Start With a Bang, End With a Book

Cecile Pineda
7 min readSep 15, 2020

Last Wednesday the sky fell over the Western States. Skies over San Francisco’s Bay Bridge that morning turned chocolate, not milk chocolate, dark chocolate. Half a million people have been evacuated from their homes as fires spread over all the Western States, dozens of people have been killed or reported missing, the deaths of at least 6 people have been confirmed (not the over 90 number who died last year because of our local utility, PG&E’s, affinity for manslaughter); millions of acres of wild forest, the trees and the animals that make it their habitat have been immolated. This event is a repeat of the multistate conflagration as reported on Sept 15, 1902 by the San Francisco. Call. As I write we are in our 7th day of dangerously polluted air, some readings exceeding 400 ppm (that’s particles per million) and today’s readings over the Bay Area still hover at 175 ppm. Colorado already reports a slight overpall of whispy smoke. Next week I hope to address the further implications of this catastrophic event. Please visit the ACTION section below if you are able to help.

Mean time the US pre-election Saturnalia continues with solicitations round the clock to keep these abject excuses for rulers in power as youth leading the Sunrise Movement, who represent a generation with little hope of a future remind us: “This is an imminent existential threat.” Right now, not next year, or next decade, or in the next 50 years. NOW. Revisiting the thought of Gene Debs, which I also hope to do next week, has been an eye opener for this writer, who marvels that already by 1875 he was beginning to see that the struggle between the elites and the working classes amounted to a war.

Entry Without Inspection

For some years now, I, along with many of my fellow and sister activists, have been demonstrating outside the San Francisco Headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Headquarters. Once I held the space alone until one reinforcement arrived a half hour later, sometimes we were 4 or 5 crying in the wilderness, Eventually our numbers swelled to nearly 300. The best demonstration was led by Buddhist priests from San Francisco’s Japantown and elsewhere. Elderly Japanese women, two of them sisters, one a diminutive 89 years old, and incarcerated in 1942 in Chrystal City concentration camp, gave testimony of how racist US policies have played out, even against its own naturalized citizens. It climaxed with a walking meditation, and because there were nearly 300 of us passing through two intersections as we walked, we were able to block part of San Francisco’s financial district.

I began addressing US immigration policy in 2009 when I first interviewed a Jewish woman activist working in the Patterson N.J. jails to aid the immigrants detained there, some from Iraq, Jamaica, Guiana, and other parts of the world. She had come to prominence because she became the first person ever to report a death in detention, the death of a Pakistani taxi driver who had simply disappeared without a trace inside the bowels of the bureaucracy. That led to a 2009 New York Times article identifying as many as 106 deaths in ICE detention accompanied by a coroners report. (Note: cause of death sometimes listed as asphyxiation.)

At the time I had absolutely no idea that I was taking the first step on the journey to discover my authentic origins. Although I did not come into the world an orphan, as I was raised all the truths of my past were deliberately held from me. It’s only with the publication of my debut novel, Face, where I first shed a married name to reclaim the name of my birth (which happens to be matrilineal from my great grandmother) that my journey of discovery began which would eventually lead back to the name’s origin in 1746 and to the surprising revelation that climaxes the book.

Entry Without Inspection chronicles that story against a background which records the beginning and evolution of US immigration policy, recently come to the forefront of our attention since, as a result of family separation, the first child-in-detention was reported dead, a little Maya Q’eqchi girl, who before setting out on her walk of two thousand miles from her destitute village in Guatemala to reach the US border where she would meet her death, had received the gift of her first pair of shoes.

Remember her name: Jakelin Caal, Presente!


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READ: The 2020 election and what you can do.

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CALL on CA leaders to combat the climate crisis that burned up 3 million acres

STOP #$5 hiding election security from Congress


Super victory for human race: Duane Arnold, Iowa’s only Nuclear Power Plant has shut down as Iowa now gets 42% power from wind.

UK government says NO to opencast coal mining in Druridge Bay.

Montano condemned to serve 133 years for Jesuit murders of 1989 in El Salvador..

Australian youth sue to stop coal mine expansion.

Dramatic evidence in Assange trial as Prof. Mark Feldstein testifies in no way do publishers get to be prosecuted because for press, publishing classified information is a daily occurrence,

Blocking #45 gutting of methane regulation, coalition of state and local governments sue EPA.

Targeting ExxonMobil, Connecticut joins wave of climate lawsuits suing fossil giants.

Farewell to Big Oil? BP admits demand ay have already peaked, predicts growth of renewables.

Milliions demand Congressional action on COVID relief.

Massachusetts joins Maine, putting ranked choice voting on the ballot.

Social justice demonstrations mark first week of NFL by remaining in locker room, linking arms, and taking the knee during national anthem, following Kaepernick’s earlier, courageous example.

Payday Strike Tracker records more than 1,000 strikes across the US since March 1.

Draft Report from Homeland Security names white supremacist terror as the gravest threat to US.

Post Master Dejoy under House investigation for alleged campaign finance violations and perjury to congress.

Condemning attempt at voter suppression, Colorado sues Dejoy over misleading Postal Service mailers.

Rochester police chief and deputy chief resign as police department is accused of literal cover up in death of Daniel Prude whose head was covered with a hood, allowing him to suffocate.

CNN anchor shuts down Republican’s attempt to dodge #45 lies.

Those “vaccines”: Oxford and AstraZeneca COVID vaccine trials put on hold after a UK participant suffers emergency spinal cord infection.

Voting reports indicate tiny leads favor needs of Latino voters in 4 key states: AZ, FLA, NC, and Penn.

Philadelphia to temporarily back landlords from enforcing evictions.

The list of NBA arenas to be given over he voting sites this year now numbers 20.

Protesting the police murder of homeless immigrant by officer originally disciplined in San Francisco, hunger strikers demand police reform in Antioch, California.

Hoping to solve the digital divide, Irregulators halt billions in wireless subsidies in favor of fiber optics for kids returning to school, many of whom can’t go online.

Will we grab it? New plan to avert climate catastrophe would create millions of new jobs and save US families money, freeing economy of carbon dependence in 15 years.

Following police shooting of now-paralyzed Jacob Blake, Madison protests celebrate 4th peaceful night.

Huge vindication for Oceti Sakowin water protests as U.S. District Court judge Daniel Taylor allows lawsuit challenging law enforcement use of munitions and fire hoses in freezing weather, to go forward.

Red Fawn Fallis finally free after 4 incarcerated years after joining NODAPL stand at Oceti Sakowin as a medic and falsely imprisoned.

Citizens of Toronto rally in support of Six Nations people arrested in land dispute with Govt. of Canada.

Yes on proposition 16 promoting equal opportunity for all endorsed by the LA Times.

CA Governor Newsom signs bill allowing inmate firefighters to have their records expunged.

Believe it when you see it: #45 to ban oil drilling off Coasts of Florida, Georgia and S.C.

Top green group aims record #100 million at defeating #45 and Republicans.

Countering misinformation flowing from ‘highest levels’ ACLU launches voter preparedness campaign.

New York’s state Senate attacks US monopoly crisis.

Pittsburgh’s black farmers work to grow a new future.


Heard in a N.Y. subway: I can’t believe people are comparing Trump to Satan. Sure he’s evil, but certainly not as evil as Trump.

Dr. Falsie never got the sense that #45 was downplaying COVID-19.

Vote for a fossil-free cabinet. Sounds like a refreshing idea.

Sunday grimmie article title on Common Dreams: A Thank You Letter From Coronavirus to My Enablers in the United States.