Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday Bud Blogging

My heart is broken. He'll be missed greatly.

Bud passed away last night unexpectedly. He was such a big part of this website back when I started it in 2005, figured I would let you all know in case anyone still has this on an RSS feed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lou Dobbs Resigning Immediately from CNN

Don't let the puerta hit you on the nalgas on the way out, Lou!
Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, plans to announce Wednesday that he is leaving the network, two network employees said. A CNN executive confirmed that Mr. Dobbs will announce his resignation plans on his 7 p.m. program. His resignation is effective immediately; tonight’s program will be his last on CNN. His contract was not set to expire until the end of 2011.

NYTimes' Media Decoder Blog
Great work to all the activist bloggers and campaigns like and for pointing out the violence that has been given shelter by media hacks like him.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Arpaio's Policies Include Shackling During Birth

Last summer, I covered the horrific story of Juana de la Paz being shackled during labor and, after the birth of her child, prevented from breastfeeding. That outrageous human rights abuse occured in Tennessee.

Well, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has brought this scourge of inhumane policy to Maricopa County:

During her second night behind bars, the bleeding started. On the morning of October 14, she felt contractions. Her hands and feet shackled, she was in labor and ushered into a paramedic's van by a detention officer who restrained her to the stretcher.

"That's not necessary," the paramedic told the officer.

"It's my job," the officer responded. The guard was a Latina.

She thought she would be released from the shackles once she arrived at the hospital, but she wasn't.

The officer chained her ankle to one leg of the hospital bed.

A nurse requested that she be freed to get a urine sample. But the officer suggested instead that her bed be dragged over to the bathroom.

Later she was changed from her jail uniform into a hospital gown.

"The officer chained me by the feet and the hands to the bed," she said. "And that's how my daughter was born."

Phoenix New Times

The Department of Justice needs to get off its ass and finish up their investigation so this domestic terrorism can end.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kyl Must've Been Delivered by Stork

The general rule is that if Senator Kyl is speaking, Arizona is being embarrassed. Even by those standards, though, this is nuts:

"I don't need maternity care," Kyl said. "So requiring that on my insurance policy is something that I don't need and will make the policy more expensive."

Stabenow interrupted: "I think your mom probably did."

It's bad enough that the Senate doesn't reflect gender or ethnic parity found throughout the country, even worse that it retains a neanderthal like Kyl who is so devoid of empathy that the question must be asked if he was delivered by stork.

Maternity care is the last thing that should be used as an excuse to water down the current health care reform proposals moving through Washington. You'd think that was a no-brainer but we're dealing with Senators with no brain nor heart.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Arizona Schools Getting Screwed on Tuesday

Arizona districts and charters operate on an equalization payment that arrives monthly on or around the 15th from the Arizona Department of Education. There has been a lot of fear recently that the state legislature would be irresponsible and do one of two things since those who call the shots are anti-government conservatives: 1) education budgets would be gutted or 2) refuse to protect current funding levels by kicking shortfalls down the road.

Well, the GOP leaders picked the "all of the above option" and as a result, the following memo was issued to schools YESTERDAY at 5:55pm
September 10, 2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund FY 2010 Distribution

The recently passed state budget (3rd Special Session Chapter 11 section 14) requires the Arizona Department of Education to reduce basic state aid payments by $472.1 million and replace those funds with federal State Fiscal Stabilization funds (SFSF) as provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) “as soon as possible.” This procedure is consistent with Title XIV of ARRA and follows guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education regarding the distribution and use of the funds. This distribution will also provide the added benefit of improving the State’s cash flow requirements.

Impact on September 15 Basic State Aid payment

Based on the above law, the Arizona Department of Education will not be distributing any funds on September 15, 2009. In lieu of this payment, each LEA will be awarded SFSF funds in the same amount that they would have received in the apportionment payment.

Application Process

Federal law requires each LEA to complete an application to receive federal funds. The application can be accessed through the Department of Education’s Grants Management System. If you have questions about accessing this system, please contact Richard Valdivia at Applications will be available as soon as school finance can calculate the September basic state aid payment, which we anticipate will be no later than Monday, September 14 2009.

The application is basically identical to the application LEAs submitted last summer. LEAs will have to identify how they intend to use the funds by object code with a brief description. To complete the application, LEAs will have to make certain federally required assurances that the funds will be expended as required by ARRA and the required accounting and reporting requirements will be met. Applications are due by September 16, 2009.


When completing the application, please make sure that the application amount matches the award amount. Also, please ensure that all requested projects have a completion date within the current fiscal year.

Cash Distributions

Cash will be distributed through the Department of Education’s Grants Management System. As with all other federal grants, cash will be distributed on the first of each month. Therefore, the earliest LEAs can receive funds is October 1, 2009. LEAs that submit applications after September 16 will receive funds on November 1, 2009.

Available Uses

Funds can be used for any activity authorized by the following:
  • ESEA (includes Impact Aid)
  • IDEA
  • Perkins Act
Funds cannot be used for
  • Facility maintenance costs
  • Capital costs for stadiums
  • Vehicles
  • Capital costs for district office space
  • Cannot fund aquariums, zoos, golf courses, swimming pools.
While funds can be used for capital improvement projects on schools, any capital project involving an outside vendor is subject to Davis Bacon wage requirements. Further, federal rules require any transactions involving outside vendors to be reported.

Cash Management

Federal cash management laws apply to these funds. Each LEA is responsible for meeting these laws. LEAs may want to use the funds to reimburse prior expenditures if that will help simplify cash management requirements.

Accounting for the Funds

The Auditor General’s Office will be providing guidance outlining how these funds will be accounted for.

For Profit Charter Schools

For profit charter schools are not eligible to receive SFSF dollars and were exempted from the basic state aid reduction. Therefore, for profit charter schools will receive their September 15 basic state aid payment as normal.


For general questions, please contact John Arnold at

For questions regarding the application process or the Grants Management System, contact Richard Valdivia at

For questions regarding accounting contact Laura Miller at .
So what does this mean?

Bottom line is schools will not be receiving their monthly payment from the Arizona Department of Education on Tuesday, September 15th.

Finance personnel will have to go through a federal grant application process to request funds through the ARRA (Stimulus). The earliest they can expect funds is October 1st and there are restrictions as to how it can be used.

Since the GOP state legislators in charge waited until the last goddamned minute to decide whether or not education was worth funding (to them, it's not), schools got a whopping two work-day heads up on this debacle.

September 15th will be a dark day in Arizona. GOP lawmakers who voted to gut Arizona's education system must pay a heavy political price for it.

[IMPORTANT UPDATE] They flinched. Dept of Ed is now assuring schools that they will receive their payments on the 15th. Goes to show you how arbitrary this all is to them, rather than making the funding of education a bedrock principle.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Una Identidad Sin Fronteras: Piedras

This site has been quiet for the past few months, but not without reason. Something snapped in me around the inauguration. My life felt stagnant and I was ready for a major change beyond the Change that was bandied about during the Presidential campaign.

I made the decision to put my social life on hold and save money like there was no tomorrow in order to invest in buying a roof over my head. Well, that day came on Friday, August 14th, 2009 at approximately 2pm. I have joined the ranks of home ownership.

What's been amazing is the support from my family and friends, most of whom live over 100 miles away. Each weekend I've been blessed to have many of them here to help me prep the new digs and assist with the movement of all the stuff I've accumulated over the years.

The past few weeks have been a time of purging and cleansing, painting and upgrading. My new casita is a 2-bedroom, 1-bath home built in 1952 and has front row views of sunsets framed by the Tucson Mountains to the west and the city lights to the west at night. I am a stone's throw away from one of the longest continually inhabited area in North America at the base of Sentinel Peak.

Even though I've only been here a couple of weeks, I feel at peace.

This past weekend my nana was here to help with the work of getting into a new-to-me house. Soon to be 79 years old, she is my only remaining grandparent and is so full of love that my heart can't help but to swell when she shares a bit of herself with me. Right before leaving on Sunday, she pulled out a vial of holy water, led us in prayer and blessed my casita. A moment I will never forget.

One of the features of the house is a series of rounded river rocks that adorn the sides of the house and several areas of the expansive, desert-landscaped yard. She chose one and took it with her back to my hometown to put in her yard so she can link my piece of tierra with that of my ancestors. Speaking to her on the phone yesterday, she asked that I bring several more with me when I go home in a couple of weeks so they can be placed at the graves of mis abuelitos.

As she choked up during the request for more piedras, she said, "You are a part of them, and they are a part of you. Always. And when I die, I want you to take the rock from my yard and put it on my grave."

I couldn't help but get emotional. Familia is so important to me and the cultura. It is a beautiful and powerful force. Knowing that I am able to connect this new chapter of my life to them all is something that will strengthen me as I spend the rest of my life making this pile of bricks a home.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Astro Jose to Tweet During Discovery Mission

Inspiring story of a Mexican-American astronaut scheduled to launch with the Discovery crew this week. He'll be tweeting bilingually at @Astro_Jose
If you want to get the latest developments about the launch of the space shuttle Discovery and the adventures of its crew, specifically Jose Hernandez, the California-born son of Mexican immigrants and now a national hero here in Mexico, you can sign up to follow Hernandez's Twitter feed.

Hernandez is already posting updates on the micro-blogging site about his preparations for take-off and developments concerning the delayed launch of the space shuttle in both English and Spanish.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Another Deadly Summer

If you peruse the archives of this site, you'll see many posts from me agonizing about the constant drumbeat of death that occurs in the desert as the summer heat blazes and economic policies continue to pull humanity to El Norte. This summer has been particularly deadly:
The bodies of six illegal immigrants have been found in the past three days along Arizona's stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, continuing a deadly summer in the desert.

Law enforcement officials recovered two bodies each on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as the scorching summer heat continued. Temperatures have reached 100 degrees or higher in Southern Arizona each of the past 13 days, said National Weather Service meteorologist Gary Zell.

From Oct. 1 through July 31, Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector had recovered the bodies of 161 illegal immigrants, an 18 percent increase from the 137 bodies found during the same time last year, said Mike Lee, Border Patrol Tucson Sector spokesman. The sector stretches from New Mexico to Yuma County.

Arizona Daily Star (emphasis mine)
Where's Obama? Where's Janet? This human rights catastrophe is happening in a jurisdiction that she has overseen since 2002; first as Arizona's governor, now as the Secretary of Homeland Security.

They are no better than George W. Bush on border policy.

Rhetoric-wise there is a difference, but that doesn't muster any clout when you have people stripping off their clothes out of desperation to escape the scorching sun. The American people find it easy to blame border crossers for their own deaths. "They had it coming."

Yet they ignore the maquilas that sit conveniently on one side of an imaginary line so that brown skinned workers can produce goods for pennies on the dollar. Mujeres being raped and disappeared by the thousands in Juarez. Pollution that infects the workers and those living along watersheds - all in the name of economic stability for those privileged enough to be on the benefitting side of the T-account.

Where is the change, Mr. President? Secretary Salazar recently gave positive signals to humanitarian groups, but how will that translate to a shift in paradigm and treatment of our brothers and sisters south of the line?

Even as this shell game continued, Ed McCullough and several other No More Deaths volunteers were invited to meet with Jane Lyder, assistant secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. The message they toted back to Washington, D.C., was simple, says McCullough, a retired dean of the UA College of Science, and the group's official cartographer: "We told them there were people dying in the desert, and the primary cause of death was heat-related problems related to the lack of water. And we told them that we wanted to put water out.

"Secretary Salazar came in about 15 minutes after the meeting started and talked about his concern with what's happening to the migrants in the desert," McCullough recalls. "He said he's had a general concern about immigration problems for a very long time. He also said there were laws among the various government agencies, and anyone proposing what we're proposing would have to work within the law."

McCullough says he and the other volunteers left the meeting with a sense "that they wanted to work something out with the humanitarian groups."

If that's the case, it does signal a mood for compromise. But this is precisely where the rubber hits the road.

Hawkes was out of town and unavailable for comment. But in a recent interview with the Tucson Weekly, he made his position clear. When asked whether No More Deaths will be allowed to put out water, he replied: "Not the way they want to do it. But they can drive around the refuge and hand out cups of water all they want."

Tucson Weekly (emphasis mine)

Unfortunately, that is the situation we face as long as Washington does nothing to end the funnel of death along la frontera and the economic instability that keeps currency in Latin América dependent upon the whims of the greenback.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

CNN President Stands With Lou Dobbs

It's not Headline News that Lou Dobbs has a credibility problem as a journalist. He's long used his show on CNN as a platform to advance conspiracy theories. This particular gem is just one example:

“The invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans,” Mr. Dobbs said on his April 14, 2005, program. From there, he introduced his original report that mentioned leprosy, the flesh-destroying disease — technically known as Hansen’s disease — that has inspired fear for centuries.

According to a woman CNN identified as a medical lawyer named Dr. Madeleine Cosman, leprosy was on the march. As Ms. Romans, the CNN correspondent, relayed: “There were about 900 cases of leprosy for 40 years. There have been 7,000 in the past three years.”

“Incredible,” Mr. Dobbs replied.

Even more incredible is CNN's President, Jonathan Klein, endorsing Lou Dobbs this week after he jumped head first into the Birther Movement swamp, going so far as to label Rachel Maddow a "tea-bagging queen" today after she called out his insanity:

In response to CNN's continued support of conspiracy theorists like Dobbs, Media Matters released the following statement:

"It appears that Jon Klein stands alone as Lou Dobbs' sole defender in the birther battle. Even Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter have jumped ship," said Eric Burns, president of Media Matters. "How long will CNN allow Dobbs to devote airtime to a laughable conspiracy theory that even the most right-wing of media figures think is irresponsible?"

There's a petition that has gathered over 15,000 signatures calling for CNN to restore some form of credibility over their programs (I know, I know...). It can be found at and offers this video roundup of Birthers being given traditional media attention:

As I tweeted yesterday, it'll be highly ironic if Lou Dobbs' career gets a signed death certificate as a result of questioning President Obama's birth certificate. Stay tuned.

Crossposted from Booman Tribune

Monday, July 27, 2009

No, Senator, Life Isn't Fair

[Crossposted from Booman Tribune, where I'm guest-posting this week]

Pobre John McCain. With Sarah Palin back in the headlines, he's getting all nostalgic about what might have been. Rather than blame his failed warmongering ideology and erratic behavior for the drudging he received on Election Day, though, he's whining about brown folk being mean to him!

RAMOS: Are Republicans concerned about upsetting their base if they vote to legalize undocumented immigrants?

MCCAIN: I don’t know…uh…I can’t speak for all Republicans…I know I was out there twice — on the floor of the Senate with Senator Kennedy — trying to pass comprehensive immigration with a path to legalization on it and I was attacked during the campaign for being anti-immigrant. Life isn’t fair.

RAMOS: Talking specifically about that — the last time we spoke was during the campaign. And you know and I know that you only got 31% of the Hispanic vote. Are you disappointed? What went wrong?

MCCAIN: Obviously I’m very disappointed. Millions of dollars of attack ads on your network and across the country in Spanish-language stations attacked me for being anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic, and anti-immigration reform. They succeeded.

Think Progress

Republicans don't want to talk about why their party is becoming whiter and more male dominated. To them, the onus remains on those people to cross the bridge to them, paying no attention to land mines put in the path. This strategery is already failing and will continue to do so if the numbers continue to reflect a more diverse voting population:

According to census data, 66 percent of whites voted in November, down 1 percentage point from 2004. Blacks increased their turnout by 5 points to 65 percent. Hispanics improved turnout by 3 points, and Asians by 3.5 points, each reaching a turnout of nearly 50 percent. In all, minorities made up nearly 1 in 4 voters in 2008, the most diverse electorate ever.

Philly Enquirer

Democrats shouldn't rest easy, however, because a mistake both party establishments make is assuming that communities of color can be pandered to by talk with no walk, or treated like unthinking masses altogether.

The latter is the fatal mistake made by the GOP. They assume that if 95% of black voters and 67% of latino voters pulled the lever for Obama, then it must be because we were showing solidarity for another darkie by default! John McCain blames spanish attack ads for losing the latino vote, which proves (again) that he is out of touch with us:

U.S. online Hispanics are heavier Internet users than the general market. In May 2009 (according to comScore Media Metrix), 68% of U.S, online Hispanics could be found online on the average day, compared to 62% of the general market. Online Hispanics consumed 8% more Page Views, 10% more minutes, and made 18% more visits online than their general market counterparts.

Online Hispanics are younger. One driver of the heaviness of Hispanic Internet usage in the U.S. is the relative age of the population. The median age of the U.S. online Hispanic population was 29.6 in May, compared with 34 for the general market. This is not surprising given the younger skew of the Hispanic population in general; according to census data, fully 61% of Hispanics are under the age of 35, compared to 45% of the non-Hispanic population. Online Hispanics are slightly younger than Hispanics overall, and significantly younger than online users overall. But notably for advertisers, they are younger than the Hispanic audiences generally delivered by offline media.

This post is not really about John McCain, is it? It's about a political establishment that is consumed by maintaining a thick level of insulation from voters' needs. The look of shock on their faces when they see that minorities share many of the same concerns as the wider population is amusing to watch unfold; and you could knock them over with a slight breeze if you told them that they could reach latinos using English-language media.

With a Census looming next year, and data that will undoubtedly show more representation of Latinos, African Americans, and Asians as part of the larger population, life will continue to be unfair to any elected official who supports policies that affect our communities detrimentally; or treat us as uppity when we demand an equal voice at the table.

Just ask Tom Tancredo

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Senator Coburn's Bigotry on Display

Any bets on who will be the first GOP Judiciary Committee Member to scream, "ARRIBA! ARRIBA! ANDALE! ANDALE! at Judge Sonia Sotomayor? You might think that's a far-fetched possibility, but you'd be wrong:

'cuz, you know, Cuba and Puerto Rico are both ISLANDS! Full of brown people! Who speak ghetto!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Extreme Blog Makeover: VotoLatino Edition

Congratulations to Voto Latino! They launched the reinvented blog this week as well as a new url. Update your bookmarks -

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ads in Spanish Target GOP Racism Against Sotomayor

When Sonia Sotomayor was nominated by President Obama to replace Justice Souter on the Supreme Court back in May, I wrote the following: we'll see in the coming days, she is an "intellectual lightweight" despite having a long and stellar career on the bench. She will be attacked as a person of color who has the audacity to uphold affirmative action laws not because they're the law, but because she's looking out for her people. The media's whiteness will show in all its unholy glory.

An example of this mindset can be found during today's broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition. Ed Whalen, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wasted no time on getting that talking point out into the mix right at the onset. There will be no holds barred with this nomination process.

The conservative movement's success at derailing Sotomayor's placement on the Supreme Court is hinged on causing white backlash against her identity and making her out to be a token latina/affirmative action candidate instead of the qualified, capable judge that she has proven to be over the years.

As a blunt blogger friend of mine likes to say, "Bet on it."
What I should've wrote was, "the GOP's whiteness will show in all its unholy glory". Witness their party leader, Rush Limbaugh, during today's broadcast as the Sotomayor hearing commenced on the Hill:
LIMBAUGH: That is one of the most, oh, tear-jerking, let's play the Stradivarius and get the tears going for poor Sonia Sotomayor; she was denied access to the classics. My guess is she'd have found racism in all the classics. She'd have found bigotry in all the classics. If she read the classics, she'd wonder why the hell are these classic. This is Western civilization, white-dominated culture -- the hell with this.

Media Matters
It's almost comical that the GOP decided that the best way to attack an accomplished Latina judge was to claim she's racist. Projection, much?

Rush Limbaugh is not an elected official, but he is a go-to venue for conservatives to preach to their base, and Senator Sessions, who is leading the Republican questioning of Judge Sotomayor during the hearings clearly has his Limbaugh-approved talking points:
Jeff Sessions began his statement by saying he hoped the confirmation hearings would be "the best we've ever had," before launching into a laundry list of terms being used by conservative activists to discredit Sonia Sotomayor: "bias," "prejudice," racial quotas. Sessions touched on every right-wing bugaboo from the court, from the influence of foreign law and the court "created a right for terrorists captured on a foreign battlefield to sue the United States in our own country" to property rights. Sessions fretted that the court would be "corrupted" by Obama's view that "the depth and breath of one's empathy" is an important quality for a judge.

via Tapped
In response to the idiotic blatherings of the GOP and their defacto leader, Rush Limbaugh, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have launched the following spanish-language ad to build political opposition to the Right's irresponsibility.

Sample Script:
In Spanish:

"Sonia Sotomayor is set to be the first Latina, and the first Puerto Rican, to serve on the US Supreme Court. It is a proud moment for our community. Yet Republican leaders insist on attacking her:"

In English:

"She doesn't have any intellectual depth. She's got a -- she's an angry woman, she's a bigot. She's a racist."

In Spanish:

That's Republican leader Rush Limbaugh calling Judge Sotomayor a racist and a bigot.

It's insulting to all Latinos and Americans.

We asked Republican Congressman Adam Putnam if he would denounce Limbaugh's words. He refused to reply. Let's put a stop to the hate. Call Congressman Putnam today at 863-534-353 and tell him to condemn this language.

This ad was paid for by Presente Action
I'm pleased to endorse this ad campaign and hope that the GOP understands that they do lasting harm to not only communities of color by fanning racial divisions, but also their political future.

Operating Gringo sounds like an appropriate name for it.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Happy 4th Blogiversary to Latino Político

July 1st came and went and it wasn't until a few minutes ago that I realized, "OH crap! The site's anniversary!"

So I'm gonna take a cue from the GOP leadership of Arizona's State Senate and pretend that it's not really the 2nd of July if I ignore all the clocks and calendars.

Four years. Wow. I think about the ways blogging has changed and evolved in that time span and am excited for what is possible. I haven't posted nearly as frequently here as I did in the past, but my blogging/activism hasn't slowed down at all. In fact, it's probably increased. Twitter has everything to do with it. Facebook, too.

This site was always about getting more eyes on a worldview that connected with the reality I experience as someone with morenito skin con una identidad sin fronteras. Immigration has obviously been a big part of the radicalizing I've undergone the past several years. With anti-migrant hate remaining out there in strong potency, and racist blowhards aplenty who conflate "latino" and "illegal" with descriptors like diseased/criminal/drugged-out/drug-pushing/etc etc etc, keeping on that beat remains very personal.

The nature of my blogging and activism has changed, but the spirit that sparked my entrance to the web pueblo remains the same:
I started this site to get my voice down on "paper". I don't really care if I get five or 500 hits in a day. I'm doing this because I care about my country. I yearn for the days when we can again proudly live up to this inscription that can be found on the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
July 1, 2005
In the near future, this place will have a new voice added to the mezcla. She's Xicana, una feminista, una amiga mía and more importantly, completely unknown to all the blogging crowds and circles I've known over the past several years. Knowing her in real life is never boring so this should be quite the paranda. ¡Cuidado! haters. Lou will whup your ass.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

D.C. Metro Crashes Hate Into A Family

The recent collision of two metro cars in Washington, D.C. was center-stage in the news recently. There were several fatalities, many more casualties, and the investigation is ongoing as to the cause of the wreck.

That wasn't the only thing the train collided into, however; add the familia Fernandez to the mix. The hate has flowed heavily in their direction after the matriarch of their family died in the accident:

HYATTSVILLE, Md. - As people's hearts continue to go out to the family of victims killed in Monday's tragic Metro crash, some grieving family members say they're being harassed.

Forty-year-old Ana Fernandez, an immigrant from El Salvador, was on her way to her cleaning job when she was killed in Monday's Metro collision. On Wednesday, her family and friends gathered outside their home where her daughter said they need help but are upset with prank phone calls they have received.

"And I'm serious if you're going to call and leave messages like that, don't call at all," Evelyn Fernandez, the victim's daughter

The immigration system is one thing that needs to be overhauled, the other is the country's corazón. There's too much hate, and too much ignoring of it by our political leaders.

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Immigration Vigils on Wed 6/24 in AZ

From nuestros amigos at Border Action Network

What: Vigils in four Arizona towns to call on Arizona Senator John McCain and other participants of the White House Immigration Reform meeting to push for immigration reform this year.

When: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 from 6:00-7:30pm


Tucson -Senator McCain's office at 407 W. Congress St.

Douglas -Corner of 5th St and Pan American Highway (Co-sponsored by Humanitarian Border Solutions, Episcopal Border Ministries and Frontera de Cristo)

Sierra Vista -St. Andrew Apostle Church, 800 Taylor Dr.

Nogales - La Casa del Viejo at 665 Morley Ave.

Who: Border Action Network and its Human Rights Committees throughout southern Arizona.

Why: On Thursday, June 25 at 2:00pm EST, key members of Congress will join the President at the White House for a meeting that is expected to create a roadmap for legislative action on comprehensive immigration reform in 2009. The evening before this important meeting, members of Border Action Network in Tucson, Douglas, Nogales and Sierra Vista, Arizona are gathering to hold a "Now is the Time" vigil for Arizona Senator McCain and other meeting participants.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vaya Con Dios, Tim

Sad news, indeed. Latino blogger/journalist Tim Chavez has passed away.

Tim Chavez, former columnist for the Tennessean, died last night at 6:15 p.m after a long bout with leukemia. He wrote about finding out that his illness returned in a blog posting on May 10th:

I never believed my leukemia would be over. The only lesson God wanted me to learn was to appreciate the moments of extra living he gave me, along with the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the 24/7 dedication of my heroic wife. She fought everyone from insurance companies to doctors for me. But I forgot too much of her heroics, which is to my great shame.

With my leukemia back, the moments become more precious. What book would one write at this stage of such a story? What should the world know? What feelings should rise to the surface to make the reader remember the moral?

Utilizing media contacts and his blog Political Salsa, Tim was responsible for getting the story of Juana de la Paz' torture out into the public eye. You'll recall that she was shackled during the birth of her child and then prevented from breastfeeding by ICE agents. His empassioned corazón was howling for justice at the time, which was my first interaction with his work. Tim, you'll be missed.

Vaya con Dios, hermano

Friday, June 12, 2009

SEIU Joins Effort to Fight AZ Anti-Migrant Bills

The budget nightmare unfolding in Arizona is taking the back seat to several pieces of nasty legislation that could only come from Russell Pearce's National Alliance-influenced brain. Senate Bill 1280 would make it a crime to even be in the presence of an undocumented worker while SB1175 strips local governments of the ability to keep immigration enforcement where it belongs - a federal issue.

Border Action Network has been all over this lately with action alerts to put political pressure on Arizona State Legislators. Those efforts have received a shot of adrenaline with SEIU joining the fight against these overreaching and, yes, anti-latino bills:
Tell your State Senator to vote no on anti-immigrant legislation and focus on Arizona's real challenges

For Arizona and America to be a land of opportunity for everyone who lives here, our policies must recognize that we’re all in it together, with common human rights and responsibilities.

Right now, anti-immigrant extremists are trying to distract us from addressing Arizona’s real challenges like the budget shortfall, education, health care and employment and scape goat immigrants.

Tell your State Senator that anti-immigrant legislation has go to go!

If one group can be exploited, underpaid and prevented from becoming part of our society, none of us will enjoy the opportunity and rights that Arizona and America stands for.

Tell your Arizona State Senator to vote NO on Anti-Immigrant Bills SB 1162

The climate in Arizona has become increasingly hostile to those of us who have brown skin. I don't have any charts or graphs to back it up, it's something that I live everyday. And I've had enough of it. Anti-migrant legislation becomes anti-latino when officials like Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who give winks and nods to white supremacist groups, get their hands on it.

Unless we come together and tell the state legislature that they have gone too far, the situation will continue to unravel and grow in toxicity. We have a budget to fix. A true crisis; but instead of doing their job, people like Russell Pearce are perverting their power with shenanigans to gut education, target latinos and make sure that they can do it anywhere while wielding a gun.

Enough! Please join the pushback and encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Crossposted at The Sanctuary and AZNetroots

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A Look at Migrant Detention Under President Obama

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

The American Prospect lays out some numbers that show how little has changed with respect to migrant detention under the leadership of a new President, specifically through the usage of the Secure Communities initiative.
Secure Communities relies on police in jails like the one where Martinez was processed to enter fingerprints into a joint Department of Homeland Security and FBI database monitored by ICE. Federal officials then decide whether to take "appropriate action" and issue a detainer on an immigrant before he or she is released. The program began in Texas in late 2008, is now in place in 48 counties in seven states, and is set to reach full implementation nationwide by 2012. It receives a 30 percent funding boost in Obama's proposed 2010 budget and has support from key Democrats such as Rep. David Price of North Carolina, who chairs the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security and pushed for much of the new funding. "One thing liberals and conservatives and everyone in between can agree on is that truly dangerous people should be at the top of the list for deportation," Price says.

The American Prospect

Programs like this sound good on paper, but those of us who happen to be brown know that we are in for unequal application of these types of laws. The country needs to stop pretending that immigration enforcement is about whether or not a person has their papers. People of color will always be targeted unfairly and beyond that, this is a central part of a long effort to eradicate migrant cultures.

Obama's budget also maintains funding for the 287(g) program, though at a decreased level. Civil-rights advocates note the bulk of counties that signed up to participate in the program are in Southern states with rapidly growing Latino populations. "The program gets mediated by a history of racism and nativist hostility," says Deborah Weissman, a law professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who co-authored a study on the politics of local immigration enforcement. The study recounts how Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson told the Raleigh News & Observer that he applied to participate in the 287(g) program because Mexican "values are a lot different -- their morals -- than what we have here." He linked the county's growing Latino population with a rise in crime rates. Never mind that Latinos make up 10 percent of the population in Alamance County and account for about 12 percent of its criminal cases. About 70 percent of immigrants detained in Alamance County through 287(g) were guilty only of traffic offenses. (emphasis mine)

I would argue, of course, that "Mexican values" are indigenous to the United States, but when you're dealing with a law enforcement officer who comes right out and states boldly that they are targeting people for being Other, why bother? The bigotry shines more strongly than the glean off the gold badge on his uniform.

With incarceration rates for Latinos and African Americans off the charts, media and political forked tongues that reinforce a false message that we are more criminally prone, and the gravy train of funding to the privatized prison industry continuing unabated, President Obama's promise of change has yet to arrive with respect to migrant detention and deportations.

The abuses will continue unless we force D.C. to act. This week there is a huge gathering of immigration organizations in the nation's capitol, will this diseased part of the immigration system go unchallenged?

Let's hope not.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

City of Flagstaff Gets the ICE Problem

The City of Flagstaff has decided not to rent space for ICE to conduct its operations in Northern Arizona. The justification given is a good sign that city officials understand how abusive DHS personnel have been toward the migrant worker community.
"Co-locating this office in the LEAF building would impact some of our day-to-day public safety operations. If victims and witnesses of crimes are not coming to the LEAF building because they know ICE offices in the building, this is a problem. If they are not reporting the crimes to the Flagstaff Police Department because they think we are one-and-the-same due to a co-located office, this impacts our public safety," Burke wrote.

Both Police Chief Brent Cooper and Burke said last week during a presentation by ICE officials at city council meeting that immigration status is not relevant when reporting a crime.

Arizona Daily Sun
It's clear from the article that human rights advocates were successful in putting pressure on the city. Immigration is a federal issue, yet over the past several years D.C. politicos have sat on meaningful reform, causing local and state agencies to be creative in targeting migrant workers. Abuse runs rampant, families are separated because of trigger-happy Deport-Them-All officials, so it's a good feeling to see families and migrant advocates win a battle.

Thanks, Flagstaff.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What to Expect from Sotomayor's Nomination Process

President Obama has announced his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as the candidate to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court that will open after the retirement of Justice David Souter. Sotomayor, a self-described ""Newyorkrican", grew up in the Bronx and worked her ass off to get to Yale Law School where she graduated summa cum laude and served as editor of the Yale Law Review.

I could go into how excited I am to see a Latina be considered for the SCOTUS, the first in this country's history and only the third woman (because I am beaming), but the buzz-kill has been rather abrupt from the seeing this accomplished and competent judge attacked for those very things that I consider a source of pride.

It should be a source of pride to everyone.

Conservatives like to talk about bootstraps and how important it is to refrain from whining about ones situation. Well...Sonia Sotomayor couldn't be a finer example of putting the nose to the grindstone despite all the societial odds stacked against you and making it.

But as we'll see in the coming days, she is an "intellectual lightweight" despite having a long and stellar career on the bench. She will be attacked as a person of color who has the audacity to uphold affirmative action laws not because they're the law, but because she's looking out for her people. The media's whiteness will show in all its unholy glory.

An example of this mindset can be found during today's broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition. Ed Whalen, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, wasted no time on getting that talking point out into the mix right at the onset. There will be no holds barred with this nomination process.

The conservative movement's success at derailing Sotomayor's placement on the Supreme Court is hinged on causing white backlash against her identity and making her out to be a token latina/affirmative action candidate instead of the qualified, capable judge that she has proven to be over the years.

As a blunt blogger friend of mine likes to say, "Bet on it."

Glenn Beck Should Drink More Water

Why? Because with all of the diarrhea coming out of his mouth, he's in danger of dehydration.
Glenn Beck Twitter twit: "Does the nominee still have Diabetes? Could the Messiah heal her, or does she just not want to ask?"

via Media Matters

[UPDATED] I'm just gonna let M.M. do the work today ;-)
"Hey, Hispanic chick lady! You're emphatic empathetic! you're in!"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green


I've been blogging since January 1999. I was starting my second semester as a freshman in college and picked up a part-time job to help pay for life expenses. Between class, work, and the general pangs of Growing Up™, the writing became an important outlet so my head wouldn't explode.

A curious thing occurred, though, when I began to explore and assert my inner-Xicano - Una Identidad Sin Fronteras. Like scales falling from my eyes, I realized how much centrifugal force was applied by assimilation to eradicate any instance of dissonance with Normal (read: white).

From language to learning styles to the way words are spoken to the clothes that are worn to interpersonal relationships both familial and professional, the subtle baseline note that came through like a tuning fork that my ear was finally trained to detect was: "You're doing it wrong"

It is something that all people of color experience at some point in their lives. If they haven't yet, they will.

Like any mezcla of humanity, there's the eternal push-and-pull of influence. Por ejemplo, I guarantee that for every Republican that supports full rights for gays and lesbians, there is a close friend, sibling, or someone that's positively affected their life who identify as homosexual. Empathy.

It's a step forward, but the situation is not the same on either side of the flag that's tied in the middle of the tug-of-war rope. The historically dominant side seeks to eradicate the perceived weak by two methods: denouncement and/or disappearing.

Perceived because the weakness is like a mirage in the Sonoran desert.

Over the past few years, my experience of being a citizen of the United States with Mexican ancestry has been enlightening, to say the least. Anti-migrant hysteria from conservatives and nativists who've declared war on my cultura and identity alongside demands for mass deportations and family destruction have been a source of radicalization that's ignited the habanero in my bloodstream.

The haters have a smart strategy, though.

By making immigration a "Latino issue", they've succeeded for years in ghettoizing (denouncement) and marginalizing (disappearing) voices like mine and others who can actually speak to how failed immigration policies affect those whom are targeted by enforcement-only campaigns. Institutional and often outright racism has guaranteed that the vast majority of faces of those raided at their work sites or homes, detained and deported, are brown, even though the U.S. has undocumented workers from every part of the world with varying degrees of melanin.

The irony is that pointing this out somehow makes me the racist. Still don't know how that all works out, but I digress...

The Lou Dobbs and Pat "Operation Wetback" Buchanans of the world thrive because of their ability to hold back coalitions. They represent a power structure that would crumble into dust and drift away like expelled flatulence if enough human beings chose to "Build Bridges and Break Down Walls" as our tag line states at The Sanctuary instead of destroy.

Which brings me to the point of this series - Luis Ramirez.

to be continued...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

6th Annual Migrant Trail Announced

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

The Migrant Trail:
We Walk for Life
May 25-31, 2009

Our Vision:

The precarious reality of our borderlands calls us to walk. We walk together on a journey of peace to remember people, friends and family who have died, others who have crossed, and people who continue to come. We walk to bear witness to the tragedy of death and of the inhumanity in our midst. Lastly, we walk as a community, in defiance of the borders that attempt to divide us, committed to working together for the human dignity of all peoples.

In 1994, the U.S. government under the direction of President Bill Clinton, instituted Operation Gatekeeper that provided funds and personnel to militarize the border between Baja California and California. The campaign was specifically designed to divert the wave of humanity inland:

The purpose of the new plan was to stem the tide of illegal immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the United States and to shift the remaining traffic eastward, where the Border Patrol believed it enjoyed a strategic advantage over would-be crossers. This new approach to patrolling the border was named "Operation Gatekeeper." Since the plan's launch in 1994 at Imperial Beach, the same operational concepts have been implemented at the remaining stations in the San Diego Sector, beginning with Chula Vista - the station immediately east of Imperial Beach - and continuing in an easterly progression station by station to the San Diego Sector's eastern border. (emphasis mine)


Triple-digit heat. Non-existent sources of water. Desolation. Death.

"Strategic advantage" indeed.

The above graph comes from a 2007 policy brief and study, authored by Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, M. Melissa McCormick, Daniel Martinez, and Inez Magdalena Duarte, through the University of Arizona's Binational Migration Institute. It shows the explosion of death wrought in the Tucson Sector - part of that "eastward" mentioned by the Department of Justice - in the aftermath of Operation Gatekeeper.

Those of us who call la frontera home have not remained silent in the face of this humanitarian crisis. Grassroots organizations have mobilized to build coalitions of neighborhoods, church congregations, elected officials, student groups, and others to raise awareness of the disastrous end many of these economic refugees suffer in the desert.

From May 25-31st the 6th Annual Migrant Trail will bear witness to the humanitarian crisis that marches unimpeded, even under a new President. This 75-mile trek spans the distance between the communities of Sasabe, Sonora, México and Tucson, Arizona. Details on how to support this endeavor below the fold.

Monday, May 25th, 2:00pm:
Sásabe, Sonora:
Join us for the sending forth ceremony and the 4.8 mile walk to our first campsite on the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, May 31, 11:30am:
Tucson, Arizona:
Join us for the welcoming celebration as participants complete the 75-mile journey, bearing witness to the gauntlet of death that has claimed more than 5,000 men, women and children on the U.S.-México border.

For more information, please contact: or call 520.770.1373

The Migrant Trail is sponsored by the following groups: Migrant Trail Walk Committee, Coalición de Derechos Humanos, BorderLinks, Mennonite Central Committee US, Catholic Relief Services - Mexico Program, No More Deaths - Phoenix and Tucson, 8th Day Center for Justice, Coloradans for Immigrants Rights, Frontera de Cristo, Humane Borders, American Friends Service Committee, JPIC Office of the St. Barbara Province Franciscans, Shalom Mennonite Fellowship, Casa Maria, and Church of the Good Shepherd.

"The Migrant Trail is an important spiritual witness to the challenging reality of our borderlands today," says Brother David Buer, a Franciscan brother serving in Tucson. "It is a moral imperative that we embrace our desperate migrant brothers and sisters with more humane policies and action."


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Murder of Luis Ramirez

I, and the rest of the Sanctuary Editors, have issued the following statement in response to the murder of Luis Ramirez and subsequent acquittal of his attackers:
The Luis Ramirez Murder: A Logical Step in the Process of Establishing a Subhuman Class
by The Editors

The police arrived shortly after the attack but rather than jump into hot pursuit of the white criminals, they chose instead to search Latino eyewitnesses for weapons, claiming that following the guilty parties simply wasn't their "priority." Ramirez's attackers weren't arrested for another two weeks, even though eyewitnesses at the scene knew who they were without a doubt.

The second stomach-churner is the jury's decision to exonerate Ramirez's killers from the charges of third-degree murder, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and ethnic intimidation, leaving to stand only the reduced charge of simple assault. This, despite the testimony of Eileen Burke, a retired police officer at the scene. Burke testified that at the end, the murderers yelled to Ramirez' girlfriend "You effin bitch, tell your effin Mexican friends get the eff out of Shenandoah or you're gonna be laying effin next to him." This, despite two of the accused men themselves admitting to yelling "go home you Mexican [expletive]" at the scene of the crime.

Yet somehow, in the face of these facts, the all-white jury ruled there was no evidence of "ethnic intimidation." According to a CNN report, town residents were quick to explain and downplay the actions of this violent group of "star students and football players" as "just an alcohol-fueled confrontation among kids." They furthered their argument by reciting "a litany of attacks allegedly perpetrated by Latinos against Anglos." Perhaps they could have saved time and breath by saying The spics had it coming.

continue reading at The Sanctuary

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

DOJ Drops Charges Against 1st Lt. Watada

Best news I've read in ages!!!ONe1!!!ELeVEn!!111
The Department of Justice has dropped its case against 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a war resister who refused Iraq deployment in June 2006 and denounced President George W. Bush’s decision to invade as illegal and immoral.

In Feb. 2007, military judge Lieutenant Colonel John Head halted Watada’s case following possible inconsistencies concerning a “stipulation of fact” agreed before the hearing. The decision led to a mistrial, ending Watada’s court martial. The Army appealed, but a judge said Watada could not be tried again on the same charges, as it would violate his right to be free of double jeopardy.

The Justice Department is dropping its appeal of that judge’s decision.

“Because there are no longer any criminal charges pending against Lt. Watada, and because (his) military service has been extended far beyond his normal release date, he anticipates that he will soon be released from active duty,” Watada’s attorney, James Lobsenz, said in a media advisory published Wednesday. “He plans to return to civilian life and to attend law school.”

Raw Story

Birth Certificates Destroyed by DHS Personnel?

Exclusive and Breaking News from the States Without Nations blog:
Here are descriptions of two previously unpublished accounts of U.S.-born Mexican-American teenagers who had their birth certificates ripped up by Customs and Border Patrol Agents. I have information on other similar cases, but only time to write up the details of these two, along with summaries and links to two other recent cases published elsewhere.

Just to be clear, a national identity card doesn't solve these problems: in many cases of U.S. citizens deported ICE or Customs and Border Patrol doesn't even check the digital files that have evidence matching the identity cards presented by the individual with the information in their databases-- as was the case at several points for Mark Lyttle. If no one bothers to check that a passport (or national identity card) matches the information in a law enforcement database-- as should happen when a U.S. citizen objects to having his proper identity disregarded by an agent or an immigration judge -- then having a national card does nothing and is no improvement over our current system.

Mexican-Americans with Birth Certificates Border Patrol Destroys or Ignores
1. Mario, 17, was born in a Colorado hospital in the late 1980s and I've seen his birth certificate and hospital records.

Mario's mother is a U.S. citizen and his father Mexican. When Mario was a toddler his father and mother separated and Mario's father brought him to Mexico. His father's plan was to raise Mario, and then he would return to the United States. When Mario was 17 he decided it was time to "go back to the United States and claim his destiny," according to an individual familiar with this case. Mario had uncles in Tucson who visited Mario frequently in Mexico. He was especially interested in finding his mother. A birth certificate is a valid form of identification for entering the United States, and Mario thought he was all set. (Mario couldn't obtain a U.S. passport from Mexico because if you're 17 or under, that requires the presence of both legal parents.)

In early 2007, when Mario tried to return through Nogales, Arizona the Customs and Border Patrol agent, the attorney said, "tore it up on the spot. They told him, 'It's not real. Go away, kid, this is fraud.' There goes your Colorado birth certificate. Go away, have a nice day." Mario was upset and insisted he was a U.S. citizen. "They told him that if he says he's Mexican he can leave, but if he keeps saying he's a citizen he'll be detained at the Nogales border patrol station and arrested." He signed and returned to Mexico.

Read the full post here
I am working to independently verify the information presented by Jacqueline. These are very serious allegations, and if proven, should be fully investigated by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. If anyone has more information, please email me at the link to the left or drop the info in the comments to aid with compilation of data.

These types of civic violations are not uncommon. Pedro Guzman, a U.S. Citizen whose mental disability complicated his interactions with border personnel in 2007, was deported to Mexico and left to wander in the streets for weeks as his family searched frantically for him. Stretching back even further, Operation Wetback was the culprit for scores of Mexican Americans having their civil rights violated through racial profiling and mass deportations alongside those without papers.

So, no, this is nothing new - but it is unacceptable. Time to dig in to these incidents deeper to see how completely broken the U.S. immigration system has become through centuries of rotting racism and delusions of superiority.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Southern AZ Politicos Respond to Dupnik

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who recently joined the Joe Arpaio Caucus of Nativist Idiocy, is being called upon by local southern Arizona elected officials to apologize for his unacceptable endorsement of school-based citizenship checks.

Here is the letter in full:
Sheriff Dupnik -- Due to your long history of involvement and commitment to the entire community, we were surprised by your comments in the print media. Children attending schools, regardless of their immigration status, are not the cause of our problems, nor should we publicly target them. We have an obligation to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is our responsibility to ensure that our children are always safe and secure. All children are vulnerable and we must protect them like they were our own.

It is wrong to force teachers and school administrators to become immigration officers. We remind you to uphold the law that was established by the Supreme Court ruling, Plyer v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982). This case established that children, though not citizens of the United States, are considered a “person” and therefore, protected under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

An additional cause of grave concern were your unsubstantiated charges that 40% of students in the Sunnyside School District are “illegal” and linking the Southside as the primary source of all crime in Pima County. These false charges are inflammatory and prejudicial. Your comments only further divide our community and debase a large part of the population.

The Pima County electorate trusted you to protect and serve our community, not to humiliate and instill fear. Every child is entitled to an education regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation and status.

We urge you to apologize for your ill-advised comments and join us in a rational and honest discussion about solving our problems together.


Raúl M. Grijalva
, U.S. Congressman, Arizona Congressional District 7
Richard Elias, Chairman, Pima County Board of Supervisors
Regina Romero
, Vice-Mayor, City of Tucson
Adelita Grijalva, Tucson Unified School District Governing Board
Eva Dong, Sunnyside School District Governing Board
Daniel Patterson
, State Representative-LD29, Arizona State Legislature
Matt Heinz, M.D., State Representative-LD29, Arizona State Legislature
Linda Lopez, Senate Minority Whip-LD29, Arizona State Legislature
Jorge Luis Garcia, Senate Minority Leader-LD27, Arizona State Legislature
Olivia Cajero Bedford, State Representative-LD27, Arizona State Legislature
Phil Lopes, State Representative-LD27, Arizona State Legislature
I applaud them all for calling out the sheriff. He is an elected official, and hopefully will be held accountable in the end by voters during the next election.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

May 1st Events for Immigrant and Human Rights

There are events happening all across the country today in solidarity with migrant and human rights. Check out A New Day for Immigration's website for ways to get involved.


City: Phoenix

  • Time: 8:30 am
  • Location: March from Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum to State Capitol

City: Tucson

  • Time: 8:00 am
  • Location: Rally at the South Gate Shopping Center

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Powerful Latinas to Interview Mamita Mala

Blog'miga Maegan "Mamita Mala", co-founder of and Associate Editor at The Sanctuary, will be interviewed tomorrow as part of the Powerful Latinas series.

>> What kinds of writing does she enjoy the most and what has she learned from the different kinds of writing she’s done?

La Mala is a member of SPEAK! Radical Women of Color Media Collective, that recently put out a CD and accompanying ‘zine and curriculum on women of color issues and activism.

La Mamita Mala is also a poet and spoken word artist, spitting her malaventuras as a radical ‘Rican living in the mami’hood in the Latino Cultural Festival and El Encuentro de Poetas en NY.

>> I’ll be asking Maegan about her poetry, and maybe she’ll even share some of her spoken word with us!
The interview will be held at 8PM Eastern tomorrow - April 29th
¡Felicidades, Mamita!

Sheriff Dupnik Toes The Line of Bigotry

In contrast to Sheriff "Concentration Camp" Arpaio in Phoenix, I generally agree with the stance of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik's view of the role of local law enforcement and immigration: he doesn't support it.

Immigration is a federal issue in his mind, as it should be; however, remarks he made in light of an appearance before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs last week are unacceptable. After suggesting that legal challenges should be advanced in order to allow immigration checks at schools, Dupnik talked trash about Tucson's southside area, which is predominately latino:

He pointed specifically to the Sunnyside School District where he said as much as 40 percent of the students are illegal immigrants while citing unnamed sources.

Failing schools, high dropout rates and gang affiliation seem to be high in those areas, Dupnik said.

"Sunnyside is I think the area where the problem is most acute," he said.

Tucson Citizen

I'm sick of gringo politicians denigrating the "Mexican" areas of my city. Negative associations slip off the tongue without hesitation because the cultura of barrios are different than some pseudo-preferred, assimilated neighborhood that charges their residents monthly fees to make sure that uniformity and conformity are maintained. Or else.

Sunnyside may have high drop out rates, and yes, there are gangs that operate there, but what makes it an easy target to get support for ridiculous policies like school-based checks of citizenship is the prevalence of latinos living there. Nevermind that drop outs, crime and gang activity are widespread everywhere.

In fact, according to Tucson Police Department's 2007 Crime Density Report, the Oracle Road corridor between Prince and Grant had the highest rate of incidents. Here is the .pdf version overlaying a map of the city. The southside doesn't stand out in any way, you'll notice.

Sheriff Dupnik should apologize to the Sunnyside Unified School District and the residents of southside neighborhoods. As a law enforcement leader in the community, his job is to build the trust of the people so that we can all work collectively as a society to bring about safer schools and barrios, not to snicker down at "them", especially when the facts don't back up his absurd remarks about the safety of certain neighborhoods.

It's all institutionalized bigotry and I'm sick of it. Even worse, suggesting that citizenship sweeps be conducted at our schools is definitely one of those things that would completely unwravel that trust system and erode any political support Sheriff Dupnik once received from southside communities. Unacceptable.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mariachi Bliss in Tucson

Linda Ronstadt makes her return to the Tucson International Mariachi Festival tomorrow night (Friday)! I can barely contain my excitement. She hasn't performed to the home crowd since 1996.

Here's some commentary from the 90s about her inspirations, including la grande Lola Beltran.

On Saturday at the Fiesta de Garibaldi at Reid Park, the following youth groups will be performing. This includes Tucson's crown-jewel youth group Los Changitos Feos, the longest running youth mariachi in los Estados Unidos:
2009 Entertainment Schedule
10:30 Ballet Folklórico Davis Bilingual School
11:00 Mariachi Davis Bilingual School
11:30 Mariachi Anacatlan
12:00 Mariachi Pumas
12:30 Mariachi Mixteco
1:00 Mariachi Nueva Melodia
1:30 Mariachi Los Charritos
2:00 Mariachi Tesoro de Tucson
2:30 Mariachi Imperial de San Diego
3:00 Mariachi Los Tigres
3:30 Mariachi Los Vaqueros
4:00 Mariachi Brillante
4:30 Mariachi Los Potrillos de Cholla High
5:00 Mariachi Los Changuitos Feos
5:45 Mariachi Los Mineros
6:30 Mariachi Master Apprentice
7:15 Mariachi Sonido
8:00 Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High
8:45 Mariachi Los Arrieros
Entrance is only $5.00. Lots of food, crafts and, of course, Mariachi!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Everyday should be Earth Day.

...or else

Prerna talking DREAM Act at NYTimes Online

From my post at The Sanctuary
Join the discussion at the New York Times' Room for Debate blog with The Sanctuary's Associate Editor Prerna. There are five featured web-panelists, and as you'll note, some of them have no problem with mass-deportation and racial profiling.

Prerna's bio is powerful because it allows the voice of someone directly affected by political foot-dragging to speak out. This perspective gives the human dimension center-stage to a discussion that is often conducted by either the brain that discounts the familial and cultural toll of inaction, or the rectum that brings tons of defiling b.s. that keeps forward movement at bay.

Link to discussion

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pulitzer for Arizona Journalists' Exposé on Arpaio

Crossposted from The Sanctuary

The East Valley Tribune covers suburban communities throughout the Phoenix metro area's east side and has had a roller coaster year. As with other traditional media sources facing a downturn in demand and economic stability, they have downsized their staff and services.

Well, one of the laid-off reporters, Paul Giblin, snagged the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize yesterday along with still-employed Ryan Gabrielson for their work on the series Reasonable Doubt that chronicled the abuses of Maricopa County's Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Executive editor Chris Coppola, who was managing editor at the time the series was produced, said:

"This series by Ryan and Paul was the result of an exhaustive examination of public records and interviews with numerous sources, including many within the sheriff's office, to shed more light on an issue of growing importance both nationally and right here in our communities. It's gratifying that the Pulitzer judges recognized that effort with this honor.

"I know many of our readers appreciated what this series brought to light, while others were critical of our reporting, but in the end, the Tribune helped engage more people within our community on the topic,'' Coppola said.

East Valley Tribune

The five-part series was a welcomed addition to the conversation about Arpaio's controversial and ongoing abuse of power that has leveraged the Maricopa County Sheriff Office to target migrant workers and latinos by extension. Reasonable Doubt chronicles the effects of MCSO's expenses and personnel assignments, showing very clearly that Sheriff Arpaio fails at his job to maintain safety in the jurisdiction.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Phoenix Pastor Details Border Patrol Beating

This video is stunning:

Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Phoenix details his encounter with Border Patrol agents at a checkpoint near Yuma off Interstate 8, which is a main route between the San Diego area and Arizona. After telling agents he was a citizen and claiming 4th Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure, Border Patrol informed him that their dogs indicated that there were either drugs or a human being stored in his vehicle...

His window was smashed, he was tased repeatedly, was forcefully detained by agents, and thrown in jail. Pastor Anderson is doing a great service by telling his story.
The father of four says he exercised his consecution [sic] right not to be searched without a warrant. He says that's when he claims agents broke out his passenger and driver side windows.

"Both windows shattered in the same instant," says Anderson.

In excoriating pain, the pastor claims an agents smashed his head into the door and then another threw him on the ground, stepped on his head and tased him once again.

"I felt like his full body weight was just driving my face into more broken glass and asphalt," Anderson explains.

It took 11 stitches to close the cuts on the pastor's face.

CBS 13
More coverage:

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tucson Town Hall for Health Care

Next Thursday, April 16th, there will be a town hall held at Pima Community College's District Office on East Broadway to discuss the importance of passing universal health care and ways everyday people can effectively lobby their elected officials to cast a vote in support of an overhaul of the system.

The event is sponsored by Health Care for America NOW!, a coalition of groups and individuals that organize around the following principles:

Coverage You Can Afford

  • Health coverage that is affordable for every person, family, and business.
  • Coverage with premiums and out-of-pocket costs based on your ability to pay.
  • Government acts as an advocate, setting and enforcing rules so private insurance companies can’t deny coverage or raise rates based on health history, age, or gender.
Comprehensive Benefits You Can Count On
  • Standard, comprehensive health care benefits that meet your needs from preventive to chronic care.
  • Low out-of-pocket costs (like co-pays) so you can afford to get medical care when you need it.
  • Choice of doctors and hospitals.
Choice of Private or Public Health Insurance Plan
  • Keep your current private insurance plan or join a new public health insurance plan.
  • The choice of a new public health insurance plan is a guaranteed backup that will always be there to ensure quality, affordable health care coverage no matter what.

Equal Access to Quality Care

  • Equity in health care access, treatment, research, and resources to people and communities of color and stronger health services in low-income communities.
If any bloggers or other journalists in the area would like more information on credentialing, shoot me an email (man.eegee at gmail) so I can connect you with organizers of the event.
Time: Thursday, April 16 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: Pima Community College District Office (Tucson, AZ)
4905 East Broadway Boulevard 85709
Tucson, AZ 85709

Sign-up to volunteer/attend: here