Statement By Flor Crisostomo, Washington D.C. March 21, 2010.
Statement By Flor Crisstomo March 21, 2010.
These words are dedicated to all the communities and individuals who are voluntarily and compulsorily driven by the desperate crisis facing us daily as migrant and undocumented people in this nation.
We have mobilized along very long trails and highways from hundreds of miles away, along with our co-workers, families and friends. Today we are here in Washington D.C. in front of the United States Congress, facing the White House before President Barack Obama and his Cabinet. We are gathered in fellowship and are advocating for the basic rights to which any human being is entitled.
For more than 20 years of profound difficulties and hard struggles, we’ve asked for the adoption of a more productive leadership from the U.S. Congress. The results of your negotiations have made us to take to the streets and to demand you be more productive in your representation for the people and our families. Therefore, we are here again today, reminding you that the people still have the same needs — but with more repressive laws. What you are doing to confront the growth of this grave crisis we are facing?
Groups of people and leaders of thousands of indigenous communities have been driven to the edge of forced displacement from our lands. As indigenous migrants, we are here today and declare that we are present at this meeting. It is our intention to call on the President of the nation yet again, to make good on his campaign promise of just immigration reform, which supports the reunification of our families, which puts an immediate end to raids and deportations, and which respects our communities, what we represent and what we provide to this nation.
Through this statement, we demand the Democratic majority of the Congress of the United States take a more productive leadership position in favor of those broad communities whose votes have granted you the authority to represent us. Sadly, the way we see it, the negotiations which you have handled behind closed doors in Congress are exclusionary and have yielded no results.
It is with pain and anger that we unfortunately see the political chess game that is now developing. The immigration reform proposal introduced last week by Chuck Schumer and Lyndsey Graham, endorsed by President Barack Obama, is what follows after the mass repression that already exists. And regrettably, it appears similar to proposals led by other Congress-members and Senators and who call themselves lawmakers “of and for the people”, or “progressives”, or — worse of all — “Democrats.”
We see and live the consequences of the ineffectiveness of our representatives. We, who are directly affected by this system’s repressive immigration policies, offer the creation of immigration reform which is centered around and created by our own core communities. We ask the United States Congress to include in every negotiation for immigration reform, representatives from these affected communities.
We are the people who have the need, and have the capacity to decide where to turn and what we want; and we can contribute in even more positive ways to this movement — which is also ours.
We thank the organizers of these mobilizations; it is with credit to the calls as extensive as they are to be here, that created a place where migrant indigenous people can also say today that we are present.
We know it has been a struggle that has lasted longer than we expected. Yet we also know that from the leadership that emerges out of own families and out of our own communities will come the results that will affect or benefit the change for which we fought every day, the changes we’ve waited for for years; during which time politicians have not taken into account our families’ pain during the years we have waited to be free from bondage, that time which has maintained us as slaves within this system, as fugitives within a reality that lawmakers and the privileged have not had to face. Or, worse of all, the fate of being jailed for the simple act of wanting to provide a life of dignity to our families who have been torn apart by their economic policies.
Flor Crisostomo firstname.lastname@example.org