September 01, 2012
We are riding a 1972 MCI Challenger bus in our journey across the southwestern and southeastern part of the United States. This bus, who came baptized with the name ‘Priscila’ has been used in organizing tours mostly on climate justice issues. Inside she is more like an RV, with benches, a small kitchen and even bunk beds in the back.
So, it was a roll of the dice to choose a 40-year old bus to make this trip. Partly it was a gamble of necessity, because we have not counted on lots of money to make this happen. And it was also a choice, understanding the potential drawbacks. To have a schedule and route we could control, to be able to make the bus in the image and design we wanted.
August 25, 2012
Birmingham, Ala. -- Maria Cruz Ramirez thrust up a small banner reading “undocumented,” interrupting a hearing on strict state immigration laws to share the impact that the legislation has had on her life.
“I am here to lift up the voice of my community, of my children, all those families who have been separated. I am here and I want to present this so you can see it,” Ramirez, 46, cried out in Spanish as she held up the sign at the meeting in Birmingham. “I am a mother, a responsible mother … I am not a criminal and I am here to defend my rights.”
A mother of three and former owner of a hair salon in Mexico, Ramirez, who lives in Arizona, never thought she would end up here, as an immigration activist, possibly jeopardizing her life in the U.S. But after 11 years in this country, she decided to throw herself into the public spotlight as Arizona’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants threatened her family.
Arizona Awaits Next SB 1070 'Papers Please' Ruling, UndocuBus Rallies Undocumented Mothers Across Country
August 23, 2012
"I am mother and I am undocumented and I am not afraid," Ramirez, a mother of three young children, told me in a phone interview today, as the 30-plus modern-day freedom riders entered Georgia, on the heels of the 11th Circuit Court's strike down of that state's Arizona copycat immigration.
"I have heard so many stories from other mothers," Ramirez said, an 18-year resident of Arizona, who was brought to the United States from Mexico as a child. "They are inspired by our journey, and tell me that they have been inspired to come out of the shadows, and this encourages me to keep going."
August 15, 2012
Cuando me invitaron a la jornada por la justicia no dude. Sin decir nada a mi familia en las primeras semanas para no preocuparlas. No fue hasta unos días antes de abordar el autobús que se lo dije a mi esposa y a mi hija. Primero fue reacción de sorpresa. No supieron que decir, después fue de reflexión y en los siguientes días conté con todo el apoyo de ellas.
Mi esposa y mi hija sabían que yo podía ser deportado de todos modos en cualquier momento parado en la esquina o saliendo a trabajar, por so que no fuera han vano. Si me deportaban quise que todos aquellos trabajadores que están igual que yo, que no tenga miedo, que sepan que no están solos, que somos millones los que podemos salir de las sombras. Pero tenemos que apoyarnos, organizarnos, y sobre todo educándonos sobre nuestros derechos. Aunque seamos indocumentados, tenemos nuestros derechos que nos permiten ser tratados como seres humanos, y con dignidad. Esa es la razón por la que aborde el autobús en el viaje por la justicia.
July 28, 2012
They hope to expand on the activist role carved out by immigrants who were brought to the country as children, many of whom would be shielded from deportation under a policy enacted last month by the Obama administration. (Many of the riders on the bus are the parents of young people whose protests eventually spurred the administration’s action.)
“I’m running this risk because I want us to be respected, I want us to be recognized as the human beings that we are,” Maria Cruz Ramirez said at the party, where she sat before a makeshift stage, surrounded by other bus riders.
July 26, 2012
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio took the stand for six hours this week in a civil-rights trial accusing him of using racial profiling to target undocumented immigrants in Arizona. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund filed the lawsuit on behalf of residents targeted at traffic stops for detention, despite having a valid visa and identification. As Arpaio testified, four undocumented immigrants were arrested outside the courthouse for blocking an intersection and had immigration detainers placed on them in jail. At least one now faces deportation.
July 25, 2012
Queremos decir a la gente, principalmente, que no tenga miedo, que nosotros estamos haciendo por ellos también. A particular, lo estoy haciendo por mi, por mi familia, por mi comunidad y por la demás gente que no sabe que no tiene que tener miedo.
Aparte vamos a ir a la Convencion Nacional de Democratas para decirle a Obama que ya basta de abusos, que queremos que quite las Comunidades Seguras, nos quitaron el 287g pero Comunidades Seguras no nos la quitaron por eso siguen las deportaciones. Y eso es lo que queremos, que ya basta de tantas injusticias, que queremos algo positivo, no algo negativo para el país.
July 25, 2012
I’m going to get arrested because I am tired of living in fear. I am tired of all these laws that are passing not just here in Arizona but in the whole United States. And most of all for my family and my community.
I want them to know that we are not just doing this for ourselves, for our families, but for them too. We have seen so many families being separated each and every day. And people like the ones who are going to get arrested are the people who are being deported every day.
We want them to know we are coming out of our fear. They can come out as well.
July 25, 2012
Even as Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was on the stand answering questions about allegations of racial profiling, a group of undocumented immigrants gathered to share their stories with the media.
In addition to talking about living in Arizona, the group planned to "call for other undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows."
The protest, which involved some 60 people, spilled out into the street in front of the Sandra Day O'Connor United States Courthouse, 401 W. Washington Street in Phoenix. Dozens of police officers were called to the scene to try and clear the street.
Video from the scene showed officers taking several people into custody and escorting them away in handcuffs. It's not yet clear exactly how many people were detained.
The protest started with four individuals carrying a banner that said “No Papers, No Fear: Sin Papeles y Sin Miedo.”
July 21, 2012
While many undocumented immigrants are forced to live as virtual prisoners in their own homes, fearing any encounter with the government authorities, some pro-migrant activists are not only taking to the streets, they’re taking the show on the road.
The “No Papers, No Fear” campaign will mobilize activists across the country as it blazes a trail from Phoenix, Arizona–where the SB1070 law jumpstarted the campaign for immigrant rights–through New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee–states where politicians have considered similarly draconian anti-immigrant measures. The final destination will be the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina.
The “Undocubus,” set to take off on July 29, will mirror the example of the freedom rides of the Civil Rights movement, and like the original freedom riders, these folks know what it means to cross into hostile territory, and to challenge racist, anti-immigrant attacks through strength in numbers.