Sunday, February 26, 2006

Indianapolis, IN
Stop the Intrusion Protest, 2-25-06
After Action Report

Mom, my niece, Kenzie, and I arrived downtown at about 10:20 a.m. We parked and walked to the address listed for the Mexican Consulate, 39 W. Jackson Place. The doors were all locked, and to one side, there was a sign which said, in both Spanish and English, to get the Mexican Consulate, walk east around the corner of the building, and then east again until we came to the intersection of Meridian and Louisiana streets. We did so, leaving our signs in the car until we found the precise place we needed to be.

At that corner, there were several entrances to Union Station and a Mexican restaurant. I tried the doors there until I found one open. In we went. I wanted to see where the Consulate was physically located inside the building. A guard jumped up from his cubicle and said, “I’m sorry. We’re closed. You can’t come in here.”

I said, “We’re looking for the Mexican Consulate,” to which he replied that it was closed, as was that particular entrance to Union Station, because of a protest that was supposed to take place today. I inquired about the reason for the protest. He said people were coming to protest because they were angry that the Mexican Consulate was not open enough. He said, “I don’t understand why they’re doing that, either. They’re open Monday through Friday, and a lot of times, on Saturday.” I asked if they were always open on Saturdays and he said not always, but that he was told they were specifically closed today because of the planned protest. I asked where the Consulate was. He pointed it out to us. It is right next to his cubicle.

Then I told him who I was, our reason for being there and what the protest was about. He asked what we meant by “meddling,” and I told him. He said, “Wow, every American should be out there joining you!” I agreed and invited him to join us if his shift ended or if he was able to take a break. He said he would, but he was worried about his working environment if people working at the Consulate got wind that he had joined the protest, which was completely understandable.

Glenda showed up and joined us at about that time. We all stood there, just inside the entrance, talking to the guard, a very nice man who came here from New Orleans after losing everything he owned to Hurricane Katrina. I gave him a hug when I found that out, thankful that he had not been hurt and that he only had to deal with the loss of material things. He was a very sweet man.

He was angered upon learning that illegal aliens are flocking to New Orleans to rebuild that city, as Glenda pointed out to him. He made it a point to state that he wasn’t racist (he is African American), but he felt the immigration situation was out of control. I told him that none of us were racists, just ordinary Americans who are fed up with the lack of enforcement and response to this crisis, people who are put in the position of defending ourselves because we’re always labeled “racists.” He was under the impression that people came to the Consulate to acquire papers making them “legal,” and referred to the matricula card. I informed him of the process for legal entry to this country, that the matricular card was supposed to serve as ID for illegal aliens in some venues, and said that while Mexico calls us racist for not accepting the matricula as valid ID in every American institution, it is not accepted as valid ID in Mexico. He said he had no idea and kept shaking his head. He had to unlock a door inside for an employee, so that is when we took to the streets. People started showing up left and right then. Eventually, there were 20 of us spread out on both corners of Louisiana Street.

The event was, for the most part, uneventful. It was peaceful and there were no counter-protesters. There was a photographer, AJ, from the NW Times, I believe, a reporter from the Indianapolis Star, a filming crew from Goshen College, and, of course, my long-time friend and photographer, Glenda. Several people honked in response to Cheree’s and Gretchen’s signs which said, “HONK if you support ending illegal immigration,” or something to that effect. Unfortunately, the intersection wasn’t all that busy, so we know to pick a different place the next time we hold a demonstration. There were a couple of people who made snide remarks and comments to Cheree as they walked by, but I’ll let her tell you about those. She also made it a point to go over to talk to the police who were parked a half a block away to watch us. She said they seemed distrusting, not overly nice, and they said they “expected” trouble. Fortunately, their expectations were not met.

The reporter from the Indianapolis Star hung around most of the time we were there. After asking him if he had received a flyer, I said, “Okay, off the record…American to American. Doesn’t that make you angry,” referring to the information in the flyer. He said, “Yes. It makes you wonder why the government is allowing it to happen.” After some time had passed, I asked him if he was aware that he was witnessing an “extremist event.” He said, “What?” I said, “Yeah, according to the Anti-Defamation League, this is an ‘extremist’ event held by ‘vigilantes.’” He chuckled and said, “You guys are BORING! What do they mean ‘extremist’?” Indeed, we were boring in that the only attention we garnered was, for the most part, positive. Still we met new people and we had fun just sharing our time with each other today. It was a little chilly, but the sun was warm. The important thing is: We took a stand today to make our voices heard and shared information with passers-by that will, hopefully, compel them to investigate the issue of illegal immigration further and join us. People traveled from far northern Indiana to be here...Greg Serbon and his friend; Cheree Calabro and her husband; another gentleman, Don I believe is his name, and three lovely ladies who rode with him. Others came from the south, from Greenwood and Columbus. One man came because he recently moved here from California, knows firsthand the detrimental effects of rampant illegal immigration, and supports what we're doing 100%. I wish now that I had taken everyone's name down so that I could thank them properly. Alas, I did not. I'm still new at this and learning as I go along. I won't forget again! As always, my Mom, Edytha Hall, came with me, bringing Kenzie, who loves to attend "Aunt Tuta's protest thingys" when she can. Glenda, as always, was working the crowd with her camera, silently walking hither and yon to capture great pictures, many of which you will see soon.

It is my hope that many, many more will join us in taking a stand in the near future. I know some of you wanted to be there today, but couldn’t. Don’t fret! Just know that there WILL be a next time and we hope to meet you then!

Thanks to everyone who came today! It was nice meeting and talking with you all.



Blogger HoosierMama? said...

Great report, Tish! I particularly like the story of the man who came here to work after Hurricane Katrina. You know, we had several IFIRE supporters who didn't come to the protest because they feared employer retribution.

2/26/2006 10:43 AM  

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