“We needed to make Napolitano understand!”

Carlos García, from Puente Arizona, holds the scarf with the stencil Dreamer Yovany Díaz made the night before. This image was taken from the video filmmaker Barni Axmed Qaasim shot during the hearing.

Carlos García, from Puente Arizona, holds the scarf with the stencil Dreamer Yovany Díaz made the night before. This image was taken from the video filmmaker Barni Axmed Qaasim shot during the hearing.

Once more I am really emocionado y agradecido that Yovany Díaz Tolentino, a great y valiente luchador who has been fighting for the rights of the undocumented in Georgia and across the country, has taken the time to once more share lo más reciente de su lucha por una reforma migratoria justa que incluya all 11 million of undocumented immigrants.

Just earlier this week I wrote about the action con la que miembros de la comunidad interrumpieron the Senate Judiciary hearing on immigration reform. Yovany was one of the people Capitol police arrested and charged with disruption of Congress.

Los dejo con las palabras de Yovany:

I left home late in the evening of February 10. It was a Sunday and leaving at such a time would mean that I’d be missing the 3rd season premiere of the Walking Dead. You know, I was looking forward to Glenn and Michonne’s infiltrating Woodbury and making a big move against the Governor, but I had to be somewhere more important that night.

I had to meet with the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR) GLAHRdiadores. Together, we would be joining about 300 defenders of justice at a gathering organized by the United Workers Congress at the Hilton in Washington DC.

We went there to discuss the various issues affecting our communities and also to come up with our own demands to stop deportations and achieve just and inclusive citizenship with strong labor protections for all of our families and friends.

This meeting was no coincidence. President Barack Obama had promised to address immigration reform during his State of the Union Address before Congress.

We sat at a private screening only to see the poor speech Obama gave about immigration reform. I could only hear little applause, if any, after the president’s more-enforcement approach to solve the immigration mess.

We were very disappointed at what he said. He is just giving us more of the same rhetoric that wants to push more enforcement on the border without stopping the massive deportations taking place under his administration.

After hearing this, I was ready for Wednesday. I didn’t get any sleep working on a stencil with my friend Alejandro Guizar who is currently in deportation proceedings, even though he is a low priority case and DACA eligible.

Our design read “NO MORE DEPORTATIONS” and it was later painted on a scarf Carlos Garcia, from Puente Arizona, would take with him during our action.

Just before we headed to the Senate Judiciary Hearing on immigration reform I received  bad news from home. It was about my friend and classmate Jordan from Freedom University.

Jordan’s dad, Francisco Martinez, had been deported even though he lived in the United States for 15 years, has four children who need him, and has no criminal history. Why was he deported? Because he had a minor traffic accident and that was enough to land him in deportations proceedings.

This has always been a personal fight, but that morning it pierced even deeper after learning about what had just happened to Jordan. This time the senators needed to hear from us, needed to hear from our own voices what they’re doing to our families and to our communities.

But I was tired. During the hearing I was nearly falling asleep since I had been up all night. Yet, I knew I could connect closer to my spirit and speak out against what our families are facing: Deportations.

I was waiting for Carlos to stand up. I would follow his lead. When he got up, I got up too. Interrupting Janet Napolitano was fantastic because we really needed to underline our message. We needed to make her understand.

 Soon, Capitol police surrounded us. We were escorted out of the room, lead to a hallway were seven of us would be arrested. Three other people were arrested later for refusing to sit down.

We all shared the same jail cell. The cops were really frustrated with our presence, especially a Latino cop who aggressively handcuffed the women and would later call us ‘illegal’. They charged us with disruption of Congress.

Some eight hours later we all were out, but are expected to show up for court on March 7. That’s fine. We are not worried. When that day comes, just like on the day we were arrested, we will continue to fight for our three simple demands:

  • Stop militarizing America by adding more boots and drones on the border

  • Stop the deportations

  • Document all 11 million undocumente including workers

About Gustavo Martínez Contreras

was born in Texas, brewed in Mexico City, seasoned in the Mexico-United States border, aged walking the streets of Philadelphia. He had a short-lived stint eating grits, fried chicken, and peaches in Atlanta. He later became a béisbol writer for El Diario de Nueva York. He has written about immigrant communities in English, Spanish, and some Spanglish. Although he does not have a shelf full of awards, Gustavo has received thank you notes and hugs from people who have trusted him with their stories. His work has appeared in Voices of New York, El Diario/La Prensa, Dallas’ Al Día, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, Philadelphia Weekly, Radio Bilingüe, Latina Lista, Spot.us, among others. He is currently pursuing a master's degree at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
This entry was posted in Arizona, dream act, dreamers, Georgia, Immigration, Immigration Reform, Latino issues, migración, politica, politics, Reforma migratoria, Social Justice, undocumented and unafraid and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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