May Day Marches in Washington State

Some Information Courtesy of May Day United [http://maydayunited.org/actions/list-of-events/washington/]

If you know of other May Day Marches and you’d like them featured on this blog, please e-mail the information and image of the flyer to El Comite’s In-House Blog-ista at: oscarr@uw.edu

Mt. Vernon
Location: 2405 East College Way
Time: 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Description: 24th Annual Farm Worker Solidarity March – farm workers and their supporters will march for the right to organize.
10:30am- Rally in Maiben Park, Burlington, WA
March for approximately 7 miles to Skagit Valley College in Mt. Vernon, WAThe Northwest’s longest running farm worker rights march; Community will march to strengthen the Farm Worker and Immigrant Rights Movement on May 1, 2011
Web Site:
More Info: Please call 360-941-1509

Seattle
Location: 611 20th Ave S
Time: 1:00 PM
Description: Starting point: Judkins Park (next to St. Mary’s Church)
611 20th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
Ending point: Memorial Stadium, 401 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98109
Web Site: https://elcomitewa.wordpress.com/
More Info: 206-356-3500

Yakima
Location: Corner of North 3rd ST and East E ST
Time: 3:30 PM
Description: Starting point: Miller Park in Yakima
Web Site: N/A
More Info: Contact Rogelio Montes, 509-728-6679

MEDIA ADVISORY: Organizers Anticipate Larger Turnout for Annual March Scheduled for Sunday, May 1st 2011.

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Tuesday April 19, 2011

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

Organizers Anticipate Larger Turnout for Annual March Scheduled for Sunday, May 1st 2011.

Cuts in Public Services, Attacks on Organized Labor, and the recently proposed Drivers’ License bill that would have denied undocumented immigrants, among major issues in mobilization.

 

SEATTLE – This year, as in the past, El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition will host their annual May 1st March, scheduled to begin at Judkins Park in Seattle on Sunday, May 1st 2011, in what many anticipate will be one of the largest marches yet. This is scheduled to be yet another major event in what has been a very active year. Protests have erupted throughout the country in response to adverse economic conditions as well as congressional inactivity in addressing immigration reform in a humane, non-racially biased way.

The recent wave in demonstrations both locally and nationally have illustrated popular discontent with the direction in which law makers in Olympia and Washington D.C. have taken budgetary discourse. Cuts in public services in many states have drawn scores of demonstrators in opposition. Likewise, labor disputes centered on the right to organize collectively have sparked a groundswell of support for workers in many states along the Eastern United States, most notably in states like Wisconsin, New Jersey and Michigan, among others.

Similarly, in the State of Washington, one of the most controversially contested bills was SB 5407, which would prohibit anyone who is undocumented to obtain a drivers license. Though not as far-reaching and constitutionally questionable as Arizona SB 1070, the bill’s sponsor led legislative hearings around SB 5407 that were fraught with xenophobic grandstanding under the guise of transportation safety. In the end, the bill was defeated, as even Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano Island) cast a vote against the bill that she herself sponsored.

According to Juan Jose Bocanegra, an organizer with El Comité, “these issues are all interconnected. Many who bear the brunt of this economic downturn are also the ones who are blamed by corporate and right wing interests. Workers are divided by barriers in national status, income, and ability. When it comes down to it, we all see the same attacks. It’s important to acknowledge each other and work together for all our common interests.”

The 2011 March route will go downhill from the Judkins Park and curve northbound on way to Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center. A two hour program is slated for attendees and will include musical performances, speeches by local labor and social justice leaders, and a special keynote from longtime, Chicago-based activist, Carlos Arango, formerly a student leader at the time of the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City in 1968 and presently Executive Director of the Casa Aztlan community center in Chicago.

The May 1st Action Coalition is an entity comprised of labor and social justice organizations in the greater Seattle area that has come together in recent years to organize alongside El Comité for the Annual May 1st March. El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social has been in existence since April of 2000. This event will mark the 11th year that this march has been organized and sponsored by El Comité and other social justice groups.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

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CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS FOR MAY DAY 2011!

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS FOR MAY DAY 2011!

The Annual May Day March would not be possible without the help of numerous organizers and volunteers who donate their time and energy to the cause of workers, civil and human rights to make the largest Immigrant Rights March in the Pacific Northwest. This year, as in others past, we continue to witness attacks against workers via budget cuts and against the basic right to organize collectively, the most visible of these attacks occurring in Wisconsin and along the Midwest. Likewise, ICE officials and state legislatures across the country continue an onslaught against undocumented workers and communities with absolute impunity. One such example with the recent

drivers’ license bill in Olympia that was halted momentarily in early March.

PLEASE JOIN THE MAY 1ST ACTION COALITION AND EL COMITÉ PRO-REFORMA MIGRATORIA Y JUSTICIA SOCIAL TO MAKE THE 2011 MAY DAY MARCH THE LARGEST ONE YET!

Entering the 11th year of the May Day March, the coalition is in need of volunteers to help put the program together and ensure things run smoothly on May 1st.

We are in need of 300 volunteers to help with the march and 30 ushers to help at Memorial Stadium at Seattle Center

To volunteer contact our volunteer coordinator at:

SI SE PUDO! Presencia Latina en la Capital del Estado y Nuestro Poder Político

Art by Jake Prendez

Presencia Latina en la Capital Del Estado y Nuestro Poder Político

Por Maru Villalpando (publicado en http://maruvillalpando.wordpress.com)

7 de Marzo 2011El viernes 4 de marzo se dio lugar uno de los eventos que marcarán el futuro político de nuestra comunidad en la capital de nuestro estado, Olympia. Ese día la presencia Latina no sólo fue enorme en números, pero también en calidad. Desde que la sesión legislativa comenzó en enero de este año se definió como una batalla contra la comunidad inmigrante debido al número de propuestas presentadas que afectarían a nuestras comunidades sí éstas se convirtieran en ley; la comunidad respondió al llamado y comenzó su participación cívica inmediatamente.

Desde Buena, Topenish, Yakima, Tri-Cities, Mount Vernon, Bellingham, Shelton, Forks, Kent, Seattle, Tacoma, Auburn, Lynnwood, Wanatchee y muchas ciudades más la gente participó ya sea asistiendo a las audiencias públicas, recabando firmas, mandando correo electrónicos, llamando por teléfono, escribiendo cartas a mano o reuniéndose con sus legisladores para demostrar su oposición a las propuestas de eliminar o restringir las licencias de conducir para gente sin seguro social, la de consolidar en una todas las comisiones étnicas, la propuesta de eliminar servicios de intérpretes médicos, la de criminalizar a los jóvenes latinos por tener apariencia de pandilleros, la de que las agencias Worksource usaran la base de datos nacional E-verify para revisar el estatus migratorio de sus clientes, la de eliminar los programas de servicios médicos para los niños Apple Health for Kinds y Basic Health, entre otras.

En un sólo día la oficina de la Senadora Lisa Brown, líder de la mayoría del Senado, recibió más de 400 llamadas. En un período de menos de 24 horas las comunidades del Valle de Yakima y  Mount Vernon recabaron más de 300 firmas, y en total a través del estado se han entregado a los legisladores más de 10,000 firmas en contra de las propuestas de eliminar o restringir las licencias. Y como broche de oro el 4 de marzo los Latinos, cálculos van de 800 a más de 1000, no sólo se sentaron a escuchar a sus legisladores, también se lanzaron a reuniones con ellos, expresaron sus opiniones y llenaron la galería de la cámara de Representantes donde los Representantes Luis Moscoso y  Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney organizaron que todos los Representantes estatales dieran una bienvenida y reconocimiento a todos los presentes. Mientras esperaban cantaron en español, hicieron el aplauso del campesino, y gritaron en unísono ¡SI SE PUEDE!

Por supuesto siempre hay un pelo en la sopa, el discurso de la Gobernadora estuvo lleno de palabras bonitas pero no tenía contenido sobre las propuestas, y cuando fue entrevistada –y de muy buenas fuentes sabemos que su oficina le dio la vuelta a esta entrevista por mucho tiempo- después de su discurso, la reportera Martha Sanchez de Latino Norhtwest hizo la pregunta que todos se hacían, ¿por qué ha aceptado públicamente la Gobernadora firmar una ley que elimine las licencias? Su respuesta fue la misma que hemos escuchado desde diciembre pasado, no hay razón clara, solo piensa firmarla porque ella cree que hay un problema de fraudes de licencias, a pesar de que el Departamento de Licencias en noviembre hizo cambios drásticos al proceso de expedir licencias y hoy en día no sólo esta lista es más extensa, también hay un equipo que verifica cada documento presentado y después de ocho semanas se decide si se expide la licencia o no.

¿Será que ella ya no puede re-elegirse para gobernadora y siente que ya no tiene que quedar bien con nosotros los Latinos? Y el segundo pelo en la sopa fue la reunión del Representante Armstrong con gente de su distrito, del área de Wanatchee, en un salón donde nuestra gente también tuvo la oportunidad de hablar informalmente con Representantes que aceptaron la invitación previa.  La reunión con Armstrong había sido organizada con anticipación, así que no fue que él aceptara la invitación general que se envió a todos los legisladores a esta reunión informal, y por supuesto Armstrong siendo el auspiciador de la propuesta HB1577 que pretende que todos demuestren su ciudadanía para obtener una licencia de manejo y aquellos que no puedan se les daría una licencia que no sería válida como identificación, mostró su verdadero sentimiento por la comunidad Latina que él representa al entrar en un caluroso debate con la gente de su distrito quienes expresaban su oposición ante dicha propuesta. Cuando él empezó a perder el control una de la organizadoras del evento tuvo que intervenir y pedirle que reconociera que todos tenemos derecho a estar en desacuerdo y lo que ocurría en ese momento era muestra de cómo funciona nuestra democracia. La respuesta de Armstrong fue muestra de cómo él subestima a nuestra gente, a la gente de su distrito, su desconecte con la realidad Latina y su prepotencia, él respondió “tienes que educar a esta gente”.

¿Será que algunos Legisladores aun no creen que sí participamos cívicamente, que sí votamos y podemos influenciar los resultados electorales y políticos?, si es así viven en un mundo sin ventanas a la realidad porque el 4 de marzo fue la muestra tangible de que sí tenemos poder político, y apenas estamos empezando. Los años de esfuerzo de crear conciencia y educación cívica y política están dando resultado. Las colaboraciones entre activistas, medios de comunicación, organizaciones, agencias y líderes comunitarios y algunos políticos han funcionado, pero lo principal es que la gente del pueblo ha tomado la batuta y todos los demás son solo la herramienta para que el cambio comience.

Espero que la gente de comunidades no inmigrantes y de otras etnias noten que el haber permitido que se nos ataque por décadas a nosotros los inmigrantes, el haber permitido que se nos culpe de todos los males, que nos agarren de chivo expiatorio, el aceptar con su silencio las deportaciones masivas, a las redadas como la de Ellensburg este año, al avance en muchos estados de propuestas anti-inmigrantes y copias de la ley racista SB1070 de Arizona han llevado a que los ataques se eleven ahora al resto de la clase trabajadora. Wisconsin como ejemplo, donde el Gobernador Republicano, uno de varios a través del país, que pretenden desaparecer los sindicatos de empleados públicos usando como excusa la deuda estatal. Este es un ataque a toda la gente, sin importar su color, estatus migratorio o denominación religiosa. La única cosa que tenemos todos en común es que somos gente de clase trabajadora. Si nosotros los inmigrantes permitimos que este ataque avance, si nos quedamos callados como otros los han hecho con nosotros ¿cuál será el siguiente grupo que tendrá que salir a defenderse? Seamos la muestra de solidaridad y poder político. Apoyemos a todos los que están en lucha por mantener sus derechos más básicos de unión, representación y negociación por mejores condiciones de trabajo y vida.

Estoy orgullosa de haber tenido la oportunidad de estar a lado de la gente de Yakima, de Mt Vernon, de todas las ciudades,  aquellos que se lanzan a lo desconocido y luchan sin pedir nada. Mujeres, jóvenes, hombres de todas edades quienes tenemos algo en común: somos Latinos que estamos en solidaridad con todas las comunidades y estamos dispuestos a dar todo para mantener y aumentar nuestros derechos que nos hemos ganado a pulso con nuestro trabajo, de manera pacífica y honrada, por eso somos Latinos, por eso estamos aquí. Somos presencia y poder. ¡Adelante y hasta la victoria Latinas y Latinos!

Maru Villalpando es una asesora independiente para grupos comunitarios y organizaciones sin fines de lucro que pelean por los derechos de los inmigrantes y por justicia racial.

Immigration, license bill voted down on WA Senate (courtesy of Associated Press)

Immigration, license bill voted down on WA Senate

By MANUEL VALDES
ASSOCIATED PRESS

(this is an excerpt, for the full article please go to http://www.seattlepi.com/local/6420ap_wa_xgr_illegal_immigrants_licenses.html)

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Republican-led motion to bring a vote on a bill that would have restricted access to driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants and attempted to stop identification fraud was defeated Monday in the state Senate, dealing a major defeat to proponents of the measure.

In a procedural motion, Republicans asked the Senate to consider the bill, which had not been brought to the floor by Democrats, who hold the majority and control over which bills get a vote.

The motion failed 23-25 in the waning minutes of a deadline to vote on bills in their chambers of origin.

Among the “no” votes was chief sponsor Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, but she said that she will take the issue to the governor.

“Nothing is ever dead in the Legislature. I’m going to go talk to the governor,” Haugen said. “I’d ask the governor that she needs to stand and take leadership in this role. She needs to recognize what’s happening in this nation.”

Washington state is one of two in the country that let illegal immigrants obtain driver’s licenses. New Mexico is the other state that still allows such practice, but lawmakers there are also considering bills to close the access.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has said that if the Legislature passed a bill dealing with driver’s licenses, she would sign it.

The bill would have required applicants for driver’s license to provide proof of residency and a Social Security number. Supporters had said the bill aimed to stop identification fraud.

Haugen said that there are 300,000 more driver’s licenses in this state than there are drivers.

Opponents, though, had said that it would have led the illegal immigrant community to drive without licenses and car insurance. They also said that the estimated cost of the bill – about $1.5 million in the next two-year budget – is too expensive in a year that the state faces a deficit.

After the defeat, the bill appeared dead. No other licenses bill received a vote on the House.

The vote was the furthest a bill dealing with the driver’s license issue has ever gotten in the Legislature.

Haugen, who is the chairwoman of the Senate transportation committee, said that for years she had stopped similar bills because she was worried about the impact on the farm industry, which employs a significant number of illegal immigrants using fake identification.

The senator argued that her bill would put restrictions on identification fraud by imposing stricter rules on state residency, adding that illegal immigrants in the state would have not been affected by the proposed law.

She said that she’s concerned that if lawmakers don’t act, an initiative will be approved in this state with stricter rules affecting farm workers. But attempts at such initiatives have failed in the last half a decade in the state, with organizers failing to get the signatures needed.

Immigrants and Allies Rally and March on February 25th, 2011

MEDIA ADVISORY

For Immediate Release: Saturday February 26, 2011

Contact: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

Immigrants and their Allies Rally at Westlake and March to the Downtown Seattle ICE Offices to Protest ICE Raids and Proposed Anti-Immigrant Legislation on Friday, February 25, 2011.

SEATTLE – El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition held a March and rally in Downtown Seattle, beginning at around 4 p.m. that drew an estimated 80 participants. Many braved 30 degree weather to protest the recent escalation of attacks against the immigrant communities in Washington, on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and anti-immigrant legislation proposed in Olympia.

The program began with a brief Rally at Westlake where participants slowly gathered and came in closer to the stage area. Speakers included spokespersons for local organizations such as The New Sanctuary Movement, Witness for Peace, and faith based organizations. Colette Cosner, Regional Coordinator for Witness for Peace read a brief excerpt from Washington State Senator, Adam Kline’s (D-Seattle) statement on contentious bill SB 5407, which would restrict undocumented residents from obtaining a drivers’ license.

“I oppose SB 5407 very strongly. Personally, I prefer a policy that recognizes reality; the immigrants have come here to work, and their labor is welcome because even in this deep recession there are jobs that native-born Americans don’t seek. These people keep our economy going.”

Sen. Kline’s statement illustrated the theme of the demonstration as participants then marched west-bound on Pine Street and south on 2nd Ave on way to the 1000 Building which houses offices for the both the Washington State Department of Licensing as well as an Immigration Court and offices for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency. A brief rally continued at the March’s destination.

According to Sandy Restrepo, Co-Chair for the May 1st Action Coalition, “these policies at the state and national levels are an all out assault on our youth. They bear the brunt of not being able to attain drivers’ licenses if they are undocumented and of having their parents taken away and having their families separated because some members of the family are documented and others may not be.”

Antonio Flores, Spokesperson for El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social, further noted, “our children are those who suffer most from these inhumane laws. They are at danger of losing their caretakers in their parents and have to cope with the psychological trauma of having agents come in and disappear family members at will.” He further stated, “I am indigenous. My family is indigenous. We are not strangers to these lands and we all have the human right to migrate to be able to provide for our families. My childrens’ suffering and all our childrens’ suffering is on you (ICE Officials)! Shame on you!”

As the demonstration wrapped up, speakers related these issues to others around the country, namely around resistance to budget cuts and to the labor issues transpiring in Wisconsin and other states in the Midwest. They ended the program with the chant, “we’ll be back, we’ll be back,” indicating that their concern is yet to be resolved.

As done the previous eleven years, organizers will continue to fight to secure the basic rights of all, regardless of place of origin.

For more information, contact the following: El Comité Pro Reforma Migratoria Y Justicia Social and the May 1st Action Coalition, 206.324.6044.

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March to Stop Raids and Deportations