Protestors decry Savage hate speech
Protestors simulate death from self-starvation at a vigil
outside the office of Clear Channel in San Francisco yesterday.
Photos by John
August 16, 2007
Bay Area community groups held a vigil yesterday outside the
offices of Clear Channel Communications in San Francisco to condemn
comments made by conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage.
"Let them fast until they starve to death," Savage
said July 5 on his radio show The Savage Nation.
Savages's comments fuelled public outrage and led to a condemnation
by a majority of San Francisco supervisors.
Savage's comments were directed at students on a week-long fast
that began July 2 in five cities across California including San
Francisco, to urge Congress to support the Dream Act.
introduced in the Senate by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Richard
Durbin (D-IL), would allow children of illegal immigrants, who
have obtained a high school diploma, to pursue higher education
or military service with temporary legal status and the possibility
of permanent citizenship.
The bill asserts that children who were brought to this country
by their parents, and by default have inherited their parent's
illegal immigrant status, cannot be held responsible for their
status as illegal immigrants since they had no say in their parents'
decision to illegally move to the United States.
Furthermore, the act would provide eligible students with a six-year
temporary conditional status allowing the students to remain in
the United States lawfully. During that period participants would
be required to complete either two years of college, or serve
in the military for two years. After completing either of the
requirements, students can apply for permanent legal residency
and become citizens of the United States.
"No one has heard about the Dream Act," cried Marta
Zelaya from Castro Valley. She said she spent most of her childhood
growing up in San Francisco's Mission district. "The coverage
where Latinos are concerned is not always there and what Michael
Savage said is wrong. These are not gangbangers, these are students
who want to make a difference."
San Jose resident Glen Garner said he is a regular listener of
Savage's radio show and came to the vigil to provide balance to
"I'm not necessarily against these people. I think that
there's an underlying reason why they're here," Garner said.
"I think maybe they've been misdirected or misguided in that
he [Michael Savage] has taken the issue of illegals and that they're
lawbreakers, and he's brought it out. It is a big issue."
Meanwhile, some of the people inside the Clear Channel building
could be seen looking out of a window at the protest while protesters
staged a die-in.
Dressed in white and wearing skeletal face paint, protestors
lay on the ground to simulate being dead as the crowd chanted,
"this is what you want! This is what you want!"
Some protestors, who support the Dream Act and condemned Savage
for his hate speech, said they do not support the demand for Clear
Channel to cease broadcasting of Savage's radio show.
"I disagree with what they do completely," said Raul
Reyes. "It doesn't matter what somebody says, it's still
Raul, a schoolteacher in Concord, came to the United States from
Mexico nineteen years ago on a student visa and could not work
in the United States legally at the time. He said he earned a
college degree from Mexico and sympathizes with students who are
eligible for the Dream Act.
"That's a tough one because they had no say when they came,"
"There was a moment when after getting married with a citizen,
and that's how I became a citizen, when there was a complete new
freedom, and now I can do what my college degree calls for,"
Meanwhile, the crowd protested with chants and spoke through
bullhorns chanting "hate speech is not free speech,"
and demanded Savage's comments be condemned.