impeach rally flier

Home - a refugee's poem

Home, by Warsan Shire (British-Somali poet) no one leaves home unless

home is the mouth of a shark.

you only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well.

your neighbours running faster
than you, the boy you went to school with who kissed you dizzy behind
the old tin factory is

holding a gun bigger than his body, you only leave home
when home won't let you stay.

no one would leave home unless home chased you, fire under feet,
hot blood in your belly.

it's not something you ever thought about doing, and so when you did -
you carried the anthem under your breath, waiting until the airport toilet

to tear up the passport and swallow,
each mouthful of paper making it clear that you would not be going back.

you have to understand,

no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.

who would choose to spend days and nights in the stomach of a truck unless the miles travelled
meant something more than journey.

no one would choose to crawl under fences,
be beaten until your shadow leaves you,
raped, then drowned, forced to the bottom of
the boat because you are darker, be sold,
starved, shot at the border like a sick animal,
be pitied, lose your name, lose your family,
make a refugee camp a home for a year or two or ten, stripped and searched, find prison everywhere

and if you survive and you are greeted on the other side with go home blacks, refugees
dirty immigrants, asylum seekers
sucking our country dry of milk,

dark, with their hands out
smell strange, savage -
look what they've done to their own countries, what will they do to ours?

the dirty looks in the street
softer than a limb torn off,
the indignity of everyday life
more tender than fourteen men who look like your father, between

your legs, insults easier to swallow than rubble, than your child's body
in pieces - for now, forget about pride your survival is more important.

i want to go home, but home is the mouth of a shark home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home

unless home chased you to the shore unless home tells you to
leave what you could not behind, even if it was human.

no one leaves home until home
is a damp voice in your ear saying leave, run now, i don't know what i've become.

By Lisa Bennett and Lynne Hoey

May 1, International Workers Day, commemorates a 1886 general strike across the United States when the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions led over 300,000 industrial laborers in demanding a humane eight-hour work day.

Dozens of countries on five continents now celebrate May Day as a national holiday to honor workers’ collective struggles. Its relatively low profile in the United States reflects our country’s suspicion of progressive movements, undervaluation of human labor and relegation of meaningful employment protections ​to the idiosyncratic whims of the private sector.

United Marin Rising wants to make May Day in Marin different.

We are a community group formed amid preparations for an Inauguration Day march and rally, with the intention to coalesce disparate organizing efforts across the county.

In cooperation with established organizations like SEIU Local 1021, Canal Welcome Center, Marin Asian Advocacy Project, San Rafael First United Methodist Church, and Social Justice Center of Marin, as well as newly formed associations like Mill Valley Community Action Network, West Marin Standing Together, and local Indivisible groups, our May Day March & Fiesta aims to provide Marin residents a renewed opportunity to demonstrate public support for workers’ rights.

All are invited to join us at 2:30 p.m. May 1 in San Rafael’s downtown plaza for a solidarity march to Al Boro Community Center at Pickleweed Park where we will celebrate our spirit of unity with a fiesta featuring local performers and vendors, beginning at 5 p.m.

In her new book, Sen. Elizabeth Warren points to the shocking reality that, of the nearly quintupled economic growth the United States enjoyed between 1980 and 2015, over 99 percent of generated wealth “trickled down” to only the top 10 percent of earners. In Marin County, where nearly one-third of our neighbors form part of this top 10 percent national income bracket, it can be easy to presume that economic shifts have benefited the general populace and to ignore the many hardships that coexist in our communities.

However, even here, the most vulnerable among us endure inadequate, sometimes unlawful, working conditions. Many of our neighbors struggle to access basic health care and withstand long commutes from the few neighborhoods available to the working class.

Even as Marin strives toward compliance with the federal Civil Rights Act after a 2011 finding of racial segregation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced in April 2017 that Marin households earning up to $105,350 require housing subsidies in order to afford exorbitant local rental prices.

Workers’ plight in Marin is no more palpable than in the widespread exploitation of our undocumented immigrant communities.

While California laws offer nominal protections, the threat of deportation renders undocumented workers virtually powerless in employment negotiations. This dynamic stands to worsen under the sway of President Donald Trump’s pejorative rhetoric and aggressive policies against immigrant communities. Our national indifference to under-regulated working conditions, particularly in the face of deindustrialization and automation, has enabled a decline in organized labor unions and the resulting near disappearance of many historical gains.

The Trump administration’s systematic dismantling of regulatory protections across myriad federal agencies threatens to do away with countless more public protections hard won over many generations.

Yet Marin’s high levels of wealth and education afford us both the opportunity and the obligation to lead the way with forward-thinking, humane policies and practices for everyone. United Marin Rising challenges Marin residents to join a movement that stands for and celebrates all of our neighbors.

This May Day, let’s bring Marin County together in mutual care and common cause. Together, we can march forward toward a just and empowered future.

Lynne Hoey of Larkspur is a founding member of United Marin Rising and a social and economic justice activist. Lisa Bennett is a founder of Indivisible Sausalito and is a member of United Marin Rising.