Category Archives: Violence Against Latinos

NCLR Says Cliff Outcome Good for Latinos

Bigoted Chron Commenters Go Nuts

Janet Murguia from the National Council of La Raza, which the media calls “La Raza” to rile up the right-wing racists, spoke out today in favor of the fiscal cliff outcome which brought both parties together.

“We applaud the White House and Congress for working together to deliver a fair approach to reducing our deficit that doesn’t come at the expense of vulnerable, working and middle-class families,” said Janet Murguía, CEO of the National Council of La Raza.

Murguía hailed the deal, which won the backing of Texas Republican Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn and all nine Texas congressional Democrats, as a balanced approach to repair the nation’s fiscal health.

“The overall tax plan passed today is a strong first step toward ensuring that the burden of deficit reduction is shared more fairly, without jeopardizing the health of our economy and the financial security of Latinos and other vulnerable communities,” she said.

Taking a look at the comments, it seems like several heads exploded while commenting. The racism from supporters of the big losers, the Tea Party, speaks for itself. If the Republicans want Latinos votes, then they need to shape up and throw out the Tea Party rhetoric and be a little nicer. Doubtful, but they can always try.

Anyway, the battle isn’t over. Wrangling over spending cuts is coming up, and while the Democrats will take the scalpel approach, the Republicans are hard at work washing themselves to create the bath water with which to attempt to throw the baby. The people, the voters, must remain vigilant and responsive now that a new Congress takes over tomorrow.

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Caravan for Peace Destroys Guns Today

Here’s a video highlight of today’s Caravan for Peace and Justice action.

Video footage of Houston actions by the Caravan for Peace, including clips of the purchase of an AK-47 by Houston based supporters of the Caravan, the dismantling of the semiautomatic weapon by poet and Caravan leader, Javier Sicilia and testimony by Caravan member, Margarita Lopez, whose 19 year old daughter was disappeared and murdered by men bearing assault weapons. Most of the guns that killed the more than 60,000 victims of the drug war in Mexico were killed with weapons sold by gun dealers like those in Houston, home to one of the highest concentrations of guns dealerships selling guns to Mexico.

Caravan for Peace to Confront Gun Dealer

As DC has reported to you all, the Caravan for Peace and Justice, an effort to stop the failed “war on drugs,” will be arriving in Houston tonight. Click here to get the latest itinerary. On Monday, before heading out to other parts on the way to DC, they will confront a local gun dealer linked to drug traffickers. Here’s the press release:

Caravan for Peace, Mexican Victims of Drug War to Dismantle Military-Style Assault Weapon and Transform into Symbol of Peace at Heart of Historic Mexican Neighborhood.

Bearing pictures of their dead relatives, families, exiled Juarez residents, relatives of the more than 60,000 killed in drug war will also go to Carter’s Country, Houston Arms Dealer Linked to Gun Sales to Drug traffickers, and Confront Them with the Human Toll of Drug War and the Urgent Need to Regulate These Weapons

Houston, Texas –On Monday, August 27th, members of the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity will join Houston-based and other US residents, to gather in the heart of the historic Mexican neighborhood in Houston to publicly dismantle a military-style assault weapon purchased Saturday and bury it in cement in a public action calling attention to the human devastation caused by this kind of weapon. Caravan members and their supporters will also demand that President Obama enforce the existing ban on the importation of military-style assault weapons and other measures to stop the illegal sale of weapons, which have been linked to the deaths of thousands of Mexicans killed in the drug war.

Participants in the solemn act will dismantle an assault weapon like those sought by drug cartels and easily purchased from gun dealers and private citizens. They will then transform it into a symbol of peace, in an act harkening back to the turning of swords into plowshares. Families bearing large and small pictures of loved ones lost in Mexico’s drug war will later join Mexican exiles in confronting the Carter’s Country gun dealership with images and testimonies of the effects of these military assault weapons on families living on both sides of the border.

“We’re not here in the United States to contest the Second Amendment. The Caravan for Peace is here because our loved ones have been shot and kidnapped, displaced and murdered with military assault weapons sold in U.S. stores and gun shows,” said Javier Sicilia, the poet turned activist and Caravan leader after his son, Juan Francisco, was killed last year. “Assault weapons sold by U.S. gun dealers like those here in Houston are responsible for thousands of drug war deaths in Mexico, and in doing so, these gun dealers make a mockery of the Second Amendment. Together, you here in the United States, and we in Mexico, can help end this madness,” Sicilia concluded.

Where: 333 South Jensen Dr., Houston (map) (event at 11am) and the Caravan will then drive to Carter’s Country, 2120 S. Shaver St., Pasadena (map) following the press conference

When: Monday, August 27, 11:00 a.m.

Media should contact Contact: John Lindsay-Poland, Fellowship of Reconciliation: (510) 282-8983
Roberto Lovato, Presente.org: (213) 820-8424 for information related to the Caravan for Peace

Anyone may join the action online, too.

A petition demanding President Obama stop the flow of arms into our communities: http://act.presente.org/sign/caravana/?source=presente_website

And for more information.

Petition against gun smuggling: http://act.presente.org/sign/caravana/?source=presente_website

or text PEACE to 225568

For more information: http://www.caravanforpeace.org/

About the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity:www.movimientoporlapaz.mx

Facebook: facebook.com/caravan4Peace
Twitter: @CaravanaUSA (twitter.com/caravanaUSA)
Flickr: www.Flickr.com/photos/caravan4peace

Mail: caravanapresspass@movimientoporlapaz.mx

SB1070 Architect, ICE Agents Sue Feds Over DACA

The guy who helped create Arizona’s SB1070 and Mitt Romney advisor, Kris Kobach, has rounded up a few ICE agents to file a lawsuit against Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano over the Deferred Action policy.

Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, filed the lawsuit on behalf of 10 ICE employees Thursday in federal court in Dallas. The 22-page filing contends that the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan violates federal law and forces ICE employees to break the law by not arresting certain illegal immigrants. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and ICE Director John Morton are named as defendants.

“It places ICE agents in an untenable position where their political superiors are ordering them to violate federal law,” Kobach said. “If they follow federal law, they will be disciplined by their superiors.”

Kobach also helped write up the harshest Republican platform plank on immigration, although Republicans keep saying Romney is being nicer to Latinos.

The defense?

Matt Chandler, a DHS spokesman, said the department uses prosecutorial discretion to focus its efforts on arresting and deporting criminal immigrants, and the newest policy is in line with that effort.

Obviously, beyond attempting to cause fear for families who would benefit from DACA, this will also have political ramifications, but I have no problem saying that Mitt Romney has rubber stamped this bigoted effort until he proves otherwise.

Stay tuned.

Caravan For Peace On The Way

Have you heard of the Caravan for Peace? If so, great. If not, here’s why you should get involved and support it in every way that you can.

A Trans-border Caravan for Peace and Justice with the Poet and Peace Leader Javier Sicilia

More than 60,000 people have been killed in drug violence in Mexico in the last few years. 10,000  people have been disappeared and over 160,000 displaced. Global Exchange and Mexico’s Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity (MPJD) led by Javier Sicilia have made “End the Drug  War- No More Violence” campaign a priority in 2012. Starting in August, a high profile caravan will cross the US starting in San Diego/Los Angeles, heading east along the US-Mexico border and then up to Chicago, New York and DC.

Sicilia’s son, Juan Francisco was murdered along with six friends on a fateful night in March of  2011. He has since become an inspirational voice for peace, justice and reform– drawing huge  crowds throughout Mexico. He comes north this summer with a call for change in the bi-national  policies that have inflamed a six-year Drug War, super-empowered organized crime, corrupted  Mexico’s vulnerable democracy, claimed lives and devastated human rights on both sides of the border.

2012 offers a uniquely fertile moment to internationalize the struggle for peace in Mexico. Latin American elite opinion is shifting rapidly on the question of ending drug prohibition. This call for reform has not yet echoed in the United States. The Caravan represents an unprecedented effort by Mexican civil society to impact U.S. thinking and policy.

Having just started it’s first leg, the Caravan will make its way through the Southwestern US and all the way to Washington, DC, ending on September 12. It will spend a day and a half in Houston, August 26 and 27.

Learn more about the Caravan here and support this cause.

Feds Sue Arpaio–Finally!

We kind of knew it’s been coming, but Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been sued by the United States of America for civil rights violations–and it’s about time.

Arpaio has made it his job to vilify and menace Latinos–documented or not–during his tenure. He has gained national attention in doing so, and has even injected himself in local (Houston) politics by endorsing an equally right-wing opponent of our Sheriff Adrian Garcia.

The Feds explain the suit:

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez said the Justice Department sued Maricopa County, the sheriff’s office and Arpaio in U.S. District Court in Arizona after trying unsuccessfully for three and a half months to get Arpaio to comply with federal civil rights law.

Arpaio faces re-election in November in the county that includes the Phoenix metropolitan area. He has become the face of hardline local efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, placing him on a collision course with the federal government.

Maricopa County has created inadequately trained special units that are used to target Latinos for unlawful and unjustified arrests; has willfully denied Latino prisoners their civil rights in jail; and under Arpaio’s direction has arrested political opponents for no valid reason, the DOJ suit contends.

“At its core, this is an abuse of power case involving Sheriff Arpaio and a sheriff’s office that disregarded the Constitution, ignored sound police practices and did not hesitate to retaliate against perceived critics in a variety of unlawful ways,” said Perez.

“Constitutional policing and effective policing go hand in hand. The complaint outlines how Sheriff Arpaio’s actions were neither constitutional nor effective,” he said.

One needs to ask the right-wingers running for Sheriff if they approve of these kinds of gestapo tactics.

In one case, a sheriff’s officer stopped a Latina – a U.S. citizen who was five months pregnant – as she pulled into her driveway and insisted that she sit on the hood of her car.

“When she refused, the officer grabbed her arms, pulled them behind her back, and slammed her, stomach first, into the vehicle three times,” the suit said.

Nonetheless, the fact that one of them rejoices in a cheap TV ad that he was endorsed by Arpaio is enough to make one sick, given the facts of this lawsuit.

Obviously, we’ll keep an eye on this.

Spread the Word: May 1st March!

Joe Arpaio and His Disciples – The Reality

A tape has surfaced in which Joe Arpaio, the Republican Sheriff from Arizona, shows how much disdain he has for federal authorities, and in the in the process, Latinos. In a speech to right-wing, supremacist anti-Latino group Texans for Immigration Reform, he talks about his reaction to the federal investigation against him.

In the September 2009 speech in Houston, Arpaio boasted that he arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants after politicians and federal investigators started to pick apart his patrols. He said he wouldn’t cooperate with the inquiry, but said he would tone down the patrols — if he was proven wrong.

“But I’m not. After they went after me, we arrested 500 more just for spite,” the self-proclaimed “America’s toughest sheriff” said, pausing for laughter and applause.

Now, he’s saying it was an off the cuff speech, not for official purposes, but when he opens his big mouth, you can bank on it that it is all about politics. Whomever has kissed him up, he has provided some sort of support, including some of the right-wing Republcians running for Harris County Sheriff  and other elected positions.

As far as those in right wing organization that the media seems to give some semblance of credibility to, their thought of this issue being a cause for laughter shows what they’re really about.

Although there was a Democratic response from Arizona, Arpaio isn’t phased by it.

Democratic state Rep. Steve Gallardo, a longtime Arpaio critic who listened to portions of the speech, said the sheriff’s comments prove that he uses illegal immigrants to elevate his national political profile.

“This is not about enforcing our laws,” Gallardo said. “This is about going after human beings. This is about targeting elected officials. This is about, exactly, using immigrants as props or pawns in his own world.”

For his part, Arpaio said his only regret in making the speech was that he used the wrong figure for the number of illegal immigrants arrested after the civil rights inquiry began.

“It was wrong,” Arpaio said. “It wasn’t 500. It was thousands.”

The thing is, we can sit around and complain about Arpaio and call him and his disciples every name in the book, or we can make sure that Arpaio’s racism does not become a vehicle for public policy here in Texas and Harris County–more so than usual.

In other words, VOTE! And in this case, we need to vote for Democrats who are on the correct side of the issue. (Notice, I didn’t say “all of them”?)

(Chalk this one up as another one of my lectures on the obvious.)

Professor Acuna Sounds Off on Arizona

Dr. Rodolfo Acuña, Professor Emeritus of History at Cal-State Northridge, sounded off in The Progressive on Arizona’s recent banning of Mexican American studies courses, books, and materials, asking the question:  When do you start to count?

When the great Muhammad Ali was asked how many sit-ups he did, he responded, “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting. That is when I start counting, because then it really counts. That’s what makes you a champion.”

These words resonate in Tucson, where Latina/o students are fighting for an education by sitting-in in the office of Tucson Unified School District Superintendent of Schools John Pedicone, walking out of classes, demonstrating, and taking to the streets.

Students are dispelling the myth that Mexican Americans do not care about education; they have started counting because it hurts. They know the difference between having subject matter that is relevant and having those books warehoused, between having teachers who believe in what they are teaching and sitting through classes where teachers go through the motions.

Read the rest here.

I agree with Professor Acuña when he says that the purpose of this is to intimidate other groups who may want to fight back against injustice. And as he says, this is about keeping Mexicans in their place–without a sense of history, without a sense of self. When liberals begin to realize what this is all about, then we can have a conversation about “Latino outreach” in politics. Otherwise, we’re just grasping at whatever is left.

Houston Group Will Venture in Knowledge Trafficking

One of my favorite literary nonprofit groups, Nuestra Palabra:  Latino Writers Having Their Say is getting into the trafficking biz:  Knowledge trafficking, that is.

Many of you have heard that along with banning Latinos, generally, Arizona is doing away with ethnic studies programs, thus, banning Latino-created literary works, including works by highly renowned authors like Sandra Cisneros and Guggenheim Fellow Dagoberto Gilb.

Nuestra Palabra is organizing The Librotraficantes Banned Book Caravan to Arizona. March 12 – 17.

The caravan will be filled with authors and activists who will be taking banned books back into Arizona, to give away. The bus will be filled with authors who were banned, new authors, as well as other advocates concerned with preserving First Amendment rights of Equal Protection and Freedom of Speech.

The Caravan will be making stops in Texas, New Mexico, and, of course, Arizona. More stops will be listed as they are finalized. More will be added as funding permits.

It’s time for Texas to support this effort. You may make your contribution at Librotraficante.