My friend and I attended this event on February 18th. We missed the march and joined the rally at City Hall in downtown LA. It was a much smaller crowd that the Women’s March.
Although I am not (yet) directly affected by the new Republican president’s immigration “policy” I decided to go after reading several observations of the Women’s March by some people of color (POC).
- White women (in general) at the Women’s March were more concerned about the misogynistic and women’s rights comments and concerns than for dangers facing POC. White women expected all vulnerable populations to turn out to the Women’s March yet very few turned out for Black Lives Matters and to protest police brutality in the past and very few showed concern for immigrants rights.
- Many articles gushed over how peaceful and safe the Women’s Marches were. Some POC described this as a direct indication of systemic racism: how white women are viewed as unthreatening even when conducting themselves the same way POC do during protest.
I originally decided to go JUST to be a warm body there in support of the undocumented immigrants in my city. I thought, “I just need to turn up and stand there to show support.” However, I learned a lot there. What I took away needs to be shared specifically amongst people like me: white, privileged, not in any imminent danger.
I hope my observations can be taken in and considered with open minds and hearts. Some of it was hard to hear but totally necessary if we want to form bonds and become allies against our new reality. I have procrastinated writing this out of fear of not doing it “correctly” so I will just go for it. Please realize my intentions are for love, understanding & progress. I still have so much to learn.
1. White people who are alarmed and want to help vulnerable populations, please work to educate YOURSELVES versus asking affected people to educate you on their reality. This takes work and initiative. Affected people are exhausted and struggling.
2. Attorneys cannot get people released from detention. Only COMMUNITIES can do this through peaceful protest. Show up for rallies and protests on behalf of the affected people. Make the calls to your elected officials. Educate your friends and families.
3. Work for progressive immigration reform.
4. Instead of advocating and speaking for affected people, provide a platform for them to speak for themselves. Example: at the Women’s March speakers did not seem to include undocumented immigrants and/or LGBT folks. In contrast, the speakers at the Immigration March included Black Lives Matters, and members of the LGBT community. Most were undocumented.
5. When the new Republican administration talks about detention centers, they mean prisons. In California, here are the ICE detention centers operating today:
The one closest to me is called “Santa Ana City Jail” if that tells you anything.
6. Elected officials need to be pressured to protect immigrants.
Los Angeles Residents: this is for you!
Local example (in Los Angeles): Mayor Eric Garcetti. Garcetti is running for re-election on March 7th. Here is his stance on immigration:
The mayor maintained the federal government cannot withhold funding if Los Angeles refuses to cooperate with immigration policy “with a gun to the head.”
Garcetti said it violates the 10th Amendment.
He again stated Los Angeles was not a sanctuary city, explaining police would turn over arrested felons to federal authorities who have a warrant.
He discussed the positive economic impact of immigrants, citing a new study finding foreign-born residents contributed $233 billion to Los Angeles County in 2014. - http://abc7.com/politics/garcetti-details-las-stance-on-immigration-refugees-march-election/1752753/
Garcetti has been extremely “careful” about how he responds to the new administration’s failed executive order banning immigrants from 7 predominantly Muslim countries. Unlike other leaders he has refused to describe Los Angeles as a sanctuary city.
Here is his statement on the executive order:
FEBRUARY 10, 2017
“Today I spoke to the Deputy Director of ICE’s Los Angeles Field Office and made it very clear that I want greater transparency about ongoing operations and the status of all Los Angeles residents who may have been arrested or detained. I told the Deputy Director that I will do everything in my power — working alongside our City Attorney, the LAPD, immigrants’ rights advocates, congressional delegation and outside lawyers — to make sure that the legal rights of all Angelenos are respected and upheld at every stage of the enforcement process.
Angelenos should not have to fear raids that are disruptive to their peace of mind and bring unnecessary anxiety to our homes, schools, and workplaces. The Administration should take a just, humane, and sensible approach that does not cause pain for people who only want to live their lives and raise their families in the communities they call home.
— Mayor Eric Garcetti
Seems a bit weak to me. Instead of “more transparency” how about “a list by end of day Friday.”
Please contact him if you think Los Angeles should be a sanctuary city protecting undocumented people with no criminal history from ICE.
Mayor Eric Garcetti
200 N Spring Street
LA, CA 90012
Or email directly from here:
Link to the form email on his website. (Might have less chance of ending up in Junk?)
Undocumented & Unafraid Movement
(a movement that started organically via the hashtag #undocumentedandunafraid)
LA Justice Fund Garcetti set this up – it’s up but not yet running – keep your eye on it or make a donation if possible.
At one point a member of BLM LA spoke about Mayor Garcetti. She described him as, “That white liberal lady you know who wears yoga pants, has one black friend at dinner and speaks Spanish…kind of.” I looked left and right – was she talking about ME?? She nailed it. I felt embarrassed but realized that for once I needed to do two things: 1. Listen. and 2. Serve.
My dear friend Erika told me the other day that at last white people understand how people of color have been feeling their whole lives.
This SNL skit illustrates it nicely.