HB56: Civil Rights Movement & Civil Disobedience

13 undocumented Americans arrested at the AL state capitol yesterday. "We will no longer remain in the shadows." Photo by Stephen Pavey.

The Governor of Alabama, upset about a New York Times article that compared HB56 to  Jim Crow, boldly and ignorantly offended people of conscience yesterday, declaring:

To equate this to the Civil Rights movement is an insult to the Civil Rights movement. It’s an insult to the men and women who had their homes bombed, the children who were killed in Birmingham up at the 16th Street Baptist Church… so it’s an insult to them.

The Governor Bentley’s quote is tragically ignorant and disturbing; he should apologize immediately.  He is not in the position to pass judgement on the immigrant justice movement nor to speak for the activists and the victims of the Civil Rights Movement.  Governor Bentley is insulting the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, a struggle for justice, which the immigrant justice movement is honoring by continuing the work that remains.  Rev. King’s dream is not reality.  Continue reading

Stop Deporting Undocumented Veterans

Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Velasquez Rascon, who served his country even though he was an undocumented immigrant, is awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation's highest military honor, for saving the lives of his fellow Americans in combat.

Alfred Rascon was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, but his family emigrated to California in search of a better way of life.  In 1963 he graduated from high school and enlisted in the United States Army.  He served in Vietnam, even though he remained an undocumented American the entire time. Continue reading

Magic Johnson, 20 Years with HIV

Magic Johnson, LA Lakers #32

Magic Johnson announced 20 years ago that he was retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers and professional basketball because he had obtained the HIV virus that causes AIDS.  He said he would become a spokesperson for the virus because he wanted kids to avoid his fate and to practice safe sex.  He remained calm, confident, and even smiling as he announced that one part of his life was over, but life goes on and he would remain strong.   Continue reading

Alabama Immigration Battle Mirrors Civil Rights Era

"Why are we getting all the publicity? I think it has to do with Alabama's past and the perception that people have of Alabama over the years that don't live in our state and really don't recognize the amount of progress we've made in Alabama over the last 50 to 60 years," said Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, who supported the law and signed it into effect.

The nation’s strictest immigration law has resurrected ugly images from Alabama’s days as the battleground state for civil rights.

Sharing a border with Mexico and being flooded with boycotts does not make Arizona the poster state for the challenges of immigration laws in the United States. Continue reading

Stephen Colbert Predicted HB56’s Failure

Comedian Stephen Colbert

http://www.hulu.com/embed/7BPEWa3AnwIGjq1Blo4d2Q

Stephen Colbert was roundly criticized by politicos last year for his tongue-in-cheek congressional testimony on the plight of illegal farm workers, but now he’s getting to revel in his own prescience.

After spending a day working on an upstate New York farm as part of the Take Our Jobs project, Colbert testified about his experiences before congress, sarcastically lamenting the backbreaking nature of the work due to most soil being at ground level. The stunt was an attempt to shed light on the country’s benefiting off of the labor of the very people it maligns as a scourge on our resources, but it was a point not well-taken by many of the assembled.

Flash forward to today and the state of Alabama, having passed the country’s toughest immigration law, is seeing its crops rot on the vine due to a lack of experienced laborers to work the fields. Had Alabama’s legislators simply watched “The Report,” maybe they would have known what to expect. According to Colbert, “No one could have predicted this would happen, except me.” Continue reading

Kanye West Petitioned To Speak Out Against Racism in Alabama

Kanye West & Jay Z

(AllHipHop News):

Almost 1,000 students have signed an online petition that is calling upon rap star Kanye West to speak out against Alabama’s new immigration law. Kanye is currently in Birmingham, Alabama, where he is spending the month preparing for his “Watch the Throne” tour with Jay-Z. The students are signing the petition on Change.org, in hopes of getting the superstar rap artist to meet with Civil Rights leaders, politicians and other influential individuals in Alabama, about HB 56. Continue reading

New Voices Are Lifted on VamosTogether’s New Page: “What They’re Saying About HB56″

VamosTogether’s newly designed website includes new communication features ranging from Twitter to automatic translation (see: En Espanol) to our “What They’re Saying About HB56” page.  VamosTogether is continuing to accept testimonials for our “The Voices” projects, but we decided to launch “What They’re Saying About HB56″ to provide an evolving portrait of the discourse and perspectives surrounding HB56 from those of supporters, opponents, clergy, law enforcement, political leaders, community members, business leaders, immigrants, civil rights leaders, teachers, professors, doctors, and lawyers.

VamosTogether recognizes the power of language and the power of voices.  So VamosTogether invites you to join others from around the nation in a more insightful conversation about a complex issue, immigration.  Continue reading