Call for walkout prompts absence

On May 1 if you went out to eat you may have noticed the restaurant working with a limited staff or menu. If you had a hankering for Latino food, the eatery was likely not even open at all.

The reason being that, on this past April 10, the March 25 Coalition called for a more planned out boycott/protest on May 1.

House Resolution 4437, also known as H.R. 4437, is the bill currently under consideration by the United States Senate. The bill is available for viewing online at the library of congress website; the bill makes illegal immigration a felony and harboring or hiring one a crime.

The protest spawned a lot of debate over immigration and human rights. It saw millions across the nation attending protests, not going to work and buying anything in an effort to show the effect of immigrants on commerce.

Its effects on the country permeated everything, including our own Skyline College. It cemented people views on both sides of the issue and made those without a point of view consider one.

Skyline student Anthony Cruz said on the day of the boycott, “[People] piggyback on a cause for selfish reasons, like getting out of school or work. This is an opportunity, but hopefully they realize there is a price to pay; and be willing to pay that price.”

Unlike the protests last year against Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts, this protest seemed demure in comparison.

Still, many chose to show peaceful solidarity with immigrants by staying home. A number of students did not attend school on that Monday, though as of deadline, none could be reached for comment.

Also absent were a small number of staff and faculty members, including Counselor Jacqueline Escobar, who chose not to come into work that day. Regarding Escobar and her colleagues’ decision to stay home, our own Skyline President Dr. Victoria P. Morrow had this to say to the press through our Public Information Officer Shelly Hausman,

“Skyline College has a mission which includes providing ‘learner-centered education in a culturally rich and socially responsible environment.’ Therefore, I expect that there is a good deal of discussion of economic and political issues related to immigration in classes here. Some members of our staff took a day of vacation to participate in the Monday event.”

Also affected was our lunch counter, as the two Latino employees for Fresh and Natural elected not to attend work on the first. In an impassioned interview conducted in his native tongue of Spanish, one of the workers, Carlos Fernandez, communicated his reason for not coming in to work.

“We are fighting to be considered human beings, not enemies to the ‘land of the free.’ You have to ask yourself when you have terrorists in the Middle East and dissent in Korea, why is the Government pushing the issue of denying mostly Latinos’ basic human rights? When they bring INS beating down a door, it is more then likely a Latino home or establishment. Why is that? Is it because we do not have oil or commerce to offer? This protest is to get people to ask questions and also to show our willingness to fight. In the news, they say that nothing much was affected. Even if it is true, that is okay because now everyone knows that we are willing to fight.”