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April 5, 2016 1

Anti-Immigrant Ideologue Michelle Dallacroce Calls It Quits

In an April 4th press release, vir­u­lently anti-immigrant activist Michelle Dal­lacroce has claimed that she will no longer be pub­licly active “in the polit­i­cal arena of ille­gal immi­gra­tion” and is per­ma­nently shut­ting down two anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tions she founded in Arizona.

Dal­lacroce stated in her release that oth­ers within the anti-immigrant move­ment sab­o­taged her and tried to “destroy the rep­u­ta­tion” of one of her groups, the National Orga­ni­za­tion for Vic­tims of Ille­gal Alien Crime (NOVIAC), and this was why she was leaving.

Michelle Dallacroce twitter

Michelle Dal­lacroce

How­ever, Dallacroce’s rea­son for call­ing it quits may have more to do with how she tried but failed to upstage another anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion that cov­ered the same ground as NOVIAC. In other words, she may have lost an anti-immigrant group turf war.

Dal­lacroce founded NOVIAC in Feb­ru­ary 2016. Pre­vi­ously, she was the founder and head of the so-called Moth­ers Against Ille­gal Aliens (MAIA). Her new anti-immigrant orga­ni­za­tion, NOVIAC, was actu­ally quite sim­i­lar in nature to a rival anti-immigrant group, The Remem­brance Project, founded by Maria Espinoza in 2009. Espinoza’s orga­ni­za­tion attracted pub­lic­ity to the anti-immigration move­ment by pro­mot­ing pro­pa­ganda about crime vic­tims allegedly killed by undoc­u­mented immi­grants. The Remem­brance Project also gained national atten­tion when pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump invited mem­bers of the group onstage at one of his cam­paign ral­lies in Novem­ber 2015. The Remem­brance Project sub­se­quently helped Trump stage meet­ings with the fam­i­lies of vic­tims whose assailants were undoc­u­mented immigrants.

Dal­lacroce seemed to eye her rival’s Trump con­nec­tion envi­ously. As part of her effort to pro­mote NOVIAC, Dal­lacroce report­edly sent a set of doc­u­ments via email, snail mail and through a rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the Trump cam­paign out­lin­ing the goals of the orga­ni­za­tion. In one doc­u­ment, dubbed the “NOVIAC Pro­posal,” she urged the Trump cam­paign to take three steps: assign an ille­gal immi­gra­tion spokesper­son for the cam­paign; cre­ate a per­ma­nent orga­ni­za­tion called the National Orga­ni­za­tion for Vic­tims of Ille­gal Alien Crime; and develop and imple­ment a NOVIAC web­site. The packet also included a let­ter to Trump encour­ag­ing him to con­sider the pro­posal and a let­ter addressed to “all Vic­tims of Ille­gal Alien Crime” encour­ag­ing them to endorse the project as well.

Though Dal­lacroce gave credit to The Remem­brance Project for keep­ing “vic­tim family’s sto­ries” alive, she asserted that “these vic­tims’ sto­ries are too impor­tant to the fab­ric of Amer­ica to be left to grass­roots orga­ni­za­tions.” She added that NOVIAC would “legit­imize these fam­i­lies on a NATIONAL LEVEL [empha­sis in orig­i­nal] to com­pete with other nation­ally rec­og­nized victim’s organizations.”

Appar­ently, Maria Espinoza did not appre­ci­ate Dallacroce’s attempt to encroach on her orga­ni­za­tion. Accord­ing to Dal­lacroce in a Face­book post that was sub­se­quently removed, she and her sup­port­ers were blocked from The Remem­brance Project’s Face­book page in mid-March after Dal­lacroce left a com­ment and a link on the Col­orado Remem­brance Project’s Face­book page adver­tis­ing NOVIAC (how­ever, the link does not seem to have been removed). In the since-deleted Face­book post­ing, Dal­lacroce alleged that Espinoza had full knowl­edge of her “NOVIAC pro­posal” to the Trump cam­paign but that Espinoza refused to par­tic­i­pate and would “rather block, obstruct and deny access,” than work together.

In her press release about call­ing it quits, Dal­lacroce asserted that today’s anti-immigration move­ment is filled with “lies, decep­tion and manip­u­la­tion” that did not exist when she cre­ated MAIA in 2006. With­out nam­ing The Remem­brance Project, she accused other peo­ple and orga­ni­za­tions of “steal­ing the intel­lec­tual prop­erty and ideas from our orga­ni­za­tion, in order to sab­o­tage my good name and to destroy the rep­u­ta­tion of the newly found [sic] orga­ni­za­tion NOVIAC.”

In real­ity, it appears that Dal­lacroce is bow­ing out of the anti-immigrant movement—at least for now—because she did not receive the sup­port she expected for NOVIAC. While it is unclear what Dal­lacroce will do next, she and Espinoza do share a com­mon thread. While their orga­ni­za­tions claim to stand up for the vic­tims of crimes, they actu­ally serve to demo­nize immi­grants and pro­vide a plat­form for bigotry.

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March 28, 2016 0

Lawsuit to Be Filed Challenging Broadest Anti-LGBT Law in the Nation

By David Barkey, Reli­gious Free­dom Counsel

 

Under the false and offen­sive pre­text of safety in bath­rooms, North Car­olina last week enacted the broad­est anti-LGBT law in the nation.  Adopted in a reck­less and inequitable man­ner, the new law not only sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple, but under­mines the rights of vir­tu­ally all North Car­olini­ans.  Yes­ter­day, ACLU, Lamda Legal and Equal­ity North Car­olina announced that they will be fil­ing a fed­eral law­suit chal­leng­ing the statute.

In Feb­ru­ary 2016, the City of Char­lotte, NC added pro­tec­tions for the cat­e­gories of gen­der iden­tity and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion to its Non-Discrimination Ordi­nance.  In response, the State Leg­is­la­ture called a spe­cial ses­sion, cus­tom­ar­ily reserved for bud­get, nat­ural dis­as­ter or redis­trict­ing emer­gen­cies, to over­turn the amended Ordinance.

Flag_of_North_Carolina.svgWithin twenty-four hours, the leg­is­la­ture — with­out pub­lic hear­ings or input — hastily enacted sweep­ing leg­is­la­tion (House Bill 2) and the Gov­er­nor signed it into law.  It pro­hibits trans­gen­der peo­ple from using restrooms or chang­ing facil­i­ties in accor­dance with their gen­der iden­tity, which iron­i­cally will require trans­gen­der men to use women’s facil­i­ties. But the law did not stop there.

It pro­hibits local gov­ern­ment from adopt­ing any anti-discrimination pro­tec­tions for LGBT peo­ple.  Fur­ther­more, the law pro­hibits any North Car­olin­ian from fil­ing an anti-discrimination law­suit in state court, includ­ing a reli­gious dis­crim­i­na­tion claim.  It also bars local gov­ern­ments from rais­ing the min­i­mum wage or requir­ing con­trac­tors to pay a pre­vail­ing wage or to pro­vide ben­e­fits such as sick leave.

House Bill 2, and the process by which it was adopted, are dis­grace­ful.  The law con­veys the clear mes­sage that the major­ity of North Carolina’s state gov­ern­ment sanc­tions dis­crim­i­na­tion against LGBT peo­ple.  Undoubt­edly it will dam­age the State’s econ­omy, result in costly lit­i­ga­tion, and jeop­ar­dize fed­eral fund­ing for North Car­olina.  We are con­fi­dent that the court hear­ing the law­suit chal­leng­ing House Bill 2 will strike down this appalling and uncon­sti­tu­tional law if the leg­is­la­ture does not recon­sider and repeal it first.

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March 22, 2016 3

Intended or Not, SJP’s Actions Have Consequences for LGBTQ People

By Seth M. Marnin, Vice Pres­i­dent for Civil Rights

Recent homo­pho­bic and anti-Semitic inci­dents at Brown Uni­ver­sity came on the heels of the announce­ment that Janet Mock, trans­gen­der author and founder of #Girl­s­LikeUs, a social media project that empow­ers trans women, had can­celled her sched­uled speak­ing engage­ment there. Mock’s talk, Redefin­ing Real­ness, was spon­sored by Moral Voices, the Brown Cen­ter for Stu­dents of Color, Sarah Doyle Women’s Cen­ter, LGBTQ Cen­ter, Sex­ual Assault Peer Edu­ca­tors, Swearer Cen­ter for Pub­lic Ser­vice, Office of the Chap­lains, the Rhode Island School of Design’s Office of Inter­cul­tural Stu­dent Engage­ment, and Brown/RISD Hillel.

React­ing to the fact that Hil­lel was one of the co-sponsors of pro­gram, the Brown Uni­ver­sity chap­ter of Stu­dents for Jus­tice in Pales­tine (SJP) launched a change.org peti­tion urg­ing Ms. Mock to reject Hillel’s invi­ta­tion to speak, say­ing that she should accept “Brown stu­dents’ spon­sor­ship instead of Hillel’s.”  Although they were only able to gain 159 sup­port­ers (of the nearly 9,000 stu­dents who attend Brown), SJP’s divi­sive efforts led to Ms. Mock can­celling her talk.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

While some may be quick to crit­i­cize Ms. Mock’s deci­sion, con­dem­na­tion should instead be lev­eled against SJP and their efforts to splin­ter a com­mu­nity and use Ms. Mock as a pawn. In their effort to link Hillel’s Moral Voices’ cam­paign — a largely domes­tic ini­tia­tive high­light­ing vio­lence against LGBT+ indi­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties — to vio­lence in the Mid­dle East, SJP forced a trans­gen­der woman of color to choose between silenc­ing her­self or allow­ing her­self to be exploited for their unre­lated cru­sade.  She should never have been put in that position.

The homo­pho­bic and anti-Semitic graf­fiti that appeared on Brown’s cam­pus just days later occurred in an envi­ron­ment that SJP helped cre­ate. Their claim to be sur­prised is unper­sua­sive.   More­over, the graf­fiti is only one vis­i­ble sign of the con­se­quences of SJP’s actions. While SJP’s efforts to alien­ate Jew­ish stu­dents are well doc­u­mented, there are other impli­ca­tions too.

There are far too few vis­i­ble trans­gen­der role mod­els and lead­ers. Efforts that have the effect of quash­ing those scarce voices have far-reaching reper­cus­sions.  For exam­ple, stud­ies have shown that the sui­cide attempt rate among trans­gen­der men and women exceeds 41%, greatly sur­pass­ing the 4.6% of the over­all U.S. pop­u­la­tion who report a sui­cide attempt at some point in their lives. The ele­vated rates of sui­cide attempts are con­nected with sur­vivors’ expe­ri­ences of fam­ily rejec­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion and vio­lence at school and work. The absence of trans­gen­der voices in main­stream dis­course also plays a role. There few role mod­els for young trans­gen­der peo­ple, and fam­i­lies, co-workers, and friends of trans­gen­der peo­ple have lim­ited oppor­tu­ni­ties to hear from trans­gen­der lead­ers.  Such an expe­ri­ence would bet­ter equip them to be allies in the future. Unfor­tu­nately, SJP’s actions fore­closed that pos­si­bil­ity for the Brown Uni­ver­sity campus.

The impor­tance of pro­vid­ing plat­form for trans­gen­der voices is under­scored by the fact that, accord­ing to the National Coali­tion of Anti-Violence Pro­grams’ most recent report, vio­lence against trans­gen­der women and par­tic­u­larly trans­gen­der women of color remains at an alarm­ingly high rate. At present, only 17 states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia have hate crime laws that explic­itly cover gen­der iden­tity. Crit­i­cal efforts to address vio­lence against LGBTQ peo­ple, includ­ing advo­cacy for inclu­sive hate crime laws like the 50 States Against Hate cam­paign, are under­mined by orga­ni­za­tions that engage in activism that results in silenc­ing trans­gen­der voices. That too is what SJP did.

SJP encour­aged a speaker – wholly unre­lated to Israel — to reject an invi­ta­tion from a broad coali­tion of stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions solely because one of those orga­ni­za­tions is Jew­ish. Intended or not, SJP harmed the LGBTQ com­mu­nity at Brown and beyond.  It’s well beyond time to reject these divi­sive tactics.

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