happy may day! i don’t remember the history of may day; all i know is that people dance around a maypole…aka a decorative tether ball pole. apparently may day in los angeles is a great day for an immigration protest.
if you’ve been out of the States for a few months, arizona just passed a bill. california may or may not be affected by the implications (*cue sarcasm here), and demonstrations were held all across the u.s., the largest near the los angeles county courthouse. thousands of people flooded broadway in the afternoon with banners and flags.
the most common flag? the good ole stars and stripes.
community leaders speaking english, i think korean, and of course spanish called for president obama to reform immigration laws; and the people were united in their continued support of the ’08 campaign “si se puede.” i began my day at olvera street and then made my way to the demonstration on broadway. i then proceeded down to fourth street at the start of another organized march.
i came across two historic murals along my walk this afternoon as well. both murals depict signs of life and the rich diversity of the city of angels. and it hit me: so much talk surrounding arizona’s new law has centered around “those immigrants.” today i didn’t see any of that. i saw people who have a stake in the prosperity of this nation (perhaps a little bit of tocqueville’s “self-interest rightly understood”–an intriguing, yet elusive concept i hope to one day understand).
i saw a number of flags (including a jamaican flag!), but i saw a sea of red, white and blue. what does this symbol represent for people today?
surely something has gone awry in our processes. i don’t think the citizenship process is a deterrent to establishment in the United States, but it is a timely process. my parents know firsthand. and my dad faces losing work because contractors will readily exploit undocumented residents in order to reduce the cost of labor. citizens of border towns in arizona aren’t doing too well, either. so then what?
where do we begin in the conversation surrounding immigration reform/may day protests/the future of arizona? what constitutes identity and belonging here in the States? is it a passport? how do we uphold the processes already in place? how do we modify them? and to what end?
there’s a restlessness in this city. i wonder if that feeling is an invitation…