Let’s be proud of it (even though there is a lot more to be done).
By Sharat G. Lin
Yes, for the first time in U.S. history, we stopped a war before it could happen! Of course, we had a little help from the Russians and the British and the Australians. But with the overwhelming opposition from the American people, and the consequent almost certain congressional rejection of an authorization for war on Syria , President Barack Obama was forced to back down. He did not do this voluntarily. He was forced to rescind his threat of military attack on Syria . Thank you, All!
Yes, for the first time in 2010, Santa Clara County took the most socially progressive stand in the nation by refusing to honor civil detainers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) because the detainers would have sent fears throughout immigrant communities and obliterated the trust between those communities and the local police. We did it again on November 5, 2013 when District Attorney Jeff Rosen and Sheriff Laurie Smith pressed the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to reconsider the policy. Some 60 members of the community spoke out against changing the policy, and we won! Ten per cent of them were SJPJC board members. The Board of Supervisors rejected any change to the landmark policy. Thank you, All!
Yes, for the first time in recent memory, the San José Police Department stopped its policy of operating checkpoints to intensively stop motorists and screen passengers during Cinco de Mayo celebrations in 2011. The feared practice was completely stopped in 2012. Thanks to SJPJC members, working together with Cop Watch, two reports on police targeting of Cinco de Mayo in 2009 and 2010 were published and then presented in person to then Police Chief Chris Moore. Recognizing how damaging the policy was to police-community relations, Moore ordered the targeting stopped. Thank you, All!
Yes, of the three Republican members of the House of Representatives who recently decided to support comprehensive immigration reform, two were from California whose staff met with immigration rights activists from the South Bay – Jeff Denham (Modesto) and David Valadao (Hanford, Bakersfield). The many caravans to the Central Valley for comprehensive immigration reform worked. Thank you, All!
Yes, the Santa Clara County Department of Corrections was forced to abandon its new plan to limit mail to prisoners from family members to postcards under pressure from a coalition of grassroots organizations, including SJPJC. Thank you, All!
Yes, we did it! Not alone. We did it together in coalitions. We built coalitions and worked inclusively. Yes, we did it and it is time that we recognized it!
For those who say that peace and social justice work is good for the soul, but not for bringing about real change, this proves the contrary. The collective presence, work, and impact of social justice organizations in the South Bay are growing. With perseverance we can and will bring about bigger changes. There is a lot more to be done, so don’t stop now.
Pat your colleagues on the back, and then pat yourself on the back. And then ask what you can do personally to bring about the next uprising, the next change, the next milestone for social justice and peace locally and globally.