The Coming ICE Storm and Oakland Schools- What Would Mario Savio Say?

“ICE agents have been seen near our schools” our staff meeting came to a tense silence, a quiet murmur with folks picking up devices to check with other staff and warn families.  I was stunned into silence (an uncommon state).   You could feel the anxiety in the air, and I can only imagine the fear that some of our families felt in getting our call about ICE activity.

We have passed all the sanctuary policies, and done all the staff training.  Families are told to come into the school if they are outside and we will do our best to protect them.  But I just kept thinking about families waiting outside to pick up their kids, and kids coming out to them in handcuffs.

Maybe kids getting cuffed too, the way these folks work.

I thought this was all just for show at one point, a blowhard, fanning the fires of his base, now I know it is not.

We have already seen an Oakland family ripped apart.  Remember the oncology nurse and her truck driver husband who were deported leaving behind children to grow without parents.

It was paralyzing to think about that, and what if ICE came to the school.  They could and they might, but this day they didn’t.

A temporary sense of relief.

I am pretty sure they will come one day though, if not to my school to another Oakland public school.  And we need to do something.

What could we do?

As I sat there waiting for the next announcement, that ICE was at the school.  I was thinking it was time to get arrested.  Well I think ICE technically “detains” you.  Mario Savio came to mind (more below).

Thinking back to the civil rights days, that was the whole point, getting arrested, packing jails.  What if the folks with papers, showed up at ICE raids and just refused to answer questions, or answered in broken English (or Norse).  What if we all got detained.  After some period of time, we would be released because we do have papers.  But what if we just jammed up the machinery with our bodies.

As Mario Savio once said

There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels…upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all! [9].

The machine is as odious as ever, and it up to us with the privilege to act, to stop it, question is will we throw ourselves on the gears for our undocumented brothers and sisters or will we watch from the sidelines as the machine consumes them.


What do you think?

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