An editor of POOR Magazine said at a noon rally Thursday at the 16th Street BART station that SB 1070 in Arizona, the anti-immigrant measure signed into law earlier this month ” criminalizes indigenous brown people who are migrating across mother earth because of poverty, family or the forces of globalization.”
“This is more serious than ever,” said the editor, Lisa Gray to a small crowd of about 25 gathered at the busy plaza.
Speakers from Poor News Network examined the new law from an indigenous peoples point of view – Gray is Taino/Boricua, an indigenous people from Puerto Rico. Using Article 35 from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, Tony Robles, also from Poor, argued that Arizona is in violation of those rights.
Article 35 states: Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with other peoples across borders.
The speakers argued that Article 35 means that borders don’t exist for indigenous peoples who should be able to roam freely in a land that was once their own.
“Who is an immigrant?” the speakers asked repeatedly Thursday in an effort to emphasize that Europeans were the first immigrants. “This is our land, folks. Take it back,” Garcia cheered.
“Migration for indigenous people is part of our survival,” said Gray.
The rally mainly focused on how immigration laws effect indigenous populations but other problems with SB 1070 were discussed as well.
“I am here to protest SB 1070 because it legalizes racial profiling,” said Gloria Esteva, a migrant and indigenous scholar.
Ari Clemenzi, 30, who attended the rally told Mission Loc@l that SB 1070, is “totally racist. Hopefully it won’t be implemented.”
The law is scheduled to go into effect late July or early August 2010 (90 days after the Arizona Legislative session ends).