Saturday, February 13, 2010

Posted on FEBRUARY 3, 2010 by carlos post comment
Tags: Carlos

Mayo, FL

We resist the presence of omnipresent fear, oppression, and silence.

We will not continue to allow our communities to suffer.

This is our unspoken creed that is cemented on the firm premise of righteousness. If I’ve learned anything in my life as a human rights activist so far, it is that fear manifested in the darkness of silence is self-destructive. The individual, the community, and society as a whole submerge in this perpetual cycle of indefinite darkness unless a resistant gleam of light is present to overcome it.

Last night, we had a social dinner in the City of Mayo, located 70 miles east of Tallahassee and about one hour north of Gainesville. We convened alongside community members whose soft-spoken voices, in their humility, have slowly begun to express the concerns of their underprivileged communities.

Tonight, during a conversation, Guillermo, a local dairy worker and community member of over ten years, explained to us how undocumented immigrants in these areas make excuses for themselves that justify the abuses inhibited by either local law-enforcement authorities or assailants who take advantage of the fact that they’re undocumented. The excuses they give themselves in order to avoid reporting certain discriminating incidents are along the lines of being grateful to be alive and well, even after being physically or verbally altercated and or threatened.

In surrounding communities, there’s a hesitancy to report to local law-enforcement officials because in several previous occasions, police and sheriff reports inaccurately reflect instances of criminal abuse. Such reports are often ignored and swept away by officials, leaving these communities in fear with feelings of vulnerability and inadequate protection. I also strongly suspect that the undocumented view either the sheriff or police officers no different than La Migra.

We are continuing to closely monitor things within Mayo, FL and the surrounding areas. We’re having a town meeting on Thursday to conduct a desperately needed Know Your Rights (KYR) training. This training is geared towards equipping communities with the right information on what people’s rights are as undocumented individuals caught in various predicaments. Situations such as finding yourself in the midst of an ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) raid or having the police pull you over from racial profiling are highlighted because of their commonplace frequency.

Mayo’s reflective community struggles, especially considering the lack of organizing, has certainly reassured our thoughts as to why this walk transcends itself more than just an individual personal journey of mental liberation. We are facilitating the movement building process in these areas, through the sharing of our stories (walkers and those of local community members) and also through our intense desire to deeply listen and engage in dialogues in order to awaken resilient community voices. Together, we are eradicating sentiments of inequality, oppression, and fear and channeling energies towards igniting the long awaiting thirst for justice.


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