Talib Kweli’s response to Arizona’s SB 1070
Chuck D was a vocal opponent of SB 1070 upon it’s passage. His group, Public Enemy, first spoke out about Arizona during the controversy when the state refused to honor Martin Luther King day. In April, 2010, the MC wrote a call to action on Huffington Post, published the song “Tear Down that Wall,” and…
Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; padding: 0px;”>The family of William “Denny” McCann is justifiably horrified that the suspected drunken driver who killed McCann has disappeared.
“They f—– up,” the victim’s brother told the Sun-Times. “He [allegedly killed] my brother, and they let him out of jail.”
But blaming this, as some are, on a recent County Board rule change is foolish. There’s nothing wrong with county commissioners reviewing their rules now to see if tweaks can be made, but they shouldn’t be stampeded into overturning a sensible policy.
Department of Homeland Security programs like ‘Se Communities’ help drive the Arizona-fication of the country
Carlos Garcia grew up in Arizona and is a leader of Puente Arizona, a human rights organization seeking to improve conditions for migrant families in Maricopa County, Ariz.
Now that the Department of Justice has closed its investigation into the troubled office of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, what lessons are there from Maricopa County?
Reuniting With Friend, Losing All Income
Fifty-year-old Michael Kembe, a professional cook and dishwasher, knows he’s in the middle of a simple problem.
“Everybody wants to work,” he says in his accent, like a father imparting life to his son. “In today’s economy, there’s no jobs.”
After a decade of saving some his some earnings from working at Baguettes and Bagels Deli just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, Kembe arrived in Los Angeles in mid-2010 to reconnect with his only friend in America.
Finding a steady job in L.A. has turned out to be much more impossible than the optimistic Kembe had expected. At most, he thought it would take three months to find a job. It’s been 15 months.
“Everywhere you go they say the business is slow,” he said. “I mean everybody, business slow, business slow. Even the warehouse, business slow. It’s not just the restaurants. Warehouse. Security guards.”
Now, he’s stuck. He alternates stays between a shelter and his friend’s house. When he gets the occasional job through a day-labor center, he can splurge on food. Otherwise, he collects food when he can from the shelter and the jobs center.
“You got to appreciate what you are receiving,” he said.
No doubt, he said, that he regrets leaving Atlanta.
“I don’t comment on that too much,” Kembe said. “It is what it is.”
As much as he wants to escape the economic deathtrap of California, the chances of him saving enough money to even travel as far as Texas is impossible.
“If I get the opportunity to go back to Atlanta, if somebody offers me something, I go,” he said. “How long am I going to stay like this?”
Sacrificing Self-Pride A High Cost To Return To Mexico
After nearly three decades in America, Oscar Chavez isn’t ready to swallow his pride and return to his parent’s home in Chihuahua, Mexico despite having to live in a shelter the past two years.
After all, the shelter’s an improvement over the year he spent on the streets, he said. And he’s certain the economy is improving.
“There’s more work this year than last year,” he said in Spanish at the Downtown Community Jobs Center, where he comes each day in hopes of earning a temporary assignment. “It’s getting a little better.”
Chavez has gone from working for several years at a factory that made paper towels to eating a full meal once a day off a paper plate.
The thought of hitching a ride back into Mexico regularly pops into his mind. He hasn’t earned enough money to regularly call back home. Most of what he earns on day jobs – unloading and loading cargo trucks, usually – goes to pay the negotiable $45 weekly rent at his shelter.
When he does call home, the message from his mother, father, brother and sisters is always the same.
“They tell me to come back every time,” he said. “’No, no, I can’t,’ I tell them. I got to think about it though if I don’t have anything next year.”
Chavez first immigrated to Las Cruces, New Mexico. Then it was onto Las Vegas. But he was scared about staying there during the anti-immigrant wave just after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Los Angeles became his home – and a wonderful one at that – until 2006.
“Now too many people applying. Too many people right here in Los Angeles,” Chavez said.
For now, the day-job market is bringing him enough money to some new clothes and socks for the first time in a while.
“It’s very difficult, but I think it’s going to better sooner than (government) officials think,” he said.
PHOENIX — Gov.has asked a judge to dismiss a request by opponents of ’s law to block enforcement of the law’s ban on people blocking traffic when they seek or offer day-labor services on streets.
The ban was among a handful of provisions in the law that were allowed to take effect after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton halted enforcement of more controversial elements of the law.
Opponents had sought a court order to block enforcement of the day-labor provision under the argument that it unconstitutionally restricts the free speech rights of people who want to express their need for work.
Brewer’s lawyers argued that the First Amendment doesn’t protect the blocking of traffic and that the law is aimed at promoting traffic safety.
Bad economy and San Jose’s budget crisis puts Silicon Valley’s first day worker hiring center on the chopping block
By Joe Rodriguez | firstname.lastname@example.org | Posted: 12/11/2011 | Source: MercuryNews.com
Silicon Valley’s first hiring center for day workers might be forced to downsize or close at the end of the year, another victim of hard times that stretch from the streets to San Jose City Hall.
“I don’t know what I’d do,” Francisco Sanchez said recently at the Day Worker Center just east of downtown. The 58-year-old Mexican immigrant and “jornalero,” or day laborer, didn’t get a job that day, but he did get a free haircut, one of the many social services the center offers.
“I don’t want to join the guys standing in front of Home Depot,” Sanchez said. “I used to do that when I was young, but I’m not young anymore and the jobs don’t come as easy as they did.”
After the Great Recession, housing bust and financial crisis, the steady stream of contractors and homeowners who needed temporary help in flush times slowed to a trickle.
So did the grants, city subsidies or philanthropic donations that kept the hiring center humming for most of its 18 years. Its last, big funding source–a three-year, $300,000 grant from Home Depot funneled through the city–runs out Dec. 31. The nonprofit Center for Training and Careers, which took over the hiring center three years ago, knew the grant would expire but had expected to replace it by now.
“With the competition out there, it’s really tough,” said Lori Ramos a vice president and grants writer at CTC.
Councilwoman Madison Nguyen, who represents much of the East Side, said the city can’t afford to rescue struggling nonprofits anymore. Instead, she’s asking a private foundation to come to the rescue of the center.”Everybody needs money at this time, every nonprofit in the city,” she said. “Obviously, it’s a very unique center. We’re trying to save as many jobs as we can. They are part-time jobs, but they’re still jobs.”
The Day Worker Center and similar ones in Mountain View and Hayward were always more than just hiring halls. In 1993, California politics boiled over with Proposition 187, the “Save Our State” ballot initiative that called for draconian measures to detect, round up and deport undocumented immigrants. The measure passed a year later but eventually was ruled unconstitutional.
Sister Mary Peter McCusker, a Roman Catholic nun working in East San Jose at the time, came up with the idea of opening a hiring center. It would get jornaleros off the streets, match their skills with the needs of reputable contractors and homeowners, guarantee a day’s pay for a day’s work, and offer free English lessons, health screenings, hot meals and more.
Her first hiring center opened at the Tropicana ping center in East San Jose. After a few years, the St. Vincent De Paul Society agreed to operate the center and moved it to the Catholic organization’s office and warehouse complex near Coyote Creek and Story Road.
With the help of city subsidies, St. Vincent added computers for job searches, showers and laundry washing machines. Enrollment grew. However, St. Vincent decided to give up the entire complex and sold it in 2008 to the Center for Training and Careers.
Barring an 11th-hour rescue, the Center for Training and Careers will downsize its operations and move to a sparse classroom next door, or shut it down entirely. In either case, Mary Mendez, who is 66 and has led the center for 18 years, would be out of a job.
“Personally, it would be a big loss for me,” she said. “But don’t worry, I’m of retirement age. I can find something part time. I worry about the workers.”
Irene Macias, born and raised in Silicon Valley, is one of the newcomers. Widowed only last year, the 49-year-old mother of two young children comes in regularly to look for jobs cleaning houses or grooming pets. The family lives in a recreational vehicle.
“It would be really hard if they close the center,” Macias said. “If we lost it, I’d just have to do it on my own.”
Ruben Rodriguez, 53, is one of the old-timers. Born and raised in San Jose, he thought back wistfully to the best job he ever had, assembling mainframe computers for IBM.
“That was a great job out of high school,” he said. “I’ve had some good ones, but things happen.”
He arrived at the center 11 years ago after his last steady job ended. Rodriguez lives in his van and gets by with the moving and plumbing jobs he gets through the center.
“Right now it’s very difficult,” he said. “This place has been good for me. I’d hate to see it go.”
CARRBORO – The Board of Aldermen’s unanimous decision last week to repeal a 2007 anti-loitering ordinance won’t change how police respond to the intersection of Jones Ferry and Davie roads.Officers will continue to respond “proactively” when residents call, Chief Carolyn Hutchison said, although “in a perfect world, we would like additional personnel to respond to that corner.” The department also will continue to build community partnerships with residents, day laborers, and groups such as the Human Rights Center and El Centro Hispano, she said.
The anti-loitering ordinance has reduced the number of people at the corner but has done little to reduce crime in the area, Hutchison said. It prohibited people from standing at the corner – a popular pickup spot for day laborers – between 11 a.m. and 5 a.m. and was passed in response to complaints of harassment, trespassing, drinking and public urination.
The ordinance’s critics were jubilant after Tuesday’s vote. Chapel Hill and Carrboro Human Rights Center director Judith Blau said the group is focused now on leaving Abbey Court for a house nearby, where it can operate existing programs and possibly a workers’ center.
Since summer, members of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network also have been working with a local task force to site a permanent day laborer center with access to water, restrooms and help with employment issues like wage theft.
Most of those who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting said the anti-loitering ordinance was discriminatory, unconstitutional and reflected poorly on Carrboro’s reputation as a progressive community.
“I would oppose this ordinance if it were applied to my street or anywhere in town,” said resident Steve Dear, who has been eating lunch with other people at the corner every day since asking the board to repeal the law at its Oct. 25 meeting.
Dear said he decided to take action because he was disappointed with himself for not doing more and after hearing how the ordinance had affected the workers and their families. Mayor Mark Chilton said police did not stop the gatherings, because they were constitutionally protected political protest.
Some affected workers told the board how the ordinance limits the available jobs, since employers and residents often don’t seek help until later in the day, especially in winter. That leaves them with very little money to food and to provide for their families, they said.
Day laborer Santiago Hernandez said through an interpreter that he respects the police and respects the community but would like to be able to wait longer for work. Others echoed his request, and Jose Francisco Gonzalez said they also would like help with employers who refuse to pay.
Other residents who spoke said they were concerned that the neighborhood would return to its former state if the ordinance was repealed.
Bill Madden, who lived in Abbey Court before the ordinance and now lives on Fidelity Street, said he never felt threatened, but his female co-workers were hesitant to walk through the area, even to catch the bus.
“What I saw at the corner was that a lot of men would be drinking when they couldn’t get a job, when all the employers would leave in the latter portion of the morning, and the cops would chase them around Ridgewood, Abbey Court, behind the wooded area along Alabama [Avenue] and up and down Davie Road,” Madden said. “The community needs to take better action in self-policing. That if you see somebody out of line, call the cops, call 911.”
Sexual harassment, as well as drinking and public urination, were among reasons for the 2007 decision creating the ordinance. Alderwoman Jacquie Gist recommended the town find a way to pay for a community resource person and work next year to strengthen the anti-harassment ordinance so that lewdness directed at women would be considered hate speech.
“In any language, grabbing your crotch and saying, ‘You want some of this,’ I don’t think that that’s part of any culture,” Gist said. “That is a physical threat, and it is hate speech in the same way as, ‘I’m going to bash your head in because of your ethnicity.’ ”
The board voted unanimously to support Gist’s proposal and also to pursue Alderman Dan Coleman’s suggestion that the town collaborate with community partners to find the money for a full-time staff person at the corner.