Best New Cause: A just display of grassroots mojo
The push for immigrants' rights isn't new, particularly not in a diverse immigration hub like the East Bay, but in the last few months a powerful surge in activism has finally propelled the issue onto the national radar. This spring, largely in response to House Resolution 4437, which would have made illegal immigration a felony and made it a crime to help any of the eleven million illegal immigrants in the country to remain here, peaceful street protests erupted across the nation. (The bill stalled in the Senate; a related attempt at a compromise, which would have allowed some immigrants to live in the United States as guest workers, is similarly stalled.) On April 10, thousands turned out in Oakland and at UC Berkeley for massive marches that included not only students, but entire families toting their kids. Protesters made a point of waving both American flags and those of their families' home countries, showing that you can have American pride even if you weren't born with it.