1 de mayo no se olvida

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fun (and ironic) fact: May 1st is celebrated around the world originally to commemorate the Haymarket Riot of 1886 in Chicago, Ill. Many died, and the international labor movement won a bunch of martyrs. Ironically, the USA does not commemorate this holiday. Sheesh.

Now, back to topic. The immigrant manifestations in the US on may 1st. I had mixed feelings about this originally. Back in early April, this Germy thought it was a pretty dumb idea. I mean the immigration legislation needed to pass, no matter how many people didn't like it. It was a problem the US had to deal with. So I figured Congress would come to a middle-ground solution (somewhere between legalizing everyone for free vs. making all 11 million of them criminals and building a fucking wall between the US and Mexico, sheesh). True, the Republicans couldn't afford looking soft to their racist religious-fanatics voter base, so they were going to play hard-to-get. But a compromise was inevitable.

To my surprise, the compromise did not go through, because of partisan politics. Yeah, I know, what a shocker. But I just thought politicians would see how urged this matter was and how strong minorities (especially Latinos) had become. They didn't. So I got angry.

I felt that Washington needed a message. Apparently the legislators didn't realize how strongly the Latino community felt about this issue. They needed some pressure. Germy suddenly became pro-boycott and pro-manifestation. Then I became a little conflicted. If all goes well, I will soon be a (legal) immigrant in the US, who might one day be eligible for citizenship. Wow. And here I was getting all worked up about helping out illegal immigrants. Add to that the fear that my original start date at my new US job was going to be May 1st. Fuck. On one hand, I wasn't going to risk my new job (which took me a lot of work to get) for a bunch of people who ran illegally into that country. But on the other hand, I was going to have to sell out the biggest Latino movement in decades to go to my first fucking day on the job. Fuck.

Thankfully due to visa issues, my start date was pushed back, so I was off the hook (THANK GOD!). I participated in the boycott only by not purchasing anything in the US yesterday (unless porn-site subscriptions count... "oops"). But there were millions of others who weren't as lucky as me. For many it was go to the march or keep your job. It was show your discontent or loose your paycheck. Geez, these are the big decisions that define you as a person. For all of those who (unlike me) had the courage to march, I admire you.

Why did I feel the need to be a part of this movement? Because it's not just about illegals. How does someone know you're illegal by just looking at you? They don't. We all get the bad rap, legal or not. US-born or not. And we're all involved, like it or not.

Will this huge movement of people cause a backlash in the general US population? Maybe. Maybe not. Time will tell. But the fact that the Latino community came together for this march is something I'm very proud about, and I was glad to be a (very small) part of it. That is if you don't count the porn site, I mean. Oops...


  • At May 04, 2006 12:47 PM, Blogger psesito said…

    I had an extra day-off at work that I was waiting to use and I decided to use it on May 1st. Nevertheless, I was not one of those people who risked their jobs and security to fight for a cause. I just felt that I had to do something to support the movement.

    Americans cannot ignore the fact that there are 12 million reasons to resolve this issue, but those 12 million reasons cannot remain in the dark. On April 10th, there was a march in DC for immigration rights. I worked from home that day and I had the opportunity to see the march on TV. I had the opportunity to see thousands of reasons together in the National Mall.

    When Senator Kennedy spoke to the crowd I was really moved. Not moved by his words, but moved because all those people have so many hopes to pursue equality and the rights that they deserve. I was moved because Latinos finally organized themselves and they are speaking up. No more silence, no more heads down. All those people are just asking to be trated as people. Is that too much?

    Last month, before going to my weekly class at the Community College I stopped by at McDonalds. That McDonalds, as well as many fast food restaurants around Northern Virginia, is run by Latinos. While eating my one-dollar hamburguer, I heard stories of what happened on April 10th. I heard how so many families got together to protest. I could feel the hope in their voices and I also felt compelled to join the cause. However, I haven't done it yet but later is better than never.

  • At May 04, 2006 4:43 PM, Blogger DramaKing said…

    Yeah, I hear ya. I'm glad you feel the need to participate.

    I also understand the fear of putting at risk what you worked so hard for (i.e. your current legal immigrant status). There is certainly some middleground, there are certainly ways you can support the cause without running such a huge risk.




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