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My Life as an Activist

July 30, 2010

ok, ok, so I’m not that much of an activist…

Over the spring break from College, I’d contacted the group No More Deaths/No Más Muertes. They’re a wonderful humanitarian organization based in Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. I’d been on the Flagstaff mailing list, but it was on spring break that I really reached out to them and volunteered to be an unpaid intern over the summer.

As soon as I finished school and moved back down to Phoenix, I started my internship, and so far, it has been a blast. I had arrived mid-May to Phoenix, and so in that time attended a meeting for the group Puente, and signed up to teach English. More on that later.

For the last two weeks of May we participated in passing out fliers and drumming up support and enthusiasm for the big march that would take place on the last saturday of the month.The reason was to spread awareness and about the new legislation coming into effect, and to protest these new laws.

When the day arrived, things were crazy! My friend Charles (earlier mentioned as the crazy Icelander who accompanied me to Reno) had happened to be in Phoenix for a couple days and my parents had let him stay at our place. That saturday morning we got up and took the light-rail to the march, acquiring posters upon arrival.

The march started at Steele Indian School Park, and proceeded all the way to the capitol building, about 5 and a half miles. All the way people were banging on drums and yelling in bullhorns and just having a helluva time. Police were an omnipresent force, sitting off to the sides, sometimes directing traffic, and for the while that we were on central avenue, making sure no one was squashed by the light-rail.

One of the fascinating points was the dichotomy of emotions running up and down the crowd. People were alternately laughing, having a good time, and celebrating the social solidarity coalescing around them. Many others, though, were angry. And justifiably so, I would say. They successfully demonstrated that the new laws target a People, their people, not just supposed “illegal immigrants”. Our drumming, shouting, and chanting resonated off the tall buildings in downtown Phoenix, as spectators watched from restaurants and office buildings.

As we continued to march, taking several hours, Charles and I ran into a few people from No More Deaths, and we walked with them until we’d made it all the way to the capitol building. There, in a large field were numerous platforms and vendors, playing riotous music, giving venues for speakers, and selling delicious, delicious food. For the first time that day I tried a magical dish where corn-off-the-cob is spooned into a cup, along with a dollop of mayonaise and chili powder, and topped with some lemon. It was finger-lickin’-good.

This event was the largest protest I have ever participated in, and it was awesome. This was the first of the two biggest events that have happened to me this summer so far, and I feel it’s necessary to show some pictures. The following photos I did not take, but I feel they effectively represent the events during the march.

This is the link to a great page filled with pictures of the march, including some that I have here.

Phoenix Immigration March

One of the most hilarious posters

This guy is funny, and manages to show up to most rallies of any kind

This was taken by a friend of mine, lots of people

And by lots of people I mean there were over 10,000

The march wasn't without its controversy, especially when it came to race

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 6, 2010 11:12 am

    you had never had elote before?! your life is now a significant percentage more complete, isn’t it?

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