I’m going through some videos that I took during the mock ICE checkpoint at Netroots and at the same time I’m catching up on what is up in my home city and while I helped to play Latina reverse ICE agent, while I watched Latino men in my same sphere get threatened with arrest, asked for their papers and described as “shady”, while fierce ass young woman in touch with how all their facets still form one whole life are dismissed and ultimately threatened by white men with “hell to pay”, while panelists on immigration asked for “task forces”, more Latinos can’t walk outside without fear. There were two reported attacks on Mexican immigrants in Port Richmond, Staten Island.
Mala is exhausted, after spending days in the manufactured desert oasis that is Las Vegas for Netroots Nation 2010.
It wasn’t as dramatic as my experience in last year’s conference and alot of that was because my experience last year made me take better care of myself and value my time more. I didn’t sit in panels that angered me or were repetitions of things that I write about on the regular anyway. I walked out, yes even appearing rude I’m sure.
The spaces that were valuable were the informal spaces, like the Tequila Caucus (which may make a return next year) where I saw so many hope inspiring young people or unexpected meetings with organizations in the exhibition hall or at the pool caucus.
The following is going viral in a big way on the facebook/twitter rounds. Activists at Net Roots (where our own Mamita Mala is!) conducted ICE checkpoints to check for “illegal European immigrants” throughout the conference as a way to demonstrate how the immigration debate is a specifically race based one, how ICE is used to terrify specifically racialized communities, how you could be *doing nothing wrong* and still considered suspect.
I don’t know, I think it’s a good idea–but I also think that I saw too many white people smiling, thinking isn’t this so funny/cute! Here! Here’s my ID! Haha!
It’s a lot different being asked by activists trying to prove a point for your ID than it is being asked by official government agents with their machine guns drawn for your ID. It sorta makes me think of Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gomez Pena’s series of museum tours where they imprisoned themselves in a cage and posed as “exotic Indians” from a fake country. Some people got it, other people thought it was cute. I wonder how many Native peoples or Latin@s are laughing and smirking their way through ICE checkpoints?
When there is no power in the work to terrify–you are relying as “artists” on irony to make your point, and some people will get irony others won’t. Hopefully in the whitened halls of Netroots, more people got it than didn’t.
What do you think?
I got this from the facebook peeps out there. Support them how you can!
for Immediate Release
Thursday July 22nd, 2010
Vanessa Castillo (714) 651-1772, Spanish and English
California Hunger Strike for the DREAM ACT, Day 3: Queer undocumented youth participate in a hunger strike and urge all LGBTQ communities to support their fasting for their DREAMs.
WHAT: Press conference with queer undocumented youth, who urge all LGBTQ communities to support their fasting in an effort to achieve their DREAMs, during the California hunger strike for DREAM in Los Angeles, to urge Senator Dianne Feinstein to champion the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill.
WHEN: Friday July 23, 2010 at 10:30 AM
WHERE: In front of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s Los Angeles office
11111 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles CA90025
WHY: In order to continue to pressure Senator Feinstein to champion the DREAM Act, students and allies are willing to make a physical sacrifice in order to push the DREAM Act forward. Queer undocumented youth, urge the LGBTQ communities to support them in their efforts towards achieving their DREAMs. Speaking at the press conference will be Queer undocumented youth of Los Angeles and Orange County.
At least 65,000 undocumented immigrant youth graduate from high schools every year, and many of them struggle to attend institutes of higher education. The DREAM Act will grant youth who traveled to the United States before the age of 16 a path to citizenship contingent on continuous presence in the country, good behavior, and the attainment of at least a two-year university degree or a two-year commitment to the armed forces.
There are a total of 9 fasters, including 3 core fasters. The 3 core fasters will be at the strike site at all times. All of our 9 fasting students will be joined by other students as the fast continues. Below are the biographies of the 3 core fasters and they are available for media interviews. To schedule an interview, please contact Vanessa Castillo at (714)-651-1772.
arrived to the United States at the age of 10 with his mother and four siblings. He is now 26, and after 16 years his educational and career DREAMS are still on hold. Jorge is Queer, Undocumented and Unafraid. These identities represent daily struggles in his life not only as an undocumented student who is fighting to attain documentation, but also a Queer Latino fighting homophobia in his own community. Jorge is unafraid and empowered to be the voice of the Queer DREAMERS advocating for the DREAM Act as a stand alone bill. Jorge holds a Bachelor’s in English from the California State University system. He wants to continue in his educational journey and obtain a Master’s in social work and eventually obtain a PhD and become a professor.
arrived to this country with his family 11 years ago. He attended California high school and graduated with honors. Even though Carlos had difficulties learning the language and assimilating to a new culture, he was able to over come them and continue with his college career. Carlos has obtained a Bachelor’s degree on human services and is currently working on his Masters of social work at a University of California program. He has lived through many barriers and obstacles which are the ones that have made him realize the importance of getting an education. He has realized that with hard work and dedication, achieving his dreams is only a matter of time. That is why he is involved in the fight for the passage of the DREAM Act, and why he has decided to join the hunger strike. He wishes to finish his MSW degree and be able to work with the community. He wants to eventually go back to school and obtain a law degree and be able to help people in a different level.
recently graduated high school, he is 18 years old. As he prepares to begin his college career at Santa Ana College, he decided to take part in this hunger strike because he wants to ensure a better future for his friends and his community. He is willing to put his body on the line because he feels undocumented students have the right to continue their education and put their hard earned degrees to use, which is what the DREAM Act would allow. He wants to ensure that undocumented students are not denied the opportunity to continue their education.
The DREAM is Coming project is a collaboration between multiple organizations, including the New York State Youth Leadership Council, the Immigrant Youth Justice League, Dream Team Los Angeles, Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance, Arizona Dream Act Coalition, the Orange County Dream Team, University Leadership Initiative of Texas, Virginia DreamActivist, and DREAMActivist.org
Today, at 10 am EST, organizations including the ACLU, MALDEF, NAACP, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice – ACLU of Arizona, and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) will appear in federal court in Phoenix, Arizona, arguing that SB1070 should not go into effect while it is being fought against in the courts.
Later today, the federal government will make the same argument in the same court.
On a patch of asphalt outside the White House this week, Renata Teodoro, Maricela Aguilar and scores of other students are risking deportation simply by sharing their full names and immigration status with anyone who asks.In an act of defiance unimaginable to many in their parents’ generation, they are publicly declaring that they are in the United States illegally as a way to push for change that would help thousands of undocumented young people like them. And they are doing so in one of the most highly patrolled — and politicized — spots in the country.
“I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not afraid of someone coming in and trying to arrest me, but I can’t let that fear take over my life,” said Teodoro, 22, a student at the University of Massachusetts in Boston whose parents were deported back to Brazil a couple of years ago. “The only way of people finding out about my situation is to tell my story.”
Thinking about the history of the home countries of so many of these students–the history of disappearances. Where all that is left of a person is a name. So that when I read this:
“I think there’s an empowerment that comes with giving your name,” said Aguilar, 19, a political science and English major at Marquette University in Milwaukee who calls herself a Midwesterner and has the accent to prove it.
I felt shivers. As if, probably unintentionally, but powerfully nonetheless, Aguilar and the other students were speaking in solidarity with all the disappeared peoples of the world. All those who only have names, and all those who *can’t* have names.
VL will be keeping you updated!
Yesterday, 21 undocumented activist students, risked criminal charges and deportation by participating in an act of civil disobedience demanding that the DREAM Act be passed at various Congressional offices in Washington D.C. yesterday.
From the official release:
It has been noted that Senator Reid’s office arrested students before Senator John McCain’s office, the last two offices to issue arrests. It has also been noted that a brief phone call inside Senator Reid’s office with Congressman Gutierrez occurred. Gutierrez attempted to dissuade the students from getting arrested citing that “we [Durbin and Gutierrez] disagree with your strategy on the movement”.
“We continue to hear the exact same thing we have been hearing for 10 years. Will Senator Reid put DREAM Act up for a vote or will he decide to lose the Latino vote? If Democrats are behind Reid then Democrats should be behind us because our communities are behind us. We are not going to deal with your debates any longer. We need action. We risk our freedom for the freedom of millions.” Nicolas Gonzalez, from Chicago, Illinois.
There is a press conference scheduled for 11 am, EST to update everyone as to the situation of those arrested.
As of 8 am this morning, according to one of those arrested, all but 4 had been released.
As of 10:24 am, EST 11 DREAM Activists are still in custody.
It’s a sad irony the reveals the flaws in the United States that undocumented students have to get arrested at the office’s of Congresspeople in order to live more freely.
Today I travel to Las Vegas to attend Netroots Nation. This year I am one of a group of scholarship winners chosen by Democracy for America, with support from the National Council of la Raza and America’s Voice, which allows me to go, as I am not in a position to travel to any conference without help. VivirLatino isn’t funded by foundation money and the little money we do make goes to trying to pay our editors a small token amount not at all reflective of the work that gets put into this space. I will be proudly representing VivirLatino as an independent mujer led space.
Those who have been following VivirLatino for over a year will remember that my first time at Netroots, last year, wasn’t the easiest time. A combination of being new in the space and other incidents related to my being a radical woman of color without a network of support, led to it feeling like one of the most challenging conference spaces I have been in. That’s not to say it wasn’t valuable. Personal connections with people that I interact with online only are made stronger by personal contacts and even organizations with whom I haven’t had the most agreeable relationships have been able to come to some understanding with how to move forward on common issues because I could sit down and talk. Face to face. In the age of the blog, human connection still trumps wires and waves.
From regular reader/commenter Bryan in this post thread:
Seven other Latin American countries are seeking to join Mexico in challenging SB1070 as the clock ticks towards its implementation date on July 29th.
Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Peru all filed legal briefs supporting anti-SB1070 lawsuits. The briefs have yet to be accepted despite that they are identical to the one filed by Mexico citing that SB1070 would lead to racial profiling and negatively impact trade and tourism.
It may be old news already for some, since MAC & Rodarte have officially apologized for their Fall 2010 fashion and makeup collection based on what the designers felt and thought they saw in the border city of Juarez.
The blushes, lip glosses, eyeshadows and nail polishes were given names like “factory,” “Juarez,” “Ghost town,” “del Norte,” and “quinceanera” and look like this: