Gay marriage approved…but is the fight over?

Last Thursday I got a text message saying that same-sex couples are
now legally allowed to get married. I was really happy when I read that.
I called my Mom and my sister and told them, and they were happy too.
I think it’s safe to say that most gay and lesbian people
are incredibly happy, but I’m curious as to how many people are
actually a bit afraid about what this incredible event could bring to our
community.

    I didn’t even think about it until I read this line in an article
 from Indystar.com which read, "…this week's California Supreme Court 
ruling shows that laws alone banning such
 unions are not enough.”It only reinforces what we've been saying all
 along,”  Rep. P. Eric Turner, R-Marion, said of the decision. 
"We need a constitutional amendment."”.

 Banning such unions are not enough? Are you serious? Is it just me 
or does that sound kindof scary? Here’s what I’m
 thinking, people tried hard to keep us from getting married, and 
in my mind and I’m sure other peoples’, we didn’t think it would 
happen this fast, especially since a
majority of California’s votes were against it,
 but now that it has  happened, and against most of the peoples’ votes,
 what are they going to do? 

 I really don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about my opinion and 
hopes. I believe that any human being on this planet
 deserves the same rights as anyone else. Screw anyone who thinks differently.
 Why should I fight harder to give my future lady the kind of protection
 and support she needs when I die? Why can’t I give our future kids all
 the benefits my family should receive? We all live here, we are all
 human, and we all pay our damn taxes, why shouldn’t I get the same treatment
 and protection as a straight woman or man? 

 But see, here’s the thing, I’ve seen the ugly side. And I can’t help but 
feel like it can only get uglier. In my  opinion,
 the fight is only getting hotter, and I feel like it’s burning on the
 wrong end. The opposing people who feel strongly about this, will only
 make their voice louder, and i fear as a result there will be more violence 
towards out community. But that’s only my opinion. Am I being too negative 
thinking that this is bittersweet? I don’t know, I guess we’ll just have to see.

 But on a brighter note, Dude, I can get married!

At the Immigrant Rights Rally… A Call to End the War in Iraq as well

BY ARACELI ROMERO

May 1st was a pretty intense day for everyone who went to the march and supporting immigrants. It was a day where thousands supported immigrant rights. A variety of people from all over the world decided to go and protest, not just only for their rights but also how they want to end the war in Iraq. Everybody supported each other and stood up for what they want and can make a big difference that might benefit everyone. There were many ways that people demonstrated themselves that they‘re strong and if they keep on doing protest or marching there can be a hope that everyone can have the right to work, education, and even ending the war in Iraq.

A variety of people came out and expressed themselves by showing posters demonstrating “LEGALIZE LA” and “End The War in Iraq.” This states that immigrants aren’t just fighting for immigration rights, and education but also for ending the War in Iraq. The message was really clear that immigrants want some type of immigration reform, as well as peace in other countries. The importance is to get the message out. The good news about the rallies what was that everything was peaceful.

[PHOTO: Youth Radio L.A. reporter Araceli Romero interviews a May Day participant.]

Behind the scenes at YRLA: Reporters Call In with Their Observations of the May Day March

Yesterday’s coverage of the May Day march in L.A. was an exciting day at YRLA, as we experimented with a new way for our reporters in the field to file their stories with producers.

Using a combination of Skype (a software technology called “Voice-over-IP” (VoIP) that lets you make phone calls for free over the internet) and a program called “Call Recorder” (the name tells all), our reporters in the field were able to connect reliably to producers in the studio. Even sound quality was reasonably good considering reporters were using cellphones in very noisy areas.

You can judge the effectiveness of this tech set-up for yourself by listening to some call-ins from two of our YRLA reporters, Noel Ramon and Ohim Sheeme.

[My name is Noel Ramon, and I’m reporting for Youth Radio. I’m at the intersection of Broadway and 1st, alongside thousands of immigrant reform supporters.  I have interviewed several excited people who hope that the immigrant dream comes true–everyone from students to migrant workers who all hope for a just immigration reform that supports all immigrants in this country.] (Translation: Luis Sierra)

YRLA Reporter Noel Ramon interviews a May Day march participant

[Photo: Luis Sierra]

The L.A.P.D. on May Day – Trying to Change a Negative Image

By Producer Clare Robbins

Present at yesterday’s May Day demonstration was the bad after taste of the Los Angeles Police Department’s aggressive tactics the year prior in Mac Arthur Park. In conversation, many wondered if we would see a sequel to the dramatic melee that prompted a nearly year long investigation into the police department’s actions.

This year however, the mood was considerably different between police and protesters. Officers rolled around in golf-cart type vehicles with an electronic banner above saying “Welcome to the march. Bienvenidos a la marcha.” Periodically, an officer would encourage safety over a loud speaker, and officers were accessible and chatty with passers-by.

[Image Above: Roving police carts displayed electronic messages that said “Welcome to the March,” “Please move to the side of the street,” when protestors waited for the main marches to converge, and “Please follow Instructions.”]

Youth Radio reporter Araceli Romero spoke with Officer Galbraithe, who said that the overall police outlook for the day was optimistic. He said he was there to support participants right to exercise their first amendment right, and act on a moment’s notice to respond to any issues that could arise. When asked about his personal opinions on the day’s meaning, he responded that he “tries to keep it simple. I try not to get too complicated with things.”

Some wondered if this “Officer Friendly” approach by police officers curbed a feeling of spontaneity and dissent at the May Day demonstrations. While some protest organizers commended the L.A.P.D. for their approach, the marches seemed in some ways micro-managed by the police.

Continue reading ‘The L.A.P.D. on May Day – Trying to Change a Negative Image’

From Downtown Los Angeles on May Day 2008

3:39pm, dowtown Los Angeles, California

Our reporters are out joining the May 1st marches in solidarity with immigrant workers and calling for immigration reform, happening in Downtown L.A. right now. Helicopters are swooping over 5th and Broadway where three marches are converging. Out producer on the ground there says LAPD police security is high, but that the cops look confused. Maybe it has to do with LAPD’s reformed approach to dealing with marchers and protesters, as KPCC reporter Frank Stoltz outlines in his story today on the anniversary of the May Day Melee.

We’ve assigned our Youth Radio reporters to talk to police officers about how they feel presiding over the marches this year after the violence they perpetrated against reporters and peaceful marchers last year. We also are interested in how many police officers have friends and family who are immigrants from otehr countries, and what they have to say about their position on issues of status and reform.

According to Youth Radio producer Clare Robbins, some three thousand American Apparel employees are marching at Pershing Square near the Los Angeles Public Library where police are running in circles and looking generally confused about what their next move should be.

But lest we lose perspective while we are following events on the ground, here is a radio-juventud-interview about immigrants’ rights and public education from Radio Juventud’s Araceli Romero and Jacquelin Guzman, both of whom are undocumented students in Los Angeles.

Tomorrow is May 1st

[image above: May Day marches in Los Angeles in 2006]

April 30th, 2008.

People are planning to mobilize in Los Angeles in recognition of workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, and in solidarity with those who make global consumer culture and economy churn everyday. Los Angeles May Day has taken on the character of justice and support for Immigrant’s rights.

As we prepare for the May Day marches, many of us are remembering a peaceful event that that was spoiled by police hostilities and physical violence last year in MacArthur Park. Adolfo Guzmán-Lopéz of public radio station KPCC, 89.3FM was on the scene as his fellow reporter Patricia Nazario was among those who suffered at the hands of the LAPD…

“Officers hit a television cameraman on the ground and threw his camera. KPCC’s Patricia Nazario sustained injuries to her hand, ribs, and ankles from a police baton shortly after she filed the live report from the rally. All the journalists were treated at hospitals and released…Chief Bratton said L.A.P.D. officers asked protest organizers to help clear MacArthur Park.”

We can expect that the LAPD will be more careful this time around. Our own Luis Sierra was at the MacArthur Park protest last year when the police began to corral and assault marchers and journalists. In this story that he filed for Radio Juventud en español, luis-habla-del-lapd and for local station KCRW in English, luis-on-lapd Luis laments that the meaning of the marches was lost in the outrage over the violence.

Cuts in California Education Budget Block Road to College for Students, K-12 & Beyond

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An article yesterday in Education Week reported that the proposed cuts in the California education budget will affect both K-12 and college students in terms of not only concrete resources, but access:

With some states needing to slash billions of dollars from their budgets this fiscal year—and fiscal 2009 not looking much brighter—K-12 isn’t the only area of education targeted for spending cuts.
Higher education, which also accounts for a large percentage of discretionary spending in state budgets, is feeling the effects of the slow revenue growth, too. Consequently, tuition and fees at public colleges and universities are likely to continue going up, and state scholarship programs might get more competitive. All this is worrisome news for high school students, their parents, and school counselors.

Questions for discussion:

  • Do the proposed budget cuts to education block your path to applying to/transferring to/finishing college? Why or why not?
  • Can you already see the effects of the budget cuts in your high school, college, or university? If so, describe what you observe. If you don’t sense any changes yet, which resources do you think will be affected first? Why?

Leave comments below.



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