Centro Presente URGENT ACTION! To Denounce Massachusetts' Intention to Sign on to Secure Communities

Centro Presente

To Denounce Massachusetts' Intention to Sign on to Secure Communities

Since it was revealed in the summer that the City of Boston had been secretly participating in Secure Communities, Centro Presente, with the support of ACLU-Mass and AFSC-Project Voice, has been running a campaign to educate our community and allies about the effects of this program.

Come and support our campaign!

When: Wednesday, December, 22 at 11:00 a.m.
Where: In front of the Massachusetts State House

Supporters: AFSC Project VOICE, Brazilian Immigrant Center, Boston May Day Committee, Boston New Sanctuary Movement, Cambridge United for Justice with Peace, Centro Presente, Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), Greater Boston United for Justice with Peace, Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative (IWCC), Immigration Task Force of First Parish in Cambridge, Jobs With Justice - MA, Massachusetts Global Action, Matahari - Eye of the Day, Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE), Student Immigrant Movement and United for a Fair Economy.

Labels: , , ,

Peace Boston to Celebrate 5th Anniversary

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 marks Peace Boston's Fifth Anniversary, and will celebrate at the Great Hall in Codman Square, 6 Norfolk Street (next to the Health Center) at 5PM which is the same place they kicked off their first event (Peace in the Streets Vigil) on the same day 5 years ago.

The event is FREE and open to the public, but Peace Boston is asking participants for a $10 donation to the Peace Boston Movement. Those who donate will receive a gift. Peace gifts will also be on sale - just in time for the holidays!

Featuring the Premiere of the Peace Boston documentary and the "Best I Got" music video, Peace in the Streets Vigil, Performances, Presentations, and Refreshments.

Peace Boston is a movement that was created by members of the Hip-Hop community, youth workers and youth on December 21, 2005 in Boston, MA. The debut event was the "Peace in the Streets" vigil held in Dorchester, MA at the rise of youth violence in Boston.

Peace Boston’s Founding Members are:

  • The Academy of Public Service at the Dorchester Education Complex
  • The FloorLords Movement, Inc.
  • The Hip Hop Mecca Project
  • LisiVian, Inc.
  • Louis D. Brown Peace Institute
  • PLO Style Graphics
  • R.A.W. (Revealing Artistic Works)
  • Save the Youth Ministries
  • Showdown Youth Development Inc.’s Violence Free Zone Initiative
  • True Hiphop Culture Program
  • United Youth and Youth Workers of Boston

Peace Boston's united mission is to mobilize the arts, youth, and youth development communities to increase the peace in the city of Boston. Peace Boston practices the seven principles of Peace as encouraged by the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute: Love, Unity, Faith, Hope, Courage, Justice, Forgiveness and endeavors to promote peace through peer education, training, supporting activities, events, and initiatives that promote Peace.

For more information, please contact Peace Boston at peaceboston@gmail.com

Labels: , , , ,

Jamaica Plain Walks for Peace 12/12/10/Jamaica Plain Camina por la Paz 12/12/10

Dear Neighbor,

Sadly, it takes a tragedy to impulse unity. As Boston residents, we need to take control of our community and unite forces to make Jamaica Plain a safer place to live. However, we can only do that if we work together. Please join us as we invoke a call to action starting now.

Sunday, December 12, 2010 at Noon a Mass for Peace at Our Lady of Lourdes located at 13 Montebello Rd, Jamaica Plain. Be part of the discussion and propose your solutions, let us make a plan together for fight crime and violence in our community.

Sunday, December 12, 2010 at 1:30 pm -Jamaica Plain Walk for Peace starting from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. We need to pave our roads with chants of peace and unity we cannot do it without you! (Subject to change due to weather and/or pending city approval)

En Espanol

Estimados Vecinos,

Lamentablemente, se necesita una tragedia para impulsar la unidad. Como residentes de Boston, tenemos que tomar el control de nuestra comunidad y unir nuestras fuerzas para hacer de Jamaica Plain un lugar seguro para vivir. Sólo podemos hacerlo juntos, por favor, únase a nosotros para evoca una llamada de acción a partir de ahora.

Domingo 12 de diciembre 2010 al mediodía una Misa por la Paz en Nuestra Señora de Lourdes situada en el 13 Montebello Road, Jamaica Plain. Sea parte del diálogo y proponga sus soluciones, vamos a hacer un plan en conjunto para luchar contra el crimen y la violencia en nuestra comunidad.

Domingo 12 de diciembre 2010 a las 1:30 pm - Jamaica Plain Caminata por la Paz, empezando desde Nuestra Señora de Lourdes. Tenemos que trazar nuestras calles con cantos de paz y unidad no podemos hacerlo sin usted! (está sujeta a cambios debido al mal tiempo y/o la espera de la aprobación de la ciudad)

Maria Moreno
Yasmin Pereyra

Labels: , ,

MA FOR THE DREAM ACT! Community Speak out NOV 29 3-6pm

Pack the Church!
Nov 29, 2010 3pm- 6pm
St. Paul’s Cathedral  
(138 Tremont Street  
Boston MA 02111, Across from Park St. T  Station) 
November 29, 2010 

Labels: , , , ,

VOL Recipient of 2010 CCI's Horace Seldon Emerging Leaders Award

Voices of Liberation is honored to recieve the Horace Seldon Emerging Leaders Award from Community Change Inc. You can find out more about the award, other recipients and Community Change at communitychangeinc.org/Drupal/leadershipawards.

Labels: , , ,

Boston Police criticized for rough arrest

(NECN: Josh Brogadir, Boston) - Several community leaders are criticizing Boston Police officer for being too rough during the arrest of a teen in Roxbury.

The perception among some community leaders is that dialogue is not open with police.

They want these officers suspended without pay.

A call to prayer followed the call for change within the Boston Police Department, as community activists gathered out front of headquarters to denounce allegations of police brutality.

"I believe that it is time that the mayor tells the commissioner you must do the job right or step down," said former State Sen. Bill Owens.

The anger stems from this cell phone video of a Roxbury Community College entryway which shows police officers holding down, kneeing, and punching a 16 year old boy, who was wanted on multiple warrants and had escaped from a Department of Youth Services Center last Friday.

Police say he had grabbed handcuffs and was resisting, flailing, and throwing punches, injuring three officers.

According to a police narrative, "Officers struck SUSPECT multiple times with closed fists and used knee strikes as trained in the police academy in an attempt to control and bring SUSPECT under control."

"No I don't see any reason that could warrant that type of force particularly after the young man is subdued," said community activist Jamarhl Crawford.

That video was shot and posted on YouTube by first year RCC student Eusida Blidgen.

"This young man got beaten down. And I give the love and the respect to his family and anyone who's very close to him, because I'm still shaken up about the incident," she said.

Boston Police Internal affairs is now investigating, and Police commissioner Ed Davis called on Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley to review the case which his top prosector will do.

Community leaders urged a non-violent response as they await the findings.

"Young people I want to say to you, we want your response to be positive and constructive. There are issues that are clearly identified. I heard some young people said finally, we have evidence of what we've been saying to the adults for years,"
said Minister James Hills, community leader.

A rally for young people that may turn into a march will be held at Roxbury Crossing Friday night at 5pm.

Boston Police did not comment on the accusations made at today's protest.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Community Leaders Hold Press Conference Outside BPD Headquarters To Address Videotaped Police Beating of 16-year-old

One surefire way to rile activists is to beat a teenager in plain sight, and tell witnesses that they can't record the free-for-all. Needless to say, more than a few folks are furious in the wake of news that Boston Police Department officers jabbed and kicked a 16-year-old inside a Roxbury Community College building this past Friday.

At the time of this writing, more than 17,000 people have viewed a seven minute YouTube video (above) in which what appears to be a mix of plain clothes and uniformed officers repeatedly assault a juvenile in custody. Despite claims that the alleged fugitive resisted arrest – and a statement from Commissioner Ed Davis claiming that an investigation is under way – more than a dozen respected local leaders aired grievances this afternoon in front of BPD headquarters.

“It's on all of us to answer the question of 'Who wants to do something about this,'” said organizer Jamarhl Crawford, who also read from a prepared statement. “This press conference has been called after repeated attempts and pleas for the Mayor and Commissioner to open the table to new ideas from fresh voices in order to combat all violence in the city.”

Speakers brought more than just rhetoric. Representatives from the Boston Black Men's Leadership Group and the National Action Network demanded that a community civilian board be put in charge of reviewing the case; an attorney from the law offices of civil rights attorney Howard Friedman was also on hand to explain that it was perfectly legal for onlookers to record the incident. “The [police sergeant who told people they could not shoot video] should be disciplined,” said attorney David Milton.

It was also noted that police brutality is not a new issue for Boston; Crawford specified that the public is still in the dark about specifics surrounding the April killing of Manuel DaVeiga, who died in a shootout with state police and city officers. “The police must serve and protect,” said former State Senator Bill Owens. “We don't pay police officers to beat up on our children. We will not tolerate these atrocities.”

Despite this being the height of election season, most major news outlets came to cover speeches by local clergy and other concerned individuals. So it looks like this story might have legs after all. Tomorrow (Friday) afternoon, starting at 5pm, community residents – not united under any particular banner – will gather outside of the Roxbury Crossing T stop for a larger public rally.

“I'm here as a concerned resident,” said James Hills, a former special assistant to Mayor Menino and city liaison to the faith community. “We want the response of young people to this to be constructive and positive.”

Read more: http://thephoenix.com/blogs/phlog/archive/2010/10/28/community-leaders-hold-press-conference-outside-bpd-headquarters-to-address-videotaped-police-beating-of-16-year-old.aspx#ixzz13m4Z3tBZ

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Community Forum about the Secure Communities Program

Centro Presente invites you to a:
Community Forum about the Secure Communities Program

The Forum will be conducted in Spanish

As part of Centro Presente's informative campaign we are organizing a Community Forum about the Secure Communities Program.

When: Sunday,October 24th at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Casa de La Cultura
202 Maverick Street
East Boston, MA 02128

Do you want to know what is the Secure Communities Program that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing?

Do you want to know how this Program is affecting immigrant communities?

Do you want to take action and support a campaign that seeks to educate people abut the effects of this Program on the immigrant community?

Come learn and participate in an informative session about the Secure Communities Program.

This federal program, under the direction of ICE, requires local law enforcement to cross-check digital fingerprints of anyone they arrest against a federal database to evaluate the arrested person's immigration status. If ICE determines the arrested person to be undocumented, that person will be detained by ICE and processed for deportation.

ICE claims that Secure Communities targets undocumented immigrants who have been arrested for felony offenses, but the program doesn't explicitly say that non-felony arrests are exempt from the program. This opens the door for local law enforcement to arrest people they suspect of being undocumented to cross-check fingerprints against the ICE database.

The program will help the Obama administration reach its goal of deporting 400,000 immigrants this year.

For more information please contact:
Patricia Montes- Centro Presente- 617 959 3108
Patrick McDermott- Centro Presente- 617 629 4731

Labels: , , , ,

Nov. 4th @7 PM-- Event for Mumia Abu Jamal and Tarek Mehanna


Two men locked up because of outrageous racism...
Two men in prison because of blatant injustice by the so-called "Justice" Department...

Two men who continue to stand for justice!

This is a critical time: For Mumia, a pivotal court hearing is scheduled for November 9th in Philadelphia. At stake is whether he will be executed, or granted a new jury trial on the question of the death penalty. For Tarek, this marks the one year anniversary of his arrest, and a critical time to bolster pre-trial support for this Muslim brother, who has been locked up for refusing to be an FBI informant.

Come out to support them!

NOVEMBER 4th @ 7 pm
(next to Ruggles T stop on the Orange Line)

Know your rights and learn more about how our communities can organize to stop federal repression!

*** Film excerpt from "Justice on Trial" *** Legal Updates on Both Cases *** How You Can Support Mumia and Tarek ***
*** Speakers *** Musical Performance *** Food

Free Mumia! Free Tarek! Free them all!

Sponsored by: Free Mumia Coalition, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Movement in Motion Boston/NYC, Tarek Mehanna Support Committee, Jericho Boston, Black Waxx

Mumia Abu Jamal, a renowned journalist for his award- winning reporting on police brutality and blatant injustice in communities of color, has been in prison since 1981 for allegedly shooting and killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Despite a confession from the person who actually shot Faulkner, ballistics evidence proving Mumia's gun was not the gun fired on Faulkner, recanted testimony by several key witnesses in his trial, evidence of blatant police coercion of witness testimony, mishandling of evidence, and an openly racist judge who promised to **help convict** Mumia -- despite all this--Mumia Abu Jamal still sits in prison 29 years later, facing a possible death sentence.

Tarek Mehanna is a respected member of the Muslim community, with a doctorate in pharmacy--a brother, educator, mentor, and friend. For several years Tarek has been a victim of FBI surveillance and harassment. When Tarek consistently refused to be an FBI informant against members of the Muslim community, he was threatened with imprisonment and arrested in 2008. While Tarek was out on bail, FBI agents raided his home and arrested him again on Oct. 21st, 2009 subsequently charging him with "aiding and abetting terrrorism." The only "evidence" against Tarek is that which has been fabricated by paid FBI informants. Tarek Mehanna still sits in prison in solitary confinement, facing a possible life sentence.

You can download a flyer for this event at the following link:

Labels: , , ,

Centro Presente holds 'A New Era of Women in Politics,' a panel discussion

Centro Presente holds 'A New Era of Women in Politics,' a panel discussion to explore ways to increase civic participation and equal political representation of women in politics.

When: Thursday October 28th 2010 at 10:00 A.M.

Where: Nurses Hall, Massachusetts State House, Beacon Street at Park Street, Boston

Boston, MA- As part of 'Our Voices, Our Vote,' a civic participation campaign, Centro Presente is holding 'A New Era of Women in Politics,' a panel discussion to explore ways to increase civic participation and equal political representation of women in politics.

Last year Centro Presente launched a local campaign to encourage Latino immigrants to learn about and participate in the political life of their communities. Through this campaign Centro Presente wants to promote a dialogue between those women active in politics and their peers, especially women of color and from immigrant backgrounds.

Centro Presente is committed to empowering and educating immigrant women through programs which teach about women's participation in politics and policy-making, cultivate leadership skills, and build networks between women participating in politics and women community leaders.

Confirmed panelist are:

Lisa A. Wong
One of 11 female mayors in the State of Massachusetts, Lisa Wong, Mayor of the City of Fitchburg, is also the first Asian female mayor in the State. She is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and is seeking to spark a renaissance of the city of Fitchburg through revitalizing civic life and rebuilding local economic opportunities.

Carol Hardy-Fanta
Current Director of the Center for Women in Politics & Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is the author of "Latina Politics, Latino Politics: Gender, Culture & Political Participation in Boston."

Jill Stein
Current Green Party candidate for Governor, Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate.

Gloribell Mota
The first Latina to run for State Representative in East Boston, Gloribell worked as the Education and Training Director with the Massachusetts Democratic Party and is now the Lead Organizer with Neighbors United for a Better East Boston (NUBE).

Labels: , ,

ICE Stalks the Streets of East Somerville, MA.

Somerville, MA- Late Thursday evening Centro Presente received a panicked phone call from one of our youth members informing us that ICE agents were at his house. The agents had come for an individual who no longer lived at the apartment building. Although the person they were looking for was not in the building and they showed no search warrant, the ICE agents had gained entry and were now going to each apartment and asking for people's names and identification, which the understandably scared tenants were providing to them. When Centro Presente staff arrived shortly after the agents' departure, we found a family terrorized by this experience and worried about their future.

This story is all too common for the immigrants of Massachusetts. The immigrant community is frequently unaware of their rights and the limits of the power of ICE. No one needs to open a door for any law enforcement officer if they do not have a search warrant. You do not have to speak to any officer without your lawyer present. What ICE does with alarming frequency is abuse the fact that people are unaware of their rights. Late night knocks at the door by groups of men dressed in black are intimidating to anyone, but even more so to the vulnerable families of neighborhoods like East Somerville.

Centro Presente demands that the agents of ICE respect the rights of all people and stop these outrageous abuses of power. We will step up our existing efforts to ensure that our members and the entire Latino immigrant community are aware of their rights and are trained in the proper response to a visit by ICE agents.

Centro Presente is a state-wide, membership-based Latino immigrant organization that advocates for immigrant rights and for economic and social justice through the integration of community organizing, leadership development and basic services.

Join their Mailing List

Labels: ,

2pm Monday RALLY- anti-Columbus, pro-immigrant!

Anti Columbus Day Rally
No Hay Justicia Sin Libertad

Monday October 11
2:00PM - 4:00PM

Corner of Mass. Ave. and Melnea Cass (Outside Hampton Inn)
Mass. Ave. T / Orange Line #1 & #10 Bus to BMC

Stand in Solidarity with the Immigrants & Other Boston Residents Held Captive at the ICE Detention Center & South Bay House of Correction

Labels: , , , ,

Know Your Enemy: Civil Rights Photographer Ernest Williams Exposed as FBI Informant

Famed civil rights photographer doubled as FBI informant
By Michael Calderone

Ernest Withers, a revered civil rights photographer who captured iconic images of Martin Luther King Jr. on the night King was shot in Memphis, actually played a different role the day before: FBI informant.

The Commercial Appeal, a newspaper in Memphis, just completed a two-year investigation that reveals how Withers provided the FBI with details about where King was staying and information on his meeting with black militants on April 3, 1968 — the day before the assassination.

Withers' spying, however, extends far beyond the slain civil rights leader.

The Commercial Appeal found FBI reports indicating that Withers collaborated for years with FBI agents monitoring the civil rights movement. Those FBI reports, the paper's Marc Perrusquia writes, "reveal a covert, previously unknown side of the beloved photographer."

Withers is certainly beloved in Memphis, where a namesake museum is scheduled to open next month. It remains to be seen how these new revelations may affect Withers' legacy.

The Memphis paper reports how Withers' spying assisted J. Edgar Hoover, the controversial FBI director who long covertly monitored King and others considered radicals. Withers, the paper notes, gave the bureau a "front-row seat to the civil rights and anti-war movements in Memphis." In the 1960s, he provided information on everyone from the Invaders — a militant black power group — to church leaders, politicians and business owners. Experts believe the FBI paid Withers for spying.

D'Army Bailey, a retired Memphis judge and former activist once watched by the FBI, told the paper that such covert tactics are "something you would expect in the most ruthless, totalitarian regimes."


Labels: , ,

Award-Winning Journalists and Community Organizers visit Boston

Nationwide tour comes to region, highlighting struggles on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, as well as other social justice issues

encuentro 5, 33 Harrison Avenue, Floor 5, Boston

T Stops: Chinatown and Downtown Crossing

The Community and Resistance Tour is an exciting project organized by several book publishers and independent media makers. The tour brings a multimedia presentation involving short films, inspiring speakers, and exciting dialogue. Organizers hope to communicate about current social justice struggles, from nooses hung in the northern Louisiana town of Jena to women organizing inside prisons, from battles around school privatization to post-Katrina community organizing and cultural resistance. “This tour is for anyone interested in issues of health care, education, criminal justice, housing, or the ways in which racism and other forms of systemic oppression intersect with these struggles,” says tour participant and author Jordan Flaherty.

Tour participants include: Award-winning journalist Jordan Flaherty, who has reported from the Gulf Coast for a range of publications, including the New York Times, Al-Jazeera, and Huffington Post; and former prisoner and author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, Victoria Law. See below for more detailed information on tour speakers.

Jordan Flaherty is a journalist and community organizer based in New Orleans. He was the first journalist with a national audience to write about the Jena Six case, and played an important role in bringing the story to worldwide attention. His new book is FLOODLINES: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six, and audiences around the world have seen the news segments he’s produced for Al-Jazeera, TeleSur, GritTV, and Democracy Now. Jordan has appeared as a guest on a wide range of television and radio shows, including CNN Morning, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, Grit TV, and both local and nationally-syndicated shows on National Public Radio. As a white southerner who speaks honestly about race, Jordan Flaherty has been regularly published in Black progressive forums such as BlackCommentator.org and Black Agenda Report, and is a regular guest on Black radio stations and programs such as Keep Hope Alive With Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Victoria Law is a writer, photographer and mother. After a brief stint as a teenage armed robber, she became involved in prisoner support. In 1996, she helped start Books Through Bars-New York City, a group that sends free books to prisoners nationwide. In 2000, she began concentrating on the needs and actions of women in prison, drawing attention to their issues by writing articles and giving public presentations. Since 2002, she has worked with women incarcerated nationwide to produce Tenacious: Art and Writings from Women in Prison and has facilitated having incarcerated women's writings published in larger publications, such as Clamor magazine, the website "Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance" and make/shift magazine. Her book Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press 2009) is the culmination of over 7 years of listening to, writing about and supporting incarcerated women nationwide and resulted in this former delinquent winning the 2009 PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award.

Labels: , ,

Boston Phoenix - The Reform Proof Prison

Why Massachusetts' correctional system hasn't gotten any better
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  September 8, 2010

In March 2004, Kathleen Dennehy was hired as the new Department of Correction (DOC) commissioner. The first woman ever to hold the job, she had served nearly 30 years in the system, working as a deputy commissioner and before that as superintendent of the women's prison in Framingham. The challenges before Dennehy were grave; in August 2003, defrocked Catholic priest and serial child rapist John Geoghan was strangled to death by a white supremacist in his cell at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, casting a negative light on the department.

In response to the subsequent uproar, then-governor Mitt Romney and his secretary of public safety, Ed Flynn, tapped Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to head an investigatory panel, the Governor's Commission on Corrections Reform (GCCR). The final Harshbarger report concluded that Geoghan had been severely harassed at Walpole, where the priest was initially held, and that at Shirley, Geoghan had landed in a vulnerable cell block as a result of officers citing him for unwarranted disciplinary infractions.
The Harshbarger report was ugly, and over the next three years, the DOC's Office of Investigative Services struck officers with 312 charges of misconduct, resulting in the firing of more than 100 guards across the department. Seventy-three officers were found guilty of illegally assaulting convicts, and 98 were found to have participated in illicit sexual misconduct with prisoners. The report also proposed strategies for purging the DOC of rogue guards deemed unwilling to accept the department's heightened standards. The Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union (MCOFU) fought hard against the DOC's crusade, directing much of its spite at the woman who Romney chose to spearhead the invigorated state prison reform effort.
From the beginning of her tenure as commissioner, Dennehy clashed with union loyalists intent on maintaining the status quo. Reps from the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union (MCOFU) declined to show up at initial meetings to draft a new department vision statement, and, five months after Dennehy's start, officers hit her with a vote of no confidence. But in the years that followed, until Governor Patrick replaced her with Harold Clarke in 2007, it got worse: Dennehy reported that her car tires were slashed during one prison visit; union members followed her with an inflatable rat and hired private investigators to pursue her; and an underground officer newsletter caricatured the commissioner performing oral sex.
READ: "Troubled Over Bridgewater," by Chris Faraone
It's no surprise that Dennehy locked ideological horns with the union. MCOFU's then-president Steve Kenneway had just completed a tour in Iraq, where he served at Abu Ghraib as an Army reservist. When the notorious Baghdad prison came under scrutiny for outrageous human-rights violations that were exposed in a series of incriminating pictures, Kenneway publicly defended his military comrades, stating that he never witnessed a single inappropriate interrogation. Dennehy, on the other hand, was tasked in to lead the biggest Massachusetts jail reform initiative in 40 years.
One proposed change that was met with vitriol by union members pertained to system-wide disciplinary and grievance processes. Historically, convict complaints had little chance of reaching DOC administrators beyond prison walls, as each facility operated as its own fiefdom in which investigations of prisoner abuse were discreetly addressed or completely ignored. Dennehy sought increased accountability, not only in how grievances were handled, but for officers who abused their power. Only third party DOC administrators, she believed, could admonish rogue officers.

Read the Full Story Herehttp://thephoenix.com/Boston/news/108112-reform-proof-prison/#ixzz0z289Fvj6

Labels: ,

Hip Hop video takes aim at the Media

Voices of Liberation's Catch Wreck along with director, Rene Dongo, just released the video for the song, Magic, which deals directly with the issue of accountability in the media..

Labels: , , , , , , ,

5K Run in Solidarity with Political Prisoners: Support Leonard Peltier and Tarek Mehanna

WHEN: Saturday, September 18, 10:00 am RAIN OR SHINE!
WHERE: Jamaica Pond Boathouse (Jamaica Plain, MA)

Running Down the Walls came early this year (Saturday, 8/7)--thanks to all who attended in spite of late notice. Since many couldn't attend, we have decided to keep up our tradition in Boston and hold another 5K run at Jamaica Pond in September in honor of Leonard Peltier's 66th Birthday.

This year will be Leonard Peltier's 34th year in prison for defending the rights of his people. Our 5K run is one small opportunity to create visibility about Leonard's case and raise funds for his ongoing defense. More information at http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/.

Proceeds from the run will be divided between the Leonard Peltier Defense/Offense Committee (LPDOC) and the Tarek Mehanna support committee www.freetarek.com. Since Leonard's actual birthday (Sept. 12th) falls on the last day of Ramadan this year, we have decided to hold the run on the following weekend: Saturday, Sept. 18th.

We are suggesting a $15 donation to register for the run; participants are invited to gather pledges and donations to help support the event.

Jamaica Pond is located on the Jamaica Way in Jamaica Plain. The run will start at the Boathouse, near the intersection of Jamaica Way and Pond St. The closest T stations are Green St. on the Orange Line and Heath St. on the Green Line; the closest bus route is the 39. Please call Jericho Boston if you need more detailed directions.

(617)830-0732 - jerichoboston.org

Labels: , , ,

Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Safiya Asya Bukhari, freedom fighter and former political prisoner

Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Safiya Asya Bukhari, freedom fighter and former political prisoner

Saturday August 28, 2010
Lucy Parsons Center, 549 Columbus Ave.

Please Join us for a short documentary about her life and work, and selected readings of her book, The War Before

Discussion to follow--Topics include:
  • Resistance and Sacrifice
  • Building and Sustaining Community
  • Lessons Learned from Our Past Struggles

Flyer available here:

Labels: , , ,

Dream University - Boston - August 3rd

On August 3rd Student Immigrant Movement will open a Boston Satellite campus of the DREAM University. Join in the days teach-ins and mock graduation on the steps of the MA State House.

Labels: , , ,

Young Gifted and Black 8

Saturday, August 21st 2010

The YGB Movement, BloodSkinLand Productions & Voices of Liberation presents:

The 8th Revolution

The bi-yearly youth explosion returns for the 8th time with a collage of poetry, spoken word, rhyme, song, dance, etc.

@ OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center
11 Walnut Park, Roxbury/Egleston Sq.
(off Washington St. next to LaundroMax behind Citgo gas station)

5:00pm - 8:00pm (doors at 4:30pm)
$5.00 admission / Free for 12yrs and under

With performances by:

Hosted by X-RATED

For more info contact VCR at 617-480-7663 or bloodskinland@yahoo.com

Labels: , , , ,

Youth Lobby Day this Wed. on crime bill

Lobby Day this Wed. at the State House at Noon
Let’s hear from our young people.
Get the guns off the street now!  Pass the Governor’s crime bill.

WHAT: Youth-led Lobby Day to support Governor Patrick’s crime bill H. 4102
WHERE: Massachusetts State House
CONTACT:  (617) 233-5363

Join us for a Lobby Day/ press conference/ rally at the STATE HOUSE THIS WED., JUNE 23 AT NOON to support the Governor’s crime bill.

Let’s showcase youth activists and garner positive media and public attention too often overshadowed by the headlines.

We’ll gather outside, hear from young people about the urgency of getting the guns off the street, and take our message directly to lawmakers inside the building.  (Check out our growing list of supporters, attached.)

“I was hanging out with a friend in the afternoon and later that day he was shot and killed.  I don’t want to end up like that.” –17-year-old Jamaica Plain student

Don’t let the Governor’s bill die—so our kids can live.

Citizens for Safety is a community coalition working to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and youth
while supporting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms.

Nancy Robinson
Phone: (617) 233-5363
Fax: (617) 467-4604

Labels: , , , , , ,

Mass Hope 2010 - UPCOMING EVENTS

Mass Hope 2010 is now on Day 14/Night 14 of our ongoing 24-7 vigil protesting the hateful anti-immigrant redundant and costly Senate budget amendments.

This week has been exciting: On Thursday, Lara gave us a workshop on “Communicating your Message and Talking to Press,” Justin facilitated a chat on immigration, nationalism/nativism, and good books to read, and The Boston Interpreters Collective, Cecily and Fedelma, gave an excellent workshop on interpretation. Yesterday, Voices of Liberation and El movimiento para estudios latin@s put on an Open Mic night and we were all repeatedly surprised by the beauty and power of their dance and spoken word. And today, we finished an intense game of futbol with the Boston Interpreters Collective. The front steps of the State House are now REAL public space-- a community space where people can feel safe and draw energy from others and wonderful groups and organizations can meet, get to know one another and share strategy and resources.

And we need to community and movement as we continue. We are now at a time of great urgency and we need to mobilize and act NOW.

The Conference Committee will make their decision (or already have made their decision) this Monday on June 21st and we will be ready for their decision. We need to show our strength and power in the upcoming days with our events:

Monday June 21st
10 AM- Meet at State House and go on legislative visits to Six leads of Conference Committee to pass in petitions (over 1,000 signatures!)
12Noon- Press Conference in front of the State House
ALL DAY- Flood Conference Committee with calls and emails
Please tell your members to call their respective Senators and Representatives as well as Governor Patrick, 617-725-4005
House Speaker Robert DeLeo, 617-722-2500
Rep. Charles Murpy of Burlington, 617-722-2990
Rep. Barbara L'Italien of Andover, 617-722-2380
Senate President Therese Murray, 617-722-1500
Sen. Steven Panagiotakos of Lowell, 617-722-1630
Sen. Stephen Brewer of Dorchester, 617-722-1540
Even if your Representative and Senator voted against these anti-immigrant amendments, please call them anyways! And support them!)

Tuesday June 22nd
4PM- Rally in front of the State House

Wednesday June 23rd
1PM- Public Hearing inside the State House

We are committing to hold this vigil if the budget contains any of these amendments because they are all dangerous and hurtful to our immigrant and greater communities. We won't stop and we will maintain our ongoing vigil until there is justice, until Massachusetts is a welcoming home for all, and until these amendments are retracted or vetoed by Governor Patrick.

Thank you.

Student Immigrant Movement, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, Arlington Church, Asian American Resource Workshop, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Boston Interpreters Collective, Boston May Day Committee, Brazilian Immigrants Center, Cambridge Community Services, Centro Presente, Chinese Progressive Association, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, Deported Diaspora, El Movimiento Estudiantes Latin@s, Immigrant Worker Center Collaborative, International Action Center, International Socialist Organization, Irish Immigrant Center, Jobs with Justice, Massachusetts Metropolitan Interfaith Congregations Acting for Hope (MICAH), Matahari : Eye of the Day, MIRA Coalition, New Sanctuary Movement, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM), Resist the Raids, SEIU 615, Sociedad Latina, Student Labor Action Network (SLAM), Veterans for Peace, Voices of Liberation

Labels: , , , , , ,


Voices of Liberation in solidarity with Student Immigrant Movement Present:
"Todos Somos Arizona/We all Arizona"
Speak Out/Open Mic

Friday June 18, 2010

Location: Steps of State House!


Contact: Lily

Labels: , , , ,

SIM holds a 24/7 Vigil In protest of MA Immigration Amendments

Support the action Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) is organizing against the MA amendments that were just passed in the Senate.

These budget amendments, if accepted by the House of Rep, would detrimentally affect our immigrant and greater community. These amendments include:

  • Requiring businesses that work with the state to use some system (like E-verify) to verify paperwork, or the business will lose contract with government and be fined. (Verifying immigration status for employees is the federal government's responsibility, not our state's job.)
  • Fining higher penalties for being caught with false documents, for example from $50 to $250 for ID's
  • Denying access to assisted housing programs for undocumented people (This would leave many U.S. citizen children and family members homeless and increase government spending on motels, shelters and housing in the future.)
  • Requiring stricter requirements for housing, social security and health benefits, documented or undocumented (This is redundant for undocumented peoples because they currently receive no social security, welfare nor food stamps, receive basic necessary health insurance and do not benefits in the federal housing projects and vouchers. This requirement would make receiving benefits for all, especially poor and lower income people, more difficult and stricter.)
  • Creating an anonymous tip line to report suspicious people using false documents, business hiring undocumented people and people who are undocumented and mandating investigations of all no matter how uncredible the reports are. (This is a hateful part of the law, requiring neighbors to spy and report on neighbors, ex-partners, students and hearsay. This is putting the federal government's job of immigration reform in the hands of the MA state investigators and in individuals' hands which would bankrupt and use tax dollars to follow up on less than credible reports.
  • Barring undocumented students from receiving In-State tuition. (This is redundant since MA undocumented students do not receive In-State tuition but it would block the five years of work that the Student Immigrant Movement has done to push for In-State tuition for undocumented students.)
  • Blocking limited and basic health care for undocumented people. (This is hateful and dangerous for the immigrant community as well as public health, creating barriers to basic health care for all, which is a human right, and therefore putting us all at risk for higher emergency costs, communal diseases and sicknesses.)
  • We need to do something about these amendments and tell our Representatives and Senators that they do not represent what the people of MA want or need, we do not want Arizona in Massachusetts, we do not want the most hateful and anti-immigrant bill created in the last five years and we do not want to scapegoat our immigrant community for greater socio-economic issues. 
Because our friends were hurting and thousands across MA are scared and already talking about the repression and the pressure to leave, we had to turn our fears into hope and action. Student Immigrant Movement is holding an day and all night vigil in front of the State House that will not end until the Senate, House of Representatives and Governor Patrick address the amendements and understand that this is not what MA wants.

Press Coverage of the Vigil
Bookmark and Share

Labels: , , , ,

3rd Annual 10,000 Strong Boston - June 20th - Franklin Park Playstead

Please take this opportunity to use this community event as it was meant to be! Many are concerned about recent violence and lack of opportunity for our youth Use this event to speak to the community, join with existing efforts, develop or unveil plans. GET INVOLVED!!! BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

3rd Annual 10,000 Strong Boston
Sunday, June 20th 2010 | Franklin Park Playstead
10,000 Strong Boston - STOP THE VIOLENCE Sun. 6/20/10 noon-5pm

12Noon – 5pm (Speakers begin at 3pm)

For more information, details about the schedule and speakers, visit 10000strongboston.com

Greetings! This is a formal invitation requesting your presence and your words of wisdom for the 3rd Annual 10,000 Strong Boston! Feel free to use your own experience to deliver an uplifting message to empower, inform and inspire the community.

Since 2008 (each year held the day after Boston’s Roxbury Homecoming and Juneteenth Celebration) 10,000 Strong Boston has brought together Black, Latino & Cape Verdean Community Members, Clergy, Educators, Activists, Parents, Youth, Elders and Elected Officials for this one of a kind community event standing for Justice & Peace in Boston.

Each year 10,000 Strong Boston has garnered crowds of 100-400 all standing in Unity for Peace & Justice with speakers, food and fun for the entire family. 10k Strong Boston has received excellent coverage in the Press and has been featured in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Boston Phoenix, Boston Banner and Channels 4, 5 and 25.

PAST EVENTS: photos, videos, past speakers and media from 2008 & 2009 10,000 Strong Boston
please see our website: http://www.10000strongboston.com/

10K AGAINST: 10,000 Strong Boston takes a stand against Racism, violence, drugs, guns, gangs, prostitution, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, police brutality and more!!

10K FOR: 10,000 Strong Boston stands for Strong Families, Education, Political/Civic Engagement, Leadership Development, Prison Reform, Fair Housing, CORI Reform and more!!

10,000 Strong Boston is coordinated by Jamarhl Crawford and organized in conjunction with the Blackstonian Community Newspaper, which has grown into a website blackstonian.com and internet radio station blogtalkradio.com/blackstonian

For this 3rd Annual 10k Strong Boston, the newly formed Boston Black Men’s Leadership Group is also taking a lead role in fulfillment of the group’s commitment to grassroots community efforts.

Please consult your schedule and confirm your availability ASAP as we will begin heavy promotions and press in the first week of June.



Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Latin@ Studies Youth Conference

El Movimiento Estudiantes Latin@s Presents: Latin@ Studies Youth Conference

Friday, June 18
10:00 AM - 2:30 PM

Wheelock College
150 The Riverway
Boston, MA

Student Immigrant Movement (SIM)
Lissette Castillo
Nurys Carmago

Sasha De La Cruz - 857.417.1744
Judy Garcia - 978.566.2096

Labels: , , ,

Live coverage of Israeli raid of Gaza Aid Flotilla and Aftermath

Early Monday morning, Israel attacked a flotilla of aid ships bound for the Gaza Strip; up to 10 people were killed in the pre-dawn raid, according to organisers and media sources. Find up to the minute coverage of the Israeli raid of a Gaza Aid Flotilla and the aftermath on Al Jazeera.

Live coverage: Aftermath of Israel's flotilla raid

Live coverage: Israel's flotilla raid

Labels: , ,

Deadly Israeli raid on aid fleet

Israeli soldiers have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships off the coast of the Gaza Strip, killing as many as 10 people on board.

Dozens more were believed to be injured when troops raided the convoy of six ships, dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, early on Monday.

But those figures were hard to confirm as the flotilla was being held in the Israeli port of Ashdod on Tuesday, with 700 passengers from 30 countries either being detained or in hospital.

Israel said activists on board attacked its commandos as they boarded the ships, while the flotilla's organisers said the Israeli forces opened fire first, as soon as they stormed the convoy.

Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, gave his "full backing" to the military forces after the raid, which he said "was to prevent the infiltration of thousands of rockets, missiles and other arms that could hit our cities, communities or people".

"I give my complete backing to the army, the soldiers and commanders who acted to defend the state and to protect their lives." He also said Israel regretted the loss of life in the raid.

Protests worldwide

Israeli media reported that many of the dead were Turkish nationals.

Hamas, the Palestinian group which governs the Gaza Strip, said the assault was a "massacre" and called on the international community to intervene.

The Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, urged Arabs and Muslims to show their anger by staging protests outside Israeli embassies across the globe.

The call came even as demonstrationsdenouncing the Israeli raid were being held in many cities around the world, including the capitals of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, officially declared a three-day state of mourning.

The United Nations Security Council  met on Monday afternoon for an emergency session to discuss the matter.

Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the chief foreign policy official of the UN, called on Israel to end its "counterproductive" and "unacceptable" blockade of Gaza.

Live ammunition

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, on board the flotilla's lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, said in his last report before communications were cut off, that Israeli troops used live ammunition during the assault.

The Israeli military, 10 of whose soldiers were reportedly wounded in the operation, said troops opened fire after "demonstrators on board attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs".

Our correspondent said that a white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the aid ships were taken after the assault, said the Israeli army was not giving any details of who had been killed, injured or detained.

"As soon as [the ships] land here, the goods [will be] taken [and] put into a terminal, and the passengers [made to] undergo extensive security checks," she said.

"[They will be] given the choice either to go home straight away, in which case they will be taken to Tel Aviv airport. Or if they resist deportation, they will be taken to a nearby detention centre where, we understand, they will [remain] for at least 72 hours."

More than 80 activists had been detained by mid-evening, Sabine Hadad, the spokeswoman for Israel's immigration police, told AFP.

"So far, 83 have been detained, of whom 25 have agreed to be deported. The rest are going to jail," she said.

Hadad said the Israeli authorities were expecting "hundreds more" arrests through the night.

Israeli defence

Defending Monday's military raid, Mark Regev, the Israeli government spokesperson, said the Israeli commandos came under fire from people on board the flotilla whom he branded as "violent extremists".

"Israel was totally within its rights under international law to intercept the ship and to take it to the port of Ashdod," he told Al Jazeera.

"Unfortunately they were met by the activists on the boats with deadly violence, knives, metal clubs, even live fire on our service people. They initiated the violence."

He said the people on board the flotilla were not peaceful activists.

"They are part of the IHH, which is a radical Turkish Islamist organisation which has been investigated by Western governments and by the Turkish government itself in the past for their links with terrorist organisations."

But Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, said the flotilla was carefully inspected before departure that there was no one on board "other than civilian volunteers.

"I want to say to the world, to the heads of state and the governments, that these boats that left from Turkey and other countries were checked in a strict way under the framework of the rules of international navigation and were only loaded with humanitarian aid," he said.

Israeli 'cover-up'

Murat Mercan, the head of Turkey's foreign relations committee, said that claiming activists on board had links to terrorist organisations was Israel's way of covering up its mistake.

"Any allegation that the members of this ship is attached to al-Qaeda is a big lie because there are Israeli civilians, Israeli authorities, Israeli parliamentarians on board the ship," he told Al Jazeera.

"Does he [Regev] think that those are also attached to al-Qaeda?"

Dozens of activists were seriously injured in Monday's Israeli raid on the high seas [AFP]
The flotilla, aiming to break the Israeli siege of Gaza, was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Palestinian coastal enclave.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: "This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves."

Mark Taylor, an international legal expert, told Al Jazeera that every state, including Israel, has the right to self-defence.

"In situations in which the state feels that it needs to take an act in international waters to defend itself, it will do that," he said.

"But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's legal under international law.

"In this case, we're looking at a humanitarian aid convoy, with prominent people and activists, clearly not a military target in any way whatsoever."

'Dire need of aid'

Israel said the flotilla boats - carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid - were embarking on "an act of provocation" against the Israeli military rather than providing aid, and issued warrants to prohibit their entrance to Gaza.

But Adnan Abu-Hasana, a spokesman for UNRWA, said the Gazans are in dire need of aid after Israel's war on the territory in December 2008-January 2009 destroyed buildings and infrastructure.

"We need hundreds of thousands of tonnes [of aid] to rebuild Gaza," he told Al Jazeera.

"We need more of building materials ... We need spare parts for machines in the agricultural and industrial sectors, for the fishermen, all these sectors are nearly collapsed.

"Eighty per cent of the Gazans are dependent on humanitarian aid coming from UN organisations such as UNRWA."


Labels: , ,

Local members of NALACC Rally in Boston in support of the Massive National Mobilization in Phoenix on May 29, 2010

Local members of NALACC Rally in Boston in support of the Massive National Mobilization in Phoenix on May 29, 2010

When: Saturday, 29th May, 12:00 p.m.

Where: Park Street Station, Boston Common

Boston, MA- Local members of The National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC) will hold a rally in Boston in support of the Massive National Mobilization in Phoenix on the same day. In the last month, local, national, and international pressure has grown with vigils, fasts, protests, high school walkouts, boycotts, and civil disobedience-all in repudiation of SB1070, a law that would provide legal cover for racial profiling. "We hope that all those who are in favor of more humane policies and a true immigration reform will stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Arizona," declared Gladys Vega, Executive Director of the Chelsea Collaborative.

On May 29, 2010 people of conscience from throughout the United States and Phoenix will march in the tens of thousands to the Arizona State Capitol to demand justice in the face of state-sanctioned discrimination and hate. They will demand that President Obama stand on the right side of history and take immediate and concrete action to stop SB1070.

"In a spirit of solidarity with those in Arizona, we condemn this inhumane, anti-immigrant law. We are also concerned about the Obama administration dedicating an additional five hundred million dollars for border security and sending twelve hundred national guard troops to the border, which will not resolve anything outside of political posturing" said, Patricia Montes, Executive Director of Centro Presente and board member of NALACC.

Labels: , ,

7-year-old girl, Aiyana Jones, Killed in Detroit Police Raid

Aiyana Stanley Jones, 7 years old, was shot while she was sleeping on a couch when a Detroit police officer’s weapon went off as he was searching for a homicide suspect. Assistant Police Chief Ralph Godbee stated that the little girl was hit in the neck by a bullet and died at the hospital. “This is any parent’s worst nightmare. It also is any police officer’s worst nightmare. And today, it is all too real.” Krystal Sanders, aunt of Aiyana, said, “I heard boom! Detroit police! Pop! It happened so fast.”

Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s grandmother, who was in the front room of the house said “I (saw) the light go out of her eyes. They killed my grandbaby.” Godbee said officers with the department’s Special Response Team set off a flash grenade as they entered the apartment with their guns drawn. The lead officer encountered Aiyana’s grandmother, who tussled with the officer when the officer’s gun went off.

Charles Jones, father of Aiyana, said “They came into my house with a flash grenade and a bullet. They say my mother resisted them, that she tried to take an officer’s gun. My mother had never been in handcuffs in her life. They killed my baby, and I want someone to tell the truth”

The officers had a search warrant and were looking for a 34-year-old man who was the suspect for the death of a 17-year-old boy named Jarean Blake. The suspect was arrested at the house.

“We have executed countless high-risk warrants where children have been present. This was a perfect storm for tragedy,” Godbee said. “This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana’s parents, family and all those who loved her. It is a tragedy we also feel very deeply throughout the ranks of the Detroit Police Department.”


Labels: , ,

7-year-old girl killed in Detroit police raid

Police in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday expressed "profound sorrow" at the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl in a police raid.

Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by police executing a search warrant as part of a homicide investigation, Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said in a statement.

"This is any parent's worst nightmare," Godbee said. "It also is any police officer's worst nightmare. And today, it is all too real."

The warrant was executed about 12:40 a.m. ET Sunday at a home on the city's east side, Godbee said. Authorities believed the suspect in the Friday shooting death of 17-year-old high school student Jarean Blake was hiding out at the home. Blake was gunned down in front of a store as his girlfriend watched, Godbee said.

Preliminary information indicates that members of the Detroit Police Special Response Team approached the house and announced themselves as police, Godbee said, citing the officers and at least one independent witness.

"As is common in these types of situations, the officers deployed a distractionary device commonly known as a flash bang," he said in the statement. "The purpose of the device is to temporarily disorient occupants of the house to make it easier for officers to safely gain control of anyone inside and secure the premise."
Upon entering the home, the officer encountered a 46-year-old female inside the front room, Godbee said. "Exactly what happened next is a matter still under investigation, but it appears the officer and the woman had some level of physical contact.

"At about this time, the officer's weapon discharged one round which, tragically, struck 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones in the neck/head area."

The girl was immediately transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Godbee said he and other officers went to the hospital while others stayed at the home to execute the warrant.

Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, told CNN affiliate WDIV, "She was sleeping and they came in the door shooting and throwing flash grenades ... burned my baby up and shot her, killed her."

Jones claimed the officers had the wrong house, but Godbee said in the statement the 34-year-old suspect in Blake's death was found and arrested at the home. In addition, a vehicle and a moped matching the descriptions of those involved in Blake's shooting were also found, he said.

The suspect's name was not released.

Godbee said he wished to "express to the family of Aiyana Jones the profound sorrow that we feel within the Detroit Police Department and throughout this community. We know that no words can do anything to take away the pain you are feeling at this time."

Police obtained the "high-risk search warrant" based on intelligence, and it was approved by the prosecutor and a magistrate, Godbee said. "Because of the ruthless and violent nature of the suspect in this case, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of public safety to execute the search warrant as soon as possible and detain the suspect ... while we sought a murder warrant," he said.

The police statement said Chief Warren Evans is out of town and could not be present "to personally address this tragedy," but "his thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Aiyana Jones."
The officer's weapon was secured, and an investigation is under way, Godbee said, emphasizing the information gained so far is preliminary.

"This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana's parents, family and all those who loved her," Godbee said. "... It is a tragedy we also feel very deeply throughout the ranks of the Detroit Police Department.
"We cannot undo what occurred this morning," he said. "All we can do is pledge an open and full investigation and to support Aiyana's family in whatever way they may be willing to accept from us at this time. I understand that they may not be open to such a gesture at this time, but we do stand ready to do anything we can to support them."


Labels: , ,

Task Force studies chill between teens and MBTA

When Waldy Nova sees an MBTA cop approaching, he says, several scenarios run through his head.

“I automatically assume I’m going to get talked down to, searched, arrested or kicked out of the station,” he says.

Nova knows his experience is not unique. He knows because he has witnessed numerous altercations between MBTA officers and students. He also knows this because he and his fellow youth organizers at the Hyde Square Task Force have conducted surveys with more than 700 Boston teenagers to assess the relations between the cops and the students.

 The Task Force youths are now compiling their data and expect to release their report next week. While they wouldn’t comment on the data, the teens working on the project said most of the teens they interviewed spoke about harassment, illegal searches and being kicked out of stations.

“Most of us have experienced most of these problems or witnessed them,” said Pamela Pauling, who worked on the survey. “A lot of people get searched for no reason. They get grabbed and thrown up against the wall.”

Each of the four youths interviewed at the Task Force office also shared their own personal stories of instances where they said they either experienced or witnessed police harassment. None of them has ever been arrested.

Deli Tejeda tells of being illegally searched by police officers who said they suspected he was selling drugs. Sheila Reyes was kicked out of Forest Hills Station by a surly officer who accused the group of teens she was with of littering.

“The youth that we work with are always complaining about problems with transit police,” Reyes said.

The Task Force teens say youth relations with the MBTA police are particularly important because most of the high school students in Boston use the public transit system and come into contact with transit police.The experience youth have with MBTA officers is markedly different than what adults experience, according to Nova.

“I’ve never seen an adult being kicked out of a station,” he says.

“Or searched,” adds Pauling.

“Or kicked out of a station,” adds Reyes.

MBTA police officers have jurisdiction over MBTA property and have the full right to arrest anyone engaged in illegal activity on MBTA property.

In the 1990s, the MBTA police engaged in a “zero tolerance” policy against youth on the system, logging as many as 680 arrests a year.

After a series of Banner articles detailing allegations of MBTA police abuse against teens, including numerous arrests of teenagers for trespassing, the agency brought in a new chief, Joseph Carter, who re-assigned many of the officers who were responsible for the arrests and dismantled the Anti Crime Unit — a plainclothes unit that targeted teens.

Under current Chief Paul MacMillan, MBTA police are now making fewer arrests, according to youth advocate Lisa Thurau Gray, who says the agency arrested 84 youth last year.

“I think things have improved tremendously,” she said.

MBTA spokeswoman Lydia Rivera said MacMillan was not available for comment. The chief is scheduled to meet with the Task Force youth this week, she said.

The complaints the youth are making are not unique to the MBTA police. Like most black and Latino teens in Boston, the boys at the Task Force each say they are often stopped and searched by Boston Police.

“Wherever I’m at, whenever I see any kind of authority, because of my skin tone I’m going to get searched,” says Tejeda, who is dark-skinned.

The teens say they know the police are not supposed to search them without probable cause.

“Most kids are intimidated into revealing the contents of their bags and pockets,” Tejeda says. “They’re forced to do so illegally. The cops break the rules and don’t get called out on it.”

“I think that’s why some youth act out,” Nova cuts in. “How would you feel if you were in that situation? If it happened to you constantly? Everyone has their breaking point.”

The Task Force teens say their ultimate aim is to improve relations between youths and the MBTA police.

“We want to establish a good relationship,” Nova says. “We want there to be harmony between the police and the people they’re supposed to protect and serve. Youth are as much a part of the community as adults, just as the T officers are a part of the community and have to be treated with respect.”

Yawu Miller

Labels: , , ,
All Power to the People