Letters to the Editor - May 23, 2010Find out what's on our readers' minds this week.
Don’t let Minnesota follow in Arizona’s racist footsteps
The atrocious and racist anti-immigrant bill Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law in late April legalizes the violation of human rights and civil liberties in the state, but it doesn’t stop there. It sends a message of fear and intimidation to all of the Latinos currently living in the United States, both documented and undocumented.
This legislation mandates that local police officers demand proof of citizenship from anyone they believe might be undocumented, whereas in the past only U.S. Immigration and Customs officials retained the right to enforce federal immigration laws. It means that everyone — U.S. citizen or not — must carry documentation of their “legal” status with them at all times or risk deportation.
Not even one week later, Brewer signed an equally horrifying bill that bans ethnic studies from public schools, openly targeting a Mexican-American studies program in the Tuscan school system.
And here’s the latest in this sweep of hate-based policies: the Arizona Department of Education is now mandating that school districts discriminate against teachers with accents and actually remove any currently teaching from their classrooms.
The bigotry doesn’t stop at Arizona state lines: Minnesota State Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa, introduced a bill May 6 that mirrors the extremist Arizona law here in Minnesota (HF 3830).
Is this the type of society we want to live in? Is this how we foster community? In what ways will the well-being of many immigrant communities around the country and in our region suffer as they have to decide between accessing health care/sending children to school/showing up for work and facing deportation and the separation of families?
We must take action against policies, laws and institutions that promote racist and xenophobic attitudes and behaviors rather than standing by as cycles of violence and oppression continue. In the words of the late Sen. Paul Wellstone: “We all do better when we all do better.”
Not long after the introduction of HF 3830, Minneapolis and St. Paul police chiefs issued a joint statement opposing the bill and urging Minnesota lawmakers and the people of our state to join with us in denouncing HF 3830.
So what’s it going to be, Twin Ports? More silence and denial of the ever-present racism that is paralyzing our growth as a community, or some real dialogue, discussion and action against it?
Contact Superior Police Chief Floyd Peters at (715) 395-7234 or via e-mail at email@example.com; contact Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay at 730-5020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s not allow fear, hatred, ignorance and intolerance to destroy our humanity. No one is free while others are oppressed.
Cheré Suzette Bergeron