On June 23, activists from Maryland gathered in front of the headquarters of WCBM Radio in Pikesville, outside Baltimore, to protest racist state Delegate Pat McDonough.
The action was organized by the ANSWER Coalition’s (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Defend the Maryland DREAM Act campaign, which was initiated largely due to the actions of McDonough in 2011, when he and other racist forces in the state successfully led a petition drive to place the Maryland DREAM Act on the Nov. 6 ballot for referendum.
As passed by the Maryland legislature, the DREAM Act would afford undocumented immigrants in-state tuition at public colleges and universities if they graduate from a Maryland high school, have paid taxes for at least three years and have a clean criminal record.
This was too much for McDonough, whose racism against immigrants is well-established. During his latest run for U.S. Congress (which he lost), he campaigned on an English-only ticket to put a wedge between immigrants and U.S.-born workers. He is continuing the same tried-and-true tactics for 2012 partly to defeat the DREAM Act, but also to get out the racist vote for a presidential election in which Maryland is widely viewed as a swing state.
McDonough’s latest crime was to say in a press release, in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin, that Maryland Governor O’Malley should send state police to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, a popular destination for locals and tourists, to bar groups of young Black men from entering.
Such racism from McDonough had been openly countered by ANSWER activists before, and the time was right to take him on again. While his 8:00 p.m. radio show took to the air, activists outside held banners reading “Defend the MD DREAM Act” and “Pat McDonough Is a Racist Bigot” and chanted continuously against McDonough and racism and for immigrants’ rights, education and equality to symbolically drown out the racism being spewed onto the radio waves.
Andrew Castro of ANSWER Baltimore, which was the primary organizing body, said “Our demonstration drew a very multinational crowd of people from all walks of life who stood in support of immigrant rights and against all forms of racism and bigotry. Pat McDonough’s divide-and-conquer tactics won’t stand a chance in the face of this type of working class unity, and our organizers are confident that more people will stand up for immigrant rights in the coming months preceeding the Nov. 6 elections and after. The DREAM Act campaign is just one struggle in the immigrant rights movement, but we will continue to build a movement that can guarantee full legal rights for all.”
Before the rally reached its end, the demonstrators gathered for a final bold action, forming up for an impromptu march directly to the radio station’s front door, where they chanted as loudly as possible to make it known to Pat McDonough and his racist allies that ANSWER activists and supporters will follow them throughout the rest of the election season as the forces that stand for justice and equality for all people. ANSWER Baltimore and the Defend the Maryland DREAM Act campaign encourages all progressive and anti-racist people to join the fight. We won’t rest until racism in Maryland and across the United States is defeated.