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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Obama stands down, Shakira steps up

Colombian megastar Shakira is looking to meet with Arizona officials to discuss the recently-passed immigration law that would, in essence, legalize profiling.

According to the HuffPo, "Shakira is deeply concerned about the impact of this law on hardworking Latino families," said Trevor Nielson, her political and philanthropic adviser. "She is coming to Arizona to try to learn more about how law enforcement is reacting to this new law and how we can ensure that people in the state of Arizona are not being targeted because of the color of their skin."

Shakira’s interest in the plight of immigrants throws a mega wattage on the issue that President Obama is already signaling that he will not take up, as he promised in his campaign.

In an interview with AP, Obama said, “We've gone though a very tough year and I've been working Congress very hard, so I know there may not be an appetite immediately to dive into another controversial issue.”

For now, civil rights groups and other organizations are standing by immigrants. Shakira’s stand may inspire others – maybe even Obama? – to stick to the plan: Fulfilling his own presidential campaign promise to institute real reform.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Go after Goldman Sachs and leave immigrants alone


This is from a press release sent by the federal ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) office on April 23, 2010, which shows how our tax dollars are used to spin stories of criminal immigrants as it were an epidemic rather than the exception, in a self-congratulatory press release.


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – To protect the traveling public U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers continually seek out individuals in possession of fraudulent or invalid documents used to deceive federal authorities, even as they attempt to board commercial air carriers.  This week, US Customs and Border Protection officers arrested various aliens from the Dominican Republic who attempted to elude detection. 

Read entire press release here.

In light of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer   signing into a law further criminalization of immigrants, the wordplay used by ICE in this press release is intentionally crafted to spread fear about immigrants. It is deceitful, harmful and should not be allowed by Janet Napolitano, the Homeland Security secretary – and former governor of Arizona. 

The simplest response I have for this sort of fear-mongering by my government is:

Dear Migra/Federal Government,

Please protect us instead from predatory financial firms like Goldman Sachs, and "health insurance" firms like Wellpoint, who exist solely to make billions off the suffering of millions. Immigrants are, by and large, working here under conditions that are below what we as a nation profess to be about.

Friday, April 23, 2010

After the Earthquake in Haiti: Rampant Rape

In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010, there was a groundswell of support across the United States to provide aid to the Caribbean country, founded in 1804 by enslaved people who broke free from the French colonialists. It is the only successful slave revolt in history, where the enslaved pushed out their oppressors.

But all these years after hundreds of thousands of courageous Haitian survived that brutal 12-year battle against the colonialists, brutality remains a palpable part of everyday life, especially for Haitian girls and women.

It wasn’t even until 2005 that rape was considered a crime in Haiti. The aftershocks of the earthquake that tumbled Port au Prince into a large pile of rubble and death continue in the form of mass rapes of girls and women.

So it is not enough to rebuild the country, to send money to reputable organizations, to send clothes, food and medicine. Those of us outside Haiti must also send a message that the only true way to help rebuild a country founded on freedom by its own liberators, is to insist that its girls and women be safe from predators.

That’s why I signed the petition to help make Haiti safer. Send money, send hope, send prayers, send the petition.

Click here to sign the petition.