Over the last 15 years of my life, where I have been an activist and blogger working with and writing about immigrant issues, being told to go back where I came from (Queens, NYC) and being threatened is nothing new. But given the current political climate being a Latina and being an outspoken advocate for the basic human rights of immigrants has become more dangerous with the battleground extending from the borders to our bodies.
Take for example Isabel Garcia and the way her work for human rights is being attacked by dehumanizing her and sexually assaulting her in effigy.
But first a little about the mujer and person that is. From Latino Politico:
There is no greater promoter of human rights and advocate for migrant families in Baja Arizona than Isabel Garcia. She was a recipient of the 2006 Premio Naciónal de Derechos Humanos, presented by the Mexican government for the first time to someone who wasn’t born there, in order to get an idea of the scope of work she’s done. Rather than accept the award, however, she took the opportunity to call a press conference and demand that the affluent and elite south of border do more to promote economic justice among the working classes. It was a perfect example of Isabel’s work to keep the focus on the underlying roots of human migration and exploitation, rather than on herself.
Isabel is one of the major driving forces behind the Coalición de Derechos Humanos, headquartered in Tucson, and that’s just when she’s wearing her organizer hat. She also serves as one of Pima County’s leading Legal Defenders, which has Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s pink underwear in a snit since apparently the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America does not apply to those who serve in government.
You see, Sheriff Joe came to town recently to sign copies of his new book that blames all the ills of society on “illegals”. Well, that type of thing isn’t received the same way in Tucson as it is north of the Gila, so a protest was organized in conjunction with Sheriff Joe’s appearance. A piñata created in Arpaio’s likeness, wearing his trademark pink boxers, was…well, it was a piñata, so you can imagine.
And letting no expression of the understandable anger of the pro-immigrant community go unpunished, the anti-immigrants took to the radio airwaves. They did what they do best, spout hate, targeting Garcia, her life (because let’s be real this is about life not just making a living) and her body as a Latina woman. There were calls for her to be fired and a very clear message was sent that the body of a Latina woman is fair game.
One of the local gasbags on 104.1, Jon Justice, filmed a “webisode” of his show where he carressed and fondled a piñata intended to be the likeness of Isabel Garcia.
And his so-called explanation:
Here Isabel Garcia is reduced to an object. A “mascot” akin to an animal, something to be carried around and mocked and manipulated.
And because in this world, money talks it is important to to attack Jon Justice for the hatemonger that he is by targeting those that advertise to keep his show going.
Speaking of money, here is the list of advertisers for 104.1 The Truth. There is a massive letter-writing and phone call campaign underway to call these businesses to withdraw their support to these racist and xenophobic messages being broadcast on the airwaves of Baja Arizona:
So far, the following previously listed sponsors have informed us of their intention to immediately withdraw their support of 104.1 FM:
• Main Gate Square
• Patio Pools & Spa
• The Auto Body Shop
• Advanced Recon
• Aung Foot Health Clinics
• Sol Cars
Interestingly, many of them were not even aware that their “package” deal with Journal Broadcasting Group meant advertising on 104.1 FM, and most were not aware of what they were supporting, and would not choose to support intolerance.
In addition, the following companies have expressed concern about this issue, and have assured us that they will be looking into the matter immediately:
• El Parador
• Allstate Insurance
• State Farm Insurance
• The Wildcat House
• Maloney’s Tavern
• Progressive Plumbing
• Axiom Drafting and Design
• Integrity Automotive