New Actors in the Chicago Protests
In spring 2006, immigrants and their supporters staged the largest mass mobilizations in Chicago’s history. This chapter examines the participation of new actors who united their voices with more seasoned activists to demand immigrant rights in Chicago. It argues that the conceptual framework guiding immigrant protests in Chicago was not a cohesive body of shared meanings that might characterize what we traditionally have considered social movements. Rather, this framework is best characterized as a set of common referents provided by the lived experiences of communities of immigrants, their non-immigrant family members, and Latinos at large. This chapter explores how the common referent of family has become a source of political identification and mobilization among mixed-status families and youth. The work presented here is part of the larger Immigrant Mobilization Project at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
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