Culture

Wave Your Latino Pride & American Flag This Fourth

Donald Trump’s remarks in mid-June calling Mexican immigrants criminals compelled Latinos to share stories about our beliefs, work ethic and pride. Because of Trumps’ insults, these seven Latinos are finding a deeper meaning to this Fourth of July.

Jose, 27 – The Veteran

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Credit: Andrés Jiménez

“I’m a veteran, so to me [4th of July] is kind of personal in a way because I grew up here and America has given me a great life. I live a better life now than I probably would have if I lived in Mexico, so I’m happy my parents came here.”

Christian, 23 – The Success Story

Christian
Credit: Andrés Jiménez

“The United States gave my family a lot of opportunities to succeed in life. My parents didn’t come here to rape people. They didn’t come here to sell drugs. My dad has been working since he was 17. I’m happy to be an American.”

Lizbeth, 19 – The Hard Worker

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Credit: Andrés Jiménez

“My parents are immigrants and it took them 15 years to get their papers and they’re not criminals. They actually worked hard to get to where they are right now. Coming here made them have a better life than what they had in their country. I’m proud to say my parents are citizens of the USA and I’m happy they got their papers so they can say they’re proud Americans as well.”

Luis, 21 – The Believer

Luis
Credit: Andrés Jiménez

“I have friends that are in the military and I’m proud of anybody who’s in they military because they’re sacrificing their lives for us and to keep this country great. I live in the best country in the world.”

Jason, 20 – The Scholar

Jason
Credit: Andrés Jiménez

“America has given me education. I’m proud of the opportunities in education America has given me. I’m proud I’m living here and I’m happy to be given these opportunities that other people are busting their asses off for doing labor work every day.”

Susan, 20 – The Patriot

Susan
Credit: Andrés Jiménez

“I’m proud to be American, but I’m also very proud to be Latina. We’re hard workers and whatever [Donald Trump] says, he’s pretty ignorant about it because he has no idea. I’m a proud Latina American.

Johnny, 21 – The Go-Getter

Johnny
Credit: Andrés Jiménez

“I’m of Mexican [descent] and a proud American and I don’t consider myself a criminal. Many of my friends just graduated from UC Irvine, [UC] Merced and they’re not criminals. I’m most proud to be American because of the opportunities in education I’ve received.”

Why are you proud to celebrate this 4th of July? mitú wants to know. Share in the comments below and on social media using #mitu4th.

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Protests Against ICE Detention Centers Reached New Heights As Airplanes Typed Messages In The Sky Across The U.S.

Things That Matter

Protests Against ICE Detention Centers Reached New Heights As Airplanes Typed Messages In The Sky Across The U.S.

Dee Gonzalez / In Plain Sight

A global pandemic is still gripping the United States – along with much of the world. But still many Americans headed outside over the long holiday weekend and, before the evening fireworks, were greeted by powerful anti-ICE messages written in the skies.

The skywriting campaign comes as much of the world’s attention is focused on Covid-19 and organizers hope to redirect some attention on the thousands of migrants who remain locked up in detention centers across the country.

Activists took to the skies at more than 80 sites across the country with a powerful message against U.S. immigration policy.

Over the July 4th weekend, two fleets of skytyping airplanes created artist-generated messages across the U.S. The fleet of aircraft targeted 80 different ICE detention facilities, immigration court houses, processing centers, and former internment camps. Written with water vapor, the messages are designed to be seen and read for miles.

Each message ended with #XMAP, which, when plugged into social media, directs users to an online interactive map that offers a view of the closest ICE facilities to the user.

Visitors to the event’s website are encouraged to donate to local funds like the Black Immigrant Bail Fund and join the #FreeThemAll campaign, which advocates for the release of detainees from crowded facilities, where social distancing is often impossible right now.

The ambitious project took a year to plan, and is one component of an artist-led protest against immigrant detention and America’s mass incarceration problem. With “In Plain Sight,” organizers are hoping to educate viewers—and to encourage the abolition of facilities such as these.

“I think the public is somewhat aware of what’s happening in detention centers—they’ve seen the images of kids in cages—but they don’t know the full scale,” said Cassils, in an interview with Quartz.

The team aimed to set a national record with its #XMAP campaign.

Credit: In Plain Sight

The artists reached out to the only skywriting company in the country (which owns the patent on skywriting) and learned that the largest campaign executed over U.S. soil involved about 80 sites and three fleets of planes. That established the project’s framework, and from there they went about the task of bringing on collaborators, many of whom have experiences with immigration and the detainment of oppressed minority groups.

The artists they tapped vary in age, gender identity, and nationality; some are formerly incarcerated, or are descended from the descendants of Holocaust survivors. Black, Japanese-American, First Nations and Indigenous perspectives are present, speaking to the historical intersections of xenophobia, migration, and incarceration.

The protests were seen throughout Southern California – from LA to San Diego.

Credit: In Plain Sight

In Southern California, the demonstration kicked off on the 4th of July at 9:30 a.m. above the Adelanto Detention Center, before traveling to downtown L.A., where 15-character messages will be left in the late morning airspace above immigration facilities, county and federal lockups and courthouses. The planes then traveled to the Arcadia and Pomona locations of internment camps where Japanese Americans where held prisoner during World War II.

Later in the afternoon, planes were seeing typing messages in the sky above the Terminal Island detention center, before traveling further south to Orange County and San Diego, where messages were left above courts and immigration offices.

The campaign also popped up in El Paso, TX, where a massacre last year left many Latinos dead.

Credit: In Plain Sight

Binational, El Paso-based artist Margarita Cabrera activated the El Paso-Juárez portion of the performance with her message “UPLIFT: NI UNX MAS” at the Bridge of the Americas.

“Uplift” refers to uplifting immigrant communities, as well as the border fence and other immigration detention facilities. “Ni unx más” was inspired by Mexican poet and activist Susana Chávez’s 1995 phrase “ni una muerta más,” or “not one more [woman] dead.” The phrase protests femicides in Mexico, particularly in Juárez. Cabrera used X to be gender-neutral. 

“This is a call to abolish this systematic violence and the incarceration and detention of our immigrants,” Cabrera told the El Paso Times. “We’re creating a sky activation, but we’re also grounding it with local events.”

Across the border in New Mexico, “ESTOY AQUI” and “SOBREVIVIRE” were respectively written over the Otero County Processing Center and Otero County Prison Facility. The messages draw from songs respectively by Shakira and Mexican pop star Monica Naranjo. Designed by artists Carlos Motta and Felipe Baeza, the full message, “I am here, I will survive,” is intended for both detainees and outside onlookers.

“We wanted to address those in the detention sites and acknowledge the fact that they are there, that we know they are there, and that they will be fine eventually even if their conditions are precarious and they are going through a difficult time right now,” Motta told the El Paso Times.

And in New York City, several major monuments became canvases for the activists’ message.

Credit: In Plain Sight

In New York City, the words “My pain is so big” were written over a detention center in downtown Brooklyn.

“To be human,” wappeared over Rikers Island and “Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia,” the name of the first immigrant to die from Covid-19 in detention was projected at the Statue of Liberty monument in Ellis Island.

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The Fourth Of July Parade Was Drenched In Rain And Everyone Was Worried About Trump’s Hair

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The Fourth Of July Parade Was Drenched In Rain And Everyone Was Worried About Trump’s Hair

CSPAN

Donald Trump came under fire for politicizing the US Independence Day celebrations, after ordering a large military parade through the nation’s capital city and delivering a speech of his own at the Lincoln Memorial. The US president has toyed with the idea of a grand show of arms since observing the 2017 Bastille Day celebration in Paris.

Trump’s demand to include tanks and military jets in the July 4 festivities this year breaks with tradition in Washington, where hundreds of thousands of people typically gather for a night of patriotic songs and fireworks broadcast on national television.

Despite the controversy, Trump went forward with his military-style 4th of July celebration.

Credit: @newsweek / Twitter

On a rainy Independence Day at the Lincoln Memorial, Donald Trump emceed his “Salute to America.” As promised, his speech largely eschewed politics, and instead found the president, positioned behind rain-streaked panels of bulletproof glass, sharing tales from the nation’s military history, highlighting accomplished Americans, and presiding over a display of weapons of war.

“We celebrate our history, our people, and the heroes who proudly defend our flag—the brave men and women of the United States Military,” said the president near the opening of his remarks. He thanked the leaders of the “Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines—and very soon the Space Force.”

And although he stayed out of politics, Trump still managed to make the event one we won’t soon forget.

During his remarks, Trump also told the stories of notable Americans in attendance, including a man who participated in civil rights sit-ins during the 1960s, and an Army veteran Catholic nun who served as a first responder at Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks.

Though supporters packed the mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial, early reports of a scramble to secure VIP attendees were further confirmed by The New York Times. The paper reported that though Trump requested the attendance of all of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, most were “on leave or travel” and did not make an appearance.

His administration has also kept secret the costs of this giant military 4th of July Celebration.

The Trump administration has been silent on the question of how much the display cost taxpayers, but The Washington Post reported that to fund the event, the National Park Service redirected close to $2.5 million for the ceremony. During the event, 24 military aircraft performed flyovers, at a cost the Post calculated to be at least $560,000 per hour. And according to The New York Times, the ceremony cost the Pentagon more than $1 million.

I mean it was so controversial that even the Russian news media came for Trump and his parade.

Credit: @JuliaDavisNews / Twitter

You know things are bad for Trump when his biggest foreign fans are knocking his performance.

But perhaps the biggest news from the event was that we found out that there were airports during the Revolutionary War.

Credit: @Vets4EU / Twitter

Trump also made a major historical blunder. In a portion of his speech that addressed the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Trump said that “our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do.”

Trump’s gaffe made for some pretty great memes across social media.

Credit: @Mike63194845 / Twitter

But during those wars, of course, the invention of air travel was still decades away—and Trump’s gaffe spawned delighted mockery on social media.

Other’s imagined the possibility of what Trump’s hair might actually look like if it were to get wet…

Credit: @larsmcmurty / Twitter

I don’t think Trump has that much hair but still..you get the point.

Trump also drew fire for a comment he made urging young Americans to join the military.

It seems pretty ironic for a man who complained about ‘bone spurs’ in his feet to skip military service during the Vietnam War to be asking young men and women to risk their lives.

READ: For This Year’s July 4th Consider Volunteering Your Time With Organizations Meant To Help Migrants And Dreamers

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