Day Without Immigrants 2017
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Everybody who initially showed up were like me, couldn’t find any info about a Sacramento rally, so the natural thing to do is go to the Capitol around lunch and see. There was no official organizer or organization hosting. No permits. No media campaign. And yet, I watched a steady flow of individual strangers come together and self-materialize a grassroots movement, in just a couple of hours. People started making phone calls to invite others to join. Someone ran off and came back with a pallet of bottled water. Somebody’s mother rushed home and made tacos to feed us. Everyone was friendly and in good spirits. I think I heard Donald Trump’s name mentioned maybe twice, if that. It wasn’t that they were avoiding his name. It was that there was so much more to talk about. More about that later.

The Sacramento #DayWithoutImmigrants rally was not as large as many others around the country. But it was still delivering a powerful message. For better or for worse, it did get America talking.

I’m glad I went. I wish I conducted interviews to share with my friends, rather than trying to put the experience into my own clumsy words. I am embarrassed to admit, my photos don’t do a great job of conveying what it was like being there. I think that all the hostility around politics could have learned something from this crowd.

This is as important to California, as it is to the United States, as it is to our neighbors, like Mexico. A broken immigration system is going to need more than just a wall and deportations to work. A more robust and efficient legal immigration program that represents the balanced needs of people and businesses will be the smartest way to eliminate a lot of the factors that contribute to the flow of illegal immigration into this country.

As I mentioned earlier, it was an impromptu rally, and only a very few thought of bringing flags. But there were more than just Mexican Americans here. I myself a Japanese American, talked with a Bolivian American, a few folks from Panama, and others I can’t recall specifically. Small but diverse crowd. Next time, I’m bringing my own flag too.

Sorry, no flag-burning to hate on here. This rally was as much about American Patriotism as it was about cultural pride. Hard working Americans, who just happened to be from other countries.

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