Archive for March, 2010

MIRAc and Mujeres en Liderazgo are honored to be receiving this year’s NLG Social Justice Award! Please join us Saturday April 17th 2010 from 6pm and 10pm at William Mitchell College of Law.



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Washington D.C. — Prankster Robert Erickson incites tea baggers to shout: “COLUMBUS GO HOME!”, debates anti-immigrant zealot Roy Beck of Numbers USA and discovers undercover federal agents in a hilarious new video, which unveils his plan for Comprehensive European Reform.

“Hi I’m Robert Erickson, you may remember me from my speech at last November’s Tea Party Against Amnesty.  I strongly believe illegal immigrants are responsible for some of the worst crimes in history and because of that we need to remove them from the country by any means necessary.

If you study your past, you’ll know that European Immigrants are responsible for worst crimes in human history – we’re talking about genocide, slavery and bringing diseases like small pox which was responsible for the death of millions of Americans.”

Apparently, many of the tea baggers, as well as Roy Beck, President of anti-immigration hate group Numbers USA, are in agreement with Robert’s anti-colonial sentiments.

Robert tells the story of an illegal immigrant responsible for killing a number of Americans, and trying to claim sanctuary here.  He asks tea baggers to look into the camera and tell this criminal what they think of him… once they begin Robert slips in a small detail: “his name is Columbus”

Many protesters actually join Robert in shaming Columbus for the “murders and the land theft” and demand that he be “brought to justice, and sent home”. One by one they look into the camera and yell: “Columbus Go Home!”

Robert vs Roy – A clash of extremes

Robert even manages to score an exclusive interview with Roy Beck at the rally for immigration reform on Sunday, after one of his bodyguards was arrested for assaulting a mime that was part of a group following him around to prevent him from picking any fights with the protesters.

“Illegal European immigration is one of the worst things we have going in this country, ” Erickson tells Beck as the cameras roll. “It’s not a new problem. It’s been going on for hundreds of years.”

Indeed, Beck agrees, apparently without realizing the he’s the butt of the joke, “It helped finish off the Indians.”

When asked what we should do with illegal Europeans Beck states: “We think that E-Verify ought to be used at every workplace…”  “European verify?” asks a straight faced Erickson.

Several minutes into the interview, once Beck realizes that Erickson is sarcastically advocating the deportation of all white Europeans, Beck brings the conversation to an embarrassing halt.

Comprehensive European Reform -Towards a just America

Touched by the deep conversations he has had with his fellow patriots throughout the week, Robert undergoes a profound change of heart, and makes a major announcement-a play on CIR:

“I have to admit, there’s no way we are going to deport them all, so its time we came up with a sensible, humane solution to this problem facing more than 200 Million illegal Europeans who are hiding out in the shadows of this great nation. I propose a path to citizenship, a plan that will be known as Comprehensive European Reform.

First, they will have to come out of the shadows and admit that the U.S. was founded upon genocide and slave labor, justified by creating a system of white supremacy which is perpetuated today through institutionalized and systemic racism

Second, they must work to dismantle these systems of oppression within themselves, and within the structures of power that perpetuate them.

Third, they must pay a $500 fee as reparations to Native and Black communities, then they can get in line with the tribal counsel like everyone else to apply for their citizenship, pending the consent of the original peoples whose land they are occupying.”

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Thanks to everyone who has made calls, and attended the hearing over the past couple weeks!

You made hundreds of calls to senators and representatives, and packed the hearings to show your support for the Mujeres!

Though it won’t pass this year with anti-immigrant governor Pawlenty, we will be back stronger than ever next year to get this bill passed into law-So keep your ears to the ground!


“This campaign has definitely been a victory; we have all learned so much in such a short time. Today we showed the strong community support that this bill has, and this is just the beginning. We are determined to continue this fight next year with even more strength, and we are going to win.”
-Jovita of the Mujeres en Liderazgo

Thank you,
Members of Mujeres en Liderazgo and the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action coalion (MIRAc)

St. Paul, Minnesota — In a packed House hearing, the “Drivers License Bill” (HF1718) was presented today at the State Capitol.

The bill, which would allow access to drivers licenses regardless of citizenship status, was proposed by Mujeres en Liderazgo (Women in Leadership), a group of women organizers in South Minneapolis, who have been organizing in their community for the past 2 years.

The Mujeres chose not to push a vote today, knowing that Governor Pawlenty, who ran on an anti-immigrant campaign, would ultimately refuse to sign the bill.  Instead they gave a powerful presentation to build support for next year, when a new governor could present the opportunity for their hopes to become a reality.

“Our goal for the today was to educate the representatives about this bill and show them how it affects our communities.  We know that it will not pass into law this year, but it is important to show that we will continue to fight for it and that they need to listen.”  Said one organizer.

The campaign has exceeded all expectations stirring a huge outpouring of support from the community during their hearings and lobbying at the capitol this month.

The Mujeres have held a flurry of events in the past 8 days including an important victory at the House Transportation and Transit Policy Committee on March 10th, a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on March 16th, and several days of lobbying in support of the bill.

Proponents of the bill have turned out in large numbers at the hearings, and have made hundreds of calls to the senators and representatives urging them to support the bill.

Approximately 70 community members and allies, were in attendance for the house hearing on March 10th, and though they were given less than 24 hours notice for Tuesday’s senate hearing, the Mujeres managed to mobilize about 40 supporters to attend the meeting.

Testimonies at the three hearings in support of the bill included John Keller, Executive director of the Immigrant Law Center and Minnesota Lawyer Attorney of the Year 2007, Bruce Nestor, past president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, community members, and women from Mujeres en Liderazgo.

Those in favor of the bill argue that “it will result in more licensed and insured drivers in our streets, creating safer communities for everyone.”  They also highlight the ways daily lives of many members of the undocumented community are negatively affected by not having access to a license; pointing out: “it is a human rights and justice issue for many Minnesotans”

But the bill has not been without criticism from anti-immigrant extremists, including groups which have ties to violent nativists, and white nationalists (see links below).

Ruthie Hendrycks [from the anti-immigrant hate groups MinnSir (Remember the tea party against amnesty?) and FIRE] got wind of the bill just before today’s hearing and sent out a frantic action alert to her followers.

During the senate hearing Republican senator Mike Parry went on an angry tirade, shouting: “Immigrants have no rights!”  Afterwards he was strongly reprimanded by the committee chair.

Jovita Morales of Mujeres en Liderazgo commented on the campaign:

“This campaign has definitely been a victory; we have all learned so much in such a short time.  Today we showed the strong community support that this bill has, and this is just the beginning.  We are determined to continue this fight next year with even more strength, and we are going to win.”

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Para los que no pueden ir a la marcha nacional en Washington el 21 de marzo, MIRAc esta organizando un evento aqui en Minneapolis:

Ven a un evento cultural y discusión
¿Qué Pasa con la Reforma Migratoria?

21 de marzo de 2010

2:00pm – 5:00pm
El Colegio CharterSchool
4137 Bloomington Ave S, Minneapolis

¿Van a aprobar una reforma migratoria este año?
¿Qué propuestas hay en el Congreso?
¿Qué podemos hacer para ganar la legalización?

Ven para aprender más sobre la propuesta de ley de Rep. Gutiérrez para una reforma migratoria comprensiva (CIR-ASAP) y otras propuestas que están surgiendo en el Congreso para una reforma migratoria. También hablaremos de lo que nosotros podemos hacer aquí para ayudar a ganar la legalización para todos y ganar la lucha para nuestros derechos e igualdad.

Participación artística de estudiantes de El Colegio.

Habrá comida, guardería y actividades para niños.

Patrocinado por MIRAc (Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition) y El Colegio Charter School

Más información: 651-389-9174

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St. Paul, MN—The “Drivers Licenses For All” campaign is picking up speed after an important legislative victory.

On Wednesday, HF1718, a bill that would increase access to drivers licenses was introduced, voted on, and passed in the Transportation and Transit Policy Committee in the House of Representatives

The bill was proposed by Mujeres en Liderazgo, a group of women organizers in South Minneapolis, who have been organizing in their community for the past 2 years.

On March 4th, the Mujeres held a successful day at the capitol to lobby support for the bill, and numerous supporters made calls to the state representatives during the week leading up to the hearing.

Wednesday, they brought their demands to the state capitol.

Approximately 70 community members and allies, showed their support by holding up their bright green ‘DRIVERS LICENSES FOR ALL” signs as they filed into the room for the hearing. After hearing testimonies from the Mujeres as well as National Lawyers Guild attorney Bruce Nestor, the decision was made: The bill would pass.

Jovita Morales of Mujeres en Liderazgo commented on the victory:

“Our victory yesterday was due to the participation of the community, including visits and phone calls that were made by community members and allies to support the bill. When the politicians looked out in the room yesterday and saw a room full of people, they could not deny the strength and importance of this campaign.”

This bill would increase the types of primary documents that one may present when applying for a drivers license in Minnesota, opening up access to those members of our community that do not meet the current standards, due to the requirement of a social security number.

If this bill becomes a law, the end result will mean more licensed and insured drivers in our streets, thus, safer communities for everyone. The daily lives of many of our community members are negatively affected by not having access to a license; it is a human rights and justice issue for many Minnesotans.

The bill will now go on to the Senate Finance Committee, and will then go back to the House Transportation & Finance Committee.

Stay tuned for more action alerts!

Join the facebook group for future updates and information:


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Calling all allies and supporters!

Please come out to support the Mujeres en Liderazgo as they take their campaign for driver’s licenses to the capitol.

After over two years of organizing, the Mujeres en Liderazgo are preparing for their bill to be voted on by the state representatives.  This is a crucial moment for the bill which would give drivers licenses to everyone, regardless of citizenship status.

With the support of the community, different organizations, religious groups, and legislators, “Mujeres en Liderazgo” has introduced a Bill in the State Legislature that would allow anyone living in Minnesota to get a driver’s license, regardless of their citizenship status.

Currently, immigrants are forced to drive without a license and without insurance to get to work every day, since public transit doesn’t run at night when many immigrants work, and many immigrants work in suburbs or outstate areas where public transit is inadequate or nonexistent.

This Bill would contribute to safety in our streets by making sure all drivers in Minnesota take the drivers test and have a license and insurance.

Furthermore, there are already other states which allow all state residents to apply for a drivers license, regardless of citizenship status.

Please support this campaign to dramatically improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of our community that are currently forced to drive without a license under constant fear of arrest, and possible deportation.

In solidarity,

MIRAc (Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action coalition)


There are two important events coming up:

Thurs. March 4th @ 9:30am-11:00am. there will be a community meeting at the state rep office (next to the capitol building).  This will be important becuase  it is an opportunity to have a presence in the building as we are pressuring reps to vote on the bill next week.  It is an opportunity to show how strong the support is for this campaign.  Afterwards, those who can stay will visit representatives who will be voting on wednesday, march 10.

Wed, March 10th at 12pm-2pm. Day of the hearing for the drivers license bill.  It will be presented and voted on.  The mujeres ask for there to be a community presence to show support for the campaign.

Here are some ways you can participate:

  • Outreach (SPREAD THE WORD! pass out flyers, invite people)
  • Calls to Reps (Listed below)
  • Transportation on the 4th and the 10th
  • Childcare on the 4th and the 10th
  • Media (contact media sources, invite to cover event)
  • Videotape at both events

Mujeres en Liderazgo (Women In Leadership)

Who is “Mujeres en Liderazgo”?

Mujeres en Liderazgo is a group of Women from the Latino Community that was born out of a leadership workshop in the Waite House in September 2008. During the workshop, the group engaged in a community action activity that identified many different community needs; and the need with the most priority was: access to a valid MN driver’s license to ensure public safety. However, the group did not think that anything else would happen. Little did they know that this would be the beginning of a long and rigorous journey.

With the support of the community, different organizations, religious groups, and the media, the “Mujeres en Liderazgo” made the decision to follow through and finish what they had started during the workshop.

Here is the list of representatives who will be voting on the 10th. Please call them before March 10 and encourage them to support the drivers license bill – House File 1718:

o   Marsha Swails 56B: 651-296-1147

o   Dean Urdahl 18B: 651-296-4344

o   Greg Davids, 31B: 651-296-9278

o   Mary Liz Holberg 36A: 651-296-6926

o   Sandra Masin, 38A:  651-296-3533

o   Carol McFarlane 53B: 651-296-5363

o   Paul Torkelson, 21B: 651-296-9303

o   Terry Morrow, 23A: 651-296-8634

o   Andy Welti, 30B: 651-296-4378

o   Marty Seifert, 21A: 651-296-5374

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