Are you voting tomorrow?

From the Restore Fairness blog-

Tomorrow is voting day, so make sure you get out there and vote. Here are some things that might motivate you to make your vote count and have your voice heard in the 2010 elections-

Our friends at Colorlines have been running a blog section on their website called ’2010 Elections’ that keeps you up to date with all news, events, and information pertaining to the mid-term elections. Their latest entry features Senator Harry Reid’s interview with Univision in which he promised Univision reporter Jorge Ramos that he would bring the DREAM Act up for a vote again, regardless of whether he won or lost tomorrow’s election. Reid’s opponent is a Tea Party supporter Sharron Angle, who’s election campaign centered around a series of racist, anti-immigrant ads. Another article on ’2010 Elections’ illustrates the hypocrisy of Republican strategist Robert de Posada, the man who created the ad that advised the Latino community not to vote in this election. Colorlines tells us that after creating this ad that told Latinos not to vote, it turns out that he himself voted by absentee ballot in Virginia earlier this month. The ad says-

Democratic leaders must pay for their broken promises and betrayals…If we go on supporting them this November, they will keep playing games with our future and keep taking our vote for granted…If they didn’t keep their promise on immigration reform then, they can’t count on our vote…Don’t vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message. You can no longer take us for granted. Don’t vote.

It is exactly this sort of voter suppression that we need to fight by voting tomorrow. Our friends at Presente.org told us about this and other voter suppression tactics that have been seen impacting the Latino community and their allies around the country. In Texas, a voter registration group called Houston Votes has been the victim of a systematic suppression campaign, including baseless allegations of fraud by the local registrar, and a string of threatening emails strewn with racist insults. The result: registrations have dropped from 1,000 per day to under 200. In Arizona, Senator Russel Pearce — the same man who authored SB 1070 — is accusing organizations like Mi Familia Vota of “voter fraud” in a thinly veiled effort to hamper their registration activities and scare Latino voters from the polls.

A number of radicals are resorting to fear-mongering and scare tactics to ensure that certain communities are denied a voice in this election. In addition to voting tomorrow, get involved with an important project called Video the Vote, a national network of everyday people on who watch out for problems on Election Day. The project helps people report things they see when voting and also document incidents that occur in their area. Started in 2006, Video the Vote volunteers have helped raise national awareness of voting problems by recording over 1,000 videos that have been broadcast on networks like CBS, CNN, and ABC and viewed over 1 million times online.

It’s essential that voter suppression problems get reported right away and that their full story is told by the media on Election Day. Video the Vote urgently needs more volunteers, so if you want to help protect the right to vote, join today and tell your friends about the program as well.

And one last thing. Did you know that thousands of people didn’t cast in 2008 because they didn’t know where to vote? Luckily, for the first time in American history, every voter can now look up their polling place. All you have to do is enter your address to find out which polling station is yours. And make sure to share this handy tool with your friends through Facebook and Twitter.

Happy voting!

Learn. Share. Act. Go to restorefairness.org

 

 

 

If we are One Nation, then why is racial profiling still such an issue?

From the Restore Fairness blog-

When Huda Alasali tried to board the ferry to Governor’s Island with her children and a friend last Saturday, a New York Waterways employee told her that she could not get on the ferry unless she removed some of her religious attire. She was told that removing her hijab was in compliance with regulations and security reasons, yet these were not rules listed on the dock. New York Waterways later confirmed that they have no rules against ethnic and religious attire. Huda spoke to CBS about her ordeal-

“I said to him, if you have a metal detector, you can check our bags. You can check us. We don’t have nothing with us…He said, No you cannot go on the ferry with all that clothes. Take it off….Truly I felt like, you know what? He thinks that we are terrorists.”

When Huda and other passengers protested and the ferry’s captain got involved, the crew member relented and Huda, her friend and their children did eventually get to Governor’s Island. The damage had been done, however. Even though the authorities apologized and assured Huda that the employee in question has been suspended, she is planning on filing a lawsuit for discrimination. “I don’t want money…I’m looking for respect,” she told CBS news.

In light of increasing incidents of discrimination such as this one, and that of a New York taxi driver bring stabbed by a customer after saying that he was Muslim, a new 11 minute documentary challenging Americans to “Face the Truth” on race in America becomes more relevant than ever. The documentary accompanies a report by the Rights Working Group examines the devastating impact of religious intolerance and racial profiling.

The documentary and report were screened at a Congressional hearing in D.C. yesterday, attended by advocates, police chiefs, community organizers and legislators, and demonstrated how the humiliating practice of racial profiling does little to make us safer. They urge Congress to pass the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA).

As the momentum for fair immigration and racial justice grows, this Saturday, October 2, exactly one month before Election Day, more than 100,000 people will gather in Washington, D.C. for One Nation Working Together. The march represents a rapidly growing movement across the United States with more than 170 human rights, civil rights, environmental, labor, peace, youth and faith-based organizations joining with the Latino community to stand up for what America believes in and to mobilize voters for this November.

The march comes on the heels of a comprehensive immigration reform bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Menendez (D-NJ). The bill, co-sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is a strong workable bill to move the legislative process forward. For the senators who have introduced it, it is a concrete proposal that shows there is no stopping the demand for comprehesnsive immigration reform as a solution to our broken immigration system. Measures include strengthening border security, smart interior enforcement and requiring the estimated undocumented immigrants present in the U.S. to register with the government, pay their taxes, learn English, pay a fine, pass a background check and wait in line for permanent residence.

It’s time for action. As the elections move nearer, there will be political manoeuvrings no doubt, but it is important to stand by beliefs of whats important in America – fairness and justice. Take action now.

Learn. Share. Act. Go to restorefairness.org

 

 

 

What did civil rights polls reveal 50 years ago?

From the Restore Fairness blog.

The passage of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant law has thrown the issue of immigration and race into the limelight. With many in Arizona deeply concerned about the specter of racial profiling that SB1070 brings with it, the law has brought attention to the frustration many feel at the federal government’s inaction on immigration reform.

It’s this very frustration that a recent poll by the Service Employees International Union, National Council of La Raza, Latino Decisions and Grove Insight tap into, through a poll conducted across Latino and non-Latino voters in Arizona about SB1070 and it’s electoral implications.

The poll conducted across 500 non-Latino voters reveal that while 60% favor SB1070, 73% favor a smart, workable, comprehensive, federal solution to immigration reform. Poll results reveal a vast majority of voters frustrated with the failure to take comprehensive action on immigration, and in the absence of responsible action on the part of Congress and the White House, willing to lend support to an irresponsible law that unfairly targets minorities.

Amongst Latino voters, an overwhelming 82% oppose SB1070, spanning all generations, from first generation Latinos to fourth generation Latino-Americans who believe it will lead to racial profiling. After the passage of the law, immigration has become the most important issue for Latino voters, rising from 36% before the law passed to 59% after. Looking towards the November elections, the poll found that Latino voters are extremely dissatisfied with both parties-

The law, which is seen as a personal attack against all Latinos, has ignited Arizona Latino voters’ frustration…and galvanized them to move away from candidates – particularly Republicans – who play politics with the issue. Leadership on the issue is essential for Democrats if they want to nurture the support they gained from Latinos in 2008. And leadership is crucial for Republicans if they want to address and move the issue off the table so they can start repairing their relationship with this critical electorate.

Both this poll, and a number of other polls show that a majority of Americans, across ethnic and party lines, believe that it is important for government to address immigration before the elections in November 2010. A CBS/New York Times poll 57% of Americans who believe immigration law should be the domain of the federal government and 64% who were in support of legal status for undocumented people already in the country.  However, the same poll also showed 51% support of Arizona’s law and 9% who felt that it “doesn’t go far enough”.

An interesting blog post by Imagine 2050 compares the results of current immigration polls to surveys of public opinion on civil rights and racial desegregation issues conducted 50 years ago. Out to prove that the “tyranny of the majority” is a continuing narrative of American history, it says -

A half century ago, polls found strikingly similar results with regard to civil rights. In spite of gaining the approval of some 55% of Americans in the spring of 1954, five years later a majority believed that the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education “caused a lot more trouble than it was worth.” During the 1960s a Gallup Poll found most Americans gradually came to support “racial equality in public places” but a consistent plurality wanted to take a “go slow” approach to racial change. In the South, not surprisingly, Gallup found that 80% of those polled in 1964 disapproved of civil rights legislation.

While opinion polls are crucial to understanding how people in different areas are responding to the issue, it is important not to lose sight of the human aspect of this debate, and the fact that millions of people are dealing with the implications of a broken system on a daily basis. Inspired by a true story, and no doubt representative of the true stories of many people in the United States, an award-winning film Entre Nos is playing in theaters now. It tells the story of Mariana, a single mother who fights against all odds to fend for herself and her children after her husband leaves her, undocumented, poor and alone in an unfamiliar city, speaking a language she barely knows. Watch co-director and actress Paola Mendoza talk about the film as a tribute to her mother who gave up everything to ensure the American dream for her children.

Photo courtesy of Sridhar Ranganath

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Republicans, baseball players and the Terminator against Arizona's new law

From the Restore Fairness blog.

A New York Times /CBS News poll shows that about 60% of the country supports SB1070, Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law, despite it’s harsh provisions that inevitably lead to racial profiling and transform Arizona into something of a police state where everyone has to carry their papers around with them at all times to prove their status. But the same poll also revealed a large majority of people in favor of a comprehensive overhaul of immigration. The fact is SB1070 that puts the federal issue of immigration enforcement into the hands of local law enforcement is not the solution to the country’s broken immigration system, and a whole range of leaders, lawmakers, activists, law enforcement officers and Members of Congress are speaking out loudly against it.

This starts with a number of Republican voices uncomfortable with the law. Former Republican Rep. Bob Barr wrote a strong piece in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in which he opposed SB1070 for exercising state police control over an exclusively federal function – protecting our borders and enforcing immigration law. In addition to calling the law troubling because of the “vagueness and breadth” of its provisions, Mr. Barr criticizes it for being “in conflict with traditional notions that the police are not permitted to stop and detain individuals based on mere suspicion.”

Another Republican voice against the Arizona law was that of Florida’s Rep. Connie Mack who thinks that the bill has echoes of Nazi Germany’s Gestapo. He disregarded what is often stated by proponents of the law as an excuse – the Center’s inaction on immigration reform, and said-

This law of “frontier justice”…is reminiscent of a time during World War II when the Gestapo in Germany stopped people on the street and asked for their papers without probable cause. It shouldn’t be against the law to not have proof of citizenship on you…This is not the America I grew up in and believe in, and it’s not the America I want my children to grow up in…Instead of enacting laws that trample on our freedoms, we should be seeking more ways to create opportunities for immigrants to come to our nation legally and be productive citizens.

And last week, on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger spoke out against SB1070. Calling the Congress and White House’s inaction on tackling the issue of immigration “irresponsible,” he called Arizona’s anti-immigrant law “a mess” and said that it was something he “would never do.”

In addition to lawmakers, some of the loudest objections to the law have come from police officers around the country who feel that in addition to inevitably leading to racial profiling, SB1070 takes away the trust that the community has in local law enforcement and divert resources away from focusing on serious crime, making their jobs of enforcing the law much harder.

Opposition also comes from the baseball community which has been buzzing about Arizona. At a game in Wrigley Field with the Chicago Cubs, the Arizona Diamondbacks faced a lot of opposition from the crowd for the immigration law, with fans yelling “Boycott Arizona!” A day later, the Major League Baseball (MLB) Association issued a statement condemning the law, and Rep. Jose Serrano of New York wrote a letter to the baseball commissioner Bud Selig urging him to change the location for the 2011 All-Star game, currently scheduled to be held in Phoenix, as a way of sending a strong message to Arizona lawmakers that the baseball community is against the law.

30% of baseball players are Latino, and with 140 young Latino baseball players scheduled to arrive in Arizona for the Arizona Rookie League in June, MLB officials are concerned. Apparently Arizona is not new to being boycotted by sports teams. In 1993, when Arizona refused to honor the Federal holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the NFL pulled the Super Bowl. Twice burned, maybe the lawmakers need to learn that diverse as this nation’s sports teams are, they won’t tolerate laws that disrespect the diversity and freedom that is integral to this country.

Two-time All Star Adrian Gonzalez, one of the biggest names in baseball, has said that he will not play in 2011’s All Star game as long as SB1070 is in effect. Since then more and more MLB players have come out against SB1070, calling it “racist stuff,” “immoral” and a violation of human rights. Actions include signing a petition to the MLB Commissions Selig asking him to boycott Arizona!

This length and breadth of voices against SB1070 is testament to the long list of reasons that the law should not be implemented.

Learn. Share. Act. Go to restorefairness.org

 

 

 

After All That Hippity-Hoopla About Tim Tebow. . .

. . . The 30-second Super Bowl spot featuring the Heisman Trophy winner and his mother had about as much as controversy as an episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.

In the days leading up to Super Bowl XLIV, women's rights groups got all up in arms over a commercial sponsored by the conservative organization Focus on the Family. Feminist groups, including the National Organization of Women, urged CBS not to run the ad. These women's groups said the Tim Tebow ad was divisive, offensive and demeaning [Crary, David (2010-1-25). CBS urged to scrap Super Bowl ad with Tebow, mom. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-1-26.].

Here's the "controversial" TV spot that angered women across the nation:

Now I ask you, what is divisive, offensive and demeaning about that ad. The commercial is actually very moderate, and it is a good piece of marketing for an organization that has been criticized in the past for holding positions out of the mainstream.

Ironically, while the Tim Tebow spot has softened the image of Focus on the Family, the controversy surrounding the ad has left feminist groups looking like extremists who want to suppress the speech of those who don't agree with them.

A round of applause must go out to abortion-rights groups because, in the time it takes me to heat up some Tostitos cheese dip in the microwave, they managed to be out-marketed, out-thought and marginalized by Focus on the Family.

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