10 Year Commemoration of the Michael Bianco Raid

On Sunday March 5, CCT invited all of our friends, members and allies for a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the Michael Bianco Raid and celebration of CCT’s 10 years of achievements since that cold morning in March 2007.

 

Mai'koBian'ko

View of the former Michael Bianco mill from the western shore of Clark’s Cove 10 years after the raid in March 2007.

Indeed, it is frustrating that after 10 years of accomplishments, CCT’s community and New Bedford employers alike must once again consider the possibility of mass deportations, as these were among the promises of made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Even before Donald Trump stepped into the political scene, President Obama became known by immigrant advocates as “Deporter in Chief,” after his administration deported 2.5 million people, without counting those detained while attempting to cross the border into the United States. Late last year, rumors of raids led a local temporary agency to dismiss several groups of up to 50 workers at a time. On March 2nd, less than two months after Trump took office, a local grocer – Sid Wainer & Son – sent its employees a letter stating that undocumented workers are no longer welcome to work for the company and that they would be terminated by March 18th. While this particular company has a history of discrimination – to the extent of hiding its employees of color from view of its customers – we cannot rule out this becoming a trend among New Bedford employers.

Aquel día en la Mai'koBianco

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers charge into the Bianco Mill on March 6, 2007. Courtesy of “The Millitant” Vol.71 No. 12 March 26, 2007

In a conversation with Mayor Mitchell of New Bedford, CCT leaders were assured that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has moved beyond Bianco-style raids. CCT received this suggestion with a degree of skepticism as it is clear that undocumented immigrants are not being offered a path towards legal status. In fact, two days prior to our commemoration event, a large van with ICE insignia, equipped to carry dozens of people was spotted on Rt. 24 heading south towards New Bedford.

As we continue forward under the Trump administration, CCT will continue to advocate for the right to migrate, the right to seek a brighter future, and the right to become fully integrated and represented in our communities. We see ourselves as a community of individuals who have been wronged and marginalized by institutions both in the U.S. and abroad, and we will continue to fight for the inestimable value and dignity of the human person. Our event on March 5, intended to celebrate just these beliefs.

 

Queremos Pastel

Dr. Lisa Knauer (left) and CCT treasurer Nicolás Sincú (right) present CCT’s anniversary cake to the community

The turnout was a wonderful collage of community members and supporters ranging from City Council members and City Hall representatives to news reporters as well as some of our newest members.
Conmemoración

CCT President, Juana García, addresses attendees to the Michael Bianco commemoration event on March 5, 2017

During the event, women survivors of the raid shared with attendees their stories of what happened on March 6, 2007. Two women supporters, Dr. Lisa Knauer and Marcelina Pina-Christan also shared messages of support to victims of the bianco raid while simultaneously sharing messages of motivation for the future. At the end of these discourses, executive director Adrian Ventura took a moment to announce CCT’s intention of starting a campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace. It was also announced that CCT’s board of directors has chosen to hire a part-time woman organizer from our community to lead this campaign.
The event ended with a joyful sharing of a meal consisting of pizza, tamales, salad and cake – an appropriate symbol of the world we wish to live in. One where people of all backgrounds and preferences can come around one table and reconcile the differences that at times have separated us.

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