John Ridley New Television Drama American Crime Premiering THURSDAY MARCH 5 on ABC

POSTED ON
March 03

With writing, timing is everything. Being in the right place at the right time.

John Ridley

Above:  Benito Martinez — photo credit American Crime.

This powerful sneak peek trailer for a new television drama American Crime was heart wrenching for me to see. American Crime will be premiering this upcoming THURSDAY MARCH 5 10|9c on ABC.

 

3 things came across my thoughts while watching the impassioned performance from both Johnny Ortiz and Benito Martinez in the trailer:

 

1)     I put myself in the shoes of the parent (Benito Martinez) whose kid was being detained for the allegation of murder. The young man (Johnny Ortiz) was complaining about his father being overbearing — but the  patriarch made no apologies for his strict parenting.

2)     As the authorities were separating the child from his father in light of the allegation, I thought of the immigrants who were and are separated from relatives because of a clearly broken immigration system the Republicans have stalled and refused to fix. The broken immigration system criminalizes hard working immigrant fathers and mothers who were forced to be torn apart from their children until the Obama administration used his executive powers to give some relief to these families.

3)     Lastly, I thought about a friend of mine – Joaquin, who was falsely accused of a crime. My childhood friend had not yet even met the “victim” who was living in another state during the time of the allegation. I watched Joaquin’s mom and dad go through a living personal hell and watched them stand by the side of their only son.

 

In this American Crime Podcast hosted by film critic and radio personality Elvis Mitchell, you get to hear a 30 minute interview of the show creator John Ridley and Executive Producer Michael McDonald who discuss the series. American Crime centers around the brutal attack of a young couple in Modesto, California. Matt Skokie, a war vet, is murdered, and his wife, Gwen, is left unconscious, barely hanging on. The crime sends shock waves throughout the community stirring up tensions across socioeconomic and racial lines in this gritty new drama — from the points of view of all those involved. “It’s not about the police. It’s not about the prosecutors. It’s really about the family,” creator John Ridley says.

 

Essentially Ridley stated this drama was about familia and how a 3 a.m. phone call in the middle of the night can happen to anyone.

 

The sneak peek managed to capture a patriarch caring father chastising his son who was being detained — yet while they were taking his son away to jail after being charged for murder, you saw the hard ass of a dad turn into a very different emotional state.  No matter what, the dad was going to be there for his boy to ensure he received a fair trial. You could see it in Benito’s eyes and his acting was moving.

 

Through the lens of a Chicana, I believe American Crime will captivate the tough love we see in ourselves an what we would do for the protection of our kids, family or friends. Often times in our culture, I see tough love displayed through discipline and/or the sheer defense of those we love in order for them to survive.  Kids are our livelihood and many of us know we would die for our children no matter what.

 

Joseph JT Campos (playing Bruno the immigrant border jumper in the American Crime series) is an actor who made me aware of this new television drama and I’m glad he did because the sneak peak is powerfully irresistible.

 

I encourage my readers to watch American Crime this upcoming Thursday on ABC.

 

 

 

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Hollywood Comes To Phoenix — Raza Promoting Raza Films In Entertainment Industry

POSTED ON
January 28

 

 
Photo Credit: Homebound Movie (Above) Enrique Castillo. An accomplished actor/writer/director, Enrique began his career with Luis Valdez’s Teatro Campesino in 1969. As part of the Teatro, Enrique participated in workshops with English theater director Peter Brook’s theater group which included now Academy Award winner Helen Mirren. In the early 70′s Enrique traveled with the Teatro to Paris when they represented the U.S. at the World Theater Festival. In 1978 Enrique made the move to Hollywood and was cast in the hit play “Zoot Suit”, also created and directed by Luis Valdez, where he played the lead role of Henry Reyna opposite Edward James Olmos.
 
 
HOLLYWOOD COMES TO PHOENIX AREA!
 
Award Winning Indie Film “Homebound” screens in Glendale AZ for one night only.
 
 
 
Phoenix, AZ — We are excited to bring “Hollywood into Arizona” for a special one night only theatre screening of Homebound.  We are excited to announce movie actor Enrique Castillo’s presence at the screening in Glendale, Arizona, this upcoming Thursday.  This could not be possible without the financial support of the Chicano Radio Network and Frank Mills Miranda who contributed a significant amount of money in order for us to secure the theatre screen at the Westgate AMC Theatre in Glendale, Arizona.  
 
Chicanos, Mexican-Americans, and Latinos in Arizona have endured laws and minor setbacks with anti-immigrant legislation, eliminating Chicano Ethnic Studies from educational programs and more.  These moves were designed to make our community feel bad about our culture, however, because art imitates life, our community continues to overcome these  small setbacks by promoting art and film in the entertainment industry that instills a strong sense of Chicano or Latin pride on the big screen.  Homebound is a heart warming movie about immigrant(s) and American born citizens of Mexican descent that depicts us in a positive light.
 
We invested time, energy and resources to bring this movie into our town in an effort to instill pride in our cultura (culture).  We know that Chicanos (Americans of Mexican descent) and Latinos are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States, and our passion for movies has shown itself when our demographic group bought 25 percent of the movie tickets sold in 2013 even though we comprise just 17 percent of the population, according to the Motion Picture Association of America’s year-end study. Mexican Americans account for approximately 70% of the entire Latin / Hispanic population pie, which is why Chicanos are stepping up and promoting these types of films that depict us in a good light.  In other words we want Hollywood and the entertainment industry to know that we are supporting the films we want to see through Tugg with a holistic and grassroots approach.
 
We want to give special thanks to Bel Hernandez (Latin Heat Entertainment), Michael Reyes (La Paz Restaurant owner),  Adam Sandoval, Marie Escobar and George Diaz for helping us promote this special event.
 
From the Film Director of Homebound, Fanny Veliz:
 
 
 
Los Angeles, CA – Jan 15th, 2015 – Writer/Director and actress Fanny Véliz raised production funds to shoot her first feature film, Homebound, through the increasingly popular internet crowd funding method.  Now that the film is complete she is turning to the community once again with a unique concept. “ Bring my film to your town.” Says Véliz. The goal is to show to Hollywood that there’s a hungry audience out there ready for a film like HOMEBOUND.
 
It is about empowering the community to empower filmmakers to tell the Latino stories Hollywood chooses to neglect.  To do this the filmmaker has decided to use the web platform TUGG.com. TUGG is a crowd sourcing platform that gives people the ability to bring the movies to their local movie theater without any up-front-costs. The screenings can even be used as fundraisers.
 
“I’m committed to helping transform the image of Latinos in the media by telling stories that aren’t usually told,” says Veliz.  “We are all used to seeing stories of gangs, maids, and other stereotypes, this film shows another side of the American Latino. Homebound is an American story, a human story told with an American Latino cast. The recent Academy Award nominations is proof that there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to inclusion of minorities in film” 
9 screenings of the film have already taken place in New York, El Paso, San Antonio, Chicago, Fresno, Austin, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Laredo.
 
Dee Dee Garcia Blase a known community activist saw this film as an opportunity to support the Latino community and decided to host a screening of the film in the Phoenix area. The screening will take place January 29th  at the AMC Westgate 20 (9400 West Hanna Drive, Glendale, AZ, US, 85308 Tickets are $12.00 General) Tickets can be purchased: https://www.tugg.com/events/12691
 
Enrique Castillo, known for playing Montana in the film Blood in Blood out as well as many other roles will be in attendance as well as the filmmaker Fanny Veliz. Enrique Castillo was nominated for a SAG Award for his stand-out role in Showtime’s wicked series “Weeds” where he plays the lethal Cesar. He guest starred on the CBS hit show “NCIS” and “Outlaw” opposite Jimmy Smits; and on the HBO series “Enlightened”. Most recently starred in the in the film “Kill The Dictator” which broke box office records in the Dominican Republic. His in a gut wrenching performance in Fanny Veliz’s indie film “Homebound” has earned critical acclaim. He recent guest starred in TNT “Major Crimes” in June of 2014.

Enrique is most recognized for his film role of Montana in Taylor Hackford “Blood In Blood Out” where he played the inspirational (albeit terrifying) leader of the Mexican prison gang. When the film was released, The New York Times singled out Mr. Castillos’s performance in their review.
 
Homebound tells the story of Richard Lynn, a successful young Latino business professional who returns to his small hometown in Texas to help his dying father. His father insists he take over the family business, a bar. Secretly, the young man wants to burn down the bar because he blames it for the death of his own mother and the illness of his father. In the process he rediscovers his childhood’s small town and falls truly in love for the first time.
 
The film features a cast of seasoned actors which includes Enrique Castillo, whose work in such films as El Norte, Mi Familia and the cult classic Blood In Blood Out have made him a fan favorite among Latino audiences and his role in Showtime’s Weeds has made him a hit among mainstream audiences.  Texan born Julia Vera, who has built a career as a character actress in film and television for over twenty years is not only an actress in Homebound, she is also invested in the film as an associate producer.  Richard Lynn is played by a dynamic young actor, Jeremiah Ocañas, who not only plays the lead, he is also a native El Campo, Texas, where the film was shot. El Campo served not only as the prime location, but its citizens helped facilitate permits, meals, lodging, a source of talent pool for minor roles and the extras, and even a helicopter needed for the shoot. Fanny Véliz, in addition to her producing, writing, and directing duties also plays the female lead in the film.
 
Community is at the centerpiece of this undertaking.  It takes a community, and Véliz is hoping to once again enlist community and embrace the film through the “ TUGG Community Screenings” concept, and help them raise awareness of the film.  For more information on the film Homebound go to  www.homeboundthemovie.com
 
To reserve tickets for the screening go to: https://www.tugg.com/events/12691
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Chicanos Protest El Salvadorian-American Arizona Politician Rep. Steve Montenegro

POSTED ON
January 24
Arizona Rep. Steve Montenegro Protest
 
 
 
"!!Ay de los que dictan leyes injustas, y prescriben tiranía!" --  Isaías 10:1
 
 
Phoenix, AZ -- We will be protesting Tea Party Republican Steve Montenegro this Sunday (for siding with anti-immigrant Republicans) tomorrow morning at his own Church.  The goal is to inform Montenegro's own church congregation of his hypocrisy because we believe he preaches one thing to immigrant members of his congregation while doing another at the Arizona state capitol.   We were successful with informing the Mormon community of (now ousted) Sen. Russell Pearce's Mormon hypocrisy when we protested Pearce at his Mesa Mormon Church.  We educated Mormon leaders in Mesa via a Fireside.  We were also successful in getting Sheriff Joe Arpaio's attention when we protested him at the Fountain Hills Catholic Church when he an his wife avoided going to church because they were too embarrassed.  As such, it is now time for Montenegro's congregation to know about his immigrant hypocrisy.  The goal is to raise awareness to those living in his district with an effort to ensure Montenegro will not get re-elected in 2016.  We believe Montenegro cannot serve two masters as he preaches one "high moral"  thing but does another at the Arizona state capitol.
 
According to the Three Sonorans:
 
"Steve Montenegro is a person everyone in Tucson should know, because he is the main force behind a bill that was just passed that was targeted directed at TUSD. That bill is HB 2281 and Steve Montenegro was the primary sponsor of that horrible bill. Montenegro is also vilified for being a main stooge for Russell Pearce’s SB 1070, and has gone on national TV to defend that bill (video below) that has given Arizona such a negative name in the last two months."
 
 
It is time to revive the Chicano Movement as we show El Salvadorian-American Rep. Montenegro why our community will no longer be complacent with his hyporcisy.
 

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New Arizona Governor Doug Ducey Begins His Legacy Passing Education Bill Tied To Immigration Fed Test

POSTED ON
January 16

 

According to the Associated Press, "Arizona became the first state in the nation on Thursday to enact a law requiring high school students to pass the U.S. Immigration citizenship test on civics before graduation."

 
Both the House and the Senate rushed the bill without first addressing:
 
COST.  How much will it cost schools in order to implement the INS test? Senator Abelser cited concerns with failed previous legislation implemented with regard to AIMS testing and how he sees a similar pattern with regard to the INS test.  He also expressed concerns with rushing SB 1029 without first answering cost-related questions to Arizona taxpayers from a fiscally responsible standpoint.  Ableser also reminded Arizona lawmakers how the former superintendent of Arizona public education via Lisa Keegan helped enact AIMS only for the measure to end in 2014 replacing it with another tougher academics test that could cost Arizona tax payers an additional 9 million to implement new testing
 
BUDGET.  Senator Katie Hobbs addressed concerns regarding Arizona schools who are already experiencing a budget crisis and the shortage of computer resources already in some schools today in order for the INS test to be conducted online.  How will Republican Senators be fiscally responsible with addressing the current school budget crisis and computer shortages of some schools considering we have a looming $1 billion shortfall Governor Jan Brewer left Arizonan taxpayers with?
 
EDUCATION REGRESSION. Senator Catherine Miranda addressed regression concerns in Arizona education.  Arizona high schools are already teaching more complex American history and it does not make sense overall to go backwards particularly when the new assessment test replacing AIMS testing reflects tougher academic standards.
 
COURT CHALLENGE CONCERNS.  This is yet another Arizona Immigration-related Bill that adds more bureaucracy and large government ideas now being introduced into Arizona education.   SB 1070 was mostly struck down by the Supreme Court that cost Arizona taxpayers.  Currently a challenge of Ethnic Chicano studies not being taught in Arizona schools is tied up in the 9th Circuit Court of Appealsth Circuit Court of Appeals because Arizona Republicans simply cannot leave the immigration issue alone and to the feds. Arizona Senator Steve Farley pointed out the hypocrisy of some Arizona Republicans who were against President Obama's “common core” in education, yet, some of these very Republicans are okay with larger government ideas that uses “federal” Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)  testing standards that essentially introduces more bureaucracy just because it is immigration related. 
 
Additionally, our women-led organization was disappointed in President Senator Biggs for not publicly addressing Tea Party Senator John  Kavanaugh in public for violating legislative rules when Kavanaugh inappropriately addressed female Arizona lawmaker Senator Catherine Miranda by name during the SB 1029 session. We hope this does not indicate how future legislative sessions will be conducted.  Kavanaugh is a seasoned public servant in Arizona state legislature and he should know the rules with regard to the professional legislative decorum required by everyone else.
 
Below is the list of Arizona Senators who voted in support of tying public education to an immigration test:
 
Senators Biggs, Allen, Barto, Begay, Burges, Dial, Driggs, Farnesworth, Griffin, Kavanaugh, Lesko McGuire, Pierce, Shooter, Smith, Ward, Worsely, Yarbrough, and Yee. 
 
Arizona Senators who did not support the immigration federal testing tied to high school are:
 
Senators Ableser, Bradley, Carjero Bedford, Contreras, Dalessandro, Farley, Hobbs, Mora, Miranda, and Quezada (with 
Senator Pancranzi a no-vote).
 
Finally, it appears the new Republican Governor Doug Ducey is following the footsteps of Governor Jan Brewer with regard to  eagerly signing another Arizona bill tied to immigration via INS testing.  This bill was rushed through Arizona legislation and it is the first bill Ducey will sign.  Cost and budget concerns were not addressed and Arizona taxpayers will foot the bill without knowing the collateral damage of a bill that has been fast-tracked putting us at risk of potentially fighting another State bill that could end up in the 9th Circuit court of appeals if challenged.
 
 
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Arizona ban on Chicano studies goes before appeals court

POSTED ON
January 12

Meanwhile in San Francisco at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ...

From AZ Central:

TUCSON — A federal appeals court on Monday will take up the case against a ban on ethnic studies in Arizona.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear arguments in the case that has received renewed attention after a school district in Tucson was accused by state officials of violating the ban.

A lower court has upheld the Arizona law that prohibits courses if they promote resentment toward a race or a class of people, are designed primarily for people of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of people as individuals.

The ban was approved in 2010 and adopted by the Tucson Unified School District two years later because it risked losing funding. The district eliminated its Mexican-American studies program, angering teachers and students who said it improved student achievement. They went on to sue the state, saying the law was overly broad and violated free speech rights.

But the federal court found courses "designed primarily for peoples of a particular ethnic group" to be unconstitutionally vague and upheld the other standards under which Tucson's program was eliminated.

TUSD is now at risk of losing about $14.2 million in annual funding over what state officials say are violations of the ban.

Former Arizona Superintendent John Huppenthal used his last hours in office to issue a report accusing the TUSD of being in violation. He cited an introductory course on hip-hop from the African-American perspective and lyrics from the rock band Rage Against the Machine as violations.

New Superintendent Diane Douglas said she agrees that TUSD is in violation but says the problem is not with the ethnic studies curriculum but with the way it is taught.

Douglas said it's a misunderstanding that the Arizona Department of Education is opposed to ethnic studies.

District Superintendent H.T. Sanchez said the curriculum follows a 2013 federal racial desegregation order requiring culturally relevant courses. He said the courses are being taught at three high schools, but they will be expanded to seven next school year.

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In Retaliation For Obama’s Free College Program, Arizona Legislators Want To Pass Additional Bureaucratic Methods Within Education That Could Mean Less High School Diplomas

POSTED ON
January 12

In Retaliation For Obama’s Free College Program, Arizona Legislators  Want To Pass Additional Bureaucratic Methods Within Education That Could Mean Less High School Diplomas

 
 
 
 
Phoenix, AZ --   Republicans want to vote and introduce a bill during their first week of session that ties Arizona education to a test equivalent to INS standards. The additional education impediment appears to be improper because it uses irrelevant methodology in relation to immigrants.
 
If there is no compelling state interest, one can show with empirical data that it has a desperate impact on immigrants, which would meet the constitutional strict scrutiny test and be challenged it in court if it passes. See Brown v. Board of Ed. and Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954) [finding national origin discrimination against Mexican-Americans in grand jury selection impermissible].
 
However, the Republican bureaucratic education bill could put American citizens at a disadvantage – not immigrants.  According to USA Today, Americans were put to shame by immigrants on a sample civics test. It is unclear what Montenegro’s rational basis is for the bill considering he supports smaller government. What is the legislative purpose to this bill?
 
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Democratic Caucus Of Arizona Senate Begins New Year On Right Foot

POSTED ON
January 09

Democratic Signatures

All signatures obtained by January 7, 2014.

 

 

Remember when certain Democrats were in support of a recall against Chicana law maker (D) Catherine Miranda? As of January 7, 2015, a final signature was obtained with regard to a letter addressed to the Arizona community regarding Arizona Democratic Sen. Catherine Miranda. Let it be known the Arizona State Senate Democratic Caucus stands united against a recall against Sen. Miranda.

Frank Mills Miranda, Angel Garcia, Gail Mokry Shoultes, Lou Lernor, Shirl Mora James and I were the initial voices who held a certain democratic political action committee leader accountable for a misogynist‬ term used against the female Arizona law maker.

As a key swing Independent registered voter, we reminded the community how Republicans in the State of Arizona have been successful in the past because of their "unified front" and we told Democratic leaders they should also have a unified front in the state of Arizona -- particularly when Independents are the largest voting block putting the Arizona GOP in 2nd place, and the Arizona Dems in 3rd place.

We were disappointed to hear about Democratic lawmakers who were actually in support of a recall against their own Democratic colleague Miranda, however, the below letter helps the Chicano and Latino community get on the correct "unified front" path because we can no longer tolerate Anglo(s)political bloggers such as Arizona Eagletarian [Steve Muratore] to be part of a political assassination attempts of a fellow Chicana law maker without proper justification.

A political stoning to death of a fellow Chicana who has helped promote immigration reform will not take place under our watch, and though we don't always agree with Miranda on every political issue -- we do know that she is a staunch advocate of immigration.

More importantly, and recently,  she blew the whistle on new lawmaker Rep. Jay Lawrence who was suggesting to put "non citizen" on Arizona immigrant driver's licenses on the eve of the Arizona Super Bowl. She informed immigration advocates and we now have Jay Lawrence officially stating he will not go through with his driver's license / immigration scare idea. Those who are participated in her political character assassination has much to do with her pro life views (she is a Catholic pro life Democrat)  when Ruben Gallego hand picked Aaron Marquez to run against Miranda in light of her pro life views. Both Ruben and Aaron attacked Miranda for her pro life views.  Rep. Ruben Gallego of all people should know better than to attack a pro life Democrat because he himself began his political career when he worked under City Councilman Michael Nowakowski who is a well know Catholic pro lifer.   That said, it is important to know that there are a lot of ‪#‎Catholic‬ pro life Democrats in Miranda's district and this is why she won in the first place despite her attackers. Catholic pro lifers want to see her in office, and it will probably be a matter of time when we see Miranda become a future Chicana / Latina Congresswoman.

We applaud Miranda for being proactive instead of reactive on the immigration front and we hope she will continue to blow the whistle on wrong doers who want to scare immigrants. In my view, she helped thwart a Super Bowl debacle from brewing in light of Jay Lawrence for House and his immigration scare controversy.

Below are the individuals who signed:

Senator Robert Meza, Ed Ableser, Carlyle W. Begay, David Bradley, Lupe Contreras, Barbara McGuire, Andrea Delassandro, Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford, Katie Hobbs, Lynne Pancrazi, and lastly Rep. Martín J. Quezada.

Finally, there are critics out there who want to know why we are giving Sen. Catherine Miranda credit where credit is due in light of her being married to Ben Miranda, a controversial lawmaker, who recently passed away.

The answer is simple:  Do we judge a woman for acts committed by her husband?

The answer is no.

We often see those same critics who criticize Hillary Clinton for "standing by her man" regarding her personal marital views.  Bottom line: Hillary Clinton should not be responsible for what her husband does.  Ben Miranda's political decisions (may he rest in peace) were his decisions -- not Catherine's and Catherine so far has not supported any anti-immigrant policies in the State of Arizona.  If and when she supports an anti-immigrant laws in the State of Arizona, we will be sure to let her know how we feel and why we feel the way we do, but in the meantime, we believe in giving credit where credit is due.  She gets credit for blowing the whistle on an immigration scare and we applaud her proactive work.  The proactive work we should have seen when SB 1070 caught us in a surprise with our pants down.

 

c/s

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Jaime Seall-Gutierrez Letter to Santa Barbara News Press Editor for “Illegals Line Up For Driver’s Licenses” Controversy

POSTED ON
January 05

Photo: California Chicano Lawyer, Jaime Segall-Gutierrez with Dolores Huerta

 

Chicano lawyer, Ruben Salazar writes with regard to Santa Barbara News Press’ usage of the term “illegal” when referring to immigrants.  It’s too bad they won’t drop an antiquated offensive word and follow the Associated Press’ suit.   Please sign this petition Chipsterlife began here.  In the below, Jaime Segall-Gutierrez gives the Santa Barbara News Press a history lesson.

 

Santa Barbara News Press Needs to be enlightened

By Jaime Segall-Gutierrez

On January 3, 2015, the Santa Barbara News Press headlines read “Illegals line up for driver’s licenses”. The headline implied volumes by its single sentence. It implied that people, labeled as Illegal were breaking the law by acquiring driver’s licenses. It implied that a human being can be illegal, as if gods beautiful creation could be deemed illegal. It implied that these human beings by their mere existence are breaking this fine countries democratic laws. It put a bad taste in the readers mouth that something is afoul here, when in reality its not.

Santa Barbara is a city older than the News Press. It has a culture, celebrated every year (Fiestas), by most revelers in the city, which is older than the Anglo-American presence. Procession participants yell to the revelers “Viva Fiestas” in homage to the Spanish / Mexican culture which blessed the city with its names and uniquely stylized architecture. It is a cove of Spanish / Mexican ambience.

While Santa Barbara celebrates its centuries old culture, the descendants of said Spaniards and Mexicans are ridiculed, mocked, harassed, marginalized and now dehumanized by the News Press.

Interestingly enough, Santa Barbara prohibited Spanish Immersion for which much of the student body boycotted the schools. Recently, the powers that be, attempted to create a gang injunction, which would have made the residents of the East and West side prisoners in their own home. The dichotomy of celebrating a culture and attempting to oppress it is perplexing and for the most part dysfunctional.

Santa Barbara is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world and some of the most reactionary people in the U.S. The City and County depends heavily on cheap Mexican/Chicano labor, whether it be in the landscape industry, service industry or just plain cheap labor.

Rather than thank this community for its beautiful and unique culture and for its support, Santa Barbara punishes them for wanting to drive legally. Rather than see the virtue in everyone having a driver’s license and insurance, the News Press takes a callus stab at human beings whose only sin is being born Mexican.

Apparently, the News Press is not in compliance with the Associated Press’s Stylebook, which is the news industries standard bearer for language, by using Illegal rather than undocumented.

An apology would be greatly appreciated. Gratitude for Mexicans/Chicanos would be justified.


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Ruben Salazar Letter To Santa Barbara News Press Editor for Use of Term Illegal

POSTED ON
January 05

 

Chicano lawyer, Ruben Salazar writes with regard to Santa Barbara News Press’ usage of the term “illegal” when referring to immigrants.  It’s too bad they won’t drop an antiquated offensive word and follow the Associated Press’ suit.   Please sign this petition Chipsterlife began here.  In the below, Ruben Salazar essentially gives the Santa Barbara News Press a history lesson.

 

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN “ILLEGAL” HUMAN BEING, ONLY “ILLEGAL ACTIVITY.” 

By: Ruben Salazar Esq. Jan 4, 2015 ©

 

Santa Barbara News Star PO Box 1358, Santa Barbara, CA. 93102

Attn: Editorial Board and Taylor Brianna Knopf (805) 564-5193

 

I am both a sociologist and a lawyer, and in that vein, I would like to formally register my seven (7) complaints about your news outlet’s improper usage of the term, “illegals” in your January3, 2015 front page story on California’s new law relating to driver’s licenses. It is wrong on so many levels.

 

First, usage of the racially divisive misnomer is legally wrong and borders on unethical journalism. Nowhere in the U.S. Immigration Nationality Act, the controlling federal immigration laws, is the term “illegal” defined. The word “alien” is defined. INA Sec. 1101(a)(3), The word, “immigrant” is defined. INA Sec. Sec. 1101(a)(15). Both terms are used to describe categories of persons who are not U.S. citizens. Even the term, “special immigrant” is defined. INA Sec. 1101(a)(27). But, nowhere does the term, “illegal” appear in any of the immigration laws or regulations. Thus, the word is misleading to the general public, as it does not even exist under governing U.S. immigration laws. This begs the question: if the term, “illegal” is not found under the federal immigration laws (the definitive authority on the subject), then what gives the author – who claims to have studied sociology as I have – or the editorial board of your local newspaper the temerity to use such an inflammatory non-legal term? It would behoove the board to remember that businesses don’t like controversy or unethical practices by media outlets which don’t adhere to national professional standards of journalism. This is because publicly advertising with such unethical or misleading media outlets make their businesses look unethical or sleazy. Perhaps the more accurate legal terms, “aliens,” or “unlawful immigrants” should have been used instead.

 

If your regrettable use of word, “illegals” refer to foreigners who entered the country without being inspected by an immigration officer or without proper documentation, that too could or would be misplaced. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a crime to cross the border without papers or authorization. INA section 275(a) is entitled “improper entry by alien” and deals with the civil penalties for “avoidance of examination or inspection.” Given this important civil provision, many immigration judges and lawyers in removal proceedings often use the legal phrase, “entering without inspection,” or (“EWI”). Other informed people, call these people through the less offensive legal terms, “foreign nationals“ or ”arriving aliens.” Maybe the terms, “foreign nationals,” “arriving aliens” or “EWI’s” would have been more legally and factually accurate and ethical; that is, assuming ethics and accuracy is what your local newspaper strives to achieve.

 

Second, the term “illegals” is potentially overbroad and contrary to existing immigration case law. What you may not know is that many foreign nationals initially entered because they were inadvertently admitted into the U.S. by immigration officials. For example, it is not uncommon for an individual migrant to be “waved through” inspection at a port of entry and be allowed to enter without being asked any questions by the inspecting border patrol agent. Such a non-citizen who physically presents him or herself for inspection, makes no false claim to U.S. citizenship, and is inadvertently permitted to enter the U.S., has been legally inspected and admitted, even if the inspecting office asks no questions. Such an individual has not made an entry without inspection (EWI), and so cannot be considered to be here “illegally.” See, Matter of Areguillin, 17 I&N Dec. 308 (BIA 1980).

 

Third, and perhaps most notably, the term, “illegals,” is journalistically obsolete and unfair, racially biased, and passé. We remind the Santa Barbara Star News that the influential Associated Press (AP) Stylebook is used by reputable newspapers and schools around the United States. On April 2, 2013, the AP dropped the phrase “illegal immigrant” from it’s stylebook. AP no longer sanctions the term, “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, AP Executive Editor, Kathleen Carrol, tells its users that “illegal“ should describe only an action, “such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.” The 2013 AP move is part of broader national journalistic shift away from labeling people and toward labeling behavior. Even former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano once defined an “illegal immigrant” to reporters as “immigrants who are here illegally.” Thus, on a more fundamentally factual and journalistic level, no human beings are technically themselves illegal, albeit their actions may be.

 

In addition, the AP has also previously rejected the term, “undocumented immigrants.” This, too, is inaccurate, since many people in the country illegally do have documents; they have just overstayed their temporary non-immigrant visas. Accordingly, instead, the AP standards call for details: “Specify whenever possible how someone entered the country. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?” Regrettably, the Santa Barbara Star News does not adhere to the AP standards on journalistic ethics. With that kind of history and political baggage, however, many readers may start to doubt about where to get their local news from. More importantly, some major advertisers like Best Western, Sotheby’s Realty, and Santa Barbara Homes, may think twice about where to place their advertising dollars, especially once they realize some of these people are their paying customers or after they are economically pressured with bad press and boycotts from outraged consumers and political activists.

 

Incidentally, for people who have overstayed more than 180 days, they are barred them from re-entering the U.S. for 3 years. An overstay of more than one bars them from re-entry for a period of 10 years. However, these 3/10 tome bars are mere “civil” penalties for violating federal immigration laws; the actions do not rise to the level of a “crime” unless there is a re-entry after an order of deportation. See, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 1369. The point here is that, despite having violated federal civil laws relating to immigration admission and documentation, even these overstay immigrants are not criminals. In reality, their behavior is diminimus and much akin to committing a mere infraction for ”jay-walking.” Labeling such a person as “illegal” based on a low level civil violation is, thus, a misnomer and is fundamentally unfair. That biased and divisive term smacks of racial code for “Mexicans.” And, it serves only to stigmatize some hard-working Santa Barbara and California Hispanic residents hoping to gain American citizenship, many of whom have ancestors and others who came to the country as children.

 

Fourth, the misleading term “illegals,” suggests that this group of foreign people physically present in the United States have no rights, when nothing could be further from the truth. Long ago, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886) that the protections of the U.S. Constitution apply to all persons “within the territorial jurisdiction, without regard to any difference of race, of color or of nationality.” See, also, Hernandez v. Texas, 347 U.S. 475 (1954) [finding national origin discrimination against Mexican-Americans in grand jury selection impermissible].

 

Fifth, the inaccurate word, “illegals,” is historically wrong, dismissive of the original indigenous people of Santa Barbara, and repugnant to many of the subsequent Spanish and Mexican settlers; many of whom still reside in and literally made Santa Barbara what it is today – a thriving popular and diverse resort destination. The Santa Barbara County area was first settled by Native Americans called the Chumash people at least 13,000 years ago. Later, Europeans from Spain first made contact with the Chumash after they landed offshore in the Channel Islands in AD 1543. Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino sailed along the coast in 1602, and named the Santa Barbara Channels. The first land expedition in California was led by Gaspar de Portola who explored the coastal area in 1760 on his way to Monterey Bay. Later, the Presideo of Santa Barbara was established by the Spanish in 1782, followed by the Mission Santa Barbara in 1786. The establishment of permanent settlements had devastating effects on the Chumash people, including a series of disease epidemics that drastically reduced their population. However, the Chumash survived and thousands of Chumash descendants still live in the Santa Barbara area or surrounding counties. Moreover, after the Mexican secularization of the mission Indians in the 1830’s, the mission pasture lands were mostly broken up by Mexico into large “ranchos” and granted mainly to prominent local citizens, many of who still reside in Santa Barbara. These original Santa Barbara ranchers were sometimes called, “Los Cailfornieros.” Six-hundred and four (604) of these Mexican land grants were later confirmed by the State of California, thirty six (36) in Santa Barbara County. Eventually, Santa Barbara County was one of the 26 original counties in California, formed in 1850 at the time of statehood. After that, Santa Barbara was (successively) transformed from grand Mexican “ranchos” and haciendas to: a dusty cluster of adobes; a rowdy, lawless Gold Rush era town; a Victorian-era health resort; a center of silent film production in the 1920’s; an oil boom town in the 1930s; a town supporting a military base and hospitals during WWII in the 1940’s; and finally it became the economically and racially diverse resort destination it remains in the present day. Based on these historical facts, is it fair and does it make economic sense to offend and label potential descendants of Spanish and Mexican American settlers and residents – who have had a continuous presence in the Santa Barbara area since the 1540’s – as “’illegal”?

 

“Who really is the ‘illegal’ one here?,” some may quip!

 

Sixth, the term, “illegals,” is politically insensitive and offensive to many of the Hispanic people of the United States, California, and of Santa Barbara. In March of 2014, for the first time ever, the official population of California was 39% Latino, surpassing the 38.8% of the state residents who are white non-Hispanic. After New Mexico, California has become the second state in the U.S. to undergo such a major demographic shift. More importantly and relevant, the 2010 U.S. national census reported that there are 423,895 residents in Santa Barbara. Out of this, approximately 76.54% are white, and 42% are Hispanic or Latino. Last year, the Pew Research Center called Hispanic electorate “an unawakened giant” that is likely to double in size over the next 16 years. Presumably, many of the so-called “illegals” here and others who will arrive in the future have ancestors or family relatives in Santa Barbara, and they may naturally find this ugly term extremely offensive. Based on these compelling demographics and electoral realities, is it politically appropriate or wise in today’s supposedly enlightened and post-racial period to label potential descendants of many Santa Barbara Spanish-Mexican settlers as “’illegal”?

 

Seventh, as you must know, the southern portions of Santa Barbara county has a bustling economy based largely on tourism, with a significant portion of people with white-collar and high-tech jobs which have contributed most recently to a liberal populace. The southern portions of the county has a strong history of left-wing activism with anti-war protests common in Santa Barbara. In fact, it is generally believed that the inspiration for Earth Day was the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. These white non-Hispanic liberal residents from Santa Barbara are also likely to be taken aback at the harsh and divisive “illegal” label. No doubt, some of these liberal whites in the burgeoning and thriving southern areas of Santa Barbara financially support the Santa Barbara Star News through their subscriptions or contributions, and would be disturbed and less inclined to continue to support a newspaper still using such radical or racially-charged terms.

 

In summary, if the editorial board or individual journalist must use a label, perhaps the phrase “foreign nationals” who “illegally entered the country” is more legally and factually accurate. It is certainly less unfair and offensive. If that long phrase is unacceptable, then maybe the Santa Barbara News Star should employ the unbiased terms, “undocumented” or “non-citizen” residents. A third acceptable alternative could also simply be, “unauthorized migrant.” Accordingly, given these three (3) reasonable alternatives in terminology, and based on my seven (7) valid objections stated above, I hereby demand on behalf of many outraged and offended “Barbarenos ,“ Santa Barbara Hispanics, and liberal white citizens, to retract the offensive, inaccurate, overbroad, unfair, and misleading term, “illegals.” Perhaps it is high time for such an old prestigious newspaper like the Santa Barbara Star News- which was established in 1850 when statehood occurred- to get with the times; and to start adopting the nationally accepted standard used by the Associate Press when referring to the 11 million people in the country illegally. Humans are not “illegal,” only their actions are. If for no other reason, you should stop using the arcane word out of sheer respect and concern over your advertisers, subscribers, and contributors, many of whom may justifiably not want to be associated with such backward dog -whistle tactics designed only to rally the more uninformed, conservative, or nativists elements in our society.

Ruben Salazar, Esq.

 

 

 

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Arizona Rep.-elect Jay Lawrence Puts Super Bowl Super Bowl XLIX In Jeopardy For Submitting Anti-DREAM Bill

POSTED ON
December 31
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2014 - New Year's Eve
 
 
 

Arizonans To Protest Super Bowl XLIX If Jay Lawrence Submits anti-DREAM Bill

 
 
 
 
Phoenix, AZ -- Arizona is infamous for not supporting the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It is also a state where former Arizona Governor Evan Mecham publicly defended a book that used the derogatory term "pickaninny" to describe African-American babies and children.  It is a state where the economic restrictionist Governor Jan Brewer signed a draconian anti-immigrant law via SB 1070 that cost Arizona millions of dollars when believers in human rights boycotted Arizona.  Arizona is a state that continued to dehumanize babies when Republican lawmakers referred to brown babies as "anchor babies".  Arizona is a state where a Republican lawmaker submitted an anti-gay bill via SB 1062. And now we have a new Rep.-elect Jay Lawrence who essentially fits in with the aforementioned bigots in light of singling out DREAM Act students and their drivers licenses in our state even though a federal judge has pointed out racial profiling concerns in our State of Arizona with regard to Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his department.   
 
Lawrence's bill would enable racial profiling and undo the progress the Courts have made with regard to law enforcement and immigration.  The Phoenix Police Department and Phoenix Law Enforcement Association are already under fire with regard to an unarmed black man via Rumain Brisbon getting shot to death by an Anglo police officer while delivering food to his family and we cannot support Arizona bills that enable racial profiling any longer.
 
Arizona pro-Immigrant Jewish advocate via Lou Lernor states:
 
My Jewish sensibility tells me we've seen the likes of Jay Lawrence before, wearing a Nazi uniform. It is unconscionable, in this day and age, to differentiate an Arizona Driver's License with "Non-Citizen". How is this any different than the Nazis requiring Jewish Germans to identify themselves with yellow arm bands while making passage in public? Such profiling is insulting and divisive. Jay Lawrence wants to continue the "Us vs. Them" attitude in Arizona, an attitude that has colored legislation and culture, an attitude that has been officially struck down in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and cost our state $1.5 Million dollars. Such an attitude brought down Nazi Germany as the world fought against similar mindless prejudice. Lawrence is the new face of Conservative Arizona, bound to continue contributing senseless and hateful ideas that most will see as reinforcing Arizona's reputation as the laughing stock of the nation.
 
 
We commend State Senator Catherine Miranda for taking a proactive aggressive approach to stop future Arizona Republican lawmakers like Jay Lawrence and their bigotry.  She states:
 
“I hope that the new members of our Legislature will embrace the positive and productive immigration policies that we have been focused on recently. The courts have spoken. Dreamers are getting driver’s licenses. There is no need for further attempts to stigmatize this community.”
 
We also applaud Sen. Miranda for her rapid letter to Governor Jan Brewer in light of this humanitarian concern.
 
 

 
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An Independent American Voter Group merging Tip O'Neill Democrats and Ronald Reagan Republicans.