On Friday September 23, 2011 students, families, veterans, poets, and community leaders gathered together at Civic Plaza to join the ongoing community demonstrations against the governors attempt to follow Arizona’s and Alabama’s anti-immigrant laws. The rally was planned to counter interact with a conference hosted by the governor to recruit young Republicans of Hispanic heritage. This conference was taking place at the Hyatt Hotel, which is located in front of the Civic Plaza. There was no better time or place for the community to come together and say what they thought about the governors attempt to deny driver licenses to our immigrant residents.
The rally was organized by SWOP in partnership with other social justice community organizations in the state. There was a series of community leaders who spoke about their organization and or aspirations as New Mexican Residents. We were making noise with both English and Spanish chants that induced a sense of unity and hope for a prosperous future. The heritage that New Mexico stands on is it’s diversity, and that was evident as people of all backgrounds and languages were present to support the immigrant community of New Mexico.
It was a great rally and as time passed by, it became a great evening, but as the students gathered and organized the night became epic. It so happened that our beloved governor, Susana Martinez, was given a special Republican speech for her special Republican guests. So the NM Dreamers In Action decided to crash the party and talk to the governor who has refused to talk to the immigrant students of New Mexico. The dinner party was hosted on the outside patio of the Hyatt, which is easily accessible to the public. Students politely stood in solidarity on the outside of the dinner reception and waited until she finished her speech. As soon as the crowd started clapping, we started chanting.
The energy that students shared with one another was amazing, but the response that our fellow republicans had was even better. An older couple at the reception started chanting “U.S! U.S!” and so we followed, and student started chanting “U.S! U.S! The reaction they had to that was even more hilarious; I think they expected us to say “Mexico! Mexico!”. There is no word that can describe the energy and joy we felt as APD asked us to leave the area. We felt victorious as is we had accomplished something big and extraordinary. We came together as students and dreamers united, and that in itself was extraordinary.
by: Marilu Ugalde