query: Immigrant/Hispanic organizing

colist at comm-org.wisc.edu colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Tue May 2 13:17:56 CDT 2006


I find it interesting, given the intensity of immigrant/Hispanic 
organizing going on the last couple of months, that we haven't really 
talked about it on COMM-ORG.  I want to see if we might correct that 
omission.  Because I am really quite amazed.  I was in California two 
months ago, and among my conversations was one with people who were 
supporting a day labor center and organizing locally against the 
Sensenbrenner bill.  While they were hopeful, I didn't get the sense 
they were expecting the enormous impact we have seen in the last couple 
of months.

One of the things that amazes me the most is the willingness of 
undocumented people to participate in the political process.  I remember 
15 years ago, when I was working on an edited collection about the 
process that we now call community-based research.  One of the papers 
described the challenges of trying to do "participatory research" with 
undocumented immigrants, who feared any public exposure.  Something has 
clearly changed in the intervening years, or at least that is how it 
seems to me.

So I invite the discussion.  Have things changed?  If so, what has 
changed?  Has the growing emphasis on immigrant organizing had an 
impact?  Have pure demographics made immigrant organizing inevitable?  
Is this just a crisis moment and as soon as the crisis passes the 
organizing will too?  And what are we learning about what works and what 

Randy Stoecker,
moderator/editor, COMM-ORG
rstoecker at wisc.edu

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