While today many remain attentive to the debt ceiling theater that is taking place in Congress, in 1936, Puerto Rican nationalists Pedro Albizu Campos, Juan Antonio Corretjer, Clemente Soto Vélez and others were sentenced to six to 10 years in federal prison for for “seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. Government in Puerto Rico.”. This sentence is the result of a second trial against the leaders, ordered because the first trial, where the jury was majority Puerto Rican, found the nationalists innocent.
It is important to note that earlier that year, in the Masacre of Rio Piedras four Nationalists are killed by the Policia Insular de Puerto Rico. The Nationalists avenge the Masacre de Rio Piedras. Hiram Rosado and Elias Beauchamp kill Chief of Police E. Francis Riggs. They are caught and killed in the police headquarters of Old San Juan.
On Tuesday, July 26th Immigration and Customs Enforcement put Andy Mathe on a Delta airplane out of Atlanta to South Africa. He was deported to the country his mom, grandmother and siblings left almost five years ago. As news came in on Tuesday evening, there were updates, tweets, and phone calls. None were enough to stop what the current administration seemed determined to do, deport this young man and separate him from his family here, especially his mother.
Now the rest of the family that remains in the US is preparing to meet the same fate as Andy. On August 2nd the Mathe family will check-in with ICE authorities under their order of supervision. The entire family’s plea to remain in the U.S. was rejected along with Andy’s. Whether the family will be detained and deported at the August 2nd visit remains to be seen, it seems like a very likely possibility given how things went down with Andy earlier this week.
Under the terms of the newly released memo by John Morton this family meets the requirement for discretion. Advocates hope the Obama administration; Rep. John Lewis and immigration authorities do not once again fail the Mathe-Karekezi family. It seems clear to me, as I feared and told people in the days following the release of the Morton memo, that the actual application of discretion would fall far from what advocates hope.
1. Atlanta office: 404-659-0116
2. Washington D.C. office: 202-225-3801
“Hi I was calling to ask that Rep. Lewis stop delaying action, Andy has already been deported and the rest of the family is next. Rep. Lewis needs to contact ICE directly and write a letter demanding the Mathe family not be deported.”
Maegan is working on a longer post specifically about President Obama’s speech at the NCLR Conference this past Monday (of which I don’t think either of us desire to hear, I know I don’t!). In the meantime, I wanted to share some information that I have been reading from youth perspectives regarding youth being welcomed into the ballroom for the luncheon where President Obama gave his speech.
In short, youth participants in the Lideres Summit were originally invited to be in the room during the luncheon for the President’s speech. As reported by Ernesto Dominguez on Amplify Your Voice, on Sunday evening
“at the ‘Noche De Premios,’ Lideres participants were asked to give up their tickets to enter the Monday Luncheon event and hence give up the chance to be in the same room that President Obama would be giving his remarks from.
Participants were told that ‘seats have sold out to the lunch event, and to make sure youth get to see the President (over view screens), they were told to go to the overflow room only and give up their seats to ‘others.’”
Needless to say Lideres participants were upset and questioned if NCLR is committed to included youth in all aspects of the work they do. NCLR President Janet Murguía asked Lideres participants to “withhold criticism until after the lunch on Monday. We ask everyone to make sacrifices at this summit…’Judge me when this is all over.’ I believe we can deliver the President, and we will see what happens.”
The activism of the youth present resulted in this video where Murguía was questioned and offered clarification on the decision to replace youth participants in an “overflow” room. Below is the interview in English (sorry no transcript at this time):
One thing I noticed about this video is that it is youth created and I think it is great that Murguía made/found time (even if 5 minutes) to talk with you. I also noticed that towards the end of the video where Murguía indicates her plan to urge President Obama to go to the “overflow” room how she spoke to the youth about their activism. The reporter shares that the youth are also using their new media skills to reach out to President Obama regarding this situation and prior to the youth reporter finishing her statement Murguía speaks over her and states “I think any time you can use your new media strategies is great, but I’m telling you I have some really powerful advocacy skills and I believe I can deliver the President.”
Reminding myself to take deep breaths, that not everyone embraces a positive youth development approach, that this is probably a very challenging and stressful time for Murguía, I must state that I was so disappointed in this response it is sickening! First of all, this is NOT about what advocacy skills Murguía has, it is about the initial decision to remove youth participants so that more adult/traditional conference participants can join the luncheon replacing the space set aside for the youth. This is about recognizing that the work we need to do as a community requires just that a communal effort. It requires us to recognize that young people are powerful contributing members of this society. That they can and will (even if we don’t like it) mentor and teach us how to do things differently and effectively! It is not always the “adults” that have all the knowledge and wisdom to share. We need to understand our roles are not always to teach the youth, but to also learn in the process!
The image of a “kiddie table” came into my mind when I read this story. The youth participants being sent to another room called “overflow” (when they weren’t even overflow to begin with!) reeks so much of not making room for youth anywhere, even at the table. Which to me, ultimately means you are not welcome, old enough, privileged, or have not earned a space here. There is so much wrong in this approach!
I know conferences are stressful, I’ve organized national ones before and I know folks are asked to do all sorts of things not in their job description to make the event run smoothly. Yet, I’ve also been that conference participant who was asked to move somewhere else because of whatever the issue was (height, my hair blocking the person behind me, misspelling of my name, given the wrong credentials for entry, challenging the “expert on the panel, etc.).
Finally, if you are wondering if President Obama was recruited by those “powerful advocacy skills” to visit the “overflow room” where youth participants were, he was. He entered and from tweets regarding the interaction (you can read up on this by searching by hashtags #NCLRConf and #Lideres11) by youth participants present, he shook a few hands and took a few fotos then was off. NCLR senior staff are of course seeing this as a victory and that the youth were appeased. Some response to this was that Lideres participants deserve “more” and “substance.” It seems youth do not just want a foto op or a handshake, they want to be treated with respect! Shocking, I know….
This summer it’s all about saving money and supporting important films for our comunidad! I write this knowing that sometimes to support important films we may spend a little extra at film festivals, and if you live in an area where film festivals are coming (or have been) it’s def worth the energy to check out what they have to offer.
Mala and I will try to bring you some highlights of the film festivals we are going to this summer and year. In the meantime, here are a few films that have caught my attention and that I’d love to see (note that I’ve only seen some of these films and you can too, so they are not reviews), pero if any VL readers have seen any of these films I haven’t, please tell us your thoughts!
The first set of films is offered to view for free by the organization FUTURESTATES which are:
short narrative films created by established filmmakers and emerging talents transforming today’s complex social issues into visions about what life in America will be like in decades to come.
FUTURESTATES has also created a web resource for educators to use the films with grades 9-12 (but let’s be honest these are useful for any age!). The curriculums focus specifically on film and media.
The first film is one that was shared with me while I was away at a wedding. It is created, written, and directed by NYU alumna A. Sayeeda Clarke. Her film WHITE is in one word: phenomenal! It’s a short about 15 minutes long, and you may watch it online for free here. Clarke’s film takes place in the near future in NYC where the currency is skin color/melanin. She questions our ideas of identity, skin color, importance, class, natural resources, community, race, ethnicity, health, parenting, work, capitalism, global warming, and survival. The lead character is Bato, a Black Puerto Rican (yes, he’s written as that and indicates his identity in the film as such!), an activist in his community and expectant father. When the midwife working with his partner shares that she will have to give birth in a hospital setting, the couple must now find the money to pay the entrance fee to have a safe birthing outcome for their child. Bato must now find the money to do so.
The fact that there is a LatiNegro at the center of this story warms my heart. That we remain a part of the FUTURE is important for us to see and recognize. It also shares an important narrative of how white supremacy will/may continue in the future, but in new forms. This is one of those films where after seeing it I was so uncomfortable yet calm. I wanted more of the story and that alone is what makes this short film one of my favorites! Below is an interview with A. Sayeeda Clarke discussing her film:
Edited at 5:15 pm EST :
There are a few actions you can take to defend Andy Mathe’s right to stay.
You can call Delta Customer Service : 404-765-5000 and just keep saying ‘customer service’ until you get a person. Ask Delta to not cooperate with ICE.
The script: “Hi i was calling to ask that Andy Mathe not be deported to his death on the Delta flight today at 7:00pm from Atlanta to South Africa. Delta should not fly anyone to their death, this is a human rights issue. Refuse to allow ICE to fly Andy to his death!!”
It is a long shot, as it’s likely that Delta and ICE have some sort of contract (which is probably something that should be looked into.
According to sources close to the Mathe family, deferred action was denied allegedly because his age, not being currently enrolled in school, and not living with his mother.
Note – nothing because of him being a dangerous/bad/criminal immigrant.
Andy’s Mom, featured in the video below is heartbroken. She didn’t even get to say goodbye to her son.
Edited at 4:05 pm est to add: Just heard word that Andy has been picked up by ICE. It is likely that he will be sent home via a Delta airlines flight that leaves Atlanta to South Africa every day at 7 pm est.
Stay tuned as we update with more actions for people to take.
Obama doesn’t deport DREAMers huh?
An update on Andy Mathe, the young man who is facing deportation to South Africa, and whose story here generated some interesting (read troubling) commentary on who “deserves” to be fought for.
This should be good news but it isn’t, yesterday at 6:00 pm Andy called his mother, Hope, from detention to let her know that ICE told him “you are going home on Tuesday or Wednesday.” What ICE wouldn’t do is tell him if that means home to South Africa or home to Atlanta.
Right now we don’t know where Andy is, he could be sitting at the airport for the only 7:00 pm flight directly to South Africa. We need your urgent action to find out where Andy is. Last time ICE attempted to deport Andy he talked his way off of the plane by sharing his story with the Delta pilot who then refused to take off with him on board, ICE has already threatened to ‘drug and deport’ him next time.
Yesterday, a letter informing President Obama of Andy’s situation, was hand delivered as Obama was at the National Council of la Raza Conference (more on that later). DREAMActvist is asking for people to make phone calls on Andy’s behalf:
Please call John Morton’s office, the head of ICE, at 1-800-821-9358. Tell the person who picks up:
“Hi, I was calling to ask that Andy Mathe not be deported, he will be killed if he is sent back. His alien number is: 088-488-386.”
From our inbox. Also I just want to note, that I don’t necessarily agree with the framing of the call to protest/support. I don’t necessarily think that Julio will be safer in the U.S. – as if the U.S. has shown itself to protect and take care of young, queer youth. Pero, the point is that if Julio wants to stay he should be able to, especially if it is true, as the Obama administration keeps telling us, that they are not deporting young people like Julio. If that was true then why is this protest even needed?
Students, community leaders and elected officials will hold a rally and march in the Bronx to demand the halt of the deportation of Julio Hernandez.
We are calling on to ICE director John Morton to stop Julio’s deportation, and we are urging Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand to advocate for deferred action for undocumented youth.
Julio Hernandez, a 24-year-old New York student, faces an imminent deportation order after being detained on a Greyhound bus during his spring break in April.
Julio was enrolled in Bronx Community College, and during his return trip from Chicago to New York, he was detained by Border Patrol in a Greyhound bus in Erie, PA.
Julio is set to be deported back to El Salvador where he faces gang violence due to his sexual orientation. Julio came to the United States in 2007, fleeing threats on his life from gang members. After arrival, he quickly learned English and decided to pursue his dream of becoming a radiologist. Julio is a bright, hard-working student, who has aspirations to contribute and serve his community. He wants to be a role model to younger kids.
The New York State Youth Leadership Council is leading a campaign to stop Julio’s deportation. With a record number of deportations, the Obama administration continues to place hard-working immigrant youth in deportation proceedings. In an effort to keep Julio in the nation he now calls home, we have collected numerous petitions from the community and contacted ICE Director John Morton to urge him to defer Julio’s deportation. In addition, we are also urging Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand to advocate for deferred action for undocumented immigrant youth, and stop wasting valuable talent and brainpower due to a broken immigration law system.
What: Press conference, rally and march
Who: Julio, immigrant youth, Bronx college students, community leaders and elected officials
Where: Bronx Community College – 2155 University Ave, Bronx NY 10453
When: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 12:30pm
Why: Julio is a deserving and hard-working undocumented young American who is facing deportation. If deported to El Salvador, Julio’s life is at risk because of his sexual orientation. We need to stop his deportation!
The leaders confirmed CDCR’s announcement that immediate changes in SHU policy are the opportunity for some educational programs, provision of all-weather caps (beanies) and wall calendars. More substantially, the leaders explained the CDCR has agreed to investigate changes to other policies including the gang validation and debriefing processes, and it is now up to supporters outside prison to make sure the CDCR upholds their promise.
Mala’s Note : I originally wrote this post for the site Viva la Feminista when I read the prompt for Veronica’s Summer of Feminista. I wrote it earlier this week when I am particularly struggling in my head with what supportive communities look and feel like and when I am thinking about how best to use my skills, talents and experience.
Enjoy y tell me your thoughts and areas of expertise.
My name is Mala and I am an expert in Mami’hood because it is where I live, work, struggle, survive and thrive and have for the last 14 years.
I dislike the word intellectual as much as I dislike the word feminist. It’s not that I am against intelligence, study, engagement, learning, or teaching just like I am not against equal rights and access to all women. I am against the way the word intellectual has been co-opted to mean one thing to the exclusion of many just as feminism has been. There is no such single definition of an intellectual. Who and what an intellectual, especially in the context of the United States has been dependent on what point of history we find ourselves in and what is the most regarded value. Is an intellectual a scholar? A person who has spent years inside universities with no experience in the real world? Is it someone who conducts research within the real world but forever maintains a safe distance between us and them, the classic anthropologist if you will? Is it someone with a foot firmly planted in each world or would someone who has little formal schooling qualify just as well? With this in mind, and using the same sort of questioning, what does it mean to have A Latina public intellectual and if we need A public Latina intellectual?
Just as there is a struggle to name a Latina leader, the trouble with attempting to find a Latina intellectual is that it assumes that there is one Latina experience. Latinidad, as I define it, as a shared history rooted in colonialism and survival across the Americas, has many faces. To ask for one Latina intellectual is to engage in simplistic demands for a cult of personality – a figure to rally around and behind and perhaps even hide behind as the defining example of what we as Latinas are supposed to be. Hell, many of us can’t even agree to use the word Latina. Some use Hispanic, others hyphenated Americans, others are rooted in their regions, and some a hybrid of all of the above. If we cannot and do not share a common vocabulary – hell we don’t even share a common language really – how can we expect to have one common intellectual or expert among us?
While we all wait for one leader to be baptized, one thought queen to be crowned, there are many unsung members across communities reclaiming and redefining Latin@ experiences across the diaspora. This means elevating the work that has been pushed into the casitas and alleys, the work of the mami, the puta, the poeta, and of course the mami puta poeta. There is knowledge within pockets of our communities that was never meant to be shared – put into words. I am thinking of the power between the fingertips of curanderas, healers, and matronas, weavers, painters, scribes who have no sense or need for letters. There are intellectuals – people who know- all around us : your lover, your hija, your ti@, your vecina, that lady who sells ice cream on the corner, y tu mama tambien.
My name is Mala, I am an expert in my vida as you are an expert in yours. I share my knowledge and with my hij@s my herman@s – biological and chosen. Sometimes through words, sometimes, action, sometimes through silence. Choose your mediums, your methods. Choose your movement(s).
Note: Some beloved mentors of mine are participating in the caravan this year so, like just about everything, this is more than political, it is also personal. – Mala
Dear Friends and Supporters,
At 12:20 PM on Wednesday, the 22nd Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba arrived at the US/Mexico border to break the US blockade against Cuba. The US border officials have again decided to interfere with our mission of breaking the US blockade, and have seized seven computers. More information is in the press release below. Although we are continuing on the caravan and taking the remaining 100 tons of aid to Cuba, our protest against the seizure continues! Your support is vital! We are asking you, our emergency response network, to spread the word:
Call your senators and congressional representatives, the White House, call your local media, and organize in your communities to demand that the US government:
US Officials Seize Seven Computers as Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan Crosses into Mexico
US Customs and Border Patrol officers seized seven computers intended for Cuban hospitals, schools, and a veterinary clinic at the Pharr (TX) International Bridge on Wednesday.
The computers are part of the 100 tons humanitarian aid carried by the 22nd IFCO/Pastors for Peace Friendshipment Caravan to Cuba. Caravan participants observed officers X-raying and searching the vehicles. Customs officers then said that they were ‘detaining,’ not ‘seizing’ the computers, in order to determine whether the caravan needed to have a license to take them to Cuba. Three of the computers seized were the same ones that were taken from last year’s caravan in 2010, and were later returned to IFCO/Pastors for Peace.
While the brightly painted trucks and school buses were being searched, caravanistas chanted “Cuba is no threat to you; let our computers through!” and “Love is our license! Free the computers!” and held banners and signs reading “Cuba is not our enemy” and other slogans. Caravanistas then prayed and chanted together as they gathered around the pickup truck holding the seized computers.
Although IFCO/Pastors is protesting the computer seizure, we are continuing through the border to deliver to Cuba the 100 tons of aid that have crossed successfully through the border.
This year more than 100 North Americans and Europeans have joined the Caravan.
26 year old Marcelo Castañeda Llamas, an Illinois DREAMer, was scheduled to be deported yesterday. The good news is that he wasn’t. He was instead released yesterday but that is where the good news ends. Marcelo still has a final deportation order which means if he is detained again he could be deported- at any time.
Marcelo has lived in the US since he was 9 years old. He was born in Mexico. On July 12, Marcelo’s family member contacted the police in Illinois to assist her in getting into her locked car. The police opened the car door, but then they also arrested Marcelo and turned him over to ICE without filing any criminal charges or claiming that he had committed any crime. There was a prior order of deportation, not because he had committed any crime but because Marcelo missed an appointment (how many of you have missed an appointment?).
While Marcelo is with his family now, without deferred action and his case being reopened, that unity is at risk. According to the memo released last month by the head of ICE, John Morton, Marcelo should qualify for deferred action. However, to date, requests for a stay and deferred action have been denied.