I advocate for the rights of immigrants in this country. I travel around the country to do demonstrations, marches and carry the voice of the people with whom I work. I’m in the same situation as many of them. Why do I do this? I have the strength to keep on struggling for myself and my own rights. It is not the same to be fighting for immigrants if you are in the same situation. For this reason, you will fight harder.
Security and authority
This march was on Martin Luther King day. There have been other marches that I have participated in. And I like to be active, to let it be known who I am. I also participated in the march in 2006, and last year, when I was detained in the immigration detention center in Tacoma, I participated in the hunger strike. I share what some of the leaders here at Casa Latina say: “we have to be part of the battle for the rights of Hispanics.” It’s not just about me. It’s for the others too. Maybe I won’t get what I want individually.
The march is important so that the government can listen to us. What we want is to work honestly, to bring our bread home for our families, be it here or away, to send some money to the family in Mexico or wherever they are. And each one, each head is a whole world and we’re all thinking about the same thing. We’re all thinking about work.
took those pictures at the Court House. That represents justice for me, that this guy is being taken away. You know, there are people who come here and rather than trying to work and to help their family, they come to hurt others and to damage others or their family or friends. Those are people who come to take away other people’s dreams. I took those pictures because they took that person who had done something wrong and they are putting him away and locking him up. This person killed a friend of ours, here from Casa Latina, to rob him maybe a bit of money.
I was caught by the police. I had not committed any crime but the police was looking for somebody else and maybe I resembled the person they were looking for. I don’t have any problem with the police. They held me for 3 or 4 days and they turned me over to the immigration detention center in Tacoma. I was there for 6 months in detention. They asked me if I was afraid to go back to my country. I said yes, and so they did not deport me. Because the truth is I cannot go back to my country. I worked close to the government in my country and that’s the way they are.
I took that picture downtown because sometimes, with just seeing them, the cars of the Border Patrol, you’re afraid. You wish you didn’t have to see them because they’ll ask you questions, just as a precaution. I took that picture just for the fear I have of seeing them. I was happy to be able to take the picture.
Question: Even if you’re not doing anything wrong they are intimidating?
They handcuffed me, and put me in the back of the patrol car, they put me there in that cage, I was there about 15 days, then they transferred me to a cell, and then another cell, then another, and finally the last one was in the big house in Mexicali. That was the last cell they put me in. Then they sent me back to my country. All the way over there, so I came back again. I could not stay over there because it’s is even harder over there. Sorry to say this but over there, they will blow your head off. If you ask, they say, “Ah, get a job,“ but there are none.
I remembered that song:
“el mas bonito se me fue, oio pango, pangoé, el mas bonito se
me fue ”.
I remember when the sun rose I would make breakfast and he would go on his way, he would bring the best plantains, we had the girls... That is the true meaning of being rich, of having everything. And then, to have to leave it all, leave our territory because of the armed conflict.
Me acordé de este canto,
el más bonito se me fue, oio pango, pangoé,
el más bonito se me fue.
We have had a lot of fights with the police because they came in a very rude way to damage two machines that we had working. Because of their rudeness, we brought another 10 machines. This is a community natural park, it doesn’t have an owner. The police and the government are not owners of this park, neither is any person, this is for everyone. From the little ones to the oldest. There have been some grandparents coming to do exercise down here.
This a group talk given by a policeman who talked to us about our rights. However, I don’t know what he was doing here, either he was talking or looking for someone. They asked if they could take pictures of us, and we said there was no problem. Since there is no problem with them taking pictures of us, there should be no problem of me taking pictures of him. So I took a picture of him.