Our fight to stop the bold attacks of the I.C.E in Southwest Detroit’s schools, churches, workplaces, parks and homes must continue.
All we need to start backing off the I.C.E is a section of our community preparedness to openly denounce their actions. If we have 50, 60 or even 80 people, a tiny fraction of the population of Southwest Detroit, and a tinier fraction of Detroit’s overall population, at Saturday’s rally we can begin to shift the balance of power between the I.C.E and Latina/o, undocumented and immigrant youth and community in Southwest Detroit. If we can get some hundreds of students and people from the neighborhoods we can achieve even more.
The I.C.E Must Stay Out of Southwest Detroit’s Schools, Churches, Workplaces, Parks and Homes!
If we hold a spirited rally on Saturday with students from Cesar Chavez, Western High School and other youth, who can become the young leaders, the Martin Luther King’s of this generation, and BAMN, the only civil rights/ immigrant rights organization fighting to build struggles rather than extinguish them, it would be a great opening move against the ICE. The ICE want and need us to take the raids and deportations quietly to be successful. They want to continue to detain, deport, humiliate and split up our families with impunity. The only way to stop the I.C.E is to give them a reason to fear coming into Southwest Detroit and attacking our families and friends when and where they feel like it. Throughout history, the oppressed have given the oppressor that reason most effectively through collective mass struggle.
THE POLITICIAN’S FEAR OF MASS ACTION BREAKING OUT BEFORE THE ELECTIONS MAKES THIS THE IDEAL MOMENT TO GET OUR MOVEMENT MOVING
With only a few weeks remaining until the elections, a mobilization of the Latina/o and immigrant communities can send a message to the President, who is commander of the ICE that we demand that he call his dogs off now. The President or one of his cabinet members could, with a single phone call, end the ICE harassment we face every day. If the politicians believe that our movement is growing in strength and determination, that phone call will be made.
No Racist Raids and Deportations in Southwest Detroit!
Our communities, documented and undocumented have the power to determine, not only who wins the upcoming elections but where our society goes from here. We must not fear our power as much as the rich and powerful and the politicians of both parties that serve them do. Our community and so- called political leaders always try to channel our anger and frustrations into electoral politics. But at the very moment that we could use our power at the polls to alter the policies of the politicians and the President, those same “get out the vote” leaders tell us to wait until after the elections to put our demands forward: An immediate change in the ICE’s policies towards our communities. This makes no sense, why not assert our demands now while the politicians are scurrying to win the active support of the Latina/o communities to win. We must not let this critical conjuncture to pass without action. We can get the ICE out of our communities if we act boldly and decisively. We must not squander this opportunity to change the balance of power now.
Build the New Independent Civil Rights and Immigrant Rights Movement
Our power at the polls is just a pale reflection of the power our communities actually possess. When we stand together, documented and undocumented and take to the streets, we can change the course of history not just the outcome of a single election. The rich and the powerful may be arrogant but they are not stupid. They know that our political power at and away from the ballot is formidable. Those without a vote- the youth, the undocumented, etc-have more social power acting together than all the ballots individual voters in our communities can cast. Why wait, when what we do in the next few weeks could lift our communities out of fear and completely change the balance of power.
The increase in boldness by the ICE is the response to the power of the massive immigrant rights demonstrations of 2006 and the lingering fear of 1967.
The I.C.E only gets away with harassing, detaining and deporting our friends and family because of their boldness. They are more aware than we are of the explosive potential of undocumented youth in Southwest who they constantly threaten with deportation and whose families and friends they have already deported or detained.
The increase in the boldness and frequency of their attacks is itself an expression of the power that we have. Just a few of us need to rival the boldness of the ICE to begin to loosen the fear imposed by them on the majority of people in Southwest. If we are to shift the balance of power in our favor and make our home, Southwest Detroit, truly safe for ourselves and our families, then we must have the courage to take a stand now.
Make Real the Promise of Detroit as a Sanctuary City
Part of what has made the ICE successful so far has been the isolating character of the whole process. The whole process, including the court proceedings in which most people are told that they should not fight and take whatever unfair deal the prosecutor wants to give them, is carried out in such a way as to keep the person isolated from the movement and the movement as far as legally possibly from the person. Through the independent mass actions of our movement, we can easily throw off their whole scheme of racist deportations and intimidation and break through the isolation we feel when confronted by what seems to be an all-knowing, all-powerful enemy. We need to introduce a new element into their scheme and our fight: A bold and new independent movement lead by the Latina/o, undocumented and immigrant youth of Southwest Detroit.
Latina/o, undocumented and immigrant, black and white students and youth- MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE
The youth are Southwest’s and Detroit’s strongest and most dynamic element. The ones with the most anger and frustration. The ones most willing to accept change and take risks to make the change themselves or allow others the time and space necessary to change. The ones looking forward to a better tomorrow. The youth who spend a lot of their time trying to figure out who they are and who and what they want to become and who learn the most about themselves through their everyday struggles but can learn far more through becoming leaders of a mass militant movement fighting against racism and for the right of undocumented immigrants to live without fear in their communities.
In the words of the great Abolitionist leader, Frederick Douglass “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
If you feel that it is right and necessary to fight, act on it because you are right!
Anyone, no matter how well meaning they seem, who tells you that the time is not right to fight is most likely scared of the unknown consequences of standing up to the oppressor/s in their own life. The great feeling some of us have experienced while standing up to an authority figure is most likely quickly forgotten since we are constantly told to keep our heads down instead of being encouraged to do it again next time. The only way to help them overcome their fears is by us taking action first and proving to them in action that the sky does not fall when you stand up to the abuser. The great feeling we feel when we fight is strange compared to most of the feelings of helplessness we feel. We may not know the consequences of fighting now but we do know what will happen if we don’t begin to fight for ourselves and our families and friends.
The independent actions of our movement must continue after Saturday. This is the only way to get closer to ending the ICE’s hold on our community.
We need regular and continuous actions to win the dignity, equality and freedom we deserve. We must build an organization to win our demands and continue to focus and build our power through independent mass action. The fight will be long but most of us and our families have been fighting since we were children and since we made the decision to make a better life for ourselves and our families by coming to America.
To win, our new movement needs a core of determined, optimistic young leaders who are prepared to lead in action and to learn from both their own experiences in struggle and from America’s two greatest and most successful leaders of militant mass movements of the oppressed, Frederick Douglass and Dr. Martin Luther King. Join BAMN!
BAMN is a mass, democratic, integrated, national organization dedicated to building a new mass civil rights movement to defend affirmative action,integration, and the other gains of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and to advance the struggle for equality in American society by any means necessary.