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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

America’s Long History of Immigrant Scaremongering

NNIRR - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 6:37pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Jamelle Bouie Story Publisher:  Slate

Since last October, the United States has caught tens of thousands of children crossing the border with Mexico, most fleeing violence in Central America.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Perry to Deploy National Guard Troops to Mexico Border

NNIRR - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 5:30pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Manny Hernandez Story Publisher:  The New York Times

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas was expected to announce on Monday the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops to the border with Mexico to bolster security as the Border Patrol faces an influx of Central American immigrants.

Governor Perry was scheduled to announce the move at a news conference in Austin, according to a spokeswoman for a Democratic lawmaker, State Senator Juan Hinojosa, who represents the area and who was told of the plan.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Immigration Activists Hold Funeral For GOP: It's 'Dead To Our Community'

NNIRR - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 5:21pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Sam Levine and Casey Varner Story Publisher:  The Huffington Post

From The Huffington Post: Alex Wong via Getty Images

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

How the For-Profit Corporate Prison Lobby Killed Immigration Reform

NNIRR - Sun, 07/20/2014 - 3:00pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Peter Cervantes-Gautschi Story Publisher:  Alternet

Most national leaders are telling their constituencies that bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform is not a possibility this year. Acts of civil disobedience and militant, grassroots efforts to stop deportations are spreading across the country. Missing in the strategy is the power of the for-profit corporate prison industry. To win, the immigration reform movement has to weaken the private prison corporate lobby.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Asian Youth in Art 2014: Call for Submissions!

CAAAV - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 4:46pm

Asian Youth in Action (AYA) explores different ways to raise awareness on and resist various systems of oppression. One way to resist police violence and sexual- and gender-based violence is through art, a channel that we hope is accessible, reflective, and open to the community. AYA will be hosting our annual “Asian Youth in Art Exhibit” on Sunday, August 24.

For the exhibit, we are seeking art submissions created by youth and people of all ages. While everyone is encouraged to submit their art, youth (high school and college-aged) will be eligible to win contest prizes for their art. Submissions Deadline: Friday, August 8.

 

ART CONTEST AND EXHIBIT PROMPT:

Create a work of art (of any medium- visual, written, performance, etc.) that responds to at least one of the following prompts:

  • How do those who identify as women and/or LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer) experience sexual- and gender-based violence?
  • How do the police perpetuate forms of sexual- and gender-based violence (either through committing violence themselves or failing to protect those who experience violence)?
  • If the police do not prevent sexual- and gender-based violence and actually perpetuate it, how have/can communities build solutions to create true safety?
  • What does community safety and freedom from all forms of violence (i.e. sexual- and gender-based, police) look like to you?

Prizes: First Prize ($50 gift card), Two Runners Up ($25 gift card each)

(All submissions will be showcased on the day of the event but in order to be eligible for a prize, the creator of the artwork must attend the event)

TO SUBMIT:

  • For the submission form, click here.
  • Short Stories, poems, and performance videos can be submitted to asianyouthinaction@gmail.com with the submission form attached.
  • All other entries have to be submitted or mailed to the CAAAV office at 55 Hester St New York, NY 10002.
  • If you want to drop off your entry at the office, we will receive submissions (Tuesdays, 1-4 PM, Thursdays, 12-4 PM, and Saturday (1-4 PM). Please call the office at 212-473-6485 to make sure someone is available.

Good luck and may the odds be in your favor!

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Migrant Crisis Expands North from Border, into Arid Texas Wilderness

NNIRR - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 2:30pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Molly Hennessy-Fiske Story Publisher:  Los Angeles Times

Daniel Zamarripa loaded his police dog into the back of his patrol car and set out to track his quarry — immigrants circumventing the local Border Patrol checkpoint.

Zamarripa, 27, is one of 15 reserve deputies brought in to assist the Brooks County Sheriff's Office, whose four deputies have lately found themselves overwhelmed by 911 calls from migrants stranded on the vast ranches that stretch from here to the horizon in all directions.

Then there are the bodies of migrants who didn't make it to retrieve and identify: 42 so far this year.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement Statement on the Murder of Eric Garner by the NYPD

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 1:02pm

Eric Garner was a husband, a father of six, grandfather of two and a loved member of a community. On July 17, 2014, his life was ended by a NYPD officer’s chokehold, which has been explicitly banned as a restraint tactic for years before former officer Francis Livoti choked and killed young Anthony Baez in 1994. Every aspect of this incident should be troubling to our city and its leadership. He was unarmed and non-threatening prior to being choked and tackled. After watching the video evidence, we can see a situation that shouldn’t have happened as it did. Unfortunately, NYPD brutality is all too commonplace—what should have been a routine police encounter turned into fatal one because an individual questioned the treatment he was receiving. This occurs everyday in Black communities across New York City and often we don’t hear about them because the injuries don’t always result in death. These kind of violent acts by the NYPD are seen as routine parts of living under a militarized police department that will respond with zero-tolerance to any perceived “disobedience.” This is the reality we face daily by police who are paid to protect and serve our communities.

Often when the police brutalize or kill a Black person, they along with the media attempt to criminalize the individual and make unfounded accusations to support their violence. And in this case, Garner’s family has maintained that he had no cigarettes on himself or in his car and prior to his death he was breaking up a fight. Despite that the NYPD will attempt to use his “resisting” arrest as the cause for his death, which was clearly caused by the violent, unprovoked chokehold by an officer and subsequent pinning to the ground by several others. When law enforcement leadership promotes the idea that any African male who questions or resists police orders is a violent threat, an unnecessary level of force is the standard response and this sort of fatal result can be expected.

We live in a city where discriminatory and violent policing has become an international spectacle and those of us who have experienced it often become sensitive to police harassment. And recently police commissioner Bratton ordered extra officers to many areas of the city he believes are trouble spots while several incidents of abusive policing have occurred in the past few weeks. This is a police force that attempts to change its tactics without changing its philosophy.

The Malcolm x Grassroots Movement and other organizations have been involved in the struggle against abusive policing for many years and we condemn this tragic loss of life. And our community’s struggle to specifically address the use of chokeholds dates back to the NYPD’s killing of Arthur Miller in Crown Heights in 1978. The organizing efforts led by the Black United Front (BUF) resulted in the Arthur Miller Community patrol in he 77th precinct area. BUF met with the police commissioner and demanded an end to the use of the chokehold.

The ‘broken windows’ philosophy of policing, which purports that focusing resources on the most minor violations will somehow prevent larger ones, has consistently resulted in our rights being violated. We demand the criminal indictment and termination of the officers who unnecessarily attacked and killed Eric Garner. We also demand that the NYPD to end the era of broken windows and militarized policing which has brought tragedy and mistrust of the police to many of our communities. We send our deepest condolences to the family of Eric Garner and support their struggle for justice in this case.

 

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Here's How The U.S. Sparked A Refugee Crisis On The Border, In 8 Simple Steps

NNIRR - Sat, 07/19/2014 - 1:55am
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Roque Planas and Ryan Grim Story Publisher:  The Huffington Post

The 57,000 children from Central America who have streamed across the U.S.-Mexico border this year were driven in large part by the United States itself.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

GM Blames ASOTRECOL for the Impasse. ASOTRECOL Begs to Differ.

*For background information, please visit www.asotrecol.org

GM BLAMES ASOTRECOL FOR THE IMPASSE.

ASOTRECOL BEGS TO DIFFER.

Q – WHY THE IMPASSE BETWEEN GENERAL MOTORS AND ASOTRECOL?

A - One of the reasons for the impasse over ASOTRECOL’s grievances is that GM does not want to acknowledge the underlying documentation presented by ASOTRECOL backing up their claims. Both the Bogota office of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, and the political officer of the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, independently confirm that their documentation of GM’s wrongdoing, especially Jorge Parra’s, is extensive and damning.[i]

GM Colmotores management stands accused of rigging a system for dismissing injured workers without compensating them, then concealing and distorting the facts of their illegal and underhanded activities – with the cooperation of corrupt Colombian government officials.  At stake for the company is GM Colmotores’ status as the most profitable GM subsidiary in Latin America.   GM is worried, too, that reaching a fair settlement with the eight remaining ASOTRECOL members will set the bar for claims by hundreds more injured and fired workers (if not thousands) who GM fears will also come forward demanding justice.[ii]

If it wasn’t for ASOTRECOL taking the courageous step of blowing the whistle on GM’s practices and its willingness to make great sacrifices, nothing would have changed.  Published reports confirm that GM Colmotores expended millions of dollars in ergonomic upgrades only after the workers’ resistance became more public.   Similarly, some injured workers have been reassigned to jobs they’re  able to do, in compliance with the law.  ASOTRECOL has achieved some of its goals that today benefit thousands of workers; no small achievement.  What remains unattained is justice for ASOTRECOL.[iii]

WHAT THE DOCUMENTS SHOW

GM Colmotores devised methods to avoid its liability to injured workers

Articles 4-8 of Law 776 of 2002 prohibit companies in Colombia from dismissing workers with occupational injuries, requiring the company to reinstate, relocate, or pension injured workers.  Pensions sums are based on the degree of disability, the number of years until the disabled worker reaches retirement age (75 years), and the worker’s base salary. Companies and their occupational insurance providers each contribute 50% of the disability pension.  To avoid this liability, GM Colmotores devised methods to prevent workers from 1) acquiring an “occupational” injury status; or 2) acquiring a disability rating above 51%.  This was especially important to GM when it came to workers with serious claims such as spinal column injuries, the most prevalent type suffered by ASOTRECOL members.

GM Colmotores engaged in wholesale illegalities regarding workers’ private medical records, all for the sake of fattening the company’s profits, by:

  • Intimidating workers from filling out accident reports – by threatening dismissal. This practice artificially bolstered safety-related statistics and thereby significantly lowered insurance costs for GM;
  • Secretly accessing workers’ private medical records to determine the severity of workers’ injuries and identify workers for dismissal;
  • Failing to provide to the National and Regional Qualifications Board with accurate descriptions of jobs and their ergonomic risks for the evaluation of the severity of workers’ disability as required by Resolution 2346 of 2007;
  • Rigging exit medical exams with the purpose of classifying injured workers as “fit” to make it appear that the worker was leaving in the same state of physical health as when he was first hired;
  • Concealing its mishandling of workers’ medical records following an investigation carried out by two labor inspectors and a representative of the Procuraduria on 4/15/2011;
  • Having its medical center staff omit and/or alter documentation in workers’ medical records;
  • Delaying and/or denying workers access to their own medical records, in violation of Resolution 2346 of 2007 – thereby preventing them from gaining or maintaining an “occupational injury” status or accurate disability rating from the Qualifications Boards.
  • Colluding with the ARP Colpatria to have “occupational” injuries reclassified as “common” thereby denying workers access to disability pensions.
  • ASOTRECOL member Pedro Pablo Rincón received an “occupational” injury status because the plant doctor performing the diagnosis did a thorough and ethical job.  She was dismissed, as were other doctors who performed their jobs ethically.

None of the workers were given a physical by the Regional or National Qualifications Board, so their disability rating was based solely on the job descriptions and medical records provided by GM Colmotores. Inevitably, the workers received low disability appraisals, which they contest. Even severely injured workers were rated well below the 51% threshold, which would have required GM to pay them disability pensions.

GM violated Colombian prohibitions against dismissing workers with occupational injuries

Colombian law prohibits companies from dismissing workers with occupational injuries.  They are required to reinstate, relocate, or pension injured workers (Articles 4-8 of Law 776 of 2002).  GM Colmotores, however, developed an elaborate system of ridding itself of injured workers by:

  • Dismissing injured workers under a variety of ruses –
  • Fabricating charges against individual injured workers,
  • Laying off injured workers as part of production-related layoffs without subsequently recalling them to work,
  • Intimidating injured workers into signing “voluntary” layoff agreements, and
  • Harassing injured workers by frequently changing their work assignments so they would quit.

 These tactics violated the Colombian Constitution, which protects individuals from defamation (Article 15), and requires authorization by the Ministry of Labor when a company is contemplating dismissing injured workers, or mass layoffs. (Article 29).

  • Attempting to make these dismissals appear “legal” by procuring falsified authorizations from corrupt labor inspectors, one of whom was subsequently criminally prosecuted, found guilty, and sentenced to prison.
  • Committing procedural fraud against Jorge Parra, by submitting altered paperwork to the Labor Ministry.  In a feeble effort to conceal its failure to carry out the proper process, GM Colmotores continued to pay Parra his salary over many months after illegally firing him (11/24/2010), to create the appearance that it had acted lawfully.

GM Colmotores denied workers the right to freedom of association

Despite the rights to free association guaranteed by the Colombian Constitution (Article 38), ASOTRECOL members were denied union rights by GM’s imposition of a “collective pact” on new hires, a violation of the “Labor Action Plan,” agreement negotiated by the U.S. and Colombian governments to facilitate passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

GM Colmotores management:

  • Pressured new hires to sign documents promising that they would not affiliate with the union;
  • Threatened workers that their contracts would not be renewed if they joined the union;
  • Hired moles who served to gather intelligence and report on the union activity of fellow workers;
  • Targeted Jorge Parra for dismissal, and subsequently excluded him from the GM Colmotores installation based on his protected activities:
    • Speaking out publicly and denouncing GM Colmotores’ abuses;
    • Filing formal complaints and legal actions with government agencies;
    • Sharing information with his coworkers about defending their rights against GM’s tactics
    • Forming ASOTRECOL.

Q – WHY NOT SETTLE IT IN THE COURTS?

A – GM Colmotores evaded their legal responsibilities toward workers injured on the job by altering records, changing injury statuses, ensuring that the severity of workers’ disability ratings were artificially low, and using various subterfuges to sever their employment with the company.  The company thus ensured that injured workers have very little recourse through legal channels.

Even where legal channels were pursued, they have proven fruitless.  Practically all cases brought by injured workers against GM Colmotores were assigned to a single judge (Labor Judge #16), contrary to the requirement that the judges be randomly selected.  In each case, Judge #16 ruled in favor of the company.

GM has since denounced ASOTRECOL because the injured workers are, in GM’s words, “operating outside of legal channels.”  GM Colmotores made sure the workers had no other option.

Which brings us to the failed mediation of August, 2012.   While GM implicitly acknowledged the legitimacy of ASOTRECOL’s grievances when they agreed to mediation under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), they assumed (wrongly) that the injured workers would accept offers far below the level of compensation GM would be required to provide if it complied with Colombian law.

 ASOTRECOL’S original and first demand was reinstatement to GM employment on jobs they could do.  By categorically rejecting this demand, GM is in violation of the law.

Following the mediators’ suggestion that ASOTRECOL pursue a financial settlement instead, ASOTRECOL consulted with lawyers from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, who calculated a figure of $5,184,001.34 USD for the 12 members. Five factors were considered:

 • 1) Those with over a 50% disability would receive 75% of monthly wages until reaching retirement age (75 years of age), or 24 months of pay for those who are less than 50% disabled, according to Colombian labor law;

• 2) funds to pay for 10 semesters of university studies per worker;

• 3) an education subsidy to help pay for tuition for each child until they reach 25 years of age, as was signed in the workers’ contracts;

• 4) a housing subsidy to cover 75% of a “social interest housing” lot; and

• 5) 24 months of wages.

 GM’s counter- and final-offer was a cash payment approximating 18 months’ wages.  The August 2012 mediation ended prematurely (after just 3.5 days) with this impasse, when FMCS mediators had to catch flights back to the U.S.  Since then, ASOTRECOL has remained open to dialogue and ready to return to negotiations, as recommended by the mediators.  For its part, GM feigned interest but ultimately rejected any further talks:

(1) The head of GM Colmotores Labor Relations agreed to a meeting on June 14, 2013 with U.S. embassy officials and a Solidarity Center representative.  The aim of the meeting was to establish a path to resolving the dispute.  The GM VP cancelled at the last minute, telling the U.S. Labor Attaché that he had to leave for South Africa on an emergency.  GM didn’t reschedule the meeting.[iv]

(2) GM Headquarters later accepted an invitation by Bogota, Colombia Human Rights and Police officials to send representatives for the purpose of mediation with ASOTRECOL. They were to arrive in Bogota for an August 22, 2013 meeting, but were a no-show.  A GM Colmotores representative showed up to say there would be no mediation.

ASOTRECOL has repeatedly lowered its financial proposals (Spring, 2013, Fall 2013).  GM has never responded.  ASOTRECOL’s most recent proposal was $3 million USD to be divided among the 8 remaining members of the association.  That’s less than the amount calculated by the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center that was owed to these men in disability pensions ($3,194,221.95 USD) (Article 10, Colombian Law 776, 2002).  This figure represents the disability pensions that the workers would be entitled to, 50% paid by GM, 50% paid by the occupational insurance provider.

Considering GM’s violations of the injured workers’ rights cited above, and GM’s systematic actions which precluded the workers from receiving compensation from the occupational insurance company, GM should – at minimum – be required to pay an amount equivalent to the full disability pension owed to each member of ASOTRECOL.

Prepared by Paige Shell-Spurling and Frank Hammer in consultation with Jorge Parra, President, ASOTRECOL – 7/1/2014

[i] Doumitt, Aquilla

[ii] King

[iii] El Tiempo, Unecol

[iv] Aqullla

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Are the Kids Showing Up at the Border Really Refugees?

NNIRR - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 6:57pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Maddie Oatman Story Publisher:  Mother Jones

Ever since unaccompanied child migrants became a national news story six weeks ago, many people have started asking: Is this an immigration crisis, or is it a refugee crisis? In response, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said last week it wants to designate many of the Central Americans fleeing regional violence and gang extortion as refugees.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Now Hiring: Communications Coordinator!

VWC - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 6:29pm

The Vermont Workers’ Center - Jobs with Justice (VWC) is excited to post the following position. The VWC  encourages people to apply from all ages, race, ability, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental ability, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status and geography. We are looking for people who love being part of a team and have the ability to dream big and work hard to build a movement for more just communities and to build a better world.

Applications can be sent to james(at)workerscenter.org

Communications Coordinator (full time): The VWC is accepting applications for a full time Communications Coordinator.

The Communications Coordinator is responsible for developing and carrying out the communications plan for the Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign and the Vermont Workers’ Center.  

Details on the Position:

  • This position will be expected to work primarily in the Burlington office and Montpelier area.
  • Job responsibilities include (but are not limited to) spokesperson development, building relationships with journalists and pitching stories, written campaign materials, email blasts, website content, member development, content distribution, trainings, and social media.
  • Full time starting in early August.
  • Salary based on experience, full healthcare and dental benefits, health and wellness stipend, paid vacation and sick time.

Qualifications:

  • 2+ years of experience with strategic communications work in a campaign context.
  • Passion for justice, a willingness to learn, and the ability to work hard.
  • A knowledge of labor movement, human rights and grassroots organizing practices and principles strongly preferred.
  • Strong time management skills and organization, excellent written and oral communication skills, detail oriented, and self motivated.
  • Ability to exercise good judgment and be able to work with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  • Driver's license and insurance required.
  • Graphic design skills preferred, but not required.
  • Strong computer skills, experience with html preferred.

To Apply:

  • Send a resume, cover letter, 2 examples of written communications work (press release, email blast, etc.), and 3 professional references to james (at) workerscenter.org
  • Deadline for applying: August 1, 2014

 

Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Drawing Undocumented Immigrants out of the Shadows

NNIRR - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 5:51pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Jake Grovum Story Publisher:  USA Today

With federal immigration bills stalled on Capitol Hill, many states are charging ahead on their own to open doors to unauthorized immigrants, from allowing them to pay in-state tuition at state colleges and universities, to giving them driver's licenses and providing them with welfare or Medicaid benefits.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

The US-Mexico Border: Where the Constitution Goes to Die

NNIRR - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 5:20pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Todd Miller Story Publisher:  Mother Jones

This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website.

Shena Gutierrez was already cuffed and in an inspection room in Nogales, Arizona, when the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent grabbed her purse, opened it, and dumped its contents onto the floor right in front of her. There couldn't be a sharper image of the Bill of Rights rollback we are experiencing in the US borderlands in the post-9/11 era.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Honoring Charity Hicks

East Michigan Environmental Action Council - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 3:47pm


Charity Hicks - a clearing house of knowledge and passionate warrior for justice - joined the ancestors on Tuesday July 8, 2014.  She joined EMEAC's staff as a Fellow for the EAT4Health initiative of the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation in August 2012. During her tenure, she was a force behind a number of efforts throughout the city, nationally and globally, particularly in the area of food sovereignty and more recently, around water rights. Charity shared with folks around the world the struggles children and families in Detroit faced.  She challenged power structures and institutions for their complicity in conditions that led to disproportionately high health challenges.  And she called on all of us to walk the talk.

Charity brought so much passion, fire and knowledge to her work; many referred to her as a walking encyclopedia.  Further, she brought so much of herself into all the spaces of which she was a part.  She gave of herself selflessly.  Charity's work and powerful spirit remains alive in our hearts and continues to inspire us in ways far beyond words. At EMEAC, we are so grateful to have shared time and space with her during this lifetime.
Detroit Women Speak: Charity HicksIn this video, Charity gives 3 critical pieces of advice that she would want young people to take with them.  It appears in the Detroit Women Speak footage captured by EMEAC Co-Director Diana Copland.  The three key points include:  
  1. Pay attention to your place and environment
  2. Become wealthy in relationship
  3. Lean into being uncomfortable and being challenged to grow
Staff ReflectionsI will always remember Charity as a person who tried to practice what she preached. We had many conversations about how important it is to be a role model - Kim Sherobbi
---------------------------------------
I really enjoyed filming Charity, for one, the camera loves her, and I have always enjoyed watching her whenever she’s been interviewed or speaking in front of a group of people because of her candidness and sincerity.  She always says something that makes me laugh, makes me cry, shocks me a little and something that I have never thought of before but changes a little of my world view.  In this interview it was what she said around female emotional intelligence that changed me a little: the power of being vulnerable, emotional and unapologetically woman-ly!

It is hard being in the Cass Corridor Commons without her, not only because I never have been in this space without her, but she was such a presence in the space.  She was always there to welcome everyone that came into the space and made sure everyone was taken care of under the Commons roof.  She took her stewardship of the Commons very seriously. - Diana Copeland------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Charity had an uncanny way of seeing what was important to new people and connecting with them to build a bridge to communion. She was a woman of great depth socially and spiritually.  We often talked about religions,  different cultural traditions and the metaphysical aspect of activism.   She and I shared conversations about Mother Earth and the ecopsychological need for  transformation and activisim.
She was very generous with her perspective and knowledge and offered it with a motherly touch.  I admired her strong African centered stance. I chuckle as I hear provocative statement, "let's get naked " Or let's be real with each other so we can connect as community.   She embodied the concept of community by being present as the quintessential Commons representative.  Sometimes I didn't want to be seen,  but she saw everyone and invited  them to community. I am just realizing how much she me impacted me and how much I will miss her. - Sanaa Green------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------It is hard to put into words how much of a great person chatity was, always willing to help. She would always help me with building security,  i loved the way she engaged the youth. I miss her presence very much.- Dee Collins------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------It is hard to believe that someone with such strength and determination - who seemed to always be at EMEAC, working, protecting, watching over, nurturing, fussing, pushing for better - will no longer grace us with her physical presence.  I value and appreciate Charity in all her nuances and contradictions. Wow. There is much i could say, but words simply don't come. I am deeply saddened and will miss her. - Ife Kilimanjaro
Reflections by Friends and Allies
"Charity taught me a lot about Black Nationalism and its history in Detroit.  She helped me develop my ideals, my culture, and my politics.  Of course she was a constant presence in the Commons and did so much to make it a stable and safe place. She was at the same time a die-hard East Side Detroiter AND a citizen of the world.  She is being honored and remembered in various cities, states, and countries." - William Copeland, Our Power Detroit Coordinator------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Charity transitioned just a short time after we met, however she had a profound impact on my work and on my life.  What started as a brief conversation transformed into an exploration of politics, policy, human behavior, compassion, and power structures (among other things!)  In just those few conversations I had with her, I received an education beyond what I could have gotten from anyone else, and for this I am eternally grateful.  I hope to learn more from all the others that Charity has impacted and contribute to her ongoing work. - Todd Ziegler, EMEAC Intern
---------------------------------------------------------------
It is with extreme sadness and rage that our compañera has left us too damn early.  I first met Charity in the us social forum process in Detroit, where she was in charge of setting up water stations for the opening march and was pivotal in introducing so many of us in the movement to no plastic water bottles at major events.  We got to work with her closely in the lead up to the first CJA leadership meeting in Detroit in September 2012, and also through her participation in GGJ national and international delegations, in particular the key role she played in the climate space in the WSF-Tunisia last year.  She presented powerfully on a panel on the role of faith communities/spirituality, the fight against militarism, and climate change.  Charity was fierce revolutionary, a determined fighter for basic human rights, generous, opinionated, grounded, visionary, brilliant woman.  We are sending our heartfelt condolences to Louis, her family, her colleagues and extended political family.   - Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Hundreds of US Cities Set to Protest ‘Invasion’ of Illegal Migrants

NNIRR - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 2:18pm
Story Type:  Article Story Publisher:  Reuters

Nationwide protests aimed to plug the gaping hole in America’s porous border with Mexico and stop the flow of illegal aliens - many of them unaccompanied children – amid mounting costs are scheduled for July 18-19.

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Updates and Actions - July 2014

East Michigan Environmental Action Council - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 7:54am

Reflections from OP Coordinator William Copeland Submitted by Will CopelandOur Power Detroit Coordinator Directors Diana Copeland and Ife Kilimajaro joined the Young Educators Alliance to set the tone with a profound opening ceremony.  Fifty-seven people representing CJA member organizations and other environmental justice allies joined with local Detroit activists, artists, and community change agents. We are happy to announce that over ⅔ of Gathering participants were 25 and younger.  Khafre Sims-Bey at the YEA debrief remarked "I have a feeling that I will be seeing them over and over again"  One of our objectives was to host a significant gathering of youth activists in the climate justice and environmental justice movements that would help build relationships and deepen a generational analysis of organizing. [Continue reading...]Voices of Our Power Detroit ParticipantsSubmitted by Brittany AnsteadUniversity of Michigan, Arts and Citizenship Intern
 Interviewing Our Power Detroit participants and documenting their testimonies was quite uplifting and rewarding. Many, both native and non-native Detroiters, shared a fluid commonality among their testimonies, a conscious passion to change our planet's current trajectory through a just transition.  One testament, by Ms. Dorian Willams of the Better Future Project, left a lasting impression on me.  Ms. Williams articulated a testimony not only embellished with raw, beautiful empathy for Detroit, but an affinity with the meaning of "Our Power". [Continue reading...]Preliminary Reflections on the Venezuelan Social Pre-COPSubmitted by Ife KilimanjaroCo-Director, EMEACAs one of GGJ's three delegates to the social pre-COP on climate change sponsored by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, i am glad to be part of the process of shaping, with others, the country's official statement on climate change going into the 2015 negotiations.  Venezuela invited civil society organizations and movements from around the world to engage in this process as a way of inviting the voice of the people into what has become a very closed and corporate-led UN space. Though there are some questions circulating about the underlying intentions of the Venezuelan government and caution by people who know what it is like to be tokenized or have their work/ideas appropriated by larger bodies and institutions (be spoken for by them), one thing is clear; that this is a huge (though not unprecedented) undertaking deserving of note. Why? [Continue reading...]
WHAT WE HAVE OUR EYES ON
Within EMEAC we've been having conversations about Just Transition from an economic system that exploits human labor and natural resources, while damaging both, to one that is based upon community led and implemented solutions that value health of people and the planet. In these exploratory conversations, we've been discussing what a Just Transition means, what it can look like and how to get there, particularly in a place such as Detroit, with a long history of corporate and industrial led environmental degradation and resulting community health challenges.  The Our Power Detroit gathering provided a space for us to have these and other important conversations with and among youth.  As we continue to sharpen what the work looks like on the ground in Detroit, we will further these conversations and deepen the work at the National Gathering in Richmond, California.  Stay tuned for more in August. 
In addition to this long term work, we continue to fight many struggles in Detroit around water, transportation, environmental injustices and more.  EMEAC staff wages these battles while also in mourning for our dear sister, comrade and friend Charity Hicks. Continue to send prayers for her family and friends in this moment. May the struggle continue towards real, fundamental change!
Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Children Fare Better in U.S. Immigrant Courts if They Have an Attorney

NNIRR - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 6:15pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Laura Meckler and Ana Campoy Story Publisher:  The Wall Street Journal

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Immigration Detention Quotas Have Kept Families Apart for 55 Million Nights

NNIRR - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 5:26pm
Story Type:  Article Story Author:  Julianne Hing Story Publisher:  Colorlines

A congressional mandate requires that the U.S. hold 34,000 unauthorized immigrants in detention every day, for an annual cost of $2 billion. (Unsurprisingly, gobs of money paid to for-profit prison corporations are involved.)

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Categories: Grassroots Newswire

Voices from Our Power Detroit Participants

East Michigan Environmental Action Council - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 3:39pm

Interviewing Our Power Detroit participants and documenting their testimonies was quite uplifting and rewarding. Many, both native and non-native Detroiters, shared a fluid commonality among their testimonies, a conscious passion to change our planet’s current trajectory through a just transition.  One testament, by Ms. Dorian Willams of the Better Future Project, left a lasting impression on me.  Ms. Williams articulated a testimony not only embellished with raw, beautiful empathy for Detroit, but an affinity with the meaning of “Our Power”. She captured the essence of grassroots empowerment, expressing her experience as such:
“I came out here because I felt called to be here… There’s such incredible work being done in Detroit…. I felt drawn here by the people who invited me….from EMEAC and I believe in the power of the work that they are doing.
…to be here today… seeing what almost one hundred hands can do to revitalize this building, that can provide something as simple as water; I mean, it’s insane to me and horrifying that a city would turn...or the emergency manager, would turn its back on hundreds of thousands of people and deny them the basic rights to life like water. And so it’s inspiring and beautiful for me to witness people taking that back and reclaiming the ability to meet our own needs from the communities and not from corporations and not from governments, but from ourselves; and I guess that’s what our power means to me as well. The ability to take power away from those that abused it and got us into this mess, and to remember that by replacing it in the hands of people, who have had to struggle under this system, are the ones that are going be able to get us out.
I think the atomization and the undermining of people and communities…is exactly what got us here; and it’s only going to be the reclaiming of community and reaching back and connecting with each other, that we are ever gonna get out of it. And so I feel really honored and grateful and inspired to be here.”
Submitted by Brittany Anstead, EMEAC Intern sho served as documentarian of the Our Power Detroit gathering
Categories: Grassroots Newswire
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