The day after the march on Washington for immigration reform Latinos have to wonder: Did it do any good?

LatinaLista — The pictures prove it. Over 200,000 (unsubstantiated estimates go as high as 500,000) immigration reform marchers, dressed in white t-shirts and toting either American flags or signs marched and mingled at the National Mall in Washington, DC yesterday, while at the same time the House of Representatives busily debated the healthcare reform bill on Capitol Hill.

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The hope of the march was to remind the President that the Latino community had not forgotten his campaign promises to reform immigration policy. Plus, it was to show Congress that even a small fraction of the Latino community can make a lot of noise.

(Photo: Reuters)

Yet, with all (media) eyes focused on the congressional theatrics leading up to passage of the healthcare bill and undue attention given to a small group of Tea Party protesters on Capitol Hill, after some in their group unleashed their special warped brand of patriotism against some gay and Democratic politicians of color, the 200,000-500,000 immigration reform marchers were hardly seen or heard of in the mainstream media.

It’s a safe bet that the President and his inner circle had their eyes tuned to C-Span watching events unfold in the House of Representatives rather than paying too much attention on what was happening outside the gates of the White House.

So, as the marchers head home, the big question that remains to be answered in the weeks to come is: Did this march do any good?

Though the images and coverage of yesterday’s march aren’t as impressive as those from marches of the past, the march was a success for one very fundamental reason — it illustrates how far the Latino community has come in terms of, not just fighting for something, but in learning how to do it.

MarchforAmerica.jpg

The criticism still stings of those early images when young people, in their enthusiasm to stand up and be recognized, were toting flags from every other country other than the United States.

To people unfamiliar with the daily reality of first and second-generation Latinos who are proud of two countries simultaneously — their “root” country and the country they call home — the display of other flags was misunderstood.

(Photo: SEIU)

It was a hard lesson learned, but learnt nonetheless, as illustrated by yesterday’s march.

With each march and each call to action to fight for immigration reform, the Latino community is learning lessons in civics that have been long forgotten by the majority of the constituency that has become either complacent or lazy, and where it has become a foreign concept that people march for what they believe in.

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(Photo: SEIU)


 

Rather, the preferred way to protest seems to hunker down in small groups and hurl insults at the opposition who have the misfortune to pass too closely to them.

That’s not democracy in action — it’s more like the showdown for a turf fight.

When the time comes when all Latinos in this country are citizens, the lessons learned from these days of marches will be expanded upon but never forgotten.

Because if one thing was learned in yesterday’s march, it doesn’t matter how many media cameras are present but how many marchers’ voices are raised in unison.

 

 

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16 Comments

  1. Karen said:

    Do you think it was an accident that Obama scheduled the health care vote on the same day as the march?

  2. Bryan j said:

    It was a great showing, Marisa. I was there and was struck by the pure volume of people, and families. Children were everywhere, showing that this is about human life and families, not just the cold logic of “better for the economy” or “ruining the country”, etc.
    As some of the rare gringos at the rally, I touched by what many Latinos said to my friend and I: “Thank you for your support; it means a lot.” And so it goes, I’ll be with imm. reform for the whole long, hard battle ahead.

  3. cookie said:

    Most sources say that there were only between 10-12 thousand there.
    It was bad timing with the healthcare debate and vote the same day. There wasn’t much mention of the marches at all. How many times does one march before everyone gets tired of it and it is ignored? I think it was perhaps with the last march.
    Speaking of insults there was plenty on the marcher’s side. Blowing whistles so the opposition couldn’t voice their opinion was only a small sample of it.
    Why is this a Latino citizen issue anyway? It is about illegal foreigners violating our borders and laws. What has that to do with any ethnic group of citizens in this country?
    What does being proud of one’s ancestoral country have to do with this? I am proud of my Irish roots also but I am an American first and illegal immigration is against the laws of this country and if some of them are Irish they need to go home. I don’t think those from my ancestoral country are any less obligated to follow the laws of this country than any other.

  4. chris xitco said:

    Why do you ask the question was it worth it?

  5. chicano future tense said:

    hello,hello..?
    I have 3 themes- for the march,for the CHC,and for the dnc/obama.
    1.good people,with good intentions led to march in circles and then to be told to walk off a cliff..following the pied piper of chicago obama and his CHC echo chamber piping along in unison right behind him waving the marchers on over a cliff!
    2.CHC-lack of vision,lost opportunity to make history and earn the devotion of Latinos…they made a mess of things and have actually harmed the chances of immigration reform..
    3.”I went to the march and all I got was a lousy video of obama”..
    obama care passed by only 7 votes..
    …if the CHC had stood strong,principled and united in opposition to the incredibly unfair and discriminatory provisions of the bill they would have garnered the attention of the world and all the news outlets would have mobbed over to the march to hear Latino leaders proclaim the righteousness of their positions..it would have been incredible high drama with unbelievable media coverage..Latinos would have felt enormous pride of their leaders..
    obama would have crawled at the feet of the CHC and promised them he would absolutely change those horrible anti-immigrant clauses in the bill.. it would have been victory for Latinos! …yes,he would have done something!
    But what?,the CHC melted like watery weak queso and succombed to obamas sweet talking deceit and manipulation..yeah,that’s right- they got nothing!!!
    nada,nada,nada more talk,more promises..more bs….and don’t forget that lousy obama video..hell of a deal eh?
    they truly missed a golden opportunity at historical greatness..
    no vision,no character,no guts..
    obama and the CHC have effectively sealed the fate of immigration reform by sacrificing it for obamacare..
    obama and rasputin rahm emmanuel knew exactly what they were doing….they spit in the face of Latinos and used them to pass obamacare..it was all about obama and his cronies getting more power ..
    they pulled a fast one over those poor dopes the CHC who didn’t have a clue..
    immigration reform was hanging by a thread before last week…. now immigration reform doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell to pass ..and they knew it all along..

  6. Irma said:

    The march didnt even make the front page of the NY Times. It was trumped by the health care reform bill.
    Barak Obama doesnt care about
    immigration reform.
    The response from people who do favor immigration reform should be
    to not give him our vote when he runs for re-election. If I see no action, he will not get my vote.

  7. Marisa Treviño said:

    I ask because one of the main reasons to hold such a public display is to get attention — attention from the lawmakers, other citizens and the media. Because the media basically controls what gets attention in the news, it was disappointing, to me, that not more outlets divided their coverage between the healthcare debate and the march. Though the march was a great outlet to feel solidarity on the issue with people coming from all over, I just have to wonder if, because of the lack of media coverage and attention from congressional representatives, if it was worth doing at this time, on this day.

  8. cookie said:

    Again I ask, why is illegal immigration being made into a Latino issue?

  9. Karen said:

    Re: “The response from people who do favor immigration reform should be
    to not give him our vote when he runs for re-election.”
    Exactly. That’s the only way to get any movement on the issue. As long as they think you will vote for them anyway, they have no impetus to act.
    Abnd don’t let them tell you that if Obama loses, health care reform will be gone. It won’t. It’s been signed into law.

  10. shondale brey said:

    mexican people come up to the suposed land of opertunity to better their lives and their familys lives. why dosent the goverment pick on some other race of people not just the mexicans. besides alot of the mexican people have famlies up here like the little chicinos. what happens to these little guys do they grow up without a dad ?

  11. Bryan J. said:

    Cookie,
    I was at the march(you can see pictures at my blog). There was far more than 10-12 thousand–I trust the estimates of 100-200 thousand.
    Most reports said “10s of thousands”, because other than the rally organizers, no official estimate was given. But I digress.
    You ask why it’s a Latino citizen issue. Here is why: Latinos are by far more affected than other groups in matters of immigration. Latino U.S. citizens have lost their mothers, their fathers, their grandmothers to the unfeeling hand of ICE. They have lost relatives, who have died crossing the border. These “illegal foreigners breaking the law” types of sentences are, frankly, a step in the direction of dehumanization. The fact that you were not at the rally, and that you have the gall to comment on estimates, and ralliers blowing whistles to silence the opposition is an indication of your strong will to not look at the issue of immigration in even a remotely objective manner.
    News: there was barely any anti-immigrant people there. Yes, Roy Beck from numbers usa was there, and there were some mimes with balloons following him around. But I didn’t even know it was him when I saw the spectactle and no one else really seemed to either. Besides, what Roy Beck did–counter protest amidst 100,000+ people–was irresponsible. There were children there, and all it would take to incite a dangerous situation is a couple of words of incitement.
    The theme of the march for me, as I have said before, was family. The marchers are as human as you are and thus should be treated with dignity and respect, not disdain and character assasination

  12. cookie said:

    Bryan, Oh I have the gall to give estimates? FYI, they aren’t my estimates. They are estimates from someone else that was there. Your estimates might be right and their’s might be wrong or vice versa. I really don’t care how many were there anyway as it is irrelevant.
    Pray tell why some of these people were disguised as mimes? Pray tell why when Roy Beck was talking to the camera were they being rude by blowing whistles? They had something against freedom of speech from the other side? Typical pro-illegal tactics, silence the opposition.
    That really is too bad that Hispanics have more illegal relatives in this country than any other group but as citizens they don’t have the right to aid and abet them and expect our laws to be changed just for them. They act like Mexico is their country rather than the U.S. If I had an Irish relative in this county illegally I sure wouldn’t shield them from the law nor would I be asking out country to wave our laws for them and reward them with citizenship.
    Roy Beck did not act in a hostile manner nor was he inciting violence and he had every right to be there. What about the anti-illegal rallies? The pro-illegals show up for them. Is that ok? You have a double standard for them? On college campuses pro-illegals have interruped invited speakers whose views they didn’t agree with by shouting them down. Double standards is what you and the other pro-illegals advocate for your side.

  13. Bryan J. said:

    Cookie,
    Free Speech should be allowed regardless of opinion. I don’t support what the students did to interrupt the anti-immigrant speakers.
    But I don’t feel sorry for Roy Beck because, again, he went into a packed crowd of over 100k people with a message that they are “thieves”. His presence in such a context was one of incitement. I did the same thing to the Tea Partiers. There were only 15 of them, though.(anti-immigrants)(partially, at least) and my life was threatened. Not sure if Roy Beck’s life was directly threatened. Either way, the whole “roy beck” being there is irrelevant to the rally. If you want to look at real extremism, don’t look at SEIU, look at the Tea Party.
    Seriously, cookie, you would give up your undocumented irish relative to ICE? If that’s true, you have a distorted order of priorities. But I somehow doubt that it is.

  14. Texan123 said:

    I did not see much news coverage, even on Latino stations.
    Maybe too many people still remember that illegal immigrants killed 3000 people on 9/11. Do you think there are not others who would abuse a chance for a “PATH TO CITIZENSHIP”?

  15. cookie said:

    Bryan, so you want to continue your nonsense here? I have already addressed your remarks in your own blog. Beck didn’t go to the march carrying anti-”immigrant” signs nor was he hostile at all. He was there to interview what pro-amnesty marchers would speak with him. You however, went to an anti-illegal rally and were not as civil as he was. Let’s not be a hypocrite here, ok?
    Beck had his right to attend that march and express his views just as you had the right to attend the anti-illegal rally and express yours. If any of the marchers felt threatened by his mere presence there and felt the need to become violent over it then they wouldn’t be acting like mature adults acknowledging freedom of speech in this country.
    As I told you in your blog I will be waiting to see this video you are going to post where you life was supposely threatened by the WHOLE Tea Party gathering. One radical does not prove anything just like the reconquistas at the march last weekend does not prove that the whole pro-amnesty movement is about reconquista.
    If I had an Irish relative here illegally I would not aid and abet them nor would I be marching in the street to have our immigraton laws changed just for them. I would expect them to pay the consquences for being here illegally and that is deportation back to Ireland where they could then apply legally to come here. If they get denied for whatever reason they would just have to live with that.

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