Our Coastside community is following the national news on shootings and ICE raids, and the immigrants on the South Coast are no exception. But Latinos are diverse, and so are their opinions, particularly on how to move on after the attacks of the past two weeks.
Leaving politics and policy for others to analyze, the impact of those events on the daily lives of the Latinos and Latinas on the South Coast is devastating. The conversations I have been part of have one common emotion: fear. These new, violent attacks on immigrants have many on edge and looking over their shoulders, but how they choose to move on varies.
A family father shared that he is afraid, but he has to work to provide for his family and that is the end of it. His work as an agricultural worker is hard and pays the minimum. He and his coworkers are out there in the fields with no real protection, but what they have talked about is that they need to show up every day of work, and trust that nothing bad will happen.
A mother of two school-age children already fearing ICE raids is now minimizing her trips out of town and is keeping her travel to the most pressing needs like food shopping and laundry. Another mother said she was hesitant to let her daughter attend the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival and participate in the parade. She is not even sure she will go to this weekend’s Pescadero Arts and Fun Festival, known by the Spanish-speaking community as “La Vaquita” (little cow) for the festival’s logo.
While some of these precautions started since the immigration raid threats, this time businesses and several community members are worried about a real menace because the community is largely Latino and there are many cultural events for or by Latinos. The newly exposed hatred for immigrants feels too close to home this time.
Local organizations are also responding in different ways. Some with indifference, dismissing the real fear of people. Others are concerned and are taking actions to increase safety.
I did not escape the unavoidable feeling of fear myself. It took me more than two weeks to stop feeling frozen, defeated. That the color of my skin is a target is a new emotion that I have never felt. And I also have made my choice. I will do what I can to keep my family safe and, most importantly, join the many efforts to activate the vote in future elections. If we don’t like this situation, then we need to change it.
Rita Mancera will be contributing regular columns to the Review. She and her family live in Pescadero.