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One Imagination empowers the current and next generation of leaders through written and oral expression. As a collective based in the Long Beach/South Bay area, we believe that through conscious artistic programming, community education and outreach, and leadership development, we can cultivate a world free of hatred, ignorance, injustice, inequality, and oppression.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Response to Gilchrist

I had the opportunity to meet Karina Garcia, the Political Chair of the Chicano Caucus at Columbia University in New York City, at the Party for Socialism and Liberation Conference which took place last year on November 11th in Downtown LA. She's a vibrant and beautiful woman who spoke strongly against John Gilchrist and his minutemen during a debate with him after the protest. He cut short from the debate after feeling theatened from Karina. Please view the debate/ interview here:

HTML: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/10/11/1430231
VIDEO: http://aztlan.net/karina_speaks.htm

Much of the media attention that was recieved at Columbia University has brought him here on our campus today, thanks to the 'Convervative Student Union', which surprisingly many of our own educators and faculty at CSULB are secretly involved in. Why else would our administration allow him onto our campus apart from 'free speech'?

So what would you say about today's movement on our OWN campus, CSU Long Beach?

I will leave it to someone else to spit facts. I was blown away by the turnout of students and faculty on our campus, however was pretty pissed off that they would even have a designated area called FREE SPEECH ZONE. I thought legal segregation in educational institutions ended during Brown vs. Board! Okay, who is paying for tuition fee? Yet we still retreat to the invisible borders placed for us by authorities who are the ones getting PAID to do so. It is very similar to the situation we are fighting for. Invisible borders were placed on the indigenous people and as we reap what they have sewn they come here not demanding for what was taken from them but instead wanting only a better life for themselves and their families -since we are exploiting their people back at home anyways with shitty labor wages! This goes for anywhere outside of the United States, from Thailand to Mexico. And to restate what Mykl had said on the microphone, myths such as "Immigrants don't pay taxes" and "Immigrants take jobs and opportunity away from Americans" are STEREOTYPES- not Statistics. People that deny racism still exists need to look at Gilchrist and his supporters. This event is specifically designated towards Mexicans who are trying to cross the borders but we forget that we are all immigrants! This is just a repetition of 1952 McCarran-Walter Immigration and Nationality Act which excluded Asians from coming to America. Yes, many of our parents have gone through the process to come here 'legally' but there are still plenty out there who remain undocumented, parents AND students and many who are NOT Mexican. How come I don't see minutemen standing outside the airport terminals, waiting for those anywhere from Asia to Europe 'undocumented' to come out? And hell no am I in any support for that, but instead of shooting down innocent people who are doing no physical OR economic harm to our country we should welcome them openly since they actually assist in boosting the economy up while they work towards a citizenship, or work with their country to better their economic situation which we take a great part in exploiting.
Anyways, Press-Telegram came to interview me and asked how I felt about the situation, since I saw this as a universal struggle rather than one just belonging to 'Mexicans'. He threw me off with "Were you aware that Jim Gilchrist spoke only about the 1st Amendment and said nothing about Immigration? What do you think of that?" Well, hell boohoo for him - there is a fine line between FREE SPEECH and HATE SPEECH. His speech on anti-immigration was predictable as it has been on every campus he has attended and for people to walk out on him was better than dozens of anarchist rushing to the stage to shut him up. We were not limiting his right to exercise the 1st amendment by choosing not to hear it - he would just have to recite to an empty crowd. Or supposedly he was going to apologize for all the innocent people he has harmed since he started the minutemen-specifically placed on the borders of Mexico but not Canada? There is no debate with his presence on campus. He is only here with his biased point of view and he is a media whore. It is a slap in the face for anyone to invite him onto our campus listed as the most diversed university in the nation since the students, many under AB 540, are not here taking any services at all but are paying their dues to become accepted into this nation through tuition fees for education AND taxes, almost double the amount than someone who is here 'legally' since many are still charged with 'out of state' fees. And as Alkarim stated, the Statue of Liberty stresses on "Give me your Tired, Your Poor, Your Hungry", but who has stolen this land in the first place? This will always be an issue of debate, but laws created by humans should not include violence towards other human beings as a penalty for them 'illegally' crossing over an invisible line created by racists xenophobes WASPs and conservatives forgetting they are colored.

And during the moment of silence, we bowed our heads to remember those lives that have been lost in the struggles to get here - only to be distracted by the sounds of sirens wailing from a distance. Hmm... which is more deafening?


ps: Had a show with INTERACT Theatre Troupe at a Juvenile Lockdown facility today with all females as the audience. I have never been with a more interactive group than them and they used vocabulary words I didn't even know at their age. I'm not saying that makes them 'innocent' but are we limiting their education by punishing them or are we helping to improve it by placing them into these camps? hmm, I wonder.. who's to judge more? The court or the youth? Do you agree with the penalties and restrictions set up by our legal system ($$$)? I admit, I'm no expert on this topic but it sure does surprise me that the largest mental health facility in the nation is the LA county jail...

ps: please repost about JFAV march this past weekend.


matt said...

What I don't understand is why is the 1st Amendment, freedom of speech, such a talked about subject when the issue is on immigration? My guess is that Gilchrist is using the constitution to defend himself because he has no logical explanation to why he accuses "illegal" immigrants to be a national problem. It seems that he accuses protesters of violating HIS freedom of speech, when protesters and organizers are only practicing their freedom, and should they not? Also, with the idea that minutemen ONLY patrols within borderlines of the nation (specifically around Mexico), definitely neglects all the other immigrants from entering the nation alternatively, which therefore is straight out racist towards Mexicans.

And YES! Free speech zone is ridiculous, it's as if we never had free speech until those signs surrounded us. Sometimes I wonder why we create rules for what's obvious... You're also very right about the misconceptions of stereotypes and statistics, these myths are misleading. Al-Karim gave me this document that explains the truth behind these myths, it's the same document they were handing out at the demonstration that Tuesday. I'm looking forward in doing further research on them and finding out more.

-matt n.

ps. status diffusion of Gilchrist:


Who is more likely to be heard in society? Him or me?