I can't remember if I posted this to the blog before, but for a while I've been kind of wondering what I'm doing down here in Back of the Yards. I read about the young college kids who moved into Uptown back in the 60s to organize the poor white Appalachians there to fight The Man. On the one hand, I'm not so down with the "I'm here to organize you" mentality. On the other, they had a vision of where they were going, and sometimes that's a good thing. After months of stumbling around, I was feeling like I lacked purpose.
Well, thanks to Rep. Sensenbrenner and his heinous anti-immigration bill, I no longer lack purpose in my neighborhood. Dawn called me last night to ask if I would help her write a letter to the management at her dad's factory, asking to let the workers off on Friday afternoon to attend the pro-immigration march. So she came over and we worked out a first draft together. Her dad called in the middle of it saying that the floor manager had threatened to fire anybody who didn't show up for work on Friday. She told him the story I heard from Little Village, where a group of workers volunteered to come in Saturday at regular, not overtime pay, to make up the lost time. They may hold that idea in reserve as a Plan B strategy.
Anyway, Dawn and I wrote a very polite letter in which we pointed out the bill would increase penalties on employers who hire undocumented workers (i.e. possibly hit the employers in their wallet) and requested a chance for the workers to make their views known publicly. I don't know that it will have any effect but I'm really happy to be able to lend some of my talents to a project they organized, instead of trying to get them to do something that was on my agenda.
Projections for attendance at tomorrow's rally and march are up to 100,000. I think that would be the largest demonstration here in my 16 years of residence. Stay tuned.