The activist organization BAMN is a “Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.” BAMN has a chapter in the city of Santa Ana, which happens to be an immigrant town and serves as the seat for Orange County.
The rally and march held on Saturday were in response to a U.S. Appeals Court ruling which took place on September 14. This decision gave the Trump Administration the authority to end Temporary Protected Status for refugees from ten countries and 400,000 refugees could potentially be deported back to their nation of origin. This order does not go into effect until March 2021. While this ruling is being legally challenged in the court system, BAMN is taking action by speaking out for immigrant rights. This includes defending DACA, asylum privileges and TPS.
The movement also advocates for better health conditions for ICE detainees, keeping facilities clean and COVID-19 free, keeping families together and banning unauthorized hysterectomies on female undocumented immigrants. The U.S. Appeals Court ruling is being legally challenged and will be contested in court for months. This is one of the driving forces for BAMN to act now.
The event started at 5:00 p.m. in Santa Ana’s Madison Park. After the organizers spoke about the movement, an opportunity was given for anyone from the audience to speak on the megaphone. Only one teenage girl spoke. Afterward, the march began with about 30 participants and five automobiles in the caravan. The demonstrators chanted in English and Spanish while marching around the residential streets. After the march was over, the demonstrators went back to the park for some final words and then the rally was over by 8:00 p.m.
Able De la Cruz is a Santa Ana local who led the BAMN demonstrators. He is a UC Berkley student majoring in anthropology and minoring in Native American studies. He’s back home and taking action as Berkley classes are now online. “There needs to be a movement on the streets by protesting. Building a movement to protect TPS and to protect those 400,000 immigrants from deportation,” Able said.
Tommie Ortiz is also a BAMN organizer, born and raised in Santa Ana and currently attending Santa Ana College as a double major in philosophy and communications. “BAMN is basically a megaphone for all the injustices that are going on. BAMN goes wherever they are needed. Right now, immigrant rights are at the forefront, along with Black Lives Matter, along with all of the rest of the stuff that is coming with the uprising during the COVID pandemic.”
An anonymous source spotted carrying first aid supplies stated, “A lot of what is going on has really been mishandled. People getting shot. Not having the people like cops held accountable. This a specific ICE protest to see what is going on. There are basically concentration camps now with the forced hysterectomies, everyone getting COVID, the missing children and widespread sexual abuse. That is pretty heinous, so I want to do whatever I can to stand against it. My grandparents are Holocaust survivors. I want to help any way I can. I have the First Aid & CPR certification might as well do that.”
Before and after the event organizers passed around a sign-up sheet where participants could sign up with BAMN. Contact information can be found at www.bamn.com and questions can be answered at (885) ASK-BAMN.
Fullerton College supports undocumented students. FC created the Grads to Be Program to help out this unique population on campus. Their slogan is empowered, educated, undocumented students. The school celebrates Undocumented Student Week of Action along with other community colleges statewide. The Fullerton College Fall 2019 Class Schedule cover page proudly displays photographs of their immigrant students.