Monday, September 6, 2010

Urgent Call to Action

The September 4 emergency action to defend day laborers in Tomball was a resounding success. About 20 people from diverse organizations came out to the city-sponsored day laborer site early in the morning. Apart from one "scout," the Border Watch, Minute Men, and Tea Party racists did not show up at the site. We're glad to report there was no harassment or intimidation of day laborers yesterday.

We soon learned the racists had assembled in front of the HEB store at 28520 Tomball Parkway (Hwy 249) and Main Street (FM 2920), so we went over there to oppose them and let people in the community know about the danger they pose. Several passers-by stopped to join us during the next few hours, so our numbers grew to more than 25 people. We outshouted and outlasted the racists and chanted, "Ya se van, ya se van, los racistas ya se van" as they departed.

Unfortunately, there were about 30 people on the other side--mainly Border Watch, Minute Men, and Tea Party racists but with a few other misguided folks as well. It was disgusting to hear some of the racists making fun of the Spanish language, calling immigrants "slime," and chanting in favor of deportation. It was also disgusting to hear some of the racists' young children shouting, "Go back where you came from."

Despite yesterday's successful action, the struggle in Tomball is just heating up. We learned late yesterday afternoon that these racists--most of whom do not live in Tomball--have been pressuring the Tomball City Council to end the city's sponsorship of the day laborer site. The Tomball Potpourri has reported that, at the August 16 City Council meeting, 9 individuals spoke against the day laborer site. Thankfully, 26 city residents and local business owners spoke in defense of the day laborer site. The Tomball Police Chief also supports the day laborer site.

The Tomball City Council will consider possible action on the day laborer site when it meets at 7 pm this Tuesday, September 7, at City Hall, 401 Market Street, in Tomball. We have reviewed the publicly posted agenda for the City Council meeting, and there are some other outrageous anti-immigrant items on the agenda. The City Council may act on proposals to make English the official language of Tomball and prohibit undocumented workers from renting or owning property, or owning or operating any business, in Tomball. These last two proposals are probably unconstitutional. Similar local laws passed in Farmers Branch, Texas; Fremont, Nebraska; and Hazleton, Pennsylvania have been stayed or suspended because of major lawsuits. Each of these cities is now considering property tax increases to pay for their legal bills!

We urge you to come to the Tomball City Council meeting this Tuesday evening and voice your opposition to all these anti-immigrant proposals. Members of the public (not just Tomball residents) can speak for 3 minutes in the public comments section of the meeting. But we understand you have to call the City Secretary at (281) 290-1002 to let her know you plan to speak.

We also urge you to come to an emergency action in support of day laborers this coming Saturday morning, September 11, beginning at 8 am. This action will be held in front of the HEB store at Tomball Parkway (Hwy 249) and Main Street (FM 2920). We know the racists plan to be there again.

Please spread the word about these two important actions, and please join us if you can. These actions are being organized by the Latin American Immigrant Rights Organization and the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee. Please contact us at (832) 692-2306 or (832) 282-6997 if you have questions or would like more information.

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