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Viridiana Martinez: 919-704-0599
AG Roy Cooper Says No to In-State Tuition for DACA Students
Another Democrat Throws Immigrant Students Under the Bus
Raleigh, NC – Days after the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, Attorney General Roy Cooper has thrown immigrant students under the bus.
Yesterday, the Attorney General in an advisory letter declared: “We agree with University and Community College attorneys that North Carolina law does not provide for in-state tuition for these students.”
Upon hearing news of the decision, Oliva Prezas, a DACA recipient and current student at Vance-Granville Community College, remarked: “I can’t believe it. I am devastated. I need in-state tuition! I don’t want to be stuck without an education.”
Democrat Roy Cooper follows a line of Democratic politicians putting politics over policy when it comes to immigrant students. From former Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton who in 2010 denied undocumented students the right to enroll in community colleges to Senator Kay Hagan who voted against the DREAM Act, Attorney General Roy Cooper has shamelessly played petty politics instead of opening up the doors to higher education.
Undocumented students are ready to work with public officials, including people like Republican Speaker Will Weatherford of the Florida House of Representatives or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who know “the time is always right to do what is right.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
NC Dreamers Push for In-State Tuition
State Rep. Marcus Brandon Requests Written Opinion from Attorney General Cooper
Raleigh, NC – The North Carolina “One State, One Rate” Campaign and the NC Dream Team is pleased to announce that State Representative Marcus Brandon has formally requested a written opinion from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office as to whether undocumented students are eligible for in-state tuition at institutions of higher learning in North Carolina.
For 20-year-old Lexington resident Ricsy Sanchez who has lived in North Carolina for 9 years, the struggle to gain in-state tuition has had a real impact: “Right after high school, my plan was to go straight to university. I wanted to major in biology. After I graduated from Davidson County Community College, I was accepted to UNC Chapel Hill but I was unable to attend because I was charged out-of-state tuition.”
DREAMers in North Carolina have been spearheading efforts to obtain in-state tuition for undocumented youth. Last week, the UNC Faculty Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the University of North Carolina system to grant “in-state tuition and financial aid to all people without regard to immigration status.”
** Please note that a more detailed press release will be released on Wednesday.
For more information, visit NCDreamTeam.org and OneStateOneRate.org.
Visit our online petition at http://action.dreamactivist.org/northcarolina/instate
“Comics Speak!” Proyecto de Arte Ayuda a Adolescentes a Expresar Sus Pensamientos sobre Identidad y el Racismo
Presentación Final: Viernes, Mayo 17 de 6:00 – 8:00 pm en el ArtsCenter de Carrboro
(Chapel Hill, NC) Mexinegro, un Moreno, Mexicano, superhéroe multiétnico que lucha en contra de villanos racistas no es fácilmente reconocido como el personaje de un héroe, o por lo menos, aún no. Pero, si los quince adolescentes participando en el proyecto “Comics Speak!” tienen la última palabra, éste y otros personajes llegarán a ser tan conocidos como el “Iron Man o Wolverine”. Desde el principio de Febrero, un grupo de jóvenes Morenos, Latinos, y multiétnicos han estado trabajando con el artista visual Luis Franco y el poeta y escritor Kane Smego en el Centro de adolescentes Street Scene para crear sus cómics como parte del proyecto “Comics Speak!” El proyecto es una colaboración entre el público de Chapel Hill y la Oficina de Artes Culturales, Sacrificial Poets, Volunteers for Youth, NC Dream Team, y Ella Baker Woman’s Center for Leadership and Community Activism. El proyecto une a jóvenes Afroamericanos, Latinos y multiétnicos para hablar sobre la identidad racial y el racismo por medio del cómic. En las palabras de uno de los artistas jóvenes, Gerardo Alvarez, “Este programa me ha permitido usar mis habilidades artísticas para entregar un mensaje importante a mi comunidad.”
Por medio de una serie de doce talleres, cada sábado por la mañana, y su trabajo fuera de la escuela, estos jóvenes han sido entrenados en el desarrollo de su personaje, a través de poemas escritos sobre ellos mismos y sus experiencias con el racismo. De ahí, crearon su historia, hicieron un guión gráfico, dibujaron y colorearon los varios cuadros para dar vida a los superhéroes en cada pagina de su cómic. Habrá una exhibición del arte y poesía de los jóvenes, en el ArtsCenter en Carrboro el 17 de Mayo de 6-8 pm. La exhibición es gratis y abierto al público, y le dará la oportunidad a la comunidad de hablar con estos artistas jóvenes y hacerles preguntas sobre su proyecto.
“Comics Speak!” nació como respuesta a la necesidad dentro de la comunidad, de expresión, discusión, y colaboración. El propósito era dar fuerza a jóvenes de color y usar su arte como una forma de confrontar los obstáculos que ellos y sus comunidades enfrentan a diario. Pero también queríamos celebrar sus identidades y culturas vibrantes. El proyecto dió espacio e instrucción para que estos jóvenes puedan formar una relación e identificar estos temas usando arte visual y poesía como forma de comunicarse con su comunidad. El proyecto fue una extensión de dos talleres previos realizados por Sacrificial Poets de Chapel Hill, que identificaron el deseo de jóvenes de utilizar el arte para expresarse de una manera que fuera positiva y afirmando sus identidades.
El proyecto fue comisionado por el Público de Chapel Hill y la Oficina de Artes Culturales como parte de su anual “Into the Streets: Community Art Projects,” que conecta a artistas con grupos de la comunidad para crear arte temporal o permanente que directamente involucra y beneficia a las comunidades de Chapel Hill y Carrboro.
Acerca de la Oficina del Público y Artes Culturales
La oficina de Público de la ciudad de Chapel Hill y la Oficina de Artes Culturales, una división del Departamento de Parques y Recreación, desarrolla e implementa programas de arte para aumentar el acceso del público a las artes, provee oportunidades para que artistas locales puedan mostrar su trabajo y promover el entendimiento y conocimiento del público en las artes. La Oficina está aconsejada por y trabaja con la Comisión de Artes Puúblicas de Chapel Hill, una comisión de 11 miembros voluntarios establecido en 1992 y apuntado por el Ayuntamiento.
Contacto: Jeffrey York, Administrador de Artes Publicas, firstname.lastname@example.org, (919) 968-2750
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“Comics Speak!” Art Project Helps Teens Express Their Thoughts about Identity and Racism
Final Presentation: Friday May 17 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro
(Chapel Hill, NC) Blexican, a Black, Mexican, multiethnic super hero who fights racist villains is not a readily recognized super hero persona, at least not yet. However, if the fifteen teens participating in the “Comics Speak!” project have their say, this character and others will become as well-known as Iron man or Wolverine. Since early February, a group of Black, Latino, and multiethnic teens have been working with visual artist, Luis Franco, and poet and writer, Kane Smego, at the Street Scene Teen Center to create their comics as part of the “Comics Speak!” project. The project is a collaboration between the Chapel Hill Public & Cultural Arts Office, Sacrificial Poets, Volunteers for Youth, NC Dream Team, and The Ella Baker Women’s Center for Leadership and Community Activism. The project brings together African American, Latino, and multiethnic youth to discuss racial identity and issues of racism through the expressive medium of the graphic novel or comic book. In the words of one of the young artists, Gerardo Alvarez, “This program allowed me to use my art skills to deliver an important message to my community.”
Through a series of twelve, Saturday morning workshops, and work outside of class, the teens have been coached in the development of their character’s persona through writing poems about their selves and their own experiences with racism. They then crafted story lines, created storyboards and plot sequences, and then drew and colored the various frames to bring their super heroes to life on the pages of their very own comic. The teen’s artwork and poetry will debut in an exhibition at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro on May 17 from 6-8 pm. The exhibition and performance is free and open to the public, and will give the community an opportunity to speak with the youth artists and ask them questions about the project.
“Comics Speak!” grew out of a response to a community need for expression, discussion, and collaboration. The goal was to empower youth of color to use the arts to confront the obstacles they and their communities face on a regular basis, as well as celebrate the vibrant cultural identities they possess. The project provided space and instruction for these youth to connect and identify these issues, by using both visual art and spoken word as a means of communicating with the community at large. The project was an extension of two earlier community workshops conducted by Chapel Hill’s Sacrificial Poets that identified a desire for an artistic means of expression for the teens that was positive and identity-affirming.
The project was commissioned by the Chapel Hill Public & Cultural Arts Office as part of their yearly Into the Streets: Community Art Projects, which connects artists with community groups to create temporary or more permanent artwork that directly engages and benefits the communities in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.
About the Office of Public & Cultural Arts
The Town of Chapel Hill’s Public and Cultural Arts Office, a division of the Parks & Recreation Department, develops and implements art programs to increase public access to the arts, provides opportunities for local artists to display their work, and promotes public understanding and awareness of the arts. The Office is advised by and works collaboratively with the Chapel Hill Public Arts Commission, an 11-member volunteer board established in 1992 and appointed by the Town Council.
Contact: Jeffrey York, Public Arts Administrator, email@example.com, (919) 968-2750
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April 11, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jose Torres-Don
NC DREAM Team Supports RECLAIM NC Act:
Coming Out of the Shadows
RALEIGH, NC—The North Carolina DREAM Team (NCDT) supports Republican led initiatives for continued dialogue on immigration matters in North Carolina. On Wednesday, Republican Representatives Warren, Jordan, Brown and Collins filed House Bill 786-the RECLAIM NC Act that includes a process for bringing undocumented immigrants in NC out of the shadows through a driving permit. As undocumented people we are living through the consequences of the failed promises in the past decade from the national Democratic Party on immigration reform. We welcome this initiative from NC Republicans as a signal of their better understanding of the value in this opportunity to move North Carolina forward in a way that is inclusive of the Hispanic Community. We call on the leadership of this state, both Republicans and Democrats, to resist the bullying tactics of extreme anti-immigrant factions and arrive at reasonable policies in the best interest of the state’s economy and public safety.
In the summer of 2006 NC changed its laws that made it impossible for our undocumented families to obtain or renew driver’s licenses. This change was made under the leadership by then Democratic Governor, Mike Easley, who signed the Technical Corrections Act on August 27th, 2006. In the years that have followed, undocumented community members have been and continue to be deported as a result of not being able to produce a driver’s license. We intend to fully engage in conversation on initiatives from both, Republicans and Democrats, for the possibility of a driving permit. All legislators must propose and pass meaningful legislation that elevates outcomes over false rhetoric of hope. We welcome all initiatives independent of party affiliation.
To address the concerns that this proposal sounds like a round ‘em up and deport ‘em type of policy, our everyday lives remind us that this is vigorously happening already to our community under the leadership of the national Democratic Party. NCDT member, Viridiana Martinez, 26, previously detained in an immigrant detention center in Florida experienced first-hand such destructive policies of the Obama administration. Martinez states, “there is a cruel deceptiveness in the “low priority for deportation” directive from Obama that is nothing more than a talking point… we seek an alternative to the status quo”. Currently NCDT is rallying to stop the Deportation of dedicated grandfather and Boy Scouts soccer coach, Eduardo Mireles Salazar (Alien Number: 200-717-517), who has been ordered deported from North Carolina as a result of merely driving without a license. For Coach Salazar and the many others that go unnoticed, we support Representatives Warren, Jordan, Brown and Collins in their initiative to seek better solutions.
We are aware there are problematic provisions within the proposed bill and we intend to provide our voice to that discussion so that there is understanding of the community directly affected. The NC DREAM Team looks forward to having a bigger conversation about the enlightened self-interest for Republicans in NC to align with the national leadership of the GOP that has signaled a more reasonable approach in dealing with immigration and with that fostering a better relationship with a growing Hispanic political base.
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies who are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize their individual and collective power to activate their communities.
We are gaining momentum! The North Carolina NAACP has issued a statement supporting immigrant youth. Keep calling and signing the petition so that Anthony Tata, Pat McCrory, and all of these politicians know that they must act immediately. But we have to keep calling until we have a solution!
Make A Call:
Eric Boyette (NC DMV Commissioner) – (919) 861-3015
Tony Tata (NC Dept of Transportation Secretary) – (919) 707-2800
Sample script: “Hi, I am calling to ask that the NC DMV adhere to the statement made by Attorney General Cooper saying DACA holders have a right to obtain driver licenses by NC state law. I ask that this official statement be reflected in the DMV’s requirements for driver licenses immediately. Thank you!”
NC NAACP Issues Statement in Response to the NC DOT’s Unwillingness to Comply with NC Attorney General’s Ruling on Licenses for Young People Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Executive Order
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
22 January 2013
For More Information: Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, President, 919-394-8137
Mrs. Amina J. Turner, Executive Director, 919-682-4700
Atty. Jamie Phillips, Public Policy Coordinator, 919-682-4700
For Media Assistance: Rob Stephens, Field Secretary, 336-577-9335
The NC NAACP is asking Governor Pat McCrory to instruct his Secretary of Transportation Anthony Tata to obey the federal rules, as upheld by N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper, and issue driver licenses to young immigrants who are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, the NC NAACP President, is challenging the Governor to divorce himself from the petulant and adolescent comments of Lt. Gov. Dan Forest. Forest is quoted as saying, “We are a sovereign state and need to stand up and push back when the Feds encroach on our ability to protect our citizens and enforce our laws.”
Barber said, “North Carolina needs to focus on unifying and lifting up all people, especially our children. Lt. Gov. Forest’s statement divides and scapegoats. Does Gov. McCrory agree that North Carolina should act in direct violation of the U.S. Government’s laws and rules, as interpreted by the N.C. top law enforcement official? Forest’s outburst may get some applause at the tea party rallies he attends, but if this is a sign about how Gov. McCrory intends to govern all the people of North Carolina–not just the extremists, then the people of North Carolina need to know now. Both the Governor and the Lt. Governor swore on the Bible to uphold the U.S. Constitution and laws. And 145 years ago, the N.C. Constitution declared ‘Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force.’“
The United States government has established a process that defers deportation of immigrants who came to this country illegally as children. This process, called DACA, provides these young people with the opportunity to obtain a NC driver license. Lt. Gov. Forest recently said, they should “not be afforded the privileges reserved for US citizens,” and accused President Obama of ignoring the law. “
“We urge Governor McCrory and his administration to comply with the U.S. laws. Make it clear in the beginning of your administration that tea party rhetoric has no place in your administration. The NC NAACP believes the issue of how we treat our young Latino sister and brothers will play an important part in defining the new McCrory Administration. Will you support the Attorney General, who says you should instruct the Division of Motor Vehicles to resume its sensible practice of issuing licenses to DACA young people? Are will you force them to go further into the shadows, waiting for the comprehensive immigration reforms that the great majority of federal legislators now are talking about?”
Hon. Pat McCrory
Governor of North Carolina
116 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 26702
RE: Your Position on DACA Issue
Dear Governor McCrory,
The NC NAACP respectfully requests that you support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a federal law created by Executive Order of the President of the United States. This request comes from the root of what keeps this country great. Our Constitution, created by Lincoln Republicans and African Americans of this State, 145 years ago clearly reads, “Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion therof can have any binding force.”
We pray that you do not agree with those who would use antiquated language such as “sovereign state” and who would imply a state may ignore and reject a federal law set in place by the President of the United States. We pray you reject nullification language and efforts by your Lt. Governor and those in the extreme pockets of your party. We pray that you and your administration comply with U.S. laws and declare that tea party rhetoric has no place in your administration. We pray you follow the lead of your Attorney General and instruct the Division of Motor Vehicles to resume its issuing of licenses to young people covered by DACA. The NAACP will stand in every way with our Latino and Immigrant Brothers and Sisters. We must move forward as a state not backwards!
All of this we ask and pray with respect and hope.
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
President, NC State Conference of the NAACP
cc: NAACP Members, Partners, and Friends
July 30, 2012
Contact: Cynthia Martinez
NC Activist Infiltrates Florida Detention Center to Prove Bad Policies Continue
Organizing inside jail, Viridiana fights deportations from inside prison
CHARLOTTE—The North Carolina Dream Team will hold a press conference today outside the OFA office in Charlotte, NC (301 East 9th St., Charlotte) to discuss our internal review of Broward Transitional Center in Broward, Florida. Undocumented NIYA activists placed themselves inside the detention center in order to find people that should have been released as low-priority cases or by the new deferred action policy.
WHEN: July 31st 11 A.M.
WHERE: OFA office in Charlotte (301 East 9th St., Charlotte)
WHO: North Carolina Dream Team
Viridiana Martinez, a member of both NCDT and NIYA and well-known activist in North Carolina, placed herself inside Broward two weeks ago in order to find women who were eligible for discretion. Claudio Rojas, a father and family man who is doing the same on the men’s side of the prison, was taken to Broward after being arrested by Border Patrol when he mistakenly drove his car into the Ft. Lauderdale port. He is now aiding NIYA in finding cases and has began a hunger strike until he is returned to his family. Viridiana is eligible for deferred action and Claudio is eligible for prosecutorial discretion.
Viridiana has been actively fighting for immigrant rights in North Carolina since first beginning a hunger strike with two other women in 2010, and has now continued to fight by infiltrating a detention center in Florida. In 2011 she committed her first act of civil disobedience in Atlanta, GA, fighting Georgia’s top 5 universities for banning undocumented students.She has also helped in the organizing or several Know Your Rights trainings around the state and help stop several deportations. She’s been in the forefront of the struggle for immigrant rights here in NC, making appearances at the General Assembly and lobbying for our immigrant rights. Viridiana has been confronted by anti-immigrant organizations like Mr. William Gheen director or ALIPAC, and has been in numerous media outlets defending our community.
Since June 17, 2011, the Obama Administration has insisted that it has been using discretion in deportation cases which can be considered “low-priority” or cause undue hardship for citizen family members. In June of this year, Obama announced extending deferred action to undocumented youth after we occupied his campaign offices for two weeks, costing his campaign thousands of hours of staff time.
In order to challenge Immigration and Customs Enforcement and GEO Group, Inc. which owns the facility, we have placed multiple NIYA members inside Broward Transitional Center to find people who are eligible for
deferred action, are low-priority cases, or may be eligible for visas. In this one facility alone, we have found dozens of people who, according to the Obama policies of the past year, should be released back to their families.
According to the information given to us by the activists inside, there are:
At least six people inside Broward who have pending application for a U Visa;
More than a dozen DREAM Act-eligible youth;
Over 60 who have no criminal record or prior deportations;
More than three dozen who are still eligible for discretion despite previous contacts with the system;
Several cases of immigrants in need of immediate medical care, including blood clots and a bullet in the spine.
We are demanding a full review of Broward along with the release of all eligible persons inside. GEO is paid $166 per day for the people they are holding that are eligible for relief. One woman seeking asylum from the Ukraine has been inside over 2.5 years despite already having a work visa, costing taxpayers more than $51,000.
ICE is aware that we are organizing inside. Just over the weekend, we heard that an abnormally large number of people were being released. We have also been told that the guards inside have been threatening people with federal prison for calling our hotline. Conversations about the facility over the phone have been cut short.
NIYA will no longer allow GEO Group or other private prison corporations to profit off of shattered families and broken lives. We will continue to organize inside their jails until the president lives up to his promises.
The NC DREAM Team is an organization composed of undocumented immigrant youth and allies. We are dedicated to the creation of a sustainable, community-led immigrant rights movement in North Carolina. We aim to help undocumented youth recognize our individual and collective power to activate our communities. We also aim to create awareness of the broader struggle for social justice. We will escalate in our efforts to achieve a just reform that is acceptable to–and guided by–the voices of those directly affected by our broken immigration system. We do not shy away from purposeful direct action and civil disobedience in the pursuit of a more just future for our immigrant community.
For more info: http://action.dreamactivist.org/btc/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 29, 2012
Contact: Viridiana Martinez (919)704-0599
Youth Come Out as UNDOCUMENTED and UNAFRAID in NC Legislature
Undocumented Youth Face Anti-Immigrant Committee in NC Legislature
As the newly developed Standing House Committee on the State’s Role on Immigration works on drafting a comprehensive anti-immigrant plan for NC, undocumented youth are determined to drop the fear and face the members of this committee by showing up at the committee’s meeting and making themselves heard.
“My name is Uriel Alberto; I am undocumented, unafraid, and unashamed!” Uriel is an undocumented youth who is determined to be present at the committee’s meeting. When asked why he simply states “I refuse to be bullied and intimidated by this committee and choose to empower my community.”
This will be the third of a total of six meetings that this committee will have. These committee meetings are open to the public and like in the past two meetings a large number of anti-immigrant supporters are expected. The environment that these undocumented youth will be in will be a hostile one.
NC DREAM Team and other undocumented youth will show presence in tomorrow’s meeting in an effort to stop the spread of Arizona SB 1070 copycats across the south and a possible similar bill draft for NC.
Where: 16 West Jones St. Raleigh, NC 27601; ROOM 643 Legislative Office Building,
When: 1:00 pm, 2-29-2012
What: Undocumented Youth Face Anti-Immigrant Committee in NC Legislature
Who: NC DREAM Team
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UNDOCUMENTED YOUTH DROP THE FEAR IN NORTH CAROLINA
PRESS CONFERENCE ALERT
For Immediate Release
Domenic Powell (704) 281 – 9911
Jose Torres-Don (512) 659-1829
The NC DREAM Team will hold a press conference today in Charlotte
When: Thurs., Sept. 8, 2011 at 12:30pm
Where: Mecklenburg County Courthouse
832 East 4th Street, Charlotte, NC
We invite the immigrant community and the community of North Carolina to join us today. Three of the #NC7 undocumented youth arrested at the immigrant rights rally Tuesday have been released. They will speak directly about their experiences. Please spread the word and join us.
And please help us take action in stopping “Secure Communities” throughout our country. Sign our petition here and spread the word.
**UPDATE** See full release below.
Domenic Powell (704) 281 – 9911
Jose Torres-Don (512) 659-1829
Three of ten undocumented youth released, will hold press conference today
ICE begins deportation proceedings, futures remain unclear
CHARLOTTE—Three of the ten undocumented youth arrested in Charlotte, North Carolina this Tuesday for protesting against both the discriminatory practices at public colleges in North Carolina and the devastating effects of 287g and Secure Communities have been released.
Santiago Garcia, Martin Rodriguez and Manuel Vazquez were released late last night. The other four participants, Cynthia Martinez, Marco Saavedra, Alicia Torres-Don and Angelica Velazquillo will appear in court at 1PM today. The other three undocumented activists who were arrested, Mohammad Abdollahi, Isabel Castillo and Viridiana Martinez also remain in jail.
By releasing three of the ten undocumented arrested at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, undocumented youth have proven that they can stand up to an administration eager to deport them.
“We stood up for what we believe in,” said Manuel Vazquez. “But more importantly, we stood up for ourselves and our communities.”
The action marked exactly one year before the Democratic National Convention. Until this point, Democrats have been the assumed allies of immigrants, in the face of Republican governors supporting anti-immigrant laws like Arizona’s SB1070. However, anti-immigrant policies such as 287(g) and Secure Communities have flourished under this Democratic president. Undocumented youth should not be expected to support a president who has deported more people than President Eisenhower during Operation Wetback.
Garcia was issued an Alien Number and issued paperwork stating that he was going to be transferred to Stewart Detention Center in Georgia. Several other participants were issued Alien Numbers or placed in immigration holds. The future of their deportation cases is unclear. However, this action shows that the Obama Administration either still actively deports undocumented youth or has absolutely no control of its local offices.
“I thought I was on my way to Georgia,” said Garcia. “I sat in jail for hours not knowing when and if I would see my family soon.
The seven participants are now calling upon undocumented youth across the country to harness the power of being public about their status and challenge this administration’s 287(g) and Secure Communities programs. A press conference will be held today at 12:30PM in front of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse, where the three released participants will discuss the protest, their time in jail and their plans for the immediate future.
WHO: Manuel Vasquez, 21, of Raleigh
Martin Rodriguez, 20, of Hamptonville
Santiago Garcia, 20, of Asheville
WHAT: Participants in the civil disobedience action at Central Piedmont Community College, three of whom have been released, call on undocumented youth to shed their fears and commit t holding Democratic party leaders accountable for the injustices they perpetuate against immigrant communities.
WHERE: Mecklenburg County Courthouse; 832 East 4th Street, Charlotte, NC
WHEN: Thurs. September 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm.
Ever since I begin to understand a little bit more about how injustices were oppressing my community, I hadn’t realized that there are actual people who really dislike people like me. I profoundly believe that people begin to create assumptions, and opinions based on the amount of information they hear about people like me. This is precisely why I tried to answer some of the though questions.
Now, you may ask, who are people like me? Well, as I have explained before, my name is Jose Rico Benavides. I am a community college student. I am Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unashamed to not only speak out against the many injustices that affect the migrant community, but also take action about it.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, hate is defined as an “intense hostility usually driven from fear, anger or sense of injury.” Is it hate what they really feel? My guess would be yes. When someone calls you “an illegal immigrant,” using the word illegal is very inappropriate when referring to a human being. No human being is illegal!!
In the morning of June 1, 2011, Rep. Dale Folwell from Forsyth County, NC approached an NC DREAM Team member, yours truly, and asked him: “Are you the one that called me a coward? Are you the one?” Of course, he was referring to this press release the NC DREAM Team issued in regards to the introduction of HB 744. Rep. Folwell came with a posture and body language that was disrespectful and intimidating asking these questions, and more over when he went on and asked, “Do you have the balls to tell it to my face?” At that moment, I felt frightened and fearful that the representative would lash out at me if I would have answered honestly, so I remained silent and kept my cool. Folwell escalated at the end of the conversation by asking, “Are you an illegal immigrant?” At that point, I decided to completely ignore his behavior by not answering his questions that surely attacked the integrity of my team and mine, I simply responded: “I am not going to answer to that.”
If you read the press release, it clearly states:
“Requiring children to register their immigration status with their schools will inevitably result in discrimination, harassment or exclusion. Plain and simple, the legislators who support these bills are unprincipled cowards.”
Rep. Folwell, we are attacking the issue of asking children for their immigration status as a qualification to enter K-12 public education. We are not singling out any representative, just how you felt. We are simply calling out the bills and politicians who support anti-immigration legislation that attack our communities and children.