Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Somos Raza


Here is an example of how many Mexican students in America feel about the unfair rules and regulations and laws that have been put upon them. Discrimination is being made against these immigrant students by not allowing them the rights of other students, or demanding that they fight in Americas unjust wars if they want to further their schooling.

A Statement by Somos Raza (San Diego, Los Angeles, Oxnard)

Our right to an education is not negotiable!
Our dream shall not be a nightmare!

Exactly one year ago, when the spring of 2006 was beginning, we the youth and students of Los Angeles, Oxnard and San Diego, along with hundreds and thousands of other youth and students from various communities, barrios, towns, and cities in the United States took to the streets to denounce, protest, chant, and demand that the US government not criminalize our parents, organizations, and communities.

It was with our rebelliousness, joy, and strength that we joined the vehement outcry of our parents and migrant workers against HR4437. Our dignity will no longer be trampled on.

We walked out of our classrooms carrying our national flags, with our backpack on our shoulders, and books under our arms to demand dignity and respect! That spring was a season of hope, and it was then that our voices said ¡Enough is Enough!

Thousands of us marched through the streets of our city even though they told us we were wrong, and we continued to demand dignity and respect when we were intimidated by school administrators and harassed by the police. Through these intense times we were able to unite and organize one of the biggest marches ever seen in Los Angeles, Oxnard and San Diego, led by us the youth and students in solidarity with our parents that also demanded dignity and respect…that was our season of hope.

In 2001, when the DREAM ACT was proposed, we the youth and students supported this measure because we believe that every student has the right to an education and that no document can deny us that right. BUT, what has changed since then is that:

1). “Immigrant” students will be able to pay in-state tuition fees, but NOT have access to federal funding (loans, financial aid, etc.). Given the rise in cost of a college education (even at the community college level), and stringent college admission requirements this will limit many in our community to pursue an education because most students need to work to support their families and DO NOT have the economic means to go to college.

2). Military service substituted the original proposal of community service. We are well aware that the majority of our youth will opt for this choice due to their economic reality, this is why we call the “DREAM” Act for what it is a poverty draft/Surge Act. Our youth will be forced to fight unjust wars and risk their lives for citizenship.

Also in 2001 the US government declared a war against the Arab and Muslim communities. A little later a war was also declared against the Mexican and Latin American communities and soon after this the war also reached Afghanistan and Iraq where millions of innocent women, men, and children have been killed as a result of this unjust and illegal war. Not only was an unjust war launched thousands of miles away, but we were dragged to these remote lands where U.S. bombs and bullets fall and we are used as cannon fodder.

Little by little the same congress representatives that sent us to “fight” an illegal and unjust war began to criminalize our parents, they approved an expansion of the border that divides OUR LAND, and put conditions on our right to an education. They tell us that we can attend a higher learning institution and receive citizenship, but they deny us access to federal grants. They also say that in exchange for military service and going to fight a war we can attain citizenship, but it is most probable that we get it once our bodies are in coffins.

There are many who want to negotiate in our name, but we have already stated our demands during our season of hope, our message was clear: ¡Enough is Enough! We do not need intermediaries, we do not need them to give us a voice, because we have spoken, listen to us now! Those who propose the DREAM ACT tell us with all the arrogance in the world that this is our only option to obtain citizenship.

Community youth and student led organizations will not permit that our dream turn into a nightmare.

We the undersigned organizations declare that:
1. The fundamental right to an education is not negotiable.
2. No government can force us to go to war in exchange for citizenship.
3. We are opposed to forced military and war service.
4. We propose a just and dignified immigration policy that will not negotiate our rights and dignity as a people.
5. We propose an immigration policy that will demilitarize the border.
6. We propose an immigration policy that will liberate our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and families currently held in immigration detention centers.
7. We propose an immigration policy that will put an end to the raids in our community.

We the undersigned youth and student led organizations do not recognize the measures that congress tries to impose on us without consulting with us, and without a dialogue. We are opposed to a DREAM ACT that will send us to war forcibly. You do not speak in our name. ¡Our dream will not be a nightmare! And many more Springs of struggle will come.

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