Do Not Give Up Now

20 Jul 2010 by Fausto Sicha, No Comments »

By: Fausto Sicha

Speech delivered in Union Square, NYC

May 1, 2008

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           Two years ago, we decided to start writing a new page in the history of this country. It was on May 1, 2006, that thousands of immigrants, a number much larger than today you can see protesting around the country, went to the streets and with a firm and a determined voice demanded an immigration reform. Two years later, that dream remains to be achieved. Two years later, that movement seems to be vanishing, seems to be falling a part.

          Being aware of this reality I came here, my friends, to ask you some questions. Are we going to give up now? Or are we going to go ahead despite our challenges? Are we going to wait for Congress to do something? Or are we going to do something and push Congress to come up with an immigration reform that will bring us from the shadows to the light? What are we going to do my friends? What are we going to do? I will ask all of you to follow the example of Martin Luther King – do not give up now.

          Do not give up now even if this fight means that your liberty is in jeopardy. Do not give up now, the fact that we don’t see the light does not meant that we are not going to get there. Do not give up now, there is no future in the shadows, there is no hope of a better life if we don’t have the papers to go to school, and there is no of equality as long as we don’t have the same rights of U.S. citizens.

          I am aware that the road to a better future is long and painful. I am aware that some of you will have to stay behind. I understand that to feed a family and to educate our children cannot easily be combined with the task that lies ahead of us. And I am also aware that you my friend from the media have done little or nothing to help us. Do you see these people around you? Do you see these people standing besides me? Look at them. Do you see their hands? Are they the hands of someone who lives from the welfare system or someone who works hard? Do you see their bodies? Are those the bodies of someone who lives from the welfare system or someone who works hard? Do you see their faces? And what do you see there? I see suffering. I see pain. I see fear. But I also see courage, and I see that they believe that one day we will win this fight.

           I am aware that you my friends from the media have done little or nothing to help us. I read your papers. I heard your voice. I watched your images. You have done little or nothing to help us. When there is a crime, when there is blood, you have time to cover that story. But when an immigrant learns English despite his limited time, when an immigrant goes to school and excels in it despite his legal status, and when an immigrant started washing dishes and his determination moved him away from there and now he is ready to work for a corporation you don’t have time to depict those stories. When an immigrant moves on despite all his challenges you my friends do not have eyes to see that, you do not have ears to hear that, you do not have hands to write about that, and you do not have a voice to talk about that.

           I am aware that you my friend from the media have done little or nothing to help us. Do not repeat over and over again the things that our critics talk about us. Do not repeat over and over again the same stereotypes and misconceptions that our critics have about us. Once and for all do something of value, demonstrate that you can work together with us. Demonstrate that you care about human rights, the immigrants’ rights.

           But if portraying the truth about immigrants means that your job is in jeopardy, then dear friends let this conflict, this problem that has afflicted us for so long be solved among ourselves. Courage is something that we don’t lack. We already played our biggest card when we crossed the border, and now without looking at them I can promise that some of these people without thinking twice will play with their lives again with the only purpose of seeking a better future for their families.

           If you can’t help us, if you can’t portray the truth about immigrants, then watch their face, look into their eyes, read their lips, and take that message to Washington and tell Congress that we are ready to make history again, and that we are not giving up now, not today, not tomorrow, not until an immigration reform will solve our legal status.

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