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This summer, a courageous group of migrants risked deportation in a cross-country trip asking police, leaders, and the public to work toward humanization—not “Arizonafication”—of national policy. This piece - written by Marisa Franco - was originally published in Yes Magazine.



The No Papers No Fear riders speak at an event New Orleans, La. Photo by No Papers No Fear – Ride for Justice.

Most of the buses that depart from the downtown Phoenix Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office toward the border between the United States and Mexico leave broken dreams and separated families in their wake. But this summer a different type of bus departed from that same city to promote a new ending to that story.

By boarding a bus and declaring their immigration status, riders were taking a significant risk to tell their story.

b-undocuDays before a bus filled with undocumented people and their allies was to take off from Phoenix, Arizona, one rider was interviewed by the New York Times. The reporter asked, “Last month when I interviewed you, you wouldn’t tell me your full name. Now you will. What changed?” The rider responded, “I am no longer afraid.”

48 hours later Letty Ramirez, Miguel Guerra, Natally Cruz, and Isela Meraz, stepped off the curb outside of Sheriff Arpaio’s racial profiling trial and into the street with a banner that said, “No Papers No Fear.”  They announced themselves as undocumented and unafraid of the Sheriff finally on trial.  The thing that had kept them at times house-bound, and most afraid was the thought of ending up inside Arpaio’s jail. Now, the four were entering willingly as part of an act of civil disobedience and the start of what would be a six week odyssey, the No Papers No Fear Ride for Justice that will soon come to an end at the Democratic National Convention In Charlotte after Labor Day weekend.

Published in B Loewe
Saturday, 01 September 2012 00:00

4 Years Later – Why the DNC

Dignity is Here stencil

With an opponent like Mitt Romney its a valid question why we are heading to the Democratic National Convention.

The platform coming out of the Republican National Convention and the politics of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan send a clear message of where the party stands.  It represents a roll back not only to immigrant communities, it also rolls back civil and labor rights, the rights of women, bans marriage equality.  All this plus it promises more of the same economic policy continues to advantage the 1% at the cost of the 99%.

Published in Marisa Franco
Friday, 31 August 2012 00:00

Priscila get some Love from Labor

Steve and Ben at Atlanta rally

We are riding a 1972 MCI Challenger bus in our journey across the southwestern and southeastern part of the United States.  This bus, who came baptized with the name ‘Priscila’ has been used in organizing tours mostly on climate justice issues.  Inside she is more like an RV, with benches, a small kitchen and even bunk beds in the back.

Published in Marisa Franco
Thursday, 30 August 2012 17:53

Las Mariposas ~ The Butterflies | Marisa

 August 29, 2012

2012-08-28 15.48.51

Its been more than a few times that while driving in between cities butterflies appear around us, and I’ve wondered whether or not they’re coming along for the ride or if its simply normal for them to be in these parts this time of the year.  Their timing coincides with the image of the butterfly growing as a symbol of this ride. That is one of the funnest things to experience in organizing – when something begins to take on a life of its own.  I love the possibility of an idea, a sense of something and not having a clue what it will become in the end. I am thankful that I am still willing to try things that I don’t have an idea of what the outcome will be. But having a sense of the possibility, and that it could be good, makes taking a chance, the risk is worth it.

Published in Marisa Franco






The US Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing in Alabama on the impact of state-based immigration laws. They invited the author of SB1070 and the sponsor of Alabama's hate law. In this video, the riders from the Undocubus respond, bringing the idea that "We are Undocumented and Unafraid" to life! 

Published in Culture
Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:33

Fernando: Reclamar tu libertad

Fernando es un artista de Hip-hop, cocinero, y fotógrafo quien era detenido por un més en Arizona donde vive y organiza con el movimiento pro-migrante. Está participando en la jornada para enseñar los derechos y compartir las historias de él y de los en los centros de detención.

Fernando is a hip-hop, artist, cook, and photographer who was detained for a month in Arizona where he lives and organizes as part of the migrant rights movement. He's on the bus to make sure people know their rights and share his story as well as the story of those he met in detention.

Listen to more of Fernando's music at

Más info: / More Info:

Published in Video


In the magic hour, under the light of a full moon it was a long good bye in Phoenix Arizona for a group setting off to defy unjust laws in order to dignify them.

The scene was frenetic. A group hunched over a generator, trying out the 5th theory of how to kick start some a/c. The flowing finishing touches of clear coat paint, a labor of love created by many different people. Bags being packed, like a crowded freeway when everyone’s trying to get home.

Published in Marisa Franco

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About the Author

  • Marisa currently works as Campaign Coordinator for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.  She joined NDLON’s staff during the upsurge of movement in reaction to human rights crisis in her native state of Arizona.  She continues to support the emerging human rights movement in Arizona, along with local campaigns to end criminalization across the country.  Marisa comes out of multi-racial organizing across community and labor issues.  Previously she has worked for POWER, Domestic Workers United, Right to the City Alliance and helped form the National Domestic Workers Alliance.  She is a from Guadalupe, Arizona and studied at Arizona State University.  Read more of Marisa's writing on at and follow her on twitter at @marisa_franco.

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