In 2011, an estimated 12 million human beings living in the United States are treated as if they should not exist--shoved aside in schools and hospitals, exploited on jobs, and demeaned by both our government and our culture. Each of those people is tied to a family and a community, and all of those families are dehumanized by the language of "illegality." The i-word slur not only justifies counterproductive immigration policy, it invites violence and stigmatizes people. All of that is why immigrants, workers and families prepare to march in cities around the country this Sunday.
Barack Obama was correct when he said back in 2008 that we were the ones we've been waiting for. Little did he know. Several hundred thousand will take to the streets this weekend for the annual May Day rallies in support of immigrants and workers rights. We hope the Drop the I-Word and Colorlines.com communities will join in, and send us your photos from the events.
We also need your help building the movement this weekend. If you have not signed the pledge to Drop the I-Word and ask media to do the same, please sign it today. Once you've signed, ask at least five of your friends to join the movement, too.
At Sunday's May Day marches, people will remind their communities that No Human Being is Illegal and demand basic rights for themselves and their loved ones. Our broken immigration system grows more out of control every year, and it is generating a human rights crisis:
- 85 percent of immigrant households are comprised of people with both undocumented and citizen status, so as the administration sets new records for deportations it is ripping families apart.
- More than 1,000 people are deported daily, at the estimated cost of $18,302 each.
- Over 1,200 local deportation pipelines exist under the deceptively named "Secure Communities" program.
But the immigrant rights movement continues to grow, too, and this weekend is a chance to get involved. At at least 40 events are happening this May 1 in cities across the country. May Day United, a national network of over 60 leading worker and community-based organizations, has compiled a list of those actions, so you can find one near you. Document the events in your community and send us your photos by emailing email@example.com. And send us your thoughts on how the news media covers the day, both good or bad, on Twitter @droptheiword.
We have a lot of work to do, including demanding a truthful and humane conversation. This May Day is a chance to build the movement for that work. Join us in doing that.