BY CARLY MARGOLIS, ORGANIZING FELLOW AT ECM
On April 26-29, leaders from Movimiento Cosecha walked from Framingham to Boston to grow support for Drivers Licenses for undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts. The marchers covered 25 miles over four days, culminating in a rally in front of the State House. Dozens of immigrants and allies joined the walk; leaders uplifted the message that everyone should be able to drive without fear of being arrested and deported -- and we are all safer when immigrants can legally drive, register, and insure their cars.
I joined the group at the very end of the March for a rally in front of the State House. I was struck by the joy I felt from everyone present. We were singing and dancing, we smiled and shed tears, and we greeted one another with warm hugs as we flowed in and out of roles as speakers, demonstrators, interpreters, and marshals.
It made me wonder what would be possible if more of our protests centered positive emotion -- the joy and power that we find when we join side by side and proclaim our values.
Citing Audre Lorde and Lynée Denise, Adrienne Maree Brown shares a teaching in her book Emergent Strategy:
It has expanded for me over the years as I have come to believe that facts, guilt, and shame are limited motivations for creating change, even though those are the primary forces we use in our organizing work. I suspect that to really transform our society, we will need to make justice one of the most pleasurable experiences we can have. (33)
It seems to me Cosecha is practicing this approach to change: the campaign for Drivers Licenses is pleasurable and effective. The coalition is poised to reach support from more than 50% of the representatives in the Massachusetts House and has passed that number in the Senate.
Alicia Lopez, a friend of ECM and an organizer with Cosecha and the New Bedford Immigrant Support Network, was proud to participate in the march from start to finish. Alicia was quoted in Mass Live, stating, “I cannot forget that one day I didn’t have a green card. I cannot forget that I have [seen] my people deported. I cannot forget that I have people in jail right now,” she said. “even if they’re not my family, they’re my people.”
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN:
The Drivers Licenses Bill is currently in the Transportation Committee. ECM is supporting constituents of Rep. William Strauss (Mattapoisett), co-chair of the Committee, in addressing Rep. Strauss on this issue. Please contact Dax Crocker, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you are a resident of Mattapoisett.
Visit the Coalition Website, Manejando Sin Miedo (“Driving Without Fear”) to join and support the campaign.
Follow Cosecha MA on Facebook for campaign updates & photos and videos of the march
Cosecha’s march drew the attention of English and Spanish-language press and drew many people out of their homes along the route to learn what the march was about.