imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Local activists oppose police, minuteman harassment of day laborers

by Rockero Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 at 10:57 AM

UPLAND, California - January 26, 2008 Supporters of the human rights of immigrants and workers filled the Upland City Council chambers tonight to support speakers decrying injustices against Upland day laborers. The Minutemen, who are themselves responsible for many of these injustices, also arrived to address the council. And while the council may have been more receptive to their racist rhetoric than to our pleas for justice, we maintained the moral high ground and refused to retreat.

Two weeks ago, two members of the anti-immigrant Minuteman Project "alerted" the members of the Upland City Council to the "problem" of people of color looking for work in the community. This farce of a presentation might have been comical--day laborers have been asking individuals in the city for work for years --if the slanderous accusations levied against the day laborers were not so serious.

The Minutemen made a series of unsubstantiated accusations: "[W]e have seen them flash us and grab their crotch," and "we've found broken crack pipes, syringes and there are beer bottles everywhere," were the worst.1 Mayor John "JP" Pomierski feigned outrage: "I believe the entire council shares my concerns, and I would venture to say they were as surprised as I was to hear that was happening at Home Depot," and even ask the Minutemen about ways to legislate free-speech violations, like the city council of Lake Forest did.

It was very shortly after that meeting that day laborers began complaining of police harassment of themselves and of their employers. Area activists associated with educational and religious institutions immediately held a meeting with the mayor and the sheriff to request a halt to the police harassment and the installation of a port-a-potty, which would have been provided at no cost to the city. They were flatly denied.

At tonight's council meeting, the two Minutemen were again given preferential treatment. They sat in the front row, and were the first to speak, doing so in succession. They ranted about the "improvement" in the situation outside the Upland Home Depot. After the first speaker, the mayor admitted the city's responsibility for repressing day laborers, and alluded to further anti-day laborer actions:

"Thank you for bringing that [the day laborers] to our attention, because, just because we've seen a decrease, in fact, Councilman Willis and I went to lunch I think a day or two after the meeting a few weeks ago and actually drove through the [Home Depot] parking lot and didn't see anybody, so, um, I also want to thank the police chief because I know he got the message loud and clear that night, and I know there's been some stuff in the works, and on another note I know the city attorney is also working--are gonna come up with some other stuff with regard to that, so, it's not gonna be forgotten."

The second minuteman followed, boasting about the latest "triumph" of the nativist movement, Bush's last-minute commutation of the sentences of Border Patrol agents José Compeán and Ignacio Ramos, which he mistakenly referred to as a pardon. He went on to embarrass himself much in a much worse fashion: "The reason that we raise awareness wherever we go is because we wanna correct what I call 'affirmative discrimination' against the American culture, against the American people, and uh, American ethnicity and diversity. Multiculturalism has always been a part of America; the problem today is it's--instead of individual rights, each an every one of you, me, everybody, it's group rights. And group rights have manifested themselves in illegal alien--illegal aliens--on American soil. The Hispanic organizations--and I call 'em Hispanics 'cause I don't know where Hispania's at--they, uh, tend to, uh, back up the rights of illegal aliens on American soil circumventing our rights, uh, impinging on the quality of life in Upland and all the time calling themselves immigrants."

He went on to give his phone number. "What I'm about is the American culture. Our culture is an Anglo-Protestant-core culture-society. Morals and common decency are shared by each and every one of us, from the cradle to the grave. Our fathers defended in World War II. We refuse to see its demise and we ask the City of Upland to maybe, uh, join us, and maybe we can incorporate some clubs that, um, promote the American culture." On the recording you can hear my compañera say what we were all thinking, "What, like the KKK?"

Finally, day laborer advocates were allowed access to the speaker's podium. The first speaker was a well-respected attorney and veteran community activist, who also happens to be a skilled musician. She began by reading Matthew 25:34-40 (when the King talks about being "a stranger," and favoring those who "invited Me in"), following it with the First Amendment. Finally, she said a word about Compeán and Ramos. "I think that we need to be more afraid of people who shoot--officers--who shoot people in the back, because you know, even if the guy had a whole boatload of marijuana, it's no capital crime. And yet, he took it in his own hands to shoot him in the back, and there should be some kind of response of government when officers shoot people in the back!"

The next man, another veteran whose children were in the audience, brought up the memory of the late day laborer and organizer José Fernando Pedraza, who was killed in a traffic accident during a Minuteman protest of the Rancho Cucamonga day labor site about a year and a half ago. A neighbor of the site, he recalled, "On that day, this group, the Minutemen group, they had a protest, and there was a fatality on account of the group. So if it weren't for those people, that person would be alive right now, I think."

The last speaker for the cause of the day laborers was a young organizer and a resident of Upland. He introduced himself and explained his ties to the community.

"I have come to speak to you today because, like some people who addressed the council two weeks ago, I too am concerned about our city's day laborers.

"I'm concerned that workers aren't being paid a fair wage. I'm concerned about their labor going unpaid, and the limited access they have to legal means to have their grievances against employers redressed.

"I am concerned that they work under often-dangerous conditions, and are not receiving any health benefits from their employers.

"And I'm particularly concerned about this borderline-racist anti-immigrant sentiment I see brewing in my own community, and it makes me fear for our democracy and our future. I'm concerned that our very own city council seems to be lending a sympathetic ear to the anti-immigrant activists, many of whom hold extreme political positions. And I am concerned about the border wall going up between the US and Mexico and the corresponding militarization of an important social and economic region.

I urge Upland-area residents not to get caught up in the hyper-nationalist, anti-immigrant hysteria that always seeks fault in the Other.

"We need to realize the historic roots of the current economic situation and the United States' deep ties to Mexico. And we need to look at the question of what to do with our future as a humanitarian one.

"I also urge the members of the city council to educate themselves on the issue of day labor. A concise but comprehensive academic study, titled “On the Corner,” was released in 2006. Among its primary conclusions is that where day labor centers are established, they create a “win-win” situation for laborers, employers, and communities. Day labor centers address the concerns of community members by providing such amenities as toilets. I have brought a copy of the report for the councilmembers to read at their earliest convenience, and I ask the council to seriously consider providing our city's day laborers with such a center. Often, cities do not even have to allocate any public funds for such centers, which are operated by private organizations such as charities and religious groups.

"I would also like to remind the council that the Supreme Court has found that asking for work in public is an activity that is protected by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech, and any citywide ban on solicitation would surely bring opposition from civil rights groups and defenders of civil liberties."

While the speakers and their supporters realize the limited impact their words were likely to have, they felt that they had accomplished their goal of bringing up important issues and making a strong presence with numbers and strong words. And the struggle continues.

______ 1. Emerson, Sandra. "Upland officials and residents concerned over day labor site." Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, January 19, 2009. accessed January 26, 2009.

Report this post as:

Lawyer addresses the Upland City Council

by Rockero Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 at 10:57 AM

audio: MP3 at 4.4 mebibytes

Report this post as:

An organizer addresses the Upland City Council

by Rockero Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 at 10:57 AM

audio: MP3 at 2.4 mebibytes

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
The phone number A_listener Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009 at 10:32 PM

Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM


lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

Website Upgrade A10 10:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 8:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 6:58PM

Change Links April 2018 A01 6:27PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Paraphysique de psychosomatique S22 6:58AM

Chuck Grassley: Women Abusing, Animal Murdering, Illegal War Supporting Criminal S22 2:58AM

Finance Capitalism and the Digital Economy S21 4:45PM

Muselières syndicales, muselières patronales S21 7:19AM

Jeff Bezos, Amazon, The Washington Post, Whole Foods, Etc S21 2:50AM

Why Choose Nut Milk Over Cows' Milk S21 1:01AM

Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement S19 9:53AM

Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator S19 12:51AM

Abolir l'économie S18 11:18AM

The Dictatorship of Corporations S17 5:26PM

18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting S17 3:13PM

Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue S15 6:51AM

Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator S15 3:49AM

Shopping du bashing S14 8:42AM

After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again S13 8:28PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen S12 9:30PM

Probabilités de fin d'humanité S12 6:49AM

Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW S11 2:57AM

Propagande de virus, virus de propagande S10 7:34AM

Steer clear of work morality! S09 12:10PM

Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates S08 6:17PM

Paraphysique de l'origami S08 7:11AM

The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally! S06 11:23PM

August 2018 Honduras Coup update S06 12:28PM

Du réussissement putréfié S06 10:55AM

Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges S06 6:14AM

Log S06 4:25AM

Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts S05 8:29AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy