethnic based courses and also is disallowing any person that speaks English with a thick accent to keep their jobs or be hired for jobs as English teachers. Those kinds of laws only serve to continue white-washing America until we are look the same. In Arizona, we are loosing everything we fought for in 1968, under the guise of immigration reform. In Arizona, jan brewer cannot tell you what an illegal person looks like. Yet, she can sign sb1070 in to law. The police can target (harass), ANYONE that gives them a “reasonable suspicion” as to their citizenship status. Who decides what is reasonable? If the federal government is not going to discuss immigration reform as stated by President Barack Obama, on May 1, 2010, then the potential for “Police States” may become a trend on the rise. Already some people in Texas are attempting to work with Kris Kobach, the writer of the Arizona sb 1070, about pushing through a bill of their own that draws from Arizona’s example.
I married a man that served in the United States Air Force as the Gulf War began. While we lived in England, I knew that I was not in the land of the free the two years we lived there. In all that time I could not shake the feeling that in the UK nothing was quite “free”. Immigration reform matters to me because when I was in England, all I wanted was to come home and be free again. I left college to get married and have children. Thankfully, I went back to college because of my children, to teach them or show them, that anything is possible. It breaks my heart to hear fellow Latinos agree with the way laws are happening out in Arizona . I am certain that the laws like sb 1070 and sb1069 are being passed only to chip away at the freedom our parents and grandparents fought for in the late sixties and seventies. These days are our “Walk-Out” Days. Latinos, I imagine this is the feeling my Grandmom had in her heart in 1968 when she kept Momma and my Tias home from school. This is the feeling all the dog-bitten, police-brutalized, marching protesters never thought we’d have to feel again. Please take the time to register to vote for the next elections, our voz is the only one that will count this time. Please DO NOT carry your birth certificate around with you instead educate yourself on as many questions as you can think of before you venture to Arizona. Please keep “Breathing While Brown” as my friend, Alma Luz Villanueva offers in these difficult times6.7
Immigration law: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=02729c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD&vgnextchannel=02729c7755cb9010VgnVCM10000045f3d6a1RCRD
free legal help: http://www.justice.gov/eoir/probono/states.htm
by Viktoria Valenzuela