Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tom Horne Slanders Dolores Huerta's Legacy

Tom, Tom, Tom. When are you going to learn to keep your mouth shut?
Labor activist Dolores Huerta is many things, but Cesar Chavez's ex-girlfriend isn't one of them.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne learned that lesson the hard way last week when an outcry erupted over his description of Huerta before a state House of Representatives committee.

Horne referred to Huerta as Chavez's "former girlfriend."

In fact, Huerta is Chavez's sister-in-law, having married Chavez's brother Richard. She worked with Chavez to found the National Farm Workers Association, which later became United Farm Workers.

Jennifer Johnson, spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party, called Horne's remark "either ignorance or sexism."


Either? How about both ignorant and sexist.

Tom Horne, you're not worthy to massage the feet of Dolores Huerta; even after she's thoroughly kicked your ass in the realm of public service. What an embarrassment you are to Arizona.

There will be dancing in the streets on the day that your bigotry is no longer in charge of our school system. This is precisely why it's a failure:

[UPDATE] Blog for Arizona has the video where he makes the sexist comments.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Corazón de Justicia Awards

Tonight, the Coalición de Derechos Humanos hosted their 7th Annual Corazón de Justicia Awards Dinner in Tucson. It was a showcase of grassroots activism in southern Arizona across a number of communities with a clear message: Education is the answer - real political education that gives a voice to those who often remain voiceless in policy debates at all levels.

The recipients and categories for the 2010 honorees are:

Francis Miller, for her work with the NAACP

Community Empowerment
Joe Bernick, who invited everyone to next week's Peace Fair

Dan Millis, for his work with the Sierra Club and No More Deaths

Leah Sandwell-Weiss, for her work with the Pima County Interfaith Council

Human Rights
Dr. Bruce Perkins, for his assistance in upholding humanity within the
Pima County Medical Examiner's Office

Immigrant Rights
Salvador Reza, for his leadership in Phoenix with TONATIERRA

Jay McKenzie, for his leadership with the Tucson Indian Center's
Employment Training arena

Mary Lou Gonzales, for her organizing work with Tucson Jobs With Justice

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender
Cynthia Garcia, for her leadership as Board President of Wingspan,
Tucson's LGBT Community Center

Women's Issues
Ashira Pace +, for her decades-long work with many battered women shelters
across southern Arizona

Mixelle Rascon, for her commitment and advocacy of TUSD's Raza Studies Department

The keynote speaker for tonight's program was Roberto Lovato, representing his life work that has recently included Presente.Org's Basta Dobbs campaign, Trail of Dreams 2010 and his soon-to-be-revamped blog Of América. Roberto spoke of the importance of continuing to Dream, especially as the climate toward immigrant and Latino communities gets worse.

During the BastaDobbs campaign, Lou Dobbs referred to him as "a flea" on his radio program and Roberto's comment tonight was, "We got a bunch of fleas, and pushed an elephant into the abyss." He remarked that it will become expensive to Dream in the future, that the monied interests flowing from corporations and D.C. conventional wisdom will be funneled toward a so-called "Rational Center" that allows the immigration debate to become more militarized and destructive to our communities. He continued that it is why there's importance in supporting advocates like Derechos Humanos and other groups represented in the room.

"After the 2006 marches, the moneyed interests polled-away the humanity and morality of the immigrant. We have to continue to dream and demand that it be central."

Using powerpoint images of his parents and telling stories of their struggles in El Salvador prior to immigrating to the United States, Roberto spoke passionately against the corporate influencers who are pouring endless amounts of money into reinforcing the idea of sovereignty and citizenship while they reap the fiscal benefits of exploiting various parts of the world. It was a powerful message and tied in perfectly with the work that is being done by the honorees and the grassroot groups they represent.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

VotoLatino Launches "Be Counted" Census Campaign

Every ten years, the U.S. Census is conducted from sea to shining sea (and beyond; sorry Hawaii). Its mission statement reads:
The Census Bureau serves as the leading source of quality data about the nation's people and economy. We honor privacy, protect confidentiality, share our expertise globally, and conduct our work openly. We are guided on this mission by our strong and capable workforce, our readiness to innovate, and our abiding commitment to our customers.
The mission statement is less important than how the data is used. The counts determine congressional House seat apportionment and the way federal dollars are doled out in support of programs administered by local, state and tribal governments. Unfortunately, an ongoing problem is that minority communities are undercounted; therefore reinforcing disproportionate access to resources for services such as education, public health and other community infrastructure needs.

April 1st, 2010, Census Day, is approaching fast. That's why groups like Voto Latino are ramping up efforts to explain the importance of participation among the Latino community. Here's VL's Executive Director, Maria Teresa, explaining the Be Counted. Represent. Campaign:

As part of the campaign, Voto Latino is offering a free 25-song download from Apple's iTunes after Taking the Pledge to participate in the 2010 Census. The incentive is nice, but more importantly, the information they provide at the Be Counted website teaches us why it's crucial to be represented in "perhaps the most important piece of civic action this year."

I encourage you all to check it out, take the pledge, spread the word to your friends and familia about the importance of the Census, and the enjoy this great playlist:
Pitbull “Across the Waters”
Morrissey “When Last I Spoke to Carol (Toy Selectah mix)”
Aventura “Su Veneno”
Mos Def “No Hay Nada Mas”
Los Tigres del Norte “El Emigrante”
Jaguares “Visible”
Rodrigo y Gabriela “Hanuman”
Juan Luis Guerra “La Travesia”
Ozomatli “Believe”
Los Tucanes de Tijuana “Los Illegales”
Paulina Aguirre “Esperando Tu Voz”
Ruben Blades “Las Calles”
Kinto Sol “Voy a Sacudirme”
Os Mutantes “Querida, Querida”
Nortec Collective “Tengo La Voz”
Antibalas “Che Che Cole (Makossa Mix)”
Los Amigos Invisibles “Mentiras”
Ceú “Grains de Beaute”
Maleco Collective “Yo Soy La Voz”
Panda “Solo a Terceros”
Pacha Massive “If You Want It”
Brownout “Ayer y Hoy”
Hip Hop Hoodíos “Agua Pa’ La Gente”
Alvaro Torres “Te Sueno Grande”
Reyes del Bajo Mundo “Cuanto Cuesta”
Mishka “3rd Eye Vision”
Bloggers: here's a resource page with links to Pledge widgets for your site.


[Crossposted at Booman Tribune]