Tag Archives: youth

Uprooted Announces Fall Video Trainings!

Part of empowering migrant communities to tell their own stories is giving them the tools they need to document their experiences. This fall Uprooted will be doing exactly that.  Working with four migrant rights groups based in New York City, our team will help them to build their media making capacity through video production workshops.

We will be working with Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), a community based organization of working class South Asian immigrants in New York City; VAMOS Unidos, Vendedores Ambulantes Movilizando y Organizando en Solidaridad (Street Vendors Mobilizing and Organizing in Solidarity), a community social justice organization, founded by low-income Latino/a immigrant street vendors; The New York State Youth Leadership Council(NYSYLC), an undocumented youth led organization fighting for access to higher education and the empowerment of migrant youth; and with the youth group of The Arab American Association of New York, a social service organization that seeks to support and empower the Arab immigrant community.

Click on the links above or watch the videos below to learn more about the amazing work of these four organizations!

DRUM- Youth Speak Out Part 1

DRUM- Youth Speak Out Part 2

Georgia 6- Felipe by the New York State Youth Leadership Council:

Balady Presents- Arab American Association of New York:

These groups all represent different sectors of the wide and diverse immigrant community in New York City. They don’t all take the same positions. For example, VAMOS Unidos opposes the DREAM Act because of its military provisions, where as the NYSYLC is fighting for its passage. All of them however, are dedicated to the empowerment of their communities and the struggle for migrant justice.

“Shifting the terms of the immigration debate” means presenting new dialogues and new perspectives. It means that although we may be at odds with one another on certain points, debates should be based on a premise that everyone, regardless of their origin or immigration status, is entitled to respect, dignity and human rights. All of these groups share that mission and work towards it everyday. They strive in their communities to “shift the debate” and to enable their members to articulate an understanding of their rights that challenges the mainstream discourse searching to dis-empower them.

Another thing all four of these organizations share is the work that they do with youth – training the next generation of leaders in their communities. The Uprooted team is very excited to work with these youth and other leaders on media skills: shaping documentaries, video shooting and editing.

By working with them and the tools they already have at their disposal, Uprooted hopes to build their capacity to document their struggles and tell their stories in a way that no one else can. We hope that the video training sessions will provide members and constituents of these groups with the tools to produce their own submissions for Uprooted. We are eager to hear their stories, and to share them with you!


A Nation of Poorly Educated Students?

In a post on peopleofcolororganize.com, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz deconstructs the myth of the United States as a “nation of immigrants.” For Dunbar-Ortiz, that myth sanitizes the fact that the United States as we know them began as a colonial enterprise. The first European men and women to settle this land were not “immigrants,” as there was no already-established nation to emigrate to, save for the nations of Native Americans already present. Those arrivals should, instead, be remembered as settlers that dehumanized and displaced millions of indigenous Americans while taking their land through a strategically administered combination of force and diplomacy. Continue reading

Uprooted at the Left Forum!

Check out these panel discussions, filmed by Uprooted in March, at the 2011 Left Forum, the largest annual conference of left and progressive intellectuals, activists, academics, organizations and individuals.  These two panel discussions “Race and Racism in the Immigration Debate” and “Pass the Dream Act: How the Student Immigrant Youth is Leading the Immigration Debate” provide some food for thought on some of the central issues addressed by Uprooted.

Watch it here:
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Continue reading

Georgia State Legislature Passes SB 1070-inspired Immigration Bill

On Friday, Georgia state lawmakers passed House Bill 87, one of the harshest enforcement-based immigration policies in the country. Passed just before their legislative session ended, HB 87 is styled after Arizona’s SB 1070, and comes as Republican-controlled state governments across the country are adopting enforcement-only policies, including Indiana, Utah and others.

Though the bill takes cues from Arizona’s controversial measure, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has acknowledged that the goal in passing HB 87 is to enact state immigration policy while avoiding legal challenges from the federal government. To that end, HB 87 does not require immigrants to carry documents, but it does allow state and local police to use criminal investigations as a pretext to question suspects about their immigration status. Like SB 1070, critics argue that HB 87 “insists on demonizing people with brown skin and Spanish accents,” as Georgia State Senator Nan Orrock stated. She pointed out that enforcement-only policies that target undocumented immigrants make racial profiling acceptable and presume the guilt of Latino populations.

The bill also makes it illegal to knowingly transport undocumented immigrants and requires business with more than 10 employees to use a federal immigration database called E-Verify to check immigration status and minimize document fraud. Yet, it places the legal burden on document fraud entirely on workers, allowing for sentences of up to 15 years and fines of up to $250,000 for workers who forge documents. One could argue that such penalties verge on cruel and unusual. Georgia’s economy, particularly the agriculture sector, relies on undocumented labor. The bill’s E-Verify provision was a compromise, business lobbies would have preferred that verification be voluntary, precisely because so many of them rely on the substandard wages they can get pay undocumented workers who have little legal protection from underpayment.

Governor Deal has indicated that he intends to sign the bill. If he does not sign or veto it within 40 days, it will become law. HB 87 is the most recent move in the battle between states and the federal government over immigration. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a judge’s injunction blocking the most controversial parts of SB 1070, on the grounds that individual states cannot enact laws that punish violations of federal law. Yet, states continue to introduce and pass legislation similar to SB 1070, and the Department of Homeland Security continues to encourage states to act on their own by using the E-Verify database. The debate over immigration is not just about immigration, it is about labor, education, law enforcement, distribution of resources and fundamental understandings about what it means to be “American.” The way the debate plays out will necessarily impact the future of the United States. Organizers and immigrant groups around the country are protesting the passage of anti-immigration legislation. In Georgia, U.S. Representative John Lewis urged that protesters remain unafraid in the face of injustice, adding that he was arrested 40 times during the Civil Rights Movement.

HB 87, SB 1070 and other similar bills underscore the importance of a more robust dialogue on the politics of migration. Deep Dish TV’s interactive Uprooted series will critically analyze the current U.S. immigration debate from perspectives outside of the corportate media. The project will put forth a grassroots perspective that corporate media outlets rarely present. It will feature submissions from artists, activists, and videographers around the globe, who present their own visions of the politics of migration in a variety of contexts.

Historic Occupation Of Georgia State University By Undocumented Youth

Students risk deportation in plea to lift higher education ban


Atlanta, Georgia— Today, undocumented youth from around the nation are joined by allies in demanding that colleges and universities refuse implementation of bans on higher education. In October of 2010 the Georgia Board of Regents joined South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina and other states in banning undocumented youth from attending college. The ban in Georgia will go into full effect this coming fall. According to the Migrant Policy Institute over 74,000 undocumented youth reside in the state of Georgia.

“We feel that the time for us to stand up has come. I am not only doing this for my friends who are in the same situation, but also for my mom who did everything she could to give me a better life,” says Georgina Perez, 21, one of the undocumented youth, brought here, from Mexico, at the age of 3. Georgina went on to say, “I feel scared not knowing what might happen to me today, but I also know that if I do not take action then my future will remain uncertain for much longer.”

If arrested all 8 undocumented youth could face deportation proceedings. According to organizers, the participants all refuse to leave until Georgia State University’s president agrees to not comply with the ban on higher education. “Graduating from high school is bittersweet for me because I know I won’t be able to attend the same schools as my friends,” said undocumented student Dulce, 18. Dulce has been living in Georgia since she was just two years old.

‘It took me five years to complete a two year degree, I can no longer wait at home for some change to come at the federal level” said Maria Marroquin, an undocumented student from Pennsylvania. “We are being shut out of universities, criminalized and deported in states around the country. The time is always right to fight for our civil rights.”

Taking a stand, despite knowing the risks, is the only alternative the undocumented youth see. Last year, Viridiana Martinez, along with two others, lead a 13-day hunger strike outside the offices of Sen. Kay Hagan, “remaining in the shadows is no longer an option. Through my own story, I have regained my dignity and through action, I will bring light to what would otherwise remain unexposed.”

For these students it is now time for those who say they support them or those who stand against them to choose a side, decide if they will fight to educate or deport talented young people such as themselves.

“Young people have always been at the forefront of the civil rights movement,” stated David Ramirez, an undocumented youth from Chicago, Illinois, “If you claim to stand with us, fight with us. Help us defend our dignity and worth as members of American society. I’ve decided whose side I am on and I’ve chosen to act. I ask you now to do the same.”

-This is a press release from the Dream is Coming Project, who define themselves as follows:

“As The Dream is Coming project, we are compelled by our frustration and the fierce urgency of our dreams to act as agents of our destinies and be the catalysts for a future in which we are empowered, mobilized, and living with the dignity we deserve. We are a group of undocumented youth who have worked for years on a path to legalization. We are at a point in our movement where radical action has become necessary for ourselves and our communities.”

Dreaming of Demilitarizing

The goal of Uprooted is to bring together many different voices speaking out about migration. On this blog we have posted several videos of the DREAMers, those brave and unflinching youth who are fighting to pass the one piece of legislation they feel comes anywhere close to granting them real reform. These young people are spear-heading the fight to gain rights for people without documents. They feel that the DREAM Act is the only viable bill that could possibly gain them some of these rights, and they argue that whatever its shortcomings, it is still worth fighting for. The DREAM Act would allow undocumented youth the possibility to gain papers by either going to college or joining the military. Supporters of the bill contend that even the military provision should not be a deal breaker, for shouldn’t undocumented students have all the same rights as others, even the right to join the military?

Yet we feel we can not ignore those voices that critique and criticize the DREAM Act as well. Not because they oppose the principals that everyone is entitled to an education or the security to know that they will not be uprooted from their home and separated from their families; but rather because they oppose the militaristic aspect of the bill. There are those who see the military section of the DREAM Act as a virtual draft of undocumented youth, a sort of blackmail to join the armed forces in exchange for papers. There are those activists who say, “We must champion the DREAMers movement — that is, a real DREAM Act without any militaristic strings attached.”

For the perusal of all those interested in this discussion we would like to recommend the following articles:

Rethinking the DREAM Act by Alejandra Juarez
DREAM Act as Military Draft? A statement from the Vamos Unidos Youth

Juan’s Story: Undocumented but not Un-American

In this touching video piece, a young undocumented immigrant discusses how it feels to be trapped in a world where undocumented immigrants, who are primarily Latino, are cast as parasites that drain the United States of its resources without offering a feasible path to citizenship to those already here. It is crucial to remember that the immigration debate has had and will continue to have real effects, not only for the U.S., but for the millions of people who want to live, work and be happy in the country.

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