Tomorrow is “May Day” and millions of people will hit the streets to advocate for immigration and legislation reform. If you’re reading this, chances are that you advocate for some kind of reform. Hopefully, a reform that will provide a legalization path for those that have proven to contribute positively to American society. Either way, that’s what’s great about the US. You can make your views known and express them publicly as long as you’re not physically harming or harassing another individual. For example, at one of the marches I helped organize, you can be this kind of American…
As you can see, he’s holding a confederate flag. Not an American flag. That is an important distinction which is a dissertation on its own and for another post. Did he physically hurt me by doing this? No. Did he hurt my feelings? A little bit 🙂 But like I said, that’s the beauty of America, you can do something like that where in other countries it would be prohibited. (As a side note, that kid holding that flag got beat up the next day in school. I’m not condoning the reaction, but all I’m saying is to consider the risks and consequences with your expressed liberties).
What I want to focus on right now is on the mentality and knowledge of those participating in the marches. I remember having the honor a few years back to help rally people together for these marches. It takes a lot of work to get the permits, coordinate with police, get the needed equipment, mobilize people, coordinate with the schools to let students participate, get local community support (remember, people are missing work voluntarily, sometimes at the loss of the day’s wage). Then comes the execution of the march all across town with a scheduled agenda with speakers, a little entertainment, maybe even some snacks.
Everything can be carried out perfectly and depending on the stance of the media, they can either make you or break you in the eyes of the public. For example, mentioning the student that drove screaming and waving his confederate flag across those gathering at the meeting point for the march is, in my opinion, important. But what do I see when I turn on the news later that day for a recap of the march? I see a estuped frijolero who is asked “Why are you participating in these marches?” His response, “Um, I don’t know, they just let us out of class and I came with my friends.” Estuped.
Message to all my coordinators and volunteers organizing these marches: Educate your followers! If they can’t articulate why they’re there, you have not done your job. I realize some people just don’t pay attention and maybe get nervous on camera, but if I were the parent of that frijolero, I would have grounded him for a month and made him read to me all the Cesar Chavez and Civil Rights Movement books in my house (with no pictures, it’s a punishment remember).