48 Days of History in Arizona (48 Equals #7w-1)

Post from Chad Jones, who has been on the Resource Generation board since 2005 and his work in philanthropy expands access for those historically excluded from the networks of old boys. As a Denver native, the Southwest is dear to his heart.

Thursday was June 10. It was a memorable day for me in two ways. Personally, as I went to hear Silvio Rodriguez perform at Carnegie Hall, which is only his second performance in the U.S. in 40 years according to my partner (with the first time having been the week prior). Publicly, 06/10/10 was historic in that it was 48 days after Arizona Governor Brewer signed bill SB1070 into law as well as 48 days until that bill goes into effect.

As a student of history, I am amazed by the history made in the past seven weeks since SB1070 was signed — the 100,000 marchers on May 29th, the launch of Human Rights Freedom Summer — as well as the history that is yet to be made. An RGer recently asked me, ‘In this moment, what are we supposed to be doing?’ (by we, I understood her to mean both as RGers and as people who believe in justice and human rights).

In the midst of a burgeoning social movement, there are countless things that could be done, many things that will be done, and a vast number of things that won’t be done but should be considered. My elders taught me that social movements are the point when spontaneity overtakes planned. Social movements are also the phase in which *the manna* replaces *the strategic* (“strategic” is on my vocab black list of overused, meaningless words, but that’s for another day, another blog). They are also messy. And those actions amongst the community most affected require more people, more cars, and more cash in order to have stronger networks with more nodes and broader impact.

Thanks to Arizona’s state legislature, the immigrant rights’ struggles are blossoming into a full-blown social movement. To me that is clear in three ways. What is happening is spontaneous. It is messy. And it is beyond planned. Just as the sit-ins by African-American students began in Greensboro NC that jumped state lines, so too are the boycotts, hunger strikes and other direct actions led by Latin@s, immigrant students and their allies.

Spontaneous messiness is how meals, cash in envelopes and gas money underwote the Freedom Riders in 1961. And underground abortion clinics pre-Roe v. Wade. Money and non-money resources go back to the greenbacks and the South Carolina safe house of Robert Purvis that was a node in the Underground Railroad for that matter.

We know that other state legislators are considering copycat bills in other states. Their political calculations and political will will be influenced by the people — the number marching, the number arrested for civil disobedience — who make it political intolerable to propose such vitriolic anti-immigrant legislation.

Now is our time. To leverage resources today and tomorrow. And contribute our voices, influence and share our access with those most affected — because while many of us take for granted our freedom to move in this country, for many immigrants a trip to another city risks detention, deportation and long-term separation from their family and job loss.

I have two last requests:
1. Continue to read, watch and keep yourself informed. Sadly, our nightly newscasts (the BBC and PBS Newshour aside) and the 24-hour news corporations offer little substantive reporting. To get first-hand sources and quality journalism, frequent these newsportals:

La Frontera Times
Bender’s Immigration Bulletin, aka bibdaily.com
Pew Hispanic Center

2. Join me on hashtagging on twitter with #altoarizona, #dreamact. Join me in counting down the days (a la Mr. Olbermann’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ and ‘– days since BPoil spill’) until July 28th, the date that SB 1070 is legally enacted, unless the federal courts or Obama’s White House intervenes.

Jones

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