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Same-sex weddings took place across the country after the Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that all 50 states must now permit LGBTQ couples "the fundamental right to marry." The historic decision puts an end to marriage equality bans that remained in 14 states, impacting tens of thousands of couples. The plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, celebrated the victory: "Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court affirms what millions across this country already know to be true in our hearts: Our love is equal..."
After the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality, many LGBT organizers are now redirecting their attention to obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in areas of employment, housing and commerce. Nationwide, anti-discrimination laws for gay people are inconsistent and unequal with only 22 states barring discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Locally, activists want to shift the focus to issues that LGBT immigrants face in detention centers across the U.S. Transgender activists indicate that LGBTQ immigrant detainees are uniquely vulnerable to abuse, including sexual assault, while in custody. In prison settings, non-heterosexual prison inmates report sexual assault is higher than heterosexual inmates, with almost 40 percent of transgender inmates in prisons are sexually assaulted.
In San Francisco, kicking off Pride weekend on June 26 was a trans rally and march. As is custom, the rally was held in Dolores Park, then the Trans March worked its way through the streets of the Mission into downtown SF. The San Francisco Trans March is San Francisco’s largest transgender Pride event and one of the largest trans events in the entire world.
LGBTQ Weddings, Pride Celebrations Follow Historic Supreme Court Ruling on Marriage Equality |
Chelsea Manning Contingent in the SF Pride Parade |
Armed Trans People Will Not Get Bashed! |
Trans Pride SF 2015 - audio from the stage and march |
Stonewall Was a RIOT: No Pride in Police Brutality |
Transgender Immigrants Taking A Stand Against Abuse: Trans March 2015 |
Trans March! 2015 |
Open Letter to SF Pride (re: Pink Brick for AirBnB)
The farm worker movement mourns the passing on June 7, 2015, of Rev. Deacon Sal Alvarez, who played a key role with Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta in the farm worker movement and on behalf of many other worthy causes over seven decades. Sal was motivated by deep faith in a movement grounded in the Catholic Church’s social justice teachings and dedication to Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Amilcar Perez-Lopez was a 21-year-old man from Guatemala, living and working in the Mission District. Amilcar and his household were facing eviction at the end of March. On February 26, plain clothes SFPD officers Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli shot and killed Amilcar between two parked cars. In their public campaign to justify the death of Amilcar, the police have stated he was in the process of stealing a bicycle. This claim is called into question by a number of witnesses, some who say the cyclist had stolen Amilcar's phone. Witnesses have reported being intimidated and bullied by SFPD since Amilcar's murder.
Friends, neighbors, and community members held a vigil for Amilcar on March 1. Side by side with praise of Amilcar from his friends and neighbors were calls for justice in his death. Speaker after speaker connected the dots between anti-immigrant racism and the killing of Amilcar. Community members spoke of the inability of San Francisco police to work with Spanish speakers. Amilcar was not an English speaker. A number of the witnesses are also facing eviction.
Neighbors for Justice for Amilcar Perez-Lopez issue a press release on March 2 to denounce a SFPD townhall meeting and demand justice for Amilcar. The night of the killing neighbors were not allowed to leave their homes and witness the aftermath. They were told things like "lock your doors" and "get away from the windows" by the plainclothes officers. Amilcar bled to death in the street, rather than being raced to SF General's Trauma Unit just blocks away.
On March 7, people gathered at 16th and Mission and marched throughout the Mission District to protest the police killing. A banner in front of the march read, “It’s Always Justice When Police Kill.” A chant went out: "¿Qué queremos? ¡Justicia! ¿Cuando? ¡Ahora! What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”
Mission Protest of Cop Killing in SF |
Fight For Amilcar Perez-Lopez |
Neighbors For Justice 4 Amilcar Perez-lopez |
Sunset Vigil Held for Amilcar Perez-Lopez in The Mission |
March Against Police Violence! No One Should Die Over a Bike!
Broken System: A response to non-indictment of Alex Nieto’s killers
San Francisco youth are holding a fast for 5 days to call our attention to the crisis of the children trapped at the U.S. Mexico border. Youth from ages 16 to 20 held a press conference at City Hall on August 12 and announced their plan to set up a tent across from City Hall Tuesday and Wednesday for donations. They will then return to ICE headquarters Friday at noon to end their five-day fast. Youth are taking this action to get the word out about the inhumane treatment of children languishing at the border. They asked us, “Put yourself in the kids shoes; they are just children!” One youth spoke of being inspired after learning that Cesar Chavez often fasted for causes for the farm workers. Another youth’s inspiration came from students in LA holding similar actions.
Latino activists in solidarity with Palestinians marched down Market Street in San Francisco on August 2 in a unity call for saving the children of Central America who are languishing at the US-Mexican border, as well as the children dying in Gaza. Movimiento por la Reunifacacion Familiar organizers reached out to everyone to join together in a march chanting, “No mas ninos deportados nuestros ninos son sagrados!” “No more children deported; our children are sacred.”
After speakers were heard at 16th and Mission, the protesters took the street and marched to 24th and Mission for another rally. People were then given chalk and invited to join in an art project, drawing stick figures on the sidewalk to represent the immigrant children detained at the border, as well as the names of the 300 children killed in Gaza.
Patricia Jackson writes:
"SF is receiving hundreds of children seeking refuge from US-created violence in Central America and Mexico. San Francisco is a sanctuary city and we need to take action to protect the children and call for an end to deportation of children who come here to escape violence...Many children trapped at the border are fleeing threats of death from the Drug Wars in their countries. Drug dealers force young children at gunpoint to join their gang. They are refugees and should be protected as that status. Other children flee for the U.S. to be with their families. All these children are refugees and should be protected."
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On June 10, activists rallied in front of Martin Luther King Jr. Library in San José to protest the unjust prosecution of 66-year-old Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh. Last October, Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh after the Department of Justice charged her with “unlawful procurement of naturalization.” The Obama administration’s filing of these charges could result in her being stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported.
The DOJ alleges that she improperly omitted mention in the application of having been in prison in Israel, but supporters claim the facts tell a different story. Odeh was arrested by Israeli soldiers as a 21-year-old university student in her home in Ramallah, but she was tortured, along with her father, for 45 days, and sentenced to prison for a crime she did not commit.
Odeh is well known in Chicago, where she has worked as associate director of the Arab American Action Network to defend civil liberties and promote immigrant rights. Last year, the Chicago Cultural Alliance bestowed on her its Outstanding Community Leader Award in recognition of her devoting “over 40 year of her life to the empowerment of Arab women.”
Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio visited Mountain View, CA on May 6 to speak to an ultra-conservative group. At one point Arpaio approached protesters, some of whom said to him, "we don't want your hate here."
The event was advertised as a chance to hear Arpaio's "successful strategies" for immigration control. However, a federal judge ruled in 2013 that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos by targeting them during raids and traffic stops throughout Maricopa County, Arizona, and the U.S. District court recently found that Arpaio's department was guilty of racially profiling Latinos in his department's controversial immigration patrols.
Raging Grannies and friends impersonated the sheriff, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents, and immigrants, portraying Arpaio's abusive tactics. María Marroquín, Executive Director of the Mountain View Day Workers who is also a Raging Granny, said that Arpaio denied that he uses racial profiling when speaking with demonstrators, despite the federal rulings.
On May Day 2014, actions across the Bay Area were as diverse as the people who live here. Multiple events were held leading up to the holiday as part of the Earth Day to May Day Days of Direct Action. Across the board, rallies supported undocumented workers and residents. UC Santa Cruz students continued to protest the appointment of Janet Napolitano. Additionally, many of the marches were joined by contingents supporting justice for people affected by police violence, including Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa and Antonio Lopez in San José.
Laurie Valdez writes:
My name is Laurie Valdez. On February 21, 2014, my partner Antonio Guzman Lopez was murdered at the hands of San Jose State University Police Department Sgt. Mike Santos, who claims he did it in defense of fellow UPD officer Frits Van der Hoek. The incident happened right by a childcare center and in front of a sorority house. Clearly Santos had no concern for the safety of others or the fellow officer who, according to Santos, was standing right in front of Antonio, thus placing him in the line of fire.
On March 4, one hundred and forty-nine public speaker's cards were turned in prior to the Oakland City Council meeting. Public comment was unanimous against a city-wide Domain Awareness Center. Nevertheless, council members passed a resolution at about 1am on March 5 to proceed with a scaled-down Port-only version of the DAC. From the public galleries in council chambers, calls of "shame, shame, shame" rang out after the vote to continue development of the DAC.
On February 26 in East Palo Alto, about 250 people marched through the intersection in front of IKEA. Seven activists risked arrest, locking arms and standing (sometimes sitting) in the middle of a major intersection. Union and immigrant rights activists called out Juvenal Chavez, owner of nearby Mi Pueblo, for betraying his own undocumented immigrant roots by participating in the Department of Homeland Security program E-Verify that screens the immigration status of new hires.
Latinos Unidos Por Una Nueva America (Latinos United for a New America) joined other immigrant rights groups and unions including SEIU and UFCW to bring about the action. Labor organizers have been trying to unionize Latino and Asian ethnic markets across the state and the Mi Pueblo grocery chain has been at the center of their attention due to particularly poor working conditions.