L to R: Linda Long, Patty Bellasalma & Kimberly Salter @ CA NOW Meeting
California NOW (National Organization for Women) held its annual meeting followed by an executive board session at the Beverly Hills headquarters of the Feminist Majority and Ms. Magazine. Two resolutions were passed, one of which I authored—
Whereas, police misconduct in California and discredited police procedures have a disparate impact on women (such as sexual assault victims) and minority groups:
Therefore be it resolved that California NOW:
1. Joins the California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) in calling upon the FBI and United States Department of Justice to adopt the Womens Law Center definition of rape for Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistical purposes;
2. Joins the California League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in supporting the Model Ordinance for Civilian Oversight of Police Misconduct and legislation to enact the recommendations of the California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice;
3. Supports rolling back the Three Strikes law to apply retroactively to serious and violent felonies only.
Members of San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of NOW (The Valley’s Voice for Choice)
, SFV Council of LULAC, and Los Angeles South NOW (NOW Playing in the Hood)
, participated in the Los Angeles Slutwalk today, protesting rape and violence against women.
NOW members @ West Hollywood Park
NOW "Slutsquad" in Action
Sisterhood is Powerful
- May 28, 2011 4:00 a.m., a LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) activist, Toni, was awakened by her sister’s voice on her voice-mail stating she was in the back of a police squad car. She needed help please come quick, her friend had been raped and the police PLACED THEM in the back of the car and called them [sister, friend, rape victim] “stupid bitches.”
- The rape victim was still in the back of the car when the Toni arrived and she was crying, yelling and cursing. Toni’s sister told her that the deputies told the victim – in her sister’s and the other friend’s presence – “we don’t believe you.” Toni’s sister also said that the Sheriff told Carmen to “stop being hysterical.”
- Toni requested a female deputy; her request was denied.
- Toni called the sheriff’s station (Century) requesting a female officer. They informed Toni that there wasn’t a female officer on-duty. She requested different officers and was told ‘you can’t pick and choose which officers you want/like.’ Toni told them that these officers just called the girls stupid bitches and told the victim they didn’t believe her.
- The operator stayed quiet. She told them she wanted to file a complaint aand they told her to go to the station and quickly hung up the phone. They were very unhelpful, to say the least.
What needs to be done? First and foremost, we need to recognize that SISTERHOOD IS POWERFUL!
- Join us at the Slutwalk in West Hollywood Saturday 6/4/11 from 12-3 p.m.to leaflet the crowd and petition for our program.
- Become a member of one or more of the Same Page/Misma Pagina Coalition organizations, SFV/NELA NOW, SFV LULAC, and/or Los Angeles South NOW (“NOW Playing in the Hood”).
- Join us in our efforts to repeal Section 3307 of the Government Code, ending the prohibition on police departments from requiring their officer to take lie detector tests during disciplinary investigations.
- Support our efforts to enact the “Model Ordinance for Civilian Oversight of Police Misconduct” (for details, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Mexico frees 62 in forced-prostitution case
MEXICO CITY – Police freed 62 female victims of a forced-prostitution ring in Mexico City, including a 13-year-old girl, prosecutors said.
The women complained they were forced to work as prostitutes in the capital’s downtown sector and had to hand over their earnings to a group of pimps, Mexico City chief prosecutor Miguel Mancera said Monday.
Five men and two women were detained in raids on five bars and are being held pending investigation for alleged human trafficking, organized crime, pimping and corruption of a minor.
Prosecutors said they are investigating the suspects, who range in age from 19 to 62, to see whether any came from Tenancingo, a town in central Tlaxcala state where Mexico’s forced-prostitution trade is believed to be centered.
Mancera’s office said one of the victims told police that a man had befriended her in another state and offered to find her work in Mexico City. Upon arriving in the capital, she and other women were forced to prostitute themselves.
Police found out about the ring in April when the woman wound up in the hospital with a potential miscarriage and decided to tell police.
Mancera said the women were forced to have sex in tiny bedrooms smaller than 6 1/2 feet (6 meters) a side. They would charge between $9 and $26 and paid pimps $4.
The place, known as “La Pasarela,” or “The Runway,” was in business for decades.
Mancera said he does not know why previous city administrations had not cracked down on the prostitution ring before.
A Request from Rudy Acuna:
Save Ethnic Studies! Demand TUSD governing board vote “NO” on reducing Ethnic Studies to electives
STOP THE DEPORTATIONS THE DOMA PROJECT
GAY AND LESBIAN BINATIONAL COUPLES FIGHT DEPORTATION, SEPARATION AND EXILE CAUSED BY THE DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT AND U.S. IMMIGRATION LAW. LEARN MORE ABOUT DOMA PROJECT:
Migrants forced to be sex slaves in Mexico
Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 — 8:50 am
TAPACHULA, Mexico — Locals call them “merchandise” and that is how criminal gangs treat the Central American youths they force into prostitution near Mexico’s southern
TAPACHULA, Mexico — Locals call them “merchandise” and that is how criminal gangs treat the Central American youths they force into prostitution near Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala.
Victims recount being tricked into making the dangerous journey across Central America in the hope of a better life before being stopped en route in southern Mexico and forced to work for nothing.
The Honduran consul in Mexico’s southern Chiapas state, Patricia Villamil, alerted local authorities to several cases when she took on her job last November. When they failed to respond, she spoke out.
“They bring women from Honduras, preferably under 18,” said Villamil, who has already recorded a dozen cases of minors between 14 and 17 years old being forced into prostitution.
“They steal their innocence. They hit them, mistreat them, humiliate and rape them,” she said.
Witness accounts map out a route starting in the poor communities of Honduras, passing through Guatemala before crossing the border into Mexico.
The girls are then distributed among several dozen bars and brothels in Chiapas, which are each thought to employ between eight and 14 foreigners.
A 17-year-old Honduran who gave her name as Valeria ended up in Mexico after following that well-worn route, on the promise of a free journey and a job in a restaurant in Mexico from a woman in her village.
The single mother travelled with a friend and four other minors — those who are most in demand by pimps at the border.
Valeria eventually arrived at a sordid bar in Mexico where she forced herself to drink 17 beers to give her courage to face clients on her first night as a prostitute.
“I had to ‘deal with it’ every time a client wanted it. It was six or seven times almost every day. Once it was 12 times,” she told AFP.
The owner of the bar demanded 5,000 pesos (430 dollars) for the journey. Another bar owner eventually paid the debt, but forced her to work for him in return.
After four months’ of work, with up to 16-hour days, she has not yet received any money.
“Generally they don’t pay minors. They give them food and clothes and build up new debts for them,” said Enrique Mendez, the prosecutor in charge of crimes against immigrants in Chiapas state. Mendez denied that organized criminal groups were operating in the area, and said most girls arrived independently in Chiapas, on a route taken by hundreds of thousands of migrants hoping to reach the United States each year. But the consul and victims said bar owners sought new supplies of young girls, who arrived in groups of five or six.
“Yes, there’s people trafficking but not in an alarming manner,” Mendez admitted in his office in the border town of Tapachula.”There is a lot of prostitution, particularly of minors,” he added.
The consul and activists for immigrants’ rights blame authorities for minimizing the problem, which occurs alongside a spike in attacks on migrants in Mexico and an explosion of gang violence in recent years. “Here in Chiapas, everyone knows what’s happening,” the Honduran consul said. “I don’t care if the government is bothered that I say it. I’m not going to shut up until they do their job.”
Jan Tucker - Rudy Acuna - Estela Ayala
There is a Difference between One and Ten
Rodolfo F. Acuña
In the mid-sixties, I attended a lecture by Dr. Ernesto Galarza. Someone in the audience asked him why politicos and those in social movements didn’t care about Mexican Americans. Galarza responded that most elected officials that were Democrats cared about Mexican Americans but that we were never their number one priority or even close to it on their do list.
Galarza went to the blackboard and drew a vertical line and showed the difference between one and ten. According to Galarza, the legislators would negotiate with the other party that also had its priorities, and if they got the majority of their first five items, they would consider the legislative session successful. For years, farm workers or “Mexican” issues never seemed to break out of the number ten spot. Democrats cared about Mexicans, but just not enough to invite them to the wedding.
The Galarza factor still plays out in academe and in left journals such as The Nation in considering hires and how much space is to be given a particular issue. Everyone loves Mexicans, but they remain Number Ten.
The genius of César Chávez was that he short circuited the process and made the farm worker movement a social movement rather than strictly a labor cause. Because of pressure from the progressive left, farm workers for a time made it to the top five.
As a consequence, the immigrant worker struggle benefitted and was given a push. It did not hurt that as in the case of the Catholic Church Latino workers by the 1980s made up a significant portion of union membership. I cannot help thinking that if it had not been for these numbers we would still be number ten.
Even so, as a people we are still a long way from making it to the top five. The negotiations over the Dream Act are proof of the Galarza factor. Despite our dramatic growth in population, immigration reform still lingers around the ten spot.
The growth of the Latino community has added other nuances which have allowed so-called progressives to bifurcate number ten. They can claim I am for Mexicans, I support the banning of dangerous pesticides and so on.
Bifurcation has evolved into an art form. Witness Arizona where progressives mobilized against SB 1070, Arizona’s draconian immigration law that in effect legalized racial profiling. For a time, it made it to the top five. However, the left is promiscuous and when Wisconsin came along like a suitor in heat the left pushed everything else aside.
This is not to say that Wisconsin should not be high on everyone’s list—it should. I am just saying that a political person should be able to multi-task.
That brief period in the top five brought results and the Department of Justice filed a suit against Arizona. Consequent to that action enforcement of SB 1070 has been blocked.
Other anti-Latino measures have not fared as well in Arizona. HB 2281 legalized a racist attack on the Tucson Unified School District’s La Raza Studies program that has successfully stemmed the Latina/o student drop out problem. It is a pedagogically sound program that could serve as a model for other school districts.
But thus far the Obama administration and progressives have not shown much interest. In April 2010 when 2281 was passed I contacted numerous people and organizations who at the time said 1070 was their Number 1 priority. Others said that getting Jerry Brown elected governor was Number 1.
I could not understand this reasoning since these were also my priorities and it was not an either or proposition.
However, love is blind. Most liberals cannot draw the correlation between labor rights and civil rights. They lack the genius of César Chávez.
HB 2281 attacks freedom of speech. It allows the Arizona superintendent of public instruction and the attorney general to capriciously enforce a racist law. It denies students and teachers in the program their right to equal treatment by sanctioning the disparate treatment of Mexican American studies. Finally, it denies students the right to learn almost guaranteeing that over sixty percent will dropout of school. The outcome is a right wing indoctrination filtered through the “minds” and whims of two elected official with no background in teaching minority students and who have a political agenda.
As a historian I find this terrifying.
How can this happen and why don’t people see and feel the same issues with the same intensity that I do? Why isn’t this issue in the top 5?
Perhaps they have never seen the hopelessness that the lack of identity and literacy produces. Gang kids are made they are not born gang kids.
It is the Galarza factor at work. I remember that I once complained to Congressman Howard Berman because he voted to take funds away from mostly Mexican immigrants to give to Eastern European refugees. He responded that he had to take care of his own first which was an important priority, but why either or?
It was not that Berman did not care about Mexicans; we were just not Number 1 or even 5. The challenges for Latinos as a community is to multi-task and at the same time use our numbers to prioritize actions that address the Latina/o community. We have to avoid the promiscuous habits of the left and remember that issues are inter-related.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2011
The Honorable Kamala D. Harris ~ Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General CA Dept. of Justice 1300 “I” Street Sacramento, CA 95814-2919
RE: RACIAL DISCRIMINATION, BIAS AND PREJUDICE IN THE HIRING, JOB ASSIGNMENT, TRAINING AND PROMOTION OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN ENGINEERS WITHIN THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (LADOT) AND AFRICAN-AMERICAN PLANNERS WITHIN THE CITY PLANNING DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES:
Dear Honorable Kamala D. Harris,
It has come to the attention of the NAACP Los Angeles branch and a number of civic leaders that racial discrimination, bias and prejudice in the hiring, job assignment, training, appointments and promotion of African-American Engineers in the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and African-American Planners in the City Planning Department of The City of Los Angeles (LACP) do exist, that they are tolerated by the City of Los Angeles, and that the City of Los Angeles has taken no measure, to date, to investigate, acknowledge and redress these violations. Specifically, the personnel record in the City of Los Angeles show that notwithstanding African-American engineers’ and planners’ average years of experience of twenty (20+) years or more in these Departments, they are not being promoted beyond the entry-level positions. Whereas non-African-American engineers and planners average years of experience at the time they are promoted is four (4) years.
In both Department of Transportation and Planning Department African-American engineers and planners are systematically denied job assignments essential to promotion, and job experience necessary for advancement. African-American engineers are also segregated into one or two divisions within the LADOT and Planning Departments. Both
African-American engineers and planners are concentrated in entry level positions despite 20 to 30 years of experience within the Departments.
In the case of the Department of Transportation there are court depositions showing that test scores had been changed to insure that African-American engineers’ scores were lower than their White and Asians counterparts. African-American engineers, even when they scored at or near the top of the eligibility list, are still not promoted. Recent court depositions show that LADOT officials collude and determine in advance whom they want to promote, and fix the interview outcomes through a practice called “score normalization.” As a result, outside interviewers’ scores are modified to reflect the insider interviewers’ scores – after the outsider interviewers leave. Also in the Planning Department, supervisors who draft the written exams simply coach white planners, insuring that they score high on written exams. When African-Americans even managed to score high enough to be eligible for a certification interview, they are simply not chosen by a mostly white interview panel.
LADOT employs 236 engineers, only ten (10) are black and all occupy the bottom “Associate” level engineering positions, notwithstanding 20-30 years of experience. Two of these engineers were hired a few years ago by an African American General Manger, Gloria Jeff. Before Ms. Jeff hired these engineers, there had been no African American engineers hired by LADOT in 13 years.
No African-American has ever been promoted above the top entry-level of Transportation Engineering Associate III (TEA III). There are no black engineers in the supervisory (Transportation Engineer), management (Senior Engineer, Principal Engineer) or executive (Assist General Manager, General Manager) positions within LADOT. Regarding training and job assignments for instance, The Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) System has only one African-American engineer working in the Division. ATSAC is the city’s very expensive, computer-based traffic signal control system that monitors traffic conditions and system performance, selects appropriate signal timing (control) strategies, and performs equipment diagnostics and alert functions, successfully implemented in the 1984 Olympic Games.
LADOT’s “Parking Enforcement” is the only division that has a significant number of African-Americans within the Department; however, few, if any, African-American employees are assigned to areas that require an engineering background, such as designs, acquisitions, research, traffic operations and field assignments.
Though LADOT has hired hundreds of engineers over the past 15 years, only two (2) were African-Americans. African-American engineers, even when they scored at or near the top of the supervisory engineering eligibility lists, are, historically, denied promotions beyond their entry levels.
In the City Planning Department African-Americans planners are also systematically denied promotional opportunities. Recently, the City Planning Department conducted massive promotions in unprecedented blocks and filled positions with preferred, younger whites and Asians employees to dwarf any future opportunities for older African-American planners to ever be promoted. In said situation, the City Planner series, which is the first level of supervisory, Planning Department Managers quite openly changed the criteria to allow favored, inexperienced, entry-level and mostly white, City Planning Assistances to take the promotional exam to become supervisors. They normally would not have qualified to become supervisors without attaining three or more years experience in the Department as Assistant Planners. Lo and behold, the Senior Planner who wrote (and scored) the exam questions invited, and was allowed, to exclusively coach the young white planners to prepare for the exam he wrote. The result of this outrage was approximately 7 out of the 18 planners promoted to the City Planner position, with an average of less than 5 years in the Planning Department; leaving 5 or 6 African-American planners, with an average of 20 years of planning experience on the bottom of the exam list. Not one African-American was promoted from the list. Within the last two years, the City Planning Department was given community grants and other funds to hire 40 new entry-level positions; however, none of the new hires were African-Americans. It has been only recently, after repeated complaints to the Mayor’s office by this group, that one African-American planner was hired.
As a consequence of no African-Americans being in a position of authority or supervision, as is the case in the Department of Transportation, or management ability to promote hand-picked compliance Blacks in the Planning Department, predominantly African-American areas of the City do not get their fair share of the standard transportation improvements and developments, such as bike lanes, bike paths, signal lights upgrades, left-turn phasing programs to lighten traffic flow, the highly touted and expensive ATSAC system that synchronizes traffic lights, transit enhancements like light rails and bus corridors, and pedestrian traffic safety enhancements, etc; or planning measures that would impact the quality of community life, such as Specific Plans, Overlay Zones, designated districts etc. The African-American communities, because there is no-one looking out for their interests, get an abundance of red light cameras enforcement which generate revenues, older pull boxes, power poles and old and outdated traffic infrastructures and communication devices as well as hardly to very little planning.
In summary, hiring/promotions are made in these Departments based on preferences given to racial and ethnic background, relatives and non-professional alliances/friendship developed outside work instead of merit. These Departments have rewarded African Americans with less opportunity for advancement as retaliation for speaking out against these discriminatory practices. Some have been told they’re overqualified for some choice positions or positions with overtime pay, and often when an African American engineer or planner is most qualified for a vacant position the department will bypass the normal selection procedure with an emergency appointment – which always led to permanent promotion of their hand-picked protégé or relative. Or simply not promote them and offer no reason. African-Americans are excluded from meaningful rotation assignments to booster their experience, expertise, knowledge and skills. African-Americans are excluded from assignments on special projects such as Advanced Transportation Management Systems, Advanced Transportation Systems and Research, and Inter-Agency Coordination, Department Reorganization or Development Reform, which has a racially disparate impact on African-Americans within the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles City Planning Department.
In an effort to address these ongoing issues of discrimination, the Los Angeles NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, and Urban Roundtable request a personal meeting with you to address the aforementioned problems at your earliest convenience. My contact information 310-397-1171 or email@example.com.
Thanking you in advance. I remain.
Respectfully, Leon Jenkins President, Los Angeles NAACP
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Public Policy Round Table
Benetta Johnson, Alameda Corridor Jobs Coalition
Leon Jenkins, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
KW Tulloss, National Action Network
Adrian Dove, Congress of Racial Equality
Jan B. Tucker, National Commissioner for Civil Rights/ League of United Latin American Citizens
From last night’s Stoney Awards:
Transgender Activist Calpernia Addams
SFV/NELA NOW’s Cynthia Conover Receiving a Stoney Award for her service as Vice President for Community Outreach of the Stonewall Democratic Club
Jane Fonda receiving Stoney Award
Last night, the National Organization for Women was well represented at the Stonewall Democratic Club’s “Stoney Awards” Banquet. Jan Tucker, Cynthia Conover, and Estela Ayala represented the San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles Chapter of NOW (National Organization for Women, The Valley’s Voice for Choice). Shirelle Alexander represented the Los Angeles South Chapter of NOW (NOW Playing in the Hood). Our longtime friend, Transgender attorney (MTF) Mia Frances Yamamoto was at our table and it was a real privilege to get to see Transgender activists Calpernia Addams and Bamby Salcido talk about their experiences and their work for human rights.
Also attending were West Hollywood City Councilman Jeff Prang and Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz (who are members of SFV/NELA NOW), former West Hollywood Council member Lindsay Horvath (the head of Hollywood NOW), and Jeri Stapleton of the Jewish Labor Committee and head of Miracle Mile NOW.
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