Terry Anderson, who called himself the Prisoner of South Central (Los Angeles) died earlier today, and the silence is already deafening.
For more than a decade, Terry had broadcast his loud and angry Sunday night radio show from Los Angeles under the motto of:
"Articulating The Popular Rage"
His constant tag-line was:
"If You Ain't Mad, You Ain't Payin' Attention"
When blue-collar Black Americans across the nation began to lose control of their neighborhoods, their occupations, their schools and their livelihoods because of immigration during the 1990s, Terry -- above all others -- refused to be silent.
For more than 15 years, nobody has been a more outspoken champion of the cause of Black Americans against the unfair competition of immigration.
Terry's anger at what immigration had done to the historic Black neighborhoods of South Central L.A. pushed him onto stages across California and eventually across America. Usually proudly wearing overalls and doing nothing to disguise his small business and auto mechanic livelihood, Terry became one of the most popular orators in the movement to protect U.S. workers from illegal immigration.
Sadly, few of the traditional civil rights leaders -- Black or White -- have said a word in defense of Black Americans when it comes to immigration. Most of them have decided that the pain inflicted disproportionately on Black Americans is acceptable because immigration provides the leaders with other benefits. That is what made Terry's work so important and so courageous -- and so unique.
As far as I know, Terry had led a rather provincial life until immigration began to totally overwhelm his neighborhood. But he soon was seeing America. I first met him on the set of a cable TV show in Washington DC. It was his first time to see the nation's Capital. When taping was over late in the evening, I had the great privilege of driving Terry around all the lighted monuments of DC as the night tour evoked emotional patriotic expressions from him at the first-time sighting of each landmark.
Terry loved America, even when parts of America (including, sadly, some people who agree with the need to reduce immigration) still didn't see Black Americans as equally deserving and equally important parts of our national community. Terry always made those of us White Americans in the movement feel that he believed we cared as much about the Black victims in his Black neighborhood as we cared about White victims. And because of that, I sense that he created a lot more real and heart-felt concern throughout the movement for the disproportionate victimization of Black Americans by our nation's immigration policies.
MANY HEROES DIE BEFORE SEEING THE POSSIBILITY OF VICTORY DURING LONG BATTLES FOR CHANGE
Terry becomes the latest of a long list of grassroots patriots who selflessly devoted large amounts of their time and resources to this cause and have died without seeing a truly hopeful sign that the nation can be saved from the promiscuous immigration policies of the last 45 years.
He fought to the end in the hope that we might one day return to traditional levels of immigration and the rule of law in protecting the most vulnerable of Americans. But he died while the trajectory of his California continues to be abysmal deterioration.
Those of us who continue to live can honor Terry and all the other fallen patriots of the immigration-reduction movement by refusing to allow the status quo immigration policies to exist indefinitely. At some point, patriots in our numbers will begin to die with real evidence that the long, long effort for change will prevail before much of what we hold dear in our country is devastated.
If Terry couldn't live to see the victory, let's hope that at least those of us who knew Terry and were inspired by him will live to see it -- and without having to set any longevity records!
At this moment, though, Terry, I AM mad and I AM paying attention to the fact that our federal government is working even more vigorously to hurt Black Americans through its immigration policies than when you and I threw ourselves into this fight.
You know that I and NumbersUSA have always given special attention to the special threats immigration poses to Black Americans. You heard me express these concerns numerous times when we spoke from the same platforms, and we will speak even more forcefully now to attempt to compensate for the loss of your voice. And I know that although your special concern was for Black victims, your activism was for Americans of all races.
We've all lost a great advocate.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Messages and cards may be sent to:
12400 Ventura Blvd. #643
Studio City, CA 91604
Public Tributes to Terry
-- Richard of CA
-- Lana of MO
I feel very sad at the loss of this great American patriot. He did what I think is everyone's reason for being on this earth, that is, to take a stand, to speak up, to fight to right wrongs, and to make a positive difference in the world. Terry may not have lived to see a positive change in our country's immigration chaos, but he has inspired many other people by his passion and activism.
-- Kathleen of NJ
-- Ernest of NY
-- Julia of CA
-- Brabara of CA
-- Donna of TN
-- Robert of AZ
Updated: Mon, Aug 16th 2010 @ 3:24pm EDT