Monday, December 05, 2016

More of the Same

Much like everyone else after the elections were said and done, I followed through and processed what I needed to process in my own way. Part of that processing relit old fires given my involvement in the immigrant youth movement of the early 2000's. I asked the same of those who I'm still friends on Facebook with and folks felt the same way. For a second there, it felt like the band was getting back together. Every comment was one of inspiration, optimism, folks opening up their space to organize, and questions about next steps. Well, here in Los Angeles, a community meeting was put together last minute by the National Day Laborer Organizing Network and CARECEN to provide a place for those looking for answers about what's going to happen or a space to connect with others.

I went into that meeting and space ready to see familiar faces and to listen, stand back, and see what folks had to share given the fears of uncertainty hanging in the air. A lot of that was shared at this meeting, especially from those who have family that would be directly impacted, those working with kids and youth, and allies ready to put in work. From there, words of inspiration were spoken, groups were made to identify different problems and how to go about dealing with them. Hell, even I got asked to talk about the work I did during the Dream Act campaigns and how it lead to DACA. From there, I left the meeting realizing that wasn't a space for me in the sense that I've been down this road before. I can put in work and have been for the last few years outside the immigrant rights movement. I've grown and part of me wants to put those new skills to work, but I don't know where to plug in and more importantly, should I plug back in.

I'm not a movement celebrity nor have I ever aspired to be one. Any notoriety I gained came from me saying yes a lot when others didn't and having a big mouth on social media. The community meeting left a sour taste in my mouth because aside from recognizing that it was a space for those new to all this, I saw the same theatrics playing out all over again. The non-profit dynamics of whose in charge and leading things, follow-up events, and the kind of language being used was all too familiar. I really was hoping for things to be better than they were before, but they aren't and I get it. I can stand on my soap box here and criticize all day every day, but putting down other people's work isn't going to help anything either.

I reflected and left it at that, but over the last few weeks, what I saw going down in that meeting, it's pretty much happening everywhere I look. The current narrative online from local and national organizations is one of doubling down on getting people to give up their money, sign up for every list they have, and keep feeding folks a false sense of security knowing full well that ese pinche camote hasn't shown his cards yet. I myself was hit up and interviewed by reporters looking for that "you have DACA, how scared are you right now" story. Now it's turned into a full blow 'Save the Dreamers' campaign that will replicate all the problematic language and narratives that got us DACA in the first place. Hashtags about how folks were able to move up in life thanks to DACA and what are folks going to do if they lose DACA.

It may be that I'm hyper-connected and I can see these things play out, but nothing has changed and it seems like nothing will change, other than things getting worse by the camote and his idiocracy. The fact that it's going to be 2017 and individuals are still calling themselves Dreamers is indicative of where things are at, stuck in the past. I browse through online forums for undocumented folks and all I see is a bunch of ignorant people losing their shit for something they never put in work for, tearing others down, and just plain being ignorant in the worst kind of way. yeah, I know, I shouldn't expect much from online spaces nowadays, but that's where folks built shit up back in the day. So much has changed and yet so much has stayed the same. When I first saw all the comments and reactions to my facebook status about connecting with folks back in the day, I was genuinely excited to make things happen and start putting in work again. Yet as of today, I'm more disenfranchised with the current movement spaces than I was before. And I say this as someone who works for a non-profit and volunteers at another.

Like I said before, I'm at a loss for where to connect and at the same time, I question if I even should. I'm not on some nostalgia trip to try and recapture what was once because that was a lifetime ago and it was what needed to be done at that time. I know what I need to do for myself and having lived my life before DACA and these movement spaces were around, I'll be able to survive. For those relying on DACA as a lifeline, don't make the same mistake twice and fight for a temporary solution that will criminalize millions while only benefiting thousands, only to be in this exact situation years later.