Protest in Greece Raises Attention

Protests in Greece drew in an estimated 50,000 people to a one-day strike against planned spending cuts of 11.5bn euros on Wednesday, according to a story published on BBC news.

Following a series of demonstrations in Spain and Portugal, many people took part in this including doctors, teachers, tax workers, ferry operators and air traffic controllers.

Greece needs the next 31bn-euro installment of its international bailout, but with record unemployment and a third of Greeks pushed below the poverty line, there is strong resistance to further cuts.

What are your thoughts on the protest that turned violent?

Published in: on September 29, 2012 at 4:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wal-Mart Workers Unite

 Wal-Mart warehouse employees all across the country have been marching to protest labor abuses that go undocumented by the retail giant. Wal-Mart is arguably the most dominant discount store out there, they surely rake in enough money to provide their employees with adequate healthcare, and at the very least humane working conditions. Although Wal-Mart officials say they do routine checks of all warehouses in the United States and even the ones in China, American workers are speaking out in an unofficial union style protest to have their demands met. In the past two weeks, Wal-Mart workers in Southern California marched from the Inland Empire to Los Angeles in scorching heat just to have their voice heard. It is a shame that respectable employees have to go to these extremes just to voice their concerns, but this the reality for the Wal-Mart employees we encounter in our daily lives. About a week ago, right on the heels of the Inland empire march nicknamed “WalMarch” another group in Chicago, Illinois of about 30 Wal-Mart warehouse workers walked off the job. Maybe the California workers have started something that will revolutionize the way that Wal-Mart treats its employees and this fight will change the conditions for good.

Published in: on September 26, 2012 at 10:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ex-Offenders: Your vote counts.

In this country, we all are well aware that we have one of the highest prison populations in the world. Even after an offender is released, he or she in many cases is still under some kind of control by the state for some period of time. Even after that time period, an ex-offender will face economic, emotional, and social challenges for many years after being released. This leads to another discussion about the “rehabilitation” that these inmates receive, but that is a subject all on its own. When inmates are released, even after they have “paid their debt to society” their civil rights are taken away from them. In many states they are stripped of their right to vote. Sounds like something out of the civil rights movement in the 60s, but it is happening today to those who have (or may not have) committed crimes considered redeemable by the court of law. But there are many myths to this and it is important that ex-offenders research before they write themselves off as unable to vote. The laws vary by state, and unfortunately in some states you have to petition in order to restore your voting rights after release. But most states only require re-registering. In some states your voting rights may even be retained during incarceration.

Click HERE to see what the laws in your state are.  HERE is a guide for formerly incarcerated Californians.

Published in: on September 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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American Beef

As adults in this country, we live a fast paced busy life so fast food seems like a necessity. Even the food we buy from the grocery stores, we are often searching for a quick way to feed ourselves and our families. We are also aware that in order to meet the demand for meat in this country and all around the world, slaughterhouses are an unfortunate necessity as well. But a California cow slaughterhouse came under fire by animal rights activist when a video was released exposing the abuse and torture of cows on their way to be slaughtered. Although the plant was originally shut down as a result of this video being released, just six days later they were allowed to reopen. Claiming to have performed “corrective actions.” But I’m pretty sure its because Americans need their beef. The video is horrifying and makes you question what kind of conditions the beef we are being fed is in before it reaches our plates. Cows being treated this way, fed other animal parts and slop surely affect the quality of meat that we consume. But the federal government is more concerned with meeting the demand of cow products rather then the quality of the product itself.

Central Valley Slaughterhouse report

Published in: on September 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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CAST-ing Attention on Human Trafficking

In a society that has advanced so far, one would think that terms like slavery are nothing but a distant memory. But the unfortunate reality remains so – slavery still exists in different parts of our modern world.

But in this day and age, that idea of slavery has become known in today’s terms as human trafficking.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is a crime that involves an act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harboring or receiving a person through a use of force, coercion or other means, for the purpose of exploiting them.

Human trafficking has three elements which include 1) the act and what is done, 2) the means and how it is done, and 3) the purpose and why it is done.

The act involves recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or the receipt of persons. The means may include threat or use of force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, or giving payments or benefits to a person in control of the victim. The purpose includes exploiting the prostitution of others, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or similar practices and the removal of organs.

Fortunately this unfair treatment has been met by people willing to help victims whose rights have been taken away. Many organizations today exist to combat the inequality being done to many of these women, men and children both locally and nationally.

The Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST) is  an organization that assists persons trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and slavery-like practices and to work toward ending all instances of such human rights violations.

CAST Los Angeles seeks to empower survivors of trafficking to reach their individual potential while advancing the human rights of all trafficked survivors. The survivor stories, which are the heart of CAST’s mission, are true life accounts meant to give real examples of the realities of slavery and trafficking.

This organization provides advocacy and coalition building that engages survivors in policies and initiatives to address trafficking issues. They also provide to clients with social services, legal services, shelter and a healing garden. In addition, they provide outreach and training to advocate about this issue.

CAST Los Angeles was established in 1998 in the wake of the El Monte sweatshop case where 72 Thai garment workers were kept for eight years in slavery and debt bondage.

They continue to advocate for human rights and are active in the community.

Published in: on September 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm  Comments (1)  
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Cinco de Mayo and The Dream Act

Since Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner, I felt that it was necessary to some information relating to it.  In a recent article in the Huffington Post, they demonstrate how Cinco de Mayo has become merely a celebration made to profit off of rather than to understand the true meaning behind it. The article states that although Cinco dey Mayo is a day of Independence for Mexico, it is hardly marked as that in Mexico except in Puebla. Cinco de Mayo “commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla between the victorious ragtag army of largely Mexican Indian soldiers against the invading French forces of Napoleon III.”  It was during the Chicano Movement when Mexican Americans adopted the holiday for its David vs. Goliath storyline.

In a recent speech by President Barack Obama, he addresses that he is proud of the Latino community for their pride in their heritage and independence.  Due to his ongoing involvement in The Dream Act, Obama is going through many decisions regarding the issue and is also known as the only candidate fighting for the middle class. Obama is telling the Latino community that he is ready to sign a bill that would allow illegal immigrant students a path to citizenship. He spoke at a Cinco de Mayo reception in the Rose Garden and blamed the failure of it to some republicans but is urging he will make change. We will just have to wait and see what happens.

Published in: on May 5, 2012 at 6:45 am  Comments (1)  

Class Valedictorian Faces Deportation

I watched this video about a Colombian female that is facing deportation. This is a very recent story and I thought that it was important to share because there is a petition going around to keep her in the U.S.  Daniela Palaez is an 18-year-old student at North Miami Senior High and a valedictorian. However, her and her sister are facing deportation because they came to the U.S. illegally when they were just four years old.  Although U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement already indicated that it has no plans to kick Daniela out of the country, she still is facing challenges to get into top Ivy League colleges that she was accepted to due to the issue.  Over 2,600 students and teachers protested for her along with forming a petition on to keep her in the states. Palaez hopes to be a heart surgeon but with the battles she may face, her dream may be put to a hold. Everyone has a right to have their dreams come true especially if she has been maintaining strong grades throughout her high school years.  Although she came to the country illegally, her rights should not be taken away from her so suddenly.  I hope that everything gets settled in a fair and  constitutional way and Palaez can continue her education and be the person she wants to become.

Published in: on May 5, 2012 at 5:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Human Rights Groups Cites Violation on U.S. Mexican Border

A recent article just came out concerning a study that focused Latino residents of Arizona and Texas. Amnesty International said that, “communities living along the border — particularly Latinos and individuals perceived to be of Latino origin, and indigenous communities — are disproportionately affected by a range of immigration control measures, resulting in a pattern of human rights violations.”These Latinos are experiencing a major human rights violation due to the U.S. immigration policies. I believe that the federal and state laws are indeed being disrespectful to the rights of the immigrants. U.S. citizens of Latino descent are being subject to discrimination due to the federal, state and local police performing profiling. This is in fact a major human rights violation because they are being unreasonably targeted for police stops and searches.  I completely agree with Amnesty’s statement on the report, “”All immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, have human rights. Amnesty International’s report shows that the USA is failing in its obligations under international law to ensure these rights.”However, U.S. officials disregarded the report stating that a suspension and federal review of all immigration enforcement programs would occur. This story was one that really concerned me because there it demonstrates that there are still many human rights issues affecting Latinos.  Racial profiling risks a high amount of discrimination, and there needs to be some sort of control over it.

Published in: on May 4, 2012 at 6:48 am  Comments (1)  

Latinos Accept Gay Marriage Rights

An article on The Huffington Post discussed a new study that a large number of Latinos support homosexuality. I was intrigued that there are many supporters in the Latino community because they are among the minorities and since homosexuality is a large controversy it is good that a minority group is supportive.  “59 percent of U.S. Latinos say homosexuality should be accepted by society. Second generation Hispanics go further, with 68 percent of those surveyed saying the same.”  I like the face that slowly these issues that were so taboo at a point are becoming accepted through all different cultures.

In our society, acceptance is the best way to bring about change in the community.  Everyone deserves their human rights and to express and be themselves without any issues. Characters such as Naya Rivera on Glee is one of the first Latino gay characters that is featured in a hit sitcom worldwide and soon there will be more to come.  This type of representation can allow viewers to learn vicariously and understand the sensitivity of the issue.  Upon the arrival of Naya Rivera’s lesbian character on Glee, there have been many more Latinos that have openly come out in their community. I am glad to see that the ideal for society is catching up to our time and representing the people of our generation.

Published in: on May 4, 2012 at 5:32 am  Leave a Comment  

Rubio appeals Latino Votes for Romney

An article on the LA Times talks about how Mitt Romney’s appearance with Marco Rubio and this has interested more Latinos. The appearance by Rubio resulted in many cheers and applauds by the audience. A key concern for many Latino voters is the immigration topic, and Romney approached the issue that immigrants could be “a model” for the nation. Both Rubio and Romney work closely with the Dream Act and the issue of immigration is raising a lot of interest and potential votes from the Latino community. It is a known fact that Republicans have been consistently losing ground to Democrats among Latinos. The Fox poll was interesting regarding the votes and that 70% of Latino voters were with Obama and only 14% supported Romney. It is said that most of the Latinos that voted for Obama in the last election will vote for him again. It is interesting to me that political parties will aim so high with the Latino communities to gain their votes yet at the end of the day, not much is done for them in the long run. I thought it was ironic that Romney said his father was born in Mexico. I just feel like most of this is all done to gain votes and gain attention.

Published in: on April 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment