May 1st 2009: Austin TX

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"Obama escucha. Estamos en la lucha."

I marched on May 1st and didn't catch swine flu.

As the swine flu scare gives nativists a new "close the border" drum to bang on us more sensible people got together and rallied for human rights. Here in Austin we gathered at the state capital building. After a short presentation we marched down Congress Ave. and back up to City Hall. Many held signs that said "pass the DREAM Act" and a group of students dressed up in their grad gowns chanting "What do we want? The DREAM Act. When do we want it? Now!"

Other signs asked to stop the raids and to shut down T Don Hutto.  At one point in the rally I was handed a hand-made sign that read "If any are illegal we all are."

Some of the memorable statement I heard from speakers were:

"More than anything else what we want to do today is to make all of us visible. Many times those of us who are immigrants and those of us who are alive with immigrant communities are forgotten, marginalized, ghettoized, and in other ways pushed out of the mainstream of U.S. society. It's time that we become visible. That the contributions that the immigrant communities make to this country become visible, valued; and the rights that we earn because of our value, because of being humans in society be respected."

Professor Eric Tang told the crowd that we have to understand that what happens to immigrants is not just an immigrant issue; it's an issue for all of us. He reminded us that we have to understand the same prison system that profits off of minority citizens is profiting off of undocumented immigrants. Facilities like T Don Hutto, just outside of Austin, are profiting from the influx of people looking seeking a better life. He also reminded us that this detention system was designed long ago to keep out Asian immigrants.

After a few other speakers rallied the crowd we began our march down Congress. At first I wasn't sure how the Austin crowd would compare to the New York crowd, but they were just as lively and loud. It was a good time and I'm looking forward to getting more involved here in Austin and, of course, for next year's May Day march. I hope by then we'll have something to celebrate: The DREAM Act and the closure of T Don Hutto.

This rally did energize demonstrated that Austin cares about human rights, but as I walked through the capital to get back to my car I had a sobering moment.  A group of six white college-aged guy that looked like football players was approaching me.  One of them, seeing my sign, said "f&*%ing immigrants."  It makes me sad to think that mentality is still so prevalent.  Keep up the fight!

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Peter Coyotl said:

Here in Salt Lake, a few minutemen decided to record the weekly televised pro wrestling show so they could show up to counter-protest.They wore surgical masks and rubber gloves. I asked one,using a civil tone, why there were no minorities in their group, and one angrily yelled at me that we are all Americans and there is no such thing as a minority. Another yelled we are all Americans or illegals. What part of illegal did I not understand he bellowed.

These guys are, sadly, disconnected from rational thought.

One was interviewed by a local tv station and complained of "diseases that illegally enter our country."

Viruses now need a visa?

Thank you so much for the report, the 'what part of illegal don't you understand?' question, that Peter refers to, is so overused by these people, it is always thrown angrily on your face and you have the feeling they want you to be on their side, that they want you to understand it soooo bad, that when you don't, they get irrationally angry, I in turn, try to figure out why they get in that frame of mind, finally it dawn on me when it reminded me of a Michael Douglas statement in the movie 'The American President' that I think gives me a plausible answer: 'the problem with Bob isn't that he doesn't get it, the problem with Bob is that he can't sell it'

As with Bob, the anti-immigrants can't sell it either and are only interested in blaming somebody for their woes in life and making you afraid or us, less and less people are buying their irrational positions because we are not racists, xenophobic nativists as so many of them are.

I compiled a list of Nationwide May Day actions here, I'm compiling the number of people in attendance in the different actions so I can post it later on today, much as I have tried, I have not been able to get any numbers for Austin posted anywhere. Do you have any numbers? A range of low and high estimated numbers would be great.

Peter you mention Salt City, I have not heard anywhere of an action there, can you give me details of that action and how many showed up?

I feel so proud that actions were held in 27 States but have none listed for Utah, if Peter provides details of that action, it'd bring the number of participating States to 28.

L. Facchino said:

Don't forget, everyone, when "they" berate Mexicans for the H1N1 virus, that Mexico never had an AIDS epidemic until yankees brought it across the border.

chris said:


Thanks for stopping by. In Austin I believe there were anywhere from 300 to 500 people. It may have been more, but I'm not great at guessing crowd sizes. As we marched it seemed like a big group of people.

Thankfully we didn't have any counter protesters during the march or rally.

Hello back to you.

Thank you for the info on Austin, the numbers sound just about right, all things considered you know.

I appreciate the thanks but, IMO, the opposite is in order, thank you for the great posts, great work you all do, I have both Citizen Orange and Sanctuary in two of my blogs 'blog roll' in addition to local Google RSS readers to keep up with your posts.


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This page contains a single entry by chris published on May 2, 2009 9:37 AM.

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