Thoughts from Cecile Lipworth, from our Leadership Team who protested in Tornillo, TX this past weekend and info on civil disobedience against the Gov. on Thursday as we get serious about separations and detentions.
A Personal View from Cecile Lipworth
I went to Tornillo, TX this past weekend to participate in the Rally hosted by VotoLatino. Paul asked me to write about my experience at the Border, but when I sat down to write it, it was more personal than a travelogue of what I saw going on there. We couldn’t see the ‘tent city,’ and the rally took place in the sandy, open space alongside the Border entry post building with over 600 people in attendance.Here’s what I did see – we parked our car along the road and walked for maybe 10 minutes to the Rally – it was hotter than Hades (101 degrees) and as I looked out and saw a dry, desert of scrub and sand, with few trees in site, I commented to my friends, that I could not imagine how desperate I’d have to be to try and cross this landscape for days on end, with little water, little shade and the littlest of hope that once I reached the border, I’d be welcomed. The landscape reinforces for me how the need to escape is more powerful than the dangers of the escape. And I’ve been reading a lot about why people want to escape their homes and family
I went to Tornillo because the immigration crisis weighs heavy in my soul. I went to stand in solidarity with immigrants because I come from a line of immigrants – I am an immigrant, my father was an immigrant (from Germany to South Africa in 1936), my grandparents were immigrants from Lithuania. I won my green card in the diversity lottery in 1996 and moved to the US with not a worry in the world as to my right to be here. I have lived here for 20 years as, what used to be called, a legal alien. I have never wanted to really be a citizen, for reasons to do with losing my identity, until now. But with everything going on right now in this administration, I decided to submit my application for citizenship. I am white, I am privileged, I came into this country privileged and I am able to submit my citizenship application online with no fuss. And yet I have a small part of me that worries that I won’t be granted it. So for me, going to Tornillo to hear a young woman stand up on stage and say, “Hi my name is Ursula, I am undocumented and unafraid’ reminds me that I need to dig deeper within myself to stand up for those who don’t have my privilege.
I went to be reminded that there are human beings, children no less, who are trying to come to the US for far more serious life-threatening reasons than why I came to the US. I went because the axis of evil in DC cannot and will not take away my humanity. I went to remember that I cannot give up when I am tired because people’s lives are being changed forever. I went to Tornillo to be reminded that together we have the power to change the evil that is being carried out in the name of this country.
New Mexico candidate for Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham attended and spoke along with Dolores Huerta and Kerry Kennedy, and many other inspiring, dedicated, hard-working leaders of organizations*, congress people, celebrities and youth. Every single speaker reiterating that everyone needs to vote in November. And every organizational leader emphasizing that in addition to voting, expressing our fury on Facebook and attending rallies, our support is needed financially to support their work – work that they know how to do, but need resources to do it.
You can view the entire Rally and speakers via their Facebook live video.
As Allegra Love, Santa Fe Dreamers Project,told me, educating ourselves is activism too so please read the reasons why people are putting their lives in danger to escape violence in their own countries, here’s a good article to read.
My Thoughts on Cecile’s Observations and Thursday’s Civil Disobedience: With the vile rhetoric coming from Washington, portraying these courageous families as anything other than decent human beings seeking refuge from terror, we owe it to ourselves to understand what they are fleeing and why they held hope for a better future here in America. So I encourage you all to click the link above and educate yourselves about the motivations of these families and to also consider Trump’s disgusting motivations, using families to foment fear and hate to strengthen his base from among his sadly misinformed supporters. Only the most vile human being could view the destruction of families as a tool for political gain.
If you need more motivation for upping your game, as Cecile suggests, click here to read an admittedly complicated CNN article describing the incomprehensible judicial process parents face to try to reunite with their children. As you review it, consider how a young parent, who has fled terrors we can’t possibly imagine, having crossed inhospitable terrain on foot for weeks or months, in hopes that in America her family will find a new life, only to have her children wrenched from her. Then, as you read this article, imagine her hearing the kinds of bureaucratic gibberish that is the protocol for reuniting with her child, gibberish that really conveys one unspoken truth: America took your children and we didn’t care enough about you or them to have a plan for ensuring you could find each other again. Ever.
With that in mind, please consider how you might up your game, raise your voice, and otherwise use your privilege and resources to counter Trump and his policies. Below you will find a list of organizations provided by Cecile, each of which in their own way is providing advocacy or support to separated, detained families. But please, do not stop with a check or a FB post, New Mexico activists are staging an act of civil disobedience on Thursday, challenging the Governor to reverse her policies supporting the Trump administration. If we are silent, that silence will be taken as compliance. It is our duty to not comply.
American Federation of Teachers | Annunciation House | America’s Voice | Battleground TX | Border Network for Human Rights | Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute | Commissioner David Stout | Diocesan Migrant Refugee Services | Gathering For Justice | Green Latinos | HACU | Harness | Hispanic Federation | Hope Border Institute | Labor Council for Latin American Advancement | Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center | NALEO | National Education Association | Planned Parenthood Federation of America |Rock the Vote | SEIU | SEIU Texas | Socorro_SEA | Soñando Juntos | Spotify | Unidos US (NCLR) | YWCA – El Paso | YWCA National | Mi Familia Vota | Our Revolution TX | TSTA (local NEA affiliate) | Indivisible Austin | Centro San Vicente | National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) | National Hispanic Medical Association | Environmental Defense Fund | Green Latinos | Indivisible Austin | People for the American Way | ACLU Border Rights Center | NDWA | LULAC | Human Rights Campaign | National Nurses Organizing Committee | Culture Strike | Women’s March | National Latino Evangelical Coalition | APC Collective | Planned Parenthood | Texas Votes | RITA
Locally, you can also provide support for our immigrant community and the legal efforts to support them:
- Click here, to contribute to Somos Un Pueblo Unido;
- Click here to contribute to the Santa Fe Dreamers Project (your donation will be processed by the Dreamers’ fiscal agent YouthWorks);
June 28, 3pm. Roundhouse Direct Action- This is NOT just a rally, but an escalated direct action of civil disobedience!
Training is being conducted in ABQ tonight at the Peace Center from 5:30-7:30 led by a local activist. The address is 202 Harvard Dr SE near UNM. A training or orientation is also being pulled together in Santa Fe, perhaps on Thursday. Look for this information at Retake Our Democracy’s Facebook page or in a brief email bulletin.
New Mexico Women, families and community call for an action to #EndFamilyDetention, and express our outrage that migrant children and babies are in cages, in jails, ripped from the arms of their parents. They will be traumatized for the rest of their lives.
But this isn’t the first time this country has taken children from their parents. And if we do not raise our voices, it will not be the last. Remember:
- The children of slaves were sold to the highest bidder,
- Japanese children and their families were incarcerated here in New Mexico during WWII,
- Native children were sent to boarding schools to make them as white as possible.
Governor Susana Martinez supports Trump’s racist policies against people of color. During both of her campaigns for governor she fanned the flames of injustice and hate against immigrants and their families. At Trump’s request she sent New Mexico National Guard Troops to our border with Mexico. Wasting money that could be spent for mental health, health care, education, eradicating homelessness and other social needs for New Mexicans. The governor supports the Trump policy of jailing migrant children and sending them to the far corners of this country. This is child abuse!
On Thursday, we will declare that we are here to say shame on you Governor Martinez. We are here to say that migrant children are our children and their parents and families are our brothers and sisters. We are here to demand justice for them. We demand that Governor Martinez immediately:
- Issue a statement to President Trump denouncing the policy of removing children from their parent and imprisoning them.
- Demand that the President immediately reunite every single child that was stolen from her or his parents.
- Demand that the President follow the law with regard to those who ask for asylum
- Immediately recall all New Mexico National Guard Troops from the southern border.
- Terminate Contracts with all Private Detention Centers.
- NMWM and partner org.New Mexico Dream Team, March for Our lives, the New Mexico Poor Peoples Campaign ask you to join us this Thursday 6/28/2018.We will meet at 3pm at the East side of the State Capitol Building..
For more info, please contact:
- Samia Assed, Chair NMWM, 505 999-8265
- Sister Joan Brown – Franciscan Sister, Joankansas@swcp.com, Sister Marlene Perotte -Sisters of Mercy, 505 266-6966
- Eleanor Chavez, Labor/ Community leader, 505-401-4732
- Isaac de Luna, N M Dream Team, 505 917 5501
Please take action with others in opposition against the perpetuation of US racist policies. It is time to say loudly and clearly: ENOUGH.
Paul & Roxanne