In college May Day meant we built a half pipe in the sculpture studio and played in the grass between the 2D and 3D buildings on a clay slip and slide. Today, May Day 2006, I participated in the march through downtown LA in support of immigration rights.
Today I marched with Holly Tempo in honor of my great-grandmother, Pauline Kahn. Holly carried an American flag while I carried an enlarged Photo of Bubbie Pauline with text announcing “MY GREAT-GRANDMOTHER CAME HERE FROM RUSSIA ON A FAKE PASSPORT.” I felt so much pride in supporting the immigrants today. Many people after reading my sign took my picture, put their arms around me, shook my hand, and gave me high fives, thanking me for my solidarity and support of them. My feeling is that I am just raising the point that not all illegal immigrants are Latinos. There are a lot of racist ideologies in the immigration debate now. I am also trying to honor the fact that if she had not come here, more of our family could’ve perished in the Holocaust.
I do not know the best solution, but I do think that the current policy needs to be re-evaluated. Yes immigrants should learn English. However I do find it problematic that we are really the only developed country that does not require/encourage its citizens to be multilingual (I’ve been told that Bubbie spoke Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish and English.) The founding Americans (read Colonialists) came here illegally and stole land from the Natives. The people arriving here from Latin America are coming here to start a better life, just as my Eastern European ancestors did. Many of the children who were brought by their parents illegally are now in high school or college. They now suffer because of their parent’s actions. Culturally they are just as much American as anyone, because they were raised here. Should they be deported to a country they do not know?
I do understand that times have changed since the late 1800’s and that our country cannot take care of everyone. Yet we invade other countries to “liberate” the people, which is a whole other issue. Don’t get me started…
One last note…I was offended this weekend by the altered flyer advertising the march and boycott that was posted in the mailroom in my building. It appropriated the flyers made by ANSWER LA and added racist statements against Mexicans in the small print. When I took it down and replaced it with the actual ANSWER LA flyer, the racist tenant replaced it again. Finally I tore up their flyer and left the bulletin board empty. Holly suggested I report the illegal hate speech to the building management.
* Pictures from the march will be posted soon.