By Doug Porter
Latino and Human Rights activists are returning to Murrieta, California on July 1st to commemorate the anniversary of a historic confrontation that laid bare the racism in Southern California for the world to see.
It was one year ago self-styled patriots, acting on rumors and innuendo, blockaded busloads of refugee women and children from Central America on their way to a Border Patrol processing center. The angry anti-immigrant protesters, seen on TV news across the country chanting of “Go home!’ and “We don’t want you!,” were tacitly encouraged by local authorities. (It was the local police who actually stopped the buses)
Dara Lind at Vox.com described the mood in Murrieta that day:
This is some extremely ugly behavior: protesters are yelling “Go home!” at a bus full of children, and physically preventing detainees from going to the place they’re supposed to go and forcing the government to send them somewhere else.
Frankly, it’s a kind of personal, in-your-face nativism that wasn’t actually seen during the most recent debate over immigration reform in Congress. And it’s not that these residents are misinformed about who was coming on those buses: at a town hall last night, the mayor told residents, “What we’ve been told is that most of these immigrants are families. These are mothers and young children, or fathers and young children.” That didn’t mollify residents last night, and it didn’t stop protesters from coming out today.
Here’s what it was like for a reporter of color on the scene:
Covered immigration issue in #Murrieta. 1 protestor said “go back to China.” 1 supporter told me to “go eat sushi.” Long way to go folks.
— Greg Lee (@ABC7Greg) July 2, 2014
Today most Americans probably only know of Murrieta as a symbol of hate. Not so well remembered are the people from throughout the region who came to oppose those screaming “go back to Mexico.” Those Latino and human rights activists believed in the right of the migrant detainees to have due process.
On Wednesday from 1-4pm prominent immigrant rights and humanitarian activists will speak at a rally in the Town Square Park. (More Information) Organizers say they want to commemorate the compassion and unity in support of the asylum seekers which blossomed as a result of what they viewed as cruel and hateful protests.
This event comes at a volatile, yet altogether appropriate moment in the immigration debate, as presidential candidate Donald Trump is under fire for his anti-Mexican rhetoric.
“What transpired last year, the fear and the hate witnessed in the world theater during that unfortunate moment when children, refugee children, were targeted has now been underscored by Donald Trump’s hate-speech,” co-organizer Mark Lane commented, “Once the shining beacon for those intent on bettering their lives and ‘yearning to breathe free’, it is the duty of each American to remind the world that we are still humanitarians, still that shining beacon and we are a nation intent on equity and equality for all.”
Referring to last year’s protests, Lane continued, “That blockade changed my life. I took in a family from Guatemala. I got involved in speaking out for due process and asylum rights. I received death threats and I was thrust into the national news, but I was mostly overwhelmed by the compassion of those who supported these victimized immigrants. I want to see that compassion continue. I want to see the USA as a compassionate nation.”
There will be solidarity rallies hosted around the country and at the border of Tijuana/San Diego at the same time by Dreamer’s Moms groups. Speakers in Murrieta will include:
Padre Alejandro Solalinde Guerra – Human rights champion
Christian Ramirez – Alliance San Diego, Southern Borders Community Coalition
Marco E Lopez-Quezada – Former General Counsel to Cesar Chavez and the UFW
DeeDee Garcia Blase – Chicana Activist, Radio Host (Que Onda Show)
Ruben Salazar – Immigration Attorney
Mark Lane – Human Rights Activist, Radio Host (El Daily Justice)
Father Dermot Rodgers – St. Peter of Rome, human rights advocate, chaplain to the Deported Veterans and Deported Dreamer Moms shelter in Tijuana.
Ivan Ceja – Dreamer, Co-Founder of Undocumedia
Jaime Fernandez – Immigration Reform, Human Rights Activist
Not to be outdone, some of the same hate-mongers who worked the bus blockage last year have organized their own rally.
Lane told me he’s seen messages on Facebook and elsewhere urging “patriots” to show up, burn Mexican flags and “stand up for America against this invasion.”
As Janet Murguia, President of the National Council of La Raza wrote in The Huffington Post about last year’s blockade, “There is nothing more un-American than showing not even one shred of sympathy, compassion, or even decency towards a group of desperate young children who showed up on our doorstep after having spent weeks on a treacherous journey.”
Faulconer to Speak at Right Wing Conference
Local activists have started a petition campaign urging Mayor Kevin Faulconer to withdraw as a speaker at the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego, slated for July 21-25.
ALEC functions as a “bill mill” for right wing causes, cranking out fill-in-the-blank legislation for conservative legislators around the country. It has spawned a city/county version called American City County Exchange (ACCE) headed by Jon Russell, best known for pushing a national anti-immigrant agenda.
ALEC’s template legislative proposals in recent years have included “Stand Your Ground” gun laws, voter ID proposals, privatizing prisons and education, opposing net neutrality, derailing or denigrating Obamacare and opposing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The petition says, in part:
So why is our self-declared “moderate” mayor, Kevin Faulconer speaking at their meeting alongside radical and hateful Tea Party leaders Ted Cruz, Allen West, Scott Walker, and Mike Huckabee?
If Kevin Faulconer supports combating climate change, equal rights for the LGBT community, and women’s right to choose, why is he speaking with these movements’ most outspoken opponents?
We ask that San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer make the right choice and decline to speak at ALEC’s annual conference in San Diego from July 21-25.
Worldwide Weekend Pride Events
Gay pride events in cities around the United States (The San Diego parade is July 18th) and the world were in the news this weekend.
The domestic events took on added significance this year in the wake of the Supreme Court’s historic decision on same sex marriage.
From the Associated Press:
In San Francisco, a parade that at times resembled a rainbow-colored dance party snaked through downtown. Cheerleaders, dancers and proud families of lesbians and gays swooped up Market Street as spectators flocked 10 to 15 people deep along both sides.
There were “Hooray for Gay” and “Love Won” signs. There were rainbow flags and knee socks, umbrellas and tutus.
SF Pride Board President Gary Virginia said the exuberance was amplified given last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples can wed in all 50 states. Still, he said more needs to be done in housing and job discrimination in the United States and for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world.
“Today, we celebrate,” Virginia said. “Tomorrow, we get back to work.”
Some Places Weren’t Celebrating
And at least one local preacher wasn’t happy. From KPBS:
“This is a violation of everything our forefathers envisioned,” said the Rev. Jim Garlow, senior pastor of the 4,000-member Skyline Christian Church in La Mesa. “This is not about equality, this is about totally radicalizing the definition of marriage based upon the desire of adults, not what is best for children.”
Garlow, who pushed in 2009 for passage of California’s Proposition 8, which would have banned same-sex marriage, said the court showed complete disregard for the Constitution in allowing gay marriage across the nation.
“It’s a loss for children. It’s a loss for the most stable institution in all of culture,” he said. “And it is also a severe loss for constitutionality and consent of the governed.”
CNN #Fail in London…
CNN aired one of the most classic not-really-news, but-we-thought-it-was segments ever after a correspondent spotted what she believed was an ISIS-type flag in the London Gay Pride parade. There was just one, teeny, tiny problem, as HBO’s John Oliver pointed out (probably NSFW) in his wrap-up of the week’s events…
For those of you unable to view videos, from Boston.com:
“That’s not the ISIS flag,” Oliver said on Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight.
“That’s a flag with dildos and butt plugs all over it. And yet, for more than seven spectacular minutes, CNN had it onscreen—even calling one of their ‘terrorism experts’ to try and figure out why ISIS might be marching with the gay community through London, which did seem surprising.”
The Confederate Flag Comes Down, Briefly
Activist Bree Newsome climbed to the top of the flagpole flying the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol in the early hours of Saturday morning.
After unhooking the flag she descended into the waiting ranks of State police and was arrested along with a supporter who spotted her on the climb. They were charged with defacing a monument.
A video of the event went viral and donors from around the country quickly contributed bail money.
From Democracy Now:
Newsome and others calling themselves “concerned citizens” released a statement explaining, “Deciding to do what the SC Legislature has thus far neglected to do, the group took down the symbol of white supremacy that inspired the massacre, continued to fly at full mast in defiance of South Carolina’s grief, and flew in defiance of everyone working to actualize a more equitable Carolinian future.”
On This Day: 1934 – An executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Labor Relations Board. A predecessor organization, the National Labor Board, established by the Depression-era National Industrial Recovery Act in 1933, had been struck down by the Supreme Court. 1953 – The Federal Highway Act authorized the construction of 42,500 miles of freeway from coast to coast. 1998 – With negotiations on a new labor agreement at a standstill, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that a lockout would be imposed at midnight.
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bob dorn says
It would be gratifying if the Gay Rights Parade on July 18 were just
to continue on to July 21 to protest our mayor’s welcome that day of the anti-gay ALEC conspiracy to destroy America. Faulconer is a …
Mandy Barre says
Great column as always…however I can’t stop laughing about the “isis” flag!
Doug Porter says
Here’s the follow up story about the July 1 rally. Editor Anna Daniels and I made the drive up to beautiful downtown Murrieta http://sandiegofreepress.org/2015/07/hugs-offered-to-hating-hecklers-at-murrieta-immigration-rally/