Red, White, & Brown!


Last Friday, a crew of revolutionary Youth Speaks poets and I put on this youth forum in Oakland on immigration & human rights called RED, WHITE, & BROWN! We’d been planning it for a couple months, but with all the legalized xenophobia coming out of Arizona these days, the event took on a feeling of serious urgency. And it turned out that way — almost 100 youth, artists, parents, organizers in a standing room speaking truth and telling powerful, often painful stories of the reality of immigration in America.

There was Sofia, a 16 year old student from Youth Together who talked about how ICE used to come to her middle school – yes, her middle school –  to stop parents and ask them for their papers. There was Christsna, youth poet turned community organizer, explaining how systems like NAFTA “allow corporations to cross borders — but not people.” There was Sandra, a graduating high school senior, who said through tears that she was there at the forum “because my mom can’t be — she’s undocumented and has to work every night, but she wanted me to come and speak for her.”

I was reminded of how powerful it can be just to SPEAK. To claim space and tell your story. So much of the immigration debate is about dehumanizing people trying to take care of their families. I think last Friday was a step for young folks here in the Bay to re-humanize themselves, and all of us. And to keep the fight going, as protests continue here in the Bay.

For the forum, we produced a little “quiz” on immigration to get people (re)thinking about the issues. I wanted to share it here becasee (1) it might be a good resource for folks and (2) I’m a nerd. So get your pen (or mouse) ready, and let’s see how tight your non-standardized political test game is….

Immigrant Rights 101 – A Youth Speaks Quiz

1. What state is proposing the harshest anti-immigrant law in the country, requiring local law enforcement officers to check the legal status of people they “suspect are undocumented”?

A. Texas          B. Arizona              C. California                  D. Kansas

2. The U.S. signed a free-trade agreement with Mexico and Canada in 1994 that allowed corporations to more easily move jobs and money across those border, which has resulted in job losses in all countries, and more immigration from Mexico. The name of that agreement is ___________.

A. NAFTA            B. WTO               C. IMF            D. Screw Everybody, Everywhere Treaty

3. The name of the bill proposed in the Congress that would allow undocumented immigrants the opportunity to earn a path to citizenship is the  __________________.

A. New Americans Act  B. Love it or Leave it Act  C. DREAM Act D. 2010 Immigration Act

4. In 2009, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom instructed the city to report all undocumented youth accused of felonies to federal immigration authorities, even before they’re convicted. Many people say this violates San Francisco’s standing to protect immigrants, known as a _________

A. “safe haven”     B. “sanctuary city”    C. “refugee city”     D. “hella on point city”

5. The first city in the nation to officially boycott Arizona for their anti-immigrant stance was: _______

A. Washington, DC     B. San Francisco     C. Oakland     D. New York

6. The five countries with the highest numbers of immigrants in the U.S. in 2010 were Mexico, China, Philippines, India, and ____________.

A. El Salvador             B. Vietnam                C. Cuba           D. Canada

7. There are 435 U.S. Congresspersons, 100 Senators, and 1 President. These are the people who most directly shape immigration policy. Of those 536 people, the number of Native Americans, the original inhabitants of this land, is _________:

A. 0                           B. 1                          C. 5                 D. 10

8.  Proposition 187, the 1994 California referendum to “prohibit illegal immigrants from using health care, public education, and other social services,” passed with 58% of the vote. Later, the law _________.

A. was ruled unconstitutional by the courts             B. was toughened, and is still law
C. was modified by the governor                             D. caused riots across the state

9 The American Dream is really ___________________.

A. an American nightmare        B. true for some, false for others
C. an ongoing project still in the making       D. all of the above     E. other: ______________

* * * * *
Answers:

1. B
2. A (although we’d also accept D)
3. C
4. B (although we’d also accept D)
5. C
6. B
7. B (and he’s a Republican!)
8. A
9. if you’re checking here for the right answer, you gotta answer bigger questions than this quiz.

And since you made it to the bottom, your reward is this video, featuring Donte Clark’s performance from the forum. (Make sure to watch the end…that’s when Donte really goes in.)