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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 - 7:02pm
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

NNIRR Updates: SOTU, New Border Bill, Reclaiming MLK

NNIRR - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 5:46pm
Story Type:  Blog Story Author:  NNIRR

Thanks for your support...

The generous e

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

View on Migration: UN takes refugees’ fingerprints

NNIRR - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 3:12pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Aamna Mohdin Story Publisher:  Sci Dev Net

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Border Communities Reject McCaul’s HR 399

NNIRR - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 3:00am
Story Type:  Press Release Story Author:  Southern Border Communities Coalition

Bill will turn border communities into theatres of war

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Obama largely avoids immigration in State of the Union

NNIRR - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 3:13am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Dan Nowicki Story Publisher:  The Arizona Republic

In his seventh State of the Union speech Tuesday, President Barack Obama largely avoided the topic of immigration reform, a top domestic priority during his first six years in the White House.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Nativist Lawsuit on the Texas Border

NNIRR - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 3:00am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  The Editorial Board Story Publisher:  The New York Times

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

OpEd: Sitting in for healthcare

VWC - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 4:20pm

(This OpEd by VWC member Stauch Blaise has so far run in the Barre-Montpelier Times-Argus and the Rutland Herald).

On Thursday, Jan. 8, I was arrested. I was taken into custody by state police for standing up for the rights of the people of Vermont. 

Hundreds of us from all over the state went to the State House to speak out for our human right to health care after the governor took it upon himself to abandon Vermont’s move to universal health care. Twenty-nine of us put our bodies on the line to demand a public hearing on health care financing, holding a sit-in in the well of the House chamber for five hours, and ending up getting arrested.

Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote in “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” “I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.” 

It is in this spirit that we conducted a sit-in in the State House on behalf of the many thousands of people in Vermont who are forced to skip health care because they can’t afford medication or the doctor, and the untold numbers who suffer needless pain, indignity, financial hardship and debt, because our market-based insurance system grants health care just to those who can afford it, not to all those who need it.

Marching through Montpelier and staging a sit-in wasn’t easy for me. I suffer from spinal stenosis, which means my spinal cord is pinched, sending shooting pains into my legs. It is painful for me to march long distances and difficult to sit on the floor for long periods of time. When I was diagnosed five years ago, after years of inexplicable pain, I was fortunate to have a comprehensive health insurance plan. I owned my own business and could afford a plan with good benefits.

Then things started to go downhill. The doctors tried a bunch of treatments, but nothing worked. I had surgery on my back, yet my legs got progressively worse. It got to the point that I couldn’t work any more, and I lost my business. I was put first on Social Security disability, then on Medicaid, and finally on Medicare, even though I wasn’t 65 years old. With that came 20 percent co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs that I couldn’t afford. 

At one point I got a blood clot, so I had to go in three times a week to get blood tests. Each visit cost me a $40 co-pay, and before I knew it, my savings were completely wiped out. I took a job at a hospital where I made a little over minimum wage, but they terminated me because of my condition. I was going without medication, and my children would come to the house and find that there wasn’t any food in the fridge. I was ashamed. It was a bad, bad situation.

My story is one of many. In every community and just about every family, there is someone struggling with the cost of health care. As part of my media work, I’ve interviewed a ton of people about their health care stories, and it seems like most of them are under-insured or have no insurance. People break down and cry when they talk to me, and every time it breaks my heart.

The crazy part is Vermont already spends more than enough money on health care to give every last resident access to the care they need. The problem is that the private insurance system isn’t designed to guarantee access to health care. It’s an insurance business: It only makes money if we don’t get sick and if we don’t use health services. A universal, publicly financed health care system turns this on its head. It starts with the premise that every human being living in Vermont has a fundamental right to health care, and then determines how to equitably finance the system through public taxation so that everyone supports the system according to their ability, with big businesses and wealthy people contributing the most.

When Gov. Peter Shumlin dropped his commitment to universal health care, I was shocked. Is it right that in a democracy, especially when we have a universal health care law in place, one person can just make such a decision, without even a debate? His own financing report shows that 93 percent of families would enjoy higher incomes if we went ahead with his plan, and we could do even better than the governor if we taxed employers on a sliding scale, just like individuals, to give small businesses a break and require big businesses to pay their fare share.

The governor did not back down from his health care plan because it wasn’t economically feasible. Universal, publicly financed health care is both eminently feasible and morally just. The governor’s decision to back down was a political decision influenced by powerful business interests. Closed-door meetings with business councils will never serve the needs and the rights of the public.

Will our Legislature commit to a transparent, participatory democratic process that allows us all to seriously evaluate health care financing, or will it blindly accept the assessment coming out of the governor’s insiders’ process? Don’t they trust democracy or don’t they trust their numbers? Let us hold public hearings and schedule them at times that people can attend. Let us hear from the people, and let us hear from the many experts who believe Vermont can do this. Let us uphold our democracy, say no to scare tactics and private interests, and commit ourselves to defending the rights and the well-being of our communities. Let us put people first.

Stauch Blaise grew up in Barre and lives in East Randolph.

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Michael McCaul to pitch border bill to Republican Study Committee

NNIRR - Fri, 01/16/2015 - 3:00am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  SEUNG MIN KIM and BURGESS EVERETT Story Publisher:  Politico.com

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul is headed to the Republican Study Committee next week to pitch his hot-off-the-presses border security bill to the core group of House conservatives.

An RSC spokeswoman confirmed that McCaul will speak at next week’s meeting, and the moves signal some sort of activity on the immigration front from congressional Republicans, aside from votes to gut President Barack Obama’s executive actions. McCaul has said he would do a border-security bill since last month.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Monique Atkinson

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 6:11pm
Position: Youth OrganizerImage: Email: monique@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Salvador Gonzalez

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 6:01pm
Position: Youth OrganizerImage: Email: salvador@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Joella Gallegos

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 6:00pm
Position: Youth OrganizerImage: Email: joella@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Elodia Romero

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 5:57pm
Position: CSR Lead Parent OrganizerImage: Email: elodia@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Michele Harry

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 5:53pm
Position: Office AssistantImage: Email: michele@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Graciela Guevara

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 5:52pm
Position: CSR Colorado Parent OrganizerImage: Email: graciela@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Shawna Foster

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 5:52pm
Position: CommunicationsImage: Email: shawna@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Jessy Perez

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 5:49pm
Position: Health Justice OrganizerImage: Email: jessy@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

RELEASE: Vermont Human Rights Council calls for a budget that advances equity and dignity

VWC - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 5:14pm

For Immediate Release:January 15 2015

Contact: Keith Brunner, 802-363-9615, keith@workerscenter.org

Vermont Human Rights Council calls for a budget that advances equity and dignity

Groups issue response to Governor’s budget address

Today, organizations affiliated with the Vermont Human Rights Council [1], a coalition of disability rights, climate justice, and workers’ rights organizations, released the following statement in response to Governor Shumlin’s budget address:

“The purpose of our state budget is to address the fundamental needs of all residents, and to advance dignity and equity. These are common sense goals that reflect the shared values of the people of Vermont. They are also stated in Vermont law (32 V.S.A. § 306a).

Yet today we witnessed once again the failure of state government to fulfill this basic obligation. Proposed budget cuts range from libraries to heating assistance, and from wage cuts for state workers to cuts to the Reach Up program, as well as continuing many of the additional cuts made to this year’s budget ($30 million in July and $12 million this month). Gutting public services and programs will harm many people in our state, at the same time as our tax system continues to privilege the wealthy and increases tax breaks for larger businesses.

Even though Vermont’s economy is now one of the fastest growing in New England, most people are not benefiting from this. On the contrary, the gap between the rich and the rest of us is widening. Median household income dropped to its lowest level in 10 years, poverty and homelessness are on this rise, and 1 in 6 Vermonters are forced to rely on food stamps to feed their families.

The Human Rights Council calls on our elected representatives to recognize that growing inequity in our state is a product of failed policies, and as such is up to legislators to change.

Here are just two examples: Vermont tax policy disadvantages low- and middle income people, who pay a greater share of their income in taxes than the wealthy. This unjust burden on the majority of residents has grown over the past few years: middle income people now pay almost 3% more of their income in taxes than the rich, compared to around 2% in 2007. The proposed elimination of the income tax deduction for state income taxes, while a step in the right direction, will not change this significantly.  Growing inequity in the tax system is mirrored by inequity in healthcare financing, as a RAND study released this week reminded us: low- and middle-income residents pay a much greater share of their income for healthcare costs.

Our budget and revenue policy can change this, by developing spending initiatives that meet people’s needs and raise revenue equitably. Similarly, equitable public healthcare financing can offer huge financial relief to low- and middle income families. Yet the piecemeal health reform measures announced today fail to address the underlying problem of inequitable healthcare costs. As much as we welcome the long-overdue increase in Medicaid provider payments, along with cost relief for people on Vermont Health Connect - who were kicked off of public healthcare programs when these were eliminated by the Affordable Care Act - we have learned over the years that no single band-aid can cure the systemic flaws of a healthcare system whose goal is not to meet health needs but to generate revenue for a myriad of interests.  

As a key budget and revenue issue, healthcare financing appears to have fallen prey to the administration’s refusal to make the wealthy and big businesses pay their fair share in taxes. Instead of offering relief to the smallest businesses and asking big businesses to pay more, based on their ability, the governor now proposes to fund his band-aid measures with a small flat payroll tax - the same type of tax that led him to drop financing reform in the first instance. Due to its regressive nature this tax continues to shield bigger corporations and the wealthy from more equitable taxation.

“Vermont needs a budget and a healthcare financing plan that start with people’s needs and raise money equitably to meet those needs,” said James Haslam, director of the Vermont Workers’ Center, “yet every year politicians do just the opposite: cutting the budget, giving tax breaks to large businesses, and defending private healthcare financing that hurts low-income people the most. Why do they not follow Vermont law, which requires us to advance dignity and equity in our state and to provide healthcare as a public good?”

Karen Topper, of Green Mountain Self-Advocates, said: “A budget is a document of values.We need our Vermont state budget to ensure that every person counts and is supported to live with dignity, respect and independence.”

Workers’ rights are also under attack in this budget proposal: the governor seeks to outlaw educators’ right to strike, cut wages and benefits of state workers, and lower the wage rate requirements for businesses that receive tax incentives.

Members of the Human Rights Council emphasize that budgeting must be a participatory, transparent and accountable process that involves the public in a meaningful way and avoids pitting different needs and rights against another. Will Bennington of Rising Tide Vermont said: “The Vermont Human Rights Council works collaboratively because we know that there is no climate justice without migrant justice, no workers rights without disability rights.”

The Human Rights Council calls on our elected representatives to change the budget and revenue process by instituting comprehensive and participatory needs assessments and an accountability framework that evaluates public policy decisions using accurate measures of unmet human need.  

This year, as in previous years, we request that our representatives recognize that the current goals and processes used in developing the state budget are inadequate. The outcome of the current way of doing things is failing the people of Vermont.”



1] The Vermont Human Rights Council members signed onto this statement include Green Mountain Self-Advocates, Rising Tide Vermont, and the Vermont Workers’ Center. 

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Immigrants Can Now Get Mexican Birth Certificates in US

NNIRR - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 3:07pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  The Associated Press Story Publisher:  The New York Times

The Mexican government Thursday will start issuing birth certificates to its citizens at its consulates in the United States to make it easier for immigrants to obtain U.S. work permits, driver's licenses and protection from deportation.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Karina Rodriguez

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:31pm
Position: CSR Parent OrganizerImage: Email: karina@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Daniel Kim

Padres & Jovenes Unidos - Thu, 01/15/2015 - 12:30pm
Position: Director of Youth OrganizingImage: Email: daniel@padresunidos.org
Categories: Grassroots Newswire
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