Zola Fish is an enrolled tribal member of the Choctaw Nation living in San Diego. As a dedicated journalist and activist, she is passionate about advocating for Indigenous rights and standing in solidarity on the frontlines. In this video, Zola Fish speaks about her reason for protesting alongside the Kumeyaay Nation, which continues to fight the federal government's plans to build a border wall on their sacred ancestral land.
When I asked Zola if she or a loved one has ever felt discriminated against because of their heritage, she laughed and then sighed. I could hear the "where-do-I-even-begin" in the pause that followed.
Zola lives in Boulevard, but because she works in Alpine, going through Border Patrol checkpoints has become part of her daily routine. Her husband, Carl Muhammad, belongs to the Nipmuc tribe in Massachusetts. As a Black, Native man, going through checkpoints is anything but simple. In this audio clip, Zola talks about the discrimination that her husband has faced at these checkpoints over the last three years, compared to a White couple living in the same area.
By Zola’s request, this interview took place at Presidio Park. In history books, the Presidio Park site is described as the location of the first known European settlement in California, land "claimed" by Gaspar de Portola and Junipero Serra. If you Google it, you will see the site described as a historic park open for picnics and other leisure activities. But if you ask Zola, the park is nothing more than a reminder of the thousands of Kumeyaay people who were either driven out, murdered or forced to build the mission for the wealthy colonizers who enslaved them.