Fight Back! is circulating the following statement issued by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
After the April 14th demonstration against former Republican representative Tom Tancredo, which involved two hundred students from numerous organizations, solidarity letters have poured in applauding the protesters’ actions. The statements have come from local, state and national social justice organizations — including notable immigrant advocacy groups.
“Students and young people in the U.S. have historically been in the forefront of the civil rights and peace movements, and we are inspired that you are setting the example by standing in solidarity with the immigrant rights movement,” said Carlos Montes, an organizer from the Los Angeles-based Latinos Against War, and member of the Southern California Immigration Coalition.
A statement from the Palante Action Network of Durham, North Carolina, said, “It is vital to movements for social justice and human rights that white supremacists like Tancredo are met with strong resistance wherever they go. We commend your willingness to stand up and make it clear that you oppose his racist anti-immigrant hatred and that hate speech cannot be part of a democratic or respectful environment. As citizens and activists, we are honored to express solidarity with you.”
The International Action Center, a grassroots organization founded by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, expressed its full support.
“The message sent by the UNC students is welcomed by progressive forces in the United States and worldwide. And it is a clear answer to hate speech: No attempt to mobilize a racist, anti-immigrant campaign can be allowed without confrontation from these progressive forces,” the IAC said.
Hatem Abudayyeh, the executive director of the American Arab Action Network in Chicago, said: “As an organization that upholds the rights of immigrants and all oppressed people in the U.S. and across the world, we support your first amendment right to protest Tancredo and the racism, hate, and criminalization of immigrants that he represents. White supremacist formations like the Youth for Western Civilization, the student group that invited Tancredo, should be confronted and denounced at every turn, and the students at UNC who participated in these protests should be esteemed as the heroic fighters for justice that they are.”
Multiple chapters of Students for a Democratic Society, from UNC-Asheville to University of California at Los Angeles, have written letters of congratulations and encouragement.
“It is sickening that people like Tancredo and his supporters, who never missed an opportunity in recent years to cheer for more unlawful detentions, more prison camps, more destruction of families and more suppression of freedom of speech for millions of working people in this country now whine that they have been denied their rights at the first sign of opposition to their hateful views,” said UCLA’s chapter of SDS.
Many of the statements denounced the egregious police violence visited on protesters at Tuesday’s action. They joined UNC’s chapter of SDS in its call for oversight of police activity on campus.
A statement from Philadelphia SDS said, “Campus security’s violent escalation against nonviolent student protesters was an outrageous abuse of power. Students who were not threatening bodily harm against anyone, but following their conscience and expressing their freedom of speech should never have been met with violence. We expect UNC security and administration officials to learn from this event not to escalate chaos in tense situations by violently assaulting students.”
As messages of solidarity with the UNC students continue to arrive, they will be posted to the website of UNC-Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society (http://www.chapelhillsds.org), one of many organizations involved in the protest.