Archive for August, 2012

Over the past year we have exposed how greedy and abusive private detention corporations lock up immigrants for profit. Thanks to our work together and our partners we were able to fight back and shut down a facility in Southwest Ranches, Florida. Now we want to make you aware of an equally pressing nationwide problem.

We want to introduce you to the latest Brave New Foundation campaign, Beyond Bars. Its purpose is to change Americans’ thinking and inspire action through short videos and shareable graphics that expose the U.S. system of mass incarceration.

Think about this. The United States is spending over $200 billion a year on a justice system that locks up more people than any country on earth. We have more prisoners than China. More than Russia. More than anyone. This system is a beast — gobbling up resources that should be going to communities. WATCH THE VIDEO.

Beyond Bars will investigate corporations that profit off incarceration and politicians that use “tough on crime” rhetoric to scare voters. But we won’t just expose the negative; we’ll also show better ways to achieve public safety: things like prevention, rehabilitation, and job opportunity. This is particularly important to the Latino community as we see the rates of incarceration go up every year.

Will you join this campaign to curb mass incarceration? We want your thoughts, suggestions, and engagement as we begin this multi-year initiative. You can start now by sharing this new video to take a stand for a more just world.

Together we can make an impact,

Axel Caballero and the Cuéntame team

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In Today from the Gay Liberation Network of Chicago.
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 A hot wind is blowing through Florida this week. 

…and we’re not talking about Tropical Storm Isaac.

While the Republicans use their convention to rant about “family values” and using the American military to dominate other peoples of the world, people are out in the streets demonstrating for civil rights and against war. They are demonstrating against the Republicans and their candidates, Romney and Ryan, for their support of the 1% and their pro-war, pro-Wall Street policies.  The demonstrators are spot on.

But on September 3-5, when the Democrats meet for their convention in Charlotte, NC, the main left-of-center demonstration will have a very different tone.  The North Carolina demonstrators have chosen to focus on what they call “Wall Street South” – going out of their way to directly confront the Barack Obama and the Democratic National Convention.

After 3-1/2 years of the Obama administration, with its escalated wars, bank bail-outs, attacks on civil liberties and nationally coordinated attacks on the Occupy Movement, this is a disgusting abrogation of political responsibility.

The Gay Liberation Network is therefore part of those calling upon all those in the Chicago area and beyond who want to confront the sitting pro-war, pro-1% President and his party, to participate in an open organizing meeting to put together action(s) against the Obama National Campaign Headquarters in Chicago during the Democrats’ national convention.

Here is what and why.

At the start of the Democratic National Convention…

 Reject President 1% 

– End Obama’s wars on the world’s 99% –

While President Obama throws himself a big commercial during the DNC in North Carolina, we will be presenting a Bill of Grievances against his administration at the Obama National Campaign Headquarters in Chicago.

ABROAD
This President has escalated most of George W. Bush’s wars — Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, a new American military force on the African continent. He has continued to arm Israel while it robs even more Palestinian lands.

He has threatened, and carried out, new illegal wars on other nations.  He violated the War Powers Act to launch a sustained war on Libya.  He looks the other way while the brutal Saudi Arabian dictatorship foments civil war in Syria.  He refuses to rule out war, including use of nuclear weapons, against Iran.

He supports dictators and military coups against elected governments abroad.  He recognized and arms the military coup governments in Honduras and the Maldives, and the “constitutional” coup in Paraguay.  He arms the Saudi Arabian monarchy as it brutality suppresses its own people and invades Bahrain to support that dictatorship’s crushing of its pro-democracy movement.

He sends troops to occupy countries that don’t want them there.  U.S. troops occupy 130 countries, violating the wishes of the vast majority of most nations they occupy.  Obama’s drone attacks far exceed those of George W. Bush.  His “enemies list” of people to kill abroad and assassinations of them represents an escalation on Bush’s “extraordinary renditions” of people to torture chambers run by U.S. secret forces and U.S.-allied dictators.

He neglects the urgent needs of the 99% at home and abroad while spending a record amount on the military.  He enthusiastically supports the world’s largest-ever military alliance, NATO, while spending 67% of the federal budget on current and past wars. He spends as much on the U.S. military as the rest of the world combined, while half the world’s people live on less than $2 a day. (more…)

Jasiri X along with Rebel Diaz will be performing at the  Festivaliberacion.

.Festivaliberación/Liberation Fest is a day-long concert/festival that will take place in Charlotte, NC as the kick-off of the mobilization to March on Wall Street South and other actions around the Democratic National Convention. The festival is organized by and centered around youth, students, and immigrants, and will feature TEACH-INS, WORKSHOPS, DISCUSSIONS, SPOKEN WORD, SPEAK OUTS, other events centered around getting people (THAT MEANS YOU!) educated, aware, and involved!

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There will also be a big CONCERT in the evening featuring hip-hop, punk rock, folk, spoken word, and much more. (more…)

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Two of the very artistic letters send to Mr. Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of Connecticut.

from the Hartford Courant.

See Courant Article: Enfield Man Admits Sending Threatening Letters to Family Institute.

On Tuesday August 23 Daniel Sarno pleaded guilty to sending hundreds of threatening letters to Peter Wolfgang of the socially conservative Family Institute of Connecticut the organization that has been in the forefront in opposing any gay rights legislation in the state. The organization also opposes abortion, euthanasia, promotes alternatives to public schools and all in all sticks their nose in where it doesn’t belong . Mr. Sarno began a letter writing campaign in November of last year. U.S Postal Inspectors tracked the letters to Mr. Sarno in May and his was arrested. Sarno pleaded guilty to 2 counts of mailing threatening communications. In many of his letters he referred to people who shared the same beliefs as the Family Institute as “Bible thumping,” “fear mongering” and “sanctimonious.” Mr. Sarno will be sentenced in January.

Some thoughts on this from Furbirdsqueerly.

Many of our people know death threats daily, simply by walking outside, going to the store, to the fast food restaurant simply for being who we are. Your so called persecutor was caught Mr. Wolfgang, ours still waits in the shadows of our everyday. There is no telling when one of us again will be murdered because of intolerant folks like the Family Research Council whose rhetoric against queers and the LGBT community boils up hate amongst those who chose to persecute us. Those who kill us on the streets of America, the goon squads of the americkkkan right.

And we should cry because Mr. Wolfgang received death threats from one person. A person who was tracked down by the police we are reminded that many of those who murder our people, who make our lives a living hell go free, are never found, are never brought to justice. Yearly we read the names of the dead from the transgender community and we ask ourselves how many of our sisters and brothers don’t we know about? How many more? How many are we not counting this evening? How many of our people have been beaten, bullied, maimed, harassed, fired from their jobs, and lost everything? All queers get the picture there is no need for us to go on.

Some say we should join with the chorus of gay liberals who say no!, no! that death threats and violence are not the answer. These liberals tell us  that we should take the high road or build bridges to such folks as Mr. Wolfgang. We ask Why?  Mr. Wolfgang and company are people who would strip us of our rights because the bible tells them so. People who in many instances say we should be dead, jailed, or branded. People who open their mouths and their minions in the street beat us with fists and bats. People like Mr. Wolfgang who directly inspires crimes against lgbtq folks. They are accessories to the many crimes committed against our people now and in history past. They kill us just because we exist. Foolish liberals want us to cry and wring our hands over a few very artistic letters sent to Mr. Wolfgang. Nothing doing at this blog. Someone once said we are in a cultural war, so be it. We will fight off bigots everyday of our life. We have to for our dead. We mark each death and we remember the words used against us.

If anyone reading this knows Mr. Sarno please ask him to contact this blog. We would love to give him an art exhibition. We love art of these times and consider Mr. Sarno to be making  just that.

Notes: For a preview of The Family Institute’s 2012 agenda see: Family Institute of Connecticut Outlines Disgusting 2012 Agenda, by Frederick Mc Nulty.

This in today from No Papers No Fear. Ride For Justice

This week we visit immigrant communities living and surviving in two of the states with the harshest anti-immigrant legislations, Georgia and Alabama.

In Alabama, we worked with an immigrant rights group, Somos Tuskaloosa, celebrating their first anniversary, and worked with them to organize the first protest where their members came out of the shadows, demanded access to public education, and affirmed their right to protest, despite police intimidation. Undocumented immigrants from Tuscaloosa spoke about surviving not only a series of tornadoes in 2011, but the implementation of anti-immigrant legislation, through organizing and community building (Read Trini’s story here).

.El miedo se quedó en la carretera

While we were in Alabama, we paid a visit to Selma, where we crossed the historic Edmund Pettus bridge with civil rights leaders, who shared with us the story discrimination and struggle of Bloody Sunday, and their efforts in connecting with Latino and immigrant communities.

Before we left the state, we also visited a group of day laborers, who were victims of police harassment and violation of their rights by housing administrators, until they also organized and fought back. We spoke to them about the power of knowing our rights, and supported them in creating a committee, that will work towards having a worker’s center in Hoover, Alabama. [Read Eleazar’s reflections on that meeting here]

Then we entered Georgia, the day after the United States court of appeals affirmed the right of police to check the immigration status of people suspected of crimes without ‘proper’ identification. We met with Popular Committees in Tifton and Warner Robins, sharing our stories and strategies for organizing. We talked about coming out of the shadows not only as a form of political strategy, but as a way to survive, as we have learned that we are safer out of the shadows than hiding.

Today we arrive in Atlanta, to protest in front of the Immigration Detention Center, and continue to speak with undocumented community about losing fear and the power of organizing.

Sincerely,
No Papers No Fear riders (more…)

You gotta check out the article Queer Interrupted. It is indeed one of the better essays that we have read in a long time. Thanks to Deric for sending the article our way.

Here is the opening:

In February, the San Francisco Police Department released their contribution to the It Gets Better phenomenon.Watch it here. In it, SFPD officers tell their life stories, cry, celebrate their jobs, and offer words of encouragement to queer youth. Each officer speaks of the painful silence of closeted life, suicidal tendencies overcome, the excitement of coming out, and final deliverance into a rewarding career as a police officer. The officers each assure us that it gets better, if we are only patient enough. Then they urge queer youth to call on them for help, insisting that until it gets better, SFPD will be there. Having survived the daily misery of growing up a fag in a conservative Midwestern farm town, I get sick watching these police officers attempt to identify with the pains of queer youth. Even revisiting the video, I’m confronted by an enemy who offers sympathy and solidarity to people who’ve struggled against police in similar ways.

The ending reads like this:

Queerness is the name of our combat with policing in the here-and-now, but also of what binds us to a tradition of combat and interruption. Through this dialectic between queerness and policing we can then begin to materially understand exactly what the half-critique of assimilation grasps at. Assimilation is not a departure from the liberating progression of history, it’s the reassertion of the police order which progressive teleology guarantees. Assimilation is the constant return to the police. It is the closure of these moments of queer interruption. If this is our standard of queerness, those assimilated subjects must be understood as not queer at all, because they are fully subsumed within the function of the police. This is the context which exposes It Gets Better as utterly absurd: The police who solicit our patience to wait for it to get better are structurally bound to the police who ensure that it never will.

read the rest HERE.  http://thenewinquiry.com/essays/queer-interrupted/

This in from No Papers No Fear Ride for Justice.

The US Commission on Civil Rights held a briefing in Alabama on the impact of state-based immigration laws. They invited the author of SB1070 and the sponsor of Alabama’s hate law.

Kris Kobach can’t testify about the impact of immigration laws. Undocumented people can. Riders from No Papers No Fear interrupted his speech until they were escorted out. We came back stronger and demanded we be included. By not backing down, we won our inclusion for the day.

Film by Barni and Jorge
Edited by Jorge Torres
Interpreter Gaby Benitez (more…)