Sí Se Puede

Posted by sepoy on May 02, 2006 · 2 mins read

I noticed mostly the kids in the strollers, wrapped in flags or waving them. Noticed, too, the eight lone members of CAIR in a crowd of 400,000 [marking this as one of the biggest rally in the history of Chicago and one of the biggest Immigration rally in the country]. While no one sang the Internationale, we did carry the red flag to wave around. At lunch, a gentleman walked up to me and asked me what the red flag stood for. The workers, I said. His eyes lit up, Oh you mean the old socialist flag? Indeed, I said. A look of visible relief passed over his face as he tapped my arm and went his way. I think he was afraid that it had been subverted somehow. Later last night, I went to pick up pizza from our local Cholie's. Everyone there commented on how many non-Mexicans were marching. Its a korean, Indian issue, she said. Yeah. But what is the issue? I largely looked at this as the first long-overdue voice of a public. Of course, it is much more than that in political terms. I don't think that legalizing 12 million or deporting 12 million are our only choices. The question is whether the powers-that-be are even interested in finding a solution.

It was exhilarating, this march of rights. And great fun with my friends. Moacir got interviewed by NBC 5 [though, they didn't broadcast his revolutionary rhetoric]. Sunit gave the dude from Loop 97.9 a earful. Hopefully, they aired something from that. And the polish telecast should have carried a soundbite from us. See what happens when you have a guy in a turban with you?

Pictures from the rally. And pdcs' report. And the excellent post from moacir.


Chanad | May 02, 2006

Nice. I agree when you say that: "I don’t think that legalizing 12 million or deporting 12 million are our only choices. The question is whether the powers-that-be are even interested in finding a solution." But I'm wondering (because I'm sitting from so far away), have these protests been successful in getting this point across? From the news reports it seems that many of the onlookers view the protests as being about legalizing the 12 million workers.

Baraka | May 02, 2006

Hey! The SF march was awesome with about 30k on a gorgeous day - what a wonderful feeling to be out with such joyous people. As a second-gen Paki this is very much my issue too so I was thrilled to see a large contingent of Muslims/Arab/Iranians/South Asians there.

sepoy | May 02, 2006

Chanad: Actually no. The MSM continues to replay this as a straight up demand to give citizenship to 12 million 'illegals'. Of course, our media has not done anything right since Clinton took office so... Baraka: Cool, nah? I do wish more Desis had shown up in Chicago. And maybe they did. Hard to spot anyone among half-a million brown people :)

Prakash | May 02, 2006

I donot think anyone is opposed to Immigration but Illegal immigration .And the opposition comes to the rampant migration of workers from mexico as a single largest source of unskilled workers.There are lots of them waiting in line from different poor african countries and phillipines. It is unjust for a free entry when many are waiting for years .And to ask for Amnesty is the heights when people who enter legally are waiting for many years just for work authorization. Well the country do need immigrants but through some legal channels is certainly welcome.

dk | May 03, 2006

Correct: rather than make it an either/or question of simple deportation or legalization it is at least important to start talking about the wider issue of immigration and immigrant workers. Although the issue itself is complicated and the eventual policy will certainly have to reflect this complexity, it's the energy of the protests that is really exciting.

Estamos en la lucha at Impossible to work | May 03, 2006

[...] My personal experience being somewhat skewed, check out what sepoy, pdcs and moacir had to say. And of course, a few pictures. [...]

antje | May 07, 2006

in some senses il/legality becomes almost a secondary issue and legalisation meaningless so long as existence on a basic-rights-and-daily-needs level is rendered untenable. which is, of course, why it is easier to view the matter on a deportation/legalisation spectrum—the real and thoughtful responsibility to neglect.... oh, and: excellent photographs.

elizabeth | May 09, 2006

i have finally got pictures from the NY march(es) up; the rally in union square was particularly moving. it was largely latina/o, but the other boroughs had strong chinese, desi, arab, irish etc. representation. And "I love immigrant New York" signs all over the place--amen. love the new site design, by the way.