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Friday, April 30, 2010

ICE nabs community leader Edgar Niebla, Free in 2 days

ICE lets community leader go free after fast action by CIRC, protests from the community and friends

6:00 a.m. comes early to men who have to work.  They put in a hard day the day before.  Then, there is caring for the family which in the home of Edgar Niebla includes his mother and little sister.  There are the chores to do, family dinner, then it is time to hit the sack and do it all over again one more time.

On the morning of April 27th, at 6:00 a.m., Edgar Niebla, in immigrant, had one more thing on his plate.  His mother called to him.  Edgar's little sister of answered the door thinking it might have been a friend.  It wasn’t, unless you call guys gussied up in bullet proof vests with the word ICE stamped all over their chests your friends.

in hallway  Edgar Niebla Former ICE detainee

They were there to take Edgar.  Why they had targeted this hard worker who supports his family is unknown. 

Edgar’s mother was taking it hard.  She was crying, very upset.  Edgar had all he could do to manage the hulks standing at his door and comfort his mother, too.  Edgar would not be showing up for work today.

“Don’t worry.  I will be all right” he told her.

Fortunately, Edgar, who is on great terms with local law enforcement, was not cuffed in front of his mother and little sister.  In fact, he was kindly treated by the ICE officer and the local cop who Edgar knew quite well.  All the officer said to Edgar was "I'm sorry, Edgar."   

Edgar Niebla was placed into custody.  He was transported to the Denver immigrant detention facility.  They told him he was going home.  All he had left in Colorado and the United States was two days.  After that, he would have an order prohibiting his re-entry into the country. 

That is when the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition went into full swing.  Their efforts, along with community support, and protests from friends won Edgar a reprieve.  I watched the emails of support rushing through Facebook.  My heart was sinking with every new message.  I left the computer at 4:00 or so, lots of things to do before the Padres y Jovenes meeting that night.

edgar niega
I finally got my chores done and headed to the Padres y Jovenes meeting.  When I got my wheels parked Julian Rush, director of CIRC, came across the street and gave me the biggest bear hug you can imagine.  Julien is like that.  He loves people.  But this bear hug had a lot more in it, some pure joy, a sense hard work was paying off.  A sense maybe there is justice in the world for hard work.

“We did it, man!” he said, his eyes as bright as dollars.  I was not sure what it is "we" had done, but if it was a screw up I hoped it was not because of me!

the next gen Our future

On the lawn across the street were TV cameras and photographers.  Univision, along with other TV stations were there.

“Get a poster and get in with ‘em, Tim”  Julian encouraged me.  Cool!

  "We" must have done some good things" I thought to myself.

Then I heard the news.  After fast and effective intervention by the Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition, and with community support and some foot stomping by friends, Edgar had won temporary release from ICE after only two days in detention.  Two days to go free sure beats getting sent home in the same two days!  Someone, not me, did a lot of hard work.  My part was to be there, to be a tiny grain of sand in a huge movement.  It is an honor, a gift and I really enjoyed my friends letting me be part of it!

organizeer explains
 Youth speaks about student walk out to
protest Arizona H.B. 1070

At the press conference excited community activist talked about how community lobbying and help from the Colorado Immigrants Rights Coalition won Edgar temporary freedom! 

After hearing words of encouragement I began to reflect about a conversation I had with two immigrant friends.  They could not see how they could change anything or why they should get involved with Padres y Jovenes or go to marches or belong to any other immigrants rights group.  I had to respect their opinion.  They were not going to put in their grain of sand for a cause that would affect their friends in a profound way.  Fine.  Do nothing.  You are powerless.  I am not.

When I got to the Padres office and saw Julien and all of the people at CIRC and my friends and...Edgar, I knew how important a grain of sand can be.  It was a great story to take back to my very surprised friends the next day.  Yes, you can make a difference.  We all can make a difference.  But the way we do it is in unity.  We fight for rights.  We fight for community.  We protect our memebers.  We stand up to a bully, to unjust laws.  And once in awhile...we win.  How sweet it is!

Tomorrow is May 1 and a chance for every one of us to be a grain of sand.  We are looking for numbers.  We are looking for communtiy.  Every person counts.  Stand up and be heard.  Come join us for a wonderful event.  There is one in nearly every large city in the United States.  In Denver it is Sunken Gardens near speer and Federal.  Why not find the one near you?   RIFA, Reform Immigration For America has helped us organize for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR ASAP).

Not one of us has the power to pass comprehensive immigration reform.  Together, we have immense power.  But that takes everyone of us to put our little granule of sand into the plan.  Together, nothing stops us.  Get involved in your community.  When things go south you have the community to help you out!  That is American democracy at work!

1 comment:

  1. I will tell you what I have seen these last few days I saw our beloved Stars and Stripes flag, the flag from Mexico and some flags from other countries. I saw children, parents and grand parents together in solidarity, my people the working class, they may not be sophisticated but they got the message heard. From publish reports the demonstrations included both US citizens and undocumented workers. This brought me a smile because I always enjoy seeing brothers helping brothers.

    This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn't stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the "I" into the "thou," and to be concerned about his brother.

    You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?"

    But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: "If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?"

    As I see it, we should stand-up against a law is passed in anger and is against our Constitution/ Bill of Rights/ Declaration of Independence and is targets a specific group.

    God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need. When our judgment comes I know God will not discriminate by country of origin as men do.