Shot twice in the face, Brisenia Flores’ life was cut short by the “direct action” of anti-immigrant activists—individuals who had internalized the rhetoric of a larger movement that claims the United States is every-minute-of-every-day being attacked and invaded. For years alleged pundits like Glenn Beck and Michelle Malkin have sold this racial fantasy to the American public. Consequently, a nine-year old girl has paid with her life.
For Shawna Forde, 41, Jason Bush, 34, and Albert Gaxiola, 42, Brisenia was not a young child with her whole life ahead of her; she was a member of an alleged “foreign army” whose lives hold no worth.
For nearly a decade we Americans have allowed the anti-immigrant movement to construct and to live in their own fantasy world. We chuckled while they played G.I. Joe in the dessert. We rolled our eyes while reaching for the remote when CNN allowed Lou Dobbs to spew xenophobic rhetoric nightly. We scratched our heads and flipped pages after scanning the headlines informing us that yet another national anti-immigrant leader was invited to offer official testimony before Congress.
And yet while the Minutemen are working overtime to distance themselves from this horrible crime, it appears that one of Brisenia’s murderers, Shawna Forde, was indeed a representative of an über dubious anti-immigrant organization known as the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Recently Tony Herrera, a Los Angeles based worker compensation and immigrant rights activist, surfaced a video available on YouTube. The video (taken in Yakima, Washington on November 14, 2006) shows Shawna Forde being introduced as a representative of FAIR, with FAIR being flashed on screen alongside Forde’s other organizational affiliation, the Minutemen American Defense (MAD), throughout the video.
- During an April 27, 2006, town hall meeting in Tennessee, FAIR Midwest Coordinator Susan Tully chuckled at Nashville radio talk show host Phil Valentine’s idea that border patrol agents should shoot undocumented immigrants.
- FAIR staffer Rosanna Pulido is also well-known for both her anti-Catholic and anti-Muslim statements.
Just as incriminating is FAIR’s well documented history of working hand-in-hand with individuals with ties to right-wing hardliners.
- Founder and current board member John Tanton has a lengthy history of associating with individuals involved in the white supremacist movement.
- This includes former Western Regional Coordinator Rick Oltman, who was listed as a member of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens while employed by FAIR.
Since they are in the business of defaming and vilifying entire populations, perhaps it’s time for those associated with John Tanton and FAIR to tell the truth about their backgrounds and associations with militant extremists.
More importantly, we the American public must begin demanding that the media and our political representatives cease treating the contemporary anti-immigrant movement as if they are at all “mainstream.”
The Brisenia Flores’ of the world deserve far, far better.