5/20/2008 Newsletter

Contents:

  • Protest RNC March Permit Appeal
  • Legal Observer and Know Your Rights Training
  • Postville: Largest Immigration Raid in US History
  • What You Can Do to Help

Sorry, folks, for so much mail but there are many important things happening right now that need your attention. We'll be sending out a real newsletter soon, with the tale of the CRA board that almost wasn't and other amazing stories. In the meantime, let's hit the streets and get this stuff done!

PROTEST RNC MARCH PERMIT APPEAL

Wednesday, May 21
3:30 p.m., public hearing at 5:30 p.m.
St. Paul City Hall
15 W Kellogg Blvd, 3rd Floor
St. Paul

Call on St. Paul Mayor & City Council to Support Permit Appeal by the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War

On Wednesday, May 14, the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War received an alternate permit for our demonstration on September 1, 2008. This alternate permit was provided because both the route and the time in our permit application were rejected by St. Paul Police.

Thanks to public pressure from you, and pending legal action in federal court, we now have a permit that will take our march up to the Xcel Center.

However, the terms of the alternate permit will not accommodate the large, national demonstration we are planning. The space and time limitations are unworkable, and are designed to limit the impact we can have on the RNC and its media coverage.

Every street around the Xcel Center will be closed, to provide security to the politicians who will meet inside to congratulate themselves on 5 years of a brutal war on Iraq. Two parking lots adjacent to the Xcel are reserved for media trucks, which the RNC will rely on to broadcast their message of war, trying to convince the people of this country to cast their votes for more years of war and human suffering in Iraq, and more years of ignoring human needs here at home.

The alternate permit grants our Coalition the small space that remains: A 2000 square foot triangle, across the street from the Xcel Center. Our permit allows the use of that space for less than 2 hours, and requires that the march proceed along a 1000-foot long turn about, then turn back on itself, and return to the State Capitol Building on the same road we marched in on. This limited time and space cannot accommodate 50,000 protesters.

The alternative permit effectively protects the Republicans and their message of war, while restricting the rights of common people to demand peace, justice and equality. Limiting both time and space for the march – ensures that only some protesters will have a chance to raise their voice at the site of the Convention, while thousands may never even see the building. This is a plan we cannot accept.

According to the City ordinance, permit decisions can be appealed to City Council. This week, we will ask St. Paul City Council members to overturn the police department's decision, and grant our original permit request for September 1, 2008. We will also raise our objections to the alternate permit that was granted.

Moreover, the St. Paul Police Department is required to demonstrate a substantial public safety interest that necessitates rejecting the original request. We have received no explanation of how the alternate route satisfies any concerns raised by our original route. City Council members can get real answers.

We ask you to call on the St. Paul City Council to stand on the side of peace and justice, to issue the permit we applied for, to ensure a successful March on the RNC to stop the war on Iraq.

We expect our appeal to be heard at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, on the 3rd floor of City Hall at 15 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul. The meeting begins at 3:30pm, and public hearings are scheduled for 5:30pm - it is not clear when the Permit appeal will be scheduled on the agenda. Please attend the meeting if you can, and contact St. Paul City officials beforehand.

Ask them to approve the original permit application, including a later and longer time, and a route that physically accommodates more protesters and provides more space at the Xcel Center. They can also help by getting the police to answer some of these questions:

1. Why was the original permit denied? What specifically about the route and time would create the traffic and safety issues stated as the basis for denial? How does the alternate permit avoid these issues?

2. Why does the March have to clear the Xcel by 2:00 p.m.? Will all demonstrators be banned from the "soft security zone" after 2:00 p.m.? If not, why can't the March go later in the afternoon? Can the March starting time be moved back to accommodate people from out of town who will be arriving? If not, why not?

3. Why do the free speech rights of the corporate media take precedence over the rights of the people? Two parking lots adjacent to X-Cel are both being given to the media, can't one of them be given to the people? Either parking lot would not be any closer to X-Cel than the demonstration zone, but would greatly expand the ability of people to reach the Xcel and turn around without problems.

4. When will the delegates arrive on 9/1/08? Is the plan to make the March pass by X-Cel center by 2:00 p.m. just so that it will be gone by the time the delegates start arriving?

Debbie Montgomery (Ward 1) * 651-266-8610
Dave Thune (Ward 2) * 651-266-8620
Pat Harris (Ward 3) * 651-266-8630
Russ Stark(Ward 4) * (651) 266-8640
Lee Helgen (Ward 5) * 651-266-8650
Dan Bostrom (Ward 6) * 651-266-8660
Kathy Lantry, President (Ward 7) * 651-266-8670

Also, please contact Chris Coleman, Mayor * 651-266-8510

Background:
See a map of the City's proposal on-line here - http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_9262346
See the Coalition's proposed route on-line here - http://www.protestrnc2008.org/node/39


LEGAL OBSERVER AND KNOW YOUR RIGHTS TRAINING
Tuesday, May 20 (TONIGHT!)
6-8 pm
2104 Stevens Ave S, Minneapolis
Casual dinner will be served

Come and learn:
-about your First Amendment rights
-about the importance and role of Legal Observers
-how Legal Observers have put their skills to use
And get trained to be a Legal Observer!

* You do not need to be a lawyer or law student to participate. Community members and people working/volunteering with community-based organizations are encouraged to attend!
* All ages welcome, must be 21 to BE a Legal Observer

Sponsored by the Main Street Project and MN Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild
For more info: Kathy@leagueofruralvoters.org or 612-879-7578


POSTVILLE: LARGEST IMMIGRATION RAID IN US HISTORY

This raid, in a tiny little town in Iowa, is shaping up to be the largest in history. It will have a devastating impact on the community--immigrant and non-immigrant alike. Below this article is a post from Amalia Anderson with Main Street Project, a friend of CUAPB, who was on the ground in Postville and has ways for people to help. Please help if you can.

Raid Could Make Postville a Ghost Town
05/14/2008
http://kaaltv.com/article/stories/S443938.shtml?cat=10151

(KAAL) -- The immigration raid in Iowa we told you about on Monday is being called one of the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials arrested 390 people from the Postville Kosher Meatpacking Plant in northeast Iowa.

We've learned 20 people, 10 men and 10 women officially face criminal charges. That means they'll face trials and possible jail time. The men were in court Tuesday and the women will appear today.

The rest of those arrested from Agriprocessors Incorporated are suspected of aggravated identify theft and using fraudulent social security numbers. They're being held at local jails and nearby fairgrounds, and they could face deportation.

Postville, Iowa had fewer than 2,300 residents before Monday’s immigration raid.

Now, with so many arrested and so many others leaving, many are worried about the city's future.

Carla Campos manages her mother's Guatemalan diner. Most days by lunch, the place is packed. But today, there isn’t a single customer. It gave Campos no choice but to close up shop.

"It's uncertain, we don't know what we're going to do, close, stay open or what," says Campos.

In the window of nearly every Hispanic business in Postville, there's the same bilingual sign up today: Closed.

Postville Mayor Robert Penrod says many residents fled town or hid in fear.

"They were afraid to go home, because they were afraid they would be arrested. The children at school were afraid to go outside," says Mayor Penrod.

With more than a third of Agriprocessors' workers detained, city officials wonder how their largest employer can bounce back.

"If Agriprocessors pulls out I guarantee you this will be a ghost town," says Penrod.

Without the plant, he estimates, two-thirds of the homes here will sit empty. 95% of downtown businesses, like the diner, will dry up.

He hopes it doesn't come to that. Instead of deporting the people arrested, he'd like to find a way to keep them in Postville. Right now, he's working with state and federal lawmakers to come up with a plan.
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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

The Postville Raid--the largest at a single site in history, has left many victims in its wake. Approximately 390 people were arrested on Monday as ICE descended on Agriprocessors-- the nation's largest kosher packing plant. There are many needs! Below please find a variety of options for donating cash or supplies to the various organizations/institutions that are directly working with the detainees and their families.

This list was created based on conversations with staff working with the community in Waterloo and Postville.

***For those of you in MN-- the Main Street Project is more that willing to serve as a 'drop-off' location: 2104 Stevens Ave S, Minneapolis. For directions to our office, please contact: Kathy Hiltsley at 612-879-7578 or kathy@mainstreetproject.org.

Supplies Needed:
reams of white paper for copying/printing
staplers
staples
Xerox toner
pens
paper clips
diapers (for infants-toddlers)
infant formula (Simulac and Enfamil)
gas cards (Recommended for IA: Kum & Go, Hy-Vee, Casey's General Store)
Hygiene products for men and women (shampoo, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush)
food (non perishable)
phone cards (long distance to Latin America)

Cash Donations for Immigrant Families:
For sending checks and cash, the address is:
Veridian Credit Union
P.O. Box 6000
Waterloo, IA 50701

If making a donation via credit card, please call 1-800-235-3228

*** Please include account number for the Postville fund when sending either form of payment: 5830490

Cash Donations for El Centro Latinoamericano (general operating):
El Centro Latinoamericano
500 E 4th Street Ste. 321
Waterloo, Iowa 50703
Phone: 319-287-6400

Cash Donations for St. Bridget's Catholic Church:
Saint Bridget’s Hispanic Ministry
Att’n. Paul Real
PO BOX 369
Postville, IA. 52162


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