Category Archives: Labor and Immigration

MAG-Net May 2013 Digital Dialogue: “The Immigrant Rights Movement: Advancing Media and Cultural Strategies”

Submitted by bettyyu on Tue, 2013-06-11 15:09 on mag-net.org

May 1st marks May Day, also known as International Workers Day. On May 1st, 1886, nearly a half a million immigrants went on a general strike to fight for a 8-hour workday. Over a hundred years later, starting in 2006, again millions of immigrant workers and supporters participated in May Day protests against H.R. 4437, a draconian anti-immigrant bill. Even today, the majority of May Day protests are led by immigrants.

Currently, the immigrant rights movement is continuing its fight for comprehensive immigration reform–working to create a pathway to citizenship for many of the 11 million undocumented individuals in this country. At the same time, the corporate media depicts undocumented immigrants as job stealers, lazy welfare cheats, and possible “terrorist” all at the same time. This false narrative not only hurts immigrant communities, it also impacts our ability to move any transformative policy. How can the media justice and immigrant rights movements work together more effectively to uplift the stories of those families most directly impacted by bad legislation, border security and deportations? How are the online and office privacy and rights of immigrants being violated by the U.S. Government?

This Digital Dialogue will bring together organizers, media justice activists, journalists, cultural workers and policy experts who are working to advance a immigrant rights agenda that upholds the dignity, labor and human rights of immigrant communities. On the call we will hear about the various storytelling, media making and cultural strategies to advance this fight.

Featured Speakers:
Laura Muraida, Southwest Workers Union
Aura Bogado, The Nation & Colorlines
Chris Calabrese, American Civil Liberties Union
B. Loewe, National Day Laborers Organizing Network
Celso Mireles, United We Dream

Moderated by: Pedro Joel Espinosa, IDEPSCA & Betty Yu, Center for Media Justice

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70,000 people urge New York Times to stop using the dehumanizing and inaccurate term, “illegal”, from news coverage

On Tuesday, April 23, 2013 The Applied Research Center (APC) and The Drop the I-Word Campaign joined with activists, including Fernando Chavez, attorney and eldest son of Cesar Chavez, and Jose Antonio Vargas, award-winning journalist and founder of Define American, to deliver petitions signed by 70,000 people to the New York Times urging them to stop using the term, “illegal” from their news stories when referring to individuals.   Mr. Chavez, Jose Antonio Vargas, the ARC and a coalition of supporters and activists delivered the petitions to Jill Abramson’s office, the executive editor of the NY Times.  The petition was started by Helen Chavez, Fernando Chavez’ mother and widow of Cesar Chavez.

The petitions were delivered only a few weeks after the Associated Press announced their decision to drop the dehumanizing and inaccurate term from describing individuals and would instead only use the word “to refer to an action.”

We feel the term is provocative, dehumanizing, and racially charged.  It is also imprecise and inaccurate.  The term does not take into account the variety of reasons a person is undocumented; many came here legally and have overstayed visas, were brought here as children, or overstayed fleeing persecution.  It creates the stereotyping of a group of individuals, mostly people of color, and centers the immigration debate around border control, when borders are not the issue.  In an interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, Rinku Sen, the ARC’s Executive Director and President, said it best.  It is an “imprecise term that is applied in a blanket way,” and we feel it needs to change.

A few hours after the petitions were delivered, Philip B. Corbett, the associate managing editor for standards, who oversees The Times’ style manual, made an announcement that the Times updated its policies.  Unfortunately, it would continue to use the word “illegal” to describe “someone who enters, lives in or works in the United States without proper legal authorization.” It encourages reporters and editors to “consider alternatives when appropriate to explain the specific circumstances of the person in question, or to focus on actions.”

The AP announcement earlier this month was a victory, and we can only hope that more major news sources, like the New York Times and the LA Times “get with the times” and drop the i-word.

For more information, please visit colorlines.com/droptheiword

Uprooted: Turning the Tide from Hate to Human Rights

In our effort to support migrant justice organizers, last weekend, the Uprooted team attended the second annual Turning the Tide Summit in Arlington, VA where hundreds converged and forged new alliances to turn the tide against criminalization. Attending trainings and workshops with some of the country’s most influential and dedicated organizers has reinvigorated our project and has demonstrated the need for media made by and for social movements!

This video by the National Day Laborers Organizing Network (NDLON), skillfully captures the inspiring organizers fighting against the Right Wing’s strategy of Attrition through Enforcement.

In his letter to attendees, Pablo Alvarado, Director of NDLON explains the importance of grassroots organizing for migrant justice as follows, “By organizing block by block, the affected people become subjects of change…Building to the Turn the Tide means organizing barrio defense committees wherever conditions exist, challenging all forms of police and ICE collaboration and asserting our right to remain in a country that enjoys the fruits of our labor and the wealth of our culture, but does not accept our humanity….It means creating spaces for us to tell our own stories and tirelessly working for legalization from the bottom up.”

Uprooted turns the tide by creating a space for migrants and their allies to document and distribute their narratives. We want to support and amplify your work– connect with us, together, we can build a more just and humane immigration system!

What does building to Turning the Tide mean to you and your community?

Uprooted at May Day 2011 in NYC!

May 1st is commemorated internationally as a day to celebrate workers rights and the labor struggle. Especially within the United States, a large contingent of those who observe the holiday are migrants. There are many ways that labor issues and migrant issues overlap. The Uprooted team attended this year’s May Day demonstration in New York City’s historic Union Square, where labor organizers and migrant activists held a joint demonstration for the first time in several years. Perhaps it was the inspirational outpouring of labor activism in Wisconsin or perhaps a general feeling that it is time for old methods to change, that led organizers to recognize the need to unite their movements.

At the demonstration Uprooted chatted with activist Leilani Montes of the Association of Feminist Filipinas Fighting Imperialism, Re-Feudalization and Marginalization (AF3IRM), a “national organization of women engaged in transnational feminist, anti-imperialist activism”. AF3IRM, like Uprooted looks to tie together social issues which overlap and intersect, such as how modern day imperialism leads to migration and to laws that violate workers rights, much like the upsurge in temporary worker programs.

In the clip featured below, Leilani explained her opinion to us about the ways in which labor and migration issues mix together:

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYK5nksA%5D

How do you feel labor and migration issues are related? Share your thoughts!