#IAmAnImmigrant: A look at Immigrant Heritage Month in Los Angeles 

A celebration of inclusion brought together co-founders, lawyers, academicians, advocates, actors, mayors, #Dreamers and those protected under President Obama’s Executive Action orders on immigration. 

It’s been wonderful working with this dedicated group. Together, we learned about the impact of decades of immigration reform policy, and other forms of public policy. We got support from VCs and produced events all over LA featuring art, music, dance, and technology.

The theme #IAmAnImmigrant fit with the emphasis on inclusion for the Third Annual Immigrant Heritage Month! 

#DACA #DAPA #Justice #CuluralStudies #Events #ImmigrantHeritageMonth
#IAmAnImmigrant #DACA #DAPA #Justice #CuluralStudies #Event

 

Vigorous Voter Participation Up-ends Status Quo Politics: Better Dance to Win the White House  

The 2016 Iowa Caucuses show the next President of the United States must win the youth — and that means win them over, not just placate them. The New Yorker makes this point, basically stating that for Sec. Hillary Clinton to beat Sen. Bernie Sanders, she’s got to paint a picture of what’s possible. Similarly, Donald J. Trump’s not likely to win the Republican nomination if he shuns the meet-and-greets with a broad-swath of the people inclined to vote for him. So, both Clinton and Trump face an electability problem heading into New Hampshire. 

What’s going on with the political teams that manage these candidates? Are they too immersed in polls to see the new political landscape before them? 

Hello.

The turnout amongst new participants in the Iowa caucuses was off-the-chain. Congratulations to the candidates for engaging the public through conducting debates and town halls, but capitalizing on the momentum is the key.

Based on my analysis, there’s too much attention on strategy and not enough attention on culture in both the Clinton and the Trump campaigns. These big-name candidates cannot zig, or zag, for that matter, gracefully. 

The world can take a long time to change, or the world can change in an instant. Iowans proved this true, Monday-night. 

Yes, the world changed. Will the star politicians on all sides of the race notice their constituents’ new-world demands?

To those with White House Dreams, roll up your sleeves, learn to dance a new dance, and immerse yourselves in the culture of the new American politic.

Hack LA and FWD.us Collaborate and Draw a Crowd at HUB LA on Traction

LOS ANGELES — The last Tuesday of every month techies meet, greet and strategize for political dominance. The monthly meet-ups, organized largely by groups like FWD.us and Hack LA, encourage collaboration and civic engagement. Tuesday, May 26th was no exception. Officials from county and local government gave a short presentation on LA County’s new Open Source initiative (data@lacounty.gov).

Civic leaders, web developers, and start-up culture aficionados flocked to Downtown LA’s Hub LA on Traction Avenue for a Hack LA and FWD.us collaborative event. The space is gritty, authentic LA and perfect for boisterous brainstorming and networking. The group planned an immigration event for June 27th, but the exact time and location are not yet known.

June is Immigration Heritage Month. During the meeting, reference was made to a Texas Federal Appeals Court ruling against President Obama’s immigration reform executive action. One speaker at the event from FWD.us, a 501(c)4 issue-advocacy group, vowed the organization will keep pushing for change.                

Immigration Reform Talk Brings Tech and Policy Advocates to NextSpace

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CULVER CITY — Technology and business leaders met with immigration reform advocates at NextSpace Tuesday, to hear Chad Blocker, partner at a leading immigration law firm called Fragomen, talk about President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform.

Blocker discussed changes to existing law that now make it possible for people in the U.S. on work visas to matriculate through the immigration system with less red tape.

Highlights:

Workers whose job fulfills STEM-needs, and who are engaged in work In demand, no longer need sponsorship from an employer.

In certain situations, spouses of H1B visa-holders may be sponsored, if the working spouse is in the process of applying for a Green Card.

The labor-certification process is streamlined.

While the reforms attempt to rectify the problems, Blocker pointed out what the President has stated, that Congress needs to act in order to make the changes stick.

More details about how the new executive action impacts existing reforms pertaining to the Dream Act are in need of clarification, according to the speaker and other policy watchers in the audience concurred.

One question I raised during the question and answer session was about a problem discussed by Mr. Blocker regarding increasing the capacity of governmental agencies to inform the public about changes in immigration policy. A lively discussion followed about how schools might play a key role in terms of educating the public about changes in immigration laws.

Members of the start-up community and the immigration reform community participated in this networking event.

FWD.us will hold a panel discussion on a topic, TBA, the first week of February.

This Month in Racism, Rape, Killings, and Torture

How, not when?

How will America solve the problem of inhumanity? What can humanities scholars do to change the culture of abuse?

Is this really only America’s problem? Or is the apparent fact that dozens of countries allowed the U.S to place secret torture prisons in their counties a matter of a global abuse of power?

Hollywood. This problem of global state-sanctioned torture needs a big finish.

The culture of abuse, reflected in our institutions, endangers what we hold so dear, freedom.

The higher education community must pay attention to the alarming societal trends of marginalization, ostracism, and brutality at the root of rape-killing-torture culture. This culture, eerily Fanonian, with ties to state violence, must change. Before change happens, the American education industry must reflect on its ties to state violence, as this Chronicle of Higher Education article on a sociology professor whose dad was a Nazi, reflects.

Fanon writes:

“The Negro enslaved by his inferiority, the white man enslaved by his superiority alike behave in accordance with a neurotic orientation.”

As, Fanon notes in Black Skin, White Masks, societies react strangely when confronted by the Other. Think of the revelation of weeping CIA agents witnessing intentional violent acts perpetrated against other humans suspected of wrong. These acts, outlined in the 500-page summary of the “enhanced interrogation” (torture) of those held in U.S. custody post 9/11, reveals tears shed by those hired by the U.S. government, with US. tax dollars. Weirdly, the salaries of good people who give a damn about others may have funded international state-sponsored torture produced by psychologists trained at U.S. institutions of higher learning.

We must ask: Does the American Psychological Association approve of the state-sponsored torture carried out by PhD-holding psychologists? Are college students being taught the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were detailed in the #TortureReport?

If anything of what we have learned from the U.S. Senate Torture Report is true, then let the tears rain down; all of us should weep. Then, and only then, can the work begin to repair the damage caused by the neuroticism of segregated society.

How can we expect America’s youth to thrive in a system that is only just beginning to come to terms with a legacy of trauma?

How?

How can we expect America’s talented to thrive in any man-made system that dismisses them simply due to circumstance of birth?

What Can Hollywood do?

This problem of gross abuse of power may be solved by the Hollywood entertainment industry. Hollywood exports culture. Hollywood can export reconciliation.

Hollywood power players may atone by exemplifying the qualities of humility and empathy desperately needed today.

Hollywood can integrate.

How can Hollywood become more inclusive and accepting of others so as not to perpetuate racist, sexist, classist, and segregationist tropes? Look at the recent Sony e-mail hack to see racism on display.

How can Hollywood address rape and celebrity culture?

Bigwigs of America, PhDs of Academe, your silence and your secrecy is killing us. It is time for you to take responsibility.

Yes.

America’s elite must solve the problem of rape, racism, killings, and torture. Self-reflection, truth, and reconciliation matter.

Elites must work to repair society.

When elites start working they will ask themselves how is it that they have allowed PhDs to run secret torture chambers, or “enhanced interrogation techniques” programs, then maybe we will have the kind of change desperately needed, today.

Stop Racist Praxis

Racism infects American politics, as this article in The Atlantic outlines.

Time for change led by the perpetrators of ostracism has come. Society is fed up with dumb rationale for promoting the bullshit of bigotry, whether it manifests in rape, torture, state violence, or Sony executive-emails.

Gender and Education

Boys and girls of color are often singled-out by teachers when discussion of tone, attitude, and classroom behavior becomes their issue of concern. As this New York Times article suggests, girls sometimes need to go to court to fight against tyranny.
Rape and black man’s subjectivity

One article by The Times Picayune’s Jarvis DeBerry even referred to the Cosby rape allegations and the struggle for black men’s sovereignty in the same article.

Race and income inequality

Here is a link to a Pew study on income inequality.

When Torture is What It Is: Torture

Human Rights Watch reports specific definitions of torture.

Jenna McLaughlin of Mother Jones reports that what ever ideas the public may have had about what it takes to land a job as a CIA interrogator, in the end, all it takes is an a attitude of carelessness.

Scholars who torture in the name of America must be interrogated, not tolerated. Hollywood executives who delight in social exclusion must realize the limitations of their own humanity and practice empathy through reparations. Law officers reduce their self-worth when acting with malice. Educators dismissing students for no reason perpetuate the cycle of hopelessness familiar to the ostracized.

How much of this inhumane treatment will the average person tolerate? Elites must prepare themselves to answer this question.

Society does not need elite guilt as much as it needs elites to assume responsibility and rectify problems for which they are responsible.