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On Saturday, the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ) hosted a community blood drive “to celebrate the contributions of immigrants to our communities with caring and dignity.”
According to the press statement issued by the local coalition, which formed to fight Alabama’s monster of an immigration law, HB 56, participants “physically demonstrate that regardless of the heated rhetoric of hatred and division coming from extreme and wrongheaded political leaders, that we are one people, one family and one Alabama.”
Victoria L. Colman from Alabama.com notes that 72 people showed up at a local church to show their commitment and solidarity. According to her report on the blood drive:
Cesar Mata, an ACIJ member and one of the drive’s volunteer coordinators, said he and other ACIJ members came up with the idea for the event during one of the organization’s planning meetings.
“I wanted to show that immigrants are here and that we went to contribute to the state,” Mata said. “I wanted to show that we’re not just asking for things, we want to give too.”
…”We are one family, one Alabama and the best gift is to give the gift of life for our Alabama brothers,” Mata said. “I don’t care if my blood goes to Gov. (Robert) Bentley or Scott Beason.”
Alabama’s HB 56 was put into effect in September of last year, and is considered the worst immigration laws in the country. The law borrows language from Arizona’s hated SB 1070, which was in large part written by Kris Kobach, an anti-immigrant law professor and Kansas’ Secretary of State. Besides initially turning teachers into ICE officers, the law still make it so that it is criminal for undocumented immigrants to receive water or other utilities.
More from Joey Kennedy’s blog post about the event:
Learning as much as possible about immigration in general and Alabama’s overreaching immigration law, in particular, along with strategies for repealing or revising this xenophobic legislation, are important for those who oppose the law.
And maybe some of the law’s enthusiastic supporters should drop by to donate blood as well. As the AJIC points out: “We all bleed the same blood, and we all need blood donations in times of accidents or surgeries.” And maybe, these folks can meet some of the decent, good people they’re so afraid of. That might change a few minds.