I just posted a bunch of photos from today’s rally in San Francisco –
march 25 national day os solidarity photos san francisco
At the rally Jeremiah Jeffries of Teachers for Social Justice and the SF People’s Organization raised the spirits of the hunger strikers with a great solidarity statement.
“HR 4437 and the Specter bill are part of a long history of criminalizing and abusing and being hateful for people of color the world over,” he said.
We will tell legislators in a united voice of brown colorful hues together that we will rise and let them know that this is unacceptable. It is time to organize our schools, our neighbors, our merchants, our fellow workers to fight the anti-immigrant racism.”
To loud cheers from the audience, he said, “We will shame you in office and shame you in public – all you racist legislators who voted for this bill in the house.”
“We will take power locally and we will push it to the state to get rid of Arnold [Schwartzenegger] and we will press on the federal government. We will vote out of office anyone who is not there for the people.”
Jeffries teaches 1st grade at John Swett Alternative Elementary School in San Francisco not far from the Federal Building.
The audience also listened to solidarity statements from activists in others states like Tennessee and Ohio and from queer immigrant rights activists.
I saw another veteran from the 1995 SF hunger strike for immigrant rights, Edwin Rodriguez who was one of the leaders of CARECEN and the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights in the 1990's. Edwin now does a TV show on Univision TV 14 [SF Bay Area].
Edwin's organization A NewAmerica produces a regular weekly segment on TV14 about immigration. For more info http://anewamerica.org
Longtime labor movement leader Bill Shields who built the great labor studies program at City College of SF was at the rally to support one of his students who is a hunger striker. Several San Francisco state students are also hunger strikers. My colleagues Ethnic Studies Professors Andrew Jolivette [Native American Studies] and Clarissa Rojas [Raza Studies] from SF State University have been especially supportive of the student hunger strikers by bringing out their classes to the federal building to learn about solidarity and immigrant rights.
On Friday, Colin Rajah from the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights coordinated the solidarity action in the rain outside the federal building. Grassroots youth organizations PODER and the Chinese Progressive Association brought out young people to support the hunger strikers.
Filipinos for Affirmative Action, BAYAN and other Asian and Pacific Islander organizations are also supporting the strikers. Kawal Ulanday, Chairperson of BAYAN-USA joined the hunger strike on Thursday.
It is our responsibility to even put our bodies at risk if this is what it takes to get those in power to act in a human way and recognize that being able to work and live in the United States with dignity and to provide food for your family here and for your loved ones who you haven't seen in years is a human right that must not be compromised or criminalized.Teacher and artist Jay Jasper Pugao from the East Oakland Community High School has been fasting for the entire week.
If there is any foreign presence to be questioned on a foreign land, it is the presence of trans and multinational corporations in the Philippines, South America and Mexico reaping super billion dollar profits from our homelands, crushing any hopes for national industrialization, jobs and the ability to keep our own resources to build self-reliant economies that provide jobs at home.
We must be present here to represent the long-time struggle of our community and unity with other immigrant communities whose ability to survive are being threatened like never before.
I am an immigrant to this country and my parents worked the asparagus feilds of Stockton when I was young. It's time that this generation remembers those struggles and sacrifices and takes a stand for those Filipinos living in the shadows of America today and fighting for their family's survival.
For more on queer and LBGT community solidarity with hunger strikers – go to http://www.immigrationequalitysf.org/