The forces of anti-immigrant, anti-Latino hate have opened up another front in their relentless war: death threats targeting not just immigrants, but the activists who support them.
This story from the Atlanta Latino and translated by New America Media, details recent death threats made against immigrant rights activist Rich Pellegrino. A note was delivered to Pellegrino while his daughters were playing the the yard of his home in Cobb County, an Atlanta suburb.
As I’ve written here, the situation of Latinos in Georgia-and in many parts of the U.S. bears more than a passing resemblance to the situation faced by African Americans under Jim Crow. Especially disconcerting is what appears to be the increasing propensity to violence on the part of the anti-migrant, anti-Latino sectors of U.S. society as a whole. Nowhere is this propensity more clear than in recent FBI hate crimes statistics that show a 35% increase in hate crimes against Latinos between 2003 and 2006.
This most recent incident in Georgia joins a series of violent incidents targeting Latinos including
· The 2007 arrest white supremacist group preparing to attack Mexican immigrants near Birmingham, Ala. with grenades, semi-automatic weapons and 2,500 rounds of ammunition.
· The arrest last year of Tyler J. Froatz Jr., a 24 year-old Washington DC area man wielding a gun as he allegedly attacked marchers at a local immigration rally. Police found a 15 guns, a Molotov cocktail, a grenade and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition in his aparment.
· Thousands of raids, many of which are violent, on homes and workplaces
How much of this has been reported?
And when it is reported, we will see the usual rearguard attempts to wash such crimes away in the muddy waters of white supremacist groups. This will only further endanger us. Nothing less than serious, consistent and concerted local and national actions will suffice, actions targeting the 2 primary promoters of anti-migrant, anti-Latino violence in the United States: the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and high-powered media companies (as opposed to their rabid on-air personalities) and their advertisers. Screaming “stop the raids” or “we are not criminals” or “stop the lies” are important to do, but this approach has proven a patent failure in terms of curtailing in any way the escalation of violence.
And given recent violent developments in places like the Dominican Republic or South Africa, the time to take more radical measures is now, before God knows what will be unleashed in the event a deeper economic downturn predicted this week by Warren Buffet or if and when another attack by militant extremists takes place.
If you want to end these attacks, you have to make it too expensive to profit politicall and economically from verbal, visual and physical violence against immigrants. In words given to a friend by the Reverend Martin Luther King, “When you impact the rich man’s ability to make money, anything is negotiable.”
It’s that simple.