Category: Justice

Ben Winograd

Guidance on ICE Detainers Sends Ripples Through California

By Ben Winograd, Dec 13, 2012 2:47 PM


Immigration Impact

Every year, local law enforcement agencies receive thousands of requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to keep individuals in custody—even after they are entitled to release—while federal officers determine whether to initiate removal proceedings. Last Tuesday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris issued simple but groundbreaking guidance to all law enforcement agencies in the state, clarifying that they have no legal obligation to honor so-called immigration “detainers.” Although Harris’ guidance was consistent with existing policies in numerous California counties, it has prompted other state law enforcement officials to publicly reconsider their willingness to cooperate with ICE.

Andrew Lam

Vietnam, Afghanistan: War, Karma, and Peace

By Andrew Lam, Oct 30, 2012 3:59 PM

 Trying to Google news of my homeland, Vietnam, over the last few weeks has not been easy. The headlines that often showed up were about another country, not Vietnam.

Here are a few headlines from major news organizations:

- Afghanistan haunted by ghost of Vietnam
-Barack Obama must stop dithering - or Afghanistan will be his Vietnam
-The Vietnam War Guide to Afghanistan
-Afghanistan is Obama's Vietnam
-Which is America's longest war, Afghanistan or Vietnam?
-Vietnam and why we lost Afghanistan


Often times, indeed, when we mention the word Vietnam in the United States, we don't mean Vietnam as a country. Vietnam is unfortunately not like Thailand or Malaysia or Singapore to America's collective imagination. Its relationship to us is special: It is a vault filled with tragic metaphors for every pundit to use.

After the Vietnam War, Americans were caught in the past, haunted by unanswerable questions, confronted with an unhappy ending. So much so that my uncle who fought in the Vietnam War as a pilot for the South Vietnamese army, once observed that, "When Americans talk about Vietnam they really are talking about America." "Americans don't take defeat and bad memories very well. They try to escape them," he said in his funny but bitter way. "They make a habit of blaming small countries for things that happen to the United States. AIDS from Haiti, flu from Hong Kong or Mexico, drugs from Columbia, hurricanes from the Caribbean."

Andrew Lam

Occupy: A Movement that Didn't Satisfy

By Andrew Lam, Sep 18, 2012 1:34 PM

The Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York last September and quickly spread around the country -- then, inevitably, in the age of instant information, the world. But just as quickly, it petered out. 

 
Here in San Francisco, the protest began the same week the iPhone 4S came out and even at its peak, the number of protesters barely rivaled the number of those who stood in long lines at the Apple Store a few blocks away. 
 
The same news cycle has returned a year later: The anniversary of the 99% against 1% movement coincided with the debut of the iPhone 5. While the headlines describing the Occupy movement seem discouraging: "1 year after encampment began, Occupy Wall Street is in disarray; spirit of revolt lives on," and "Occupy Movement: Spent after First Year?" the news for the iPhone debut was all rosy: "Apple: iPhone 5 pre-orders topped 2M in 24 hours." 
 
On the other hand, noted USA Today, "As the last of its urban encampments close and interest wanes in a movement without an organizational hierarchy or an action agenda, it's unclear whether Occupy's first birthday will be its last." Perhaps it couldn't be helped. Critics and pundits alike said that there was no coherent demand, no collective goal. The movement slowly imploded instead by quarrels and quibbles that descended in many cases into fistfights and bottle throwing. 
 
 

Edgardo Cervano-Soto

Continuing Support for School Discipline Reform

By Edgardo Cervano-Soto, Apr 13, 2012 10:49 AM


A recent California Statewide poll found that four out of five voters believe California’s school discipline policies need changing. The results of the 800 person-poll, administered by the research firm Fairank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, and commissioned by the California Endowment, contribute to an emerging school of thought regarding suspensions and expulsions.

The poll reports that the majority of voters recognize that a preventative approach rather than a punitive one is necessary in order to keep students in school and improve school safety. According to the U.S Department of Education, more than 400,00 California public school students were suspended during the 2009-2010 school year. Moreover, the backlash against suspensions and expulsions even led democratic Assemblyman Roger Dickinson from Sacramento to introduce a bill calling for the removal of “willful defiance” within school suspension and expulsion protocol.

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, “willful defiance” is a broad category that justifies suspension for any behavior that disrupts classes, and that it is disproportionately applied to male students of color.

The support for preventative measures for school discipline is not a surprise. If anything it should have come sooner. At my alma mater high school, Richmond High, the suspensions have been halved from 500 in January of 2011 to 290 in January 2012, due to a Restorative Justice Process, where students enter a mediation involving teachers, parents, school officials and other students.

With such success, its difficult to see why school districts don’t try processes like restorative justice or preventative measures and instead hold on to suspensions and expulsions. Suspensions have long lost their meaning. They are no longer a punishment or carry a stigma, but a day off from a school that already treats “troubled” and “difficult” students as pests needing to be gotten rid of.

Edgardo Cervano-Soto

Trayvon Martin:A Symbol with Dual Edge

By Edgardo Cervano-Soto, Apr 3, 2012 10:35 AM

No one teenager ever lives wanting to be a martyr for an entire people and nation. But that’s what happened this past Sunday in a Florida church, where Jesse Jackson anointed Trayvon Martin as a martyr, and called for a movement in Trayvon’s name to alter the racist disenfranchisement of people of color within the American criminal justice system.

Viji Sundaram

CASE Act Campaign Submits 865,000 Signatures to Qualify for Nov. 2012 Ballot

By Viji Sundaram, Mar 29, 2012 3:15 PM

Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act campaign announced today that it has submitted more than 865,000 signatures to qualify for the November 2012 ballot. 

Leslie Berestein Rojas

Is Prosecutorial Discretion Leading to Fewer Deportation Cases?

By Leslie Berestein Rojas, Feb 28, 2012 4:00 PM

Multi-American

Are the prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued by the Obama administration last year having an effect on the number of deportation cases that the administration is pursuing?

A new Syracuse University report suggests yes, federal immigration officials say no, and some lawmakers are calling “amnesty” nonetheless.

Tammy Johnson

CA DNA Database Expansion -- The Silent Threat to Privacy

By Tammy Johnson, Dec 1, 2011 10:45 AM

 
According to a recent report released by Generations Ahead, an aggressive expansion of DNA databases in states across the country now includes the collection of DNA from individuals merely arrested for a felony offense, regardless of whether a trial is held or not, and whether a conviction is obtained or not. California’s Proposition 69 was part of this trend that now includes a total of 25 states. Wondering why we should care?

Kevin Weston

Nonprofit, Philanthropy and Business Leaders to Gather Oct. 12 for Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy's "State of the Race" Conference

By Kevin Weston, Oct 10, 2011 12:00 PM

2011 Community Impact Awards to Recognize Local Black Philanthropists

SAN FRANCISCO – Nonprofit, business and philanthropy leaders will gather on October 12, 2011, for the Bay Area Blacks in Philanthropy’s “State of the Race” conference and awards reception, celebrating local black philanthropists and spotlighting solutions that can fuel employment, entrepreneurship and innovation for African Americans in the region.

Andrew Lam

Asian Pacific Americans of Conscience on the Impending Execution of Troy Davis.

By Andrew Lam, Sep 20, 2011 6:53 PM

 A last-ditch clemency appeal by Troy Davis, who is set to be executed in a high-profile case on Wednesday for the murder of a police officer,  has been denied by a Georgia parole board on Tuesday.

In 1991 Davis was convicted and sentenced to death row themurder of off-duty police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in Georgia two years earlier. Though a number of witnesses have recanted their testimony, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday denied Davis clemency.

On facebook as well as twitter and other social media his cause is being championed by various individuals, and organizations like Change.org, NAACP and Amnesty International are waging a campaign to have as many people to use text to sign their pettitions asking for the stay in execution. 


Below is a statement by Asian Pacific Americans of Conscience on the Impending Execution of Troy Davis. 

Georgia's State Board of Pardons and Paroles has recently rejected Troy Davis' clemency petition. Davis continues to face execution on Wed., Sept. 21 at 7 pm EDT. The killing by execution of Troy Davis must be stopped. The most compelling reason for this is that there is ample evidence that points to factual innocence. Decades ago an innocent Korean immigrant teen was unjustly imprisoned and almost faced death in California. Chol Soo Lee's life was spared because of the untiring efforts of journalists, lawyers, and community members who unearthed critical information missed by trial lawyers in that case. We have seen that the system is imperfect...over a hundred times in death penalty cases. There are options that can be exercised to save an innocent life. Therefore we must voice our experience and share the wisdom of that experience today. We all share in the act that appears to be imminent due to the failure of our justice system in the Davis case.

Troy Davis may be out of options in the justice system but he is not out of options in the realm of humanity and common decency. A life can still be spared and whatever standards or criteria are required by the justice system can be made more humane by way of an executive decision. Executive action is needed now, not an execution.

We urge that the Board reconsider its decision and that Chatham County (Savannah) District Attorney Larry Chisolm seek a withdrawal of the death warrant and support clemency himself. We urge everyone to do what they can to stop the execution of Troy Davis.

More information on how to take action can be found at:

http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=6oJCLQPAJiJUG&b=6645049&aid=516533.

Signed,

Angela Oh
Helen Zia
Maxine Hong Kingston
K.W. Lee
Jessica Hagedorn
Don T. Nakanishi



Leslie Berestein Rojas

Why More Latinos Are Going to Prison

By Leslie Berestein Rojas, Sep 9, 2011 10:30 AM

Multi-American

A government report released yesterday revealed that for the first time, the majority of people being sentenced to federal prison for felony offenses are Latino.

Peter Schurmann

New York Holocaust Center Highlights Korean Comfort Women

By Peter Schurmann, Aug 10, 2011 2:11 PM

New York’s Holocaust Resource Center is set to open its latest exhibit, which focuses on the sexual exploitation of Korea’s so-called “comfort women” by Japanese forces up to and during WWII, reports the Korea Daily.

Suzanne Manneh

San Jose Police Department Fighting Gang Violence With ICE

By Suzanne Manneh, Jul 1, 2011 5:45 PM

Beginning this week, two full-time Department of Homeland Security investigators will be working with the San Jose Police Department as part of a national gang task force project called Operation Community Shield, reports Univision.

EPA Must Strengthen Smog Standards or Risk Health of Millions of Latinos

By , May 31, 2011 10:01 PM



By Adrianna Quintero and Valerie Jaffee, Natural Resources Defense Council

By 2050, one in four Americans will be Hispanic, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In the last decade, the total Latino population in the U.S. grew at a rate of 43%, more than four times the rate of population growth for the nation overall. The demographics of our country are changing, and our leaders in Washington must take note. We’re watching and ready to act.

Unfortunately, while our numbers change, some things remain very much the same. This is especially true when it comes to air quality. Latinos continue to live in areas with the highest concentrations of air pollution, and intensely suffer the impacts of this pollution. So when rumors started spreading that big polluting industries might force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to delay or forego stronger limits on ozone, a precursor to smog, we had to take note.

Ozone is a gas that occurs naturally in the stratosphere, where it protects us from the sun’s UV rays. But ozone also exists in the air we breathe here at ground level, where it’s the primary component of smog. On the ground, ozone is created when pollutants (namely emissions from cars and factories) react in the presence of sunlight. Any of us who have traveled to Los Angeles are familiar with the thick grey layer.

But what you might not know is that close to 50% of all Hispanic-Americans live in counties that frequently violate ground-level ozone standards (smog standards), according to the CDC. That means millions of Latinos – our children, grandparents, brothers and sisters – are at risk of asthma, bronchitis and even death due to this dangerous air pollutant. Since so many Latinos work outside in construction and agricultural trades, Latinos are often at even greater risk of the damaging health impacts of smog. And we’re not alone. The CDC also estimates that Asian-Americans face a similar if not greater threat from smog.

Smog pollution at high levels can cause diminished lung function and inflamed airways, aggravating asthma or other lung diseases. In fact, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that the risk of dying from respiratory disease is more than three times higher in areas with the most concentrated ozone than in those with the lowest ozone concentrations.

As Latinos, we know what’s at stake when it comes to good (or too often, bad) air quality. With unemployment for Latinos still hovering near 12 percent, paying for unforeseen medical bills can be devastating. Taking days off from work to care for yourself or ill family members translates to days of lost pay and often lost jobs. For many employed in construction and agricultural trades, days off simply is not an option. To make matters worse, Latinos are hit especially hard by unexpected healthcare costs from illnesses like asthma since approximately two of every five Hispanics were classified as uninsured in both 2004 and 2008. And for our children, more smog means missed school days, setting our kids back in school and lowering their quality of life.

EPA currently limits the concentration of smog in the air to 75 parts per billion. The agency’s science advisers have unanimously recommended strengthening that standard to a range between 60 to 70 parts per billion. If we truly want to protect our health, experts believe the standard should be at the lower end of that range.

This summer, EPA is scheduled to issue standards that will strengthen protections against smog. The question is whether the Obama Administration will adopt a sufficiently strong standard to genuinely protect the most vulnerable among us—infants, children and the elderly—or bend to the will of Big Polluters who care more about profits than public health.

A truly protective standard would prevent as many as 12,000 premature deaths, 58,000 asthma attacks, and 21,000 hospital and emergency room visits per year. It would help us avoid 5,300 heart attacks and more than 2 million missed school days and 420,000 lost work days. Implementing a weaker standard for smog, just like polluting industries want, would mean more lives lost and more asthma attacks – suffering that Latinos would disproportionately bear.

This is why we are joining together to demand that EPA be permitted to do its job to protect our health, not polluter profits.

Strong standards under the Clean Air Act have improved our air quality for decades, and will lead to even cleaner air in the future for people all across the country. This is an opportunity for us to protect millions from harmful respiratory diseases, regardless of race.

Andrew Lam

Afghanistan Can't Wash Away Vietnam: Obama & the Ghosts of War

By Andrew Lam, May 30, 2011 6:15 PM

New America Media's editor, Andrew Lam, reads from "New California Writing" - An anthology of writing from Californian writers by Heyday Books. He is the author of "East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres" and "Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora."

This video is produced and filmed by Steven Chiem.

Liz Gonzalez

Luis Gutierrez Amps Up Bay Area for May 1 Rallies

By Liz Gonzalez, May 1, 2011 6:39 AM

Congressman Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., is visiting the Bay Area this week as part of a 20-city tour to call attention to the record number of deportations under the Obama administration.

Jaski Singh

Sikhs Should Always Expect Airport Pat-Downs, Civil Rights Group Warns

By Jaski Singh, Feb 9, 2011 1:10 PM

The Sikh Coalition is warning Sikh Americans that they should always expect to undergo secondary screening at U.S. airports because the new Advanced Imaging Technology machines cannot see through the layers of a turban, reports Sade Lok newspaper.

Andrew Lam

More Than 10,000 Sign Online Petition to Boycott Limbaugh

By Andrew Lam, Feb 8, 2011 2:48 PM



Sen. Leland Yee is not about to let bygones be bygones, not when it comes to Rush Limbaugh’s recent comments about Chinese President Hu Jintao. On Jan. 26, 2011 Yee launched an online petition on his website to condemn Limbaugh’s mocking of the Chinese president’s visit to the White House.

Various local ethnic media organizations have signed onto the petition in protest, including the Fil-Am Star,
Hecho en California Radio 1010, Marcos Gutiérrez Productions, and Philippine News.

Civil rights groups, from the Anti-Defamation League to Chinese for Affirmative Action, have also signed the petition.

According to Nichibei Weekly “The petition calls on Limbaugh to apologize for mocking the Chinese
culture and asks his sponsors to pull their advertisements.”

“Other leaders have also condemned Limbaugh including Congressman David Wu, Congresswoman Judy Chu, California Assemblyman Paul Fong, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, and New York Assemblywoman Grace Meng,” reports Nichibei Weekly.

Limbaugh, while covering Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit, offered a mock translation of Hu’s words, adding his own, "Chin chong, chin chong cha...," reported the World Journal. After the senator protested Limbaugh’s remarks, Yee received death threats via racist, expletive-laden faxes that contained a graphic of an American flag-adorned pickup truck dragging a noose.

“We should never allow such racist vitriol to go unchallenged,” said Yee. “It is unfortunate acts like these that demonstrate why we must continue to be vigilant against hate and intolerance.”

As of Jan. 30, more than 10,000 people had signed the petition on Yee’s website – www.senate.ca.gov/yee – and the number is growing.

Also check out the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors comedy team's take on  Rush Limbaugh's silly mockery of Hu Jintao on youtube.


Andrew Lam is the author of
East Eats West: Writing in Two Hemispheres and Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora.

Parvez Sharma

"My friend, Mahmoud Maher, a doctor was killed at Tahrir Square"

By Parvez Sharma, Feb 5, 2011 10:47 AM



At 1:15 am Cairo time on Saturday morning I spoke to my friend Ghassen. His friend was killed at Tahrir Square during the 24 hours of horrific violence we all saw on Feb 1st and 2nd. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time someone has been able to put a name and back-story to a person killed by the regime during this unfolding revolution.



English is not Ghassen’s first language so I have taken the liberty of creating complete sentences from our fragmented conversation, partially in Arabic to enable easy reading. I have no way to confirm the details of this death, but I know Ghassen revealed his friend’s name after some hesitation. (With confirmed reports I have from friends now that the regime is “trolling” the internet, I am also changing his name. Ghassen is not his real name)



Me: How are you feeling

G: I am OK but my country NOT OK, Parvez…I hope people are getting this message about Mubarak Dictator. Mubarak is corrupt and his people are corrupt. I am sad.



Me: Did you go to Tahrir today as well like other days?

G: Yes I did. Ofcourse yaani. Today started after salat elgom3a. It was very powerful. Even the sheikh was crying when he were praying. I prayed too. But I am Muslim, but my Islam are free. Many of my friends are Coptic. They not pray but they protect us.



Me: Every time the praying times end, people seem to feel new energy and start chanting again, right?

G: Yes. Parvez-2 million people say this word in Arabic. ارحـــــــل



Me: Erhal, Leave?

G: Yes. I felt so strong when I pray there today. But also very sad because I remember how friends I lost through this revolution.



Me: Wait! One of your friends died?

G: Yes one of my friends-he is doctor. He was in Tahrir. He was treated patients. His name Mahmoud. People from Mubarak system going to our place, where we standing with horses and Jamel..holding weapons…they hit him on his head many times. He died. But we are peaceful revolution. We did not have any weapons. And through that night also they came from Mubarak system…they want to put us out of Square Tahrir…The fuckn bad system. We lost this night I think 10 people and there were 1000 patients, who hurt. It was night of February 2nd. Night was Magzara. It was massacre night. I donn know if u undersatnd me or not maybe have bad english



Me: I understand. Tell me more about Mahmoud please. It is also important to know his full name because he is already gone, what can they do to him anymore. No one has been able to name people who died you know. Did you go to his funeral? I know this is difficult to talk about. Please forgive me. But it is important.



Me: Are you there? Silence…Can you please tell me his full name…this is important Habibi…



G: His name Mahmoud Maher. I was not there at the moment he killed. I was on my way home. My friends called me to tell. Yes I went to his funeral. It is at Masjed Rabba. It was Mubarak people ofcourse that kill him. They are paid a lot of money to kill us that day.



Me: How are you feeling about all this.

G: I am shock Parvez. I just wake up and go Tahrir and I am shock.



Me: You still live near Heliopolis? Near Mubarak palace?

G: Yes I live in Nozha. You know Masr el Gadida. Near Hosni Mubarak home.

Masr el gadida. Why you asking this question?



Me: Because cameras have been so focused on Tahrir. We have seen no images from that area really. That is all, trust me…



G: OK..yes it is clam place. People have good life so you can see nice car. Calm place, not crowded. No police but you know Mubarak live there so they must save by a lot of Egyptian armys.



Me: Its far from Tahrir. How do you get to downtown everyday?

G: I take taxi. There are taxi when no curfew is happening. I think Parvez we doing the right thing. The Mubarak system are loses. Mubarak should leave now and then in six months we move our system to another in calm way.



Me: Do u think people will give up fighting? Feel exhausted? Tired?

G: Nooooo! There is a lack of confidence in the system lost its legitimacy and Hosni…we have to save our requests if Mubrak will do that or not we dont know yet



Me: How does your heart feel my friend?

G: I feel Square Tahrer is here if he lie or something happen wrong we will going there again …but for now feel we have to start work



Me: Wait so you are saying you want to go back to work and not protest?

G: No .... Mubarak know our requests ....and he get the lesson…if he lie or bad thing happen we will back again to square…donn know yet really am so confused…mubarak he lost his legitimacy from 25-1…why he donn leave egypt

why he still…no one support him…no one like him…no one want him…

people talk here he want to save his money till going out …but I do want to go to work…I go to work and then I join people in Tahrir…tomorrow…



Me: I know. My other friends say they also want to go back to work but also don’t know if they should leave Tahrir to go back to work. Listen how did Tahrir feel like today?



G: Tahrir? Heart of Egypt. Really, Heart of Egypt.

Me: That is true. You said it in three words my friend ;-)

G: No, it true…Layers of Egypt and Dr. workers, professors, judges, Muslims and Christians adults and children…Imagine 2 million people say leave mubarak at one voice…2 million voice Parvez …I have lived one year in one week…No…I feel I am born again…I donn know why media from all the world donn send our voice



Me: No they are. They are sending everyone’s voice. You have no idea how much they are sending the voice.



G: Anyhow it is late. I am so tired. I will go to work and will back after work to square…My work in Zamalk near Tahrer square…and Parvez so much happening in rest of country too—even women were raped in villages on that night…and from Alex there is 2 million going out too…in Aswan there's like 200000



Me: Go to sleep now…Yalla…shukran Habibi…stay safe ;-))



G: Yes. I go now. Please send me interview when they publish on my email. I want to see and show my friends.



Me: Promise.

Summer Chiang

Korematsu Day Honors Oaklander's Fight for Civil Rights

By Summer Chiang, Feb 1, 2011 3:00 PM

Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders gathered in Berkeley on Sunday to inaugurate Fred Korematsu Day, the first U.S. holiday to be named after an Asian-American, reports the Sing Tao Daily.

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