The Cosecha Tour is about being in community with folks all over the country who thirst for justice. It’s about spreading a message of empowerment to the immigrant community that has been broken down by a system that promises legislative relief, but never actually provides any. We want to share our strategy with as many folks as we possibly can on this tour so that our community can internalize the message that this country relies on our labor and economic power. Without us, this country falls.
Indianapolis, IN- July 27, 2016
Principle #9: Everything we need is already in our community.
These words have manifested into reality in such a powerful way on the first stop of the Cosecha Tour in Indianapolis, Indiana. A day ago, we hopped in a car and drove 12 hours from the NJ Cosecha House to meet with a group of undocumented youth organizing in Indianapolis, IN. These were strangers, connected to us only by a chain of relationships, who opened their hearts, minds, and home to four Latina women traveling the country to spread the message of dignity, respect, and permanent protection for all immigrants.
We were welcomed by the most loving and open family that offered their home, food, and lives to us. Stories were shared amongst all of us. Stories of our struggles we have faced as undocumented immigrants in the U.S.; stories from their lives in Mexico; the stories of resistance to our oppression. These people were not strangers, they are a part of our family. We are related through the centuries of resistance in Latin America that brought us to the United States to fight the systems of oppression from inside the belly of the beast. They are one of millions of families across the country yearning for a movement that unites our community, not just to fight for freedom, but to heal together and be in community with one another.
This is what the Cosecha Tour is all about. It’s about being in community with folks all over the country who thirst for justice. It’s about spreading a message of empowerment to the immigrant community that has been broken down by a system that promises legislative relief, but never actually provides any. We want to share our strategy with as many folks as we possibly can on this tour so that our community can internalize the message that this country relies on our labor and economic power. Without us, this country falls.
The phrase “general strike” is nothing new to the immigrant community — it has been thrown around since the Reagan Era, just never actually taken seriously. The real question is — do we believe that if we were to stop working for 7 days that we would get dignity, respect, and permanent protection?
Imagine this —
Undocumented nannies refusing to take care of the children of doctors, lawyers, etc.
Undocumented agricultural workers refusing to work on the harvest.
Undocumented port workers refusing to ship products.
Undocumented workers missing from every industry that drives the economy.
There would suddenly be lawyers and doctors stuck at home. You wouldn’t be able to go to your favorite restaurant because there’s no food. Grocery stores would have no fruits or vegetables. There would be no movement of goods in the country. Everything would come to a screeching halt.
There would be no avoiding the fact that if we choose to not cooperate in large numbers, then we can have enough leverage to generate permanent protection, dignity, and respect.
Just the act of believing that our community has the power to demand what we deserve is an act that takes the power away from the current political structures that oppress us. From there, everything else falls into place. Everything that we need to make a general strike materialize into reality is in our own community.
Aren’t we just harming our community by asking them to stop working for 7 days? Won’t they just lose their jobs? What about rent? Food? Childcare?
We were asked this last night during the house gathering. At first, things got tense. It’s a real concern, a real fear that our communities have. However, the reality is that this fear exists in our community whether we’re on strike or we’re not. Our people do not live stable lives — they live under constant fear of detainment, of losing their jobs, their homes, and their children. Our people don’t live, they survive day by day. We’re tired, and ready to demand what we deserve.
We’re building communities built on trust, resonance, and reciprocity so that everything we need to last 7 days on strike will be provided for by immigrant-owned businesses, our allies, and our people.
When we say everything is in our community, we mean it. This tour is an indication that our principle is alive. We have faith that our community will come through for us during these three months. We are building community now, through this tour, so that when we stop cooperating with the system, we will have each other for support until the moment we win.
Thank you, Indianapolis. Thank you for showing us that everything we need really is in our own community. Thank you for bring us into your home. Thank you for believing that we all have a calling and it’s time to believe in the power of our community.
Cosecha Volunteer Organizer