March 28, 2006
Another student walkout
Some breaking news here: I just got a phone call from Melissa Noriega, who tells me that students from Stephen F. Austin High School have walked out of classes and are moving through downtown, possibly towards the immigration court, though she couldn't tell for sure. They were approaching the Toyota Center as Melissa called me.
Be that as it may, Melissa tells me there are about 20 police and constable cars accompanying the kids. She spoke to an officer who says they're just there to keep the kids safe from traffic. They have no plans to interfere with what they're doing.
I'll post updates as I hear more. I checked the various local news sites before starting to write this but haven't seen anything there yet. If you happen to be in the area and see anything, please leave a comment or drop me a note (kuff - at - offthekuff - dot - com). As Melissa said to me, "One thing we learned from the civil rights movement is that the more people who are watching as events unfold, the safer it is for everyone involved."
UPDATE: Stace has more, including word that students from other schools are also marching downtown.
UPDATE: Local news coverage from KHOU and the Chron.
UPDATE: Calling again from Navigation and 71st, Melissa reports there are about 1000 students from Milby who have walked out and are headed towards City Hall. There's a school bus behind them, which school officials (riding on a John Deere vehicle of some kind, with a video camera to try and record who's there) are pleading in vain for the students to get on and get back to class. This group is apparently better organized than some of the earlier groups - they have banners, and a number of the kids are wearing US flag bandanas.
There are a lot of kids who were brought to the US as babies or toddlers by their parents, and only know America as their home. They're in a kind of legal limbo, and are very upset at the idea that some people want to send them "back" to a place they've never really lived. It's amazing to watch this all go on. It feels like the start of something big.
UPDATE: Some audio from KHOU, while the Chron story I linked before looks like it has more in it now.
Melissa phoned again to say that it's raining where they are, near the original Ninfa's on Navigation. Some of the kids have on blue rain slickers like you wear in marching band during inclement weather. As a lifelong band geek, I approve of that.
Apparently, there's a Family Dollar store across the street from Ninfa's. As the kids walked past there, some folks came out of that store with yellow raincoats and umbrellas for the kids. We think that was the store manager who did that - whoever it was, it was mighty kind of them.
UPDATE: Pictures, kindly sent to me by Sergio and Tiffany D (Stace also has them):
Austin High School students on Polk Street, east of downtown.
Austin High School students still on Polk Street, passing Frankels' Costume Co.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 28, 2006 to Elsewhere in Houston
The kids were going to meet at City Hall ... now that its raining I wonder if they still are heading that way.
Why, pray tell, would it be unsafe for these kids?
Passive aggressive much?
These kids need to get back to class..
or receive a punishment for skipping.
What if students wanted to leave to go to a pro-life rally?
Well this is intersting...
Especially for someone who co-founded a high school's Young Democrats club.
Yes, I do believe this is turning into something big.
Right of Texas - I have no problem with the schools handing out a sanction for skipping classes, as they would to individual students. As long as it's dealt with in that manner, and not with an eye towards "making an example" of somebody, it's appropriate.
One of the tenets of the civil rights movement was accepting the punishments that came with their civil disobedience. Doing so made their message stronger.
Now if the adults whould have as much guts as the kids do!
OK, I think the proposed legislation sucks, but frankly, I'm tired of seeing these kids waving the Mexican flag. They're using the First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly given to them under the U.S. Constitution. I'd wager that most of them are American citizens and that most of them are here because, at some point, their ancestors decided that Mexico wasn't such a great place to live and that life here in the U.S. was better.
It really grates on my nerves to see people who came here for a better life waving the flag of the country they used to live in (or, in the case of these kids, where their parents came from).
The legislation is crap, but don't try to convince me of that by waving your Mexican flag. Try being proud of the fact that you live HERE, where you get the right to do things like protest safely and get an education (you know, the one you're skipping out on today).
Was just running some errands and listening to the raving lunitics that are Dallas Talk Radio. Apparently the same thing is happening in Dallas. Kids are walking out of school and heading downtown for protests. As I'm in Waco not Dallas I don't know any more details than that. Except that the talk radio minions are shrieking, especially when the see a Mexican flag.
Funny, I was at a St. Patrick's Day celebration recently and saw lots of Irish flags. Didn't those people realize that their right to drink green beer and dress like leprechauns is protected by the laws of THIS country. How dare they wave the flag of a foreign nation. [For readers with no sense of humor, that was sarcasm.]
Sue: The media just shows the Mexican flag to make people like you angry. The bottom line is that they also had American flags and signs showing how much pride they have for the country they are in now--and especially pride for their contributions to this country, which many refuse to recognize. But I wouldn't expect the mainstream media to show that--where would the controversy be?
As far as "going to class" the Latino population has an edge here. If school districts want to receive funding, then kids have to be in the seats. If Republicans and the government want to initiate bad policy, then these students have some leverage with which to respond.
You may not like it, but as long as republicans want to be divisive, the response will not only be in marches and demonstrations, but in economic boycotts that could really send this country's economy reeling.
Get over it!
Waving an Irish flag at a St. Patrick's Day party usually isn't a political statement. Waving a flag of any country other than the U.S. at a political protest is a political statement. They're two different situations.
And to Sr. Dos Centavos, I'm not a Republican. And, frankly, I don't think that divisiveness is purely a Republican practice these days. Are they better at it? Sure. But Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid are pretty good at the divisiveness thing, too.
Sure, the networks are to blame for the average person not seeing anybody wearing or waving an American flag. It doesn't make for good TV. But I still don't see how that excuses waving the Mexican flag.
I have to agree with Sue on the Mexican flag issue.
Waving around a Mexican flag isn't going convince a patriotic American of anything. In fact, it would make it seem as if more loyalty still lies to Mexico as opposed to the United States. If one wants to convince America to do something, protest for the sake of America, and in the name of America. American law makers are there for the betterment of this nation, not the one down to the south.
On another note, my principal at Lamar High School, Dr. James McSwain, spent some time today to send a message to all of the students about using "appropriate meathods" to get one's voice out. Apparantly, I'm supposed to recieve a some time in my next social studies class about writing letters to congressmen.
Schools need to do more than that. If political activism is promoted more actively in schools, I think it would be better for everyone. The school should throw in a lobbying lesson as well, plus a campaigning lesson. And, more students should do as I have, and start a political club at their schools.
Protesting works, but I'm of the belief that it should be saved as a final means of getting your voice out. First try and become convinced that the legal meathods are ineffective...
I can surely understand why a bunch of high school kids, some possibly illegal, virtually all with relatives and friends who may become felons for the simple fact that they are trying to make their lives better, would make the march to downtown. They probably learned more in a few hours today about how the US government operates than in a month's worth of studies.
I also want to express my appreciation and gratitude for the actions of the HPD and Harris County SO and other PDs in making sure these kids were allowed to protest safely and peacefully without interference. I'm not always a fan of their actions, but today they made me proud. The kids apparently responded in kind.
FWIW, I think it's great that the kids thought it was worth their effort to do this and that they did it despite the less than pleasant weather. There's no easy answer to this problem. Whether this is all a red herring from the Republicans to keep us from thinking about Iraq or just sheer stupidity, at least these kids are paying attention to the world around them.
Bravery Is Beautiful.
This should be able to be worked out in some reasonable way without breaking up these kids' families.
And, sounds like the police did a calm, good job too.
Now, if we all could do as much to save ourselves from Republican predetermined elections with non-evidentiary E-voting.
New York Republican Congressman Peter King said in a documentary film by Alexandra Pelosi when asked who would win the election, King replied, "It's already over, the election's over. We won. It's all over but the counting, and we'll take care of the counting."
We have to overcome this by returning evidence to elections, in order to attempt to reverse global warming....harder to do with each passing day. Global Warming is not a graduated event; it can happen fast.
And, if we are successful, then that would make all who helped, members of the Party of Saving All Life.