AFSC-NC Immigrants Rights Newsletter October 2011
AFSC North Carolina Immigrant Rights Program
October 2011 E-NEWSLETTER:
The NC Immigrant Rights Program Monthly E-Newsletter serves as a vehicle for Quaker allies and recent immigrant/refugee constituents living in North Carolina to stay informed and involved with AFSC and immigrant rights-related actions in the state.
IN THIS ISSUE…
- Upcoming Events, including:
2. Occupy Wall Street/ Occupy North Carolina!
AFSC’s position, links to immigrant rights, and find a protest near you
3. New Resources Available from AFSC
a. New Know Your Rights booklet in Spanish!
b. Digital Storytelling How-To Manual!
c. New Digital stories!
d. Read about AFSC Indonesia staff’s recent visit to Greensboro, NC
4. News Updates:
a. El Buen Pastor court case
b. Alabama’s anti-immigrant law
5. Action Alert!! Sign petition to keep Ravi in the U.S.
1. Upcoming Events
Sat. Oct. 15, 3pm Greensboro: Occupy Greensboro March. Start at Government Plaza, downtown GSO. Read on for more on the Occupy movement and AFSC’s position.
Tues. Oct 18 6-8pm Charlotte: Mobile Food Vendors Assn Forum on proposed changes to Charlotte’s vendor ordinance. Come out to learn more and support Charlotte’s taco-truck owners!! 5700 Executive Center Dr. Ste 206. More info: Hector Vaca, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tues. Oct. 18 9pm, in your home: PBS Documentary Lost in Detention. Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa presents an exposé that reveals the devastating consequences of the mass incarceration of immigrants, and the harsh toll it takes on families, women and children. To view the trailer, get more info and check local listings, click here.
Thurs, Oct. 20 6-8pm, Charlotte: Monthly Immigrant Solidarity Committee meeting. Charlotte Friends Meetinghouse. 570 W. Rocky River Rd. 28213. 6pm potluck supper, 6:30pm meeting.
**Sat. October 29, 3-5pm Greensboro: Movies without Borders Gala! View eight short films produced by local immigrants and refugees and enjoy a red carpet reception at the Greensboro Historical Museum. 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro, NC 27401. Sponsored by AFSC, Handycapable Network and FaithAction International House. Suggested donation $5.
Sat. October 29, 9:30-3:30 Raleigh: Reordering Priorities-Connection issues: A Planning Conference for Sustained Action. Move the Money from military spending to meeting human needs! Highland United Methodist Church, 1901 Ridge Rd. Raleigh NC. Cost $15. Register & more info at www.ncpeaceaction.org.
Tuesday, November 17, 12noon Greensboro: Lunch with the League of Women Voters, Focus on Secure Communities immigration program. Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 607 N. Greene St. Program is free. Lunch $10 (must RSVP). More info: email@example.com.
2. Occupy Wall Street / Occupy North Carolina!
From coast to coast, the American Friends Service Committee is energized and inspired by the growing Occupy movement, and staff are working to support it in various ways.
AFSC Organizational Statement on Occupy Wall Street
As an organization devoted to nonviolence and social justice, the American Friends Service Committee is encouraged by the recent wave of nonviolent actions that have swept from Wall Street across the country highlighting economic inequities.
At this point, no one knows whether this wave of actions will continue and give birth to a larger movement. But, in the meantime, we encourage those AFSC staff members and volunteers who have the interest and ability to participate, provided that the actions are nonviolent, that they target issues rather than specific individuals, and that they lift up the dignity of all individuals. We also encourage staff members to help others see connections between economic injustices, militarism, and a punishment-oriented justice system.
We also encourage staff members and volunteers so engaged to explore whether there are unmet needs or roles the AFSC can play to broaden and deepen the impact of these actions in ways consistent with the values and goals of the organization. Such roles may include provision of material assistance, faithful observers, nonviolence training, and meeting places.
Making the Connection with Immigrant Rights
The central issue that the Occupy movement highlights is the great income disparity in our country and the fact that a relatively small percentage of people (& corporations) controls the vast majority of our nation’s wealth. There are clear links between issues of economic justice and immigrant rights. Immigrant workers provide the backbone of labor of many sectors of our economy, including agriculture, construction and hospitality, where wage-theft, health & safety violations and discrimination are common.
Many of the “push” factors that drive people from their home countries can be traced back to policies supported by wealthy corporate interests, notably the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). NAFTA benefited large corporations in both the US and in Mexico, but has harmed workers in both of our countries. Research indicates that NAFTA bankrupted around 2 million small corn farmers in Mexico, providing the impetus for many of those individuals to seek work in the United States.
It is also important to make the connection by examining the immigration detention system. In recent years, we have seen the rise of for-profit prisons (not just for immigration detainees), which are compensated by the government for housing detainees per night and per bed. The same corporations building for-profit prisons are also lobbying for stricter laws and pushing for Arizona-type legislation in states around the country, which will inevitably result in more beds filled and more profit. Learn more and see some very engaging short videos here.
In order to build a strong movement around economic justice, it is imperative to find the links with immigrant issues.
Find an Occupy protest near you!
Occupy protests are sprouting up all across the country, including many cities across North Carolina. Here are links to some of the groups. Most are using facebook to organize.
3. New Resources Available from AFSC North Carolina
New Know Your Rights booklet!
A new booklet produced by AFSC staff in North Carolina and collaborators for immigrants, including rights at home, in the car, at work and in detention. Contact our office (336-854-0633, firstname.lastname@example.org) for the few-remaining hard copies (Spanish only) or download your own copy here:
Spanish version: http://afsc.org/document/know-your-rights-booklet
English version: http://www.afsc.org/document/know-your-rights-booklet-english
Digital Storytelling How-To Manual!
AFSC’s Area Office of the Carolinas has just completed a how-to manual for a model of our Storyology class: digital storytelling by immigrants and refugees. The How-To Manual contains all the materials that we used for the class, from schedules to software tutorials to handouts to activity instructions to a sample budget. We are willing and excited to share all of our “trade secrets” with others because the model is so powerful and so impactful. We want others to use digital storytelling to tell the stories of immigrants in the community, and most importantly, to let immigrants tell their own stories.
Download the manual here.
New Digital Stories
--“If I Had A Trillion Dollars:” What our interns would do with the trillion dollars spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. http://www.afsc.org/video/if-i-had-trillion-dollars
--“South & North Korea: War or Peace?” By Jihye Choi, reflections of a Korean student on the lasting impact of war. http://www.afsc.org/video/south-north-korea-peace-or-war-jihye-choi
Read about AFSC Indonesia staff’s recent visit to Greensboro, NC
To celebrate international Peace Day, our local AFSC staff were honored to host AFSC staff from Indonesia. Read about their visit here.
4. News Updates:
- El Buen Pastor court case
- Alabama’s anti-immigrant law
El Buen Pastor
From our friends at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice…
[You may recall that there was a group of members of the Raleigh congregation of El Buen Pastor who were stopped by the Border Patrol when returning from a church event in Texas, verbally harassed by agents, and put into deportation proceedings. Despite public outcry, ICE has still not taken action to drop the charges in this case.]
Still No Justice for Buen Pastor
Last week we held our first National Call in Day for Justice for Buen Pastor asking ICE to drop charges against 22 church members in North Carolina who face being seperated from their families and community. Despite numerous calls, ICE has still not taken action to drop the charges in the Buen Pastor case. We will not win this case without the voice of the community demanding justice. Your calls, letters, and signatures are critical to help the families in the Buen Pastor congregation stay together. If you did not get a chance to call in on the National Day of Action, please keep calling Morton’s office. It is not too late to call now. For call-in information, click here.
And can you help us get more signatures? By October 15th we want to triple the number of signatures on the petition. If everyone who signed commites to talking to at least three coworkers, friends or family members about the case, asking them to take action, we will exceed this goal.
You may have heard that the harshest and most punitive immigration law in the nation is now in effect in Alabama. Among other things, the law nullifies all contracts with anyone who is undocumented, requires proof of legal status to get access to city water, and requires schools to check the immigration status of children and parents. This has resulted in thousands of families pulling their children out of school. [Some organizations are holding petition drives in response, see here.] Some in the religious community are speaking out against this draconian law, as shown in the below New York Times article.
Bishops Criticize Tough Alabama Immigration Law
By CAMPBELL ROBERTSON, August 13, 2011
CULLMAN, Ala. — On a sofa in the hallway of his office here, Mitchell Williams, the pastor of First United Methodist Church, announced that he was going to break the law. He is not the only church leader making such a declaration these days. Read more.
5. Action Alert!! Sign petition to keep Ravi in the U.S.
Long time resident, community activist, father, and husband, Ravi Ragbir, faces permanent exile from his life in the US. A 15-year green card holder, Ravi has worked as an organizer to protect the rights of all immigrants, including through the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City. But he is now at risk of deportation to Trinidad—without a single meaningful hearing in immigration court—because of a single, decade-old conviction. Read more.
What’s different about this case? Ravi is the husband of a very valued AFSC staff member in our New York Metro Region. Please sign the below petition and support the family of my colleague!! --Lori
We still need 500 more signatures to reach our goal! Click on the link below to sign.