#Not1More Deportation

An Open Letter: Before You Pull Down that Protest Sign. Think Again.

Below is a blog post from B. Loewe, communications director for NDLON and the #Not1More campaign.

Alternative Title: For Those Who Celebrate the Victory But Condemn the Tactics.

It’s been nearly four years since President Obama’s speech at NCLR was interrupted with chants of “Yes you can!” and just over a year since Ju Hong forced the President to turn around to address his shouts from the bandstand behind him.  Since then, the interruptions became common place. Disrupting the President’s rhetoric and inserting reality into his publicity events.

But just as the proliferation of people speaking out visibly jostled President Obama, something else became common in those moments.  Those attending the events, the people who brushed past and avoided eye contact with the families in deportation proceedings who picketed outside the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Gala also booed and shouted over those inside who refused to celebrate while the President delayed action (and later who asked why he excluded so many).

The day after the President announced that he would offer deferred action to parents of US citizens and LPRs but leave at risk of removal approximately seven million others, Jose Patiño and others stood up at the Las Vegas celebration rally. While others clapped and smiled, he asked the simple question that millions were crying over, “Why did you leave my mother behind?”

In what could have been a moment where the question became a rallying cry, you could imagine it taking over the stadium, the President staring out at the crowd of Latinos, immigrants, and advocates demanding he explain how he decided to cleave the community in two between deserving and undeserving. But instead Patiño was booed, shouted over, and escorted out by security and the advocates went on smiling.

Something about that moment, made me do what so many of us do with that mix of helplessness and outrage, I took to twitter.

Days later I was still disturbed by the moment. Thinking about it and how carefully constructed those moments are, I said…

And then when the President came to Chicago, both his home town and a hot bed of anti-deportation organizing where streets have been closed, buses have been blocked, and banners dropped in the campaign to get the President to act. This happened.


And the same questions came back again. When invited to sit behind the President, a smiling prop for his photo-op. What do you do? Do you gladly oblige or do you force the moment to be rewritten? When someone stands up for those left out, do you join their chant or do you get stink face like those who stood at Ju Hong’s side, frozen in that historic exchange?  Or worse, do you take it upon yourself to try to silence the protest? If the latter is your option, one has to wonder the relationship between celebrating a victory that was won by the means you’re now repressing.  La victoria tiene muchos amigos but the struggle that earns it is made by those who don’t sit quietly in their seats when asked.

When the chance arises again, and surely it will because the one thing that is clear after the President’s announcement is that there is more to be done, what part will you play in this moment?

For a timeline of the tactics in the push for the President to act, click here

#Not1More #No1LeftBehind