March 14th, 2010
By Hector A. Chavana, Jr. (Tlacaelel) of OurNewAnahuac.net
Seven-hundred people gathered at the Pasadena Convention Center just outside Houston to listen to the message supporting Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). Warm up speakers included this organizer, representatives of the Guatemalan indigenous population, Latino Disability Group, SEIU and many more. The warm up messages varied from nationalistic cries of OUR LAND to multi-cultural action to popular union chants, but no doubt the crowd was awaiting Rep. Luis Gutierrez from Chicago, who is pushing like hell to pass just comprehensive immigration reform. He has suggested that we need not vote Democrat if the party won’t deliver on this subject. He has also been accused of holding up healthcare reform, since it does not address the needs of migrants. The real hold outs are the spineless Dems who are too willing to give in to conservative demands, instead of cramming it down their throats.
From my perspective, the Dems need more people like him, people who will dig in and stick to their principles rather than make a quick, half-ass win. That attitude has allowed the minority Republicans to control the debate. (Check out my future post of Michael Moore on CNN explaining this same point).
The Congressman reminded the crowd that Italians, Poles and many other European groups had come without papers, a message that I remember my dad teaching me as a kid. He recounted that he had been called a “spic” as a kid and that in first grade, he was relegated by his teachers to playing in class while the others were working, since it was widely accepted that Puerto Ricans could not learn. Gutierrez said that his experience being called spic was no different than those of our people who are called “mojados” today.
The Congressman Tears Up Upon Hearing The Massive Support For His Message.
Rep. Gutierrez reminded us that groups of peoples have paid in blood for rights that we enjoy today. So that we must not be happy with marching once or twice and expecting change to occur. The Congressman taught the crowd that women, workers, and blacks had fought for years for some very basic rights like the forty hour work week, the right to vote and the right to use public services
He said that the people had fought for years, and had suffered some of the greatest hardships, including the murder of their leaders. He proclaimed that he was willing to put his life on the line if needed.
"I’m here to represent my community after all I have seen," Andrew said.
One group came from as far away as Arizona. Andrew Sanchez was with the group. Andrew witnessed the desmadre that the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio heaped on our community in Maricopa County, Arizona. “I witnessed the raids. I was there.” He said that he was honking his horn in protest and was ticketed by ICE for doing so. After that, he says his family was a target of harassment.
In then end, Gutierrez’s speech moved me, despite his occupation. Perhaps not coincidentally there was virtually no discussion of the legislation that he is prooposing, and I blame only myself for not having checked it out a little more. When he visited Houston last, he did speak about the legislation, and a great deal made sense, though I was tuned off by some of the enforcement provisions. I love that the DREAM Act portion does not offer papers only to college-educated and soldiers.
Yesterday, he spoke in platitudes, and this is not a critique. Perhaps a small distincion between Gutierrez’s platitudes and those of Obama is that Gutierrez is goal motivated, and not too quick to pass a sorry bill at the expense of our people or in the name of bi-partisanship. When a Democrat says that we might need to withhold our votes from his own party, I begin to listen. Kudos to the main organizers and great hosts of the event, including Alimex, America Para Todos and FIEL, and the many other organizations and individuals who participated.
PS one other cool thing is that he called on the VIPs to move out of the specials seating and to seat themselves with the people. I thought that was the coolest thing I’ve ever seena politician do.
The Congressman Air Guitars Born In East LA. jk of course. sometimes I can’t help it
Austin In The House: No Excuses
Phoenix In The House: No Excuses
Pre-event meeting with LRJM