Irish orator John Philpot Curran said that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” What could ring more true after the advent of SB 1070?

Proponents of Arizona’s law claim that racial profiling cannot be used as reasonable suspicion. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, in a letter accompanying the signing of SB 1070, said that “We must enforce the law evenly, and without regard to skin color, accent, or social status.” Nevermind that race, color, national origin and a “thick foreign accent” can be used to decide whether or not to ask someone’s status. In all fairness, if Jan Brewer really believed what she wrote, she’d be advocating for a policy more color-blind than the one already in place by the federal government.

And so the day of its implementation came, and North Carolina came out in force against the law. We rallied in Charlotte and Raleigh, bringing our community together.

On the heels of a visit to Holy Covenant UCC Church, we spent the day with an acting troupe in Charlotte. Glenn Hutchinson, an English teacher at Johnson C. Smith University and playwright, led a group of actors in a play titled “Can Liberty Save the Day?” which we previously featured on this blog.

Esteban Ginocchio

We spent the day with them as they performed the play in downtown Charlotte and passed out fliers. As we did so, one man who commented on this news story as “musson” attempted to disrupt the play by asking if we supported human trafficking. While he claims we only shouted slogans, he apparently didn’t notice the play being put on which, had he paid attention, might have answered a few of his questions. But to answer it directly: unless he boycotts poultry, milk and tobacco, he is the one supporting human trafficking.

Hours before the law went into effect, Judge Susan Bolton issued an injunction stopping many of the overtly abusive parts of the law from going into effect. Those upset that democracy doesn’t mean rule by the angry mob resorted to death threats.

E. Ginocchio

At the end of the play, Rosario addressed the crowd along with her daughter, Vanessa. She shared her thoughts, her story and why she has kept up her fight.

In Raleigh, we stood alongside a strong showing of our state’s farm workers.

Justin Valas

The Farm Labor Organizing Committee was with us throughout the hunger strike, and we were glad to be standing with them once again, along with supporters from throughout the state.

J.Valas

Their countless hours of labor have brought billions of dollars to this state, along with massive salaries for tobacco executives while they make minimum wage. The workplace abuse that they suffer does not depend on whether or not they have an H-2A visa.

J.Valas

Another familiar face was Tio Rocandrolero, who played before two of the vigils during the hunger strike. We are proud to have played a part in creating a community of supporters in North Carolina, and we are continuing on that mission.

J.Valas

Viridiana stirred the crowd with her message of justice. As a supporter as well of those fighting against re-segregation in Wake County schools, she stood as a leader of the fight against racism in whatever form it may take. Loida also attended the Raleigh march, continuing to bravely speak out.

J.Valas

At these events, more than anything else, we wanted to show that we stand against racism, against bigotry and against those who attempt to divide rather than unite. The press will continue to quote neo-Nazi-connected folks like William Gheen who use prejudice for political purposes at the expense of informing a discussion our country desperately needs to have. But in an ever more interconnected world, bigoted messages will only ring more hollow and be more easily circumvented.

J.Valas

Ultimately, all of the controversy over immigration stems from the belief that the immigrants themselves are responsible for creating the forces that brought them here and profited from their labor. The truth is that there are no illegal immigrants, but there is an illegal immigration system. We have to dismantle that system rather than blame the people abused by it. The most successful criminals are the ones who can convince others that the victim is guilty, and believing them does nothing to stop a crime.

America’s future depends on immigrants. Its past has been brought forward by them. And at every turn, many have attempted to reverse the tide. Not today. Not ever.

See the previous post for press coverage of both events

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