Friday, August 22, 2014

Civil Rights Groups sue to stop deportations

The ACLU and other groups sue the U.S. to stop the summary deportations of Women and Children from Central America claiming refugee status.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Opportunity in the U.S.

Justice for Michael Brown: Community Control of Police and Equality for All

Statement by the Democratic Socialists of America National Political Committee, August 21, 2014

Democratic Socialists of America calls for a full federal civil rights investigation into the killing of Michael Brown and an end to the militarization of local police forces. The action of the Ferguson, Missouri, police department exemplifies the dangers to the lives of ordinary Americans, particularly people of color, posed by overly aggressive, heavily armed police forces.

Over the past thirty years, federal, state and local government have abandoned commitments to fighting poverty and unemployment, conditions that disproportionately limit the life opportunities of young persons of color. Most low income youth only encounter the state as a repressive force that relegates them to a life within the prison-industrial complex, even for the most minor and non-violent of drug-related offenses. These activities rarely lead white youth to be arrested, let alone imprisoned.

In the case of Ferguson, Missouri, police-mandated media blackouts and the pervasive detainment, harassment and arrest of journalists cloud public understanding of the ongoing crisis. The constant barrage of tear gas canisters into crowds, backyards and neighborhood streets in recent days has further hampered a full understanding of the situation on the ground.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

RIP - Grantland Johnson

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 - 1:08 pm
Grantland Johnson, a trailblazing politician who rose in rank to serve his native Sacramento as a city councilman, county supervisor and top health official in state and federal governments, died today.
He was 65 and had been receiving dialysis in recent years for kidney failure caused by hypertension and diabetes.
Johnson was widely respected in the community as a thoughtful leader with keen political instincts and a passion for ideas. Although often viewed through the prism of race – he was the first African American elected to the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors – he was a conciliator who worked with disparate interests in search of solutions to common problems.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Another Opportunity Missed

By Duane Campbell, Democracy and Education Institute
California education policy makers have once again written and published a nice looking report on school curriculum – this one on the need for improved civic education.  As is the norm for these tasks, a group of “well respected” civic leaders have participated.
They have written a report, Revitalizing K-12 Civic Learning in California, and they call it a Blue Print for Action.
They call for a major revision of civic education.  That is fine.
On Page 42 they call for discussion of their proposals on social media. Well, here is some discussion.
 They even recognize the diversity of California students.  They say,
Civic learning is also vital for our increasingly diverse California society. In 2012-
2013, our 6.2 million K-12 students were 53 percent Latino, 26 percent white,
9 percent Asian and 6 percent African American, with the remaining 6 percent
comprised of other ethnicities. In addition, an increasing number of our students
are not native speakers of English. Almost 4 in 10 kindergarteners are English
language learners. This diversity, and the attention it requires, is now acknowledged
in our school funding model. The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) recognizes
the necessity of investing in the reduction and ultimate removal of inequitable
outcomes in California public schools. Revitalizing civic learning opportunities, in
an equitable manner, can contribute to meeting these goals.”

While it is accurate that we have a general problem of civic engagement of the young,  it is also true that we have a very specific problem with the rate of Latino and Asian voter participation and  civic engagement.
 Rates of voting and voter registration provide a window into civic engagement.  The proportion of state voter  registration that is Latino and Asian has remained far below the proportions of these groups in the state’s overall population. In 2010, Latinos in the state made up 37.6% of the general population while they were on 21.2 % of the registered voters. The Asian population was 13.1 % of the state but  only 8.1 % of the registered voters.
The report, as is common, is well illustrated with compelling photos of very pleasant multi racial and multiethnic student faces.  They  even note  that the current History Social Science Framework and Standards are over 15 years out of date- a  reminder that the State Board of Education and the California Legislature should heed.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Two Detention Centers for Migrant Women And Children Open On 5th Anniv. of End to Family Detention

Two Detention Centers for Migrant Women And Children Open On 5th Anniv. of End to Family Detention

Five years ago immigration advocates praised the Obama administration for closing down the only large-scale detention center for immigrant women and children. Now, in response to the surge of Central American migrants caught at the border after seeking asylum, it has quietly opened two new family detention facilities that have more than 1,200 beds, and cribs.
While unaccompanied migrant children have largely been placed with family members already in the country, those who were stopped at the border with their mothers are being treated differently.
Democracy Now! has documented how more than 650 women and children, some as young as 18 months old, have been sent to an isolated detention center in Artesia, New Mexico. Watch the video above to see Democracy Now! producer Renee Feltz report on the poor conditions and lack of due process there, and the lawyers mobilizing to assist them. This week the first detainee in Artesia was granted bond as her asylum claim is processed, but it was set at $25,000, an unusually high sum since studies show refugees almost always show up to their asylum hearings.

Chicano Moratorium

August is the time to commemorate the anniversary of the historic Chicano Moratorium protest marches which were organized in joint opposition to the imperialistic Vietnam War and to the widespread discriminatory social practices we were experiencing here at home. This post includes four articles that have previously been
Massive marches targeted the Vietnam War and injustice at home.
Massive marches targeted the Vietnam War
and injustice at home.
published in and which describe the courageous acts of unity and resistance waged in the past by our community against a social system ingrained with injustice. These articles also pay homage to the martyrs of the movement who gave their lives so that our children could experience a better world and an expansion of their present rights. Unfortunately, this struggle is still being waged. Therefore, we must build on the struggles and achievements of the past such as those exemplified by the Chicano Moratorium protests in order to proceed forward and achieve further progress. History can be on our side, but only if we assert ourselves and continue to raise the level of political consciousness, organization and unity of our community to make it so.
Jimmy Franco Sr.