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Professor Takes New Look at Mexican Repatriation

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By Matt Reed, SF State News

President Donald Trump’s pledge to deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants back to Mexico has echoes from another era — the mass repatriations from the United States of approximately 1 million Mexican immigrants and U.S. citizens of Mexican descent during the Great Depression.

That’s been the subject of San Francisco State University Assistant Professor of Sociology Marla A. Ramirez’s research for the last six years, and she says she’s found similarities and one key difference between what happened in the 1930s and the political climate of today.

“Before, there was always the construction of the good immigrant and the bad immigrant,” Ramirez said. “But what we’re seeing now under Trump, unlike the 1930s, is that it has shifted to targeting immigrants in general. Even Dreamers, who are a model minority, are college students, and workers, and even if they have no criminal record, they are still being targeted for deportation.”

One similarity, she said, was the scapegoating of Mexicans that was rooted in the economic uncertainty of the time. With so many people out of work, government officials became fearful that there were too many people dependent on public benefits.

“There was the idea that immigrants were taking jobs and living off public welfare, and the solution was to create more jobs for U.S. citizens by deporting them en masse,” she said. “Initially, the plan was to repatriate every undocumented person, but that was unfeasible. The solution then was to deport Mexicans because of the proximity of the country, and also because of the rail system between the two countries, which facilitated the transportation for the mass repatriations. It was just more convenient for supporters of mass removals.”

According to Ramirez, peak removal took place between 1930 and 1933, when about 500,000 people were deported. The overall number of deportations remains in dispute.

“Reports of how many people were removed in the 1930s varies,” she said. “It varies from a half million to 2 million, but I argue that it was approximately 1 million, if the repatriations are examined between the years of 1921 and 1944, instead of only focusing on short periods during the decade of the 1930s.”

Ramirez began looking into the subject while writing her master’s thesis on the experiences of undocumented immigrants as college students. One student surprised her by saying he considered himself a U.S. citizen, even though he didn’t have papers. His grandmother was a U.S. citizen, had been removed in the 1930s and died soon after in Mexico.

Ramirez found that while there’s been a lot of research and writing about the experiences of Mexican nationals who were repatriated in the 1930s, not much has been done on the children and grandchildren of repatriated U.S.
citizens. Her work is a three-generational analysis of the prolonged consequences, socially and legally, of their forced removal.

The biggest challenge initially was finding people to interview. But in 2012, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors issued a formal apology for the county’s role in local raids and in rounding people up. That followed a 2006 state law — the Apology Act for the 1930s Mexican Repatriation Program.

The two formal apologies were commemorated with a plaque that was unveiled at a ceremony at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a Mexican-American museum and cultural center near downtown Los Angeles.

“I said, ‘I have to go. Families might be there,’” Ramirez said. “I approached them and told them about my project, and they generously agreed to be interviewed. Other participants were found by a snowball approach, through recommendations of participants who knew others who had experienced repatriation.”

The oral history became an integral part of her doctoral dissertation, and she is now revising her book manuscript and working on a book proposal. In all, Ramirez conducted 20 original oral histories and used an additional 30 interviews she found in archives in Los Angeles and El Paso, Texas. She spoke to members of a family in Anaheim, Calif., another family in Pasadena, Calif., and members of another family that is spread throughout California, Alabama and Mexico.

#NNPA BlackPress

IN MEMORIAM: Cheryl Hickmon: National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dies

NNPA NEWSWIRE — THE BURTON WIRE — Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows, in part: “It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

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Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority.

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor

The nation is mourning the passing of Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority. Hickmon was elected president of the organization dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship and service  November 21, 2021 at the 55th national convention held in Atlanta, GA.

Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows:

“It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

President Hickmon was a devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta since 1982 and served in various capacities at the chapter, region, and national level before being elected National President. She is remembered not only for her role as a leader but for being a colleague, friend, and most of all, sister.

The entire sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated mourns the loss of President Hickmon. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect her family’s privacy and keep them in your prayers.”

In addition to serving as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cheryl was employed at Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health in Hartsdale, NY where she supervised the In Vitro Fertilization Laboratories for Andrology and Endocrinology. A licensed Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Hickmon worked in the Reproductive Medical Laboratory for more than 30 years.
Members and supporters have been offering remembrances and calling for prayers in response to Hickmon’s death. Florida representative Val Demings,  who is a member of the sorority, shared her thoughts via Twitter:
Organizations including the NAACP and fellow Black Greek Letter Organizations like Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Alpha Kappa Alpha have issued statements about Hickmon’s passing.

Cheryl Hickmon is the daughter of the late Dr. Ned Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Bishopville, South Carolina and the late Consuella Anderson Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Cincinnati, Ohio. She is survived by her two older brothers Ned and David Hickmon.

Hickmon’s bio reads, “Cheryl lives her life by the motto … ‘Don’t measure life by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.’” She was 60.

This obituary was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Instagram or Twitter @TheBurtonWire. 

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Activism

Zoom Town Hall Meeting to Stop State Takeover of Oakland Schools

The Zoom Town Hall, sponsored by the Oakland Post Salon & Oakland Education Association (OEA), will take place Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S. and Canada)

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Students, parents and teachers protested in January 2019 against the closure of Roots International Academy in East Oakland as the school board voted to permanently close the school - under the guidance of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team(FCMAT) and Karen Monroe of Alameda County Office of Education. Photo courtesy of ABC7.
Students, parents and teachers protested in January 2019 against the closure of Roots International Academy in East Oakland as the school board voted to permanently close the school - under the guidance of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team(FCMAT) and Karen Monroe of Alameda County Office of Education. Photo courtesy of ABC7.

By Post Staff

There will be a Zoom town hall meeting to learn about and take action to stop the takeover of the Oakland Unified School District by superintendent L. K. Monroe of the Alameda County Office of Education and the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) on behalf of the State of California.

The Zoom Town Hall, sponsored by the Oakland Post Salon & Oakland Education Association (OEA), will take place Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S. and Canada)

Join the discussion as we seek answers to the following questions:

  • How did this happen?
  • Why is L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County office of Education, doing this?
  • What is the role of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT)?
  • Why are they trying to force us to close more schools?
  • Why do they demand massive budget cuts when schools are awash in billions of dollars of state and federal funding?
  • What can we do to stop this?

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://bit.ly/saveOUSD

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

A short video that explains the issue can be viewed at https://bit.ly/noFCMAT

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Bay Area

IN MEMORIAM: Kituria Littlejohn McConnell, 71

Kit was born July 16, 1950, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to Horace and Esther Littlejohn. She was raised in Washington, D.C., where she married Attorney Gregory (Greg) R. McConnell in 1973. The couple first met at Backus Junior High School in 1963. They attended Coolidge High School and Howard University where Kit graduated in 1972 with a degree in English.

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Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell
Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell

July 16, 1950 – Jan. 16, 2022

Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell passed away peacefully at her home in Danville, California, surrounded by her family, on Jan. 16, 2022 at the age of 71, following a two-year battle with cancer.

Kit was born July 16, 1950, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to Horace and Esther Littlejohn. She was raised in Washington, D.C., where she married Attorney Gregory (Greg) R. McConnell in 1973.

The couple first met at Backus Junior High School in 1963. They attended Coolidge High School and Howard University where Kit graduated in 1972 with a degree in English.

It was during their time together at Howard University that they dated, and Kit honored Greg by agreeing to be his lifelong partner. Their marriage extended for 48 years until Kit’s passing.

After graduation from Howard, Kit excelled as a teacher at Eastern High School. Due to her exceptional teaching and interpersonal skills, she was tapped to teach a range of students with various achievement levels.

Kit and Greg lived in the Washington, D.C., area until they moved to Hercules, California, in 1985. Her hobbies included reading, decorating, and traveling. Kit is regarded as a loving and kind woman who was thoroughly devoted to her family and friends. She was truly a good person that no one ever said an unkind word about. She was the spiritual leader of her family, firmly grounded in decency, compassion and sharing her goodwill toward all.

Kit is survived by her husband, Gregory R. McConnell; her three devoted children, Kalela Washington and husband Spencer of Olney, MD; Gregory (JR) McConnell Jr. of Oakland, CA, and Kimberley Riberdy and husband Jason of Dublin, CA; grandchildren Aliya G. Washington and Kituria J. Riberdy; sisters Phyllis Palm and Montressa Fisher; brother Horace G. Littlejohn, III; a host of loving in-laws, nieces, and nephews; and a score of lifelong devoted friends.

Kit is now reunited with her parents, Horace and Esther Littlejohn, and her sister, Millicent Littlejohn Wheeler who preceded her in death.

The family will convene a memorial service in the Washington, D.C., area this spring that will also be available for remote viewing. In lieu of flowers or other sentiments, the family requests that you go to your loved ones, hug them, and tell them you love them.

Thank you, Kit, for a love supreme.

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