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National Human Rights Conference Comes to Los Angeles

by Thandisizwe Chimurenga Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 at 1:07 AM
media@idabwellsinstitute.net 213-321-0575

Conference Moved from GA in Solidarity with Just Immigration Policies

November 8, 2011

Kali Akuno, 510.593.3956 (Cell Phone)

U.S. Human Rights Network Holds National Conference in Los Angeles

GA-based coalition moves national meeting in protest of state’s immigration law

Atlanta, GA – The United States Human Rights Network (USHRN), an Atlanta-based coalition of more than 300 organizations from around the country, will hold its National Conference and Membership Meeting in Los Angeles during “Human Rights Weekend,” Dec. 9-11, 2011, at the Radisson Hotel at LAX.

The Network’s biannual conference comes to the city during a time of unprecedented discontent with the nation’s Depression Era-level joblessness and growing economic inequality. Due to the Network’s firm belief that economic rights are also human rights, the USHRN stands in full support of Los Angeles’ “Occupy” movement as well as those elsewhere, protesting the collusion of government and economic elites.

Originally scheduled for its headquarters of Atlanta, the group decided in August to move the conference out of Georgia due to passage of that state’s controversial anti-immigration bill HB 87. Similar to Arizona’s SB 1070, HB 87 would criminalize Georgians who interact with undocumented individuals; authorize police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during routine encounters; and deny individuals without specific identification access to state facilities and services. The move is in support of a general economic boycott of the state and in accordance with the organization’s principles.

The Network chose the Radisson Hotel at Los Angeles Airport as its new conference site after careful consideration, in part to highlight the efforts of state and local governments in California to fulfill their human rights obligations to all residents regardless of their citizenship status. “In contrast with Georgiaand other states that have chosen to scapegoat their most vulnerable residents with punitive legislation, California has taken a more progressive and humane approach to immigration and other human rights issues,” said Kali Akuno, co-director of the Network.

Akuno also cites CA Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of Assembly Bill 130 in July, also known as the “California Dream Act,” that allows undocumented college students in California to receive private financial aid for higher education. “Although AB 130 does not create a pathway to U.S. citizenship, we realize it’s definitely a useful step toward a real understanding of the complexities of immigration in the U.S. and the need for comprehensive immigration reform,” Akuno said.

The primary goal of the United States Human Rights Network is to increase the visibility of the US human rights movement and link U.S.-based human rights activists with the global human rights movement. Its National Conference and Members Meeting will be held Dec. 9 - 11, 2011, at the Radisson LAX Hotel, 6225 W. Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. For more information on the US Human Rights Network and its activities, please visit www.ushrnetwork.org.

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