Across the nation, the call has gone out for a massive job and economic boycott on May 1. Various groups and organizers are asking members of the Hispanic communities and Immigrants to stay home from work, not buy any products, and for students to walk out of school! The intended purpose is to send a message to the Senate of the importance and dependency of the American society to this silent/invisible community and to have an impact on the immigration debate.
Now, we are going to say something that is going to upset our Chicano brothers and organizers of this boycott “We have a problem with this boycott, in particular the call for students to walk out of school!” While we can support the intent of the boycott, to influence the Immigration debate and to raise awareness of the Migrant and Hispanic community’s impact on American society, the boycott itself does not feel right. Often times with tough decisions on what is the right thing to do, (We are speaking here as editors in trying to provide direction and leadership on these tough issues) once in a while it comes down to a gut feeling. This “Call for a Day without Immigrants and a Boycott”, does not feel right.
The Chicano, Hispanic, and Immigrant Communities have made their voices heard over the past several weeks. Millions have marched and protested. They have raised the bar on what is acceptable in regards to a sane and practical Immigration Bill. The Senate as well as the nation has heard this call. Congress, which passed the offending HR. 4437 Immigration Bill that was based on punishment has heard this call and already is looking for ways to reshape HR. 4437! The Protests and Marches has empowered the Hispanic community and given a voice to the Migrant community. This can be qualified as a complete success, beyond the wildest dreams that any organizer could have had.
The call for continued protest, via a boycott, will result in exactly what? That is the question that we ask ourselves. And, this is the question we ask the organizers. There comes a point when you start to realize diminishing returns on such actions and a backlash develops. Holding a one day boycott is like holding a one day fast, the symbolism is great but what does it mean? Successful boycotts of the past (during the Chicano movement, The Grape Boycott, and Coors Boycott) took years to have the desired effect.
Now, if the adults want to boycott work and not make any purchases, that is one thing, but to ask students (and we are assuming all students from elementary to college) to not attend school is irresponsible. Students need to be in the classroom in order to gain the necessary education to better themselves and gain the necessary education to improve the quality of their lives.
If the adults want to stay home from work and boycott the American economy, that’s a different matter. But after the boycott they are going to have to roll up their sleeves and get to work on creating change through the Democratic process, such as getting involved with community meetings, going to political organizations, donating dollars to candidates who support their cause, volunteering, voting, registering to vote, writing letters, writing commentaries, all the mundane unglamorous action that can create change over the long haul.
It is another thing to ask school age children to skip the hours and days of education that they need to become viable, productive and viable members of our society and nation. Without the proper education, our children risk being condemned to the lowest ranks of our society! Our future lay in improving the education of our children and in improving our standards of living. You don’t change the condition and status of your society without improving your children’s education! Trying to improve the status of today’s adults (Immigrants) on the future of our children is short sighted and an unwise course of action to take.