Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Baby's First Protest


"Baby, can you say, 'Sí se puede'?"

The Pumpkin and I joined nearly 10,000 people here in Bakersfield, and 2 million nationwide, who rallied and marched in support of immigrants' rights and against draconian legislation being considered and debated in Congress on Monday, April 10. It was a beautiful day and a spirited, peaceful demonstration, marked by multigenerational families in white shirts waving American, Mexican, and UFW flags.

Among the thousands, I did see hints of support from beyond the Latino community, but the handful of black, white and Asian American protesters were quite outnumbered by their conspicuously absent cohorts. Besides me and The Pumpkin, I saw a couple leaders of the local Sikh community, and that was about it for Asian Americans. Asian American responses to the immigration debate, and discussion of the glaring lack of organized support by and in our community, have been popping up in the postings of our colleagues in the blogosphere, from transracial adoptee poets and hapa science fiction writers to hip-hop cultural critics and panethnic community magazines and hapa media watchdogs, and even us parentbloggers. Most interesting has been a challenge to young activists to move beyond the politics of symbolic representation to organized action on issues, like the criminalization of immigrants and their allies, that affect the real-world, lived experiences of real people based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and other categories of difference that are used to keep some in power and others out of it.

The Pumpkin was hardly the only baby out at the protest, and that, hopefully, should send a message to The Powers That Be that this isn't just about individual workers or international economics or border security—to those in the trenches, this is about family, and you just don't mess with someone's family. Maybe I should make up some onesies that say "Activism Starts At Home," or "Social Justice Is a Family Value," huh?

3 comments:

landismom said...

This is actually the first major immigration protest that I haven't taken one of my kids to. Scheduling-wise, it just didn't work out, as I had a major work event that night, and I wouldn't have had time to bring them home. But I was really bummed out about it, especially when I got to my local rally and saw all the kids there. On the other hand, it's always easier to maneuver in a huge crowd if you're not toting someone who's two feet shorter than the adults...

Kristen said...

Let me know when you make those onesies. I imagine a rally of that sort won't be coming down to Mississippi anytime soon - however, I'll proudly sport the onesie (or at least, I'll sport the sport who's sporting the onesie) :)

Lee Herrick said...

hey, i loved this post! and thanks for the link (i'm the "transracial adoptee poet"). i hope that people's voices & actions have an effect. remember not to buy anything on may 1. cheers.