Monday, May 3, 2010

Todos Somos Arizona: Immigration is a Feminist Issue

According to the NY Times, several thousand people demonstrated on May 1 for immigration reform. These numbers included 50,000 in LA, 25,000 in Dallas, 10,000 in Chicago, 10,000 in Milwaukee & "thousands" in SF & DC. The NY Times failed to mention that "thousands" also marched in Seattle.

I remember learning about some of the issues surrounding immigration in 1994 when Proposition 187 passed in California. We were on tour and not reading the news and when we heard it passed I didn't really 'get it' at first. It took awhile to sink in...and when it did I realized I had a lot to learn.

A few years ago, I came across this article that clearly articulated why immigration is a feminist issue. It's written by Jesscia Hoffman as a white woman to white feminists and discusses privilege and accountability.

She poses the question:

Prominent white feminists often say they are organizing against violence, for safety. So where have they been while working-class immigrant women have been pulled from their homes and workplaces, often separated from their young children, in immigration raids across the United States in recent months?

She goes on to say:

Immigrant communities are living in near-constant fear, with little "safety"; women and trans and gender-nonconforming people are suffering gender-based violence at the hands of federal immigration officials; and the movement for immigration-policy reform is arguably the largest mass movement in the United States today.

I was reminded of this quote when I was reading the paper on Sunday and wanted to link to it here, because it brings up a lot of issues that are relevant to what's happening right now.

I just wrote this long semi-coherent rambling thing about being on tour and trying to open up the mic for political dialogue on May Day in LA...and how it didn't work... Punk Rock Feminism rah rah rah. But what I really want to say is TODOS SOMOS ARIZONA... that is a cry for solidarity.

Please write to the Governor of Arizona voicing your opposition to SB1070 and if you are in a band, BOYCOTT ARIZONA.

To people who have a problem with that
: would you have played South Africa during apartheid? A boycott is an act of solidarity with people who are oppressed. Being in a punk band does not make you above solidarity. Think about it. I hate how punks think they are immune or somehow "outside" of the power structure. And let's not get into a thing about how it's ok to eat dumpster-dived grapes or pizza from that anti-abortion chain. That's not the same as what we are talking about here and you know it. Or you should know it. To all the punks who live in Arizona, SOLIDARITY !!!! Sorry but you're gonna have to jump a train across state lines to see shows for awhile.

From a recent Threadbared post
, here's what Chuck D and his wife Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson have to say about SB1070:

Jan Brewer’s decision to sign the Arizona immigration bill into law is racist, deceitful, and reflects some of the most mean-spirited politics against immigrants that the country has ever seen. The power that this law gives to police, to detain people that they suspect to be undocumented, brings racial profiling to a new low. Brewer’s actions and those of Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, the Arizona State Senate are despicable, inexcusable, and endorse the all-out hate campaign that Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, and others have perpetrated upon immigrants for years. The people of Arizona who voted for this bill, as well as those who crafted it, demonstrate no regard for the humanity or contributions of Latino people. And for all of those who have chosen not to speak up, shame on you for silently endorsing this legislated hate.

In 1991 I wrote a song criticizing Arizona officials (including John McCain and Fife Symington) for rejecting the federal holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The same politics I wrote about in “By the Time I Get to Arizona” are alive and well in Arizona today, but this time the target is Brown people.

These actions must stop. I am issuing a call to action, urging my fellow musicians, artists, athletes, performers, and production companies to refuse to work in Arizona until officials not only overturn this bill, but recognize the human rights of immigrants. This should include the NBA playoffs, revisiting the actions of the NFL in 1993, when they moved the Superbowl to Pasadena in protest against Arizona’s refusal to recognize Dr. King. We all need to speak up in defense of our brothers and sisters being victimized in Arizona, because things are only getting worse. What they’re doing to immigrants is appalling, but it will be even more damning if we remain silent.”

Listen to Chuck D's new song here:

When are we gonna get the punk rock feminist version of this statement?

Solidarity forever!

Happy Birthday Pete Seeger: