Tag: Georgia

October 11, 2012 / / activism

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.
Read the Post Anti-Latino Laws Ignite The South

December 12, 2011 / / gender
September 23, 2011 / / black

By Guest Contributor Michael P. Jeffries

Just two weeks ago, the live audience at the Republican presidential candidate debate cheered in gleeful support of the death penalty. At the time, sensible Americans, secure in their own polite disapproval, bookmarked the incident as another harrowing YouTube amusement, and returned to normalcy the next day. The climate has changed, and there will be no such return to normalcy after Troy Davis’s death. We cannot make up for the blood spilled while the death penalty languished as mere speck on our political radar, but we can and will work to eradicate it.

Desperate for redemption in this dark hour, we have to believe that history will reveal the Davis execution as the spark that eventually incinerated the death penalty in the United States. I worry, though, that the worthy goal of eradicating capital punishment, even if achieved, will distort and erase the tormenting racial subtext of this incident. The very possibility of even characterizing the racial meaning baked into this case as “subtext,” speaks to the suppression of the truth about racism in the United States.
Read the Post Who Will Be Troy Davis?

September 21, 2011 / / black
September 21, 2011 / / black

Compiled by Arturo R. García

Barring a last-minute change, Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST for the murder of a Savannah police officer, despite reports that another person had confessed to the shooting, and seven of the nine witnesses in the original case recanting their testimony.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution,
prison officials denied a request Wednesday morning by Davis’ attorneys to allow him to take a polygraph test. An appeal has also been filed in Butts County, Ga., where the state’s death row is located, seeking a stay of execution, saying new evidence “exposes key elements of the state’s case against Mr. Davis at trial to be egregiously false and misleading.”

Davis’ case has attracted support from around the world, with #TroyDavis and #TooMuchDoubt hashtags becoming trending topics in various U.S. cities, and protests planned not only in the U.S., but in Europe. Supporters are still being urged to contact Chatham County Judge Penny Freeseman, the only person who can stop Davis’ execution.

The struggle for justice doesn’t end with me. This struggle is for all the Troy Davises who came before me and all the ones who will come after me. I’m in good spirits and I’m prayerful and at peace. But I will not stop fighting until I’ve taken my last breath. Georgia is prepared to snuff out the life of an innocent man.
– Troy Davis, The Nation

Read the Post Troy Davis’ Final Hours [Voices]