Monday, May 01, 2006

A show of strength...

I surfaced at Union Square this afternoon to see thousands and thousands of immigrants rallying and preparing for a march downtown. Dozens of countries were represented - Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and many others. Families marched with their children, students with university groups, community and cultural organizations with banners and flags. The mood was festive. Standing there, in the middle of the square, watching people stream by, I felt that I was seeing something powerful. Here in New York, we are used to seeing people from many cultural and racial backgrounds every day - on the subways, in our workplaces, on the streets, in our apartment buildings, in stores and offices. And yet, this was something different, a sort of visibility that made it clear just how INvisible immigrants are, even here. I was carrying a lot of stuff and wearing extremely uncomfortable shoes, otherwise I would have ditched my yoga class and joined the march in pride and solidarity. My ancestors arrived here hundreds of years ago, but they were immigrants, as were most people's, if you look back far enough.* Our government's policies towards immigration ebb and flow over generations; nearly every major group here was unwanted and unwelcome at one time, but as years passed, came to be both welcome and enriching (in all senses of the word) to our society. The latest wave of immigrants will be no different, especially if given access to high quality education, fair wages, health care, and so on.

A few dozen kids were out of school today - mostly children from Dominican families - although I don't know the exact numbers. I hope that they attended events with their parents; I am interested to hear their stories and perspectives tomorrow.

*And in a science geeky technical kind of way, so were absolutely everyone's ancestors, if you look back really, really far....


It was easier to find out about a woman who was keeping 100 cats (along with her mother) in her studio apartment in Queens than it was to find out that schools and government offices in Puerto Rico closed today because the commonwealth's government has run out of money. (And why is this article listed in the NY Times World news section, rather than US news?).


This article provides a little history of the music that came out of the South Bronx back in the day. Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, and many others used to play in the clubs in the neighborhood where I teach. Sadly, most of them are empty lots now, but a Fordham University professor is doing what he can to preserve the history of the area.
Not long ago, when Professor Naison gave a speech about the multicultural roots of hip-hop, someone printed up fliers describing him as the Notorious Ph.D., a tip of the hat to the rapper Notorious B.I.G.


There is really nothing like grading lab reports on a rooftop in the spring sun, with an iced cafe con leche and good company. (Well, I suppose reading a good book might be a step up from reading lab reports, but what are you gonna do?).


Blogger Chaz said...

Ms Frizzle:

My grandparents were also immigrants. However, they applied at the American Embassy to immigrate to the United States. They waited their turn and were finally given permission by the American government to come to the country. They made sure their children learned English as quickly as possible and followed the rules and paid their taxes to become citizens. In other words, they didn't jump the line and break the rules! Further, they didn't waive the Russian flag and demostrate for their rights. They were happy enough to rid themselves of the pogroms, the anti-semitism, and the lack of economic development in their native country.

What's the use of having immigration laws if you don't enforce them? How do you know that the people crossing the border are not criminals? You don't and that's the problem. In 1986 we passed an immigration law that gave two million illegal immigrants amiesty with the provision that any new illegal aliens hired by a business would subject that business to fines. However, both Republicans and Democrats refused to inforce the business fines and under Bush/Clinton/Bush presidencies there were less and less emphasis on tracking down businesses who employed illegal aliens. The result, we now have twelve million additional illegal aliens in our country.

Even Hillary Clinton understands that you first secure your border, second penalize businesses that employee illegal aliens, and three, then and only then you setup an amiesty program for the twelve million illegal aliens that are here without our country's consent.

By the way when it comes to the students, I don't believe the sins of the parents should be placed upon the children. When they graduate high school and reach the age of eighteen, without committing a felony, they should have the same rights to a college education as a resident alien.

9:19 PM  
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7:44 AM  

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