Andres Useche, a Colombian-born singer, songwriter and artist has created a stirring video for the song, “Marching Into the Light,” his homage to the undocumented immigrants who labor in some of the toughest, most thankless jobs in the country. He contributed the video and an accompanying essay to Dreamers Adrift, a partner project co-founded by CultureStrike artist Julio Salgado. Here, he explains his take on the true meaning of patriotism:
Immigration is embedded in the fabric of this country. It is that beautiful diversity makes us strong. I wrote the song Marching into the Light in response to what was happening in Arizona. I remembered the kindness of an old undocumented lady who helped my family in the past. She worked several jobs, cleaning bathrooms and office buildings, all to insure a better future for her children. She was exploited and often discriminated against yet she never had anything but good will towards her fellow human beings. I’ve known many people like her, and it it is painful to see that in some parts of this country these people are still openly targeted. Discrimination and racism are alive and well… but so are we. There are many of us who believe in equality and compassion, who will stand up to injustice. I’ve been honored to meet many Dreamers fighting for equality and dignity, so many activists who inspire me every day and give me hope that things will change, if we do all that we possibly can to make it happen.
We marched and we sang, we organized and mobilized, we acted. Those who couldn’t vote reached out to those who could and Arizonians confronted Russell Pierce, and he was eventually recalled. The Obama administration sued the State of Arizona for trying to create its own immigration laws and I was overjoyed to learn three out of four provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court. There is more to do as that one provision left still allows for racial profiling which is not acceptable. Even if the court makes the state go back to the Federal government before deporting anyone, the principle that they can harass people because they look “undocumented” just will not do.
After writing “Marching into the Light” I kept volunteering with many Dreamers whose lives inspired me to write “Dream to Belong”. I was elated when President Obama, who has always called for the DREAM Act and for comprehensive immigration reform, instructed ICE to focus on real, dangerous threats and spare DREAMers and hard-working families. But like him, we know these are temporary measures. The DREAM Act and Immigration reform must be passed by congress before they can become law and offer a more definitive, lasting, practical solution. We have to speak up and reach the hearts and minds of voters to get congress to act. We have to stand up to the Koch brothers and the ALEC council and all of those who push for laws like SB1070 and HB59 behind the scenes. Too many exploit confusion to get the ignorant and the selfish to vote against their economic interests by targeting “the other”… so that we turn on those also trying to make ends meet instead of the CEO making 400 times what a worker does, bankrupting companies while keeping millions in bonuses. They are trying to divide us. But these are the United States of America, and we will not be divided by the color of our skin, who we worship or who we love. We too are the United States of America and nothing can stop us from marching into the light.
Go to the original post at Dreamers Adrift.