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News and reports

June 1, 2007 | Pages 10 and 11

ARTICLES BELOW:
Defend UC-Santa Cruz protesters
Don't separate immigrant families
Immigrant rights in New Haven
Support war resisters

Defend UC-Santa Cruz protesters
By Jessie Shakarian and Alessandro Tinonga

SANTA CRUZ, Calif.--More than 300 students, workers and faculty gathered in front of Kerr Hall at the University of California (UC)-Santa Cruz to demand that disciplinary charges against student Alette Kendrick be dropped immediately.

On October 18, 2006, Kendrick was racially and politically targeted during a speak-out against the UC Board of Regents that called attention to rising tuition costs, low wages for UC workers and the loss of affirmative action and diversity programs.

During a police-incited scuffle with protestors, Kendrick was arrested. Late last month, the administration announced its intention to suspend Kendrick for a period of three years--in essence, an expulsion for the third-year student.

After spending a week getting people to sign petitions, call and e-mail in support of Kendrick, the UC Activist Defense Committee held a rally in front of the chancellor's office on May 24. Prominent campus leftists including Angela Davis, Dana Frank and Paul Ortiz came out to speak in Kendrick's defense.

Protesters chanted for Chancellor George Blumenthal to come out and address the crowd. Despite receiving thousands of signatures in support of Kendrick, Blumenthal refused to drop the charges or to comment on the case.

Kendrick and the UC Activist Defense Committee are urging activists to keep up the pressure on Blumenthal by sending in e-mails and calling his office. Tell UC-Santa Cruz to drop the charges and defend students' right to organize.

To get involved, call Chancellor George Blumenthal at 831-459-2058 (ext. 9-2058) or e-mail [email protected]. Visit www.ucactivistdefense.org for more information.

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Don't separate immigrant families
By Phil Tatro

NEW YORK--Chanting "Family reunification, not separation" and "The people, united, will never be defeated" in English and Spanish, 70 immigrant rights protesters and their allies rallied in front of Sen. Hillary Clinton's Manhattan office on May 22.

Protesters gathered to hear several leaders of the immigrant rights struggle speak out against the atrocious new "compromise" legislation being considered in Congress. Speakers at the rally included representatives from organizations including Immigrant Communities in Action, Desis Rising Up And Moving, the Domestic Workers Union and Families for Freedom.

The Security Through Regularized Immigration and a Vibrant Economy Act recycles some of the worst provisions of last year's draconian Sensennbrenner bill. A few of the more egregious requirements include a provision that heads of households must "touch back" to their home countries to be considered for legalization, a process that could take as long as eight years to even begin. The bill would also require immigrant applicants for legalization to incur punitive fines and endure discrimination based on everything from education level to HIV status.

The protest occurred in the wake of a devastating raid in Bensonhurst, where 15 immigrants were detained, making it the third time in recent months. Speakers at the rally demanded that Clinton and other Democrats speak out against these ongoing attacks on immigrant communities.

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Immigrant rights in New Haven
By Rebecca Lewis

NEW HAVEN, Conn.--Three hundred activists poured into a Board of Aldermen finance committee meeting on May 17 to weigh in on the city's groundbreaking municipal ID program. Protesters came to demand that the city make good on its promise to make photo identification cards available to all residents of New Haven, regardless of their immigration status.

The ID would act as a library card and a type of debit card allowing people to pay parking meters and shop at local businesses, as well as gain access to city programs and parks. The groundbreaking feature of the card, however, is that it would be offered to anyone who lives in New Haven, including undocumented immigrants.

The photo ID would allow undocumented workers to keep their money in a bank. In addition, this valid form of ID would allow people to readily identify themselves to police and with less fear that they would be targeted for deportation.

Many supporters of the program spoke in favor of the IDs. As Roland Lemar, a representative for New Haven's Ninth Ward put it, "We can not change the federal government's failed immigration policies, but we can choose whether to offset or intensify the damage."

"When we cross the border, we are forced to leave behind our documentation and it's hard to survive," said John Jairo Lugo, an activist from Unidad Latina en Acción. "I work for the court as a mediator, and I see many of my people being detained for months because they can not prove who they are. I think this ID is a way to bring these people out from the shadows."

Saraí Uribe, an activist from Yale University, explained, "The ID not only gives immigrants greater access to municipal and financial services, it also makes a powerful statement that they in fact belong in this city." If the measure passes at a general meeting on June 4, New Haven will be the first city in the U.S. to offer a municipal ID card of this kind to all its residents.

We as a city are faced with a choice: We can either support a racist federal immigration policy that ignores 12 million U.S. residents, or we can resist this policy at every turn. Plans are in the works to return to the Board of Aldermen on June 4 for the board's general vote.

For more information, go to www.unidad-latinaenaccion.blogspot.com on the Web or e-mail [email protected].

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Support war resisters
By Afsaneh Moradian

NEW YORK--Activists in the Iraq Veterans Against the War organized a day of action they called "Operation First Casualty" on May 27. During the event, veterans in military uniform detained, handcuffed and harassed volunteers to provide a glimpse of what the military is doing in Iraq.

At a midday press conference, veterans spoke about the reasons for the event. "We are bringing the reality of war here," explained Geoff Millard. "But we can never really bring the reality of war. We should be mindful of troops who gave their lives and we should be ever mindful of the absence of truth in this war."

Adam Kokesh, who served in Falluja, added, "Bush's logic is that to support our troops means to fund the war. But if more troops are funded, they will die. Troops are being sent for a feudal occupation. We are the weapons of this democracy. Our democracy has failed and it is time for the people to end the war."

"This action represents a change in the antiwar movement," said Paul Abernathy. "There is larger support from activists and communities for soldiers who are resisting...When people see that soldiers are willing to go to the extreme to bring the war to others, it signifies a new stage in the movement for sailors, marines, soldiers. There are lots of soldiers looking to get involved...Every day more and more are opposing the war and taking steps for actions to oppose this war. There will be more to come."

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