Today is April 5th, National Day of Action Against Deportations. ASATA stands with the millions of individuals and organizations around the country who are calling for comprehensive, meaningful, and humane immigration reform, including an immediate halt on deportations.
Yesterday, ASATA members joined Gamaliel Foundation
members in an all-women’s delegation to Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office, in sisterhood with We Belong Together: Women for Commonsense Immigration Reform
. We met with Congressional Aide Jose Hernandez (pictured here), to demand that Rep. Lee push this issue through the House of Representatives. Mr. Hernandez, on behalf of Rep. Lee, accepted a dinner plate that read “11 million need a plate at the table.”, and pledged the Congresswoman’s support.
ASATA members joined East Bay hotel, restaurant and stadium workers on March 27, 2014 and marched for our jobs, our rights and OUR POWER! Hundreds of Oakland workers took to the streets to demand raising the minimum wage.
On March 4th, 2014, the Oakland’s city hall was crowded with people protesting the the city’s plans to build the Domain Awareness Center (DAC).
The DAC is a $10.9MM surveillance hub that would integrate data from public and private cameras, license plate readers, facebook and twitter feeds, and other sensors to spy on the people of Oakland.Studies have shown that video surveillance has no positive impact on crime. Conversely, history has shown that government surveillance has been used to systematically target and repress organizing by our communities in Oakland.
Hundreds of people participated in the public comment period during the Oakland City Council meeting where the decision to approve the DAC plan was being decided.
In the days leading up to that meeting, ASATA members shared resources about the issue and some participated at a training at the Lighthouse Mosque to prepare talking points when addressing the City Council.
Muslim communities know what a culture of surveillance means and know how it feels to be unfairly targeted. Before the City Council meeting started, a press conference took place on the steps of City Hall lead by members of the Lighthouse Mosque. ASATA member Nadia Hussain gave a speech about how surveillance does not make our communities safer. And as the sun began to set, everyone was invited to participate in evening prayers before going inside and facing the City Council.
The meeting continued late into the night as various Oakland residents, and community organizers voiced their opposition one by one. ASATA member Devika Ghai’s turn to speak came at 12:00am. When she said that as a Hindu, she would not stand by while our Muslim brothers and sisters were targeted, the entire courthouse erupted in cheers — shedding light on the need for more solidarity and work against Islamophobia within our diverse communities.
Check out the live tweets from that night
The final vote was made after 1am where the Council decided not to approve the Domain Awareness Center surveillance of the City of Oakland and instead limited the program to the Port only. This is a partial victory for the hard work folks have done organizing against this plan. But clearly, the work continues.
ASATA members attended a lecture at UC Berkeley on February 27, 2014: Manufacturing Choice - The media and Indian elections: A talk by Journalist Kalpana Sharma
Kalpana Sharma is a Bombay-based independent journalist, columnist and media consultant. She spoke to us about the way news media has changed in India over the last few decades. Her descriptions of media monopolies, and how TV news reduces complex issues into adversarial binaries — invisibilizing the voices of people truly impacted by political changes — is all too familiar for those of us who know Fox News and CNN in the U.S. There are no rules in India about cross-ownership of media
Business interests have completely captured media.
Sharma focused specifically on the role of journalists, the corruption of reporting outlets, and the manipulation of voters in India. She left us with an optimistic realization that many Indian voters are able to see through the inaccurate and skewed data being reported on TV.
The success of the Aam Aadmi party shows that people are fed up with corruption. The support for this “common man” party could be a direct response to the lack of transparency in governance. Regardless of how Aam Aadmi performs, their message is resonating and has led to renewed civic engagement.
ASATA has participated in petitions to hold Narendra Modi accountable for his role in the 2002 Riots and to deny his visa for visiting the U.S. India’s mainstream media has named Modi as the likely winner of the upcoming elections. As we all continue to follow the news coming from India, it is helpful to have the context and analysis of a journalist like Sharma.
The event was live tweeted by the Center for South Asian Studies at Berkeley.
ASATA members with Journalist Kalpana Sharma.
ASATA’s sponsored project the Totally Radical Muslims Zine was featured in the East Bay Express. Check it out!
Devika, Nadia, Vin, Sabiha and Preeti at the AACRE retreat, January 2014
On January 25, 2014, six ASATA members attended the Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE) retreat.
The day-long retreat was an opportunity for all the AACRE member organizations to hear updates on each others’ work, talk about what we are as a network together, and hear some advice/lessons learned from other organizers who have done coalition building work.
ASATA members participated in a conversation on feminism, solidarity, Asian American identity, intergenerational activism (with a shoutout to BASS), and more — and as a bonus you get to see /hear from our very own Taz Ahmed!
You can watch the video here: http://notyourasiansidekick.com/