May 04, 2006

Making Noise Versus Being Heard

This past Monday, on May 1st, Mayday, the original Labor Day, immigrants across the country took it to the streets and rallied in protest of legislation that makes being and/or aiding an illegal alien a felony. Rallies were, in general, large, disorganized and peaceful. The rally in Union Square, NY, was reportedly "without incident" according to local news. Having been there, I would agree and I would add that it was a thoroughly hospitable rally. People were not only not fighting, they were smiling. There were dozens of countries of origin represented, several continents and languages to match. However, all seemed to be content to translate for one another as they were able. I heard no obscenities, in either of my two languages. I experienced no pushing or yelling. Attendees seemed calmly pleased.

While many political scientists have suggested that what went on on Monday was illconceived, poorly planned and have warned that it will ultimately be ineffective, I must disagree. First consider the group looking to make noise. They are undocumented immigrants, i.e. according to recent legislation, felons on the loose. These are people who have spent every waking moment of their lives inside the U.S. borders keeping quiet. While they may not have been heard, the simple act of showing their faces and making noise was indescribably empowering. People were smiling with their hearts. They were happy and proud and felt like people, probably for the first time since crossing the border. If we judge the Mayday rallies as a foundation building event instead of a change creating event we may be able to assess them more authentically.


Prometheus said...

Ah, those political scientists who pick this & that apart, and seek to examine the relationship between cause & effect....

In all TRUTHINESS, I think it's good that the oppressed to rise up and demand basic rights. However, many Americans who happen to vote and don't like immigrants, they also don't like their hypocricy pointed out by rallies like these.

In Biblical times the author of this post would have the right to rise up and demand equal rights for women, but I would have advised caution because the powers that be were trigger-happy for some good old-fashioned & Bible-inspired stoning. (and I don't mean the stoning from ..smoking).

In present times, I'd say to all those people who feel empowered today to hit the streets again, but this time with a pen & paper. To register people to vote. Latinos, for example, are only 6% of the voters. Why???!!! It's unacceptable. There are some 8 million "green card" holders who are eligible to become citizens today! Why haven't they done so?

Assuming a revolution doesn't take place, reforming the system has to be done from within. Contrary to what most people believe, it CAN be done here, if ONLY people were more informed and engaged in the affairs of the nation.

Finally, when I wear my media/communications hat, I have to reach people who have different belief systems than mine, but I try to find ways to show that the action I'm suggesting to them is also beneficial to them too!

Like, it's beneficial to all America to have rational laws that reflect & deal with real-life situations, that immigrants are human beings not automatons, that they're part of our economy, that they aren't all that different from the waves of immigrants that built & made this great country.

I see your point about May Day though, and I hope next year this time most of those exploited workers will have achieved rights & privileges all workers should have.


"Today, of course, was the `Day Without Immigrants' ... Or as the Native Americans call it, the good old days.
---Jay Leno

Meg said...

The rallies here in Denver had a HUGE impact. We have a lot of Mexican immigrants here, and a lot of businesses either shut down or lost a LOT of money that day because of missing staff.

Andros said...

Of course, you all know that the government know where YOU all have been! Did YOU participate?

This story might interest you in that the feds are tracking the pro-immigration marchers!

Though upsetting, I'd advise to keep doing what you're already doing... They know it already, and since you can't hide it any longer, just keep talking about it and keep working on the issues of concern... Maybe you'll affect change, and maybe we'll restore some sanity in our government....

ooops, got to go know... my computer's firewall and anti-spyware are flashing "code red"....