by John Clark –
Hi my name is John Clark. I am writing this story as I am about to leave what has been my home for 54 years. I am leaving because I feel that I have been betrayed by my government. It seems that Mexican people coming into this country illegally are saying that the White man took part of their country from them. They claim they are going to take Atzlan (occupied Mexico — Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California) back and all non- Chicanos must leave or be killed. So, I must go to Washington and work to inform my government how serious the situation has become.
I grew up in a neighborhood of San Francisco that in todays liberal terms was multi cultural, i.e., Irish, Italian, Mexican and Black. There were the usual problems with race relations, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome. Little did I know what lay in wait for our country many years down the line. I always enjoyed the many cultural adventures I could experience in San Francisco. I didn’t even think to ask why there were no Blacks or Whites working in Chinatown, I accepted their cultural identity and enjoyed going there to experience the exotic smells and the different lifestyles. T did not question why there were no Whites or any other races in the Black neighborhoods. I also enjoyed visiting these neighborhoods and didn’t understand why most people there didn’t care for White people coming into their neighborhood. The same was true for the Mexican neighborhoods.
I became fully aware of the seriousness of the problem of illegal immigration approximately three years ago. I heard about people breaking the law and being rewarded for it with social services, medical services and education and paying nothing. This I could not understand. I was very angry because I have worked all my life and a few years ago I lost my job. I had a wife and two children and I fell through the cracks and couldn’t get any help. I heard about a group of people in San Rafael who were upset that the City of San Rafael was going to build a hiring hall for illegal as well as legal day laborers. I joined these people daily picketing on the street where the day laborers congregated to be picked up for work. We videotaped the license plates of the people hiring them and turned the tapes over to the INS. When we started there were up to 800 day laborers standing on the street. Within a week the streets were almost deserted. Then one Saturday, a group of protesters from Berkeley and San Francisco showed up with bullhorns and banners. They claimed to represent the Communist Party,
Shining Path Guerrillas and other far left groups. They started calling us names such as racist pigs. The Mexican laborers began coming back.
They started to call the women that were picketing with us names and spitting on them. The police did nothing to stop them.
We thought because of the word “illegal” that we could inform the public and the problem would be solved — case closed. We started working on Prop. 187. We were right, the public voted for Prop. 187. Then a Federal Judge blocked the will of the people and we are right back where we started.
Over the past few years I have watched friends and acquaintances leave California. I am part of a mass exodus out of California, a refugee in my own country. Now I feel I must go to Washington and do what I can to convince my elected government officials that it is time for them sit up and take notice of what is happening to my country.