South Asian Community Protests along with Other Groups
From left: SAN chief Hamid Khan chats with the media, a sign at the protest venue reads ‘End all deportation’, and 10 activists participate in non-violent civil disobedience against SB1070
Los Angeles , CA : On Thursday, June 29th, 10 immigrant rights activists spiritedly engaged in non-violent civil disobedience while two hundred protestors took to the streets, shutting down a several block radius around Wilshire Blvd. and Highland Ave. for over five hours, says a SAN Press Release. It adds: The South Asian community members joined the action through the Los Angeles collective called "We are All Arizona,” to protest SB1070 and other similar racist laws.
South Asian community members protested with other people from the Los Angeles area in front of the G4S/ Wackenhut office on Wilshire Blvd because G4S/ Wackenhut is a company that profits off separating families through detention, deportation and criminalizing immigrants. Many South Asians have experienced the trauma of detention and deportation, which is why some South Asian Network members wanted to challenge SB1070 and G4S/ Wackenhut on July 29th, the day SB1070 went into effect.
The action began at 10 AM, when protesters blocked the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Highland Ave. Ten activists were chained to each other, linking arms, and encircling the intersection next to the G4S/Wackenhut offices. They were joined by two hundred activists who shut down the major thoroughfare, Wilshire Blvd.
“Wackenhut and SB1070 both dehumanize our immigrant communities here in Los Angeles as well as in Arizona, and across the country,” said Hamid Khan, from the We Are All Arizona Action. He continued, “Wackenhut directly profits off of separating families by transporting detained immigrants to detention centers through its 100+ contracts with the Department of Homeland Security, as of 2009.”
Wackenhut is a multi-national security corporation that operates in 110 countries and plays an active role in the detention, deportation, and criminalization of people and of communities of color. The activists announced the injunction against SB1070 is temporary and partial, and the racist spirit of the law, which explicitly calls for “attrition through enforcement,” remains. Plus, 21 other states are discussing or have already introduced similar bills to SB1070.
According to Preeti Sharma, another We Are All Arizona Action participant, “SB 1070 goes into effect today, with the most harmful parts of the law still in place. For South Asian and other immigrant communities, a half injunction of SB1070 is not full justice, especially when corporations like Wackenhut still profit off the suffering of so many families and communities. What affects one immigrant community, affects all immigrant communities.”
The collective, We Are All Arizona, planned the May 6th non-violent civil disobedience shutting down the Federal Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles after SB1070 passed. The group garnered international attention last week as participants held several large banners over the 101 and 110 freeways in Downtown Los Angeles.
“We need to act, and we need to demand that these racist policies and these corporations’ practices that break families apart end now. Absolutely zero taxdollars should be spent on detaining and deporting members of our communities.” says Paulina Gonzalez, also of We are All Arizona.
The protesters continue to draw inspiration from Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. In the letter the great Civil Rights leader said, “It is our a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”