Undocumented Activists Traveling in 'Undocubus' to Visit California, West Coast
Photo Credit: The Real News Network
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The following is a transcript originally published on The Real News Network.
OSCAR LEÓN, TRNN PRODUCER: A group of activists from Phoenix, Arizona, organized a bus trip for undocumented voluntaries as part of a wider campaign called No Papers, No Fear, trying to bring the drama of undocumented people's life to the public attention and trying to empower the Latino community. Last year they toured parts of the Midwest and the Southwest Coast on the way to Charleston, North Carolina, where after 20 cities on ten states, the first chapter of the trip ended. The bus is now headed to California, touring the West Coast.
FERNANDO LOPEZ, COMMUNITY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: The purpose was to, like, gather as many people possible, you know, that they have, like, open cases or, like, just regular people that, you know, they risk arrest every day just by going out on the street, you know, to drop off their kids or going to get groceries or whatever. So we just wanted to show that for a lot of people it was--they saw it as something really risky just to get on a bus and, you know, openly say they were undocumented and travel across country. But it's something that we do every day. You know, we're under that risk.
LEÓN: A positive outcome from the battle for undocumented people's right here in Phoenix Arizona is a sizable Latino rights movement composed by people from different backgrounds.
Many of them gathered together to paint their bus and got it ready to go.
UNIDENTIFIED: This bus stands for not being afraid, and for being proud of who you are, and for seeing the beauty in the lives of the people who are told that they're undocumented so they must be in the shadows. But the bus is supposed to carry that message that, no, you don't have to be in the shadows.
LOPEZ: In reality there is nothing to fear to come out and say, you know, openly that you're undocumented, because you're still under the same risk, you know, of getting arrested or getting pulled over and not having an ID.
LEÓN: On August 1, 2012, under a full moon, they hit the road and drove north for about 12 hours from Phoenix to Denver. Once in Colorado, the first stop of the trip, the activists met with local Latino rights organizations and discussed strategies to unite and coordinate efforts.
ERIKA OVALLE, COMMUNITY RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I play a supportive role when they do civil disobedience. We do a lot of the chanting and stuff. So we get people's energy up. And everybody did a great job. And I don't have any children, but, you know, I see so many faces, I see so many kids out there who are--they're hurting. Even today at our action, so many broken people. You know, they might arrest one person, but the family outside is suffering. You know, the person inside is suffering. People are committing suicide. And a lot of private prisons, people are investing in our incarceration. And to me that just blows my mind.
LEÓN: The next day, on August 3, they arrived to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and met with local Native American and Latino activists to interchange experience and widen the network of activists and local organizations.
After a night of travel, they demonstrated in Travis County, Texas, where 50 local activists show support for the Undocubus. They called on the local sheriff, Craig Hamilton, to stop participating in the program that detains and deports illegal immigrants.