Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta recognized

Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta recognized for their life long contributions to organized labor and social justice.         
  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, 2013.
The  year  2012 was the 50th. anniversary of the founding of the U.F.W.  by Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Philip Vera Cruz and others.  The   celebrations focused  on  the struggle for union rights and justice in the fields of California. 
 The United Farm Workers  (UFW) was 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  were destroyed by racism and corporate power. Chávez and Huerta  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.
            Today, under the leadership of UFW president Arturo Rodriguez, only about 25,000  farm workers enjoy benefits on the job. Wages and benefit in farm labor have again been reduced to the pre union levels.  The UFW has shown unions that immigrants can and must be organized.   
            Both Chavez and DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta have received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor and  in the California Hall of Fame for their work.

             The UFW is   known for  helping to create  California Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975 under then Governor Jerry Brown  which gives farm  workers collective bargaining rights.  The law was made necessary by the assault on the UFW of the Teamsters Union.  While  farm workers are often able to win elections under the ALRB, they seldom can win a contract.  Growers stall and delay until the workers leave the area.
            Dolores Huerta remains active as  a  staunch advocate for women’s rights and reproductive freedom.  Huerta is a founding board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation and serves on the board of Ms. Magazine as well as her service as an Honorary  DSA Chair.  She is active in the Democratic Party Conventions and campaigns  and  she frequently speaks at universities and organizational forums and union halls  on issues of social justice and public policy. Dolores  continues working to develop community leaders and advocating for the working poor, immigrants, women and youth as President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fair, Just, Immigration Reform

Act to Keep Families Together -- Stop the Deportations

Call on legislators during the congressional spring break (through April 5) to urge their support to defend and uphold family unity -- and to commit to ending the cycle of deportations that traumatize, separate and destroy the dreams of hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their families.
Media and other reports now project that an immigration reform bill will be introduced when Congress returns from its spring break. This is a considerable delay from early and optimistic speculation that a proposal would appear in early March, but would still allow a bill to move forward. Leaks, hearings and various reports from legislative negotiators in both the House and the Senate continue to point towards significant concerns: obstacles and limits for legalization applicants, the undermining of family-based immigration, expansion of punitive immigration enforcement programs, escalating demands for temporary workers.
NOW is the time to speak up LOUDLY and CLEARLY. NNIRR is proud to join members and allies at national, state and local levels in calling for a broad, swift and inclusive legalization process that includes access to full citizenship, and with no trade off or diminishing of family-based immigration.
With potentially life-enhancing immigration reform underway, we also ask you to join us in calling for asuspension of detentions and deportations to provide the strongest opportunities for immigrant participation, inclusion and family unity.
Fair, Just, Humane Immigration Reform
At the National Network, our immigration reform priorities flow from a longstanding commitment to human rights; we believe that all US immigration policies should respect and uphold our human and civil rights values and commitments. We understand that an immigration reform bill which passes through THIS Congress will leave much to be desired towards sound, strategic policies and we are committed to continue working for fair and just immigration policies now and beyond this legislative opportunity.
We have identified eight key elements of immigration reform and encourage members, friends and allies to join us in promoting these policies:
  • A legalization program that offers a path to citizenship for all undocumented immigrants--a path that is inclusive, fair, and safe, without obstacles, undue burdens and lengthy waiting periods.
  • A speedy resolution to the backlog of pending family visas, a cornerstone of our immigration policy.
  • Access to health services and insurance, education, nutrition assistance, and working family tax credits for ALL immigrants.
  • Restoration and preservation of due process rights, regardless of immigration or citizenship status.
  • An end to the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities and 287(g), as well as fast-track deportations and mandatory detention. 
  • The rollback of border enforcement policies and programs that have created a militarized environment, human rights violations of citizens and non-citizens, and an escalation of migrant deaths. 
  • Full labor protections, regardless of immigration or citizenship status, and an end to employment verification programs that undermine worker rights and increase employment vulnerability.
  • Support human rights, sustainable development programs and fair trade policies to contribute to building viable and healthy economies and communities abroad.
Call on your legislators now

Monday, March 18, 2013

Dolores Huerta- California Hall of Fame

Dolores Huerta. California Hall of Fame – 2013.
Honorary Chair. DSA.
Induction will be March 20, 2013
DSA Commends Dolores Huerta for  California Hall of Fame Award (2013) and labor and community leadership.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) congratulates our honorary chair Dolores Huerta for being inducted into the California Hall of Fame and for being  awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012).

Since the founding along with Cesar Chaves  and others  of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union, through her current work in supporting union democracy,   civic engagement and empowerment of women and youth in disadvantaged communities, Huerta’s influence has been profound. The creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the growth of Latino politics in the U.S. Her frequent public engagements at college, universities and high schools where she brings a Latina feminist perspective to civil rights and immigration issues highlights her long history and personal commitment to the movements for social change.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Women Murdered in Juarez

International Women's Day 
by Clayton Conn

Marking international women’s day, mothers and families of disappeared and murdered women marched in Mexico City’s center to demand justice for the victims and an end to the systemic roots of femicide. The country has suffered a contagious effect over the last several years, with femicides and violence toward women rapidly spreading to regions that had previously never seen such violence.
Many of the victims and activists hold the government responsible for its complicity or lack of response to the spreading epidemic, which has translated to an impunity rate of 98.5 percent of crimes going unsolved or uninvestigated. This impunity coupled with a drug-war strategy that has left more than 70,000 dead over 6 years, rampant police and military corruption and human rights abuses, as well general insecurity, only picks at the scab of a wound that is growing deeper. 
Victims and activists say that it was more than two decades ago that they began ringing the alarm bells of the first cases of femicide in Mexico (mostly in Ciudad Juarez). They say now, 20 years later, that no advances have been made.
From: Upside Down World.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Latinos in the Media

 Stererotypes, Struggles and Progress
A dialogue with Alex Nogales: president, National Hispanic Media Coalition
Alex, can you share with us a bit of your personal history and what influenced and motivated you to become involved in this type of media work?
I grew up in a family of expatriates from Mexico who during the period of the revolution settled in Brawley which is in the Calexico-Mexicali border area of California. They became farmworkers and every June my family and I would migrate to different areas of California in order to find work in the fields and then finally return to Brawley in December.
See More.

Cesar Chavez Marches

UFW Cesar Chavez Marches

The United Farm Workers, Radio Campesina, The UFW Foundation and other community organizations, invite you and your family to march with us. We will join together on:

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 in:

Coachella, CA:
Coachella Plaza Shopping Center, Coachella, CA (in front of Pizza Hut & KFC) @1:30 pm.

Yakima, WA: 
St. Paul Cathedral, 102 S. 12th Ave., @ 11 am; Information: (541) 564-2717 FLYER - English FLYER- Spanish

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Arizona Court Ruling Against Mexican American Studies

Rodolfo F. Acuña

U.S. Circuit Judge A. Wallace Tashima has made his decision to uphold disparate treatment of Mexican Americans, and the constitutionality of HB 2281. The purpose of this law was to destroy Tucson Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies Program.  In doing so, Tashima returned us to the times of Joseph McCarty.  

The Arizona law broadly banned courses that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, foster racial resentment, were designed for students of a particular ethnic group or that advocated ethnic solidarity.

The penalty if Tucson did not comply was that the district would lose 10 percent of its annual funding -- some $14 million over a fiscal year.

Tashima ruled that the plaintiffs “failed to show the law was too vague, broad or discriminatory, or that it violated students’ first amendment rights.” On the positive side, he held that courses made-to-serve students of a particular ethnic group were not unconstitutional, which seems to imply that it is alright to ban ethnic studies programs.

The ruling raised more questions than it answered. The judge’s legal reasoning and wording was not consistent with his previous decisions, and it left me with the feeling that it had been written by law clerks and that the decision was not properly vetted by Tashima who has been more precise in previous rulings. A survivor of the Japanese internment camps, he had been expected to be sensitive to the rampant racism in Arizona.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Juan Gonzales. Harvest of Empire

Juan Gonzalez, co-host of Democracy Now! and columnist for the New York Daily News, tells Patricia Rodriguez about Latino immigration to the US, how US policy often drove it, how improved conditions in Latin America are now slowing it, and how Latino citizens are bringing us to immigration reform.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Why Organized Labor is active in immigrant rights

Maria Elena Durazo speaks during the Action Summit on Worker Safety and Health at East Los Angeles College, April 26, 2012. (Photo: Susan Goldman / US Department of Labor)

Immigrants' rights are workers' rights. These days, that idea is a principle held dear by the US labor movement. But that wasn't always the case.
As recently as the mid-1990s, many unions took protectionist stances against allowing new immigrants to come to this country. It was only after these unions saw the abuses that became prevalent under an employer-driven system for verifying immigration status that the labor movement embraced a new position. The movement recognized that for working people to thrive, all employees had to have full rights in the workplace.
Today, labor is one of the key forces pushing for comprehensive immigration reform in Washington, DC. To learn more about the movement's advocacy and more about how unions transformed themselves into outspoken champions of immigrant rights, I spoke with Maria Elena Durazo. A daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers, Durazo rose to become the leader of the hotel and restaurant workers union in Los Angeles, the dynamic UNITE HERE Local 11. And, as chair of the national AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee, Durazo is now a leading point person in the national immigration debate.
Knowing that many people are confused when hearing about union activism around immigration, I asked Durazo a straightforward question: Why is this issue a top priority for labor?
"It's bad for American workers for there to be 11 million-plus people out there working with no rights," Durazo said. "[These immigrants] are subject to exploitation. They are subject, as a result of that, to accept lower wages. They are subject to working in dangerous conditions. That is bad for those immigrant workers, and it is bad for American workers as a whole."
She continued: "We cannot have a prosperous nation and recreate the middle class as long as there is an underclass of 11 million people who do not have rights. By fixing this and getting them all on the road to citizenship, we address a huge issue that is the cause of enormous exploitation - of wage theft and other massive violations of labor laws."

March with UFW

DVDs (50% OFF!):
There's no better time to study the life and times of Cesar Chavez. Then share his vision and values with your family and the whole class.
Common Man, Uncommon Vision
Martin Sheen narrates the story of Cesar Chavez. 45 min.
Normal: $15Special: $7.50
What was it like to march in the 1965 peregrinacion to Sacramento? 20 min.
Normal: $15Special: $7.50
Fighting for our Lives
Oscar-nominated documentary on the 1973 grape strike. 60 min.
Normal: $20Special: $10
You're already part of the best cause. Why not have the best-looking contingent at the march as well?

Go to

Monday, March 04, 2013

Immigration reform

See essay below. 

The Issue is Immigration Reform

It is Immigration Reform: Stupid
Rodolfo F. Acuña

For the past forty years, the most pressing issue for Mexican Americans and other Latinos has been immigration reform. It has dominated our conversations, our agendas, and for the more politically conscious among us, it goes to the core of who we are.

Seemingly the Democrats have come to the realization that our resolve to protect the foreign-born will not go away, and that immigration reform is an issue that three-quarters of Latinos will not compromise on. I say seemingly because Democrats are still hedging on many aspects of immigration reform, and some believe that we are gullible enough to accept a compromise.

President Barack Obama moved assertively although belatedly to normalize the status of the Dreamers, which was a no-brainer. At a time when we actively recruit educated college graduates from Eastern Europe, and drain Latin American countries of their professionals, it seems logical to look for those resources at home. In the case of the Dreamers, they are Americans, they attended American schools, they earned good grades and they made it despite the inequalities of the American system.

A lot is at stake: the challenge is for us to be true to history and to come up with an equitable law that will last. We must remember that up until the Immigration Act of 1965 Latin America was not part of the American quota system. Those who wanted to come here could do so.

Friday, March 01, 2013

The Demise of Multicultural Education at CSU-Sacramento

The Bilingual Multicultural Education Dept. at CSU Sacramento was established in 1994 as one of the first  major Bilingual Departments in the CSU system.  Since then it has graduated over 800 bilingual teachers, administrations, college professors, and educational leaders.  The department at one time had a faculty of 18 tenure track members.
In response to the severe crisis in teacher preparation in California, the department was  voted out of existence during the Fall of 2010 . During the last decades the BMED  department  prepared thousand of new teachers and educational leaders who made bilingualism and multiculturalism a priority.  The programs emphasized Spanish –English, Chinese and more recently Hmong bilingualism.
In place of the prior, successful Bilingual/Multicultural Department at CSU Sacramento,  with a strategy of change based upon the nature of culture and recognition of racial oppression in this society and its schools, the College has taken a business-functional approach.   It has subsumed the previous departments that had specific missions-- such as serving culturally and linguistically diverse students or students with disabilities--, and placed them in three general divisions, Undergraduate, Credentials, and Graduate.  In creating a new one size fits all  teacher preparation curriculum it has bowed to test driven mandates (PACT)  by eliminating required courses in multicultural education. It has become just another  College of Education with all of its merits and demerits.

Unemployment rates are projected to remain high for whites, Latinos, and African Americans throughout 2013 | Economic Policy Institute

Unemployment rates are projected to remain high for whites, Latinos, and African Americans throughout 2013 | Economic Policy Institute