International Human Rights Day, December holidays, offer an opportunity to reflect on the plight of immigrants in the United States.

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International Human Rights Day, December holidays, offer an opportunity to reflect on the plight of immigrants in the United States.

 

 

As this year nears its end, we reflect upon the happenings that have transpired over the course of the last year. In the month of December two dates stand out for us culturally and symbolically, those of International Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10, International Day of the Migrant, on December 18, and the December Holidays, including Las Posadas, celebrated in Latin America and by U.S.-based Latino Immigrants. What make these days especially pertinent, are the larger themes of peace, inclusion, and the offering of shelter for those who seek peace, tranquility, and a dignified existence.

 

It is in this season, and with the aforementioned themes in mind, that we support, and stand in solidarity with those who flee violence and systemic negligence abroad, and continue to work at home to fight for social justice in our immigrant communities. Though there are many factors at play globally, which impact migration away from one’s place of origin and draws someone to a distant land in search of a better existence, we also wish to acknowledge the factors at work domestically, which place many families in a state of distress. These factors, which include, but are not limited to; rampant xenophobia, racism, anti-immigrant legislation, classism, denial of basic civil and human rights, and due process in the legal system, have worked to systematically dehumanize our immigrant sisters and brothers.

 

One prominent example is with the institutional xenophobia as practiced in the State of Texas. In lieu of omnibus legislation to reform immigration, the Obama Administration issued an executive order, establishing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program, as a way to offer relief from deportation to undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children (the order also expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals “DACA” program). Within a month of the November 2014 unveiling of the DAPA program, the State of Texas and several other states with Republican Governors, filed a suit in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, to block the implementation of the order.

 

A year since the suit, the executive order lies dormant as legal challenges ensue. Court injunctions aside, the State of Texas has also used its agents to deny birth certificates to the U.S. citizen children of immigrant parents. Likewise, the aforementioned action seems to also be in line with the right wing’s rhetoric and continued insistence on denying these children the protections afforded to them by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In essence, the act of denying birth certificates, in turn leaves the children in legal limbo, as they are treated as second class citizens.

 

This year on International Human Rights Day, as well as on International Day of the Migrant, we reaffirm and reiterate our previous stance in support of our communities that are socially and economically marginalized. We side with the downtrodden, those who are denied the opportunity to better their social condition. It is with this thinking in mind that we also support the struggles of our sisters and brothers in other communities of color who also fight against police brutality, economic inequality, and other maladies that come as a result of institutional neglect. We also invite all others of like mind to stand with us in the struggle for civil, human, and worker rights for all, regardless of place of origin. An injury to one, is an injury to all.

 

 

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

 

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PRESS RELEASE: Thousands take to the streets of Seattle for the Annual May Day March

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MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 1, 2015

Contact: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.650.2106 and 206.696.1348, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea, #MayDayPNW.

Thousands take to the streets of Seattle for the Annual May Day March and Rally for Immigrant and Workers Rights.

SEATTLE – An estimated 4,500 -5,000 demonstrators took to the streets of Seattle to participate in the 2015 May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Right. The events began at Judkins Park at 2:00 p.m., with a brief program that included music, speeches, and logistical announcements for the march. Participants then filed westbound, on Lane Street to start the March at 3:00 pm. At around 3:30, the march departed from St. Mary’s Church, with Danza Ce Atl Tonalli, setting the tone.

The march swelled, with contingents joining along the way on Jackson Street and 20th Avenue, along Boren Avenue, as well as on several street corners along First Hill, and Downtown Seattle. Included among these groups, were contingents for organized labor as well as participants who opted to join the march as it made its way through middle of the city. In all, over 50 organizations and community groups endorsed the 2015 march and provided the resources to mobilize their own members, in addition to others in the community. Organizations involved with direct mobilization for the march were Students for Farm Worker Justice, MEChA, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and parishioners from St. Mary’s Church, the Mexica Danza Group Ce Atl Tonalli, and Community Alliance for Global Justice, among many more.

The march ended at the U.S. District Courthouse in Downtown Seattle. The selection of the site was very deliberate, as organizers made note to demonstrate in opposition to the U.S. District 5 Court’s challenge to the DACA/DAPA program, which if implemented by the Obama administration, would have provided relief and a temporary deferral of deportation for many undocumented students and their parents.  Likewise, also of note in this year’s March was the focus on police brutality with the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner as well as the most recent slaying of Antonio Zambrano Montes at the hands of police in Pasco, Washington.

“It’s important to acknowledge these shared struggles,” noted Anna Hackman, an organizer for the May 1st Action Coalition. “Many immigrants experience not only discrimination based on their documented status, but are also relegated to the social and economic margins. Many are forced into low paying jobs, and have interactions with law enforcement that closely resemble the interactions that native born people of color experience with police.” Many in attendance echoed the same concerns, especially in recent days, as evidenced in the City of Baltimore where institutional neglect and police violence created a sense of animosity and distrust that boiled over into riots with the killing of Freddie Gray.

According to organizer Jorge Quiroga, the march was a great collaborative effort, even with a slightly smaller turnout for 2015. Mr. Quiroga attributed the decline in participation to the proliferation of news reports about possible “infiltration” of the afternoon march. “We’ve had this march since 1999. Over 16 years, we’ve always been organized and nothing bad has ever occurred. My concern with the stories that the Seattle Police Department are spreading, is that it is creating a chilling effect on participation.” Quiroga further noted, “It is very deceptive, very unprofessional, and amounts to little more than fear mongering.” “It is an attempt to silence and mute our organizational efforts.” It is not known to what degree the effect of SPD media outreach is intentional, but one thing all organizers did agree on, is that there is a very real need to continue organizing in spite of hurdles or impediments. There is little room for error as organizers take it upon themselves to be responsible for helping better social conditions to ensure that future generations are able to live a dignified existence.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph:206.650.2106 and 206.696.1348, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea, MayDayPNW.

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List of Organizations Endorsing the 2015 May Day March.

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Endorsing Organizations for 2015 May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights (List updated: April 30, 2015)

 

 

Aerospace Machinists Lodge #751
AFT Local 1789
American Civil Liberties Union of Washington
American Friends Service Committee
Asian Pacific Labor Alliance (APALA)
BAYAN USA Pacific Northwest
Casa Latina
Ce Atl Tonalli
Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites
Community Alliance for Global Justice
El Centro de la Raza
European Dissent
FAST Jobs Coalition
Got Green
ILWU Local 19
Indonesian Lutheran Fellowship
Laborers Local 242
Laborers Local 440
La Raza Student Commission
LELO
Martin Luther King County Labor Council
MEChA de University of Washington
Mexicanos Unidos en Washington
NAACP
NROC/Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA)
Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
One America
OPEIU Local 8
Orgullo P’urhepecha
Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
Puget Sound Medic Collective
PUSO
Real Change
Revolution Staging
Sawat Solidarity Fund
Seattle NOW
SEIU 6
SEIU Healthcare 775NW
Social Justice Fund NW
Socialist Workers Party
St. Mary’s Church
Students for Farm Worker Justice
Teamsters Local 117
UAW Local 4121
UFCW Local 21
UNITE HERE Local 8
Washington Alliance for Retired Americans (WASARA)
Washington CAN!
Washington New Sanctuary Movement
Washington State Labor Council
WFSE 304

PRESS RELEASE: Thousands expected in Seattle for the Annual May Day March and Rally for Immigrant and Workers Rights

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MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Contact: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition,

ph: 206.650.2106 and 206.696.1348, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea, #MayDayPNW.

Thousands expected to take to the streets of Seattle for the Annual May Day March and Rally for Immigrant and Workers Rights.

SEATTLE – Thousands of demonstrators are expected to take to the streets of Seattle on Friday, May 1, 2015 for the Annual May Day March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights. In the spirit of unity and solidarity with communities across the country, organizers in Seattle will continue with the central theme of justice for immigrant workers, as well as justice for marginalized communities at the local, national, and international levels. Event details are as follows:

What: Annual May Day March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights

Who: Thousands of workers and immigrant rights supporters. We’ll hear testimonials from community members, and will be joined by allies from the labor, social justice, and faith based communities.

When: Friday May 1st, 2015. A preliminary program will begin at 2:00 p.m. The march will depart from the starting point at 3:00 p.m.

Where: The march will begin at St. Mary’s Church (611 20th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98144) and will end with a rally at the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Seattle (700 Stewart St., Seattle, WA 98101)

Background

The theme of the 2015 march will center on justice for all workers and a community-based framework for dialogue on Workers and Immigrant Rights. Among our concerns are the use of institutional violence against poor people of color, whether in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, or recently, Pasco, Washington. Likewise, the disappearances of student teachers in Ayotzinapa, Mexico also impact our communities since it is our tax money and foreign policy that is being used as carte blanche for corrupt politicians to suppress and violate the human rights of communities advocating for their rights. With regard to immigration policy, we are also concerned with persistent institutional neglect of the immigrant community. As of late, the blocking of administrative relief for immigrants via expansion of the DACA/DAPA programs, by conservative courts further demonstrates the need to continue mobilizing. We see these struggles as inextricably linked together and will acknowledge them on International Workers Day (May 1, 2015). We will continue to organize at the grassroots level to ensure that families are not forcibly separated and to ensure that our communities are able to live and work without fear and deprivation of basic human rights.

EDUCATE, ORGANIZE, MOBILIZE.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition, ph:206.650.2106 and 206.696.1348, em:  info@elcomitewa.org, Twitter Tag: #May1stSea, MayDayPNW.

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Peacekeeper Training (Saturday, April 25, 2015)

PK Training

2015 May Day March Poster.

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Fundraising Dinner for Parents of Ayotzinapa, April 17, 2015.

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