NYC forum on migrant caravan, Garifuna oppression, Mexican students
The New York branch of Workers World Party sponsored an Oct. 30 forum featuring the ongoing struggle of migrants, especially women, youth and children from Central America. Participants included several members of the National Solidarity Caravan who had traveled in a bus to Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Durham, N.C.; Atlanta; Jackson, Miss.; Houston; and other cities near the Texas/Mexico border. The trip’s goal was to bring broader attention to the plight of migrants and their families forced to leave their homelands to seek better jobs.
Speakers included Ramiro Funez, a Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) organizer, who explained why the caravan cannot be separated from other important struggles like fighting police brutality and imperialism; supporting women’s and lesbian-gay-bi-trans-queer rights; and more.
Pablo Blanco, a Pace University student and Garifuna cultural activist, gave a brief history of Garifuna oppression and its relationship to the current migration of Garifunas from Central America to the Bronx in New York City. The Garifunas are people of African descent who are based in Honduras.
That country suffered a right-wing coup in 2009, which resulted in the slaughter of 25,000 activists and progressives there. Blanco also spoke about the horrific treatment of Garifuna women in the U.S. The Immigration and Custom Enforcement forces many of these women to wear ankle chains to monitor their movement while they languish in shelters.
Both Blanco and Funez participated in the caravan.
Along with the International Action Center, the May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights and IFCO/Pastors for Peace helped to raise $1,000 for water barrels that the caravan delivered to Falfurrias, Texas. Many migrants die from thirst every day attempting to cross the Texas border. Access to water is a life-and-death issue for them.
Lorena Patiño, from the MORENA Mexican political party, spoke about the disappearance of 43 protesting students from the city of Ayotzinapa. So far the Mexican government has ignored demands for news of their whereabouts, dead or alive. A possible general strike later in November is being discussed in Mexico in solidarity with the students.
The three talks can be heard at workers.org.