Monday, April 17, 2006

Linking immigrant rights with Voting Rights and political empowerment

The Oakland-based Applied Research Center is pointing its folks towards a piece in today's San Diego Tribune. In their Race in Focus email blast to racial justice activists and policy-makers like me, ARC 'raved' about the perspective from the Tribune.

March Today, Vote Tomorrow: Immigrants' Rights Organizers Mobilize Voting Power. Efforts are moving forward in San Diego to harness the momentum created by immigrants' rights marches across the country for voter registration and mobilization. UC Riverside ethics professor Armando Navarro said, "We now have to move into a much more organized voter registration and political organization effort. Read more: San Diego Union Tribune

I think the key question for many immigrant rights and social justice activists is how to harness the momentum and energy of the new movements for the future. On the eve of the historic A10 nationwide protests for immigrant rights, the aptly named League of Pissed Off Voters [but also known as League of 'Independent' or 'Young' voters] put out a clear call for young activists to recognize the significance of the new social movements, express solidarity and to get active electorally and politically. Check out League leader Val Benavidez's excellent piece from Alternet - Join the Largest Social Movement of Our Decade

...the young people of this country -- are walking out, marching, organizing and voting for humane immigration reform.
You are about to meet the largest social movement of our decade. All across the country young people are organizing. Immigrants and non-immigrants, we are taking to the streets to protest some of the most racist legislation to ever enter the halls of Congress. We are walking out of our schools, organizing the social justice community and rallying our statehouses.
More stories by Val Benavidez. More on the League of Pissed Off voters. The league's Blog.

Lastly, one of my movement colleagues Carl Davidson of Chicagoans Against War & Injustice or CAWI and Networking for Democracy has written about the theory and practice of everything from registering new high school-aged voters to passing anti-war resolutions at the City Council level and impacting national elections.
high school peace and justice voters Carl and Marilyn Katz' piece on regime change

Radical NYU Education professor Jean Anyon at the AERA [American Education Researchers Association] conference last week called the burgeoning immigrant rights movement one of the most profound social movements of our time. Whether the new movement's momentum and energy can be harnessed by our existing social justice organizatinos for longer term political power or whether new organizations will sprout up to lead for the future remains to be seen. But it seems to me that the Applied Research Center, League of Pissed Off Voters and Chicagoans Against War and Injustice, are asking the right critical questions for the future of our movements.
PLUG - New York City immigrant and voting rights activists are in the middle of a campaign for voting rights for non-citizens in their city elections. Activists re-introduced their historic Voting Rights Restoration Act on April 5, 2006 at the NYC City Council. for more info -

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