Women Riders on the “Undocubus” Show the Power of Courage
A small bus is making waves as it rolls across the country, showing us all what is possible when communities that are being pushed into the shadows come out and reclaim their human rights and dignity. The riders of the “Undocubus: No Papers, No Fear Ride for Justice” are mothers, students, and sisters. They are leaders in their communities and workers whose labor fuels this country. They are also undocumented immigrants who are tired of living in fear and have recognized that their voices are their greatest strength.
As they travel across the country, the riders of the Undocubus are publicly declaring that they are undocumented and unafraid. They are offering up their personal stories of what it means to raise families in this challenging time, with no pathway to citizenship for the vast majority of immigrants, and when the politics of division and exclusion have come to dominate the public debate about immigration. They are breaking through silence and asserting their dignity. And they are calling on all of us to stand with them.
On August 14, We Belong Together hosted a national telephone briefing to hear from some of the courageous women on the bus. We heard from mothers who are tired of the fear they face when taking their children to school or to the doctor. We heard from Natally Cruz who has witnessed immigration raids in her Arizona neighborhood and wondered if either of her parents will return home at the end of the day. We heard from Leticia Ramirez who boarded the bus to work for a future where her three young children will not have to endure the racial slurs that tainted Leticia’s own childhood in Arizona. We heard from Ireri Unzueta Carrasco who has struggled to maintain focus in school while bombarded with news of immigration raids and family separation in her community in Illinois. And we heard from Maria Huerta, an undocumented domestic worker in California, who has been doubly pushed to the shadows by immigration policy and by labor laws that explicitly exclude the workers who care for our country’s most valuable assets—our homes and our loved ones. Together, these riders illustrate how this country’s current immigration policies are threatening families and communities from coast to coast. In the words of Undocubus rider, mother and domestic worker Manuela Esteva, “I am on the bus because, as a mother, I believe that my daughters and I have the right to safety and happiness.”
The riders on the Undocubus are also riding the powerful trajectory of “coming out,” inspired by the actions of undocumented youth who are publicly demanding the right to fully participate in the country that is their home. President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has now gone into effect, a direct result of their courageous actions. And domestic workers from New York to California are also coming out of the shadows, building visibility for this once-hidden workforce, and are on the verge of winning the historic California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights.
As their bus rolls through some of the states that have passed anti-immigrant policies, undocumented women, mothers, students and workers are putting their very bodies on the line. They are showing us that we will all benefit from a world where no one must live in the shadows. As the Undocubus prepared to leave Arizona, Carlos Garcia of the Puente Movement said, “We have declared that we will not comply with hate. Every single person and institution must make the same evaluation."
Now is a chance for all of us to do just that by standing with the brave riders of the Undocubus.
Together, let's show the riders of the Undocubus that we share their vision, and that we are many. Please sign on to We Belong Together’s Women’s Statement of Support.