November/ December 2010 E-NEWSLETTER:

 

The NC Immigrant Rights Program Monthly E-Newsletter serves as a vehicle for Quaker allies and recent immigrant/refugee constituents living in North Carolina to stay informed and involved with AFSC and immigrant rights-related actions in the state.

Reminder! New Address: 529-D College Road  // Greensboro, NC 27410 //Same phone 336-854-0633.

Find us online: On the web:  www.afsc.org/greensboro  // On Facebook:  www.facebook.com/afscnc

 

  1. Invitation to AFSC’s Holiday Open House 12/11/10 & Upcoming Events
  2. Storyology Digital Storytelling Project a Success! View the films!
  3. Durham, NC now accepts the Matricula Consular as valid city ID!!
  4. Thank a Farmworker this Holiday Season, and join Harvest of Dignity campaign
  5. Reflection on farmworker outreach by intern Djenie Danjoint
  6. DREAM Act Update
  7. Celebrate International Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) & International Migrants Day (Dec. 18)

 

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  1. Invitation to AFSC’s Holiday Open House 12/11/10

 

We invite you to join us in celebrating  *International Human Rights Day * during our

2nd Annual

Holiday Open House

 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

10:00am-2:00pm

 

Come enjoy holiday treats & hot drinks!

Participate in fun hands-on activities to support peace & justice and to celebrate International Human Rights Day:

Þ Pack humanitarian kits to respond to Haiti’s cholera outbreak

Þ Participate in our new “Photos for Peace” project

Þ View short films by immigrants from AFSC’s digital storytelling class

Þ Write holiday cards to policy makers urging their support of peace and justice

 

· Learn more about the work of our office & how to get involved as you visit with friends old & new!

 

Warm your body and your spirit at:

 Our NEW office!

529-D College Rd., Greensboro, NC 27410 (In Quaker Commons)

336-854-0633

 

 

12/18/10 9am-12pm. Immigrant Rights Workshop in Charlotte – help celebrate International Day of the Migrant! 


Informative workshops on Knowing your rights as an immigrant, Power of Attorney, preparing an emergency plan, a guide to detention, and important information and resources.

Saturday, December 18 2010, 9 am—12 pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 3601 Central Ave.

Charlotte, NC 28205. Refreshments and Childcare Provided  For more information call: 704-737-7124. A $5.00 donation for each registration guarantees your spot 

 

 

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  1. Storyology Digital Storytelling Project a Success! View the films!

 

In October 2010 AFSC’s NC team brought together a very diverse group of immigrant students, partner-volunteers, and resource people to produce a class on digital storytelling in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The seven students came from  Haiti, Bhutan, Mexico, Kenya and Vietnam, with ages ranging from 16 to around 40.  At the end of the class, the students each produced a truly impressive work of art in the form of a 2-4 minute digital story. In each video, the student narrates her/his journey, with background music, and images chosen (and sometimes photographed) by the students themselves. Visit www.afsc.org/greensboro to read a fuller report of the class and also to view these powerful, humbling, and inspiring short films.

 

View the films now: Click here to go to our YouTube playlist.

 

 

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  1. Durham, NC accepts the Matricula Consular as valid city ID

 

For more than a year, AFSC’s Durham Immigrant Solidarity Committee and the Durham Bill of Rights Defense Committee organized to convince the City Council that the Matricula Consular (a Mexican ID card) should be recognized as a legal form of identification in the city. Two weeks ago, their hard work finally paid off when the Council passed a resolution accepting the Matricula Consular. This will not substitute in any way for a drivers’ license, but it will be recognized in most cases as proof of identity. This is helpful because if immigrants cannot present acceptable identification to a police officer, it is more likely that they will be brought to the station and potentially put in deportation proceedings. Durham’s police chief backed the resolution. While in some ways this is a very minor step, it is a symbolic move to restore some measure of trust between law enforcement and immigrant groups, which has been severely damaged because of cooperation between local authorities and federal immigration enforcement.

 

Right-wing groups are not happy with the decision and one group of Tea-Partiers has called a boycott of the city of Durham! Nevertheless, immigrant advocates are proud of the city and its decision to be a more welcoming and inclusive community.  Congratulations Durham!!

 

Read More online.

 

 

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  1. Thank a Farmworker this Holiday Season, and join Harvest of Dignity campaign

 

As you sat down for your Thanksgiving meal, did you think about who picked those sweet potatoes? …who processed that turkey? …who harvested those delicious fruits and vegetables? Farm work is one of the most important jobs of all-it brings food to our table-yet agricultural workers are some of the least paid and least protected workers in the whole country. Produce season is winding down, but it is peak season for those Fraser Firs. Did you know that NC is a leading producer of Christmas Trees, which are usually treated with dangerous pesticides, and that these holiday staples are tended and picked by farmworkers who routinely work 12-14 hours per day?

 

Want to do something about abuse in the fields? Join the Farmworker Advocacy Network’s (FAN) newly launched Harvest of Dignity Campaign!  FAN is a statewide network of organizations that work to improve living and working conditions of farmworkers and poultry workers in North Carolina.   AFSC-NC is supporting this important campaign to bring justice to the men and women who labor so that we can eat, and we encourage you to endorse the campaign as well (individuals and organizations can endorse).

 

Endorse the Harvest of Dignity Campaign

As an organization, we know that bringing food to the table each day is hard work.
North Carolina is home to roughly 150,000 field workers and 28,000 poultry workers and their families.  The vast majority of the fruits and vegetables and nearly all of the poultry we eat are picked or processed by hand.  However, the people who help feed our families through their hard work also suffer dangerous working conditions, low pay and little recourse when they are hurt on the job. 

We support better living and working conditions for the people who help bring food from the fields to our plates, including:

Safe Workplaces
NC should enact basic health and safety standards to protect field and poultry workers from injury, illness and toxic chemical exposure on the job.  Poultry processing plants should be held to safety standards that prevent injury.

Safe Places to Live
When employers provide housing, it should be safe, sanitary and provide for basic decency, such as privacy in bathrooms and locks on the doors.

Stronger Enforcement of Existing Laws
Require state agencies to work together to enforce our state’s current laws protecting field and poultry workers.  Crack down on repeat offenders who ignore the law and put people in harm’s way.

Learn more about the campaign or endorse it yourself: http://www.ncfan.org/endorse/

 

 

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  1. Reflection on farmworker outreach by intern Djenie Danjoint

 

When I first started at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)as an AmeriCorps member with Project SHINE, I worked with the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) to do outreach among migrant farm workers in the surrounding counties. I was nervous yet excited about the project because, I have never been on an industrial size farm before and I did not know very much about migrant farm-workers. In the first few weeks, I researched and read a lot about farming, migrant farm-workers and the North Carolina economy.

 

On July 14, 2010, I had a chance to go on my first outreach event with Ronnie (another AFSC intern), Blake and Lauren (from NFWM).  Blake and Lauren gave me a quick tutorial on how to have effective outreach because I have not had any training about the project. We had a map of Gibsonville, NC and surrounding areas, and we went to registered camps and tried to find unregistered ones along the way. Lauren and I paired up and took one section of the area while Blake and Ronnie took another section. We drove around the areas slowly as we searched for camps, we would stop and talk to some farmers and workers. We did not really talked to many farm workers because they were still working in the fields. We did however talk to a group of seven Mexican migrant workers. They lived in the same rundown trailer, on a piece of land further away from where the farmer lives.

 

The men we talked to were from Mexico and they come here every year to work on the farm during the summer seasons. They all have families living in Mexico and they come here to work so they can send money back home. These men live in sub-par conditions; the trailer had two bedrooms, kitchen, living room and a bathroom. The living room also served as a bedroom for two of the men. They did not have a house phone, when asked how they communicate with family back home; they said they buy a cell phone you can put minutes on and they all use it. They do not have days off during the week, just Sunday. On Sunday, the farmer allow them to take the truck to go the grocery store so they can buy food and hygiene items. If someone becomes sick and they have to go to a clinic, they have to drive to Chapel Hill NC because there are not any free clinics near them. The men were hesitant to talk about how the farmer treats them. I think they was hesitation because they were exactly sure of who we were, we had some communication barriers. My and Lauren’s Spanish was not very strong and their English was very limited.

 

Outreach with migrant farm-workers was a great experience for me personally and professionally. Personally, I am more grateful for the foods I eat everyday and that I have access to health care and housing. Professionally I feel that, as a future health educator I need to make sure my local governments are educated about the conditions of migrant workers. I do not understand why these inhumane living conditions are allowed or why every camp are not registered or why farmers are not penalized for allowing workers to live in these horrible conditions.  It is infuriating to see and hear about how the people who contributes so much to our everyday lives and to our local economy are treated and the general population has no clue that these things are happening.

 

This experience, although was short have opened my eyes to so much and it was such a privilege to work with people who have the passion to fight for and give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.

 

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  1. DREAM Act Update (From AFSC’s national immigrant rights team)

 

This week, Congress plans to introduce the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). If expanded and improved to include community service, this important piece of legislation will offer 2.1 million immigrant youth a conditional six-year path to permanent U.S. residence. The conditions would be that they complete high school, demonstrate good moral character and complete at least two years of higher education or U.S. military service.

 

Tell Congress to pass the DREAM Act – but improve it first. Amend the bill to include the millions of young people left out of current legislation: immigrant youth who face financial barriers to education who don’t commit to the military. Use our online directory to call your representative’s office. An improved act will expand access to education and create a path to citizenship for young people who serve outside the military.

 

With your help we can ensure that this legislation is not weakened by amendments that militarize communities and criminalize immigrant workers.

 

Please contact your elected officials to ask them to improve the DREAM Act by including:

  • Provisions that provide a robust community service path and a solid vocational path to legalization.
  • Access for undocumented students to in-state tuition rates and federal financial aid for college, including loans and grants.
  • Provisions that assure the protection of legal status for youth who object to war for reasons of conscience and are no longer able to serve in the armed forces.

 

For more information AFSC has prepared an commentary on the DREAM Act

 

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  1. Prepare for International Human Rights Day (Dec. 10)  & International Day of the Migrant  (Dec. 18)

 

Every year, AFSC celebrates the Journey for Human and Immigrant Rights during the week between International Human Rights Day (December 10) and International Day of the Migrant (December 18). Please read on below from our friends at the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (NNIRR) to see how you can get involved on International Migrants Day!

 

International Migrants Day!

NNIRR is calling on members, partners and allies to celebrate and organize for justice and human rights on December 18, International Migrants Day. On this day, we will be joining migrants’ rights supporters throughout the world in protest of abuse and discrimination against migrants, as well as in celebration of their lives, dignity and contributions.

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This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the International Convention for the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (MWC). Approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18, 1990, the Migrant Workers Convention (MWC) entered into force in 2003; to date, 44 countries have approved the Convention. (From NNIRR)

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The Migrant Workers Convention is significant in elaborating on human rights protections for all migrants, regardless of their immigration status or citizenship. On this 20th anniversary, NNIRR will be joining community members and global allies to renew our efforts for universal ratification of the Convention – a task that has grown in urgency with the increase in immigration restrictions and xenophobia in countries around the world.

 

For more information on how you can celebrate and organize for International Migrants Day, visit http://nnirr.org/december18/.

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