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Tuesday, April 11, 2006 

La Marcha: Through Los Ojos de Un Unemployed Xicano

I was torn yesterday when an interview was scheduled in the middle of yesterday's history in the making event. Back in November, I was let go from my job. I have mentioned it on other sites before I started this blog. I talked about how being unemployed is very similar to being on emotional rollercoaster. You are filled with hope when you are called in for an interview and the sudden depressed feelings when you there is no call back or when you hear the sentence no unemployed person wants to hear, "We regret to tell you, but we have decided to go with someone else."

Having a job brings "meaning" in the sense of one's personal worth and identity. As a society we have been conditioned to go through life by placing labels on every facet of our lives. The first question we ask a stranger is, "What do you do?" Depending on the person's answer this becomes the basis on how we start judging people by their worth, financial status, intelligence, education level, ambition, and social position. And when the "label" is empty - we have no status. Admitting "I don't do anything" is the equivalent of saying "I am nothing," and that is not acceptable to society. These are the same feelings many undocumented immigrants feel and on April 10, 2006, they finally had enough, I had enough. We are not nothing.

The rally started at 1 and would end at 3:30, my interview was near the end of the rally. So I was able to participate and still make it to the job interview. I was so upset I forgot to charge up my phone so I could take some pictures. Being on my last cent, purchasing a camera was not an option. I am not looking to garner sympathy, but to share this special moment through my eyes as if you were there yourself.

Nobody could have asked for a more perfect day, it was sunny and cool. As I was getting close to the starting point of the march, you could feel the excitement in the air and nothing that day would dampen the sense of unity everybody was feeling here in Houston and across the country. And if just you stood still for a second, you swear you could feel the excite around the country. When people define the melting pot as people of different cultures and religions - then this is what I saw today. At the rally I saw Uncle Sam (on stilts of course) and Lady Liberty with open arms welcoming the new fixtures that defines America - they dance to the distant music of the mariachi players, while enjoying the sweet frozen-fruit treat from neighborhood paleteras vendors as they stroll along the march with their push- and pedal-cart.

Today - they were not cooks, waiters, maids and housekeepers, janitors, bus boys, parking attendants, childcare workers, cafeteria workers, construction workers, or gardeners, but people you would call your neighbor, your co-worker, and the people you see in church and at a store. I saw fathers and mothers marching with their sons and daughters; I saw brothers and sisters; and uncles and aunts. I witnessed friends supporting their friends - who found their way here in this country just to have a better life - The American Dream.

The chanting the traditional "What do we want? Justice! and "¡Si, Se Puede!" echoed through the route. And con mi compadres, we chanted "U S A!" I saw a rainbow of flags along the way, they were not just Mexican flags, but flags from the United States, the Middle East, and South and Central America. The true melting pot of America.

The official count was 50,000, the largest protest rally Houston ever had. And to be part of this history, I will take these numbers any day. As I was heading to my job interview, I could not help replay the sights and sounds of that day, but the one chant I will never forget is one that all Americans are wanting to achieve and use when times are rough - "All we want is the American dream!"

It is amazing how words can move some people. Before the rally, I wrote a post expressing how I felt. The immigration issue really does mean a lot. I previously was an ESL teacher and I pushed my students hard. I made them think, I armed them with the tools when faced with gutter snipes. That was four years ago. I know what effect I had on them and in my heart, I know they were out there on April 10th. I knew I had inspired someone, but I didn't realize how much until I was told yesterday. In yesterday's diary Blogger Ductape Fatwa wrote one of the most touching and must read personal account at the rally he attended. In the second paragraph, he describes who went and how many went to the march.
Thanks to the success of Saturday's Incitement Constitutional, our group, including my own descendants, neighbors, friends, and their descendants, had swelled to over a thousand souls, representing all the world's continents. I will not try to say how many countries, or name them, suffice it to say that we were diverse. And so numerous, that when the hour of departure came, we were obliged to call upon the good offices of the local popo, to guide our massive convoy out of the neighborhood and on to the highway for the short ride to the gathering place.
As mentioned before, the whole diary was very touchy and normally I replied to let him know much it touched me. But his reply is highest praise I can hope for.
Your eyes ought to water up, It was you who single-handedly caused over a thousand people to march today, to respond to such a deed with "Thank You" does not seem adequate, yet no amount of flowery phrases would express my gratitude, so "Thank You" will have to do. :)
Reading his reply after a job interview, couped with the days events, has brought back home and renew my vigor to continue fight the good fight.

¡Si, Se Puede!


About me

  • I'm XicanoPwr
  • From Tejas, United States
  • Un Xicano who is tired of the current status quo.
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