September 05, 2012
Monday night, the “UndocuBus,” with dozens of monarch butterflies painted on its side, sat in a parking lot in front of Skandalos, a Mexican restaurant/performance venue on the outskirts of Charlotte, displaying its slogan to any late-night passersby: "No Papers, No Fear." Inside the club, Los Jornaleros del Norte (Day Laborers of the North) played cumbia tunes to the undocumented immigrants who have been traveling the country on the bus. Los Jornaleros are aptly named. The band members met on a street corner where they waited to be picked up and employed for the day, and started playing instruments together as a way to pass the time.
Standing on a corner waiting for work has become much more dangerous in the age of Arizona’s SB 1070 “Papers Please” immigration law, and its legislative cousins throughout the country. What recourse do the country’s 117,000 day laborers have against harassment, brutality and wage theft?
September 04, 2012
“Being black and undocumented is an uncommon intersection.” — Kemi Bello
Name: Kemi Bello
Party affiliation: None. I am comfortable existing outside of any political ideology.
Where are you coming from? Houston, Texas, but I am originally from Lagos, Nigeria.
How did you get to Tampa? Undocubus came to Texas on their journey across the United States. I connected with them in Austin and decided to join them. I knew about them because I’m involved with the DREAMers. I took a flight from Texas to Atlanta, but when I got there, Undocubus was already in Tennessee. So I got on the MARTA at ATL and took it to the Greyhound Station, where I picked up a bus to Knoxville. Once I got to the Knoxville bus station, I hopped a cab to the nearby Unitarian Universalist Church where I found my travel companions. The only thing I didn’t do is ride a bike!
Why are you here?
Listen to Kemi’s spoken-word poem about why she is on the Undocubus to Charlotte:
September 04, 2012
July 19, 2012
Kemi Bello came to the U.S. when she was 6 years old from Lagos, Nigeria. Her getting on the bus coincides with her 18th anniversary living in the U.S., specifically Texas, and just last month was the beginning of her 7th year in removal proceedings. Her and her family traveled here looking for treatment for her little sister, who is suffered from complications from birth, and has cerebral palsy. She is an accomplished migrant rights organizer, blogger, and poet, and a person who is constantly thinking about what it means to organize as an undocumented person. She says she is on the bus because she feels “there has been a very specific and narrow view perpetuated of the undocumented experience, especially that of undocumented youth.” She says that one way to expand the narrative to include all people who are members of the undocumented community is by building dialogues and telling our stories because “Only the undocumented community can build a narrative of undocumented people in the United states.”