Our VoiceImmigration

Biking Beyond Bigotry: The Best Time of My Life


Guest Blogger • May 31, 2011

By Kiko

The days between April 28 and May 6 were some of the best moments of my life.

During that time, we – the riders of the Biking Beyond Bigotry tour – embarked on a spectacular trip full of challenges and adventures, happiness and solidarity.

It was a bike trip and a speaking tour with an important objective: to spread awareness about how socially and culturally prejudiced some environmental activists are; to show that these individuals only live for themselves, without caring about the harm they are causing others and for whole families.

Politics and biking, when intertwined with the same objective, became two different group passions circulating through Arizona’s arid deserts and forests, as we sought to inform people about the false, bigoted ideas that blind some environmentalist organizations.

With our tour, we tried to demonstrate that, for some countries, the solution to pollution problems is not to forcefully displace immigrants; rather, we sought to allow others to see that immigrants and non-immigrants are equal, that we are all humans with rights, all people who should not be forced to suffer for the reductive ideas and simple betterment of a small group.

One night, a woman came up to me to query the motives behind and for more information about the trip.

I saw her eyes fill with amazement: she could not believe what was happening with Arizona’s immigration laws, how they are impacting lives through policing methods rooted in profiling. When I explained what some purposefully ill-informed environmental organizations promote, she looked at me more in shock than in amazement.

I told her that they publish information that is steadfastly anti-immigrant; I told her that they believe that the only solution to pollution problems is to deport the have-nots who are among those who suffer most; I told her, among other ridiculous notions, they want people to believe that immigrants “pollute” more while living here in the United States than they do while in their home countries.

This made me ask myself, “how is it possible that a person with limited resources contaminates and emits more CO2 than a person with a high-level of economic advantages?” After all, people within the upper class have the opportunities to (and do) own more than one car and to constantly replace “old” belongings with “brand new” products.

In comparison, people with limited resources, instead of simply trashing broken items, try to fix, to restore, and to recycle/reuse such belongings.

Another of the most memorable moments of the trip was when the desert heat was so oppressive, and we were on an immensely intense climb, and the pains throughout my body made me consider quitting, but the memory and the understanding of our objective gave me the strength to keep pedaling, to keep pushing forward.

And while climbing my mind drifted to thinking about our trip’s name, “Biking Beyond Bigotry,” and I told myself, “come on, keep going, continue through the psychological barriers you have created for yourself. Your body can do more. You must make an effort to bring this information to other places, to spread these realities, to help to create communities that want to support human rights, to generate a strong network that can and will inform people of what is wrong with these anti-immigrant organizations.”

It was a long slope, seemingly endless, but the determination that fueled our objective was greater and stronger than the situation in which I found myself.

Aside from the pains, heat, and exhaustion, the ideas were and are worth spreading, worth nurturing, and are worth reinforcing others’ understandings of the bigoted arguments that are fueling the white nationalist and the anti-immigrant movement(s).

On our trip, we formed bases that should result in solid structures capable of protecting and aiding our immigrant brothers and sisters.

These structures should also be capable of showing the world and the people of other countries that immigrants are not alone here in America. They have people who support them, who stand by their sides: communities of people who, simply put, are waiting for them with open arms.

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This is the sixth blog post in an ongoing series written by riders who participated in the recent Biking Beyond Bigotry bicycling tour. From April 28th to May 5th, ten individuals from across the nation pedaled over 350 miles to speak out against the greening of hate. Along their route from Flagstaff to Tucson, Arizona, the riders spoke with members of local communities across their route. Their messages included immigration myths and facts around population stabilization, the anti-immigrant movement’s attempts to “green” bigotry, and steps that environmentalists can take to counter such attacks. The initiative of this speaking tour was to directly counter the greening of hate through awareness, education, and the formation of alliances to defeat racism disguised as environmentalism.

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Enrique Sandoval Galvez is the art teacher at The American School of Pachuca in Pachuca, Hdg. Mexico, he is also president of the eco club which focuses on sustainability and the environment at the school.
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