Tag Archives: Alabama

Anti-Latino Laws Ignite The South

By Guest Contributor Lamont Lilly

Protesters at a rally against Alabama’s HB56. All photos by the author.

In its original format, Alabama’s Beason-Hammon Act granted school resource officers the right to badger fifth graders on the basis of their immigration status. The state of Alabama, which passed the law, also known as HB 56, in June of 2011, was the only state in the country requiring public school administrators to verify immigration data for new K-12 students.

However, just two months ago in August of this year, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the student provision of HB 56, declaring it unconstitutional and a legal breach of Plyer vs. Doe, which mandates that states provide an education to all children, regardless of their immigration status. The 11th Circuit also struck down Georgia’s HB 87, a state proposal to criminalize the “transporting and harboring of illegal immigrants,” a statute with anti-Latino written all over it, a proposal with no parallel within the U.S. system of federal law.

These recent rulings were key in dispelling the notion that individual states can create their own immigration regulations, bypassing federal authority. When initially proposed, Alabama’s HB 56 along with Georgia’s HB 87, were sold as valuable pieces of legislation that would boost local economies – laws that would crack down on the presence of those entering the U.S. illegally. Conservatives billed such bigotry as a quick fix to unemployment and poorly performing schools. Instead, such rogue policies were a complete setback to Civil Rights and due process.

In Alabama, children of all ages were deterred from attending school and pursuing their education. Many withdrew out of fear that their families could be deported if questioned about their immigration status. According to the U.S. Justice Department, over 13 percent of Latino children withdrew over the one year HB 56 operated before federal intervention. Instead of teaching Geometry, classroom instructors were fishing for birth certificates.

As for those local economies and decreasing unemployment rates, the state’s number one industry, agriculture, was damn near decimated. We’re talking an agricultural sector accustomed to generating over $5.5 billion per year. Industries dependent upon migrant labor, like poultry operations, were devastated. Small farming operations were brought to a halt, as valuable workers were scared indoors. Others simply migrated for the purpose of mere safety.
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The Friday Mixtape – 6.29.12 Edition

With Mexico’s presidential elections coming up this Sunday – under no shortage of shadiness, mind you – let’s kick off this week’s edition with Molotov’s “Gimme Tha Power,” (nsfw – language) which still resonates a decade after its original release:

Our next track is a find by our own Andrea Plaid: Esperanza Spalding, who we’ve featured before, teams up with jazz great Joe Lovano for a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Can’t Help It,” in a clip that winds its way thru NYC. And if you’re a fan of Wicked or Rent, keep an extra-close eye on her co-star …

Speaking of finds by friends, the dynamic duo at Disgrasian turned us on to this cross-continental collab between Japanese beatbox wiz Hikakin and Nonstop, a U.S.-based dancer:

Remember “Sh-t Men Say To Men Who Say Sh-t To Women On The Streets”? Check out this Egyptian counterpart, which was posted earlier this month. Directed by Anum Khan with help from HarassMap, “What Men Say to Men Who Harass Women on the Streets” packs an equally potent message.

One more track with a message to close us out: Jasiri X and Rhymefest went to the source when making the video for “Who’s Illegal?,” traveling to Alabama and Arizona and getting a view from the ground-level at the immigration fight in each respective state. The track is currently available as a free download on Jasiri’s Bandcamp site.

How you can help the victims of the Joplin and Alabama disasters

In less than a month, more than 300 people have died and another 1,700-plus injured in the wake of a rash of tornadoes that tore through the state of Alabama and the city of Joplin, Mo. Charity Navigator has a list of some of the bigger charity groups currently assisting the affected areas, so this time we’re going to highlight some more locally-based relief efforts.

Courtesy of MSNBC, here are some efforts taking place in and around Joplin:

  • Joplin Red Cross information line: (417) 624-4411 or e-mail info@redcross-ozarks.org to find out what supplies are most necessary.
  • Donation page for Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.
  • A list of major non-profits that operate regularly in Missouri can be found on the National Donations Management Network website. You can also call (800) 427-4626 for further information.
  • The Missouri Interfaith Disaster Response Organization is taking donations for longterm recovery efforts.
  • The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks is in need of blood — particularly type O. A list of donation sites can be found here.
  • 211 Missouri is helping organize volunteers in the affected areas. More information can be found by calling (800) 427-462.
  • Nurses or doctors looking to help can call (417) 832-9500 for the Greater Ozarks chapter of the Red Cross.
  • Health professionals can register to volunteer through the Show-Me Response website.
  • The “Joplin Tornado Citizen Checks (neighbors helping neighbors!)” Facebook page appears to be a gathering place for a lot of Joplin locals who are in need of aid or able to provide aid to others.
  • The “Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery” Facebook page is one of the bigger ones dedicated to aid efforts and contains a great deal of up-to-the-second information on where help is necessary.

Courtesy of Alabama Possible, here’s some of the many ongoing aid projects in that state. The site also has specific entries for various towns hit by individual twisters.

Picture courtesy of CBS News