In the wake of the “papers, please” provision surviving the Supreme Court, we need to be ready to stand strong against racial profiling, pre-textual arrest, and anything else anti-immigrant legislators might throw at us. As Joe Hill, the legendary labor activist (and also a Swedish immigrant) once said, “Don’t Mourn, Organize!” Right now, that’s exactly how we should react. In the spirit of Joe Hill, here are five ways to take action:
Write letters to the editor and organize others to do the same. The opinion section is one of the most-read sections of the newspaper, so you’re guaranteed to reach others in our community. Once you write one, send it to you friends and fellow activists and tell them to write their own. Good tip: keep your LTE under 200 words.
Monitor the bills in your state legislature. Many states already have SB1070 copycat bills in their legislature, and more might be coming (for a breakdown of the battles state-by-state, check out the ACLU’s map here). State Legislators for Legal Immigration will be working overtime to get SB1070 copycats introduced, so if you don’t have a copycat already, look to see who the SLLI members are in your state by looking at their website.
Organize and direct action. For activist groups, it’s time to flex your muscle. Show the people that they won’t bring pre-textual arrest, hate, and racial profiling to your state without a fight. Banner drops, sit-ins, glitter bombs, and other public means of peaceful protest are good ways to send a clear message.
Harness the power of the media. When you do take action, make sure to call the press ahead of time. Make sure you’re heard. Most of the time, the newsroom phone number of your local newspaper or TV station shouldn’t be too hard to find on their website.
Donate your time and/or money to an organization fighting against this law in your state. Help your community get organized. Join with those who want to make a stand against racial profiling. There are normally plenty of ways for you to volunteer. If you can’t find one, try to organize around your school, religious institutions, or other places where your community comes together.
Take action today and help keep the United States off the path of bigotry and prejudice. Those who fear the future of our country were given a powerful tool today to stop it from arriving, but your voice is always stronger.