This was the fifth day of the Walk Against Fear. The past few days have been a learning experience. We walked by three youth who told us to go back to our country, we’ve walked by several Confederate flags, and today seven police cars drove by us. Four of those cars stopped us.
The first policeman stopped us because he heard a complaint from someone due to the fact that there was a 12-year old (Laura) accompanying us. He asked to see my license and I showed it to him. I did this because I didn’t want anything to happen to anyone who was walking with me. Most everyone on this walk is undocumented, and I am also the oldest, and the one whose idea it was to go through with this. The cop didn’t have a reason to stop us at all, and after he asked for my license he did a background check on me. He said he wanted to see if there was warrant out for my arrest or something. When the record came up clean, he said we could carry on and then mentioned that he was concerned about the safety of bridge that was coming up. Still though, we know that the police was intimidating us.
When this ended, I asked for his name and badge number he asked me, “You’re not going to complain about me, are you?” This is probably his way of acknowledging that he did something wrong.
After the first policeman stopped we called our attorneys who gave us advice as to what might happen. I definitely feel that the air is heavier in Coldwater, MS, and that it will get heavier as we walk. Given that HB 488 is being discussed in Mississippi (the Alabama copycat law), this walk has taken on a new significance and we are all taking on a greater risk by walking and existing. We began the rest of our trajectory by chanting “Undocumented, Unafraid!” and just kept on walking. We know that we are in difficult territory, we also know that many people out there believe in what we are doing, and that is what keeps us going.
I don’t know what will happen as the days go by, but I’m sure all of us will learn from it. Until then, those of us participating in the Walk Against Fear will continue to exercise our human rights. Sadly, Laura, our youngest walker had to go. She cried, but will be with us on weekends. If everyone else had the same desire to change things as she did, we would not need this walk. With HB 488 being discussed, we know this walk has taken on a whole new meaning.