Nadia Bueno-Torres speaking at the sanctuary county rally. Photo credit: Curran Daly

Possibility for a sanctuary county

Centro de Pueblo looks to make Humboldt County a sanctuary one.

By | Iridian Casarez

Kevin Martinez watched the crowd tentatively in front of the Humboldt County’s Courthouse waiting for ICE agents to come out of any corner to arrest undocumented people supporting the ordinance to make Humboldt County a sanctuary county.

Part of MEChA’s security team standing behind the speakers. Photo credit: Curran Daly

“We are here to be the separation between the interaction between ICE and any undocumented person,” Martinez said. “We are essentially here to be arrested.”

Centro de Pueblo organized the event and united community members to rally at City of Eureka’s Courthouse to support the drafted ordinance to make Humboldt County a sanctuary county on Tuesday Sept. 19. The rally was scheduled at the same time the Board of Supervisors were meeting.

Erik Kirk helped Centro de Pueblo and True North submit a draft of the ordinance to the Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission is a grand jury that focuses on civil liberties that makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.

Kirk entered the Board of Supervisors meeting and spoke about the ordinance.

“At least two of the Board Supervisors were taking it really seriously,” Kirk said.

Centro de Pueblo is a local organization that offers a safe space to people of color in the community to advance culturally, politically, and practically on California’s North Coast.

People holding signs at the rally. Photo credit: Curran Daly

Martinez is a senior Political Science major at HSU. He is also head of security for MEChA. Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan is a club on campus that promotes political involvement and change in their society.

MEChA had security at the rally expecting ICE agents to arrive. Security was also there to stop agitated people from disrupting the rally.

“It’s very important with me to come show my support for undocumented people,” Martinez said. “I hopefully want to think undocumented immigrants feel supported, empowered and encouraged to speak out.”

Courtney Blake works with North County People Power, a local grassroots organization started by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). North County People Power is working with Centro de Pueblo to draft and submit an ordinance for a sanctuary county.

“We are asking the Board of Supervisors to make a county law that equally protects undocumented people and documented people with respect to the justice system,” Blake said.

Emely Velez also helped organize the rally. Velez is a member of Centro de Pueblo and a senior majoring in Criminology at HSU. She said that now that Bill SB54 (a bill that makes the state of California a sanctuary state) has passed, there is still a possibility that Governor Brown will revoke the bill. If that happens, Centro de Pueblo would like to make Humboldt County a sanctuary county.

Security conversing with a rally member. Photo credit: Curran Daly

“We want to empower undocumented people and D.A.C.A. students,” Velez said. “Our goal is to give a voice them a voice.”

Both of Velez’s parents are immigrants. She said they came here for the American dream not for themselves but for her.

“I am not undocumented. I don’t have the fear of people coming after me, but I do have the fear of people coming for my family,” Velez said. “I owe it to my people, if you have the ability to support, why not?”

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