by Dennis Chin, guest blogger
Hello, everybody! I just got back from spending time in a NYC jail for participating in a civil disobedience action in support of immigration reform and against SB 1070 in Arizona. This is the first time I’ve participated in a civil disobedience action and the first time I’ve ever been arrested.
I’d do it again.
Most of you have read my personal immigration story. I’m a U.S. citizen. I’m the son of immigrants and a staunch ally to immigrants in all of the communities that have impacted me.
My decision to engage in civil disobedience today reflects my solidarity with all immigrants, documented and undocumented, that are struggling within a set of laws that are outdated and inhumane. My decision reflects my personal frustration with Arizona’s new law and with general inaction on immigration reform on a federal level, the crazy amounts of nativism and nationalism in the immigration debate (and in my inbox) and the constant dehumanization of immigrants who are my friends, neighbors and fellow movement shakers.
It’s totally personal!!
And I must say that a large part of my decision to make a statement and risk arrest was to rep for all those folks that cannot afford to go through our nation’s criminal justice system, despite their significant investment in immigration reform. I’m talking about undocumented immigrants, immigrants who are trans- and gender non-conforming (they separated us by perceived gender and checked IDs), and other young men and women of color (although there were quite a few today!) who are criminalized everyday.
This was for them too.
With 109 arrests, New York is playing a lead role in a national movement of nonviolent civil disobedience (as practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.) for immigration reform. Recent civil disobedience actions also have taken place in Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles, Tucson, Detroit, San Francisco, and Seattle. We’ve covered some of these actions in this blog.
Now let’s see if the other states can catch up!
The series of civil disobedience actions in NYC began on May 17th, when 16 New Yorkers were arrested. The following week, 37 were arrested in a similar action. And today, a total of 56 people were arrested. Several elected officials were arrested in those actions: City Council Members Ydanis Rodriguez, Jumaane D. Williams, Danny Dromm and Melissa Mark-Viverito, and State Assembly Member Adriano Espaillat.
Shout-outs to the New York Immigration Coalition for organizing the civil disobedience action and the Center for Constitutional Rights for providing legal support for those arrested.
Photos: New York Immigration Coalition. Thanks Frances!
PS — I decided to wear one of my most fabulous outfits for the action. How do I look?