In 2006, a historic mobilization for immigrant rights swept the USA as millions took the streets. Mainstream news media predictably covered the marches with a mix of surprise, ignorance, and racism, yet grassroots media activists were there to document the voices and the stories behind this mass movement.
Gigante Despierta is a grassroots collaboration of journalists and media activists across the country who documented the massive groundswell of activism from immigrant communities and their allies and the dozens of protests that took place across the country on May 1st of 2006, international workers day.
It is a collective memory and a tool to inspire action this MayDay 2010, when the Giant will raise its voice again to say: we are one people, without borders. We are here, and we are here to stay!
The need to stand up for immigrant rights at this time is extremely important as Arizona has just passed the Senate Bill 1070 [read the legislation] which makes law enforcement officers in that state responsible for trying to confirm people’s immigration status and arresting people who can not prove their American citizenship. This will create an apartheid society where police can stop people and ask for their paper based on their suspicion that they may be undocumented. SDS at UH has been organizing against the 287(g) program in Houston and Harris County and the racist nature of its expansion of police powers. What has happened in Arizona is much worse.
Youth and Students in Arizona have responded with walkouts and lockdowns and ask for people across the nation to commit non-violent civil disobedience to resist these police state powers. Below is a great short film made by Pan Left Productions about youth resistance to SB 1070:
The police state powers that are created by SB 1070 require police to racially profile and search out arrest people for the civil violation of being in the United States without proper documentation. If this goes into effect, Arizona will be an Apartheid state. Some are already calling for the use of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions as a strategy to fight this apartheid policy in Arizona. Our SDS chapter has done lots of organizing in solidarity with the Palestinian people and in opposition to Israeli Apartheid and the parallels of what is happening in Arizona is too scary and frustrating for us to ignore.
We want to fight for a world without oppression, where no police or military force is needed to enforce any type racial seperation or restrict people’s freedom of movement. We hope to see you marching on May First, and in the struggle for immigrant rights and against apartheid and racism in the future!