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As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.
With President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration and the mass protests throughout the country against the grand jury acquittals of police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, it is more important than ever for Black and Latino communities to confront racism and the oppressive structures that deny our fundamental humanity and divide us into those who are worthy of justice and those who are not.
Civil law, intended to protect the vulnerable in our society, has been shown to be extremely effective at protecting the housing, property, family and employment rights of our neighbors when utilized. Sadly though, poor people in our society are almost never able to use the civil law to protect their rights. Simply put, this is because there aren’t enough trained lawyers available to help the poor, vulnerable and oppressed enforce their civil rights.
Like the 1963 march, the 2013 march has the potential to become a watershed moment in history. But to make it so, we must do the hard work of building genuine relationships and alliances across the lines of color, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. We must build a grassroots agenda and an organizing strategy. We must leverage the people power represented at the march to effect public opinion and national policies.
Just in time for Easter Sunday, television news stations are reporting that the “Gang of Eight” has reached a deal on immigration reform. This Gang of Eight, of course, is comprised of Republican and Democratic senators. The idea is to be a bipartisan committee that works together to solve America’s immigration issues.
On Dia de Reyes, the Day the Three Kings, a false king was exposed. Wells Fargo is the king of private prison finance, heavily invested in two private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, which own a majority of the detention centers that house undocumented immigrants across the U.S.
District 6 Supervisor Chris Daly, champion of the have-nots in San Francisco for a decade, has passed the torch and endorsed James Keys, his longtime legislative assistant and campaign coordinator, to be his successor. “James was by my side through my toughest battles,” Daly said.