By Barbara Zaragoza
‘Rally at the Border’ left out grassroots activists, invited Border Patrol, SDPD & ICE To Attend
San Diego Free Press Doug Porter broke the story yesterday on a man by the name of Lawrence Deshawn Silva Nathaniel with “We Are One Foundation” who organized a rally that, in the end, did not include local grass roots border organizations. Instead, he made sure to contact Border Patrol, the SDPD and ICE and said any undocumented participants of the rally could rally in a specific ‘safe space’. Wha-huh? The March 25 rally has been cancelled, but read the details here.
Lots more to learn about the border this week:
- The Union-Tribune explores what it means for an immigrant to “get in line” to get into the U.S.
- The story of Cruz Velazquez Acevedo hit the Washington Post this week. A 16-year-old boy who crossed the border, was stopped by Border Patrol and told to drink the liquid Cruz claimed was apple juice to prove he wasn’t lying. As a matter of fact, Cruz was carrying methamphetamine and died after drinking it. [Updated 3/26/2017] Read the full story here.
- A pedestrian was fatally struck by a trolley in San Ysidro on March 23. (Imperial Beach Patch)
- The county is asking businesses if they have experienced economic or property damage from the February Tijuana sewage spill of approximately 143 million gallons. Some businesses may be eligible for low-interest federal disaster loans. See here for more.
- Then, here we go again. Yesterday Imperial Beach council member Mark West wrote on Facebook: “This afternoon City of Imperial Beach is reporting a visible plume off the coast, and odors in the river valley and at the beach. IBWC confirmed sewage odor at their gage. IBWC is requesting that Mexico investigate and notify of source of any sewer system overflows.”
- The San Diego Reader carried a feature story about what it means to live in a border culture.
California Assembly Bill ‘Resist the Wall Act’
Three state legislators, including San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, introduced a bill on Monday (Assembly Bill 946 — Resist the Wall Act) that would require the California Public Employee Retirement System and the California State Teachers Retirement System to divest from any company involved in President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
The LA Times reported: “CalPERS and CalSTRS are the nation’s largest and second largest pension funds, with nearly $312 billion and $202 billion in investments under their control. The AB 946 announcement follows last week’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s request for companies to submit formal border wall prototypes.”
“It’s clear the people of California don’t want to invest in the hateful values that the Trump wall represents,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher said.
Hector Gastelum Won’t Resign
Hector Gastelum has rebuffed calls to step down from his elected position as Director of District 4’s Otay Water District. In a series of tweets, Gastelum referred to Muslims under Donald Trump’s ban as “subhuman” and “scum.” His many other tweets were no less disturbing. (Scroll to the bottom of this article to see the many more he authored, insulting Muslims, immigrants and feminists.)
In reaction, at the next Otay Water Board meeting citizens came out to ask for his resignation. In addition, Chula Vista City Council member, Steve Padilla, denounced Hector. Otay Water District Director Mitch Thompson wrote an op-ed to the Chula Vista Star News denouncing Hector and also asking for his resignation.
Now there’s a “Resist Hector Gastelum” protest on Monday, April 17th from 3pm-6pm at the Otay Water District. To find out more, check out the Facebook page. Fayaz Nawabi, one of the community organizers on this issue, said that they’ll give Hector two more chances to resign at the next Otay meetings. If he refuses, they’ll begin the recall process.
South Bay Leadership PAC Asks: How Do We Progressives Work Together Moving Forward?
Last night, Thursday, March 23, Sweetwater Water Authority Board Member Jose Preciado, led a panel discussion at the South Bay Leadership PAC that included some important community activists in the South Bay. Topics ran the gamut from housing, education, healthcare and equity. Copies of the recent CPI report on poverty rates in South San Diego County were handed out as well.
A few powerful comments were made at the meeting:
- Dae Elliot (Executive Chair of South Bay Alliance, a non-profit that puts on South Bay Pride each year and hopes to open an LGBT center in the South Bay) mentioned that our educational system treats children as a product. It’s an industrialized approach. Unfortunately, students get to college and are unable to critically think for themselves.
- Kirin Macapugay (Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Community Actions) explained she was once told by a fellow parent that if she cared about her child’s education, she would send them to private school. Kirin explained that she sent her child to public school because she not only wanted the best for her own child, but for other children as well.
- Fayaz Nawabi (Public Relations Officer & Outreach Representative at Council on American Islamic Relations) informed the group that 56 percent of Muslim children report being bullied at school. More than 80 percent of the bullying comes from teachers or administrators. As a consequence, Muslim children prefer to go to either Charter schools or private schools.
- Concerning equity, equality and inclusion: Lisa Cuestas (Executive Director of the San Ysidro non-profit Casa Familiar) explained that in order to receive a certain grant, she was asked to collaborate in some way with two other organizations. Instead of starting with an issue first, the three groups began to talk and work together to find an issue upon which they agreed. This approach could be helpful for progressives.
- Finally, a member of the audience explained that often progressives say they are the party of compassion who stand up for marginalized communities. However, perhaps progressives should reframe the issues to be about fairness in education, housing and work.
- The County’s parks and recreation department recently hosted a workshop concerning the regional trail system in Otay Valley. For one thing, the trails in eastern Chula Vista are not yet hooked up to trails to western Chula Vista trails. Eventually, they could become integrated. The County contribution for this is about $250,000 and the integration includes many participating agencies. To see more about the future trail system and to take the survey, see the San Diego Union Tribune article.
- Yes indeed! For those of you asking, there’s a South Bay Indivisible group (SBI). To sign up, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or ask to join their Facebook page. Here’s more about Indivisible groups.
- Current Port of San Diego commissioner and long-time National City resident Robert “Dukie” Valderrama received a lifetime achievement award from a Barrio Logan social services organization. Dukie was appointed to serve a fourth term as National City’s port commissioner last year. Since then, the National City Aquatic Center has opened, an expansion of Pepper Park has taken place and he is credited for helping to re-route commercial and industrial trucks away from residential streets in Barrio Logan. (San Diego Union Tribune)