Today, I was able to stand in solidarity with the people of Arizona in their opposition to the racial-profiling and anti-immigrant law enacted two years ago, S.B. 1070. Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law, and pro-immigrant, pro-civil rights forces were out on the steps to have their voices heard.
The crowd was electric as immigrant rights groups vastly outnumbered anti-immigrant activists.
The crowd was energetically chanting,
¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!
¡Adelante! ¡Adelante! ¡La lucha sigue avanzando!
¡Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos!
¿Qué queremos? ¡Justicia! ¿Cuándo? ¡Ahora!
¡Si se puede! Yes we can!
When I arrived around 11am, the Supreme Court was wrapping up oral arguments for the day. Those who were inside the Supreme Court emerged and told of what they heard. Immigration attorneys noted that there is reason to be hopeful that the law will be found unconstitutional as Justices expressed concern over the racial profiling. Justice Sonia Sotomayor, herself a woman of color, asked if having a name like “Sotomayor” would make her suspect under the Arizona law. Justice Samuel Alito wondered if a resident of New Mexico driving through Arizona (New Mexico issues driver’s liscences to undocumented folks) could also be stopped and asked for papers. Others wondered if SB1070 would lead to mass incarceration of Arizona residents.
There was large support from the community of faith. Faith leaders, from various religious and spiritual backgrounds, spoke about the moral imperative in overturning S.B. 1070. They spoke about how the law is breaking apart families and spreading fear. They argued that we need immigration solutions that welcome immigrants with open arms, and allow families to live with dignity.
At around 12:30pm, religious leaders ended their “Jericho march.” These religious leaders marched in silence and prayer around the Supreme Court seven times.
At about 1pm, the festivities, the celebrations, the music, and the chants ended. Or did they? As immigrant rights activists proceeded back to their buses, they chanted all the way to Union Station and in Union Station itself.
Activists were chanting, and luchando, until the end!
I was inspired today, being at the Supreme Court. Seeing solidarity in action gave me the sense that despite the enormous challenges, the people will be heard.
While I normally squirm in fear of Supreme Court decisions, today I looked around me and realized that no matter what the Roberts Court decides, the forces on the side of humanity, of dignity, and of justice will prevail in overturning SB1070 and copy-cat laws in states like Georgia, Alabama, and Indiana.
Being at the Supreme Court today reminded me that when we work together, we are stronger in our fight for salud, dignidad, y justicia!