Friday, March 24, 2006

Day 3: Thursday, March 23

This was the most physically grueling day for the hunger strikers so far. Several experienced nausea, dizziness, and headaches; our eldest hunger striker – whom we affectionately call abuelita (grandma) – registered high on the blood pressure meter. Nurse Stephan Lynch and other medical volunteers will continue monitoring their vitals.

While physical ailments challenged the hunger strikers, the love and encouragement of supporters continue fueling hunger strikers’ calls for Senator Feinstein and other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to take leadership in opposing Chairman Arlen Specter’s bill. One hunger striker explains, “It’s the little things people do – cracking jokes, smiling, digging through boxes looking for earmuffs to keep us warm – that are so filled with love that make all the difference.”

During the day, survivors from a battered women’s shelter stopped by to make signs with words of encouragement. Media outlets continued to send reporters, and organizers prepped for Saturday’s huge noontime rally at the SF Federal Building.

Bay Area communities were encouraged to hear that, today, 10,000-30,000 people walked out of their jobs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and marched downtown in what was billed as “A Day Without Latinos.” Read the Wilwaukee Journal Sentinel article and view the interactive slideshow. Momentum is clearly building across the nation.

Nearly 70 families and concerned Bay Area residents arrived for our 6pm candlelight vigil. Everyone signed postcards to be delivered to Senator Feinstein’s office on Monday when scores of Bay Area residents will march to Senator Feinstein’s office at 11am from the SF Federal Building. We need more signed postcards. Download them on the BAIRC website, get your friends to sign them, and bring them to the hunger strike by Monday.

After the candlelight vigil, we asked hunger striker Jay Pugao why he got involved in opposing Specter’s bill:

“This is something that breaks up families. It forces educators like me to turn in my undocumented immigrant students and call them ‘criminals’. We’re shaping young leaders and organizers. They are not criminals.

The same thing goes for the elderly in my community – the Filipino community. These bills would force me to turn in my titos and titas (uncles and aunts) who are working and paying taxes. They are the foundations of the workforce in this nation, although they don’t reap the benefits of it. These bills would further drive them underground and force them to hide.” – Jay

Jay is a long-time educator, artist, and activist. He works with the RIDE Project, which empowers young Asian American men to become health advocates and young leaders. He also teaches performance and martial arts with a violence prevention curriculum at numerous community centers and schools throughout the Bay Area including Logan High School, Youth Uprising, East Oakland Community High School, and Destiny Arts.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please send many blessing to you all who are fighting on my own behalf. My husband and I face the struggle of these immigration policies on a daily basis. My husband would rather I not talk about his business since I am a US citizen who suffers second hand but it is still so painful. He hasnt gotten his residency after 5 years and recently faces losing his job because he can't renew his work permit. He works with latino youth and is so great at it, it is such a crime if he has to go back to working under the radar. Peace, love , justice be with you, MC

6:28 PM  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

We join you in Solidarity here in Tucson in calling for a just and humane response to immigration reform. Paz, Man Eegee.

7:09 PM  
Blogger poetaxingon said...

stay strong brothers and sisters, gracias for keeping up the fight and the hope burning its light

10:36 PM  
Blogger Eric Mar & SF Area Activists said...

strength and solidarity to all the hunger strikers, and the families and grassroots organizations building the immigrant rights movement here in SF and all over the US.
great rally today - saturday!
very spirited.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect, what about those of us within the legal citizen community who are paying the price for these illegal alien scabs that are stealing our jobs, depressing our wages?

Fact...illegal aliens since Bush was elected have had a job gain of 2.3 million jobs, while natives (American citizens) have lost a net 400,000 jobs.

Fact...illegal aliens depress the wages of legal workers over 200 Billion a year...most of that loss is absorbed by workers at the bottom in the pay scale.

Fact...illegal's calim they take jobs we Americans will not do, do not want...funny, I am a landscaper, and I very much want those jobs being stolen from me.

I have a flop house for illegals on my block...said house, and the trash that lives there (20-30) have cost me over 50,000 of my limited home equity.

Wake up...Many deserving lower and middle class Americans lives are being RUINED by these filth...yes, filth, they broke the law being here, they break the law working under the table and not paying taxes. In short, they are SCUM. I support any one here LEGALLY, but those who came here illegally should be felons, as should those who help them, and if solving this issue means putting idiots like you in prison for aiding and abetting, so be it.

5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All of this "rights for illegal immigrants" garbage is a huge slap in the face for those of us whos family members fought & worked hard to get American citizenship. Now a century later, you criminals expect to just be allowed to walk in? We see Mexicans burning the American flag and flying the Mexican flag in Los Angeles. Such horrible disrespect for America! My ancestors came to America LEGALLY. We followed the LAW. You people just want to whine and pretend that you're entitled. Get out of America and come back *legally* - no more border jumping!

Illegal immigrants and their antics are seriously offensive to those of us that obey the law.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting quote; "My ancestors came to America LEGALLY". It is unfair to compare the process of legalization, "then" and "now". Great number of Illegal immigrants pay their taxes, own businesses that employ others, buy cars and homes, and therefore by doing so, demonstrate same behavior of the good citizen, yes 50 years ago for that you would get citizenship on the spot. You may want to call that fighting for the right to stay. I am all for it. For those who oppose this right, I suggest you look at the American history.

Keep up the fight!

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

¡ah güerito!, que raciasta me saliste. yo entiendo tu idioma, ¿serás capaz de entender el mio? como creo que no, eso sólo aumentará tu frustación, y a mi me seguirá dando la satisfacción de a tus ojos "ser superior". qué remedio. se nota que te ha amargado la vida el "haber nacido anciano" y lo peor del caso es que no podrás ser joven nunca.
llamas a la gente de manera nada grata y sin embargo, cada palabra que escribes muestra que el término que usas, te define de la manera más completa, o en otras palabras, a la perfección. además usas las mismas estadisticas que te vende tú televisión.
estoy seguro que "crees saber historia porque la has visto en el cine americano" y eso te da valor para llenarte la boca hablando de tus antepasados que seguro eran más ilegales en su país de lo que puedan serlos aquellos a los que criticas.
ya que te gustan los hechos te diré sólo uno, cuando tus antepasados llegaron a este país, por muchos papeles que tuviesen, son ilegales por siempre, porque ellos rompieron las leyes que acá existían, antes de la llegada del "hombre blanco", que como tal vez tú lo seas, pagaba por la cabellera de los naturales.
mejor revisa tus valores y en lugar de despreciar a la gente, ayúdala a que como tú, logre eso que vino a buscar a este país.
ten paz.

a la raza y a quienes apoyan a la raza. a los huelguistas. tengan paz y salud. ¡sí se puede!
en solidaridad.

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hope you people starve to death

12:03 AM  
Anonymous la lis de kalifaztlan said...

To the ahistorical and racist attacks on undocumented human beings. Before you begin to dehumanize individuals, before you begin to compare your experiences of your families coming into this country "legally" please take into consideration the following:

The First Exclusionary Act is passed. Convicts, prostitutes, and "coolies" (Chinese contract laborers) are barred from entry into the United States.

Immigration Act passed. The federal government moves to firmly establish its authority over immigration. Chinese immigration is curtailed; ex-convicts, lunatics, idiots, and those unable to take care of themselves are excluded. In addition, a tax is levied on newly arriving immigrants.

Contract laborers' entry barred. This new legislation reverses an earlier federal law legalizing the trade in contract labor.

Ellis Island opens. Between 1892 and 1953, more than 12 million immigrants will be processed at this one facility.

Additional categories of persons excluded. Epileptics, professional beggars, and anarchists are now excluded.

Exclusions further broadened. Imbeciles, the feeble-minded, tuberculars, persons with physical or mental defects, and persons under age 16 without parents are excluded.

"Gentleman's agreement" between United States and Japan. An informal agreement curtails Japanese immigration to the United States. Also, the tax on new immigrants is increased.

Literacy test introduced. All immigrants 16 years of age or older must demonstrate the ability to read a forty-word passage in their native language. Also, virtually all Asian immigrants are banned from entry into the United States.

Quota Act. An annual immigration ceiling is set at 350,000. Moreover, a new nationality quota is instituted, limiting admissions to 3 percent of each nationality group's representation in the 1910 census. The law is designed primarily to restrict the flow of immigrants coming from eastern and southern Europe.

National Origins Act. The Act reduces the annual immigration ceiling to 165,000. A revised quota reduces admissions to 2 percent of each nationality group's representation in the 1890 census. The U.S. Border Patrol is created.

Immigration Ceiling Further Reduced. The annual immigration ceiling is further reduced to 150,000; the quota is revised to 2 percent of each nationality's representation in the 1920 census. This basic law remains in effect through 1965.

National Origins Act. The annual immigration ceiling of 150,000 is made permanent, with 70 percent of admissions slated for those coming from northern and western Europe, while the other 30 percent are reserved for those coming from southern and eastern Europe.

Displaced Persons Act. Entry is allowed for 400,000 persons displaced by World War II. However, such refugees must pass a security check and have proof of employment and housing that does not threaten U.S. citizens' jobs and homes.

McCarran-Walter Act. The Act consolidates earlier immigration laws and removes race as a basis for exclusion. In addition, the Act introduces an ideological criterion for admission: immigrants and visitors to the United States can now be denied entry on the basis of their political ideology (e.g., if they are communists or former Nazis).

Immigration Act is amended. Nationality quotas are abolished. However, the Act establishes an overall ceiling of 170,000 on immigration from the Eastern Hemisphere and another ceiling of 120,000 on immigration from the Western Hemisphere.

World-wide immigration ceiling introduced. A new annual immigration ceiling of 290,000 replaces the separate ceilings for the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

Refugee Act. A system is developed to handle refugees as a class separate from other immigrants. Under the new law, refugees are defined as those who flee a country because of persecution "on account of race, religion, nationality, or political opinion." The president, in consultation with Congress, is authorized to establish an annual ceiling on the number of refugees who may enter the United States. The president also is allowed to admit any group of refugees in an emergency. At the same time, the annual ceiling on traditional immigration is lowered to 270,000.

Immigration Act of 1990. The annual immigration ceiling is further raised to 700,000 for 1992, 1993, and 1994; thereafter, the ceiling will drop to 675,000 a year. Ten thousand permanent resident visas are offered to those immigrants agreeing to invest at least $1 million in U.S. urban areas or $500,000 in U.S. rural areas. The McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 is amended so that people can no longer be denied admittance to the United States on the basis of their beliefs, statements, or associations.

Immigration Act. In an effort to curb illegal immigration, Congress votes to double the U.S. Border Patrol to 10,000 agents over five years and mandates the construction of fences at the most heavily trafficked areas of the U.S.-Mexico border. Congress also approves a pilot program to check the immigration status of job applicants.

Immigrants lose benefits. President Clinton signs welfare reform bill that cuts many social programs for immigrants. Legal immigrants lose their right to food stamps and Supplemental Security Income (a program for older, blind, and disabled people). Illegal immigrants become ineligible for virtually all federal and state benefits except emergency medical care, immunization programs, and disaster relief.

What you now claim as U.S. territory was once indigenous land homoe to the Lakota, Hopi, Navajo, Crow, Sioux, Cherokee, Seminole, Chocotaw land.
What you now claim to be U.S. territory was once Pomo, Shasta, Paiute, Zuni, Papago, then Mexico, land STOLEN through the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo.
We can not turn a blind eye towards the only crime that makes existening "illegal".
The history of this country shows the favoring of European immigrants over those of Asia, South America/ Carribean, and Africa (unless it is through slavery).
A history that extended citizenship to Europeans upon arrival while Blacks, Latinos, and other communities of color are EXCLUDED, considered 3/5ths of a person.
These racist and classist attacks on communities of color and poor communities continues...
We must stand in solidarity with those who choose to recognize the humanity of the "illegal, filth, scum". We are talking about people, mothers, fathers, children, families, not bacteria, not fungus, not infections.
If you can't see that then you are blind to your own humanity.
In solidarity, keeping all who fight for a just world in my prayers,
la lis.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

¡bravo por la síntesis sobre migración! pero sobre todo por los comentarios finales.
¡sí se puede! (aunque al gringüito se le atragante en la garganta)
en solidaridad y hasta la victoria, ¡unidos venceremos!
el S

10:15 PM  

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