May Day: We Are All Arizona

En Español

Posters lined the walls of a tiny room and were scattered across tables and the floor. Members of the May Day 2010 Coalition hovered over them, markers in hand.

Three days before this year’s May Day march, organizers held a press conference and poster-making party at the City College of San Francisco Mission Campus, although organizers have been preparing for six weeks.

On Saturday, participants will march from 24th and Mission streets to Civic Center. More than 10,000 are expected,  according to Pablo Rodriguez, a City College history professor and a member of the American Federation of Teachers.

While May Day rallies date back to 2006, this year has gained momentum in the wake of  last month’s march in Washington, D.C. and the Arizona bill signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer that makes it legal to stop any immigrant and ask for identification.  The law, SB 1070,  goes into effect in 90 days after it was signed.

“Yesterday was the African-Americans, today is the Hispanics, tomorrow is going to be what? The Filipinos? The Asian-Americans, the poor whites?” Rodriguez said. “This is something we need to all get together [on] and unite to stop from becoming a law.”

Organizers said that the already visible and potential effects of Arizona SB 1070 are very much going to be a part of their May Day demands.

“There was initially panic and I think now we’re in the stage of outrage that there’s a law that’s codifying racial profiling and legalizing discrimination and discriminatory practices in the United States,” said Bobbi Lopez-Hasson, member of the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee.

With family in Arizona, this May Day holds even more importance for her.

“I called my family right away and their first reaction was they felt terrorized — that’s the word that they used,” Lopez-Hasson said. “I think that hints a lot: The policy is not necessarily curbing the issue of immigration but is more about creating an environment where people are going to be fearful to report crimes. Immigrants are going to be fearful to be present and feel like their contributions are legitimized.”

Seven of the 11 San Francisco Board of Supervisors are calling for a non-binding boycott of Arizona-based businesses and Mayor Gavin Newsom has implemented a travel ban to Arizona for city employees.

Although no one is clear yet on the exact details of the boycott, many were adamant about the need for one.

“We’re looking for total boycott to the state of Arizona: economically, socially, politically, culturally — no ties at all,” Rodriguez said. “The next step is that we should be talking to all our neighbors to all our friends across the state first and then across the nation. Then we should come up with a position in which 49 states boycott Arizona.”

Organizers here have already been working with the immigrant community in Arizona, such as the group, Unidos en Arizona, who is calling on everyone across the country to avoid attending any Arizona Diamondbacks games.

“It’s a way to involve people in other cities,” said Linda Herrera of Unidos en Arizona. “The consequences [of SB 1070] that we’re seeing are devastating. Families are so upset, stressed out and facing an emotional crisis … People feel like they’re being hunted.”

9 Comments

  1. melvin polatnick

    Pedro is a skilled Mexican construction worker and he no longer wants to remain unemployed. He knows many friends that have illegally crossed the border and are living well. They write that many construction jobs are available for between 10 and 15 bucks an hour. Pedro is single without family obligations, so he hops on his burro and is on his way to a good job in the land of opportunity. This story is real and has happened 20 million times. It is wrong to blame Pedro for overcoming laws that try to keep a good man south of the border.

  2. Bob

    Why not just obey the law? Seems reasonable enough to me.

  3. SF resident

    The article wrongly conflates legal immigration with illegal immigration. Only illegal immigrants are criminalized by the bill.

    Further, federal law currently requires all legal immigrants to carry their green card at all times. The state is merely exercising its authority to enforce existing federal law.

    Finally, controlled immigration is preventing Latino immigrants from acclimating to American culture.

    The escalating violence by recent Latino immigrants against LGBTs of all races is one example. In some cases, transgender women who were granted asylum due to harassment in Mexico are being targeted by people who just came from Mexico.

    http://missionlocal.org/2010/03/transgender-latinas-organize-at-city-college/

  4. SF resident

    should be:

    Finally, uncontrolled immigration is preventing Latino immigrants from acclimating to American culture.

  5. pedro can work for $10 an hour cause he lives with 10 other pedros. what about guys like me who have a family to support and have served this country for all these pedros?

  6. marquis

    there are 14 million americans without jobs and you want to legalize 10 million illegals , allowing them to compete with poor americans for jobs ? how is that fair for our american poor ? how thougtless and cold of you , americans are going homless! their hungry ! some don’t have healthcare!! where are your tears for them ?

  7. CAL4MYKIDS

    Why not just the LAW obey US?
    WE ARE NOT CRIMINALS!!!

    Seems reasonable enough to me to!!

    GO GREEN….CARD FOR EVERYBODY!!!!

  8. Jesse Raelo

    Americans DONT do the jobs we DO! Who’s going to clean their houses? Who will delivery their mail? Who will take care of their children? Who will serve them food at a restaurant? It’s obvisous they need us!!

  9. Benito

    I will tell you what I have seen these last few days I saw our beloved Stars and Stripes flag, the flag from Mexico and some flags from other countries. I saw children, parents and grand parents together in solidarity, my people the working class, they may not be sophisticated but they got the message heard. From publish reports the demonstrations included both US citizens and undocumented workers. This brought me a smile because I always enjoy seeing brothers helping brothers.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

    As I see it, we should stand-up against a law is passed in anger and is against our Constitution/ Bill of Rights/ Declaration of Independence and is targets a specific group.

    God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need. When our judgment comes I know God will not discriminate by country of origin as men do.

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