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WESPAC is a member of the Hudson Valley Community Coalition which is working hard to change the public discourse around immigration: http://hvccoalition.org
Please share widely:
Rally with us on Monday, March 20th at 12 noon in downtown White Plains to support public education in our next installment of Justice Mondays!
Our vital institution, a cornerstone of our democracy, is under attack at every level. The Trump/DeVos agenda at the federal level, along with the push in Albany to send our tax dollars to charter, private and religious schools together pose an existential threat to public education. Silence equals acceptance. Join us to fight back!
Please share the Facebook event widely: https://www.facebook.com/events/254399864963585/
Groups that are part of the Westchester Social Justice Community:
Call to Action Hudson Valley: Syrian Refugee Crisis: https://www.facebook.com/calltoactionhv/
Community Voices Heard: www.cvhaction.org
Concerned Families of Westchester: https://www.facebook.com/ConcernedFamiliesofWestchester/
Food & Water Watch: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/state/new-york
Hudson Valley Community Coalition: http://hvccoalition.org/
Lower Hudson Valley Progressive Action Network: https://www.facebook.com/LHVPAN/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE
Mount Vernon United Tenants: http://mvut.org/
Indivisible Rivertowns: https://www.facebook.com/groups/indivisiblewestchesterrivertowns/
Indivisible Westchester: http://www.indivisiblewestchester.org/
Prevent Gun Violence—Westchester: http://www.preventgunviolence.org/
Sustainable Port Chester Alliance: https://www.facebook.com/portchesteralliance/
Up and Up Action Initiative: https://www.facebook.com/UUAction/?fref=ts
Walkabout Clearwater: https://walkaboutclearwater.org/music/home.php
WESPAC Foundation: https://wespac.org/
Westchester for Change: https://www.facebook.com/groups/westchester4change/
The New York State Farmworker Fair Labor Act (S.1743/A.1792) will, when enacted, allow for basic labor protections many of us take for granted: overtime pay, disability insurance and the right to collective bargaining – rights which the New Deal guaranteed a most workers decades ago, excluding farmworkers. The individuals who cultivate and pick the items we consume daily deserve the same rights as the rest of us. Our speakers will reveal how food justice models can turn our meals into an act of activism and a way to preserve the dignity of our workers. Join us to learn more about how policy, or the absence of one, intersects with our daily living! Action items will be presented on how local efforts can make these reforms a reality.
Speakers: Gerardo Gutierrez, NYC Justice for Farmworkers Campaign
Sarah Ahmed, Student Farmworker Alliance
Douglass DeCandia, Local Farmer for the Westchester Food Bank
Guisela Marroquín, Community Organizer, Lower Hudson Valley NYCLU
When: Sunday, October 26
2:00 – 4:00PM
Where: Fordham University – Westchester Campus
400 Westchester Avenue
West Harrison, NY 10604
RSVP: Space is limited so please contact us at –
New York Civil Liberties Union and WESPAC Foundation
Let's join them in action for the NY Dream Act from home.Pick up that phone and make the call to Silver and let him know you stand with undocumented youth and support the NY Dream Act.
The NY Dream Act is currently being held in the Governmental Operations Committee in the Assembly. Please call the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and ask him to put up the NY Dream Act (A6829/S4179) for a vote in the Assembly, then call the Chair of the Governmental Operations committee and ask him to move the NY DREAM Act through the committee, see the numbers below.
Sample script: “I'm calling to urge that (legislators name) support the NY DREAM Act and allow undocumented students to be given an equal opportunity to the tuition assistance program, please move the NY DREAM Act to the floor for a vote ”
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver
NYC office: 212-312-1420 / Albany: 518-455-3791
Chair, Governmental Operations Committee
Albany: 518-455-4804 / District office: 631-751-3094
SAVE the DATE & Attend the Urgent Count Down NY Dream Act Rally
WHEN: Wednesday, June 6th from 2-6pm
WHERE: 250 Broadway, New York, NY 10007. Map
For more questions contact us at [email protected]
LATINO YOUTH DEFINES DREAM ACT AS A DE FACTO MILITARY DRAFT
We write this statement to raise our voices as Latino youth working and living in the Bronx, New York in opposition to the DREAM ACT as it stands. We demand that we return to our original DREAM ACT that had a community service option instead of a military one. The military has been losing their numbers due to the multiple wars the US has begun. The DREAM ACT would hand us over on a platter to fight these unjust wars. The DREAM ACT has been warped over the years to draft Latino youth into the military, as they need more and more soldiers to fight their wars.
We have been living under harsh conditions. Our communities have been historically underprivileged, with militarized streets, schools that seem more like jails than educational institutions, and poverty that pushes people to desperation and sadness. We have grown up with the trauma of having our family members and friends detained, jailed, and deported. But we are strong and determined, so we keep onwards. We have stood next to our parents as they worked as street vendors, as they were ticketed, arrested, and sometimes assaulted by police for trying to make a living. We, as youth, have also been ticketed and arrested alongside our parents. We have come to understand what it is to be humiliated and then stand and fight for what is right, what is principled, what is just. Our parents’ unrelenting strength to fight for us and their rights have taught us to always stand up for what is right and never sell out.
We have asked ourselves “Is the DREAM ACT an advantage or disadvantage for us as immigrant youth?” Many of us were excited about the possibility of getting documents and finally being able to be recognized as human beings, be able to get a job, an education, and help our families. Along with our teachers and mentors we delved into community organizing and becoming politically conscious. We began learning about our history and our people’s resistance. We then expanded to other cultures and histories and began to appreciate them. We marched side by side with youth from all over the world including South Asia and the Middle East. We saw that within our hearts there was no difference, and enjoyed each other’s company and diversity. Our spirits were momentarily paralyzed when we began learning about the effects of war and how their families and communities had been destroyed. We began to ask ourselves “How can we stop these wars, how can we help?” Our political education allowed us to see through the military propaganda and the army recruiters in our blocks and schools. Speaking to our peers we saw how the military was using them to fight wars that didn’t concern us and killed our friends. This forced us to look at the DREAM ACT a lot closer.
THE DREAM ACT REVEALED
In order to qualify for the DREAM ACT you have to have migrated before the age of 16 and have proof of residence in the United States for 5 consecutive years since the date of arrival. Also, you have to have graduated from high school or have a GED. This would eliminate many of our older youth, those that did not finish high school, and recent arrivals. You must then complete the following:
1. Serve two years in the military, or;
2. Finish two years of bachelor’s program or higher degree in the US.
What happened to the community service option that the original DREAM ACT contained? Why did our supposed advocates allow for the removal of the community service option? Was it because it became in this form the DREAM ACT became winnable? At what expense?
Two Years of College
The first option on the DREAM ACT is to go to school for at least 2 years; this is great for people who can afford the high tuition rates. But what about those of us who do not have enough money for the tuition, the books, and personal expenses? Also let’s not forget about our families who have more than one undocumented child who needs to go to school to get their papers.
DREAM ACT proponents say that most people will not go to the military, that they can afford school if we work. Unfortunately those folks are distanced from our realities and don’t understand our economic hardships. We broke down the cost of each year in school without the aid of Pell Grants or Financial Aid for attending 2 years of a 4 years University; our calculations were the following for a university in Ohio, which does not allow in-state tuition for undocumented students:
Cleveland State University: Out of State
12 Credit Hours – $7,884.00 X 2 = 1 Year = $15,768.00 X 2 years = $31,536.00
Expenses for Students Living at Home with their Parents = $6,568.00 X 2 years = 13,136.00
GRAND TOTAL = $44,672.00
Only 10 states allow for undocumented students to pay for in-state tuition. The majority of undocumented youth would have to pay amounts as stated in the example above. We are lucky to be in New York as it is one of the states that allow undocumented youth to apply for in-state tuition. At the same time we understand that by accepting the terms under the DREAM ACT most youth would not have the same opportunity we do here in New York. Undocumented youth in states like North Carolina, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico would be forced to take the military option in large numbers as they would not be able to pay the high prices of education. For this reason we do not support the DREAM ACT.
2 Years of Military Requirement
We, the VAMOS UNIDOS YOUTH, do not support the DREAM ACT due to the military component. The fact that it has been introduced as a defense appropriation bill adds insult to injury. The DREAM ACT is a de facto military draft, forcing undocumented youth to fight in unjust wars in exchange for the recognition as human beings, a Green Card. This is a trick by the politicians, Democratic Party, and DC immigration advocates. The same way many supposed “advocates” for immigrant rights sold out the community with Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), they now sell us out with the DREAM ACT. We stand against any militarization- whether it is of the border, our communities, or our status. We will not kill innocent people in exchange for Green Cards. Our parents have firmly stated in their fight for immigration reform, “We will not accept papers tainted with the blood of our people still crossing the border and dying,” in regards to CIR and it’s militarization of the border component. We say the same “We will not be used for the wars of the corporations and the rich in any part of the world in exchange of blood-stained immigration papers.”
We make a call out to all community organizations and allies to stand firmly on what is principled, against the DREAM ACT if it contains the military provision. Our fight will not be won in one or two years. We are prepared to organize our communities and struggle for many years. We cannot negotiate out our lives, our dignity, and the lives of others. We must rethink our strategies and take control away from the DC immigration advocates which have shown us they don’t have our interest. They have watered down good legislation at a very high cost to the community. Our communities need to decide and take control. We stand with our brothers and sisters affected by wars; we feel their pain and desperation. We will not be used to decimate other countries and their people. Thus, we stand together against the DREAM ACT with the militarization component and fight for what is principled, even if it takes us a very long time.
VAMOS UNIDOS YOUTH
On this day immigrants and their allies will march across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge in solidarity with Arizona in the spirit of bridging borders and uniting cultures to demand:
Policies that affirm Family Unity, Due Process and Fairness;
That local law enforcement in Arizona and across the country focus on protecting our communities, not destroying them; and
That President Obama and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) immediately halt the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities, 287(g), and all partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement
SPONSORED BY: Churches United to Save and Heal (CUSH), Families for Freedom (FFF), American Friends Service Committee?NJ (AFSC), New York New Sanctuary Coalition (NYNSC), Immigrant Defense Project (IDP), Wind of the Spirit, The Black Institute, & Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR)
Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 9:30am
Gather at Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn at 9:30am to March (take A/C trains to High Street, OR 2/3/4/5/R trains to Borough Hall) and assemble at 11:30am Foley Square, Manhattan for Rally (4/5 to Brooklyn Bridge OR N/R/W to City hall)
WHO IS MARCHING:
YOU, all people of conscience who want to raise their voice for immigrant justice
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO JOIN THE MARCH ON JULY 29th CONTACT:
Families for Freedom (646?290?5551), Churches United to Save and Heal (718?469?8900), New York New Sanctuary Coalition (646?395?2925)
DOWN WITH SB1070!
Stop Deportation NOW!
27 June 2010
The U.S. Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of
endorses and supports the call for Boycott of Arizona on account of its
manifestly racist laws, HB1070 and SB 2281.
SB1070 calls for police officers to require documentation from people to
establish resident status. The law essentially requires police to engage in
racial profiling and discrimination on the basis of appearance.1 SB 2281
outlaws the teaching of ethnic studies in Arizona schools. It builds a
pretext for the censorship of books and suppression of historical texts
which are perceived by the state as political literature.2
USACBI calls attention to the similar plight of Palestinians in occupied
Palestine.3 Analogous to Arizona’s policies, Palestinian narratives are
suppressed by the state of Israel, including a new piece of legislation
outlawing the commemoration of an nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine
in 1948.4 Israel also requires identification papers of Palestinians in
order to engage in routine and essential daily tasks. These ID cards, which
not all Palestinians are granted, forces many Palestinians from the diaspora
to be foreigners in their own land and often denies them entry into their
own country or results in expulsion from it.5
Palestinians, like many Mexicans and Mexican Americans, are forced to resist
borders that were imposed on them by foreign powers. In this context we also
call attention to stark similarities between Israel’s Apartheid Wall and the
U.S. Apartheid Wall.6 Israel’s Apartheid Wall confiscates Palestinian water
and land for the sole benefit of illegal , and strangles
the lives and livelihoods of Palestinians.7
The two walls have much in common – not only because both are built on land
that was occupied by conquest, that displace indigenous people, and that
separate families, but also because these walls are built by the same
colonial forces. The Israeli firm, , played a leading role in
the construction of both walls.8 warned that the U.S. Apartheid
Wall (which the U.S., like Israel, calls a “fence”) will have similar
consequences to the one on Palestinian land:
In April 2007, special immigration agents with the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, working along the Mexican border, went through an
intensive eight-day training course put on by the Golan Group. The Golan
Group was founded by ex-Israeli Special Forces officers and boasts more than
3,500 employees in seven countries. “Essentially we put an Israeli security
spin on our procedures,” Thomas Pearson, the company’s head of operations,
explained of the training course, which covered everything from hand-to-hand
combat to target practice to “getting proactive with their SUV.” The Golan
Group, now based in Florida but still marketing its Israeli advantage, also
produces X-ray machines, metal detectors, and rifles. In addition to many
governments and celebrities, its clients include ExxonMobil, Shell, Texaco,
Levi’s, Sony, Citigroup, and Pizza Hut.”9
The U.S. Wall will further segregate border communities, break families
apart, and increase the number of deaths on the border as migrant workers
are pushed deeper into the desert.
Both walls protect imperial interests, not those of indigenous people whose
rights are violated by these states and their structures. Like Israeli
settlers, militia organizations like the Minute Men have found legitimacy
for attacking economic refugees crossing the border. These armed, racist
groups find their counterparts in groups of Israeli settlers shooting at
Palestinian farmers attempting to access their own land, visit families, or
travel between home and work.
USACBI expresses its solidarity with organizations that strive for equality
and justice of oppressed indigenous peoples, particularly the move to
boycott Arizona until it reverses these racist laws. We call on others to
join us in the boycott of Arizona10 and to build divestment campaigns
targeting companies like Elbit that profit from the oppression of indigenous
people on stolen land whether in the U.S. or Palestine.11
1 Guy Adams, “Arizona boycotted over ‘Nazi’ purge of migrants.” The
Independent. 14 May 2010.
2 Jessica Calefati, “Arizona Bans Ethnic Studies.” Mother Jones. 12 May
3 “Mexico to the Palestinian People.” Palestine
Monitor. 20 April 2008.
6 “Death on the U.S.-Mexico Border.” Socialist Worker. 7 March 2009.
http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=17252 and Jimmy Johnson,
“Palestine-Mexico Border.” Tadamon. 3 May 2010.
9 Naomi Klein, *The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism*. (New
York: Metropolitan Books, 2007), 438.
10 Dave Zirin, “Who’s afraid of a boycott?” Socialist Worker. 12 May 2010.
Michaels, “Rage Against the Machine Lead Arizona Boycott.” Common Dreams 27
May 2010. http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/05/27-3.
11 Adri Nieuwhof, “Scandanavian financial institutions drop Elbit due to BDS
pressure.” The . 19 February 2010.