I grew up during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s. My Dad, Mom and siblings suffered from the racism of that era. My Dad was a migrant worker/field supervisor. His peers were white. However, he was not allowed to eat at the same lunch counter, drink from the same fountain nor use the same bathroom as his peers, even though he worked side by side with them in the fields.
In the late sixties, the Civil Rights Act was passed and the law said we were all equal. The Jim Crow laws were cast aside. They were against the law. In reality, they continued on for many years. In the late sixties, riots occurred as minorities spoke out against the continuing abuses. (We are reliving these same times today!)
I didn't understand racism. As a child, I too was a migrant worker. In first grade, in Catholic school, I didn't understand the reason the other children laughed at me when I stuttered in shyness. They thought I stumbled over my words because I was a stupid mexican. They whispered to themselves I was a dumb mexican. When the nun explained to them that I was just as intelligent as they were, most were skeptical. However, my advocate, our teacher, the nun, helped me and all other students understand that I was their equal and I was just as intelligent as they were. Like them, I could be anything I wanted to be.
Through the sixties, most teachers explained to all their students, we were ALL equal. There was discrimination and injustice in the past, but that time was over. Not all teachers said this. I remember a few predicted I was going to get pregnant and I should take typing/vocational courses because I was never going to college and college prep courses wouldn't help me. It is a good thing I didn't listen to them.
In the late sixties, the riots occurred. I marched alongside other equal rights believers of all colors. We thought we could change the world. We thought all of us were equal. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, we were free at last.
After I finished my education, I started working for a large corporation and gradually progressed upwardly as a manager, continuing my education. I was going to be "That Girl!" I was going to have a career, a family, and be as equal as every other American in this glorious United States of America.
It is unbelievable to think so much change has occurred within one lifetime, my lifetime.
In the 70's, I met my husband, a big, handsome, strapping, lumberjack of an Irish American guy. We fell in love. In 1978 we married. In 1979 we had our first son. In 1985, we had our second son. Now, we have two young grandsons.
I thought we overcame the racism of the past. Little did I know that after 9/11, the racist groups who felt such a loss after the Civil Rights movement, who were still hanging on to their racist beliefs, would come back to haunt us. I didn't realize they were creeping back up on us until the May 2006 Immigration marches. Then they started planting their seeds of hate again. Their movement grew.
I heard all of their rhetoric on various cable news networks featuring Buchanan, Dobbs, Beck and others. I decided to learn more. I joined various websites and started my own blog in 2007.
It seems as if we reverted back in time to a certain degree. On a daily basis, I read about the Hate Crimes, Racial Profiling, the ICE Raids and the heinous Detention Centers. I read about the 287(g) local Sheriff assaults on workers. I see the persecution, incarceration, the humiliation, the inequality, the abuse.
Most Americans are like me. We are living in the new millenium. We understand we are a nation of Immigrants. We understand we are ALL equal. We understand we are a thriving, multi-cultural society. I look into the big beautiful eyes, eyes just like my Dad's, of my multi cultural, multi racial, multi ethnic grandchildren and I know our equality is the truth.
Some groups like the KKK, White Supremists, the NSMs and others are attempting to brainwash our children and others that are weak minded. They are attempting to convince them "illeeeegals" are the enemy. They are attempting to convince them to racial profile, assault, arrest and abuse these workers. No one knows what an "illeeeeegal" looks like, so these groups convince their members to attack and abuse ALL Latinos or anyone speaking Spanish. That is why we have seen crimes like the Caucasian Crew murdering Marcelo Lucero, the football jocks murder Luis Ramirez, or Dannie Baker murder innocent Chilean students.
The hate groups have convinced some local Sheriff departments (as in Northern Florida) to continue the worker ICE raids even though Janet Napolitano put a STOP to these practices. These sheriff departments could care less about the employers. They are not arresting them. They could care less about the Drug Cartels. They could care less about the felonious criminals. Instead they arrest and incarcerate the workers at the worksites, even though all they are doing is working.
I participate in various comment sections of the local news sites reporting these occurrences. It is alarming to see the degree of hate, anger and violence in some commenter responses. What is also interesting to note is ALL, without an exception, ALL of these commenters that spew so much HATE against latino workers (and they are ALL Latino workers), also hate our President, Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic party. They also hate Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry and the entire Democratic Party. They do not chastise employers hiring those they term illeeeegal and they do not seem all that angry about Bernie Madoff or other big business billion dollar thieves. The majority also do not approve of Gays, the right to Choose, Gun Control, Health Care or Global Warming. Most are Limbaugh, Beck and Dobbs viewers and approvers. These are the same extreme right wingers who say they will hold on to their beliefs and their guns with their last breaths. I am sure their ancestors were primarily slave owners and chastised Kennedy/Johnson through the Civil Rights Movement. They are advocating White supremacy and Mass Deporation of the 12M here. They also say they will never change their minds.
My goal in writing my blog is to help all Americans, and especially Americans of Latino descent understand we MUST remember the past. We must remember how recently the Civil Rights movement occurred. We MUST remember how recent the actions of Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta occurred. The Civil Rights abuses happened in my lifetime. They were worse in my father's lifetime. We have to remember how fragile our history is and how many accomplishments our parents sacrificed to get us to this point. We have to remember we are a Land of Immigrants and WE are ALL Equal. We should do everything in our power to stand up for the newer Immigrants and to achieve Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We must also encourage all of our children to continue their education and never indulge in drugs.
God Bless America!
God Bless Our President Barack Obama!