“We can’t be afraid. We go on and do what we always do and ‘echale ganas’ (give it your all). That’s all we can do.” This is what my mom told me after California voters approved Prop. 187, a draconian law that required various state and local agencies to report persons suspected of being undocumented and barred undocumented immigrants from basic public services like education and health. It was 1994, I was 13 years old, undocumented, and fearful for my and my family’s future.
My mom’s simple message of perseverance and not giving up helped me overcome my fear and contributed to me becoming the first person in my family to attend college and obtain a higher education degree.
It has been almost three weeks since the end of a very contentious election, an election where vulnerable communities including immigrants were openly mocked, bullied, threatened and humiliated. More than a decade after Prop. 187 my mom once again said those words, “We can’t be afraid. We go on and do what we always do. Echarle ganas.” It is 2016, I am 35 years old, and I fear for my community’s future. But I am not afraid.
Afraid is when my brother called me a year ago to tell me my dad was taken by immigration during an early morning raid at his home in Los Angeles. Afraid is when I imagined my dad, 68 years old, who had not been in Mexico for over two decades, being dumped in what is now a foreign land to him without money or a way to contact us. Afraid is when I spoke to my mom the day of my dad’s detention and heard that immigration officers tried to lure her out of her home to detain her too. Afraid is when I didn’t know the next time my mom and dad would see each other. Afraid is when we found out that immigration detained my dad due to a mistaken identify and I realized that many more have been detained under similar circumstances.
Our response to fear on the day of my dad’s detention was to organize, mobilize, and fight. On September of 2015 a massive organizing effort resulted in my dad’s freedom. In less than one day thousands of people took action to force back the van that was transporting my dad to the US-Mexico border and forced ICE to release my dad.
Our response to someone being elected president using fear as a driving force and turning fear into hate is to prepare, organize, mobilize and fight. We didn’t stop until my dad was free and we won’t stop until we are all free!
Below is a list of immigration related resources and organizations that are ready to stand up to an administration that seeks to spread fear in our communities. If we are afraid, we lose. If we are prepared, we win.
- Know Your Rights!
- Official CHIRLA Know Your Rights video
- Fund to support for litigation and organizing
- How to Stop a Deportation Through a Public Campaign
- Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds (TRUTH) Act AB 2792 (Bonta)
- Information about DACA Post-Election
- ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights in Trump’s America: Know Them
- Help communities organize to stop Trump
- Student toolkit: ICE out of schools, colleges, universities, and technical institutes!!
- Know Your Rights Presentation Request Form
- Mobilizations/Event calendar
- Free Immigration Clinic in Los Angeles
- International Migrants Day Event in San Francisco
Fight: List of bad-ass organizations you should donate to that are ready to fight.