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by Nativo Lopez
Monday, Jun. 19, 2006 at 5:32 PM
NLopez@hermandadmexicana.org 714-423-4800 611 Civic Center Drive, Santa Ana, CA 92701
The Western Regional Conference brought together members of the March 25th Coalition yesterday at the United Teachers of Los Angeles building.
Los Angeles, CA – The Western Regional Conference brought together members of the March 25th Coalition yesterday at the United Teachers of Los Angeles building. There were three main takeaways: 1) unanimity in repudiating the Hagel-Martinez Compromise bill; 2) unison, formation of a statewide steering committee, and development of a plan of action; and 3) will try to defeat Hagel-Martinez in Conference Committee or before. The common denominator among the attendees was that all of them played pivotal roles in mobilizing millions of people into the streets during the past four months against the Sensenbrenner bill (H.R.4437) and continue to oppose the Hagel-Martinez “Compromise” Senate bill (S.2611). A national conference has been scheduled for July.
“The response from the March 25th Coalition has been tremendous and I commend all of those who attended—especially those from other states,” said March 25th Organizer and HML National Director/MAPA National President, Nativo V. Lopez. “More than ever, we are committed to defeating the Hagel-Martinez and will spend the next several weeks educating people on its demerits and how it is bad for America.”
All told, an estimated 300-plus people attended the conference, including state Senator Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles). Below is a partial list of the speakers on the agenda:
David Bacon – Author; Javier Rodriguez – March 25th Coalition Founder; Gonzalo Santos – Sociology Professor & Co-Founder of the Kern Coalition for Immigrant’s Rights; Peter Schey – Immigrant Rights lawyer; Isabel Rodriguez – Immigrant Rights lawyer; Chito Quijano – BAYAN Los Angeles; Gloria Saucedo – Hermandad Mexicana of Panorama City; Mario Brito – Day Laborers; Rene Saucedo; Ramon Sanchez – Alianza Hondurena; Jose Sandoval – Voluntarios de la Comunidad of San Jose; Felipe Aguirre of Comite Pro-Uno; Sarah Knopp – UTLA; Ramon Cardona – Centro Latino Cuzcatlan and May 1st Coalition; Olga Miranda – SEIU Local 87; and Nativo Lopez – Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana and MAPA.
“A lot of ink and airtime has been spent talking about how anti-immigrant fervor has been galvanized by recent public actions,” said Nativo Lopez. “But if this conference is any indication, support for the March 25th agenda is growing and multifaceted. We are mobilizing against the Hagel-Martinez bill, the criminalization of undocumented labor and the militarization of the border; and we are working for full and immediate legalization.”
Below are a summary of results/resolutions from yesterday’s conference:
1. Over 300 delegates attended the conference held at the office of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the second largest teacher’s union for a specific school district in the U.S. (an estimated 40,000 members). Delegates included representatives of unions, student and youth organizations, and community based-organizations;
2. The UTLA endorsed the conference and the March 25th Coalition, and is actively involved in the work of the coalition. The union recently resolved to initiate a broad education campaign with the coalition to discuss the immigration issue with the Los Angeles community, and raise the issue of governance of the LAUSD;
3. The conference unanimously endorsed the resolution to repudiate the Senate version of immigration reform, S.2611, popularly known as the Hagel-Martinez Bill, as a Sensenbrenner-like measure full of enforcement provisions and inadequate legalization provisions;
4. The conference delegates were completely united in pursuing a strategy to defeat S.2611 and H.R.4437 over the next several months before both bills reach the congressional conference committee;
5. The conference resolved to establish a state-wide coordinating committee comprised of delegates from all local immigration coalitions working in California and organize regional organizing conferences in San Diego, San Francisco, Coachella, and Fresno over the next nine months; a national immigration organizing conference to establish a national coordinating committee between all regional coalitions will be convened in Chicago, Illinois in the month of July 2006;
6. The conference delegates approved of a series of mass actions in defense of all immigrants, which include:
a) National Immigration Teach-In on July 15th (to explain the nature of S.2611);
b) Amnesty Truth Tour (to build consensus within the immigrant communities in favor of full and immediate legalization for all);
c) March for Immigrant Worker’s Rights on Labor Day in alliance with the labor movement – on September 4th;
d) Popular Referendum of Consultation within the immigrant communities with regard to the immigration bills and the performance of federal legislators in relation to the immigration issue – the results of which will be revealed at the culmination of the consultation on November 7, 2006, date of the national general elections.
Nativo V. Lopez is currently the National Director of Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (HML) and the National President of the Mexican American Political Association (MAPA). Both charges require of him full-time advocacy for the civil, human, labor, and immigrant rights of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and Latinos throughout the United States. He has dedicated his life to these causes since his years as a high school student where he founded the first student movement organization, United Mexican American Students (UMAS). He was born in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles in 1951 to Mexican American parents, and is of both eighth-generation native U.S. born and immigrant stock. Mr. Lopez met the legendary immigrant organizer, leader, and advocate, Humberto “Bert” Corona, in 1971 and worked with him in various capacities for thirty years with the organizations Center for Autonomous Social Action (CASA), Hermandad Mexicana, and MAPA. He is a member of the March 25th Coalition and a lead organizer in the “Great March of March 25,” the “National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice” on April 10th and “Great American/Day Without Immigrants Boycott” on May 1st.
The Mexican American Political Association, a multi-partisan advocacy organization, was founded in Fresno, California in 1963 and has chapters throughout California. It is dedicated to the constitutional and democratic principles of political freedom and representation for the Mexican, Mexican-American and Latino people in the United States. For more information, visit the MAPA website at www.MAPA.org.
Hermandad Mexicana Latinoamericana (National Mexican Latin American Brotherhood), an advocacy organization for immigrants, was created in 1951 to achieve the development and integration of Latino immigrants that live in the United States. It is dedicated to improving economic and social opportunities of immigrants and their families, and maintains that a better future for children is an inalienable right. For more information, visit the HML website at www.HermandadMexicana.com.
The March 25th Coalition is comprised of many groups, including but not limited to, labor, community-based, and immigrant rights organizations. Jesse Diaz, Nativo Lopez, Javier Rodriguez, Jorge Rodriguez and Gloria Saucedo are the official spokespersons. The Coalition has called on religious, labor, and community groups, as well as the immigrant communities nationally, to participate in recent pro-immigrant rallies and marches; these include the following: Great March of March 25, April 10th National Day of Action, and the May 1st “Day Without Immigrants” Great American Boycott.
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