To say that 2017 was a challenging year for the Latino community, would be an understatement. From the anti-immigration rhetoric and actions felt by those in the United States, to the natural disasters suffered by the citizens of Mexico and Puerto Rico and the political instability in Venezuela, 2017 is a year many would like to forget. Yet, there were those moments, in which resolve was on full display, heroes rose and community came together in an unprecedented manner. These moments provided much needed inspiration and hope and sometimes that is exactly what you need. Here are some of the most inspirational Latino cultural moments of 2017.
A Day Without an Immigrants
On February 16, 2017, businesses in cities across the U.S. locked their doors and posted signs in their windows that said not only “closed” but also a “#daywithoutimmigrants,” the latter the mantra of the movement of solidarity by which immigrant and non-immigrant workers alike participated in a day of abstention from work.
The purpose? The action was part of a growing movement of strikes and boycotts intended to demonstrate displeasure with the current U.S. administration and its policies – by hitting them where it hurts – the economy. The protest called for immigrants, whether naturalized citizens or undocumented, to stay home from work or school, close their businesses and abstain from shopping. The protest began in a very viral nature spreading predominantly on social media channels such as Facebook and apps like WhatsApp. Yet, if you think it was just a local movement think again, it reverberated through the halls of Washington, as it was reported by the New York Times, that the Pentagon told its employees to expect longer waits for most supporting services as result of the boycott, to institutions of education in Austin and Los Angeles, as many schools in these regions a drop in attendance on the day to the streets of New York City, where many marched in Union Square for the cause. Ahh…. the power of organizing.
— Brian Krassenstein🐬 (@krassenstein) February 16, 2017
The Hispanic Congressional Caucus Protests ICE
March saw U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez help stage a sit-in at the regional office of the Immigration Customs and Enforcement agency, once again to protest the Trump administration’s increased targeting of undocumented immigrants for deportation.
The genesis of the sit-in was the failure of ICE to provide an adequate response as to whether they would conduct immigration raids on churches and schools, locations long considered to be off limits to such tactics. What started on an early Monday morning, lasted into the afternoon, even in the face of arrest, the congressman and protesters refused to budge, however, eventually voluntarily ended the sit-in with Rep. Gutierrez telling reporters “We stood up to the bullies here…Unfortunately, tonight and tomorrow they will continue to prey on very vulnerable, defenseless people in their homes in the darkness of the night.”
Judge Insulted by Trump Lands Deportation Case
What can only be coined as a pure karmic event, in April of this year Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was born in the U.S. but is of Mexican heritage, was assigned to hear the case of a man who claims he was improperly deported. Why is this so special? Well in 2016 POTUS himself attacked Judge Curiel during the Presidential campaign. Specifically, over his handling of a lawsuit against Trump University claiming Curiel could not impartially hear the case because of his background.
Now, assigned to hear the case of Juan Manuel Montes Bojorquez, whose attorneys allege was deported from California to Mexico earlier this year despite having active protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The lawsuit became something of a lightning rod in the current administration’s immigration policy. And that is why we like to call it pure karma.