Seven years ago María Elena Durazo, the head of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, stood on a stage erected at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, facing a sea of demonstrators who had just paraded miles in support of immigrant rights. In the twilight of that May Day, as Durazo addressed several hundred thousand people, the march for immigration reform seemed unstoppable – an irresistible historic tide that was poised to sweep away any objections.
Then came an angry backlash that saw anti-immigrant legislation passed in Arizona and Alabama that made Proposition 187 – California’s 1994 ballot initiative curbing immigrant rights – seem tame by comparison. Frying Pan News sat down with Durazo to discuss the pending immigration bill in Congress, as well as a new student film competition that her organization is sponsoring with UNITE HERE, a union whose members are largely immigrants.
Within about a month of the debut of Fwd.us, Mark Zuckerberg’s new DC lobby outfit aimed at promoting immigration reform, the group is already falling apart. If this week is any indication, the meltdown will be as spectacular and ignoble as every other ill-conceived, overfunded start-up in the Valley.
Fwd.us’ political problems began the way they usually do: with a cynical, too-cute-by-half strategy adopted by his Beltway proxies. Fwd.us’ approach amounted to this: Buy the votes of key lawmakers by dumping money into ads in their home states on issues that are useful to them but that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t care about.
What that has meant in practice is running commercials supporting South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham for his bold opposition to Obamacare and his support of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and applauding Alaska Senator Mark Begich for his support for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
L.A. Superior Court judges are doing the wrong thing. They decided to deal with a $53 million budget deficit by arbitrarily closing eight courthouses around L.A. County, which will send justice into chaos, inconvenience people and cause transportation and other problems.
The courthouses scheduled to close as of June 28 or sooner are: Huntington Park, Whittier, Pomona North, Malibu, West Los Angeles, San Pedro, Beacon Street and the Kenyon Juvenile Justice Center, located in South L.A.
The Judges Didn’t Ask Us
Did the judges who came up with this plan consult the communities that will be impacted? No. Did they talk to the citizens, the small business people, or anyone else this might affect? No.
As a result, some case types will be heard in only certain courthouses. For example, if you are threatened with eviction or your landlord wants to kick you out of your place and you want to fight it,
As you’ve probably heard, the Senate is now selling a new brand of immigration reform bill called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. Senators — both Democrat and Republican — have stirred together a complex and massive proposal that has potential to become law, driven by a strong showing of immigrant voters in the November election.
This proposal is a huge deal for everyone who eats, and therefore matters for those working for healthy, fair and sustainable food systems and food sovereignty. Food sovereignty is the right of people to determine their own food and agriculture policies — it’s the democratization of food and agriculture. This democratization includes food chain workers having a voice in their workplace, in their communities and in government.
Unjust free trade agreements and international trade policies have forced family farmers off their land and decimated domestic industries in other countries. Many people then face few choices other than migrating from their home countries in search of work,
The “Gang of 8” has finally introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate, giving millions of undocumented workers hope for an immigration reform in 2013. One of these workers is Anabella Aguirre who arrived from Guatemala over 13 years ago. As a single mother of three children, her choice to migrate to the United States was a difficult one. It meant she would have to leave her children and family members behind.
Anabella remains undocumented to this day because our immigration system is broken. During all these years, Anabella has worked as a janitor in Los Angeles. She is also a committed union member of SEIU United Service Workers West. Anabella is fighting with us for immigration reform. Her main motivation is her children’s education. “I hope one day to be able to send my daughters to college here in the United States,” says Aguirre.
Let’s kick off Mother’s Day month with a huge Labor turn-up on May Day.