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Posts Tagged ‘immigration’
February 7, 2014 3

Challenging Anti-Immigrant Bias with Education

Crit­i­cism of immi­grant pol­icy is not an excuse to under­mine the human­ity of oth­ers with the kind of vit­riol that dom­i­nated the inter­net, espe­cially Twit­ter, after the Atlanta-based Coca Cola Com­pany aired a com­mer­cial with “Amer­ica the Beau­ti­ful,” sung in dif­fer­ent lan­guages and fea­tur­ing a diver­sity of peo­ple dur­ing the Super Bowl.

The term immi­grant is a descrip­tor, not a slur. How­ever, it is often used in a pejo­ra­tive way. For those who are will­ing to den­i­grate oth­ers because of immi­gra­tion sta­tus, per­ceived immi­gra­tion sta­tus, or the mis­guided per­cep­tion that spo­ken lan­guage relates to immi­gra­tion sta­tus, we need to make one thing clear. Bias and hate have no place in civil society.

Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy reminded us in his 1963 accep­tance speech for ADL’s America’s Demo­c­ra­tic Legacy Award, “The con­tri­bu­tion of immi­grants can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in reli­gion, in pol­i­tics, in busi­ness, in the arts, in edu­ca­tion, and even in ath­let­ics, and enter­tain­ment. There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immi­grant background.”

Prej­u­dice is learned and counter speech is an impor­tant part of chal­leng­ing prej­u­dice and bias wher­ever we see it, includ­ing online and in our every­day lives.

Every­one can engage in counter speech by respond­ing when they see bias and chal­leng­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion. Unfor­tu­nately, instances of racism and xeno­pho­bia related to the topic of immi­gra­tion are com­mon. In addi­tion, edu­ca­tors can play a unique role in address­ing bias in soci­ety by using the class­room to chal­lenge biased ideals, and in this case, chal­leng­ing anti-immigrant bias among youth. The les­son plan  “Hud­dled Mass or Sec­ond Class: Chal­leng­ing Anti-Immigrant Bias” for grades 3 to 12 can help edu­ca­tors move our nation closer to a more per­fect, less biased nation. Don’t have the time to do a full anti-bias les­son? Famil­iar­ize your­self with some myths and facts on immi­grants and immi­gra­tion.

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December 10, 2013 1

Promoting Human Rights on the 65th Anniversary of the Historic Universal Declaration of Human Rights

On Decem­ber 10, 1948, the United Nations Gen­eral Assem­bly adopted the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights (UDHR), the first ever global asser­tion that “all human beings are born with equal and inalien­able rights and fun­da­men­tal free­doms.” The world cel­e­brates annual Human Rights Day on Decem­ber 10th each year.  This Decem­ber, ADL hon­ors the UDHR’s 65th anniver­sary by con­tin­u­ing to fight for the rights enshrined in that momen­tous dec­la­ra­tion and by teach­ing new gen­er­a­tions of chil­dren to learn about the prin­ci­ples it reflects.

Eleanor Roosevelt holding the Human Rights Declaration

Human Rights Day has par­tic­u­lar mean­ing for ADL because anti-Semitism and the per­se­cu­tion of Jews was the touch­stone for the cre­ation of some of the foun­da­tional human rights instru­ments in the after­math of the Holo­caust.  ADL is com­mit­ted to edu­cat­ing youth about the lessons of the Holo­caust and how big­otry and exclu­sion can lead down a slip­pery slope toward unspeak­able atroc­i­ties, and our web site fea­tures a short list of books for chil­dren on the UDHR and how it relates to the rights of chil­dren globally.

ADL is engag­ing activists in pro­tect­ing the rights cham­pi­oned by this his­toric doc­u­ment whether it is by pro­tect­ing the right of all chil­dren to an edu­ca­tion, free­dom of reli­gion and belief for all, or free­dom to asso­ciate and to seek asy­lum from per­se­cu­tion. This month, our pri­or­ity human rights issues have put the spot­light on:

Today, through our activism and rais­ing aware­ness, we honor the spirit of the mov­ing words of, one of the UDHR’s authors, Eleanor Roo­sevelt, who asked:

Where, after all, do uni­ver­sal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they can­not be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the indi­vid­ual per­son; the neigh­bor­hood he lives in; the school or col­lege he attends; the fac­tory, farm or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal jus­tice, equal oppor­tu­nity, equal dig­nity with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion. Unless these rights have mean­ing there, they have lit­tle mean­ing any­where. With­out con­cerned cit­i­zen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.

 

– Eleanor Roo­sevelt, “In Our Hands” (1958 speech deliv­ered on the tenth anniver­sary of the Uni­ver­sal Dec­la­ra­tion of Human Rights)

 

 

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August 14, 2013 11

Georgia Police Chief To Join Extremists At Anti-Immigration Protest

Lewis Smith, the chief of police of Uvalda, a small town in the state of Geor­gia (pop­u­la­tion around 600), has announced his inten­tion to join an anti-immigration protest orga­nized by white suprema­cists and neo-Confederate groups. 

michael-cushman-racist

Michael Cush­man

Smith indi­cated he planned to attend the event, sched­uled for August 24 in Uvalda, on the Face­book page of the League of the South (LOS). LOS is an implic­itly racist group that seeks to cre­ate a South pred­i­cated on “Anglo-Celtic” cul­tural dom­i­nance.  The orig­i­nal Face­book post­ing (which has since been mod­i­fied) stated that the orga­niz­ers of the event were Hunter Wal­lace (whose real name is Brad Grif­fin), a white suprema­cist who runs “Occi­den­tal Dis­sent” and Michael Cush­man, who runs “South­ern Nation­al­ist Net­work.” “Occi­den­tal Dis­sent” is a racist blog that focuses on the South and “South­ern Nation­al­ist Net­work” is a neo-Confederate blog that focuses on “South­ern identity.”

Oth­ers announc­ing they would attend the event include Matthew Heim­bach, a white suprema­cist leader with the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work, and Kyle Rogers, a key player in the white suprema­cist Coun­cil of Con­ser­v­a­tive Cit­i­zens. Michael Hill, the pres­i­dent of the League of the South, will also attend the event, along with other LOS mem­bers. The protest will pur­port­edly focus on the claim that “immi­gra­tion is destroy­ing our South­ern Culture.”

Immi­gra­tion has recently played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the pol­i­tics of tiny Uvalda. The mayor, Paul Bridges, has been very vocal in his oppo­si­tion to HB87, Georgia’s harsh anti-immigration law passed in 2011. Bridges joined a 2011 law­suit chal­leng­ing the law, filed by the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union and the South­ern Poverty Law Center.

Since 2011, Bridges and Smith have been involved in a series of dis­putes. Some of the dis­agree­ments between the two seem to have stemmed from issues related to immi­grants liv­ing in the town.

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