Cal State Northridge professor Rudy Acuña, in his book Anything But Mexican, writes, “Los Angeles has little sense of the past or of place. A partial explanation for this is that Euroamericans have devoted little time or energy to learning the history of the region . . . Without a sense of community, and a sense of their history as a community, people become vulnerable to the plans and whims of the dominant groups, which can not only displace them but control them in other ways as well.”
After 9/11, the border/immigration situation has gotten worse. Even citizens are getting rounded up and imprisoned. Rafa, who is now a civil engineer inspecting bridges and surveying highways, was unable to see his father during the last years of his life as he battled cancer in Mexico, and couldn’t attend his father’s funeral in Tijuana this past February because of his ongoing legal status and our present-day xenophobia.
Nearly 10 years after the fight to stop Wilson, the new governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger, a man who voted for Proposition 187 and whose campaign chairman was Wilson himself. One of the first things Schwarzenegger planned to do in office was repeal SB 60 — the new law that would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. The legislature, intimidated by The Terminator’s threats, overturned the law themselves. To me, all this signals a new era of racial divisiveness in California is right around the corner. My political life began back in 1994; now I hope other young Mexican lads will step up and come in from “out there.”