Friday, March 31, 2006

Tomorrow: Pro-immigration march across the Brooklyn Bridge

It was nice to wake up this morning and turn on the Lou Dobbs Channel, oops, excuse me, CNN, and watch Mayor Michael Bloomberg ride the 7 train to my neighborhood, where he sat down at an Indian food restaurant to chat with CNN reporter John King about the immigration debacle (weird that CNN online has a much different version of the clip that I saw this morning, which also integrates an anti-immigrant talking head and - apparently to push a point - ends with a plug for Lou Dobb's rabidly anti-immigrant nightly show as well). The New York Times describes Bloomberg's comments to CNN on the immigration issue here.

Now, many wonder why New York City hasn't seen similar "surprise" massive pro-immigrant marches such as the ones that took place in Chicago and Los Angeles. Part of the answer is that the labor movement and its ties to the New York City immigrant community is not as strong as in other large urban areas, immigrant service agencies are stretched to the limit by funding cuts and case-loads and New York City's tremendous diversity actually works against itself when it comes to mobilizing such a range of immigrant groups. For example, there doesn't exist a predominant immigrant group as, say, Mexicans in California or Cubans in Florida that you can engage with a single-focus message.

And yet, a group of religious institutions, labor organizations and immigrant service organizations will try to do just that tomorrow. They are calling for a march across Brooklyn Bridge starting at Camden Plaza in Brooklyn at 11am tomorrow Saturday and ending outside 26 Federal Plaza (the Federal Naturalization and Immigration Services building just north of City Hall).

Spanish-language media has been credited with the turn out elsewhere and El Diario La Prensa has an editorial today calling people to march. I'm sure that local Telemundo and Univision news stations are also carrying the voice. Unfortunately, some of the leading organizers are amongst the most homophobic Latino institutions or personalities in the city and include the Reverend Ruben Diaz, Sr., his Organization of Christian Ministers of New York, Tepeyac, RadioVision Cristiana, among others (hey, even I have acknowledged that the Reverend Diaz has done a great deal for immigrant communities).

The funny thing is that I know some of the labor groups have been calling some of the city's gay organizations (and not necessarily the Latino ones) and asking them to come on-board. I'm not sure that any of them have jumped on-board but it should be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. I doubt it will be anywhere near the 500,000 that marched in Los Angeles last week but, who knows, the march might even surprise me.

No comments: