Monday, May 01, 2006

WE CALL HIM DADDY


The Day Without Immigrants rally in Austin is probably just dispersing as I write this. Like its predecessor here, it was deeply uplifting, peaceful, and large. Furthermore, as a student of mine said of the April 10th march, it wasn’t the usual protest demographic. Sometimes at an Austin demonstration, the wind will shift, and you get a breeze scented with a mix of sweat and patchouli. Today’s breezes brought the smell of the sun on somebody’s diaper.

That detail alone should put to rest the new spin we got from Leslie Sánchez on the PBS Newshour tonight. To hear her tell it—and watch for more of this in the next couple of weeks—today’s march and boycott weren’t authentic grassroots phenomena like the events of March and April, just a bunch of radical left ideologues trying to fool everybody into supporting an international Socialist holiday and paralyzing the economy.

In answer to that we could mention just how American May Day really is. Or we could listen to a couple of folks I met on the way to Cantu Park. As the march headed east on César Chávez street, I came up behind a down-to-earth Anglo Texan grandmother and her teenage daughter who held a cardboard sign bearing a large photograph of a bronze-colored man in a soccer ponytail bending over a baby. Laser-printed text taped to the sign read, “Some call him an illegal alien. Some call him a criminal. We call him Daddy.”

The woman told me that her other daughter (sister to the marcher) had recently had a baby and married its Mexican-born father, only to have Immigration sweep him away. I didn’t get all the details, but the family clearly didn’t know till it was too late that they had to fill out a visa petition to get the man legal status. Now he’s in detention, and if he’s deported, they may face a ten year separation before he can return. “I thought our government was supposed to be pro-family,” the new grandma told me.

Tell that family and all the others that made today one MORE of the biggest marches in Austin history that this revival of May Day isn’t a grassroots phenomenon. Tell it to the folks from Cristo Rey church who stood on the sidewalk and raised their fists in the air as we marched past. Tell it to the owners of the meat packing plants, agricultural fields, and restaurants that closed today. Or maybe just listen to the corrido.

This post may seem a little long and off-topic for this space, but ultimately, our wedding blog is about making family, and that family that may soon be divided by a “smart” fence could just as well be ours. Or anybody’s.

Any reports on activities in the various cities where our readers are? Albuquerque? KC? Lawrence? CO Springs? Dayton? New York? Post the links!

3 Comments:

Anonymous Mother of the Groom said...

From Lawrence:
http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/may/02/protesters_take_streets/?city_local

May 02, 2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger jennifer said...

i also thought that yesterday's march was very community-oriented, grass roots, if you will. i was really impressed with the cross section of mexicanos and chicanos at that march. very inspiring. :)

May 02, 2006 9:15 PM  
Blogger The Maid of Honor said...

Here in Albuquerque protestors clashed with skinheads. Cripes. Good thing the skins were wildly out numbered.

May 03, 2006 5:03 PM  

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