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Archive for the ‘Human Rights’ Category

Join Homies Unidos on May Day March on May 1rst

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Sunday, May 1 · 10:00am – 5:00pm

Broadway and Olympic in Downtown Los Angeles

Full Legalization Now!!!
Stop Police/ICE Raids and their repressive technics !!!
No Guest Workers Program!!!
Worker Rights To Organize!!!

Homies Unidos Screening of “Fruits of War”

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Come and join Homies Unidos Saturday, April 23  6:00PM-11:00PM, as we speak about current struggles of our youth in Los Angeles and El Salvador. “Fruits of War” documents the life of four members of Homies Unidos as they embark on a journey of redemption and social justice and the struggles they face through deportation and criminalization.

Film screening starts at 7:PM sharp. Bring some food and drinks to share.
at Basswerks
5411 W. Adams (West of La Brea)
Los Angeles, CA 90016

If you cant make and would like to donate go to:
www.homiesunidos.org/donate

RSVP @ homiesunidos@homiesunidos.org or call 213-383-7484

Ceremony for our Friend Tim Smith

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

April 5, 2011.

We will be having a indigenous ceremony for our Friend Tim Smith at El Centro Cultural Techantit on Thursday April 7th  at 6:30 AM. You Are welcomed to come.

668 S. Bonnie Brae

Los Angeles, CA 90057

Phone:  (626) 500-3604

In Alley: Between Bonnie Brae and Burlington

On March 31, 2011 Homies Unidos lost a very special friend. His name is Tim Smith, an anthropologist of Urban Studies professor at Cal State Northridge.   He was 79 years young and had so much more to give to this world. Hi life has inspired many to continue his legacy.

Eva, Tim’s wife of over 25 years said about when they meet:

“Were compatible with each other, He showed love for humanity, arts and others was what attracted her to Tim.”

He expressed his caring through the art sculptures made of stone. They were done with such love and caring and this was what he felt with everyone he met. He was a traveler; he went to Paraguay, El Salvador Philippines, Africa, and his last trip to the Middle East, Turkey he almost did not make it. His body was already weakening. Eva mentioned that in the last two months of Tim’s life. Tim’s body had taken a toll and he expressed that he was ready to go. A noble thing to say by a man who was an adventure and to someone you love, from a man that was always in a road of discovery. This was his time to go and discover we will all go but never come back to tell anyone, what we all only imagine. Tim is on that journey now.

The love for humanity and people from all races was how to stumble on to Homies Unidos. His dedication for social change was what inspired me and young men and women to fight for what was right for us in our community. He stuck through the bad times when we became under attack by LAPD officers. He went to the police station and demanded answers. Officers did not understand why this older white man was demanding answers.

Tim was able to help me deal with the stereotypes I had of all white people. I for years distrusted people that were not my color. But this white man was the one who took me back to my roots when he was the first to invite me to participate in an indigenous ceremony. I had never participated nor had any clue of what a Sweat Lodge was. I was transformed after that experience. He taught me that there good people in all races and sometimes we are our own oppressors.

Today we celebrate Tim’s departure from our world to this new road of discovery he went on. Life is an adventure and Tim lived it as one.

Forever in our thoughts,

Alex Sanchez, Homies Unidos Board Members and the Homies…..

“Know Your Rights” Workshop

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Title Of Event:  Know Your Rights

Date Of Event: March 27, 2011

Location: MacArthur Park Recreation Center 2nd floor                                                                                     2230 W. 6th St Los Angeles, CA 90057
Contact: Juan Esparza 213-383-7484

Description:

We will be answering questions about what to do if stopped by Immigration or Law enforcement.

We will have attorneys providing FREE consultations. Please call if you would like to have a consultation.

We will provide childcare.

Questions that will be answered:

  • How can I protect myself from deportation?
  • How can I gain legal status?
  • Will I get deported if I am convicted of a crime?
  • I received a Notice to Appear from Immigration, what does that mean?

The program will take place on Sunday March 27 from 10AM-1:30PM at the MacArthur Park Recreation Center, food will be available.

A weekend of solidarity with the indigenous people of El Salvador…In San Francisco

Monday, January 10th, 2011

A weekend of solidarity with the indigenous people of El Salvador…

Fri, Jan 14 – Hip Hop Concert
Sat, Jan 15 – Indigenous Dancers, speakers, food and community award ceremony
Sun, Jan 16 – Mayan Ceremony

Details below:

FRIDAY – January 14, 2011

- HIP HOP POR LA PAZ -

8:00pm-12:00pm

@ Women’s Building

3543 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94110

$10 donation

Performing:

Reyes del Bajo Mundo – O.N.S. El Sonador – Amazon Blew – Geo Kiburym – Rap Squad – Santos – Inner City Dwellers Conflikto Armado – El Comandante Izalco – Wanako – Kingz & Marmota Fu – Browny Loco – Lirico Dios

Also included:

Alex Sanchez-Executive Director of Homies Unidos live via Skype, – Homies Unidos Callejeros Graff & Visual Art – Coperativa Cuscatlán via www.ustream.com

TV Channel/Cooperative Cuscatlán Radio Subersivar – Cinema Feliciano Ama – Question Everythink  – Tigres Y Violetas  – El Jorge

SATURDAY – January 15, 2011

- SPIRIT OF MEMORY –

14TH Annual Commemoration of La Matanza

2:00pm – 7:30pm

@ Women’s Building

3543 18th St., San Francisco, CA 94110

$6 donation

After the tragic events of La Matanza in 1932, an unknown number of Salvadoran indigenous people perished, estimated between 10,000 and 30,000 people.  As a result, native communities in El Salvador took their ceremonies and culture into hiding.  78 years after these events, communities have re-emerged and are being recognized officially by El Salvador’s government.  We gather our collective Spirit of Memory with our Bay Area community and utilize it to discuss traditional culture and bi-nationality through discussion, song, and ceremonies.

Program:

Opening Prayer – JR Leywa, Wailaki, Round Valley Indian Reservation – Lenca-Poton Passage Song – Guanajuato Purepucha Dancers – Lenca Emplumado DancersFilm: ‘Discovering Dominga’

Presentations:

  • Julio Leyva—Comite de Izalqueños
  • Dra. Concepcíon Saucedo-Martinez, Comisión De La Verdad 1932
  • Dra. Robin Maria DeLugan, Assistant Professor-Anthropology, UC Merced

Community Honorees:

  • Miguel “Gavilan” Molina – KPFA Radio “La Onda Bajita”
  • Lizbett Calleros – Central American Resource Center (CARECEN)
  • Tory Canby, Teacher & Artist
  • Alejandra Calderon – former Executive Director, HOMEY

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, January 16, 2011 (9am)

- Mayan ceremony -

Conducted By: Pascual Yaxon Saloj & Maya Caqchiquel

@ Pine Lake Park – Sloat Blvd & Vale Avenue, San Francisco (by Stern Grove)

Free

************************************************************************************************************

Happy Holidays

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Dear Friends,

As the New Year approaches I have reflected on the past 12 years since Homies Unidos first opened its office in Los Angeles with the dream of helping youth affected by war and gang violence.  We developed programs specifically for these youth hoping that they may find empowerment in positive action, the support to transition out of gangs and a platform to address and change the inhumane treatment of the immigrant community.

We have maintained our doors open to serve over 6,500 youth and their families from the Los Angeles Pico Union’s Central American community.  What, began as a dream has become a reality and today Homies Unidos stands as a nationally recognized organization at the forefront of gang violence prevention and intervention.

As we witnessed through this last election cycle, our immigrant communities have once again become the scapegoat and trigger point for political fear tactics and gangs have been framed as the scary poster child of this debate.  Over the past two years there has been a 23% increase in suppression in our immigrant community by ICE, FBI and local law enforcement agencies, leaving countless families separated from each other and children parentless.

With the assistance of your generosity, Homies Unidos has successfully developed exceptional programs to challenge the effects of this violence. The Epiphany Project, Libertad Con Dignidad and Family Wellness programs brings together youth and their parents, affected by gang violence or deportation, to advocate for their rights. Together we helped strengthen their ability communicate and improve their family relationship to over 130 family members this year.

“Homies Unidos has helped me change my life around and has giving me the opportunity to give back to other youth, I now volunteer in organizing the Art activities and outreaching to over 15 artist so far”, Said Juan Canizales, a former graduate of our Epiphany Project program.

We are convinced that through Epiphany Project classes we our helping to create a new generation of peacemakers committed to a building a better world. The process of those transitioning into a better life is not simple; after completing our 12 week program, graduates endure a minimum of 6-10 laser tattoo removal treatments to shed the last of their former lifestyles off their bodies.

In the past year, our ongoing programs have expanded and include a youth leadership and art program as an alternative to gang activity. We have developed these programs for inner-city youth and young adults as we also embark on a campaign to bring awareness of immigration and criminal justice issues affecting our community. Th e “Hip Hop for Peace” was launched on December 7, 2010 and will continue throughout 2011 with a series of events, bringing together local artist in music and art.

In these critical times, your support will greatly help in the success of our youth. Your ongoing support allows us to continue to provide our youth and their families with the skills and tools needed to overcome the obstacles they face in our community. As a non-profit organization, we rely on the generosity and compassion of our donors, like yourself, without whom we would not have the capacity to create peace in the schools, and keep families united in the community we serve. Please join us as a partner in making 2011 a better and more successful year for Homies Unidos.

Homies Unidos wishes you have a joyful holiday season,

Sincerely,                                                                                                                   Sincerely,

Alex Sanchez                                                                                                            Troy Garity                                                                              Executive Director                                                                                                Board Chair

Senators Introduce Comprehensive Reform Bill

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

In the Wake of DREAM Act, Senators Introduce Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill

Will obstructionists in Congress keep using immigration as a political piñata in the name of election politics, or put partisanship aside and fix our broken system?

Last night, Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2010 (SB 3932), a bill which takes a broad approach to fixing the wide range of problems plaguing our outdated immigration system. Earlier this month, Sen. Menendez threw his support behind the DREAM Act (which failed in a cloture vote 54-46) and vowed to introduce his own immigration bill in the Senate. While immigration advocates are calling the Menendez-Leahy bill a “step in the right direction,” many remain skeptical whether Congress can muster the political courage to pick up the bill and tackle immigration once and for all. The Menendez-Leahy bill is preceded by a House immigration bill, CIR ASAP (HR 4321), introduced by Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-TX) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) last year. READ MORE….

Judge Blocks Part of Arizona Immigrant Law

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

latimes.com/la-naw-arizona-immigration-072810,0,824360.story

SB1070 Injuction10-1413-87

latimes.com

Judge blocks parts of Arizona immigration law

From the Associated Press

10:25 AM PDT, July 28, 2010

PHOENIX

A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law from taking effect, delivering a last-minute victory to opponents of the crackdown.

The overall law will still take effect Thursday, but without the provisions that angered opponents — including sections that required officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws.

The judge also put on hold parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times, and made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton ruled that the controversial sections should be put on hold until the courts resolve the issues.

The ruling came just as police were making last-minute preparations to begin enforcement of the law at 12:01 a.m. Thursday and protesters were planning a large demonstrations to speak out against the measure. At least one group planned to block access to federal offices, daring officers to ask them their immigration status.

The volume of the protests will be likely be turned down a few notches because of the ruling by Bolton, a Clinton appointee who suddenly became a crucial figure in the immigration debate when she was assigned the seven lawsuits filed against the Arizona law.

Lawyers for the state contend the law was a constitutionally sound attempt by Arizona — the busiest illegal gateway into the country — to assist federal immigration agents and lessen border woes such as the heavy costs for educating, jailing and providing health care for illegal immigrants.

The opponents argued the law will lead to racial profiling, conflict with federal immigration law and distract local police from fighting more serious crimes. The U.S. Justice Department, civil rights groups and a Phoenix police officer had asked the judge for an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.

“There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new (law),” Bolton ruled. “By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a ‘distinct, unusual and extraordinary’ burden on legal resident aliens that only the federal government has the authority to impose.”

The law was signed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer in April and immediately revived the national debate on immigration, making it a hot-button issue in the midterm elections.

The law has inspired rallies in Arizona and elsewhere by advocates on both sides of the immigration debate. Some opponents have advocated a tourism boycott of Arizona.

It also led an unknown number of illegal immigrants to leave Arizona for other American states or their home countries.

Federal authorities who are trying to overturn the law have argued that letting the Arizona law stand would create a patchwork of immigration laws nationwide that would needlessly complicate the foreign relations of the United States. Federal lawyers said the law is disrupting U.S. relations with Mexico and other countries and would burden the agency that responds to immigration-status inquiries.

Brewer’s lawyers said Arizona shouldn’t have to suffer from America’s broken immigration system when it has 15,000 police officers who can arrest illegal immigrants.

Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times

Key Prosecution Witness Missing in Alex Sanchez Case

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Federal prosecutors soon will be forced to admit that their star witness in the gang conspiracy case against Alex Sanchez is a fugitive still on a crime spree somewhere in Central America.

July 14, 2010
According to prosecutors, the government’s cooperating witness, Juan Bonilla, a k a Zombie, gave statements to FBI and LAPD investigators in El Salvador implicating Alex Sanchez in the May 2006 shooting of Walter Lacinos, a k a

Cameron, in that gang-ridden country. The prosecution claims that Bonilla/Zombie participated in an incriminating wiretapped phone call with Sanchez and others one week before the shooting. The Sanchez defense has strongly argued that the government has the “wrong Zombie,” that it was another Juan Bonilla who took part in the phone call.

The case of the mistaken Zombie aside, now the Salvadoran papers El Mundo and El Diario de Hoy are reporting that the real Zombie is not only a fugitive but has lied to Salvadoran prosecutors about the killings in 2006.

” ‘Zombie’ is on the loose,” El Mundo reported on May 11. The detailed article describes how Zombie offered himself as a witness to the police in the murder of Cameron and others, including a well-known gang intervention worker known as Smoky, who was written up sympathetically by National Public Radio reporter Mandolit del Barco. Smoky, a former MS leader turned peacemaker, law student and father, was killed May 13, 2006. Cameron himself may have been implicated in the killing of Smoky, which would make Cameron’s own death two days later an act of retaliation.

According to the El Mundo account, Zombie told prosecutors that Cameron traveled from Los Angeles to El Salvador to assassinate Smoky. “The latter had come out of anonymity and had achieved fame after appearing in a documentary about gangs, and he belong to an organization to rehabilitate mara [gang] members.”

Zombie was finally arrested in 2006 after committing some twenty home robberies. In June 2008, he received special privileges for cooperating with Salvadoran and US authorities. After testifying against MS in exchange for leniency, Zombie escaped in April 2009 when prosecutors became suspicious of his tales. He disguised himself as a priest, a postal worker and even a prosecutor, the better to gain entry to the homes of the wealthy and later rob them. He also is blamed for several kidnappings, rapes and sexual batteries.

If the Salvadoran media accounts are accurate, Zombie has been a fugitive since before the June 2009 indictment of Alex Sanchez. Government prosecutors have never provided the court with the fact that their witness is missing.

Now, with Zombie’s credibility shattered, it is not clear if the prosecution wants to find him.

Where does this leave the prosecution? They could recognize their mistake and drop the case against Sanchez. But with so much invested in their claim that Sanchez is a “shot caller” leading a “double life,” a responsible retreat from their flawed case is unlikely.

But going forward with the prosecution contains seeds of embarrassment for the government as well. First, they will have to prosecute Sanchez with their central witness a discredited fugitive, and with strong evidence that the Zombie on the wiretaps is not the Zombie the government claims. Second, the other accusation against Sanchez is strikingly similar in its emptiness. He is charged in a gang racketeering conspiracy that took place over a fourteen-year period beginning when he left the gang in the ’90s and concluding in May of last year. Though the government indictment alleges over 150 specific overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy against twenty-four defendants, the majority for selling drugs to government informants, there are no overt acts attributed to Sanchez beyond the disputed wiretaps.

This conspiracy case, then, is about RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a 1970 law that makes prosecution possible on the basis of guilt-by-association. The acronym RICO derives from Edward G. Robinson’s gangster hero, Little Caesar, in the 1930 movie of the same name. In the most famous scene, Robinson goes down after shouting, “Caesar Enrico Bandello, this is Rico speaking. Rico! R-I-C-O! Little Caesar, that’s who! Listen, you crummy flat-footed copper, I’ll show you whether I’ve lost my nerve and my brains!” Released during the 1950s McCarthy period after decades of suppression, the film became a favorite of prosecutors and gang-bangers alike.

The RICO law makes it a crime to “associate” with any “enterprise” through a “pattern” of racketeering activity. The assumption is that street gangs like MS are identical to vertically organized crime structures. There is a presumed board of directors, known as “shot callers,” who are an organized conspiracy responsible for every specific crime committed anywhere by any of the gang’s individual members.

Alex Sanchez left the gang life behind at approximately the time that the present investigation began fifteen years ago. Subsequently, he founded Homies Unidos in Los Angeles, a gang intervention agency that works with young people, including gang members, to prevent violence and open up alternative opportunities. As an intervention worker, his task involves numerous conversations and phone calls with members of street gangs. In 1999, he helped expose the LAPD’s Rampart scandal in which hundreds of young people were subjected to false charges, beaten, jailed and deported, violations that led to federal intervention. Since becoming an intervention worker, Sanchez also has testified as an expert witness in at least eleven federal and state gang conspiracy cases, in which six defendants were found not guilty. One of the government experts he has testified against is LAPD officer Frank Flores, a former Rampart beat detective who, nearly fifteen years later, is the prosecutor’s expert witness against Sanchez in court today. It is fair to say that Sanchez poses a challenge to the prosecution mentality driving the war on gangs.

It is helpful to Sanchez that the prosecution lacks any specific evidence against him, a fact which led to his release on bail six months ago. But under RICO law, often referred to as an Alice in Wonderland statue by defense attorneys, that is beside the point. Prosecutors will try to prove that Sanchez, against all present evidence, is a secret shot caller leading a double life. As their case crumbles, they can be expected to compile a new one.

About the Author

Tom Hayden
Senator Tom Hayden, the Nation Institute’s Carey McWilliams Fellow, has played an active role in American politics and…

One Year Anniversary since the Infamous Arrest of Alex Sanchez

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

June 24, 2010

I was reminded last night of the psychological trauma that children go through when they witness their parents torn apart from them either through violence or incarceration. I spoke with a 15 year old young man who had been a witness to both parents getting arrested by the FBI two and a half years ago. He was mad at the world at how his life had suddenly come to a halt and was flipped over that morning when he saw both of them being dragged away in handcuffs. This young man was trying to deal with his trauma and no one was there to help him through his ordeal, he elected seek help from what was in his neighborhood for a quick fix of his problems.
He joined a gang, got a tattoo and now that his parents were released from prison it has become so hard for him and his family to be what they once were. I looked at him and asked him why was he angry. His answered that he felt his father was disappointed with what he has turn out to be. His eyes started to get watery and said that he wants to change, that he doesn’t want to be in gangs anymore. All he wants is to be understood and so do his parents who are going through the stigma of now being called ex-felons.
It is important for all of us to take extra consideration of those children who have been affected with the trauma when Immigration comes braking the doors of their homes and tear apart parents from U.S. citizen children and housing them in detention centers until they are deported, when law enforcement comes charging into communities arresting individuals putting people in prisons under the three strikes law and many other inhumane laws that continue funneling the parents of U.S. citizen children into warehouses they call rehabilitation centers. They can call them Department of rehabilitation, detention centers it is still a prison. They tear up families. What happens to the children, not only those who are citizens but those who did not have a choice and are now called an immigrant?
This young man reminded me of what my children went through this day one year ago. I was awakened by LAPD, Sheriffs, and FBI officers at six in the morning at my home in Bellflower as part of an FBI Gang Taskforce sweep throughout Los Angeles. In front of my six year old daughter Melissa, my 14 year old son Alex and 13 year old Marlon, while my wife Delia was taking a shower getting ready to head to work. I was taken in shackles after I walk out from my apartment and turn myself over to over 20 armed officers with M16 that they were pointing at me while my children watched, after they had awaken all my neighbors with their screaming ordering for me to turn myself over to them. It was a day I will never forget, neither will my children who I have spoken with them about it, but they don’t really want to have to remind themselves of it and live through it again in their minds. They, unlike this young man that I spoke to last night had a support system, a community that came to heal them through this ordeal, my family, my extended family, all my friends that have stood next to me in the work I do for Homies Unidos, youth whom I helped leave the gang life, they all came together for my children. Forever I will be indebted to all of you and today I invite you to recommit yourselves to do the same for other young men and women who everyday turn to negativity because we are not there for them.
Peace,
Alex Sanchez