Immigrants and their supporters continue to reel from the rapid succession of Executive Orders and anti-immigrant measures launched by the Trump Administration. Trump and conservatives in Congress seem to feel they have the wind at their backs as they attack basic human rights. We are entering a dark period in our lives and the life of democracy in the United States.
Activists are not waiting for the next attack; they are organizing at every opportunity. Each week there are “Know Your Rights” workshops and “Foros Informativos Sobre Inmigracion” sponsored by groups such as CVIIC or the American Civil Liberties Union.
There are also efforts to increase voter registration, with successful operations such as Mi Familia Vota, and they are swelling the rolls with Latino Democrats.
In the lead-up to last year’s election the California Secretary of State said only 16 percent of registered Latino voters were registered Republican. And the majority of young Californians are Latino. Despite the numbers, voter participation in key communities is still suffering, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. And they did not show up in sufficient numbers to avert the disastrous outcome of the 2016 election.
In addition to learning their rights and renewed efforts to turn out the vote, communities are mobilizing with a new sense of urgency. Many are reacting to the provocative language of the right, which chooses to define immigrants as rapists, drug dealers and “bad hombres”.
We are all offended when they reduce us, ignoring our proud culture and history of contributions and true family values. Beyond the instinctive reaction to provocative language, young leaders and former party activists are seeking new forms of organizing.
Some are advocating for immigrants while others are building community based organizations meant to empower the victims of these attacks. Many activists are coalescing around direct action, placing themselves in the path of the machine.
On May 1, 2017, the Central Valley Committee for Immigrant Rights is calling for a march and rally to halt the increasing attacks on the rights of immigrants and the working and poor. We invite the community to join us. For more information, contact 559 908-6701, firstname.lastname@example.org.