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actions & protests workers freedom ride

Unwelcome At Immigrant Rally

Strange to ask for support & then hassle supporters.
I went to the immigrant worker freedom ride send-off rally at P-Sq today before going to the Peace march. I had about ten march flyers left, so i passed them out before the send-off rally got started. I also had a Justice flag, which i carry a lot. I thought that Justice & Peace would fit in with a freedom rider event. However, one woman with the send-off said glaringly that "This rally is for immigrants!", which i did know. As a blue-eyed grayed formerly-blond guy, i guess i was out-of-place. Later, a friend, also blue-eyed & blond, simply standing quietly with a Peace flag, was told by a man that he had rented the square & that if she did not leave he'd have her arrested. So, apparently i should offer an apology to a few of the organizers of the immigrant event. I'm sorry that i'm a blue-eyed blond who showed up with a Justice flag at your rally. What was i thinking! But i do support you. I naively think that Justice, Peace, Freedom, Brother/Sisterhood, Respect For Earth, all fit together, rather inseparably. Next time i go to your rally, i'll first read the list of protocols, to check who's welcome, & who's not. Meanwhile, i prefer to act on the idea that we should all be supporting each other. May the riders be safe & successful. Si, se puede!

Den Mark, Vancouver WA
Yuck 21.Sep.2003 23:45

anonymous

That's disgusting.

defend! 22.Sep.2003 01:17

gk

As I was holding the peace flag, I verbally defended our right to distribute flyers. I had observed the guy who gives out Socialist pamphlets being told to leave by somebody claiming to have rented the Square or be arrested. I argued and defended our rights of free speech. The guy told me to get away or be arrested. He actually went over to the police, but came back by himself. What a dumb-dumb. I left.

There was a sign, "We are all immigrants." Descendants, everyone.

People are one-issue oriented, when in actuality everything is interrelated in a web of life.

yeah, I'm sorry too 22.Sep.2003 10:05

indy editorial volunteer

I had no idea this was a closed event, as it was announced on KBOO... So I put it on as a sub-feature at the top of the page... sorry to have misled anyone about the type of reception they would get if non-immigrants participated in the solidarity send-off. I was informed of this event by a non-immigrant on her mailing list, and assumed that I (and everyone) was invited to attend and express solidarity with the mission of this bus-trip being taken to Washington D.C. from 9 major cities. I wonder if folks in other cities who don't have the appearance of being "immigrants" got the same treatment... somehow I highly doubt it, but who knows, maybe there is some way to contact the organizers and ask if this was the protocol in all cities...

I agree, we are all immigrants, except those few remaining indigenous folks...

fear 22.Sep.2003 10:10

mom

Many in the immigrant community are afraid to seem anti-war for fear of being pegged as anti-US which is synonomous with 'terrorist' these days. Citizens have the freedom to protest, march, do civil disobedience AND vote! in ways the immigrant community cannot. It is a shame that more citizens don't excercise their rights.
It sounds like the guy was out of line --- but it helps to think about where he might be coming from...

The event was open to all 22.Sep.2003 12:11

DJ Shadow

The event was supposed to be open to all, and there were lots of immigrants and non-immigrants there. What I suspect was going on was one person took it on himself to somehow regulate what was going on, what flyers were being handed out, etc. Most people who worked on this great project would not have treated anyone as described above, and most of us agree with the interconnectedness of different struggles as "gk" stated above. Not everyone agrees with that.

Before people dismiss the Freedom Ride, and its important demands, I encourage people to look beyond this rude treatment, which was in no way an official policy of the Freedom Ride committee, or the event yesterday.

I want to formally apologize for this treatment, and promise to bring my concerns to the organizing committee.

Respect immigrants voices, concerns 22.Sep.2003 18:00

*

While I don't condone the use of such rude behavior, my understanding (I was also at the march) was that, while the event was not, as some people have suggested, only for immigrants, the focus of the event was on immigrants rights, not on other political causes. With that in mind, I think it is important to respect the space that the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride had reserved for the event in Pioneer Square, and understand that it is more important to give attention to immigrant voices and their causes than it is to hand out flyers about other issues or events. I did witness the rude behavior of the person in question, and while that was not a necessary respose, the decision by organizers to keep the focus on the rally that was taking place is understandable and should be respected.

Fuck it. 22.Sep.2003 19:27

Anarchist

No one has the right to push anyone out of a demonstration based on his or her race or national origin. Shame on the idiot that harassed you. I will not be attending any similar even in my home town. Thanks for the warning.

and thank YOU 23.Sep.2003 11:12

for not attending

Jamming an action with your own program is rude, disrespectful, and does nothing to advance solidarity.

RE: and thank YOU for not attending. 23.Sep.2003 11:18

Anarchist

Don't worry, soldiarity is a bidirectional relationship. If you reject ours, we'll have no part of yours.

I doubt that people were excluded because of race 23.Sep.2003 14:11

DJ Shadow

I think folks need to clarify what happened at the rally. Den Mark and several other people were asked to leave, and have suggested that it was beacuse of their race. Is this true, or were they confronted because they were passing out literature or displaying signs that some folks were offended by or thought detracted from the rally? Den Mark alludes to the fact that his race played a part in his ejection, yet dozens of other white people attended the event and were not harassed. Den Mark--you started this thread--why do you think your race had anything to do with the treatment you received?

I think it's wrong for people to be ejected or harassed for handing out literature, but I think it's much worse to toss around accusations of racism, or "reverse-racism" (a concept that does not exist, in my opinion), and potentially discredit such an important cause as this one.

So, to "anarchist", "indymedia volunteer", "den mark" and others--I encourage you to find out what was really going on, before you dismiss this event, the freedom ride, and the immigrant rights movement as racist, closed, or anything else.

Event open to all- no race exclusion occurred 23.Sep.2003 15:06

*

To clarify this once and for all: I was at the event and working with organizers there-- NO ONE WAS EXCLUDED OR ASKED TO LEAVE BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE. People handing out literature unrelated to the Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride were asked (by one, unfortunately rude and disrespectful individual) to remain on the outskirts of the gathering if they wished to distribute literature, and to refrain from entering into the rally to hand out flyers, etc.
If white americans want to support social change and immigrants rights, then one way to start is to try to understand what occurred without claiming reverse discrimination-- that is absolutely ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that THE PERSON WHO ASKED PEOPLE TO LEAVE WAS WHITE. Somehow no one seems to recall that fact.
Finally, the Portland bus, which left this morning, had riders from many different racial backgrounds including Latino, African-American, Asian, and White. A great deal of effort was put into organizing this event and campaign to be inclusive and I think that has been acheived, regardless of this one unfortunate incident.

It wasn't your rally... 10.Oct.2003 06:29

skeptic

My guess is that the immigrant-rally people--who went to a lot of trouble to build a rally to promote THEIR issues--were offended because they thought that you were trying to hijack the rally that they put together. And that's understandable. The issue wasn't about getting attention for your cause--it was about their issues. As much as I think that every illegal immigrant needs to be put to work for six months building a wall on out Southern border before they are deported, I do respect their right to have their own event without it being crashed by people who can't seem to build their own rally.

Just because they bought a bus doesn't mean you're entitled to a free ride on it.