David Bacon, author of the forthcoming Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants , sent these pictures from Oakland in the wake of last week's raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) near schools in Oakland and Berkeley. You can read more about the impact the raids had on school children in Oakland at New American Media:
As word of the presence of ICE agents in the neighborhood spread, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums rushed over to Esperanza Elementary School, where a number of parents and community members had gathered.
Addressing them, the Mayor called the situation the "the ugly side of government."
Mayor Dellums, whose memoir Lying Down with the Lions: A Public Life from the Streets of Oakland to the Halls of Power chronicles a life of fighting for social justice, "labeled the ICE actions 'inappropriate and unnecessary' and reiterated that children needed education, not harassment. 'There should be no raids in Oakland,' he said."
The last picture here is from a rally last Friday in San Francisco to protest of the raids. For more on immigration in California, read Bacon's post from last week about immigrant farm workers in California, and also read his commentary at Truthout.org about the May Day rallies for immigrant rights.
For some, these events may mean that those weekly strolls down the tastefully lit aisles of Whole Foods now become monthly. For those who have naturally spurned such discount pariahs as Wal-Mart, second thoughts may be in order.
But for another class of American shoppers, rising food prices, whether organic or conventional, is just another bump in the road on an already trying journey. I’m speaking of low-income families, and increasingly low-to-middle income families who now find themselves treading closer to the lower end of the income spectrum.
Also be sure to check out Mark Winne's post on our blog about the Food Gap, Poverty, and Income Disparity.
American Booksellers Foundation for Freedom of Expression (whose president Chris Finan has posted here about free speech) has joined the Media Coalition in a lawsuit challenging an Indiana law requiring bookstores to register with the state if they sell sexually explicit material. ABFFE has also joined Powell's Books, Dark Horse Comics, and others in Oregon to fight a law in that state making it a crime to allow a minor under 13 to view or purchase a “sexually explicit” work. An affidavit from Dark Horse explains why they feel the law is unconstitutionally vague:
“I believe the only way for Dark Horse to ensure compliance under the statute would be to refrain from publishing this material entirely,” He said. “Attempting to determine, book by book, what may fall under the purview of the satute, including whether there are any ‘sexually explicit’ portions and if so whether such portions ‘serve some purpose other than titillation’ (even if I knew what that meant) is totally impractical, unduly burdensome and surely would result in our over-inclusive self-censorship.”
The recent death of Mildred Loving, whose fight against a Virginia interracial marriage ban took her all the way to the Supreme Court, inspired this post on the Courting Equality blog about the ban on gay marriage in Virginia. On the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that ended racial discrimination in marriage, Loving issued a statement in support of gay marriage:
Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.