Another dispatch from the Undocubus. The activists visited Selma, the iconic site of the black civil rights struggle. The spirit of that history rang loud and clear in the stories exchanged between two generations of activists resisting segregation and oppression. Here’s the introduction to the clip, posted by NDLON:
While the No Papers No Fear Ride for Justice was in Alabama, we were invited by Save Ourselve, SOS, to visit Selma, a historic site in the African-American civil rights movement in the US. We crossed the same Edmund Pettus bridge where police attacked marchers headed to Montgomery in the 60s and we visited a museum there to learn more of the historic struggles as well as their efforts today.
In Hoover, Alabama, Undocubus delegates met with fellow activists who are helping to organize immigrant day laborers from Latin America. Eleazar Castellanos reported on the workers’ extremely harsh living conditions and the fear they’ve had to overcome in order to defend their rights:
I saw two women towards the back of the apartment complex, one of whom was carrying her child. One told me that she had lived there before, and that she too had been kicked out. I don’t know where the words came to me from, but I tried to convince them. Slowly, they started walking towards the protest, and got pretty close. Although they didn’t make it all the way, they were part of the group. I then asked them if they would be interested in telling their stories to our media crew, and at first they said no, but then I told them how important it was for them to speak out, because they had experienced abuse, and that they managers wanted to intimidate them, but that they had a right to fair work and good housing conditions. I told them that I was on the bus, that I was undocumented, and that we needed people like us to come out and declare that we had rights. They walked with me, and shared their stories.
There was a moment when we were standing at the protest when I first saw the police that I felt hessitation. The police officer was walking towards me, and my first instinct was to walk away. But instead I stood firm, holding my sign, remembering that I too had to show others that I would be okay. So I just stood there holding my sign. The police came, and just told us we had to stay on the side walk.
This experience strengthened my belief in the work that we are doing. It was a moment of inspiration to know that they too needed to face fear, and that by sharing what we knew about our rights as workers, day laborers, undocumented immigrants, and people, we were sharing tools for them to defend themselves and become unafraid. It gave me more energy to continue to come out of the shadows, and tell people our stories, and continue to show that unity is power.