Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Cesar Chavez Day marks the 50th. anniversary of the founding of the United Farm Workers.
by Duane E. Campbell
Cesar Chavez Day is a state holiday in California – one of eight states to recognize the date, and one of the few holidays in the nation dedicated to a labor leader. Sacramento and dozens of cities, counties and labor federations will celebrate the life of Cesar Chavez on March 31, 2012,
On March 26, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis honored Cesar Chavez and the UFW founders by dedicating the auditorium at the Department of Labor in Chavez’s name.
Mexican labor leader Jose Humberto Montes de Oca of the SME, electrical workers union will lead the Sacramento march on March 31. Montes do Oca and the SME in Mexico are fighting for survival against a repressive government. In central Mexico 44,000 Electrical Power Workers (SME) were fired to privatize the industry and destroy the union. The march begins at 10 AM. at South Side Park.
This year, 2012 is the 50th. anniversary of the founding of the U.F.W. The Cesar Chavez celebrations focus on the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California. Along with Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz, and others, César created the United Farm Workers (UFW) the first successful union of farm workers in U.S. history. There had been more than ten prior attempts to build a farm workers union.
Each of the prior attempts to organize farm worker unions were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Chávez chose to build a union that incorporated the strategies of social movements and community organizing and allied itself with the churches, students, and organized labor. The successful creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the birth of Latino politics in the U.S.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
The Socialist International (SI) Special Committee on the Arab World called today on the United Nations Security Council, especiallyRussia and China, to act in line with the international community to protect the Syrian people in Istanbul.
Speaking at the two-day meeting’s final sitting, SI President and formerGreek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the organization stood firmly on the side of the Syrian people in their fight for democracy and human rights but opposed any intervention by Turkeyagainst Syria.
“The [Bashar] al-Assad regime refuses to accept that change is inevitable. Consequently, we have fully backed the efforts of the United Nations and the Arab League for an end to the killing, for the protection of the lives of Syrian citizens and a humanitarian response which we see as a fundamental imperative,” Papandreou said in the meeting’s closing statement.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also said that “if war is not inevitable, it is murder” in reference to saying of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey. He also added that his party opposed the creation of a buffer zone between Turkey and Syria.
Keeping alive ‘the spirit of Tahrir Square’
Keeping alive ‘the spirit of Tahrir Square’
You and I have witnessed the fallout from the current patchwork of state immigration laws: while we win victories in California and Illinois, we face devastating moral and humanitarian crises in Alabama and Arizona. A stance must be taken at the federal level to ensure that we can move forward to reform our immigration system as an entire nation. Next month, the US Supreme Court will take on Arizona’s extreme anti-immigrant law, SB 1070.
The impact of the Supreme Court’s decision on SB 1070 can’t be overstated. For all those who have fought back against this racist law for nearly two years, this could be the moment our government declares once and for all that state-sponsored hate and racial profiling will be not be tolerated. While the justices debate, we will be in the streets and online across the country, calling for justice and equality under the law for all immigrant families. We are planning for a week of action with national and grassroots partners, to make sure the court knows that the entire country will be following their decision.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Exclusive: OWS Activist Cecily McMillan Describes Seizure, Bodily Injuries in Arrest by NYPD
YDS (DSA) activist beaten, sent to jail.
YDS (DSA) activist beaten, sent to jail.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
In the wake of Trayvon Martin's death, please sign our petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the Sanford Police Department's history of failing to prosecute violent crimes against African-Americans.
The Department of Justice has announced that its Civil Rights Division, in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will investigate Trayvon Martin's death. This is a positive step.
However, the Sanford Police Department has a history of failing to successfully prosecute crimes when the victim is African-American and the alleged assailant is not. This happened not only in the case of Trayvon Martin, but also in 2005 and 2010. In both of those earlier cases, the white son of a Sanford police officer was involved.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Cooley Middle School in Roseville, CA is hosting the 12th Annual Cesar Chavez Youth Leadership Saturday, March 24 from 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 2012. The conference is free and organized by the Latino Leadership Council, Hispanic Empowerment Association of Roseville and the Cooley Latino Club and seeks to encourage middle and high school students to explore their options for higher education. Any students in grades 6-12 or lower, community college students and parents are invited to participate in a full day of activities that include interactive workshops around leadership development, future educational opportunities and the importance of making good decisions. The conference will also include an arts, education, jobs and health fair with over 40 vendors including PRIDE Industries, State Farm Insurance, Sutter Medical Hospital, UC Davis, Sierra College, American River College, Sacramento State and the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
So go ahead: Have a Guinness, wear a bit of green, and put on the Chieftains. But let's honor the Irish with our curiosity. Let's make sure that our schools show some respect, by studying the social forces that starved and uprooted over a million Irish -- and that are starving and uprooting people today.
"Wear green on St. Patrick's Day or get pinched." That pretty much sums up the Irish American "curriculum" that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.
Sadly, today's high school textbooks continue to largely ignore the famine, despite the fact that it was responsible for unimaginable suffering and the deaths of more than a million Irish peasants, and that it triggered the greatest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. Nor do textbooks make any attempt to help students link famines past and present.
Yet there is no shortage of material that can bring these dramatic events to life in the classroom. In my own high school social studies classes, I begin with Sinead O'Connor's haunting rendition of "Skibbereen," which includes the verse:
... Oh it's well I do remember, that bleak
The landlord and the sheriff came, to drive
Us all away
They set my roof on fire, with their cursed
And that's another reason why I left old
Monday, March 12, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Immigration draws 1,000 to Selma-Montgomery march: MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Beatriz Rosaliano says she was brought illegally to Alabama from Mexico when she was 2 years old. Now 17, Rosaliano says she has been energized by her adoptive state's tough...
Friday, March 09, 2012
Thursday, March 08, 2012
Rodolfo F. Acuña
I received an interesting email in response to an electronic conversation titled “The Trip.” (posted below) One of the highest ranking Latino veterans responded to me. It was a courteous rejoinder although it was meant to be a subtle put down. The vet contended that he had never had trouble in this country because among other things his parents tutored him and made sure his grades were high. He never called himself a Mexican American but an American of Mexican descent.
The writer had spent much of his life as a high ranking officer in the army air force and was proud of his service.
As is my custom, I thought about what he was saying and tried to understand why our views were so different. I have always been interested in epistemology that studies knowledge (although a stint at Loyola University nearly suffocated this fascination).
I decided that the difference between me and the writer rested on how we acquired our knowledge. From googling him, I realized that he relied heavily on absolutes. My approach to knowledge because of my academic training has always been more active and more adaptive.
Just from the thumbnail narrative I could see similarities and differences in how we looked at life. Although I was not poor, my father was a master tailor; I never had the luxury of either parent helping me with my homework. My mother did not complete the first grade and my father had a fourth grade education – killed the English language.
Moreover, location had formed our views of this country. My maternal family with whom I was raised were border people whereas his family came from way under, from a state with secessionist pretensions.
Monday, March 05, 2012
More than 6,000 students from Central and Northern California marched on the California Capitol today to demand full funding of education, student debt relief and Tax the Millionaires to pay for it. The impressive demonstration was organized primarily by student associations of the community colleges, the CSU and U.C. campuses in the northern half of the state.
Key legislative leaders addressed the crowd and offered legislation to fund public education- which they can not pass do the constitutional requirement of a 2/3 vote to raise taxes.
There have been many promises of an occupation of the capitol, and the police presence was immense.
Occupy folks have set up a site on the North Side of the Capitol where they held a general assembly and non violence training. The occupy supporters numbered about 75.
Yet a third event today is the planned 5:30 PM rally organized by labor. About 400 attended that rally.
The several unions supporting and funding the Tax the Millionaires signature gathering used an effective strategy which we used in March of 2010 while gathering signatures for the California Democracy Act. They printed several hundred well done posters saying Tax the Millionaires. They went to the student assembly points where thousands were arriving without signs and gave the posters away free. In the march at least one of every six marchers was carrying a Tax the Millionaires sign – an impressive showing. Tax the Millionaires is supported by the California Federation of Teaches (AFT), the California Nurses (CNA) and most recently Moveon. In addition to tabling, some 60 signature gatherers traveled through the crowd to collect signatures of voters.
Saturday, March 03, 2012
Rodolfo F. Acuña
As I mentioned in previous correspondence, CSUN MEChA and students from the Asian American Studies Department visited Tucson-Nogales on February 24-26, 2012. It was draining because of the distance, size of the group, and the intensity. As always, the Tucsonenses were gracious and made you feel like family.
For me, the highlight was the first night when Sal Baldenegro, Guadalupe Castillo, Raquel Goldsmith and Isabel Garcia gave their testimonies, recounting over forty years of activism, from the campaigns to get Mexican American students into the University of Arizona, the border struggles, to today’s fight against censorship and the attacks on the Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies. It capped a learning experience that spans three trips to ground zero.
The students interacted with high school students.
As Professor Emeritus Christine Sleeter wrote about the Tucson program on February 15, 2012 in Education Week:
“Over a 13-year period, the program served 6,438 students (5,726 of whom were Latino, and 712 of whom were not Latino). On Arizona’s achievement tests in reading, writing, and math, its students also outscore students of all racial and ethnic groups in the same schools but not in that program—a remarkable record. As schools nationwide struggle to close racial achievement gaps, Tucson’s Mexican-American studies program should be one from which we are learning.”
This data puts to rest the myth that the program was limited to Mexican Americans. It is more startling because 60/70 percent of the district’s students are Latino.