This is the text of a speech made at the September 6 DACA rally held in response to President Trump’s announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals would be rescinded on March of 2018.
Thank you for showing up in support of the immigrant community. I could use the five minutes I have to talk about the anger, frustration and sadness I feel about this new attack by President Trump and his administration on the immigrant community – this time, specifically attacking our youth, the Dreamers, by eliminating DACA.
But I don’t want to talk to you about how terrible this is for these young people to have to go backward, back to where they were four years ago when they had no rights, an uncertain future, and fear and ambiguity marked their path. No job opportunities, no chance to help their family economically; denied the right to travel; and unable to complete the education their parents had so struggled for. And I don’t want to go into the awful reality that the government has all their information, so now they can be more easily deported. I won’t dwell on this because although it is true and important, we don’t know the details. Sadly, once again the immigrant community is being used for demagogy, to advance a political agenda.
And I don’t want to talk about how the immigrant community has been hoping and fighting for immigration reform for the past 32 years, and how DACA is only a temporary solution, and what we really need is full immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.
What I do want to talk about today is what we can do to survive this era of racism, discrimination and racial attacks on the immigrant community. It is extremely important for us to stay alert and keep united. It is extremely important for us to keep creating resistance groups. And it’s extremely important that we organize and educate the community about social justice and inequality.
Real change begins at home. It is right here in our community that we need to begin insisting that all our elected representatives really represent us on the pressing issues of social and economic inequality, housing, education and immigration. It is here, locally, that we can begin to make a difference. And the time is now. All the people who represent us – from school board to city council to board of supervisors to state and federal office – need to demonstrate that they understand their communities’ issues and the problems that need to be solved.
Let’s all of us here today make this an opportunity to educate ourselves and get involved. Let’s make this an opportunity to take the reins of our political system and all the structures that govern us. To ask not only the elected officials, but the churches, the nonprofits, the businesses, the wine industry, what they are doing to defend the immigrant community, to advocate for the immigrant community.
And then we must ask, “What are we doing to defend and advocate for the immigrant community? “And more importantly, “What are we willing to undertake?” Because one thing is sure, there will be future occasions when we need to defend ourselves, until our representatives and the systems around us truly represent us. So I invite you to action. When you leave here today, go with a firm intention to get involved, to continue to participate, and to double your efforts on behalf of the immigrant community and our whole community.