Over the past several years, Latino communities in the United States have proven their potential for impacting politics and public policy. When President Obama was reelected in November, many analysts attributed the victory in large part to Latino voters. And now, the issue of immigration reform has been pushed to the top of the national political agenda, in part due to pressure from the Latino electorate.
One way in particular that undocumented Latinos in this country have demonstrated their commitment to social change, in the process working to effect such changes, is through holding organized “coming out” demonstrations, in which they refuse to remain in the shadows of society and publicly declare their lack of legal residency status. In part because of the efficacy of these demonstrations, Latino activists across the country have declared March “National Coming Out of the Shadows Month.” Protestors are planning “coming out” events across the country, in which they will call for an end to deportations and the subsequent forced separations of immigrant families.
“President Obama can set the debate in the right direction and set an example for Congress by using his executive power to stop programs like [Secure Communities] and place a moratorium on deportations,” said Marisa Franco and Tanya Unzueta of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network. “We’re pushing this month to build the pressure and move the debate forward.”
In Tucson, there will be a National Coming Out of the Shadows Month demonstration on March 17 at 6 p.m. Details of the event are not yet available, but interested participants can check here for updates. In Phoenix, a rally is currently scheduled for 8 a.m. on Monday, March 11. The Phoenix event will take place at 300 East Indian School Road.
For those interested in contributing to National Coming Out of the Shadows Month, NDLON is offering some suggestions for how to be involved. Plan a demonstration in your own community demanding an end to deportations, or organize your own “coming out” protest. Support legislation in your own community or state to end the current deportation crisis. Show your support for such legislation to your representatives in Congress. Or start a petition online calling for the release of those currently undergoing deportation proceedings.