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FILM: Local Organizations Team up to Show "Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience"

East Michigan Environmental Action Council - Mon, 08/19/2030 - 8:02pm
What: Film screening of "Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience" with Question and Answer session to follow afterwards

When: September 6th, 2013

Time: 8PM

Where: Cass Corridor Commons
             4605 Cass Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201

East Michigan Environmental Action Council, 5E, Heru, and the American Indian Health and Family Services invite you to the film screening of, Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience, on September 6th, 2013. The showing will take place in the D. Blair Theater of The Cass Corridor Commons.

Focusing on the lives and experiences of the Native/Indigenous community in the Midwest, Our Fires Still Burn is a one hour documentary that works to dispel the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the United States. The narrative that Native and Indigenous peoples no longer exist in the US has been perpetrated in many forms since the beginning of colonization in the US, with perhaps the most famous example being the book (and movie), The Last of the Mohicans. The narrative usually argues something along the lines that because Native peoples are now dead (or are actively dying), we need non-Native peoples to "save and recover" (read; loot) Native artifacts (very often including actual bones of human beings). Another strand of the narrative argues that names like Washington Red Skins are actually compliments that honor long dead tribes rather than the offensive insults that Native/Indigenous peoples say they are.

Our Fires Still Burns argues that the narrative that Native/Indigenous peoples are dead is harmful in that it invisibilizes and makes unnecessary the voices of the very much alive Native/Indigenous community. But as Our Fire Still Burns shows, Native and Indigenous peoples continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society.

The film viewing of Our Fires Still Burn will appeal to native and non-Native alike, and will be followed by a question and answer session featuring many of the people appearing in the film, as well as film director Audrey Geyer.  Ms. Geyer is an independent video producer and director whose programs have been broadcasted locally and nationally on PBS. She is the founder and current executive director of Visions, an independent video production company local in Metro Detroit. Visions work focuses on creating documentaries that tell the stories of communities that are underrepresented in mainstream media.

As East Michigan Environmental Action Council co-director, Diana Copeland says, the most important thing to do right now in light of various attacks on marginalized communities in Detroit is to build community responses to those attacks, "Conversations that happen where we can begin to get to know each other are essential and will only make our communities stronger."
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Recently Retired UE Organizer Jim Ermi Dies at 60

UE - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 5:29pm
28 April, 2016Florence, NJ

Retired UE Field Organizer James "Jim" Ermi died Saturday at Virtua Memorial Hospital, Mount Holly, NJ, following a heart attack. Jim served as a UE organizer for 26 years in the Eastern Region and before that, District 1, organizing and assisting UE locals primarily in Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Ermi became involved with UE some 30 years ago as a worker at Stryker Machine Shop in Trenton, NJ, which he helped to organize into UE Local 155. After the union was established in the shop, Jim was elected chief steward.

Retired UE President Bruce Klipple has known Ermi since that organizing campaign in the 1980s. “Jim constantly kept the members in mind and always fought for them.” He also remembers Ermi for his sense of humor. “Even in the toughest situations, Jim would find something funny that would break the tension and help us all to keep going.” Klipple says that at time, Ermi had one of the largest servicing assignments in UE, with many contracts to negotiate, and he handled it well. “We were very lucky to have and organizer as dedicated as Jim to work with our members and help them in their battles.”

Jim Ermi is survived by his wife Linda, daughters Frances and Laura, and son William, and six grandchildren. He died surrounded by family and friends. He was 60 years old and had retired from the UE staff just last year.

The funeral will be Friday 9:30 a.m. at Koschek and Porter Funeral Directors, 1115 Hornberger Avenue, Roebling, NJ. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday 11:00 a.m. at Sts. Francis & Clare Parish, Holy Assumption Church, Roebling. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Autism Speaks, 1060 State Rd, 2nd Fl., Princeton, NJ 08540-1423, Attn: Donielle Bridgewater. Condolences may be sent to www.koschekandporterfuneralhome.com

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

The disastrous, forgotten 1996 law that created today's immigration problem

NNIRR - Thu, 04/28/2016 - 4:46pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Dara Lind Story Publisher:  Vox.com

The immigration reform Hillary Clinton wants could be limited — or even undermined — by a law her husband signed.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Join Workers in Bangladesh – Enough with H&M’s Broken Promises!

USAS - Wed, 04/27/2016 - 12:49pm

Join USAS members, the International Labor Rights Forum, and the Clean Clothes Campaign on May 3rd for a global day of action against H&M. Click here to sign up for an H&M store action in your community.

Almost three years after H&M signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi workers who sew H&M’s clothing continue to risk their lives at work each day – in many cases lacking the most urgent and lifesaving fire safety measures.

This latest analysis of January 2016 follows up on a 2015 report, both of which show that the factories that H&M considers to be those “with the best performance in all areas” have failed to meet mandated time frames for repairs. The majority of all renovations still haven’t been completed despite lapsed deadlines. The outstanding renovations include the installation of fireproof doors, the removal of locking or sliding doors from fire exits, and the enclosure of stairwells – meaning that in many factories workers may be unable to safely exit a factory in an emergency.

Despite the efforts to improve factory safety since the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, fires and explosions still plague the industry. The latest of these emergencies was a fire in February 2016 at Matrix Sweaters factory, an H&M supplier. Had the fire started just an hour later, there would have been around 6,000 workers inside the building, and even so, some workers still sustained injuries. Not all workers at H&M supplier factories have been so lucky. In 2010, 21 workers died in a fire at H&M supplier factory Garib & Garib, which lacked proper fire exits.

We may never be able to totally eliminate factory fires, but as one of the largest buyers of apparel from Bangladesh, H&M has a responsibility to do its part to ensure it’s supplier factories are safe.

Click here to join an H&M store action in your community!

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Emma Bliesener

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Mon, 04/25/2016 - 6:39pm
Position: Data SpecialistImage: Email: emma@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

UE Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

UE - Sun, 04/24/2016 - 11:32am
24 April, 2016Bernie Sanders in Erie, PA on April 19 with representatives of UE Local 506 and other unions.Pittsburgh

The United, Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), which represents 35,000 private and public sector workers throughout the U.S., has voted to endorse Bernie Sanders for President. The endorsement was approved, without opposition, by rank-and-file local delegates from the union’s three regions (Western, Northeast, and Eastern) over the past six weeks. The Eastern Region local delegates voted to endorse at their meeting today, April 23, after UE Local 506, representing GE workers in Erie PA and UE Local 170 representing West Virginia state workers, had endorsed earlier in the week.

Peter Knowlton, national president of UE, said UE has had a long and rewarding relationship with Sanders, especially through the locals, membership, and retirees in Vermont. “As more of our members around the country have seen and heard Bernie over the past few months, they’ve seen that his policies and priorities match our own. So, there has been a groundswell of support for Bernie with members volunteering for the campaign.”

Knowlton added, “Bernie Sanders is the most pro-worker pro-union presidential candidate I have seen in my lifetime. Electing Bernie Sanders is a unique opportunity that workers and unions must not pass up. We are proud to endorse Bernie Sanders and support his campaign.”

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Avid Seed Savers Attend the 11th Annual Ówingeh TáPueblos y Semillas Gathering & Seed Exchange

SWOP - Fri, 04/22/2016 - 1:43pm

This account from the Semillas Seed Exchange is from Adelita Medina, who organizes around issues including land and water use, women’s issues, and Chicano history. Reach her at adelita-medina@comcast.net

Nambé Pueblo – April 9th, 2016 — The feelings of camaraderie, conviviality, and positive energy were palpable throughout the day at the Wellness Center in Nambé Pueblo, where some 100 people of all ages and from various parts of the state convened for the 11th annual Ówingeh Tá Pueblos y Semillas Gathering and Seed Exchange. The tri-lingual event entitled: Remedios de la Tierra: Agua, Comida, Plantas/Nankwiyo Wo, Po, Kohgi, Phé Yavi/Medicines of the Earth: Water, Food, Plants was organized and hosted by Nambé Pueblo and the New Mexico Seed Sovereignty Alliance (NM Acequia Association, Honor Our Pueblo Existence, Traditional Native American Farmer’s Association and Tewa Women United).

For 11 years, farmers from tribal and acequia communities have been organizing and attending these important multi-cultural, multi-lingual gatherings in order to revive, continue, and foster the protection of our native seeds, crops, fruits, wild plants and our traditional land and water-based cultures. These gatherings are an affirmation of the unity that is possible between diverse cultures struggling around common needs and goals. In this case, around efforts to salvage our communities’ health and well-being, amid the onslaught of a corrupt, profit crazed and power hungry industrialized food system that is systematically destroying our food, our soil, and our water.

This year’s gathering, which took place on April 9, opened with a welcome from Phillip Perez, Governor of Nambé, and Paula Garcia, Executive Director of the NM Acequia Association. Perez’ father then offered an opening prayer in Tewa. This was followed by blessings, prayers, and alabados by Los Hermanos Penitentes from several moradas in the Valley. The Hermanos prayed for departed farmers, acequieros and other community members, and recited special prayers for San Ysidro Labrador, the Catholic patron saint of farmers and for Santa Ynes, patron saint of gardeners. A beautiful dance and blessing was then presented by the Santa Clara Pueblo Rain Dancers, who were accompanied by a drummer and singer.

The New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance was formed in 2006, after several entities signed the Seed Sovereignty Declaration which was created to defend seeds from genetic contamination, to address other environmental abuses that contaminate our air, soil, and water quality, and to focus on revitalizing our food traditions, traditional agricultural systems, and the saving and sharing of seeds.

The prayers and blessings revolved around a collection of baskets and clay pots that were arranged in the middle of the gymnasium, with those in attendance sitting in a big circle around the sacred space. The ceremony continued with several young people making offerings of earth and water which they poured into the baskets and pots. Each seed saver in attendance then stood in line to add his/her own seed offerings to the collection. The seeds were placed in one of the four directions, depending on which region of the state the person had traveled from (north, east, south or west). They were assisted by two young girls, Mary Chavez and Taya Martinez, who placed the seeds in their appropriate site.

A highlight of the day was the recognition of Raymond and Lila Naranjo, who received the Anciano/Se:daa Lifeways Award. The couple, now in their 90s, has dedicated their entire lives to honoring, preserving, and promoting their Native culture, by maintaining a relationship with the land, water, plants and animals that have helped to sustain local tribes and communities.

Friends, neighbors, and visitors engaged in lively and informative conversations as they went from table to table learning about and gathering seeds from the large and diverse array which had been brought for the exchange.

No gathering would be complete without food, and the delicious and healthy traditional lunch was prepared by Margaret Garcia of Taos Real Food. The aroma of the red chile stew floated all across the gym where the seed and literature tables were assembled.

Adding to the celebratory spirit of the gathering was the lively music provided by David Garcia (accordion) and Jeremias Martinez (guitar). Some of the women spontaneously joined the musicians in singing corridos and rancheras, and a few “old timers,” one of them 90, kicked up their heels in dance.

After lunch, event participants listened to presentations from Margaret Garcia and Juliet Garcia-Gonzales from Taos Real Food, who spoke about Plant Medicines; Dora Pacias from Cornelio Candelaria Organics, who spoke about Food as Medicine; and Monica Vigil, who spoke about Nambé Pueblo Agriculture and Wellness. The theme for this year’s gathering- Remedios de la Tierra: Agua, Comida, Plantas/Nankwiyo Wo, Po, Kohgi, Phé Yavi/Medicines of the Earth: Water, Food, Plants– spoke to the potential for healing that our Mother Earth/Nuestra Madre Tierra gives us through plant medicines, working the land and eating the food that we grow.

At the end of the day, the seeds, which were blessed during the ceremony, were placed in bundles for the Peace and Dignity Runners, who will tie them onto their staffs and carry them as they make their journey from North to South, running thousands of miles in honor of the sacredness of seeds. The run, which includes runners from North, Central and South America, aims to reinforce unity among all first indigenous nations and to make people aware of the sacredness and delicate balance of nature and the environment.

Several SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) staff, members and allies drove up from the Albuquerque area for the event, including Joaquín Luján, Travis McKenzie, Rodrigo Rodriguez, Stefany Olivas and Adelita Medina. Also attending were Lorenzo Candelaria and Dora Pacias from Cornelio Candelaria Organics.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Join us next weekend for the Vermont People's Convention & Just Transition Assembly!

VWC - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 1:08pm

From Saturday, April 30th - Sunday, May 1st, hundreds of people are coming together at Montpelier High School for the Vermont People's Convention & Just Transition Assembly.

Click here to learn more and register today! http://bit.ly/VTPeoplesConvention

Working families in Vermont, like families around the world, are suffering from economic inequality, ecological disaster, and the violence of racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism.

We know these problems are systemic and share common roots, and that to change them, we’ll need to build enough power and unity to overcome the influence of the billionaire class and the politicians they control.

So how do we make that happen? What kind of alliances can help us transition to an economy that serves people and the planet instead of profit, and towards a society that allows us to explore new ways of practicing democracy?

Join the conversation at Montpelier High School on Saturday, April 30th and Sunday, May 1st. Click here to register: bit.ly/VTPeoplesConvention

******Can’t make the People’s Convention?*******

Join us for the annual May Day march on Sunday!

12:30pm: Lunch at Montpelier High School, graciously donated by Woodbelly Pizza and the People's Kitchen

1:30pm: Rally kickoff at Montpelier H.S.

2pm: March leaves from Montpelier High School!

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Official Joint Statement from Asian/Chinese American Organizations on the Sentencing of Former NYPD Officer Peter Liang in the Killing of Akai Gurley

CAAAV - Thu, 04/21/2016 - 11:54am

Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Oakland
Asian Americans United, Philadelphia
Asian American Resource Workshop, Boston
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, New York City
Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED), Los Angeles
Chinese Progressive Association, San Francisco
Chinese Progressive Association, Boston

We are outraged that Peter Liang has escaped accountability for killing Akai Gurley. For more than a year, Akai Gurley’s family has been courageously speaking out to demand justice for their loved one. Judge Chun’s sentencing decision today is an insult to Akai Gurley, his family, and all victims of police violence. Any amount of jail/prison time is a brief snippet of time compared to the lifetime Akai Gurley’s young daughters will have to live without their father. The sentencing sends the message that it is okay to kill innocent and precious lives, as long as it is done by a police officer.
Akai Gurley was only 28-years old when he was struck and killed by the bullet fired by Peter Liang who failed to provide necessary medical help or call the ambulance. Akai’s aunt, Hertencia Petersen, remembers Akai as a good son and nephew, who joked and smiled a lot. He provided for his younger brothers and sisters and took care of Akaila and Kamiya, his daughters. Since the killing of Akai, his family has been suffering and mourning for their loss, as well as standing strongly together with the community to demand justice.

While the Chinese media and some Chinese leaders stood behind former Officer Peter Liang, as grassroots organizations working with Asian/Chinese Americans, we continue to stand with the family of Akai Gurley and other innocent victims of police killings to hold all police officers accountable, regardless of race. We continue to affirm that if we believe in true racial justice, we cannot excuse an officer for killing an innocent unarmed black man because Peter Liang is Chinese or Asian like us. We know that the strength of our power is fully realized when we stand together with those who also face injustice. We cannot forget when other communities of color stood with us against the police killing of Yong Xin Huang in 1995 and other incidents of police brutality and countless critical moments our communities were also hurt. We have a responsibility to protect our prosperity by protecting ALL families and that means also the family of Akai Gurley who has lost their loved one forever.

We can tip the scales to fit our needs, but it doesn’t mean we’ve reached justice. Our hunger for true justice, for a world where we all have a chance to thrive and grow old must be realized. We showed everyone and ourselves the political power we are capable of. We must challenge the abuse of power where it is most evident – where families are losing loved ones with no accountability of the officers who kill them. Nothing will bring Akai back, but we must hold all police officers accountable to continue to fight for violence-free communities and win change in our systems and institutions.



我們對於梁彼得殺死格里後開脫應有的責任感到憤怒。格里的家人在過去一年一直勇敢為親人發聲,爭取正義。法官Danny Chun今天的判刑對格里,他的家人和所有警察暴力的受害者都是一種侮辱。格里一雙年幼女兒終其一生過著沒有父親陪伴的日子,對她們來說任何牢獄監禁判决都題得微不足道。而當今的這個判刑意味著只要是警察,就可以輕易的殺害無辜的寶貴生命。

當梁彼得發射子彈殺害格里,又沒有提供必須的醫療救助或召喚救護車時,格里只有二十八歲。格里的阿姨,Hertencia Petersen,憶起格里時總想到他是一個好兒子和好外甥,很有幽默感又時時面帶笑容。他供養他的弟妹成人,也盡責照顧他的兩個小女兒Akaila和Kamiya。自從格里無辜被殺後,他的家人在極為痛苦地哀悼格里的逝世的同時,也堅強地與社區成員一起爭取正義。

雖然中文媒體和一些華人領袖支持梁彼得警員,但作為代表亞裔/華裔美國人的草根機構,我們會繼續與格里及其他被警察殺害的無辜受害者站在同一陣線,嚴厲要求所有警察,不論種族,都要為自己的行動負責 。我們堅信如果想得到真正的種族正義,絕不能開脫任何一個殺死無辜又手無寸鐵的黑人的警員,即使他和我們一樣是華裔。惟有與同樣面對不公義的人並肩同行,我們的強大力量才得以體現。我們不能遺忘其他數之不盡的警察暴力事件, 例如在1995年黃永新被警察無辜殺害的事件。 當我們華人社區受到傷害時,其他有色人種社區堅決的與我們站在一起爭取正義。如想保障華人社區的繁榮發展,我們有責任保護所有的家庭,包括格里的家庭。

我們可以斷章取義來配合我們的需要,但這並不代表我們得到了正義。我們必須達到對真正公義的追求,發展一個大家都有機會一展所長和安享晚年的世界。在這次事件裡,我們華人社區向其他人和自己都展現了我們所擁有的政治力量。我們必須用我們的政治力量挑戰其他人濫用權力最顯著的地方, 例如保護和確保無辜被警員奪走至親的家庭能得到正義,而不是眼睜睜的看著殺害無辜的警員逃脫責任。沒有任何事可以讓格里能回到他的家人身邊,但我們可以為他和他的家人爭取他們應有的正義。 我們必須確保每一個警員不會濫用暴力和魯莽行動,同時繼續爭取沒有暴力的社區,改善我們的系統和機構。

‪#‎AkaiGurley‬ ‪#‎Justice4AkaiGurley‬ ‪#‎PeterLiang‬ ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Statement on Paris Agreement Signing – International Alliance of Frontline Communities

It Takes Roots - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 2:41pm

* For Immediate Release *

April 19, 2016

Press Contacts:

Jaron Browne, (415) 727-6687, jaron@ggjalliance.org

Dallas Goldtooth, (708) 515-6158, goldtoothdallas@gmail.com

“They don’t even mention Fossil Fuels!”

Three days before world leaders sign the Paris Agreement, an international alliance of frontline and indigenous communities denounce it as a ‘dangerous distraction’


San Francisco, CA – As world leaders prepare to sign the Paris Agreement later this week on Earth Day (April 22) an international alliance of Indigenous leaders are calling the historic agreement “dangerous distraction.”


Statement From Cindy Wiesner of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance:

“The Paris Climate agreement doesn’t even mention fossil fuels, the most agreed on cause of climate change. The agreement is a dangerous distraction that leaves common sense, science, human rights and the rights of Indigenous Peoples on the negotiating table. While world leaders are finally taking action they are heading down the wrong path. Frontline communities and Indigenous Peoples have been calling for a clear path to solve our climate crisis. We can end the privatization of nature, we can stop the use of dirty fossil fuels and we can stop climate change. We know this because we are on the front lines of climate change, we see it, we know it, we live it. The world will not find solutions to climate change without us.”


Statement from Tom Goldtooth, of the Indigenous Environmental Network

“We, Indigenous Peoples, are the red line. We have drawn that line with our bodies against the privatization of nature, to dirty fossil fuels and to climate change. We are the defenders of the world’s most biologically and culturally diverse regions. We will protect our sacred lands. Our knowledge has much of the solutions to climate change that humanity seeks. It’s only when they listen to our message that ecosystems of the world will be renewed.”

For more background and detailed criticism of the agreement see We Are Mother Earth’s Red Line (LINK) a report released by the It Takes Roots Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties  (COP21) in Paris.


Also available for comment and media appearance:

  • Cindy Wiesner, National Coordinator, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (USA)
  • Tom Goldtooth and Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network (North America)
  • Rossmery Zayas, Communities for a Better Environment, Southeast Los Angeles
  • Elisabeth Sanders, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Kentucky
  • Nnimmo Bassey, Director, HOME Foundation (Nigeria)
  • Max Rademacher, Alternatiba (France)
  • Pat Mooney, Executive Director, ETC Group (Canada)
  • Graca Samo, World March of Women (Mozambique)


The We Are Mother Earth’s Red line national report coincides with the premier of the highly acclaimed Not Without Us film this week in San Francisco and Washington DC.  Not Without Us follows seven multi-generational, grassroots activists from around the world as they head to the COP21 mobilizations in Paris.

The “It Takes Roots to Weather the Storm” delegation brings together Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), and the Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) organized the delegation.   During the UNFCCC 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) It Takes Roots mobilized more US and Canadian grassroots and Indigenous groups who took to the streets of Paris during the COP21, despite a ban on public protest—and amplified the pressure that Indigenous Peoples, civil society, and grassroots movements have built throughout the 21 years of UN climate talks.

The post Statement on Paris Agreement Signing – International Alliance of Frontline Communities appeared first on It Takes Roots.

Battle over immigration policy before Supreme Court sparks trending hashtag campaign

NNIRR - Tue, 04/19/2016 - 1:07am
Story Type:  In the News Story Author:  Lois M. Collins Story Publisher:  Deseret News

#FightForFamilies was t[r]ending on Twitter Monday as people on both sides of the immigration issue expressed opinions as the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments in the case.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Supreme Court: Fight for Families, Rule for Justice

NNIRR - Sat, 04/16/2016 - 12:29pm
Story Type:  Blog Story Publisher:  NNIRR

#FightforFamilies, #RuleforJustice

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Marching in the spirit of César Chávez

SWOP - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 12:26pm

The following article is by Jorge Navarrete, a Junior at South Valley Academy and a Media Intern at SouthWest Organizing Project. Photos courtesy of Burque Media Productions.

On March 26 I took part in the 23rd Annual Recuerda a César Chávez March for justice to honor César Chávez, who was a Latino American civil rights activist. I remember learning about César back in elementary school, and how he fought for the rights of farm workers. I guess that I expected to see people holding signs with the face of César, and I did, but that wasn’t all I saw.

I saw signs that said different things, something that the person who held that sign cared about, things like, “Green Party is the Peace Party”, “Brown Lives Matter”, “Immigrants Love New Mexico Too”, and “Unidos con Bernie”. And who can forget about one of the most important and inspiring chants of them all, “Si se puede!” But the most important thing that I saw at this march were the people. Seeing the different type of organizations that came out to support, like SWOP, Juntos, Encuentro, Los Jardines Institute, and many others. Families, friends, and even young children came together to celebrate and honor one important man in history. I guess you can show your kids that they have the right to be heard and to make a change in their community, and that’s what César Chávez inspired people to do. That’s what I think the whole march was about, diverse people coming together to speak their hearts and minds in a peaceful way, just like César Chávez. But it was also a fun march- there was music, people were having a good time, and my favorite part of the march were the Matachines, which I loved to watch as a kid back when I lived in México.

Like I said, the march was a chance for people to have their voices heard and to celebrate César Chávez, but sometimes you can find a bigger message in things. The march mostly consisted of the Hispanic and Latino community. This showed me that the people are proud of who they are and where they come from, that they still care about what their families have been through throughout the years to get them to where they are today. Not only did they show that they are proud people, but they also showed that they are willing to fight against any type of obstacle that gets in the way of their happiness, because even today there are those who are full of so much hate that they discriminate against hard working people. The people who took part in this march showed that they were inspired by César Chávez to fight for their rights, to fight against those who try to stop them from succeeding in life. And although they were not protesting anything at the march, they sent a message that the fighting spirit of César Chávez still lives in them. Because as long as you persevere you will see that “Sí, se puede”.

Something that really stuck in my mind was seeing all of the Bernie Sanders supporters at the march because it made me wonder if people see him as the man that César Chávez used to be. It makes me wonder that if Bernie becomes President, what will he do that is so similar to what César did for his people? Will he fight for anybody’s rights, no matter the skin color they wear, where they are from, the race they represent or the sex they choose to identify as? What makes Bernie so special that his supporters show up to a César Chávez March? If I could vote, I would ask myself these questions, because who wants Trump to run a country that is full of people he doesn’t like? But if that ever becomes the case, I feel that many people would follow the footsteps of César Chávez.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

New Mexico Solidarity with Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement

SWOP - Fri, 04/15/2016 - 11:26am

In 2015, SouthWest Organizing Project sent our food justice community organizer, Rodrigo Rodriguez, to a political education course in Sao Paolo, Brazil with the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra- the Landless Workers Movement (MST). At the beginning of 2016, SWOP hosted a militante from MST, Alessandro Mariano, in New Mexico. This is a continuation of the long history of SWOP’s internationalism and exchanges that our movements here in New Mexico have been part of, including work with Cuba and Palestine.

As one of the largest social movement organizations in Latin America with almost 2 million members in Brazil, MST is at the forefront of a national movement fighting for agrarian reform and food sovereignty. MST is also a key leader of La Via Campesina, the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world.

Brazil is currently experiencing a period of political turmoil, democracy is under attack by right wing forces that seek to roll back hard fought political and social reforms. The global oligarchs who increasingly control the media, banking institutions and capital around Latin America have set out to retake control of countries who have seen leftist governments come to power in the last decade. Honduras, Argentina, and Venezuela are prime examples of the intervention of outside forces into domestic political processes, in order to stifle hard fought wins by the people of those countries. It’s important to recognize the impact of US policy towards the region, which became much more sophisticated under Obama than it had been under George W Bush. US ‘democracy promotion’ moneys have flowed into Latin America for decades and the outcomes have had devastating environmental and human consequences for the region. Brazil plays a critical role and their government is of particular interest to global capital, as it is the most powerful country in Latin America. Brazil’s opposition to the Free Trade Agreement of the America’s proved to be a crucial point in the effort to defeat the agreement.

In Brazil this has manifested itself in what many in the country are calling a coup against President Dilma Roussef, and the attempted discrediting of former President Lula da Silva. There is a concentrated effort in the corporate media (Globo) and by right wing forces to manufacture corruption scandals on trumped up charges in order to discredit not only the Partido dos Trabalhardores (Workers’ Party), but also the social movements that have supported them, like our comrades in MST.

In a particularly tragic event, two MST comrades lost their lives on April 7th in an ambush by Military Police and private security forces working for Araupel logging corporation. According to Joaquin Piñeiro of MST, “Leomar Bhorbak, 25, who left behind his girlfriend who is 9 months pregnant, and comrade Vilmar Bordim, married, father of three children.

In an essay titled “Impeachment and Rural Violence: Two Faces of the Same Class Struggle”, João Pedro Stedile, of the national MST leadership said, “For our part, we do not cower, but we will take all possible care not to fall into provocations or pitfalls of violence of the large estates. Our role as the MST is to continue the struggle for agrarian reform. We will continue occupying unproductive estates. We will continue occupying the lands of politicians, companies and farmers who are indebted to the Union by avoiding taxes and do not pay loans in public banks.”

The MST has put out an international call to action against impunity and to defend democracy:


At the SouthWest Organizing Project we stand in solidarity with our comrades at MST and with the people of Brazil and across Latin America. We also urge social movements, social justice organizations and communities everywhere to join us in standing in solidarity with MST and the people of Brazil by answering their call to action, organizing demonstrations, posting on social media and participating in solidarity actions in their own communities.

Here in Albuquerque we will be gathering April 15th at 211 10th street SW 87102 at 12 noon to take a solidarity photo with SWOP members and post solidarity messages to social media. We will also be sharing on social media April 17th the day of the impeachment vote in Brazil, which also the marks the 20th anniversary of the international day of peasants struggle.

Everyone is encouraged to take a photo with a sign expressing your solidarity for the MST and the people of Brazil using #NoVaiTerGolpe and #VaiTerLuta on social media (twitter, instagram, facebook, etc). This weekend is a crucial moment for Brazil and for social movements across Latin America and across the globe.

Globalize the struggle! Leomar Bhorbak and Vilmar Bordim presente!

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Denver students, Padres & Jovenes Unidos give DPS a C+ for efforts to end school to prison pipeline

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 2:00pm
Apr 12, 2016Original story at The Denver Channel


DENVER - Students concerned about racial disparities at Denver Public Schools are giving the district an overall grade of C+ for its efforts to improve the disciplinary process, and to end what is called the school to prison pipeline.

The 5th Annual Denver Community Accountability Report Card, handed out Monday, shows DPS is making progress, but not enough.

Prior to announcing specific grades in ten areas, several students shared their experiences, explaining why they got involved with Padres & Jovenes Unidos, the educational rights group that spearheads the report card.

Read the rest here: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/denver-students-padres-j...

Campaigns: Local Denver CampaignEnd the School to Jail Track
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Denver Public Schools pledges to address student discipline concerns

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 1:56pm
Apr 11, 2016Original story at Chalkbeat Colorado

Denver school officials agreed Monday to establish a centralized system for responding to complaints about school discipline, to better inform students facing expulsion or suspension of their rights, and to investigate concerns about schools underreporting discipline data.

Standing in front of a crowd that included outspoken students and frustrated parents, acting Denver Public Schools superintendent Susana Cordova made those promises in response to a new report by advocacy organization Padres & Jovenes Unidos. Read 


Campaigns: Local Denver CampaignEnd the School to Jail Track
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

5th Annual Accountability Report Card

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Mon, 04/11/2016 - 3:32pm


Fighting the School to Prison Pipeline Means Knowing Your Rights

Padres & Jóvenes Unidos and Denver Public Schools Roll Out New Tools So Students and Families Know Their Rights in School Discipline


(Denver, CO)  Receiving in school suspension(ISS) can be difficult at any age, but to get it at eleven years old for following teacher's instructions is especially devastating. That's what happened to Jennifer Valenzuela in the 7th grade. After missing a day of class, she tried to make up homework by getting the assignment from her friend. They were both accused of cheating and given ISS.


"The thing that bothered me the most is that during ISS they didn't give me my homework. When I asked my teachers for it afterwards, they told me to do the same thing that got me in trouble. To copy it from my friends," recalls Jennifer, now 17. "I'm not a cheater. I felt like really, my teachers just didn't care."


School discipline stories like Jennifer's is why Padres & Jóvenes Unidos says that students and families need to know their rights. According to district policy, Jennifer shouldn't have been suspended, and even though she was, she should have been provided her homework during her suspension. This is the main focus for the 5th Annual Accountability in Discipline meeting, where students from Denver Public Schools give it a grade on how well it is doing in Ending the School to Jail Track.


"Year after year, our students and families have taken real risks to testify and organize to win powerful rights and protections in school discipline," said Daniel Kim, Director of Youth Organizing. "Yet we are still seeing too many students being suspended and punished unfairly without due process.  This is one way students of color are denied an education and pushed out of school. We are calling on DPS to do more to ensure that every student and family is empowered with the knowledge to self-advocate and have their voices heard."


According to the report card released by Padres & Jóvenes Unidos at the meeting, racial disparities in discipline are down from last year. The report also says that discipline reform continues to benefit all students, as the rates of in school suspension, out of school suspension, expulsions and referrals to law enforcement are down thanks to measures like restorative justice.  However, the overall trend for racial disparities the past five years has shown little progress - students of color are still 3.1 times likely to be more harshly punished than their white peers, all across Denver Public Schools. When the accountability meetings first started in 2010, they were 3 times as likely.


As part of the solution, Denver Public Schools agreed to distribute "Know Your Rights" guides created by Padres & Jóvenes Unidos any time a student is facing a disciplinary action. The students presenting the report card to Denver Public Schools this year believe that when everyone knows their rights, the gap between students of color and white students in discipline will finally close.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Nike “Just Do the Right Thing” Worker Tour Media Round-Up

USAS - Fri, 04/08/2016 - 3:35am

We’ve just wrapped up our our country-wide Nike “Just Do the Right Thing” speaking tour!

Noi Supalai, former union President and Nike factory worker from Thailand, just finished a 28-day speaking tour. Noi stopped at colleges and Universities from New York to Seattle to speak with students, faculty, University administrators, and labor allies about her experience manufacturing collegiate apparel and apparel for Nike. While working at the factory, Noi and her coworkers were refused wages for months, and leaders of her union were detained in a room to prevent them from organizing their fellow coworkers. Nike representatives said they would help, but never showed up to their meetings, and eventually pulled all their orders from the factory. Noi and her coworkers were eventually released and paid the wages they were owed only after intervention from the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).

Noi doesn’t trust Nike to monitor labor conditions in its supplier factories, and neither should our schools! It’s time our Universities hold Nike accountable and demand the brand #JustDoTheRightThing for its workers. The choice is clear: let independent monitors in or be forced off our campuses.

Read more about the tour below:

The Daily: Former Nike Garment Worker Reveals Secrets to UW Audience, 4/7/16

The Daily Texan: Noi Supalai’s Nike Worker Tour, 4/6/16

The Daily Texan: Students Host Former Nike Worker to Raise Awareness for Inhumane Sweatshops, 4/6/16

The DePaulia: United Students Against Sweatshops Stand Against Nike, Which Contracts with DePaul, 4/4/16

The Tab: Former Nike Garment Worker Speaks Out at Purdue, 4/2/16

Forbes: College Campus Protests Include United Students Against Sweatshops, 3/31/16

Lafayette Journal and Courier: Purdue Students Fight Nike Contract, 3/31/16

New Brunswick Today: Nike Factory Worker Visits Rutgers to Describe Unfair Labor Practices, 3/31/16

The Michigan Daily: Former Nike Factory Worker Urges Students to Take Action Against Company, 3/29/16

The Hoya: Nike Garment Worker Speaks out for Fair Wages, 3/22/16

The Collegian: Former Nike Factory Worker Shares Story of Abusive Working Conditions, 3/22/16

WSLS: Virgina Tech Students Call for Dismissal of Nike Contract, 3/17/16

WSLS 10: Student Group at Virginia Tech Demanding Action in Relationship to Nike, 3/16/2016

Huffington Post: Watchdog Group Kept out of Nike’s Supplier Factory After Worker Strike, 3/3/2016

New York Times: Money Given to Kenya, Since Stolen Puts Nike in Spotlight, 3/5/16

The Scarlet and Black: Students Protest Nike Labor Practices, 3/11/16

Georgetown Voice: In Foul Trouble: Unlacing Georgetown’s Relationship with Nike, 2/29/16

UW Daily: Guest Editorial: United Students Against Sweatshops Take on Corporate Giant, 2/3/16

The Daily Targum: Rutgers Students Against Sweatshops March to Old Queens, 2/2/16

UW Daily: United Students Against Sweatshops Take on Nike, 12/1/15

Collegiate Times: Letter to the Editor: Students Confront President Sands About Nike Sweatshops, 11/21/15

Georgetown Hoya: Athletes, Advocates Pen Anti-Nike Letter, 11/20/15

Cornell Sun: COLA Contests Cornell’s Business Ties, 11/20/15

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

End the tax breaks for private prisons!

NNIRR - Thu, 04/07/2016 - 6:44pm
Story Type:  Blog Story Publisher:  NNIRR

Please join NNIRR and our partners in the Private Prison Divestment Campaign to call for an end to tax breaks for private prisons.

read more

Categories: Grassroots Newswire