The throng of those who call themselves “minutemen” expressed this and various other anti-immigration statements on shirts, signs, and through verbal statements last weekend in Los Angeles when I arrived to work at Ruby’s Diner.

Two hundred years ago, the term “minutemen” referred to citizens who would be ready to fight for our nation’s integrity in a moment’s notice. After my experience with them last weekend, I hardly think that this group of citizens deserve to associate themselves with those brave men who fought for liberty and justice for all.

On Nov. 11, this group of “minutemen” were protesting the growing number of illegal immigrants crossing the Mexican border. This group of “American Patriots” came to Ruby’s Diner as customers after their demonstration. However, from the moment they entered the restaurant, they caused an uproar by photographing the Hispanic employees, asking for proof of documentation and telling other customers that they are here to “protect” our country from immigrants.

After many complaints from customers and employees for the photography, comments and the overall atmosphere, the general manager politely asked them to stop the rackus they were causing. The minutemen countered by defending their rights expressed by the First Amendment.

As customers started leaving, appalled and offended, the group was asked to leave, which they also declined, leaving the general manager no choice but to call the authorities. After the sheriff deputies and owner – who was harassed for his support of Mexican immigration – arrived, this loathsome group was finally ejected from the restaurant.

For the first time in my life, I was ashamed to be a citizen of the United States. Witnessing the aftermath of that afternoon, and seeing my friends feeling a whirlpool of emotions ranging from anger to disgrace, it literally brought tears to my eyes. I was embarrassed to be associated with these people by racial default.

I never knew a nation where people who only differed from me in skin color and background could be so hated. The victims of this crime against humanity weren’t just anonymous faces – they were my friends.

The image of chaos and hate laid out before me reminded me of the previous hate crimes committed by Nazi Germany and the Ku Klux Klan, whose justification of such crimes was the same: nationalism. Freedom and justice for all, which are written into our Constitution, are rights that should be given to all people in the United States. Can the minutemen’s nationalistic claims truly justify their bigotry? As U.S. citizens, we have the legal rights to freedom of expression and speech but should we use those rights to infringe upon the rights universal to all humans?

I write this not to persuade you to support or detest immigration, but to open your eyes to the continuing hate present in our nation. The hate and animosity I experienced that day made me realize that we need to take the initiative to stop this continuing trend of bigotry, hate and racism that we have seen throughout world history. No one deserves to be stripped of their humanity, regardless of citizenship.

Katie Winter
Nutrition junior

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *