Concurrent Panel Session Eleven

Abstract Title

“Where the Past Meets the Present”: The Struggle for Sanctuary is Decades in the Making

Presenter Information

Gilda L. Ochoa, Pomona CollegeFollow

Start Date

8-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

8-4-2018 2:50 PM

Abstract

On January 10, 2017, La Puente, California was declared a sanctuary city that supports immigrants, people of color, religious minorities, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities. In six short weeks after the presidential election, community members activated our resources to organize a successful campaign to pass this inclusively defined resolution. Together, we drafted and presented the resolution, lobbied elected officials, and mobilized community support. On the surface this victory appeared instantaneous. However, the roots of this resistance are decades in the making. They stem from generations of struggle and years of building relationships. Twenty years earlier in the 1990s, some of the same community members were organizing for educational justice for Latinas/os with a focus on race/ethnicity and class. As a graduate student at that time, I returned to live and research in La Puente – the city of my birthplace and where my immigrant grandparents moved to in the 1950s.

Drawing on testimonials, city council and school board meetings, and my own involvement in this movement, this paper unpacks how this inclusive sanctuary movement emphasizing multiple identities and intersecting forms of exclusion is decades in the making and still just a partial victory. In particular, it considers the legacies of struggle facilitating this partial success, the role of memories in influencing change, and the continuing struggle with city and school officials in fighting cooptation, absorption and outright exclusion. By taking a long-view of this organizing, this paper highlights the shifting frameworks, identities and dynamics facilitating community and change over time.

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Apr 8th, 2:00 PM Apr 8th, 2:50 PM

“Where the Past Meets the Present”: The Struggle for Sanctuary is Decades in the Making

On January 10, 2017, La Puente, California was declared a sanctuary city that supports immigrants, people of color, religious minorities, LGBTQ, and people with disabilities. In six short weeks after the presidential election, community members activated our resources to organize a successful campaign to pass this inclusively defined resolution. Together, we drafted and presented the resolution, lobbied elected officials, and mobilized community support. On the surface this victory appeared instantaneous. However, the roots of this resistance are decades in the making. They stem from generations of struggle and years of building relationships. Twenty years earlier in the 1990s, some of the same community members were organizing for educational justice for Latinas/os with a focus on race/ethnicity and class. As a graduate student at that time, I returned to live and research in La Puente – the city of my birthplace and where my immigrant grandparents moved to in the 1950s.

Drawing on testimonials, city council and school board meetings, and my own involvement in this movement, this paper unpacks how this inclusive sanctuary movement emphasizing multiple identities and intersecting forms of exclusion is decades in the making and still just a partial victory. In particular, it considers the legacies of struggle facilitating this partial success, the role of memories in influencing change, and the continuing struggle with city and school officials in fighting cooptation, absorption and outright exclusion. By taking a long-view of this organizing, this paper highlights the shifting frameworks, identities and dynamics facilitating community and change over time.