Monday, December 11, 2017

Narratives from the Outside: DACA Actions in NYC and the Violence of Poverty #ICEout #NoBanNoScam #DREAMActNOW !

It's time to turn up the pressure on Chief Judge DiFiore and make our voices heard. Send her a letter demanding she bars ICE from courthouses NOW!  To Sign a letter to Judge DiFiore: 

From Brooklyn to DC, street actions for the dream act and DACA!

Over the last few weeks, many of my students have presented their concerns about the fate of the DACA program.  Many, who’ve lived here their whole lives, fear they will face deportation.  The signs are everywhere.  Immigration Customs Enforcement going into hospitals, courts, and schools. 
Throughout their presentations, my students, working class CUNY students, recounted narratives of exclusion and inclusion, of living in shelters or packed studio apartments with grandparents, parents, and grandkids, of looking for lawyers to help if congress is unable to resolve the DACA fiasco, of wondering if they have legal recourse if they are harassed, fearing deportation.

“That shit has happened to me,” explained one student, recalling the story of an undocumented twelve year old girl afraid to go to the police after she was sexually assaulted.  The fear beneath the surface is everywhere.

My daughter and I read Lois Lowry’s novel, Number of the Stars, a story of the people of Copenhagen who helped their Jewish neighbors elude capture during World War II, smuggling them on fishing boats, to Sweeden.  We wonder if this is next.  Will we have to hide our friends?

My friend Gretchen posted a photo from Mexico of a sign declaring: “Welcome to the Fun Side of Trump’s Wall.”

Throughout the week, Congress was entertaining plans for “entitlement reform” to gut more social programs.  The mayor is giving away community gardens to developers, and the tax bill is making its way through congress.

“We don’t have money anymore,” Senator Orin Hatch explained when asked if he was going to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the bipartisan Clinton era health insurance expansion, that built on Medicaid and Medicare.

Obama expanded from there.

And now, its under  attack. 

We beat back inequality with Occupy, the ACA, and the War on Poverty.

2017 is no doubt a step backward in history.

Still we trying to push forward, out of the darkness.

From Washington to NYC, activists across the country mobilized, put their bodies on the lines,calling for solutions, not more deportations.

Poverty is violence and we are going to see more of it – people digging through trash cans, denied healthcare, turned away from aid, while those on the inside enjoy their black-tie dinners.
And people are fighting back against the attack.

My friend Phil sent me an email inviting me to an action at Borough Hall.
Emergency Rally: #ICEOut of the Courts Now!
 · Hosted by Association of Legal Aid Attorneys - UAW 2325

On November 28, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents collaborated with court officers and administrators to detain a public defenders client at the Brooklyn Misdemeanor Court. In response, dozens of public defenders marched out, demanding that Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and the Office of Court Administration implement policies to prevent New York courthouses from collaborating with ICE.  This is the seventieth time this year that federal agents have detained undocumented immigrants at New York courthouses as they perform their civic duties.

On Tuesday, dozens of public defenders walked out of Brooklyn Criminal Court after a Legal Aid client was detained by Immigration & Customs Enforcement in Brooklyn Criminal Court in collaboration with Court Officers and the Court Administration. They marched to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, demanding that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to would prevent New York Court staff from collaborating with ICE officers or entering Court property.

Read more about our action here:

Please join us on Thursday, December 7th, at 1pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall for a mass rally with our union, other attorneys, and community and immigrant organizations to demand that the Office of Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a policy to bar ICE agents from entering NY Court property.

I saw several of the activists on hand at Washington Square Park later in the day.
RALLY Against Muslim Ban + Tax Scam and Fight for DREAM Act

Join the New York Immigration Coalition, MPower Change, Strong Economy for All, and our partners in Washington Square Park to rally and then march against the Muslim Ban and the Tax Scam, and stand for a DREAM Act!

On Monday the SCOTUS decided to allow Trump's Muslim Ban to move forward. 

Last Friday the U.S. Senate passed a Tax Scam that will devastate poor people, increase taxes on the working class, and give tax cuts to the 1%.

Since October 5, 2017, over 10,000 DACA recipients have lost their protections to work and live legally, putting them at risk for deportation. 

The Trump Administration is coming after all of us. We must stand together to fight against discriminatory policies and damaging tax scams, and to defend our immigrant communities. Let's take back #OurNY and say#NoBanNoScam and #DREAMActNOW !

6:00 PM - Rally at Washington Square Park
7:00 PM - March to 26 Federal Plaza
7:45 PM - Continuation of Rally at 26 Federal Plaza

Emergency Rally: #ICEOut of the Courts Now!

RALLY Against Muslim Ban + Tax Scam and Fight for DREAM Act 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"#cunyneedsaraise and not in seven years!" #7KCUNY #cuny Contract Campaign Kickoff: WE WON’T WAIT ANOTHER 6 YEARS FOR A CONTRACT! FAIR AND COMPETITIVE SALARIES FOR ALL FACULTY AND STAFF!

Many people are on their way to DC to fight this obscene tax bill. Others of us were fighting for economic justice here in NYC.  

As Barbara Bowen, of the PSC, wrote:
Colleagues and Friends:
Today is the day of the PSC march and demonstration to build power for our contract campaign. There is still time to make plans to be there. We start at 4:30 at the CUNY Grad Center and march to Baruch for a rally outside of the CUNY Board meeting from 5:30 to 6:30. Come for all of the event or the part that you can attend—but come!
The only way we win decent contracts in this austerity economy is by demonstrating our power with mass actions. Mass action requires all of us.
The demonstration has already attracted press attention from the Daily News, the Amsterdam News and Politico. How powerful a message the event itself delivers depends entirely on whether individual faculty and staff members like you make the decision to be there.
Our demand for a well-funded contract just became more urgent, as the U.S. Congress verges on passing a massive redistribution of wealth that will devastate big cities and state budgets. The time to act is now.
There will be lights and music and signs, and above all, there will be a show of our unity and power. Don’t miss what promises to be a memorable show of our determination to achieve competitive salaries for all faculty and professional staff and end the shameful underpayment of adjuncts.
4:30 PM Gather at CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Ave., at 34th St.
5:00 PM March to Baruch Vertical Campus, 55 Lexington Ave., at 25th St.
5:30 - 6:30 Rally Outside CUNY Board of Trustees Meeting, Baruch College President, PSC

I will look for you this afternoon!
Barbara Bowen

The struggle was everywhere. As activists were sitting in the halls of congress, calling for representatives to vote their conscience, instead of corporate backers, members of the PSC were converging at Baruch College for the CUNY Trustees meeting.
It was six years for this board to move on our last contract.  We had to get arrested to have them even put a contract offer on the table. And we're willing to do so again. 
We wanted to make the point that they should act in a timely fashion this time.
“What time is it?” Mike Fabricant asked as the board meeting began. 
“Its contract time,” we screamed.
We repeated the call and response a few times.
Leaving, I followed with the message that the board should do their job and get this done, instead of making us all wait another six years.

We passed out a flyer declaring: CUNY faculty and staff educate 500,000 New Yorkers. We need a fair contract to to endure quality education.  
A fair contract for CUNY faculty and staff means success for CUNY students. 
A good contract for PSC/CUNY is good for New York!"
As I was speaking, members of the union were marching from 34th Street to join us at Baruch.

I caught up with them on my bike, seeing activists streaming down Madison Avenue, from the Graduate Center, where I learned so much. 
A marching band was performing.
Immigrant rights activists were calling for the ICE to be out of the schools.
Adjuncts carried signs calling for $7K per class or a strike.

End cheap labor at CUNY. 
CUNY adjunct pay is essentially, "'near-poverty' wages."

Library faculty were asking for a new contract and $7K per course for adjunct professors. #7KCUNY.
Smash the Taylor Laws, another sign declared.
Activists collected donations for Puerto Rico, beating on water bottles, calling for contract justice. 
Block after block we marched, people from campuses all over the city. 

Earlier in the day, the Daily News wrote:
Colleagues from all over CUNY were there.
Our point was simple, we can't wait another six years for a contract. 


Soyeon and so many others made it out for the big rally!

As usual, Erik McGregor took the best pictures. "PSC-CUNY held its first rally in support of their new contract campaign on December 4, 2017 in Midtown Manhattan; with a press conference, rally and march from the Graduate Center to Baruch College where the Board of Trustees were meeting. Their demands include across-the-board 5% raises in each year with additional salary increases for those who are lowest-paid; an increase to $7,000 per course for adjuncts; improved job security; material support for department chairs; and improved working conditions for all faculty and staff."