On Tuesday, September 5th, the current presidential administration signaled the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy. AF3IRM, along with other organizations and community groups, have spoken out against this, as well as this administration’s continued attacks on immigrant rights and the xenophobic and white nationalist agenda it espouses. As transnational/women of color, AF3IRM knows that liberation for im/migrants means more than DACA – and we will continue to fight to end the criminalization of im/migrants and against detention centers, borders, unjust citizenship and immigration policies, and other forms of state violence that have been used to terrorize im/migrants, indigenous and native peoples, and people of color. AF3IRM has been organizing and participating in demonstrations and rallies across the country, including the DefendDACA March in Oakland and the Defend DACA March and Rally in Los Angeles. Versions of the following speeches were delivered at the Defend DACA March and Rally in Los Angeles on September 10th, which was co-lead by AF3IRM.
BY AF3IRM NATIONAL CHAIR IVY QUICHO
My name is Ivy and I am the National Chairperson of AF3IRM, a transnational feminist, anti imperialist organization of women of color, with a 28 year history of grassroots organizing.
We are here today because this war against us has been waged long before Trump- it began when women became the first form of property, it was when class society was set-up, it was when our peoples were first colonized, it was when free trade agreements were passed and imperialism boomed and forced us to migrate out of our countries of origin in the first place… the only difference is that our society has now reached this fascist state where our enemies have become more overt in their vision to bleach this country white, to purify it with only Christians, and to lead it as rich, corporate, misogynist, men… but we are here to remind these fascists, the KKK, the alt right… that after centuries of attempts, and thousands of years later, we are STILL HERE and we are NOT GOING ANYWHERE!
We in AF3IRM know that this ongoing war has a woman’s face. It is no coincidence that we transnational, im/migrant women are the majority of immigrants imported between and among countries; that we are the most vulnerable to detentions and deportations, particularly our trans Latina sisters who are unable to find jobs due to discrimination and live off of less than $10,000 a year, as we often work in the informal economy as caregivers, garment workers, street vendors; that we are transnational mothers caring for our family members in several countries and are often separated from our children; that we are those who are sexually assaulted, raped, and trafficked/prostituted during our journey, once we arrive, and when we are detained; that we are the majority of low wage workers; that we are the fastest rising population of mass incarceration; that we are the fastest rising population of homeless people, are quite literally being killed off or disappeared whether it be our Muslim sisters such as Nabra Hassanen, or our THOUSANDS of indigenous women such as Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, or the 64,000 missing/murdered Black women such as the murder of black trans woman, Kiwi Herring by St Louis police. And now, they are attacking our babies, our immigrant youth, because they are the future generation of people whom these bigots want obliterated.
But we in AF3IRM know that they INTENTIONALLY target us women, youth, and people of color for one reason, and one reason alone– because we are powerful.
We stand here today on the shoulders of women past and present from the women fighters who resisted the first colonizers, to the women who continue to resist and organize women’s strikes in the Texas and Pennsylvania detention centers. Sisters- they may try detain us, to deport our people, to oppress our communities, to hunt us down… but they will never, ever kill the revolutionary spirit of women!
We have been here before- they tried to get rid of us with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, with Operation Wetback in 1954, with HR 4437 in 2006, and Arizona’s S.B. 1070 in 2010, but what they fail to realize is that their oppressive immigration policies have only fueled our rage and strengthened our determination.
My community we are here because not only will we survive again, and again, and again… we will TOPPLE DOWN Trump and his cronies, we will DISMANTLE this entire government that was never set-up for us… and WE WILL BUILD A NEW SOCIETY!!
- We in AF3IRM do NOT want to live in a world where policies like DACA are even needed– we want to look beyond DACA and other reforms, many of which have been men-centric, and defend ALL immigrants including those who didn’t go to college, those who may have made mistakes in their lives, those who have been deported, and those currently detained such as our trans Latina sisters; we want to shut down detentions centers; and we want to build a world where we live freely without fear and violence and with dignity as PEOPLE.
- We do NOT just want to be able to stay here to work, to keep our “economy booming”, an economy that is dependent on the exploitation of our bodies whether for labor or sex, so that the rich can just continue to get richer– we want to eliminate the global assembly line and build a world where we do not live to survive, but we live to thrive.
- We do NOT just want citizenship for all, we want an END TO BORDERS, an END TO NATION STATES, an END TO CORPORATE IMPERIAL POWERS — all of which only exist to divide and accumulate power and profit for the few.
My community, let us UNITE, let us FIGHT like we’ve never fought before, and let us TRANSFORM our dreams of freedom, into realities of liberation!
We in AF3IRM say a woman’s place it not in the home, it is not in the kitchen, it is not in the bedroom… a woman’s place is here in the STREETS at the HEAD of this struggle for the liberation of all humanity!
My name is Alma and I am a member of AF3IRM LA, a transnational feminist, anti-imperialist organization.
I am a woman, I am a mother, and I am undocumented. I came to the U.S. when I was 6 years old (not too long ago just 27 years ago!) I have experienced the pain of family separation due to deportations; I have gone through the fear of not coming home to my family, children, and to my community. I had lived in the shadows for 15 years. I have experienced Depression, anxiety, anger and pain due to my immigration status.
In 2005, my older brother was deported. I did not have the tools to help him and to organize for him. His deportation broke my family apart. He was deported to our home state Guerrero, where drug cartels and violence have now taken over. There is not one day that my mother doesn’t cry for him. I don’t want more families to go through the pain that my family went through and that is why I decided to organize and fight against this deportation machine! In 2011, when 4 activist and I went inside the Metropolitan Detention Center as an act of civil disobedience to protest against 287g secure communities, one of the officers that was guarding told us that ICE did not want to deport us, that instead ICE wants to deport our family members or the people who do not speak English and don’t know their rights or how to organize.
And he was right, the most vulnerable in this inhumane immigration problem is not us, it is our brothers and sisters who don’t hold a college degree, those who never had a DACA status. Some of them have worked hard for us to have AB540, for us to have the CA Dream Act, and for us to even have DACA.
Now it is our duty to stand up, to rise once again, to make the changes that we want to see! Today, we must not forget the major problems that this inhumane immigration system brings to our undocumented immigrant community. We must stand and demand to stop the mass deportations that are occurring as we speak, we must demand to stop the killings of our undocumented transgender sisters, and we must stand with our Undocumented non-Latino brothers and sisters. We are more than a temporary program, we are more powerful than them so don’t sit and wait for a solution, don’t let your energy end here. Today we must rise up and organize! It’s time to demand dignity and respect for all!
So now, let me ask you: When immigrant rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When transgender rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When refugees rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When women’s rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!