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Posts Tagged ‘Human Rights’

As we all got to read this week, the Harper government canceled all non-Christian chaplain positions in federal penitentiaries. Having been involved in the Federal system by bringing meditation to inmates in medium security penitentiaries, I am extremely saddened by this move by Harper and his goons and their continuous crusade to cut all social programs that help those in greatest need. I have seen first hand the benefits bringing meditation and other religious perspectives in penitentiaries, helping inmates make peace with their troubled past and their long healing process that they face. I have been trying to get back in federal penitentiaries since Harper has been elected with a majority government and keep being met with obstacle after obstacle with cut after cut in programs to insure that inmates are denied basic human rights in terms of faith, something that Harper might believe is still respected if they have access to Christian guidance (but tell me how a Buddhist is to get guidance in meditation from someone who believes that the inmate will be going to hell seeing as how he doesn’t follow the teaching of HIS lord and saviour?). Before I continue, I think that it is best that I take a few minutes to explain the Canadian penitentiary system, its history more specifically.

The penitentiary was first introduced by the Philadelphia Quakers in 1789 as a more humane alternative to the harsh punishments of the time. The Quakers believed that a sentence of imprisonment, served under conditions of isolation, with opportunities for work and religious contemplation, would render the offender “penitent” and reformed. In New York, the penitentiary sentence was adopted out of a belief that work and training would lead to a reduction in the crime rate. The idea of sentencing offenders to long terms of imprisonment spread next to England as an alternative to exiling offenders to the colonies. Imprisonment as we know it in Canada today dates back to the building of the Kingston Penitentiary in 1835. For more than 30 years, Kingston Penitentiary was operated as a provincial jail until the passage of the British North America Act (1867) established federal and provincial responsibilities for justice.

With passage of the first Penitentiary Act (1868), Kingston and two other pre-Confederation prisons in St. John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia were brought under federal jurisdiction, creating a federal penitentiary system “for the establishment, maintenance and management of penitentiaries for offenders sentenced to two years or more.” Construction of federal institutions started in 1873 with St. Vincent de Paul (now Laval Institution). Three more institutions followed: Manitoba Penitentiary (now Stony Mountain Institution) opened in 1877, British Columbia Penitentiary a year later, and Dorchester Penitentiary (New Brunswick) in 1880. All were maximum-security institutions, administered by a strict regime—productive labour during the day, solitary confinement during leisure time. A rule of silence was enforced at all times. Parole did not exist, although inmates could have three days a month remitted from their sentence for good conduct.

In the Depression years of the 1930s, a rash of inmate strikes and riots focussed attention on penal philosophy and management style and lead to the formation of the Archambault Royal Commission of Inquiry. With its emphasis on crime prevention and the rehabilitation of offenders, the Commission’s 1928 report was  a landmark in Canadian corrections and much of its philosophy remains influential today. Among the Commission’s recommendations was the complete revision of penitentiary regulations to provide “strict but humane discipline and the reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners.” In many ways, the Archambault report reflected a society that had become less concerned with retribution and more with rehabilitation. But the priorities of a nation at war superseded penal reform, and few of the Archambault report’s recommendations were implemented.

Following World War II, rising prison populations, overcrowding, and prison disturbances spurred the creation in 1953 of the Fauteaux Committee for another investigation into the correctional system. The Fauteaux Committee envisaged a new type of prison that would not merely be a facility for custody, but also a place of “worthwhile and creative activity” with programs focussing on the attempt to change the basic behaviour, attitudes and patterns of inmates. The nature of prisons had to change in order to make these programs work and to provide opportunities for vocational training, pre-release and after-care programs. Most importantly, prisons needed more and better-trained professional staff in such fields as social work, psychology, psychiatry, criminology and law.

The recommendations of the Fauteaux Committee initiated a new era of legislative and institutional reform and expansion. During this time:

  • The National Parole Board was established as an independent body to exercise authority over the parole of inmates.
  • The Penitentiary Act was amended (1961) to establish new procedures for the operation of penitentiaries and other reforms.
  • A plan (1963) to construct 10 new penitentiaries across Canada that reflected the Fauteaux Committee’s vision for Canada’s prisons was implemented.

In 1976, continuing deficiencies in the correctional system were manifested in a series of disturbances that lead to a new approach in the management of Canadian correction institutions. The new approach was based on the belief that many of the abuses in the system would not take place if proper public accountability existed and public involvement in correctional policy development was sought. Consequently, access to penitentiaries by outside groups was expanded and citizens’ advisory committees were established.

This brief history is brought to us by Corrections Canada, which obviously makes us believe that inmates are treated well and that they only have the inmates health and well-being in mind. I must disagree with this perception, I have seen inmates be denied help and treated with less than humane techniques. One of the most blatant inhumane techniques that I must speak out against is the isolation treatment that is still status quo in all Canadian penitentiaries, as a form of rehabilitation and which takes no consideration of the actual damage that it does to the people who are victims to this “treatment”.

Here are some quick facts about Solitary Confinement, it exists in many penitentiaries under different names: isolation, control units, supermax prisons, the hole, SHUs, administrative segregation, maximum security or permanent lockdown. Inmates can be placed in these units for many reasons; as punishment, while they are under investigation, as a mechanism for behavior modification, when suspected of gang involvement, as retribution for political activism or to fill expensive, empty beds, to name but a few. Although conditions vary from penitentiary to penitentiary and other institutions, systematic policies and conditions of control and oppression used in isolation and segregation include:

  • confinement behind a solid steel door for 23 hours a day
  • limited contact with other human beings
  • infrequent phone calls and rare non-contact family visits
  • extremely limited access to rehabilitative or educational programming
  • grossly inadequate medical and mental health treatment
  • restricted reading material and personal property
  • physical torture such as hog-tying, restraint chairs, and forced cell extraction
  • mental torture such as sensory deprivation, permanent bright lighting, extreme temperatures, and forced insomnia
  • sexual intimidation and violence

Beginning in the early 1970s, prison and jail administrators at the federal level have relied increasingly on isolation and segregation to control men, women and youth in their custody. In 1985 there were a handful of control units across the United States (could not find stats for Canada in regards to this, but it should be similar with population taken into consideration). Today an estimated 44 states have supermax facilities confining more than 30,000 people. Prisoners are often confined for months or even years, with some spending more than 25 years in segregated prison settings. As with the overall prison population, people of color are disproportionately represented in isolation units.

Increasingly isolation units house the mentally ill who struggle to conform to prison rules. An independent investigation from 2006 reported that as many as 64% of prisoners in SHUs were mentally ill, a much higher percentage than is reported by states for their general prison populations. Contrary to the perception that control units house “the worst of the worst’, it is often the most vulnerable prisoners, not the most violent who end up in extended isolation. The AFSC Healing Justice staff worked with 60 Minutes on the production of The Death of Timothy Souders, a riveting testimony. Numerous studies have documented the effects of solitary confinement on prisoners giving them the name; Special Housing Unit Syndrome or SHU Syndrome. Some of the many SHU Syndrome symptoms include:

  • visual and auditory hallucinations
  • hypersensitivity to noise and touch
  • insomnia and paranoia
  • uncontrollable feelings of rage and fear
  • distortions of time and perception
  • increased risk of suicide
  • PTSD

If one is not mentally ill when entering an isolation unit, by the time they are released their mental health has been severely compromised. Many prisoners are released directly to the streets after spending years in isolation. Because of this, long-term solitary confinement goes beyond a problem of prison conditions, to pose a formidable public safety and community health problem.

Prison isolation fits the definition of torture as stated in several international human rights treaties, and thus constitutes a violation of human rights law. For example, the U.N. Convention Against Torture defines torture as any state-sanctioned act “by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person” for information, punishment, intimidation, or for a reason based on discrimination. For all these reasons – for the safety of our communities, to respect our responsibility to follow international human rights law, to take a stand against torture wherever it occurs, and for the sake of our common humanity – prison isolation and segregation must end.

Just like Segregation is a violation of human rights I believe that this last cut is yet another attack towards inmate rehabilitation and helping to assure that they will be able to integrate into society when they have finished their sentence. The contracts were cut after Toews suspended plans to hire a Wiccan prison chaplain in B.C. and ordered a review of the entire program last month. “Upon reviewing the program, it was determined that changes were necessary so that this program supports the freedom of religion of inmates while respecting taxpayers’ dollars,” said Bergen.

But Liberal justice and human rights critic Irwin Cotler responded that “requiring inmates of other faiths to turn to Christian chaplains for religious guidance is clearly discriminatory.” “The Minister of Public Safety says that he is ‘not in the business of picking and choosing which religions will be given preferential status’ – but by providing funding for Christian chaplains only, he is doing precisely that,” said Cotler. In question period NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar questioned how much money the government was saving by cutting 100 part-time positions. “This is not a costly program. The minister has no justification for cutting it,” said Dewar. The total cost of the chaplain program, including full-time and part-time positions, is about $6.4 million a year. The part-time contracts represent approximately $1.3 million of that total, the Public Safety Ministry said on Friday morning.

Outside of parliament the cuts also spark strong reactions from religious leaders. David Koschitzky, chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, said access to appropriate religious counselling in prison was key to many inmates’ rehabilitation. “It is no stretch to say that chaplains are at the forefront of the rehabilitation process, and work every day to ensure that inmates awaiting release have the tools they need to avoid re-offending,” said Koschitzky. “While this is a matter of protecting freedom of religion, there is also an important aspect of public safety at stake in this decision.” Sikh and Muslim leaders have also called the program’s cancellation discriminatory.

I find that Canada needs to review its whole penitentiary system and its programs for rehabilitation, we should be leading the way in more  humane and efficient way to assure that people first of all are not placed in penitentiaries, by creating a more equal and just society; and also assuring that inmates are just stored in federal penitentiaries like unwanted furniture for a selected period of time. Let us not forget that there is also a huge homelessness crisis happening all over the world, in Montreal alone there are about 30 000 homeless people for a city population of about 1.8 million (don’t try to tell me that we don’t have to do anything about this), which makes certain people turn towards a life a crime when they are simply desperate and out of ideas… I will talk about the homelessness crisis next time… But for now. talk to your MPs or even Stephen Harper if he is willing to listen, we need to take care of your citizens and assure that they have the best chance to redeem themselves and become a productive member of society again… Lets show the world that we can be a society that is compassionate and open-minded, who are we to judge what spiritual guidance one needs?

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The death penalty seems to me to be a form of punishment that should not still exist in first world countries (the “civilized” world some say), or any country for that matter. Still, many countries around the world use to the death penalty as the ultimate form of punishment for its population. These countries are: Belarus, China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Tonga, United States, Vietnam. I still don’t understand how these countries can’t see what capital punishment for what it is, legalized murder by the state. So many countries have realized the inhumanity in the type of punishment and banned it, countries like Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, Venezuela. As we can see, Capital Punishment has been practiced by most countries, and 58 nations currently still use this barbaric form of justice, while 97 nations have abolished it.

The UN General Assembly has adopted in 2007, 2008, and 2010 a non-binding calling for a global moratorium on executions, with plans to eventually abolishing them. Even if most of the world’s nations have abolished capital punishment, over 60% of the world’s population live in countries where executions take place, seeing as how China, India, the United States of America and Indonesia, the four most populous countries in the world continue to apply the death penalty (although in India and Indonesia only rarely. Each of these four nations have voted against the General Assembly’s resolutions. It is believed that in 2010 there has been about 5000 executions in China (there are no official numbers that are released by the government, but these are the estimates of different human rights organizations),  252 in Iran, 60 in North Korea, 53 in Yemen, 46 in the United States, and many other lives have been taken in the name of justice throughout the world. Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and the United States are the only developed countries that have retained the death penalty. The death penalty was overwhelmingly practiced in poor and authoritarian states, which often employed the death penalty as a tool of political oppression.

I believe that the death penalty is ineffective in its role and the impact that it is meant to have, Albert Camus has greatly influenced my view on the subject with his essay Reflections on the Guillotine. Countries where the death penalty have been abandoned, crime has not risen. The world has changed since its implementation, capital punishment no longer serves as the deterrent that it might have been. One glaring fact that I have noticed is that during its implementation in the past, executions were conducted in public places and now it has been done privately in prisons. Even though I agree with conducting executions in private, it takes away the element of deterrence and renders the death penalty as a means for the state to dispose of those that they see as irremediable.

The threat of death is also insufficient to prevent people from committing crimes seeing as how death is the only common fate that is shared by all, regardless of guilt. Seeing as how most murders are not premeditated no deterrent can be effective and in the case of premeditated murder the deterrent is still insufficient to stop those who have already decided to commit the act.

Without serving a purpose, capital punishment is reduced to an act of revenge that only breeds further violence, which is fueled by sadism and perpetuated by tradition. This is then an act of state of revenge just like the concept of an eye for an eye and justice is to be based on law and principles and not base instinct and emotions.

Also, there is no absolute authority that is capable of delivering judgement as no man posses absolute innocence himself. Because of this the maximum penalty should be set at life labour due to the possibility of judicial error, a life of labour is first of all much harsher than death and it carries the possibility of being reversed, the convicted also can have the option of choosing death via suicide.

And lastly, capital punishment is inappropriate because by conducting revenge for grievances it simultaneously hurts the family and loved ones of the convict in the same manner as those being avenged were hurt by the initial crime.

I believe that it is now time to take action, there are two petition campaigns that amnesty international are conducting against the executions of two men in the USA. The death penalty is a contentious social issue, 37 states in the USA still practice this barbaric form of so-called justice. The most recent Gallop poll shows that 61% of Americans support the death penalty in the case of aggravated murder and more rarely for felony murder, these numbers drop drastically if there was on option for life imprisonment without parole. The first execution by the United States judicial system was Manuel in Illinois County in June of 1779 for Witchcraft; most executions in the beginning were for aiding slave runaways or slave revolt, which was a capital crime, these people have all posthumously pardoned since the abolition of slavery in the USA. The legal process of the death penalty in the USA has five steps: (1) sentencing, (2) direct review, (3) state collateral review, (4) federal habeas corpus, and (5) the Section 1983 challenge, which has become increasingly important (Clemency or pardon, through which the Governor or President of the jurisdiction can unilaterally reduce or abrogate a death sentence, it’s an executive rather than judicial process.). Right now in the US there are two men on death row that Amnesty International are trying save with an aggressive petition campaign to hopefully stop the execution of Romell Broom and Reggie Clemons.

The action that I think is more pressing is the petition to stop the second attempt for the execution of Romell Broom in the state of Ohio. On September 15th 2009 the technicians attempted for over two hours to execute Romell Broom by lethal injection, even with the help of Romell, the state was not able to complete the task because they were unable to find an adequate vein. During this witnesses have stated that you could clearly see the pain that he was experiencing, clearly showing the cruel nature of executions. This is not to pardon the crime that was committed for which he was found guilty, and it is not to minimise the suffering of the family of the victim, we are demanding that Romell Broom be spared of death by lethal injection and that he serve time in a Ohio penitentiary.

Reggie Clemons was sentenced to death in St. Louis as an accomplice in the 1991 murder of two young white women, Julie and Robin Kerry, who plunged from the Chain of Rocks Bridge into the Mississippi River. Two other black youths were also convicted, including Marlin Gray (executed in 2005). Clemons has consistently maintained his innocence. His case illustrates many of the flaws in the U.S. death penalty system. Shortly after a 2009 execution date was stayed, the Missouri Supreme Court assigned a judge (a “Special Master”) to investigate the reliability of his conviction and proportionality of his sentence. Amnesty International urges the state of Missouri to recognize the serious problems with Reggie Clemons’ case and to commute his death sentence. It is also important to note that there has been many irregularities that have arisen in this case, professional mistakes by the prosecution, allegations of police brutality and intimidation, possible racial prejudice, and an inadequate jury representation during the trial. There is a petition that has also been created to stop the execution of Reggie Clemons, Amnesty International is leading this campaign. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender, or the method used.

I urge you to please take action and print out the petition and bring them to your workplace, school, social clubs, and whatever other activities. We must speak up and act until we are able to live in a world that is free of the death penalty and that humanity is honored and recognized.

 

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What is happening in the Aceh region of Indonesia, the “re-education” of punks, most specifically the Aceh 64 who were taken from the city of  Tamn Budaya has not been sitting well with me. I have to admit that seeing as how I have been a punk from an early age, the best form that I was able to find to express the isolation and anger that I was feeling, and my hopes for a better world, this has really struck a chord with me.

The Police in the Province of Aceh, Indonesia have, under orders of a religious fundamentalist government, rounded up  punk rock fans and have shaved the punks heads, taken their dog collars, necklaces and chains and thrown them into pools of water for “spiritual cleansing.” The punks will  now ‘spend 10 days getting rehabilitation, training in military-style discipline and religious classes, including Quran recitation. Afterward, they’ll be sent home.’ We can easily imagine how this must feel to receive this type of treatment, also if you are a fan of punk or metal or any similar music subculture, it hits home in a slightly different way than the other human rights cases that we have sadly come accustomed to ignoring in the West. I can easily empathize with the complete frustration and humiliation these ‘punks’ must feel as I have had  a few brushes with bully ‘authorities’ who pretend they’re acting ‘in the name of the law’ but I have never, and hopefully never will, experience this type of human rights abuse by authorities of a state.

What is maybe the most interesting in all of this is the growing gulf between some particular official accounts of the detainment, and this is where I am starting to think that this might be an attack on the poor and that the street punks have simply become the face of this fight. Most authorities have all held the same line that punk is at odds with the teachings of Islam, they have claimed that these raids will continue to support their purpose of suppressing the growth of the punk communities and there are no plans for it to end anytime soon.

” Maybe, if there’s funding for us, we can continue their re-education on an extended basis until they’re better. After that we’ll hand them all over to the city government.”

The Police Chief’s justifications are religious in nature, and revolve around a notion of protecting the wider society in Aceh from the supposed threat of punk, and it’s adherents. Although, Armensyah draws distinctions between “clean” punks “that exist in different classes”, and the 64 young people his force swept off the street, detained without charge, confiscated their clothes and were forced to get haircuts. When the media asked why, if it is hygiene the main issue, the police would not also round-up the homeless in Aceh, the Chief said: “There are no homeless in Aceh, there are only punks.” The Governor however states that they were arrested for falsifying a permit for a gig, it is still unsure if all 64 detainees were arrested on this charge or just the one person who applied for the permit, and at other times he claims that the detainees were not arrested:

It is untrue that the police arrested them. That’s not it. The truth is that the police are helping them develop [their skills].

Human Rights Watch however have very different views to the officials mentioned above in reference to what has happened. M. Choirul Anam from Human Rights Watch said: “First, they violated freedom of expression. Punk is only a way to express oneself, just like a person wearing a necklace. The punk kids do not disturb public order, so the police do not have to catch them.” Anam has also gone to declare that the way that the detainees have been treated go against the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment which Indonesia is bound to since signing it in 1985. The Aceh Police force has also not followed the due process of law. The punks were not given proper legal treatment, the police executed treatments without going through any legal channels. Human Rights Watch has also stated that there will be more human rights violations if they don’t proceeded this case legally.

To everybody:  If you believe in human dignity, autonomy, and the right for people to be able to make their own decisions- keep fighting for your rights and freedoms, as well as the rights and freedoms of others. There are many actions that have been happening in support for the Aceh 64, and there are many things that you can do to help.

– Change.org has made a petition to advocate for their release.

– The record label Aborted Society is collecting mix tapes and burned CD’s (no cases) to send to their fellow punks to help with morale. Maybe you can help out?

– Check out this 100% ruling documentary about the Indonesian punk ‘scene’

– German punks Red Tape Parade have appealed for their fans on Facebook to send them spare gear to be sent out to Aceh punks in the near future, with their initiative, Up The Aceh-Punx.    Here is a status from their Facebook page: ” I have direct contact to someone in Aceh, so now I’m asking all of you – no matter if you play in a band, write for a zine, own a label, or simply share our love for punk music and punk culture – to contribute stuff so we can send it over to Indonesia, to let our friends there know that they are not alone, and that “unity” is more than a catchphrase in a song. So, if you have CDs, zines, records, pins, shirts etc. you can give away please leave a comment and we’ll get in touch.” They are posting pictures of the donations on their Facebook page.

Let’s keep the spirit alive!

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Saturday April 23rd 2011 marked the one year anniversary of the passing of SB1070, the racist anti-immigrant law in Arizona. When this law passed it gained national and even international attention, protests sparked up through the USA, artists boycotted the state (the Sound Strike), and even major American cities decided to boycott Arizona (Los Angeles, Oakland, New York, to name a few). Other states have also followed Arizona’s anti-immigration push; Utah have passed a similar bill; Georgia is awaiting their governor’s signature; Alabama has had the legislature pass in both chambers; South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Indiana have had the legislature pass in one chamber; the legislation has been introduced and passing through committees in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Illinois; Kansas has introduced the legislation but there have been some set-backs in committee; Mississippi, California, Wyoming, Colorado, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kentucky have introduced legislation but they are not really a threat. This is something that we can not ignore, I remember that a year ago this was all over the news, but as time has gone there have been more “newsworthy” stories that have occurred and SB1070 has lost its importance in the eyes of the media.

In February I read a story about a business group that had started an anti-SB1070 tour, this unfortunately was not based on the basic fact that this is a human rights debate, but the economical backlash that can occur with the passing of such a law. I guess the saying is still true; to hurt them where it hurts the most, and for most people it is their wallets! It is said that in the last year Arizona has lost $410 millions in tourism revenue. They also stated that if 50 000 immigrant families leave the state a billion dollars in revenue goes with them. It is calculated that 100 000 Latinos left Arizona last year, some of them legal and illegal immigrants. In September, Utah’s Lt. Gov. Greg Bell traveled to Arizona on a “fact-finding” trip to gauge the fallout from the state’s illegal immigration crackdown. In Utah, a group of bipartisan lawmakers and business leaders, along with the Mormon church, signed a petition saying they think immigration law should be left to the federal government. The main legislative champion of an Arizona-style crackdown in Utah, GOP state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, has revised his legislation’s original wording after groups estimated it would cost the state more than $5 million to enforce. The new version of his bill, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, will no longer mandate police officers to check the immigration status of suspects; it makes such identification checks optional for Utah cops.

As hundreds of protestors marched in Phoenix on Saturday, some sad and infuriating news came from our friends at the Sound Strike. Los Angeles, one of the cities that have vowed to boycott Arizona based companies (which has cost the state more than $140 million in lost revenue) until this racist law was overturned, has decided to award $106 millions of tax payer money to an Arizona based company, Honeywell International. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council President Garcetti, and other council members are about to break their promise, and betray their communities in the process. On the website of the Sound Strike you can sign a petition to remind them of a promise they made less than a year ago. This money is for their bid to maintain the LA Waste Water Treatment Plant, the Honeywell division that is bidding for this is based in Arizona, along with its 4 major divisions of this corporation. Honeywell also has a record of broken air-quality and hazardous-waste laws on hundreds of occasions, and has exposed its workers to hazardous waste. With a track record like this, there must be a competent company that is able to do the job which is not based in Arizona.

In the last year, over two dozen immigrant hate bills have passed and unjust deportations are increasing. LA is home to the biggest latino community in the US, it should be a model for the rest of the country on standing up for immigrant rights. When the boycott passed last year, the City councilor was told to draft a ordinance restricting city contracts with Arizona based companies, this was never done. Honeywell is now working this loophole to its advantage, they are hiring lobbyists to help push their agenda on city council members.

What is most dangerous in human right struggles is when people forget, this is what Arizona wants to happen. We must keep speaking up against these hate laws, just because this story is no longer coming into your living room, it is still happening and people are still struggling. Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. This will not change unless we stay united and make sure that we let Arizona know that we have not forgotten and we will keep fighting until this law is overturned! For all the Canadians out there, we are in the midst of a federal election, look into your candidates campaigns and their stance on immigration. This could very easily happen to us if we are not careful and elect a government that believes that all human beings are to be treated with respect and dignity. On May 2nd when you are voting, remember to think of the struggle of the people of Arizona, vote for a pro-immigration party! We are all immigrants (except for native americans of course) and we should never forget that!

Here is a short film about the Sound Strike and the artists that have decided to boycott Arizona! Please take the time to check it out and make sure that others take a look… We must continue to pressure until this law is overturned!

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