THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Sunday, May 30, 2010

ACT NOW: FBOP trying to expand use of CMUs.

News via our comrade, Vikki Law. There is action to take here; please take it:

----------------------

The BOP is proposing further isolating people in Communications Management Units. There's a period for public comment that ends June 7th.

Conveniently for the BOP, the comment form is undergoing some maintenance this weekend and won't be back up until Monday, 5/31, at 11:59 pm. But that still leaves a week to leave a comment on the proposed rules.

If you can't wait till Tuesday morning, you can also snail mail your outrage to the BOP:

Rules Unit, Office of General Counsel
Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20534

Include the following docket number in your correspondence:

BOP DOCKET #1148-P COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT UNITS

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Private Prisons get from SB 1070...

Private Prison Firm Exploiting Broken Immigration System

Progressive States Network.org

As a Service and Employees International Union (SEIU) campaign highlights, one key player profiting off the nation's broken immigration system is the private prison firm, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).  CCA operates and profits significantly from private prisons across the country, many of which house immigrants in detention, a kind of legal limbo in which immigrants are imprisoned while their cases are being considered, or who are in the process of being deported.

Roughly 40 percent of CCA's profits stem from operating jails that house immigrants.  In fact, the corporation earned over $1.7 billion in revenue in 2009 alone -- much of it from contracts with the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the US Marshals Office, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to cope with the influx of nonviolent immigrants in the nation's prison system.  CCA has also been a long-time funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and member of its Private Sector Executive Committee, which advocates on behalf of CCA to push prison privatization as a model for states.

While most believe prisons are operated by state or federal governments, they are increasingly privatized.  As the number of immigration prosecutions continue to skyrocket and comprehensive immigration reform languishes in Washington, DC, this makes the business of operating prisons all the more lucrative for private firms.  According to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), immigration prosecutions reached record levels in federal fiscal year 2009.  The Department of Homeland Security initiated 67,994 immigration prosecutions that year alone, a 459 percent increase from 2000 and a 973 percent increase from 1990.

Filling Up Prisons with Non-Violent Immigrants:  In addition, federal immigration authorities are increasingly targeting nonviolent immigrants, whose only offense is attempting to unlawfully cross the border, via efforts such as Operation Streamline, which focuses on apprehending nonviolent border-crossers.  According to a May 2010 study by the Warren Institute at the University of California, Berkeley Law School, projects such as Operation Streamline that focus on immigrants who haven't committed any crime in the US divert precious federal resources from apprehending drug cartels and human traffickers that frequently operate with impunity along stretches of the US-Mexico border and are responsible for much of the violence in the region.  These record numbers of nonviolent immigrants are, in turn, filling jails and immigration detention centers to capacity: contributing to growing costs to states and higher profits for private prison companies like CCA.

The Failures of Prison Privatization:  Both federal and state governments have utilized private firms to operate prisons, despite evidence of systematic failures. Privatization only exacerbates the challenges faced by states, communities, and families dealing with the broken immigration system.  For example, the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy finds that there is no compelling evidence that prison privatization has led to savings, while the Private Corrections Institute analyzes several issues with privatization, which include “major riots, sex abuse scandals… improper billing by private prison companies… employment law violations, higher employer turnover rates, increased levels of prisoner-on-prisoner and prisoner-on-staff violence, lack of transparency and public accountability, and higher recidivism rates for inmates released from privately-operated prisons.”

When privatization involves prisons and detention centers, the profiteering comes at the expense of constitutional safeguards, democratic oversight, and public trust.  In this case, it also undermines legislative efforts to promote progressive immigration reform.  Lawmakers should take action to prevent such debacles from occurring by either halting failed privatization schemes. For example, Indiana Rep. Gail Riecken's introduced a bill to end privatization of social services in her state.  Legislators can also consider requiring augmented transparency of state contracting, much like initiatives in Alabama,  Hawaii, and Vermont.

Resources:
Immigration Policy Center - US Border Enforcement Prioritizes Non-Violent Migrants Over Dangerous Criminals
Immigration Policy Center - New Data on Federal Court Prosecutions Reveal Non-Violent Immigration Prosecutions Up
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse - Immigration Prosecutions at Record Levels in FY 2009
Immigration Policy Center -  Throwing Good Money After Bad: Immigration Enforcement Without Immigration Reform Doesn't Work
University of California, Berkeley Law School Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity - Assembly-Line Justice: A Review of Operation Streamline
Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy – Are Florida’s Private Prisons Keeping Their Promise
Private Corrections Institute – Quick Facts About Prison Privatization
Private Corrections Institute – Report on Prison Privatization Plagued with Conflicts of Interest, Faulty Data, Political Connections
Progressive States Network - Privatization During an Economic Downturn: Still Inefficient and Problematic
OneAmerica - Voices from Detention: A Report on Human Rights Violations at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma Washington
AFSCME - Prison Privatization Resources

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Youth Dies at State Adobe Mountain juvenile facility.

ADDENDUM: Some troubling comments about Adobe Mountain School were left at the end of this Fox News article about the young boy's death...

--------------------------

If there are folks out there who have information to share about their kids' experiences in the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, now would be a good time to share, and I think this is a good place to share it. Let other families know they aren't alone, let your kids know they've got someone watching their back out here, and let the state know you expect every single child home safe someday.

If this is a place you can feel safe doing that- anonymously or otherwise let me know (Peggy: prisonabolitionist@gmail.com ). In the meantime, as devastating as this news is, I have no information other than this. Try Middle Ground mid-day; I'm sure that if they don't demand an investigation by then they'll know who will.

-------------------------

Teenager found dead at Phoenix juvenile facility

May. 25, 2010 10:37 AM
Associated Press
via Azcentral.com

Police are investigating a teen's death at the Adobe Mountain juvenile correctional facility.

Police and fire crews responded to the north Phoenix school near Interstate 17 and Pinnacle Peak Road Tuesday morning for a report of a male teenager who was unresponsive.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lima, Peru: Lori is Free!

-------------Joyful, long-awaited news on Lori Berenson. Blessings to her family tonight.------------

berenson@freelori.org


reply-toberenson@freelori.org

toannouncements-list@freelori.org


dateTue, May 25, 2010 at 4:35 PM

subject: LORI IS FREE

Lori and Salvador are Granted Parole!
Dear Friends and Supporters of Lori,


On May 25, 2010 a Peruvian judge, after carefully studying Lori's application for what in Peru is termed "conditional liberty" (parole), determined that Lori has earned her freedom. Lori and her son Salvador will be leaving prison in a few days and moving to an apartment in Lima.


Parole requires individuals to live within the city in which they were incarcerated (Lima, in Lori's case) - we do not know if there are exceptions for foreigners or whether Lori will be permitted to travel to the US while on parole. Parole in Peru is based on good behavior, work and study. In September 2009 Lori officially filed her application under a Peruvian law which established eligibility after serving 75% of her 20-sentence, less time off for work and study.


Lori appeared before the judge in court on Monday, May 17th, for a hearing, defended by her husband, Anibal Apari Sanchez, a Lima lawyer and candidate for Mayor of Villa El Salvador, a suburb of Lima with over a half million inhabitants. Lori will be a single mom - Anibal and Lori are legally separated but remain friends and both share concerns for Salvador's proper upbringing.


Salvador, now an active one-year old boy, will certainly enjoy the opportunity to run around outside the confines of the prison. He is learning both English and Spanish but babbles continuously in "unknown tongue." He is a very happy child and loves to be with people.



We want to express our gratitude to all of you for your expressions of love and support all these years. You have truly sustained us through some very dark hours and the dawn of a new sunny day has arrived.



With appreciation, always.



Rhoda and Mark B.

----------------------------------------------------------------

English Website: http://www.freelori.org/

Spanish Website: http://www.lorilibre.org/

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Arizona Boycott: Make it Count

-------------------from Colorlines---------------------------


How to Make a Boycott Matter


The outrage over Arizona has provoked a growing number of efforts to make the state pay. But will it? We consider the landscape of boycotts past and present.


It has been four weeks since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed the state’s controversial SB 1070, and efforts to boycott the state have been mounting ever since. Calls for a boycott actually began days before SB 1070 even became law, when Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva warned the business community to prepare for backlash.   

“We’re asking organizations, civic, religious, labor, Latino organizations of color to refrain from using Arizona as a convention site, to refrain from spending their dollars in the state of Arizona,” he said on Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show that week, “until Arizona turns the clock forward instead of backwards and joins the rest of the union.” 


SB 1070 requires that people show proof of their immigration status if they’re questioned by police, and empowers police to ask for such proof when they’re enforcing local and state laws, and even civil code. Civil rights groups have called SB 1070 unconstitutional; five separate lawsuits are now challenging it.  


But while lawyers head to court, immigrant rights organizers are funneling the national outrage into a widespread, multi-pronged boycott against Arizona. Calls to move next year’s baseball All-Star Game out of Phoenix have drawn the most attention. But the boycott effort is gaining ground among convention planners and in local governments, too, particularly in cities with significant immigrant communities.  

On Tuesday, Seattle passed the latest city resolution declaring a boycott of Arizona--and became the eleventh locality in the United States to do so. Seattle joined the ranks of cities like Austin, Texas; Boston; Los Angeles; Oakland; St. Paul, Minn. and Washington, D.C., who’ve all vowed some form of economic response, ranging from clear travel bans for employees to more vague contracting commitments. (See graphic at end of article for details.)  


City officials in Dallas are mulling their own resolution, as are New Yorkers. Cook County, which encompasses Chicago, is considering its own boycott. Cities are folding their arms, turning up their noses and giving nasty looks at the Grand Canyon State. They don’t want to be part of a club that proudly relies on racial profiling to crack down on immigrants.   

But all of this begs an important question about boycotting as a tool for reform: Does it work? And if so, under what conditions? 

“Boycotts are tricky business,” warns Dana Frank, a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  

Precedent shows that if they’re carried out in a strategic way, boycotts can be effective—the famous thirteen-month Montgomery, Ala., bus boycott in 1955 is a favorite example among historians of a smartly executed campaign. But efforts that do not have clearly outlined objectives and pathways of transmitting pressure often collapse. “Boycotts historically are most effective when they have a very specific target, or when they are part of a multi-pronged approach,” says Frank.  

Boycotts are also notoriously easy to start and hard to finish. Lawrence Glickman, a professor of history at the University of South Carolina and the author of Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America, cites the NAACP’s 1990s boycott of South Carolina as an example of what can happen when targets and objectives aren’t clearly outlined. The NAACP announced a boycott of South Carolina in 1992 because the state refused to stop flying the Confederate flag at the capitol building. But when the state moved the flag from the top of the dome to the capitol grounds in 1999, there was confusion about whether they’d found an acceptable compromise.   

As recently as March of this year, people have debated whether the South Carolina boycott’s still going on, and disagreements have led to public tussling between the NAACP and other Black community leaders. “There was a lot of ambiguity, and that led to a loss of momentum,” says Glickman.  

Frank adds that many boycotts also run the risk of hurting the very people they purport to be in solidarity with. She points to a popular call to boycott Chinese-made goods in order to help support exploited Chinese workers. “But that’s not particularly what Chinese workers want for themselves. [That’s not] their own strategy for improving their conditions.”   


“The complicated question in any boycott is: what happens to the people involved who work for or within the boycotted entity? What are the tradeoffs and what do they think about it?” asks Frank. She adds that there are clear signals from activist communities in Arizona that these questions have been considered.   


The people who will feel it the quickest are in the hospitality industry,” says Alfredo Gutierrez, the editor of LaFronteraTimes.com and a former state senator who is head of local boycott efforts. “And in the state of Arizona, let’s be real, the busboys, waitresses--those are Hispanics.” But Gutierrez insists that many in Arizona are willing to bear the burden. “In South Africa, in Birmingham, it was the poor and the people of color who paid the price and were prepared to make that sacrifice for themselves and for their children.” 

Kristen Jarnagin, a spokesperson for the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association, has said the boycotts are in fact already hurting the state’s tourism industry. Twenty-three groups have canceled conventions, meetings or events in Arizona since Brewer signed the bill, a loss estimated to be between $6 million and $10 million.  

“Those are the groups we know about,” she told Phoenix’s KTAR.com. “We have no idea the true economic impact.” Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon--an outspoken opponent of SB 1070--has estimated that, at the current rate of hotel and convention cancellations in his city, the Phoenix area alone would lose $90 million in the next five years. 

Major labor unions, including the Service Employees International Union and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, have joined the Asian American Justice Center, the Center for Community Change and the National Council of La Raza in an official boycott. But it’s not just lefty groups who are standing up. International pop star icons like Shakira jumped into the fray early, descending on Phoenix days after the bill became law to join Phoenix Mayor Gordon in calls to condemn it.   

Sports celebrities like Charles Barkley and San Diego Padres star Adrian Gonzales have piled on as well. Even Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, wore a rhinestone-emblazoned shirt asking “Do I Look Illegal?” to a game between the Phoenix Suns and the L.A. Lakers this week. The Major League Baseball Players’ Association issued a statement criticizing the law as a violation of civil liberties, and protests have followed the Arizona Diamondbacks to their road games. The Phoenix Suns leadership, perhaps sensing similar outrage, came out publicly against SB 1070.  

“It’s taken off with such momentum. A lot of Americans who might not be aware of this issue are now taking notice,” says Glickman of the campaign, praising its focused efforts. “Part of the boycott is symbolic politics,” he says. “But symbolism can be important.” He points to the United Farm Workers’ grape boycott as one successful example of a boycott with the main goal of raising political consciousness.  

Still, Gutierrez says local organizers are singularly focused on changing SB 1070. “The entire concert of our actions are focused on one end: to repeal the law.” The boycott coalition, called Somos America, is set to announce a list of Arizona-based companies for people to boycott today, and plans to follow it up with monthly announcements of other businesses to add to the list. The group’s strategy includes following Brewer to every public appearance she makes to build momentum for a six-mile march in Phoenix set for May 29.  

But the growing number of city-level boycotts have taken less clear shape. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was the first to issue a mandate banning travel by his city’s employees through Arizona. Since then, most city councils that have passed resolutions condemning SB 1070 have worked in a travel ban of some sort, but it’s unclear how much economic activity the move impacts. 

Most of the cities with boycott resolutions have also urged municipal agencies not to enter into or renew any contracts with Arizona-based businesses. Only Boston and Los Angeles, however, have identified open contracts that could be canceled—a step neither has said it will actually take. Boston pays a Scottsdale company $1.1 million a year for software, while the Los Angeles city attorney reported it has $58 million worth of contracts in Arizona and about $8 million that it could feasibly cancel right now.   

And then there are cities like San Francisco, which has taken a hard and vocal stance against SB 1070 while also quietly adopting its own questionable immigration enforcement policies. A week after San Francisco passed its boycott resolution, it announced that it will join the federal Secure Communities program next month, a controversial initiative that allows state and local police to check the immigration status of people who are arrested or even detained for minor infractions like traffic violations. It’s fashionable to criticize Arizona, but it’s not yet so trendy to resist national immigration policies that enable similar outcomes through less overt profiling language.  

Similarly, many of the boycotting cities are in conflict with their state legislatures. Lawmakers in Texas, Minnesota and Colorado have all discussed the allure of bills that mirror SB 1070. Minnesota lawmakers formally introduced a piece of copycat legislation two weeks ago, just days after St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced a travel ban. 

Nonetheless, Frank stresses these details shouldn’t overshadow the bigger picture of what a successful boycott looks like. “What’s exciting is this boycott shows mass moral outrage--and that’s exactly what boycotts are about,” Frank argues. “Boycotts are about bringing morality to the economy.”

Saturday, May 22, 2010

O'odham Solidarity Across Borders: Resisting militarization

Activists Lockdown & Occupy US Border Patrol Headquarters Demanding End to Border Militarization, Protesters Cited and Released

Saturday, May 22, 2010 



High resolution pictures and B-roll available at: www.oodhamsolidarity.blogspot.com

 
 Tucson, AZ – At approximately 1:00PM Friday, May 21, 2010 more than a dozen people occupied the Tucson Headquarters of the US Border Patrol to draw attention to impacts of border militarization in Indigenous Communities. Six people, including Alex Soto a member of the Tohono O'odham Nation and a volunteer with the group O’odham Solidarity Across Borders, locked themselves together for up to 3 and 1/2 hours. “Indigenous voices have been ignored. In our action today we say NO MORE!” Said Soto.

Banners were hung, including one placed over the reception window that read, “Stop Militarization of Indigenous Lands Now”, traditional songs were sung and the group chanted, “Border militarization destroys Indigenous communities!” and “No raids, no deportations! No SB1070, no racist laws!” Approximately 30 Border Patrol agents flooded the lobby of the headquarters and scrambled to react. Roads to the headquarters and adjacent air force base were shut down. Tucson City Police were eventually called and began preparing an extraction of the peaceful resisters.

A diverse crowd of up to 70 people quickly gathered outside the Border Patrol headquarters to support those locked down inside. Ofelia Rivas of O’odham Voices Against The Wall, an elder in support of the action stated, “It was a historical and powerful moment for people of all color to unite with O’odham to stand in solidarity for human rights and to see the next generation take a stand”.

At approximately 4 o’clock the peaceful resisters negotiated the conditions of their release on their terms. Their requests to consult with Tohono O’odham elders to negotiate terms of release were denied by Tucson Police. The protesters decided to unlock and were cited for two misdemeanors each of trespassing and disorderly conduct. The resisters were released just outside the premises to join supporters where they gathered in traditional prayer and rallied against border militarization for another hour. Community members including members of the Pasqual Yaqui, Tohono O'odham, and Dine' Nations reacted emotionally when two Wackenhut Corp. buses left the Border Patrol compound filled with undocumented people. The detainees responded with returning the symbol of resistance - a raised fist.

“This is just one action of many that makes visible the invisible crimes against humanity that occur every day on the colonial border,” stated one of the peaceful resisters. “We commit to honoring the prayers and call for support of the people most impacted by border militarization, the Indigenous Peoples who’s lands we are on and migrants who seek a better life for their families. We cannot not allow government agencies, border patrol, ICE or reformist agendas to further their suffering. We will continue our actions of peaceful resistance for human dignity and respect for all peoples.”

The action also denounced SB1070 and HB2281 as racist laws that are a part of an ongoing system of genocidal policies against Indigenous Peoples and migrant communities.

For previous Press Statement, please see attachment.

Note to editors, high resolution photos attached; Photo credits: O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective

Media Contacts:
Alex Soto (602) 881-6027
Leilani Clark (520) 982-5687

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Distress: Remembering Marcia Powell.

"Distress", made by Marritte Funches, 2010. In remembrance of Marcia Powell, who died a year ago, killed by being left in a cage at 107 degrees in the sun.

He also reminds us of the living: political prisoners currently imprisoned or in exile. Please give special thought, as well, to Marilyn Buck, now fighting cancer at the BOP's Federal Medical Center (FMC) Carswell, in Texas.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Solidarity With DREAMers

Spotted hanging over the I-10 during this morning's rush hour.
(liberties taken with color and hue)

DREAM Activists Sit-in, Arrested at McCain's Tucson Office.

This email floored me when I got it last night. These kids have more courage than most American citizens. They've put everything on the line for the DREAM Act. The least the rest f us can do is can McCain and tell him we want these kids free and legal. How can anyone think they'd be anything but a blessing to our nation? They already are.


Here are McCain's Senate office numbers:

  • Phoenix Office: (602) 952-2410


  • Prescott Office: (928) 445-0833


  • Tempe Office: (480) 897-6289


  • Tucson Office: (520) 670-6334


  • Washington Office: (202) 224-2235

    And here are his campaign office numbers. 

     Phoenix Office: 602-604-2010                      Tucson Office: 520-327-2773

    Boy is his campaign site looking scary...he's really turned anti-immigrant - and didn't mention a thing in his news releases about having those Dream Activists arrested, of course. I don't see how he can keep all his promises to the Latino community when he's so busy sucking up to the far right...

    Made my call, and registered my voice to free those youth and push the DREAM act through. It'll only take you two or three minutes to do the same - just pick an office and dial.


---------------------------The Dream is Coming--------------------------

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contacts: Juan (407) 602-8675,
Flavia de la Fuente (949) 910-6362
media@thedreamiscoming.com
 
DETAINED in Arizona: Four Student Immigrant Leaders
Peacefully Resist Current Immigration Law, Urge Passage of DREAM Act

As of 6:00 PM PST Monday May 17, Mohammad, Yahaira, Lizbeth and Raul, an Arizona Resident, have been arrested and detained after their day long sit-in at Senator John McCains Office in Tucson, AZ. Tania, who was not detained, has been designated as spokesperson and will be relating the experiences/thoughts of the group during the action.

Senator John McCain offered the students a meeting in order to discuss the Dream Act, however, the students recognize that this is insufficient and that immediate action is needed to pass the DREAM Act!

Tucson, Arizona. May 17th, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, Arizona law enforcement arrested four undocumented leaders of the immigrant student movement in addition to Arizona native Raul Alcaraz. Lizbeth Mateo of Los Angeles, California; Tania Unzueta of Chicago, Illinois; Mohammad Abdollahi of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Yahaira Carrillo of Kansas City, Missouri; were detained Tucson, Arizona, after staging a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office. With this challenge to local and federal law, these youth hope to highlight the urgency of legislative action in Congress, and catalyze mass grassroots mobilization to pass the DREAM Act before June 15th.

These four leaders are risking deportation from the United States in the hope that this action will make a significant contribution to the fight for immigrant rights. In response to the onslaught of enforcement-based immigration law, they staged a sit-in at Senator McCain’s office, and urged congressional leadership to champion the DREAM Act and the values it represents: hard work, education, and fairness.


Lizbeth, 25, an organizer with DREAM Team Los Angeles, states, "There are already ten other states across the country considering immigration legislation similar to Arizona’s: legislation that is anti-family, anti-democratic, and anti-freedom. Police states and enforcement are quickly becoming the standard, and we are running out of time. We are going to pass the DREAM Act because it is based on freedom and equality."


Mohammad, 24, co-founder of DreamActivist.Org, a resource web portal for undocumented students, said in a statement: "Never in our history has it been American to deny people their civil rights. We have decided to peacefully resist to encourage our leaders to pass the DREAM Act and create a new standard for immigration reform based on education, hard work, equality, and fairness."
At least 65,000 undocumented immigrant youth graduate from high schools every year, and many of them struggle to attend institutes of higher education and the military. The DREAM Act will grant youth who traveled to the United States before the age of 16 a path to citizenship contingent on continuous presence in the country, good behavior, and the attainment of at least a two-year university degree or a two-year commitment to the armed forces.

"During the civil rights movement, African-American students were arrested for sitting down at lunch counters. We’ve been detained for standing on a sidewalk. We can't wait any longer for the DREAM Act to pass," said Tania, 26, co-founder of the Immigrant Youth Justice League, and immigrant rights organizer in Chicago.

All four are leaders in their own communities and have dedicated years to work for immigrant rights, legalization for undocumented immigrants, and the DREAM Act. “Dr. King spoke of a dream of equality overcoming fear. Well, the fierce urgency of our dreams has overcome any kind of fear we may have had before. We can’t wait,” concluded Yahaira, 25, a founder of the Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance.

National Press Conference
Tuesday May 18th
9 AM Pacific, 11 PM Central, Noon EST

In front of Senator John McCain’s office:
407 West Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

Scott Watch: Unconstitutional Living Conditions

 Unconstitutional Living Condition ~ Unedited ~By Jamie Scott ~ Please Forward to Media Outlets
 
April 20, 2010

Jamie Scott # 19197
CMCF/2A-B-Zone
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8850


The living condition in quickbed area is not fit for any human to live in. I have been incarcerated for 15 years 6 months now and this is the worst I have ever experience. When it rain out side it rain inside. The zone flood like a river. The rain comes down on our heads and we have to try to get sheets and blankets to try to stop it from wetting our beds and personnel property. Because the floors are concrete and it have paint on it, it makes it very slippery when it rain and there have been numerous of inmates that have broke their arms and hurt there self do to this. Above our heads there are rows and rows of spiders as if we live in the jungle. There are inmates that have holds in there bodies left from spider bites, because once they are bitten it take forever to get to the clinic for any help. There are mold in the bathroom ceiling and around the walls and toilets. The toilets leak sewage from under them and they have the inmate men to come in and patch them up occasionally. The smell is awful. The showers are two circular poles with five shower heads on each pole. The floor in the shower is also concrete and slippery. There is nothing to hold on to when you exit the shower so there have been many inmates that have hurt there self in the process. Outside the building there is debirs where the unit is falling apart. Each day we are force to live in these conditions. The staph infection is so high and we are force to wave in toilet and sewage water when we have to go to the bathroom. I have witness to many inmates die at the hands of this second rate medical care. I do not want to be one of them. When this is brought to the health department or anyone attention. The MDOC tries to get the inmate to try to pamper it up so if someone comes in it want look as bad as the inmates said it did. I am fully aware that we are in prison, but no one should have to live in such harsh condition. I am paranoid of catching anything because of what I have been going throw with my medical condition. We are living in these harsh conditions, but if you go to the administration offices, they are nice and clean and smell nice because they make sure the inmates clean their offices each day. They tell us to clean the walls. Cleaning the walls will not help anything. Cleaning the walls will not stop the rain from pouring in. it will not stop the mold from growing inside the walls and around us. It will not stop the spiders from mating. They have 116 inmates on each wing, and we live not five feet from each other in order to pack us in. We have the blowers on the ceiling and if the inmates are acting crazy or the staff come in mad they use the blowers as a form of punishment. The taxes payers really are lead to believe we are been rehabilitated. That is a joke. All we do is sit in this infected unit and build up more hate. Rehabilitated starts within you. If you want to change you will change. One thing about MDOC, they know how to fix the paper work up to make it seen as if they are doing their job. You can get more drugs and anything else right here. I have witness a lot in my time here. Do I sound angry, I am not I am hurt and sick. Because they have allowed my kidney to progress to stage five which been the highest. They told me years ago I had protein in my urine, but I went years without any help. Now, it seen the eyes are on me because my family are on their case. Every inmate is not without family. Yes, you do have many inmates that family have giving up on, but my sister and I are not them. I do not want special attention; I want to treat, and to live how the state says on paper we are living. The same way when it is time for the big inspection we are promised certain food if we please clean up to pass this inspection. So I beg of anyone to please understand Mississippi Department of Correction is a joke. They will let you die or even kill yourself. We are told when visitors come into the prison do not talk to them. Well I have the right to talk to anyone and if the health department or anyone comes I will talk to him or her, because this is my life and I should or anyone else should be force to live like this. They use unlawful punishments to try to shut us up. I need help. I need a inmate to help me, but for some reason they will not allow me to move with my sister, so she can help me. There are mother and daughter, aunties, and nieces housed together and also there are a total of 12 inmates acting as orally for others inmates. I have all the names of the inmates acting as a orally if need to be giving. However, the subject of my sister is been danced around. A form of discrimination. My sister (Gladys Scott) and I were housed together for over ten years and not once have we ever caused any problem. We were spit up because in 2003 the Commissioner came with the order to separate all family members. Because its payback because my family is holding them accountable to do what they are paid to do. Also, do to the fact Mr. Daniels on it’s a New Day & Grassroots are keeping the supports inform that is been pointed out to me in a negative way. Now that I am sitting everyday because of my sickness I have time to use my typewriter. MDOC have gotten away with to much. In addition, some of the things that go on here I truly believe that Mr. Epps do not know.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice: Hunger Strike!


The Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice are conducting a Hunger Strike  at the Department of Justice Headquarters in Washington, DC  on June 21, 2010.

Contacts:  Ruby Sales / B.J. Janice Peak-Graham
1-706-323-0246 / 0247 - spirithousedc@gmail.com

We, who are three strikes removed from the center of the power structure of this country, want to raise the political consciousness of the nation while standing as the moral soul of the nation. We are Gray-Haired Witnesses who have struggled from time immemorial within the Black community.  We are building towards a movement in history and we need all people of good will to be a part!  

When Ida B. Wells stood up, she set in motion a resistance movement where many Americans broke their silence against lynching and said NO. She stood for a race of people bereft of political power or resources.  More than 100 years later Gray-Haired Witnesses, Black women with a new Freedom Movement calling on this nation, stand in the spirit of those proud men and women who won hard-fought for victories in struggle and blood.  We speak to the totality of the struggle of the Black woman who is debased regularly as uneducated, immoral, subhuman, whore, bad mother, and welfare queen. We also recognize the systemic racism that leads the police to even arrest the lack woman in the first place, the racism during sentencing, during incarceration, in dealing with social services, education, health discrimination, and beyond.

Over the last 20 years, the women’s population in US prisons has more than tripled.  Most women are in prison as a result of drug selling, addiction, domestic violence and criminal acts mostly related to men.  Too many are victimized by biased and negligent lawyers and judges. The evidence of oppression against Black and poor women significantly increased and continues to mount. Our Sisters are victimized, and subsequently our families, by enormous health care disparities, and emotional degradation through corporate media demonization of our image and place in our community. We now see a coalition of corporate, cultural and political wars fully embracing a White supremacist culture of domination and terrorism.

Our primary focus is the case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters, Jamie and Gladys, whose almost 16 yrs of unjust incarceration is a shocking revelation of the pure nothingness with which our lives are deemed in the eyes of this society and world, where such egregious travesties of justice are heaped upon our women with hate-filled arrogance and in plain view!  In 1994, the State of Mississippi sentenced Jamie and Gladys Scott  to consecutive double-life terms each for two counts of armed robbery they did not commit.  They did not have prior criminal records, vigorously maintained their innocence, approximately $11 was said to have been netted, no one was harmed or injured and no weapon was ever recovered.

In January, 2010, Jamie Scott suffered failure of both kidneys.  The combination of absymal health care under deplorable conditions has culminated in her steep decline to stage 5 (end stage) kidney disease. 
 Jamie Scott has now effectively been sentenced to death.  We must address this specific issue with urgency and demand that an Inspection and Observation Team be allowed into the Pearl, MS prison where Jamie Scott is being held for independent evaluation, as well as call on this government to free Jamie and Gladys Scott, wrongfully convicted and with no business being incarcerated in the first place!  The case of the Scott Sisters is a horrific representation of the cases of countless other Black and poor women who have been denied the benefits of true justice and been incarcerated wrongly and in the process punishing, injuring and destroying Black families and children across the nation.

The Gray-Haired Witness are calling on all people of good will to fast and strike and resist with us across the nation on this day. The greatest asset we have is our body, mind and spirit and our willingness to step out of the daily flow of life and stand tall for what is right and just.  In the tradition of race women throughout history and our survival, we declare our presence and we will not be silent and we are not afraid.
 Our lives have prepared us to come to this place, at this time.

STAND WITH US IN WASHINGTON, DC AND HELP TO BUILD THIS EVENT.  

WE ASK THAT YOU STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH US:

1.
Organize attendees to come to the event on June 21.
 
2. Sign your organization/club/church/mosque/temple, etc. on in solidarity with the event.

3.
Put a statement in support on your website and link to our blogspot.  Send a mailing to your email list and memberships.

4.
Assist in distributing literature for this event to build it to the maximum level.  

5.
Assist in garnering press now and at the event.
 
6. Organize a local fast where you are and send a press release to local news outlets about the hunger strike and your local support efforts.

7.
Dress and wear buttons in solidarity with us on that day.

8.
Assist with donations towards expenses earmarked "Gray-Haired Witnesses" at http://www.spirithouseproject.org/donation.cfm.


We call on our Sisters, our Brothers to join with us to demand what is right.  We must speak loudly and clearly to the devaluation of Black women's bodies and lives.  We want people of all colors to wage a struggle and stand with us on these issues because none of us are free until we are all free.


SHAKEERAH ABDUL AL-SABUUR, Paralegal
FATIRAH AZIZ, ICFFMAJ, African American Freedom & Reconstruction League, Quba Institute
MAE JACKSON, Art without Walls
MARPESSA KUPENDUA, M'Backe House of Hope, Inc.
DEBRA D. NAPIER, PhD.
BJ JANICE PEAK-GRAHAM, OUR COMMON GROUND Communications, Inc., Progressive Alternative Talk Radio 
RUBY NELL SALES, Founder and Co-Director of SpiritHouse project - Public theologian, educator and long time runner for justice
JAMIA SHEPHERD, Founder/President of S.O.P.E. - Support Our People's Efforts 

The SpiritHouse Project
100 6th Street
Columbus, GA  31901

Friday, May 14, 2010

Phillip Gibbs, James Green, and the colors of Resistance.


Those of us who know Vietnam protest history at all know about the white kids murdered by the Ohio National Guard while protesting  at Kent State in 1970. Look again at all our history books: the anti-war movement is usually given a righteous young white face - despite the fact that the black community was in overwhelming opposition to the expanding  war, since their young men made up most of the US Army's front line fodder. In fact, Martin Luther King was beginning to vociferously challenge both the racism of the war and US imperialism when he was assassinated two years earlier.

So, today the story is about the kids killed in Mississippi at Jackson State College during their own uprisings just ten days after Kent State - the kids that even our leftier history teachers often forget to mention. They were 21-year old Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, and 17-year old high school senior James Earl Green. I was going to post the Democracy Now transcript on it - which isn't bad - but you'll have to Google if that's what you want. Here's the link to Jackson State College's Gibbs-Green Memorial page instead. Like the pages missing from our history books - the whole chapters left out - this school's page was strangely hard to find.

Kris Kobach and the rise of the New American Fascism.

Lifted this off the Huffington Post, thanks to a tip from my buddy, Brian. Supporters of SB 1070 should know who they're in bed with, and opponents should know who we're up against. Clowns like Arpaio, Thomas and Pearce may seem to be leading the charge, but Kobach is the one with the pedigree, the brains, and the professional demeanor to legitimize as "American" what men like them want to do. Like many of the Bush administration's attorneys - including those who legalistically justified all sorts of human rights abuses and torture - this man is exceptionally competent and dangerous. And he's hard at work in several other states across the country... 


--------------------------------------

Kris Kobach, Architect Of Arizona Immigration Law SB1070, Is Behind Other Controversial Laws

JOHN HANNA | 05/10/10 04:41 PM | AP
TOPEKA, Kan. — When politicians and police across the country want to crack down on illegal immigration, they often reach out to the same man: a little-known Kansas attorney with an Ivy League education who is the architect behind many of the nation's most controversial immigration laws.

Kris Kobach could not attend West Point because of diabetes, but he regards his efforts on immigration as a substitute for military service.

"They can't call him trailer park trash, which is the kind of comment you hear about advocates on our side," said Michael Hethmon, director of the Washington-based Immigration Reform Law Institute.

Kobach helps draft proposed laws and, after they are adopted, trains officers to enforce them. If the laws are challenged, he goes to court to defend them.

His most recent project was advising Arizona officials on a new law that empowers police to question anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally. Critics say it violates the Constitution's provisions against unreasonable search and seizure by allowing police to engage in racial profiling.

But Kobach insists an officer stopping a crowded van for a traffic violation has a reasonable suspicion its occupants are illegal immigrants if none of them has an ID, the van is traveling a known smuggling route and the driver is evasive.

"I could not care less whether they come from Mexico or Germany or Japan or China," said Kobach, who speaks with the affable air of a college professor, even when making cutting political remarks. "An alien who also is here with terrorist intentions can carry any passport. This isn't about race or national origin."

Before the law was passed last month, Kobach spent several years consulting with its main sponsor. And he has a $300-an-hour contract to teach deputies in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, to enforce immigration policies.

Detractors are not impressed by Kobach's degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale, or the coveted White House fellowship he served during George W. Bush's first term.

While at the White House, he created a post-9/11 Justice Department program requiring immigrants from 25 mostly Muslim nations who were already in the U.S. to re-register with the federal government. Civil libertarians argued that it led to unwarranted detentions of law-abiding immigrants.

"He promotes himself as absolutely, positively being a constitutional scholar on these issues, and he's just wrong," said Bill Brewer, a Dallas attorney who has faced off with Kobach in court over immigration laws in Farmers Branch, Texas.

Kobach, a 44-year-old lifelong Republican with movie-star good looks, learned as a Topeka teenager that diabetes would keep him from a desired appointment to West Point. His focus on immigration developed after Sept. 11, when as an aide to Attorney General John Ashcroft, he and other Justice Department officials learned some of the 9/11 attackers had lived in the U.S. illegally.

"It was a missed opportunity of tragic dimensions," Kobach said. "That realization struck home with me. People were saying, 'How could we have prevented this?'"

After leaving Washington, he returned to Kansas and to a job on the University of Missouri-Kansas City law school faculty that he'd had since 1996, then launched a campaign for Congress. He lost.

But Kobach drew attention by challenging a Kansas law that reduced tuition rates for illegal immigrants. The law survived, but frustrated conservatives took note of his work.

Mayor Lou Barletta, of Hazleton, Pa., called Kobach in 2006 to discuss a proposal to fine landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and to deny permits to businesses hiring them. Kobach later defended the law in federal court.

The mayor said he contacted Kobach after a news report quoted him saying Hazleton had the authority to enact such an ordinance, contradicting other legal scholars.

"It really only took one conversation to realize that he truly knew what he was talking about," Barletta recalled.

Kobach largely wrote and then defended a similar ordinance in Valley Park, Mo., that was upheld by a federal appeals court.

Last year, he defended Farmers Branch, Texas, in a federal lawsuit targeting its landlord law. And this year, he represented residents of Fremont, Neb., outside Omaha, as they forced a vote on their own immigration proposals.

Federal judges struck down the Farmers Branch and Hazleton ordinances, but both are on appeal.
Kobach also wrote sections of a 2008 Missouri law cracking down on illegal immigration and this year drafted an unsuccessful proposal in Idaho requiring employers to screen workers.

Kobach said he's consulted with legislators in at least six other states on various measures.

"I would say he is the brain behind most of them," said Muzaffar Chishti, director of the Migration Policy Institute's office at the New York University School of Law.

Kobach, elected Kansas state GOP chairman in 2007, quit early last year to launch a campaign for secretary of state. His first proposal for legislators: require new voters to prove citizenship when they register and make all voters show photo IDs at the polls.

"You can take steps to address the national security issues and still be left with the problem of millions of people here illegally taking jobs in a recession from lawful residents," he said.

Critics suggest Kobach's immigration work is designed to boost his political career. A "Krazy Kris Kobach" website features an anonymous blogger who exhorts followers to end Kobach's career.

Arizona state Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, a Phoenix Democrat and attorney who voted against her state's new law, said Kobach is not to be underestimated.

"What I'm concerned about," she said, "is there are all these legislators in all these states who think he's a good guy and want to take his advice."
___

On the Net:

Kris Kobach's campaign: http://www.kriskobach.org/
Immigration Reform Law Institute: http://www.irli.org/
Migration Policy Institute: http://www.migrationpolicy.org/
Anti-Kobach website: http://krazykriskobach.com/

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jackson Co. NAACP Celebrates Oppressors: The Resistance Responds.

No Banquets! Free Jamie and Gladys Scott!
Represent Our Resistance

By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board
May 6, Issue 374

We, the Black masses, don't want these leaders who seek our support coming to us representing a certain political party. They must come to us today as Black Leaders representing the welfare of Black people. We won't follow any leader today who comes on the basis of political party. Both parties (Democrat and Republican) are controlled by the same people who have abused our rights, and who have deceived us with false promises every time an election rolls around.
-Malcolm X


Jamie Scott suffers from kidney disease. She receives inadequate medical care, but the Jackson County Branch of the NAACP in Mississippi last month (April) held a banquet, “NAACP: One Nation, One Dream,” to honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding service to the community. Christopher Epps, commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Corrections was recognized for his - work.

Epps (Black American) is the “longest serving commissioner in the history of the agency,” according to MDOC’s website. Appointed by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in 2002 and then reappointed by Gov. Haley Barbour in 2004, Epps must have done his work quite well.

Mrs. Evelyn (Rasco), Jamie’s mother, spoke to Epps in March of this year on behalf of her daughter. Jamie, she told him, is very ill; she needs serious medical care. Jamie and her sister Gladys were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to double life each for an $11 dollar robbery. The wallet re-appeared with the money. The accusers admitted to supplying false testimonies against the young women then. But its 15 years latter and now Jamie is ill.

Epps told Mrs. (Rasco) that he would do “everything in his power” and work to have the Scott sisters released from prison, according to legal analyst Nancy Lockhart. Now it seems that Epps isn’t so sure this is his work - securing medical care for Jamie or securing the release of Jamie and Gladys. Maybe Jamie isn’t so ill. Maybe she isn’t so truthful about her experiences with the prison’s medical personnel.

“I’ve talked with Jamie many times. I know Jamie. I can’t imagine Jamie would lie. I have never known Jamie to lie,” Lockhart told me.

No, I can’t imagine that any woman in the end-stage of kidney disease, receiving inadequate treatment, living in a cell with spiders and moldy walls would lie about her condition. No, not many could imagine a woman lying about the pain and bleeding of 4-5 caterers that had been placed in her neck or the bleeding from the caterer (placed in her groin) that fell out. No human being would imagine another would be lying while they suffer from a life-threatening disease.

But Epps seems to have doubts. Something is wrong with this story!

I agree. Something is strange about this story!

The Jackson County Branch rewards Christopher Epps for his outstanding community work! People have to be congratulated for their community work - in this post-racial era! That’s strange considering that surveillance teams are watching and recording a good many of them!

Immigrant communities, particularly Latino/as and Haitian communities, are working to organize resistance to the legalization of racial profiling and racial terror. Native Americans are working to organize resistance to the effort of the government to run bulldozers over their lands and their lives. Muslim communities are working to organize resistance to the targeting of their mosques and community organizations.

While community organizations, focusing on the fallout of war waged against Black Americans, organize to tackle housing, unemployment, gentrification of neighborhoods, and high infant mortality rates, the Black community isn’t organized to confront the U.S. Empire that perpetuates these conditions. On the contrary, mainstream Black organizations fear losing their credibility with Empire and, in turn, they fear losing economic and political support.

These organizations can’t identify themselves as critics of the U.S. Empire. So banquets - out of reach of Jamie, her sister, and their mother - are organized to do what? Honor whom? Collaborators, obedient servants - who are also intended to serve as symbols of Black success? Look at the number of Black Americans who can afford to attend the awards banquet! Look at the “exceptional,” outstanding professional Blacks honored for their work.

In the meantime, NAACP representatives aren’t knocking on Black residents’ doors to urge them to come out, stand together to engage in civil disobedience. The NAACP won’t organize troops of people from the communities of Red, Black, Brown, and Muslim to appear in Washington D.C. and demand an end to the laws and policies that have incarcerated 2.3 million Americans.

Be practical! How could we remain the NAACP without government funding?

But the question should be - how do members of the NAACP continue to tell themselves that its organization represents Black Americans, including the poor, imprisoned, and working class in the tradition of Black solidarity?

Do they know that the Black community is collapsing from without and well as from within? Or is the NAACP an organization that does what is safe for the NAACP to sustain its life. It’s safe to honor Epps, but it’s not safe to free the incarcerated like Jamie and Gladys.

When the NAACP planned a study on the effects of prison in the lives of juveniles, Nancy Lockhart approached the regional director about the Scott Sisters’ case. Lockhart was told that the Sisters “didn’t qualify” for the study, but he would refer their case to the “criminal division of the NAACP” and recommend that the division treat the case in the same manner they are treating the Troy Davis case! Lockhart: “How long was Troy Davis in prison before the NAACP responded to his wrongful conviction?” Other legal organizations did the work to free Davis long before the NAACP took note of his imprisonment.

Is it that Davis’ case like Mumia’s case has received international support and it is therefore safe enough for the NAACP?

As Michelle Alexander writes in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, “mass incarceration depends for its legitimacy on the widespread belief that all those who appear trapped at the bottom actively chose their fate.” No group believes this fallacy more than the Black middle class. While a few more Blacks per year are seated at banquet tables, oblivious to the day-to-day plight of Blackness in the U.S., there’s a steady increase of Black children and young people hurdled into the criminal justice system each year. Unfortunate environment! Wrong parents! The judgment of a divine mind! Jamie and Gladys Scott are just not - exceptional--they’re just common.

Overlook them! They can’t vote! They don’t count!

The system has regulated our relations with one another to its benefit and our detriment.

Consequently, we no longer, as a collective, heed Martin Luther King's warning that, to quote from Alexander, “racial justice requires the complete transformation of social institutions and dramatic restructuring of our economy, not superficial changes that can [be] purchased on the cheap.” Work that contributes to the continuation of U.S. Empire’s practice of aggression can’t transform or dramatically restructure the institutions that enslave the majority of humanity.

The horrors of Empire are more easily recognized when on display over there. But the horrors of U.S. Empire are here. Palestine is here. The West Bank and Gaza are here in the U.S. in the barrios, on the reservations, in urban communities, and in rural prisons. We don’t see it, but the War on Drugs and immigrant laws lock away Black and Brown people here. Unarmed young men are shot 20, 30, and 41 times for being Black while they hold a cell phone, or ride a subway, or attend a bachelor’s party.


The re-settlement scheme, otherwise known as gentrification, forces people to sleep on park benches and in public library sitting rooms. Systemic unemployment and low wages create conditions of impoverishment for thousands of children here. Racial profiling and militarized borders and neighborhoods subject people to fear and shame. Here in the U.S., millions of people for whom the political and economic domestic policies resemble the foreign policies enforced over there, these conditions are too close for Americans to see.

It’s sad to see Black organizations lacking the will and desire to break free and work on behalf of those abused, tortured, imprisoned, killed by the Empire. It’s hard to see how such organizations can direct a movement that would bring about structural transformations in the U.S. Consequently, we can’t put the spotlight on the kind of work that only strengthens aggressive strategies, except to condemn that work as inhumane.

But we shouldn’t have to see Jamie die before we remember that the U.S. has never played fair with Black Americans. If we recall our ancestors, we’ll remember the meaning of work. Let Malcolm and King be pleased for a change!

Mrs. (Rasco) isn’t getting any younger. “She’s an elderly woman, and Gladys needs to be able to care for her sister,” Lockhart said.

Let’s give Jamie Scott the spotlight and honor her with compassion. Free Jamie and her sister Gladys!

--------------------------------------------------

SEE:

Appeals Court Affirms that Mississippi Death Row Conditions are Unconstitutional http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/appeals-court-affirms-mississippi-death-row-conditions-are-unconstitutional
Civil Rights Lawyers and Mississippi Department of Corrections Agree to Overhaul Violent Supermax Unit http://www.aclu.org/prisoners-rights/civil-rights-lawyers-and-mississippi-department-corrections-agree-overhaul-violent-
Contact:

www.freethescottsisters.blogspot.com

Mrs. Evelyn Rasco - rqueenbee2222@yahoo.com
Nancy Lockhart thewrongfulconvictions@gmail.com or call 843 217 4649
Christopher B. Epps, Commissioner cepps@mdoc.state.ms.us (601) 359-5600
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has been a writer for over thirty years of commentary, resistance criticism and cultural theory, and short stories with a Marxist sensibility to the impact of cultural narrative violence and its antithesis, resistance narratives. With entrenched dedication to justice and equality, she has served as a coordinator of student and community resistance projects that encourage the Black Feminist idea of an egalitarian community and facilitator of student-teacher communities behind the walls of academia for the last twenty years. Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American Literatures, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Schools are Under Attack: What do we do?

 "Stand up, Fight Back!" 

That was the chant coming over NPR today, which also reported on the new English-fluency rules for teachers now, too (I doubt that Tom Horne is complaining about teachers with thick German accents...). 

Boy, is the Latino community getting hit big time. We can't let this stuff stand, folks. It's outright fascism. Even the UN condemns this new law!

This article comes from the Huffington Post via Freedom Archives' Anti-Imperialist News. Worth subscribing to their email list. The link to do so is at the bottom.


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Arizona Ethnic Studies Law Signed By Governor Brewer, Condemned By UN Human Rights Experts

JONATHAN J. COOPER | 05/11/10 11:50 PM | AP
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/12/arizona-ethnic-studies-la_n_572864.html?ref=fb&src=sp

PHOENIX ­ Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program on Tuesday, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the measure for years, said a Tucson school district program promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race.

"It's just like the old South, and it's long past time that we prohibited it," Horne said.

The measure prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group. It also prohibits classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.

The Tucson Unified School District program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.

For example, in the Mexican-American Studies program, an American history course explores the role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War, and a literature course emphasizes Latino authors.

Horne said he believes the Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

Brewer's signature on the bill comes less than a month after she signed the nation's toughest crackdown on illegal immigration – a move that ignited international backlash amid charges the measure would encourage racial profiling of Hispanics.

A Republican running for attorney general, Horne has been trying to restrict the program ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in 2006 told students that "Republicans hate Latinos."

District officials said the program doesn't promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.

About 1,500 students at six high schools in the district are enrolled in the program. Elementary and middle school students also are exposed to the ethnic studies curriculum. The district is 56 percent Hispanic, with nearly 31,000 Latino students.

Sean Arce, director of the district's Mexican-American Studies program, said last month that students perform better in school if they see in the curriculum people who look like them.

"It's a highly engaging program that we have, and it's unfortunate that the state Legislature would go so far as to censor these classes," he said.

Six UN human rights experts released a statement earlier Tuesday expressing concern about the measure. All people have the right to learn about their own cultural and linguistic heritage, they said.

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman didn't directly address the UN criticism, but said Brewer supports the bill's goal.

"The governor believes ... public school students should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people," Senseman said.

The law doesn't prohibit classes that teach about the history of a particular ethnic group, as long as the course is open to all students and doesn't promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.

Arce could not immediately be reached after Brewer signed the bill late Tuesday.



Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

www.Freedomarchives.org

______________________________

AZ LEG: House Study Committee on Sentencing FRI 5/14

I encourage as many people as possible to attend and sign up to speak at this committee meeting Friday. Read up on Fischer's study first, if you can (here's the press release - it's rather disturbing); the data he has is useful, but I take issue with many of his conclusions. Professor Lynch may rebut some of what he has to say; Franklin Zimring also has some interesting analyses of the trends in crime and punishment over the past decade (here's a sample; Google him for more).

--------------------------------------------------

Interim agendas can be obtained via the Internet at http://www.azleg.state.az.us/InterimCommittees.asp

ARIZONA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


INTERIM MEETING NOTICE

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC



HOUSE STUDY COMMITTEE ON SENTENCING


Date:              Friday, May 14, 2010

Time:             10:00 A.M. or upon recess or adjournment of Floor

Place:                        HHR 5

AGENDA

1.
Call to Order

2.
Opening Remarks

3.
Testimony on Sentencing:

·         Representative Jerry Madden, Texas State Representative; Vice-Chair, House Corrections Committee; Member, House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee
·        Dana Hlavac, Deputy County Manager, Mohave County Criminal Justice Services
·        Daryl R. Fischer, Ph.D., author “Prisoners in Arizona, A Profile of the Inmate Population”   [March, 2010]
·        Robert Hirsh, Pima County Public Defender
·         Derek Rapier,  Greenlee County Attorney; Chairman, Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council
·         Jeremy Mussman, Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office
·        Mona Lynch, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California Irvine;  author, Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment [Stanford University Press 2009]
·         David Gallagher, Executive Director, Arizona Addiction Treatment Programs, Inc.
·        Senator John Huppenthal, Arizona State Senate, District 20

4.
Public Testimony
5.
Discussion
6.
Adjourn


Members:
Representative Cecil Ash, Chair

Representative Doris Goodale

Representative Laurin Hendrix

Representative Bill Konopnicki

Representative Kyrsten Sinema

Representative Anna Tovar


2/4/10
jmb

People with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations such as interpreters, alternative formats, or assistance with physical accessibility.  If you require accommodations, please contact the Chief Clerk's Office at (602) 926-3032, TDD (602) 926-3241.
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