fresh voices from the front lines of change








Justin Vest

We Dare Defend Our Right To A World Without ICE

Last week, I dropped my kids off for their first day of school in our small Alabama town of not even 7,000 people. The kids were excited, but I was a nervous wreck. Like every dad, my mind raced through a million scenarios, but none came close to what families faced just a few hours west from us on their first day of school. In Scott County, Mississippi, 650 heavily armed agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) swarmed poultry processing facilities, arresting 680 immigrant workers. And we’re being told we’re safer because of it. I am not safer because my government has decided its top priority is to tear families apart for the sole purpose of stoking racial division. I am not safer because my elected officials fuel the flames of white supremacy that motivate mass shooters to target Latinx shoppers at Wal-Mart. It is only through fear and corruption that rightwing extremists maintain their grip on power in our states. And I, for one, am sick of it.  The ACLU and immigrant rights groups all across the South are mobilizing to help. As a member of Hometown Action and the People's Action national network of grassroots groups, I’m asking what we can do to support them. Not just in this moment, but long-term. Alabama’s state motto is “we dare defend our rights.” In the past, this has sometimes been used to celebrate white supremacy. Today, we dare defend our right to inclusive communities. We dare to defend our right to happy families, and to live together in peace.  ICE, you are not welcome in our Alabama. Or in Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina or any other state of the South or our nation.  We dare defend our right to a world without ICE.

Jewish Groups Protest Trump Immigration Policies

In D.C., New York and beyond, Jews mark annual day of mourning by protesting Trump immigration policies. WaPo: "Members of the Jewish community typically observe Tisha B’Av, the annual day of mourning, by fasting, reading from the book of lamentations and going to temple. But on Sunday, more than 250 Jews from the Washington region spent the day under the searing afternoon sun at Lafayette Square, across from the White House, protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies. They were joined by thousands more across the country who attended similar protests in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and 60 other locations — the latest manifestations of a growing wave of activism among Jews opposed to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, which some argue are reminiscent of the way Jewish people have been treated in the past."

100 Arrested In NY ICE Protests

100 protesters calling for the shutdown of ICE get arrested in New York City. CNN: "About 100 people were arrested in New York City after protesters demanding an end to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) forced the closure of a major highway. Parts of the West Side Highway in Manhattan were temporarily shut down Saturday due to the protest against the federal agency, according to New York City's official emergency notification system. Protesters packed the area near West 26th Street, linking arms and holding signs that said "Abolish ICE" and "Close the camps," CNN affiliate WPIX reported 'We DEMAND an end to all detention and separation of families at the border and everywhere,' event organizers wrote. 'We DEMAND dignity, respect, and permanent protection for all undocumented immigrants.'"

Candidates Challenged At IA State Fair

Surging Warren, Harris draw big crowds at Iowa State Fair. The Hill: "Six months before Iowans will caucus on a cold February night, the race to earn their support kicked off in earnest this weekend as candidates descended on the state fair and two different forums amid an uncertain race. Iowa Democratic voters take their role in kicking off the voting process tremendously seriously, and few are willing to commit to a candidate with certainty. Those candidates are adjusting their strategies and tactics after an initial period of trial and error. 'We're really coming to the end of the first half,' said Jeff Link, a veteran Iowa Democratic strategist who is unaligned this year. 'I think you're going to see people go into the locker room and make adjustments.' Though candidates have been traipsing through Iowa for months, voters are only now tuning in - ironically, after one candidate, Rep. Eric Swalwell (R-Calif.), ended his bid."

GOP Efforts To Criminalize Protest

The Right Wing Is Trying to Make It a Crime to Oppose Fascism. Truthout: "Conservatives in the U.S. have long sought to reframe grassroots political activism as dangerously radical, but efforts to criminalize protests have rapidly intensified since Donald Trump’s election. Most recently, Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy introduced a resolution that names 'Antifa' as a 'domestic terrorist organization.' 'This was a move designed to punish dissent against both racist groups and policies of the government,' David Rose, a member of Portland’s Rose City Antifa, told Truthout. 'The senators are attempting to open the door to illegalizing any form of dissent against racist institutions or groups.' The resolution, S.Res. 279, uses the recent controversy over the clash between right-wing reporter Andy Ngo and protesters in Portland, Oregon, as the impetus to designate antiracist protesters as a criminal operation. For Cruz, this is sly political posturing — Ngo and his loud right-wing talkosphere made #AntifaTerrorists the key talking point for weeks, as a minor scuffle was transformed into a nationwide threat in the popular imagination."

Denver Ends Contracts With For-Profit Prisons

Denver's city council ends prison contracts. The Intercept: "prison companies have lost major contracts in Denver over their work in immigrant detention, as backlash to President Donald Trump’s immigration policy continues to mount. The stunning $10.6 million rebuke to the two firms, CoreCivic and the GEO Group, was led by newly elected city council member Candi CdeBaca, who won in June on a radical platform backed by the Democratic Socialists of America. CdeBaca’s stand on Monday against the firms was her first major effort since being sworn in, and she expected to be a lone vote of dissent. Instead, moved by the plight of those kept in camps run by CoreCivic and the GEO Group, and galvanized by opponents — organized by CdeBaca — at the public meeting, the council delivered an unexpected 8-4 rejection, ending the firms’ contracts to run halfway houses on behalf of the city. CoreCivic and the GEO Group run the bulk of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention centers. The GEO Group also runs an immigration detention center in Aurora, Colorado, which has become a source of local controversy. The disturbing images beaming from the border, and pressure from repeated protests outside the detention center, persuaded council members that their financial support of for-profit companies made them complicit in ICE abuses."

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