Thursday, March 30, 2006

Joining the Fight for Fair Immigration Reform

By: Jose Andrade, Age 19

This weekend, April 1st and 2nd, YARG staff (me and Danielle) and members (Judith and Jose L.) will travel to Newark, NJ to attend an Immigration rights training and march. This is a youth advocacy training to sharpen our skills as youth leaders and non-violent demonstrators.

At this training youth are going to learn how to use skills effectively to help their organizing and learn organizing tactics to help them win campaigns in their home cities or states.

"Young people from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia are broadening their message for fair reform. Guest speakers at the training include civil rights movement leader Jaribu Hill who will instill the significance of young people‚’s positive and peaceful roles in social movements of the past." (From the Center for Community Change Press Release)

If you don't have anything to do this weekend, you might want to drop to New Jersey and participate in the activities.

See Below for Full Media Release

Students Join Fight for Fair Immigration Reform

Sharpen Advocacy Skills at Youth Training, Kicks Off with Youth March and Rally

WHERE: Essex County College, 303 University Avenue, Newark (training)
Grace Episcopal Church Office, 950 Broad Street, Newark

WHEN: April 1st, 2006 at 9:00 am (training); 12:00 pm at Grace Episcopal Church (rally)
April 2nd, 2006
at 8:30 am (training continues)

(Newark, NJ) In the past week, thousands of young people across the country have actively joined the fight for immigration reform. Youth are visibly taking action through non-violent demonstrations and school walk-outs from coast to coast in hope of influencing their political leaders to pass immigration legislation that’s fair and humane and include the DREAM Act.

Although The DREAM Act, legislation that would provide an opportunity to achieve a college education and a path to citizenship to undocumented students who were raised in the country, was recently approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the fight is not over. Hundreds of young people whose lives could be changed or whose peers would be affected by the immigration reform measures still under consideration, will congregate this weekend to acquire leadership and organizing skills during an intensive capacity building training and Rally.

Young people from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia are broadening their message for fair reform. Guest speakers at the training include civil rights movement leader Jaribu Hill who will instill the significance of young people’s positive and peaceful roles in social movements of the past.

As part of the training the youth will engage in a rally and march from Essex County College to Grace Episcopal Church where several community leaders, labor unions, clergy members and young people will speak. Candidates for mayor of Newark are also expected to attend.

Newark hosts the second of five youth trainings organized by the Center for Community Change (CCC) and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Additional trainings are planned through early May in Phoenix, Salem and Nashville to motivate the energetic young participants into becoming the advocates they aspire for as immigration protests intensify around the nation.

# # #
The Center for Community Change is a nonprofit, nonpartisan low income advocacy group that promotes the development of community organizing as a national force for social and economic justice. FIRM (Fair Immigration Reform Movement) is a coalition of grassroots community organizations nationwide, working on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform and immigrant rights and is convened by Center for Community Change.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Immigration: A glimpse of Injustice in Action

By Denisse Rodriguez

What's up blogger readers out there:

Here is a pretty interesting video about the Minutemen who are against immigrant rights, and the Casa of Maryland who are in support of immigration rights. I think this video really exposes the discrimination that not only immigrants, but us young latinos are facing as well. So, take a glimpse of injustice in action!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Latin Rappers that I think deserve more Respect

By: Jose Andrade, Age 19

I want to know, Why aren't Latin rappers looked upon with the same amount of respect as other rappers? For this post, I just want to highlight some of the Latin rappers that I believe deserve more respect.

Immortal Technique has political, poetic, and scientific sway in his rhyme scheme. He has the talent to rap as if he was an angry Harvard theologian or biblical scholar. He is a true revolutionary; a Che or Latin Huey of our time.

The Fourth Branch AKA the Media-
"The voice of racism preaching the gospel is devilish /A fake church called the prophet Muhammad a terrorist/ Forgetting God is not a religion, but a spiritual bond/ And Jesus is the most quoted prophet in the Qu'ran /They bombed innocent people, tryin' to murder Saddam /When you gave him those chemical weapons to go to war with Iran/This is the information that they hold back from Peter Jennings/Cause Condoleeza Rice is just a new age Sally Hemmings"

"Yeah.... Harlem streets stay flooded in white powder/Like those mother f**kers runnin' away from the twin towers/Gun shots rock the earth like a meteor shower/Bowling For Columbine, fair, giving the media power/Innocence devoured like a chicken spot snack box/Government cocaine cooked into ghetto crack rock/Corrupt cops false testimony at your arraignment/Check to check, constant struggle to make the payments/Working your whole life wondering where the day went/The subway stays packed like a multi-cultural slave shipIt's rush hour, 2:30 to 8, non stoppin'"

Big Pun has the lyrical ability of Biggie Smalls with a bit of Tupac mixed in with deep metaphor on the harsh reality of street life. He's a deep thinker and uses symbolism in many of his raps; a really large poet at heart. He has mastered the elements of story writing and incorporated them in his music; to think that he didn't even graduate from high school. He stands out as an example of what a Latin male can do if given the chance.

Rip in Peace.
"I can murder half the world laugh while the other side hate me but hurt one hair on my mamma head and I'ma cry like a baby She my heart and soul; what Jimi Hendrix was to rock'n'roll/Made me believe I could achieve the impossible/Now you know one of my weakness's, but Punisher keeps it glizz"

"Brave In The Heart"(feat. Terror Squad)-
"Just some words to know - if you run the streets/come in peace or leave in pieces/Even Jesus was killed by the polices/They crucified him now they inject us with juice to fry 'em"

I think these few selected quotes really capture some of the creativity of Latin rappers. I hope that whoever is reading this piece can better appreciate Latin brothers in the struggle.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Shout Outs to YARG Members and Alumni

By Aqiyla Edwards, Age 16

Damaar, Kevin, Odaine, and Sachonho (with LaKeisha)

Antonio (TJ)

Balla, Carlos, and Sherrie

Monday, March 20, 2006

Why The Schools?!!!!!

By LaKeisha McKinley

Janey (DC Public School superintendent) is recommending that the District close an estimated 30 schools by August 2008. After many hearings and conferences that took place this year and last, it was stated that the understaffed, unsanitary detention center for youth of DC (Oak Hill) would take five years to be shut down and replaced with small centers used to rehabilitate youth. In contrast, the article Among D.C. Parents, Anxiety Over School Closings
stated that it should only take about 2 years to close down 30 of the District's educational facilities.

It seems that our government and our superintendent are trying to take the easy way out of fixing this problem. The schools that they are focusing on closing are being chosen simply because of low student enrollment. Some experts as stated in the article stated that buildings with low enrollment can be better utilized because they are smaller in population.

An interviewee of the topic (Jonathan from the Youth Education Alliance) stated that he feels that school closings can be
  • ugly
  • dangerous to the DC Public School system(because it will make charter and private schools seem better equipped to educate youth)
  • also it highlights the inequalities between different schools in the District
He also felt that both William Lockridge's and Janey's idea were dangerous because, it could led to
  • population problems as far as over crowding
  • overcrowded classrooms(meaning that their won't be enough teachers to teach or space as time passes.)
  • teachers will get fired(because of not having enough space)
  • colocation (when they have more than one school in a building)
In his opinion the kids would react with a lot of them being upset and some being happy. Some of the things that he thought could be caused by this were

  • Developers wanting to buy the property and use it for thier own purposes
  • The community will speak out against it
  • It will push charter schools more in the city
Janey is throwing out lot of bold ideas for someone who still hasn't gotten all of the special education students there books yet, but he is still raising the standards as far as what he expects of students.

Our city has a lot of schools that have the potential of being quality education facilities, but because of not having enough money to fund the programs and materials for the youth, and because of the new program Janey has brought to the city saying that if you feel your childs school can't teach them properly to send them somewhere else. Because of this schools in certain areas have had an enrollment decrease when in all actuality a big part of the reason they can't teach properly because of the shortage in materials and teachers. Instead of closing educational facilities they need to keep them open and give them what they need to make the situation better.

There are a lot of things that the schoolboard and government are changing right before our communities eyes, but unless we pay attention and say something as the people who these changes will affect; we'll become victims of of being excluded from the city of which we live in.

Friday, March 17, 2006

bell high school


Bell, Bell, Bell, everything about Bell is so annoying, it makes me so mad that they show favoritism towards some students. Just last week this girl moved to the front of the room, even though she is supposed to sit in the back and she didn't get in trouble. But then, when two other boys moved to seats they also were not supposed be in the teacher said really quickly, "Move back to your seat!" I don't like the fact that every class has a seating chart, and if something happens to a student's desk then that person will get blamed, so we brought it to his attention and we just got in trouble . This makes me not want to even care.....

By Michell, Age 17

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

why I am trying to be in YARG


My name is Doz3y and I am very happy to be a part of the YARG family. When I first heard about YARG I thought that it was going to be a good thing for me to get involed with. Yes, this is going to change my life I thought, and I see that it has. We meet every second Wednesday, so you know that's the only day of the week that I truely like. I know that this is going to be an inspiration for my life. I can see that I am going to get a lot from this. If you like to have fun you should come to YARG.

by Doz3y, age 17

Monday, March 13, 2006

Our New Members

The Youth Action Research Group has been successful in recruiting 11 new members! The new members have been busy working on posts to put on the blog. The new recruited members show us that youth want to organize for social change, and not just get into trouble like some people think.

Here's a preview of what one of our new members had to say about the rally we went to last week:

"Well Yesterday, March 7,2006 was the Rally and even though I couldn't go I support fully what the rally was about because I believe that the government shouldn't discriminate against
Melissa Rivera, Age 18

Stay tuned, we will be having more new member posts all this week...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

YARG Stands Against Immigrant Discrimination

By Jose Andrade, Age 19

It's sometimes hard to believe that a country
which was founded by immigrants, has lawmakers that continually put forth discriminatory laws that are created to constrict future immigrants freedom. Then again this is America, a country that finds it more important to investigate a presidential sexual affair than the rising actions that would bring forth the great act of inhumanity that took place during the Rwandan genocide.

I'm not surprised that a Bill like HR4437 would make it to the Senate. Back in 1882 when the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed, Chinese immigrants were not allowed to enter the United States for nearly thirty years. In my opinion, this really captures the attitudes America has toward it's non Anglo-Saxon visitors.

On March 7, 2006 an estimated 20,000 immigrants and citizens of all shades joined together in a rally to show that they will not tolerate harsh/discriminatory immigration laws. The rally was organized primarily by the National Capital Immigration Coalition, with organizational members from the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC area, and with the help of local organizations to publicize the rally like Neighbor's Consejo, Bell Multicultural High School, and YARG.

The rally was monumental; it captured the power of organizing. I was really impressed by the dedication people took to put together this event to support the immigrant community in America.

(Jose Andrade, Local Youth Organizer for YARG helps Bell Student Carolina put on a YARG solidarity armband)

Though, I'm happy that this rally came to be, I'm saddened because I feel like it's going to be necessary to organize other rallys because of America's recent attitudes toward immigrants.

I think that people that want these laws to pass like the Minutemen need to see the contribution that immigrants have given to this country's economy. I don't understand how is it that the Minutemen argue that immigrants are taking their jobs when all they do day long is harass people. Talk about having time in their hands.