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Photo of activists sitting in front of a bus with a banner reading Photo of activists sitting in front of a bus with a banner reading 'Stop all deportations'

What It Takes to #ShutdownICE

By Cayden Mak

Photo of activists sitting in front of a bus with a banner reading 'Stop all deportations'

On Thursday, the Bay Area showed it has what it takes to shut down ICE. Undocumented youth leaders, joined by members of the faith community, physically blocked an ICE bus headed to the San Francisco Airport for two hours. The day began with a rally where immigrants and allies shared stories and fired up the crowd, culminating in a march through downtown San Francisco.

The moment that made the day for me was watching hundreds of marchers pour into the street to join the blockaders who sat down in front of and behind the unmarked ICE bus, forming a moving picket around the bus and protestors. The march’s chants broke into a roar of victory as they charged down the street: what we won yesterday was not necessarily a stop to the deportation of the people on the bus, but a moment we got to see each other as fully human. For all of us, yesterday, another world was real.

I’ve been to my fair share of direct actions, and it’s rare when one makes me feel the way Thursday made me feel: optimistic, connected, and part of a powerful community finding its voice. Shutting down ICE is more than just a symbolic act: it demands dignity now for immigrants, regardless of their documentation status. It points up the absurdity of shutting down the government but continuing expensive deportations. It throws the tenuous promise of immigration reform back at a President who has nonetheless deported more immigrants than any before him.

It took a lot of physical energy to keep up the picket line supporting the blockaders. Not many people left the corner of Washington and Sansome with their voices, and as we walked away, support volunteers offered granola bars and water to exhausted activists. But as we headed away from the ICE office, we chanted “We’ll be back!” This renewed fight for immigration reform is just beginning. Consider that a promise.

You can watch the archive of the livestream of the event here.

Follow Cayden on Twitter @Cayden. Cayden is the New Media Director of 18 Million Rising (@18MillionRising) and the Internet Augur for {Young}ist.

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Cayden Mak

Genderfuck dream-boat. Yellow peril. Cat dad.

Catch up with me @cayden.




October 18, 2013

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