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ACTION ALERT: Standing Up for Human Rights on Independence Day


July 5, 2018
ABC TV New York & CODEPINK & US Senator Kamala Harris

This July 4, as this nation celebrates its independence and freedom, we celebrate our interdependence and proclaim that an injury to one is an injury to all. While there is one mother or father separated from a child because they were not born on the "right side" of a border, none of us are free. While there is one despondent child sleeping in a cage, none of us are free.

Special to Environmentalists Against War

ACTION ALERT: Standing Up
For Human Rights on Independence Day

ABC TV



NEW YORK (July 4, 2018) -- A woman wearing a “Rise and Resist” shirt spent her Fourth of July climbing the base of the Statue of Liberty, officials said. The unidentified climber was seen scaling the base of the statue about 3 p.m., moments after a protest on Liberty Island.

Liberty and Freedom for Some?
CODEPINK

(July 4, 2018) -- This July 4, as this nation celebrates its independence and freedom, we celebrate our interdependence and proclaim that an injury to one is an injury to all. While there is one mother or father separated from a child because they were not born on the "right side" of a border, none of us are free. While there is one despondent child sleeping in a cage, none of us are free.

We particularly want to give a shout out to an immigrant woman who truly understands that an injury to one is an injury to all. Pramila Jayapal came to the United States from India when she was 16 years old and today, as a congresswoman from Seattle, she is a leading light in the resistance to Trump's vicious immigration detention practices. Jayapal has introduced HR3923, a bill aimed at crafting an immigration detention policy that is accountable, transparent and humane.

We are honored to follow Congresswoman Jayapal's leadership. We got arrested with her last Thursday in the Senate Hart building with over 500 women. We joined her in the streets on Saturday, with massive marches in every single state in this country.

ICE was created shortly after 9/11, and it has become a rogue agency with no accountability, no transparency, and a very misdirected focus. According to Congresswoman Jayapal, this legislation would setup a commission with a mandate to redesign the functions of ICE, to be humane and transparent.

As Congresswoman Jayapal says, we must continue to protest the cruel zero tolerance policy of this administration, the caging of children, the separation of families, and the imprisonment of asylum seekers who simply seek a better life. We must demand that Trump free the detained children and reunite them with their parents, and allow the parents to seek asylum in accordance with due process laws.

We must end the cruel policy of caging of children, the separation of families, and the imprisonment of asylum seekers who simply seek a better life. ICE was created shortly after 9/11, and it has become a rogue agency with no accountability, no transparency, and a very misdirected focus. Tell your member of Congress to cosponsor HR 3923, introduced by Rep. Jayapal, to set up a commission with a mandate to redesign the functions of ICE.

This July 4, please do something to show that you too believe we are all one human family and that none of us are free until all of us are free.

ACTION: Make sure your congressperson is on the side of freedom by supporting the Dignity for Detained Immigrants bill. Contact your member of Congress now and tell them to cosponsor HR3923.

THE LETTER

I am horrified by the inhumane and cruel zero tolerance policy of this administration, the caging of children, the separation of families, and the imprisonment of asylum seekers who simply seek a better life. I urge you to support the Dignity for Detained Immigrants bill, HR 3923, a bill that will make our immigration policy more accountable, transparent and humane.

This is far beyond politics; this is about right and wrong. Please side with children, families and decent human values by supporting this bill.


With liberty and justice for all,
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Rita, Sarah, Sophia, and Tighe



Eight Immigrants Signed
The Declaration of Independence

Hon. Kamala Harris / US Senate



(July 4, 2018) -- About a year ago, I had the opportunity to swear in 41 young immigrants from about a dozen countries as US citizens. It's a day I've thought a lot about these last few weeks, especially as our government continues to keep immigrant children separated from their parents.

Today, as you enjoy the holiday break with friends and family, I hope you'll take a moment to read my speech to these young immigrants who are this week celebrating their first year as Americans:


As your US Senator, I'm so honored and excited to say to you: Greetings, my fellow Americans.

Because, today, that is what you are: fellow Americans.

The 41 of you come from 14 different countries all across the globe. You come from China and Chile. From Egypt and Ecuador. From Mexico, Ghana, South Korea, and the Philippines.

But by filing those certificates of citizenship, today you are all Americans by choice. So, congratulations.

Looking at this group, I can't help but think of a young woman roughly the age of many of you.

She was born in Chennai, in the south of India, where she had been a talented singer and a precocious student. And this young woman dreamed of becoming a scientist.

She wanted to study at one of the top universities in the world, the University of California, Berkeley. She was only 19, but her father let her travel halfway around the world, with the agreement that when she finished school she would return home to a traditional Indian marriage.

But at Berkeley, this young woman met a young man, also an immigrant. A top economics student from Jamaica. And so, instead of an arranged marriage, she went against thousands of years of tradition and chose a love marriage.

That woman was my mother, Shyamala Gopalan.

It was a hard choice and a brave choice that she made, fueled by love and optimism.

And so is the decision that each of you have made to become citizens. Many of you have traveled thousands of miles and endured difficult journeys to get here. You've had to learn new languages, new cultures, and new customs.

And here's what I want you all to remember as you begin your life as official American citizens:

Remember that immigrants don't just belong in America, immigrants have built America.

Eight immigrants signed the Declaration of Independence.

Chinese laborers worked on the railroads that linked this country together.

The son of a Kenyan immigrant became our 44th President.

So when I see you, the 41 newest citizens of this imperfect but great nation, I see the future.

I see patriots who will make our country more inclusive and more innovative.

I see scientists like my mother, who will help unravel the mysteries of disease.

I see entrepreneurs, like the immigrants who've founded some of America's most iconic companies, like Apple and Google.

I see men and women in uniform, like the ones who have manned this ship, protecting people they will never meet and who will never know their names.

And whenever you feel that future is threatened, whenever those values of liberty and justice for all that drew us here seem under assault, you need to speak up and speak out. That's the whole point of the freedoms we cherish.

You chose to become United States citizens. Now, I'm asking you to choose to embrace the responsibilities of citizenship.

Get involved. Attend town halls or city council meetings. Run for office yourselves. Vote.

Remember that imperfect though we may be, our greatest strength has always been our ability and willingness to fix those imperfections and make our country a more just and equal place.

So despite the challenges we face as a nation, I agree with the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who said on the 4th of July many years ago, "I do not despair of this country."

Because throughout my career, and now as a United States Senator, I've seen what makes America great.

Tomorrow, people will celebrate American independence with food and fireworks. But for me, there's no greater celebration of what this country is than the outpouring of love and support we saw just a few months ago when new arrivals to this country were under assault.

Thousands of people wrote and called Congress.

Americans all over the country marched.

They rallied at airports, where they offered legal advice, handed out food, and waved signs.

Like the young woman at LAX holding the US flag with the poem from the Statue of Liberty written on it: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

The little girl with a sign that said, "Unless you are Native American, aren't we all immigrants?"

Or the man in a cowboy hat in Texas, standing outside a mosque with a sign that read, "You belong. Stay strong. Be blessed. We are one America."

It's a reminder, to paraphrase Justice Louis Brandeis, that the most important title in this country is not Senator or Supreme Court Justice or even President. The most important title in this nation is citizen.

That engagement is what citizenship demands. And that is what citizenship can achieve.

So I hope you remember those words, which demonstrate why America has always been great when we come together.

"You belong. Stay strong. Be blessed. We are one America."

Congratulations again.

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