Monday, October 3, 2011

Our Oakland October 4th

Oakland City council is backing away from a commitment to the community to stop investing in policing policies that are not working and shift toward policy that addresses the root causes of violence.

This Tuesday Oct. 4th the Oakland City Council will look at the possibility of implementing youth curfews day time and night time, expanded Loitering laws and further growing the Gang Injunction areas.

This is a double nightmare for undocumented youth because it creates more opportunities for arrest and ultimately deportation.  Something as small as staying too late at a friends birthday party becomes grounds for deportation through the police and immigration authorities collaboration known as Secure Communities or SCOM.


Come out and resist, don't be the reason our communities get criminalized!

For more details and to stay posted on this ongoing struggle, please check out:

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tow Trucks: Undocumented Profit

AB 353,  A bill in the California legislature would address the tow Truck industry's best kept secret.  
They make a killing off undocumented drivers!  

In some cities like Bell , a suburb of Los Angeles, it is also a lucrative reality for city coffers as they auction off cars once the owner can't afford the fees accrued after many days of holding.   Check Points are conveniently set up in immigrant communities.  Here is one story of the experience in Oakland's Fruitvale District:

The LA Times reports that:
"24,000 cars were impounded in 2009 at DUI checkpoints in California but that only 3,200 of those behind the wheel were charged with driving under the influence. "

AB 353 a bill that would limit this predatory impoundment, has been approved by the state senate and is moving it's way to Jerry Brown's desk.  

Folks should call their local assembly person to find out what their position is on it. If they support it congratulate, if they don't plan a collective action/meeting to persuade.     

List of Assembly Members and contact info:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pintando Verdad contra el Poder

Es un terreno baldío abandonado a tres cuadras de la alcaldía de San Francisco y al lado del edificio de los Amigos (cuáqueros) de San Francisco. Los cuáqueros han tratado de trabajar con la ciudad para crear un jardín comunitario, pero hasta ahora sin resultado. Las agujas usadas, basura, cristales rotos y las viviendas improvisadas de las personas sin hogar, lleno de sueños en la última década.

Esta semana un grupo de jóvenes migrantes con status mixto del proyecto 67 sueños de AFSC, sus amigos, familiares y aliados han estado trabajando duro para transformar este espacio. Desde la limpieza de la basura para la colocar un hermoso mural de unos 100 por 30 pies, cada parte de este mural refleja la experiencia del migrante.

Estamos literalmente en el terreno de los migrantes. La mayoría de los comentarios hasta ahora ha sido muy positiva. "Esta es la cosa más hermosa que he visto en una década de vivir en este barrio", dijo un transeúnte. "No conozco a nadie que etiquete la pared, porque es un mural que nos muestra respeto y el respeto que damos cuando lo conseguimos", afirmó uno de los locales, mientras buscaba materiales en el basurero para raspar reciclables lo suficiente como para ganarse la comida. Muchos han hablado con sus acciones, dejar de tomar fotos de su iphone y facebook a esta rosa de concreto.   Otros se han ofrecido como voluntarios para ayudar a alimentarnos o nosotros. Mientras que la comunidad es casi unánime con nosotros ya ha habido algunos momentos en los que el miedo a lo desconocido han dado lugar a la ira. Un peatón le gritó obscenidades a los inmigrantes a nuestros jovenes y derribo nuestros cartels cuando que pasaba por allí.
Al igual que los migrantes en general somos los chivos espiatorios de los verdaderos problemas del barrio. Al igual que la experiencia migratoria en realidad estábamos trabajando muy duro para hacer que la comunidad sea un mejor lugar para vivir y aún así se convirtió en el blanco de odio.

Pero estos jóvenes están imperturbable por su duro trabajo y dignidadestán seguros de ganar en algunos corazones y mentesUna semana con un bajon y dos más para salir adelante.  Es el proximo tercer edificio construido de esta manera en San Francisco Siéntase libre de pasar por aquí y pintar con nosotros de lunes a viernes de 11AM a 4 PM.

Definitivamente salga el 26 de agosto para la Inauguración de nuestro Mural y la presentacion del proyecto. Será una gran noche de arte, video, música, comida y una comunidad de amor.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Painting Migrant Truth To Power

It's an empty abandoned lot three blocks from San Francisco City Hall and next door to the San Francisco Friends Meeting.  The Quakers have tried to work with the city to create a community garden but so far no luck.  Used needles, trash, broken glass and make shift dwellings for homeless dreams filled the lot for the past decade.

This week a crew of mixed status migrant youth from AFSC's 67 Sueños Project, their friends, family and allies have been hard at work to transform this space.  From cleaning up the trash, to putting up a 100 foot by 30 foot beautiful Mural every part of this journey mirrors the migrant experience.

We are literally in the migrant terrain.  Most of the feedback so far has been really positive.  "This is the most beautiful thing i've seen in a decade of living in this neighborhood" said one passer by.  "I know no one will tag that wall because that mural shows us respect and we give respect when we get it" asserted one of the locals while dumpster diving to scrape enough recyclables to earn a meal.   Many have spoken with their actions, stopping to shoot from their I-phones and facebook this rose int eh concrete.  Others have volunteered to help or feed us.  While the community is almost unanimously with us there have already been some moments when fear of the unknown have lead to anger.  One pedestrian yelled profanities about immigrants at our young folks and tore down our posters as he walked by.

Much like migrants in general we were scape goated for the true problems in the neighborhood.  Much like the migrant experience we were actually working really hard to make the community a better place to live and still became the targets of hate.

But these youth are unfazed their hard work and dignity is sure to win over some hearts and minds.  One week down and 2 more to go.  San Francisco's next Landmark is a third of the way built.  Feel free to drop by and paint with us Monday through Friday 11-4 PM.

Definitely come out August 26th for our Mural Unveiling and project introduction.  It will be a powerful night with art, video, music, food and a beloved community.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Last week Obama got the proverbial "Chankla" thrown at him from Puerto Rican leaders who saw his 5 Hour "lay over" in Puerto Rico as a far cry from leadership on issues Puerto Rican's care about including relief for the longest standing political prisoner in the hemisphere, meaningful action on decolonization and a real process that honors the island's wishes and autonomy on the status question.

Instead Obama barely got off of Air Force one.  He had lunch, rolled a couple of R's and made sure to shake the hands of big campaign support.  There is a sad fact that the president seems to be completely in the dark about.  His baby step approach to courting Latino votes is not going to pay dividends in 2012.

On immigration issues a major priority in the Latino community Obama was equally unimpressive last week.  Last Friday a conference call and then a quiet memo was released by the head of ICE. While the media was busy paying attention to Senator McCain who stopped short of blaming Brown People for Global Warming, Obama was secretly taking another baby step.

Interestingly enough McCain the maniac, sorry maverick, has helped remind us why we need Bold Leadership not baby steps.  We are in the middle of a massive anti-immigrant hysteria that has moved racial profiling legislation forward in 4 states, led to a rise in hate crimes across the nation and all the while deportations are at record numbers.  A memo? Really?

Latino leaders are no monolith but from the grass roots to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus there has been a steady call for decisive action on issues ranging from a moratorium on the corrupt "Secure Communities" pilot project that has helped the administration claim those record deportations,  to calls for a moratorium on deportations of DREAM Act eligible youth by Executive Order.

The latter is the more moderate call to action in the Latino Community.  At 67 Sueños and many human rights based migrant justice groups we want to see a moratorium by Executive Order on ALL deportations until humane and just immigration reform is passed.  That is what we would call Bold Leadership.  That is what it will take after record deportations and inaction on Latino issues for 2 years to regain the Latino vote in 2012 and stand up to the wave of hate that McCain is riding.

But Obama is not even meeting the moderate demands half way.  The memo released amounts to a suggestion that maybe it is not necessary to deport DREAM eligible youth - not action, and not an executive order.  The administration has consistently batted away criticisms by suggesting they prioritized "criminals" in their deportation dragnet.  This memo simply restates the tired talking point that has never convinced any Latino voters with undocumented friends or family.

A memo?  Really?  A 5 hour visit and lunch? Really?  Is this the extent to which the administration is taking the brown vote for granted?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

67 Sueños: An Introduction By New American Media

67 Sueños from New America Media on Vimeo.

Our Oakland based "67 Sueños Collective" ("67 Dreams"--- a group, named after the 67% of undocumented youth who would not benefit from DREAM act) has made an appearance on Colorlines Magazine and several blogs, tumblers, and tweets over the past week thanks to a video introduction by the New American Media.

Video by Josue Rojas & Ann Bassette

Monday, March 21, 2011

67 Sueños - The birth of a movement

Black and white portraits of undocumented youth dominate our media, our politics and even our movements.  On the one hand migrant youth are painted as criminals by a xenophobic right wing hate campaign.  In response many counter the narrative by lifting up only the exceptional individual stories of 4.0 students and valedictorians.  In Oakland, California migrant youth are refusing to be elbowed out of the conversations about their future by these black and white narratives.  They are bursting on to the seen in full color.   This project aims to lift these powerful voices to shine a light on the reality of migrant youth.  No more angels and demons a new movement is being born.