By Duane Campbell
Over 1,500 marchers from around California descended on the Capitol on Wednesday March 15, to support the passage of SB 54: The California Values Act, which would significantly prohibit local law enforcement from coordination with federal immigration agents. While many cities, counties, school districts and universities have sanctuary policies, this bill would make such policies state law and shield many immigrants from mass deportation efforts of the federal authorities. The bill is strongly opposed by the Association of County Sheriffs who manage county jails and receive federal funds for their cooperation.
The massive demonstration on Wednesday was organized primarily by PICO of California and supported by immigrant rights organizations up and down the state. The events began at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacramento in Sacramento, and then marchers proceeded to the Capitol to hear a rousing support speech from the President of the California Senate, Kevin de León.
PICO is a structured national multi racial organizing project with roughly equal participation and leadership from African American, Mexican, Latino, and Anglo religious traditions. PICO stands for People Improving Communities Through Organizing.
After singing civil rights songs in English and Spanish, and hearing speeches, the crowd entered to Capitol, chanting “One People / One Fight.” Delegations to legislative office insisted on the passage of SB 54, as well SB 6—which would provide funds for legal defense of immigrants—and SB 31, which would prohibit any state agency from collecting information on religious affiliation and sharing that federal authorities(such as in creating a Muslim registry.)
DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta participated in the rally and Dolores Delgado Campbell of DSA’s Immigrant Rights Committee was interviewed by Univision at the event.
The Immigrant Rights Committee is currently working to provide support to local DSA chapters and to organize support for the May 1 Dia Sin Inmigrantes (Day Without Immigrants) strike and boycott called by Cosecha and other immigrant rights organizations.
The Immigrant Rights Committee (of the Anti Racism Working Group) is open to all DSA members. We would like to have representatives from most DSA and YDS chapters. Our tasks include conducting chapter educational activities, mobilizing our chapter activists for demonstrations like the one above, advancing immigrant solidarity within local DSA chapters and working in local immigrant rights coalitions. We have extensive materials to assist DSA local chapters and activists with immigrant rights work. The Anti Racism Working Group also has a committee focused on anti Islamophobia and police brutality work.
You can reach these committees by sending an email to [email protected]
Photo by D Campbell
Duane Campbell is a professor emeritus of bilingual multicultural education at California State University Sacramento, a union activist for over 40 years, and former chair of Sacramento DSA. He is the co-chair of the Immigrant Rights Committee of the Anti Racism Working Group
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