• Las Mariposas - The Butterflies

    Its been more than a few times that while driving in between cities butterflies appear around us, and I’ve wondered whether or not they’re coming along for the ride or if its simply normal for them to be in these parts this time of the year.  Their timing coincides with the image of the butterfly growing as a symbol of this ride. That is one of the funnest things to experience in organizing – when something begins to take on a life of its own.  I love the possibility of an idea, a sense of something and not having a clue what it will become in the end. I am thankful that I am still willing to try things that I don’t have an idea of what the outcome will be. But having a sense of the possibility, and that it could be good, makes taking a chance, the risk is worth it.

    That is why as we continue on, the butterfly grows and flutters more and more in my mind. Ever present. Its nature, its essence. The way it has had meaning to cultures and different peoples. The way it develops, a physical manifestation of the quantitative growth of something…step by step by step..so delicate that you can’t always tell its changing; to the qualitative change, when something clicks and that person, place or thing bears little resemblence to its former self.

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  • Website Yes, Legal Status, No: "No Papers, No Fear" Hopes to Build a Movement for Undocumented Immigrations

    One of the riders of the Undocubus facing down a policeman. Photo courtesy of No Papers, No Fear

    The online video shows a man in a white sweatshirt standing in a cavernous conference room, his arms aloft holding a banner. In the background, a voice drones over a tinny public-address system.

    "I'm undocumented, and I'm not afraid," the man in the sweatshirt declares.

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  • Watching Our Parents Come Out of the Shadows

    On August 14-17, I and five other members of the Immigrant Youth Justice League (IYJL) followed the No Papers No Fear Ride to their stops in Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama. Those four days made me optimistic of the growth our community and movement is making.

    The strength and courage the people on the bus have is inspiring as it shows the determination they have to live and organize without fear.  Since the first day that we arrived in Memphis, we realized the diversity and intergenerational make up of the bus.  The people telling their stories in public community events were of all ages and various backgrounds.

    As somebody who has participated in the Coming Out of the Shadows rally in Chicago, I was excited to see adults coming out alongside youth.  Every person who shared his or her story through words, theater, dance, or poetry did it with conviction. They spoke without shame and were unapologetic and unafraid.  

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  • Undocumented mom risks life in US to join immigration fight

    Birmingham, Ala. -- Maria Cruz Ramirez thrust up a small banner reading “undocumented,” interrupting a hearing on strict state immigration laws to share the impact that the legislation has had on her life.

    “I am here to lift up the voice of my community, of my children, all those families who have been separated. I am here and I want to present this so you can see it,” Ramirez, 46, cried out in Spanish as she held up the sign at the meeting in Birmingham. “I am a mother, a responsible mother … I am not a criminal and I am here to defend my rights.”

    A mother of three and former owner of a hair salon in Mexico, Ramirez, who lives in Arizona, never thought she would end up here, as an immigration activist, possibly jeopardizing her life in the U.S. But after 11 years in this country, she decided to throw herself into the public spotlight as Arizona’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants threatened her family.

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  • Ganando el derecho de hablar por nosotros mismos: Winning the Right to Speak for Ourselves

    The US Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing in Alabama on the impact of state-based immigration laws. They invited the author of SB1070 and the sponsor of Alabama's hate law.

    Kris Kobach can't testify about the impact of immigration laws. Undocumented people can. Riders from No Papers No Fear interrupted his speech until they were escorted out. We came back stronger and demanded we be included. By not backing down, we won our inclusion for the day.

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  • Si No Nos Invitan, Nos Invitamos Solos: No Papers No Fear Protest in Alabama

    The US Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing in Alabama on the impact of state-based immigration laws. They invited the author of SB1070 and the sponsor of Alabama's hate law.

    Kris Kobach can't testify about the impact of immigration laws. Undocumented people can. Riders from No Papers No Fear interrupted his speech until they were escorted out.

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  • They pushed us out. We came back stronger. They let us in.

    They pushed us out. We came back stronger. They let us in.

    As we began the early morning drive to Alabama from Tennessee, we all felt nervous.  This was our first action in Alabama, the only state to have harsher laws than Arizona.  Knowing that people with power were inside, we thought that maybe we had a big chance to get arrested. When we do actions in Arizona, we have a lot of community behind us.  Here, we thought it would not be the same. 

    As we crossed the state border into Alabama we saw the photo of Gerardo from the morning action, where he and three other of our fellow riders interrupted Kris Kobach's testimony, and it gave us energy to follow through with our plans.  We got off the bus – la luna, which we had converted in to a Department of Homeland Security vehicle and began our skit:

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  • Fearless and Speaking for Ourselves

    Fearless and Speaking for Ourselves

    Yesterday was one of the most important days of my life. It gave me the opportunity to speak to the people who are directly hurting our community. I, and three of my fellow No Papers No Fear riders - Mari Cruz Jimenez, Maria Huerta, and Jose Mangandi - stood up during the testimony of Kris Kobach, the author of SB 1070, while he was addressing the United States Commission on Civil Rights, testifying on the effects of state immigration laws. He was sitting at the table like an expert, when we know there is no one who knows the effects of immigration laws in our communities better than undocumented immigrants. We had not been included as part of the group to testify, so we stood up, uninvited, and told our stories.

     

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