Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kiana's Bday

Maiya and her preschool friend Kiana's 5th bday 

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

381 Miles for Justice and Back (in one day)

On Memorial Day weekend, Tony, Maiya and I rented a car and drove 381 miles to Phoenix to join the march protesting SB 1070, the recently signed Arizona law that will allow/force/legalize racial profiling against people of color.  It will authorize police to stop "suspected" undocumented immigrants based on the color of their skin and ask them for their papers.

We left at 3:30 in the morning, and arrived in Phoenix about 9:30 am.  I actually only slept about 2 45-minute naps the night before, and drove the first 3 hours.  Anyways, we found a place to park a few blocks from the beginning of the route, having seen that there was a train line that would take us back at the end of the day.  We had heard that the organizers were expecting about 50,000 people, but I really couldn't tell... altoarizona.com reported 100,000 people. Walking 6 1/2 miles in 90+ degree heat and not wanting to spend any money in Phoenix was something that I think our little family will always remember and was why we decided to go and come back in the same day.
Maiya wrote and decorated her own picket sign: 
"SB 1070: It's Not Right! Treat People Good"
Tony's sign compares SB 1070 with racist laws in our
history that target individual communities of color
Phoenix was hot... we heard 97 degrees... 
this is before we got to the 6.6 mile start line.
We were towards the back of the march. 
 Lots of families and strollers where we were.
Trying to beat the heat with popsicles, fruit, veggies and water
This sign was at the very end of the march, and passed us a few times.
Maiya's Si Se Puede Yoda sign was a big hit--
many people wanted photos and kids loved it.
Our sign "We drove 381 miles for justice" caused several 
groups of Arizonans to thank us for the support
KuidaOsumi--together for social justice

Some of the signs we saw said things like "Do I look illegal?" "Brown is not a crime." "We are all human." "European American immigrants were illegal.  1492." After walking almost 5 hours or so, we almost made it to the end. We actually got within about 7 streets from the end of the march and we could hear the speakers and the music.  We could see the State Capitol building just ahead of us. 

Unfortunately, I had kind of a dizzy spell/episode where the world started spinning and I started to feel like I was going to pass out.  I went to sit down, and kind of fell onto the grass in slow motion.   Anyways, after yet another bottle of water and a 20 minute rest, I was able to walk back to the train (yes, we did actually spend $3.50 in Arizona for trainfare and $2 or $3 for popsicles from marching vendors) to take us back to our car, where we took pictures in the parking lot.

After that, we got in our car, and Tony drove us 6 hours back home, stopping in Blythe for gas and making pita bread cheese and salami sandwiches out of the cooler in the backseat of the car.  I am glad we were able to go--since we missed the Los Angeles May Day immigrant rights march on May 1st.  It was Maiya's first trip to Phoenix.  And the only other time I had been to Arizona was about 17 years ago when I went with my parents and my brother Darin to the Gila River Camp Reunion/Pilgrimage, where my dad was incarcerated as a 10 year old during WW2 for being of Japanese descent.  

It was a hot and physically exhausting day, but an unforgettable journey... As I said to one Latino man about my age who thanked us for coming such a long distance, "We had to come."  Because according to Maiya, "SB 1070:  It's not right!  Treat People Good."
This post is dedicated to the memory of father, husband, activist, organizer, teacher, poet, friend, 
John Delloro, who passed away at the age of 38 on June 5th, may he rest in peace and justice.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

In the car this morning...

Funny things come out of the backseat during carpool.

Maiya:  Mommy, is Devin a Asian man?
Jenni:  Um, Devin is a young Asian man.
Devin:  I'm an Asian men!
Maiya:  Asian pear!
Devin: Asian taggie!
Maiya:  Asian apple!
Devin:  Asian duckie!
Maiya:  Asian Jacaranda!
Devin:  Asian blossom!
Maiya:  Asian street!
Devin:  Asian meat!

Not exactly in that order, but you get the picture.  It actually went on and on, but I couldn't  remember after the first few of them.  But this little game got us from Central and 20th to about Central and 9th Street.  And each new one brought on a gaggle of giggles.

(Photo by Mickie Okamoto at Angelina Family Literacy Fun Night)