I can't vote.

It really bothers me that the people who are able to vote, don’t. I came here to America when I was three years old and it took over 12 years just to get my green card. I won’t be able to vote until I get my citizenship. I’ve had my green card and I’ve been a permanent resident for almost 3 years now and I still won’t be able to vote for another two years. But there are so many people who claim that voting won’t make a difference and so many people who don’t even register to vote. And I’m stuck sitting here without any resources or any ability to do anything. I’m not able to cast a vote, I’m not able to give my opinion. I am not able to make a difference. But all those people who are sitting on their ass saying that their vote won’t make a difference or it won’t count, they can actually do something but they choose not to.

Obama heckler has a name, Jennicet Gutiérrez, and she’s a trans woman

By Wendy Carrillo

While making remarks honoring LGBT Pride Month at the White House on Wednesday, President Obama was interrupted by a guest from the back of the room.

The President was thanking those in attendance when Jannicet Gutiérrez, an undocumented trans woman and invited guest, began interrupting the president stating loudly,

President Obama, stop the torture and abuse of trans women in detention centers. I am a trans woman, I am tired of the abuse

While the president and other politicians are used to being heckled by immigrant rights groups, in a very out of character response, the president lost his cool, shook his finger and replied back, “Okay, you know what? No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Listen, you’re in my house.”  

The crowd, who were alleged LGBT advocates and allies, ignored Gutierrez’ remarks, cheered the president and began to chant, “Obama! Obama! Obama!”

Gutierrez was then escorted out as she continued a bilingual chant of her own, “Not one more deportation! Ni una mas deportacion!”

In a press release, Gutierrez, who is a founding member of FAMILIA TQLM (Trans Queer Liberation Movement) which was established to advocate for LGBTQ immigrant rights said: “The White House gets to make the decision whether it keeps us safe. There is no pride in how LGBTQ and transgender immigrants are treated in this country. If the President wants to celebrate with us, he should release the LGBTQ immigrants locked up in detention centers immediately.”

When asked about what she thought of the LGBT allies in the room who sided with the president, Gutierrez told reported.ly, “The majority of them were disappointed that I interrupted the president. It’s unfortunate that they don’t want to listen to what’s happening to LGBTQ people in detention centers.”

Her remarks come a day after 35 members of Congress signed a letter that was sent to Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson requesting the released of LGBTQ individuals from detention centers and placing them under alternative supervision pending their immigration cases. The letter cites the Bureau of Justice Statistics which found that while transgendered women make 1% of detainees, they account for 20% of sexual abuse assaults while under custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

With 18 months left in a two-term presidency, Obama’s promise of comprehensive immigration reform seems dismal. The president’s deportation record has reached well over 2 million since he took office earning him the title of “deporter in chief” by national Latino civil rights groups.

Perhaps the biggest fear for trans women, whether undocumented or not, is to be placed in jail or a detention facility for men simply because of their biological, physical gender and not their gender identity. Reports demonstrate that out of every 500 ICE detainees, one is transgendered, and one out of five confirmed sexual assault cases while in ICE detention, is from a transgendered victim.

This, after all, was the point that Jennicet Gutierrez was trying to make as she was escorted and boo’d out of the room that was honoring LGBT Pride Month.

1900s, Canada. Canada’s exclusion of the Chinese. (source)

As soon as the Canadian Pacific Railway was completed, the Federal Government moved to restrict the immigration of Chinese to Canada. The first federal anti-Chinese bill was passed in 1885. It took the form of a Head tax of $50 imposed, with few exceptions, upon every person of Chinese origin entering the country. No other group was targeted in this way.

The Head Tax was increased to $100 in 1900 and to $500 in 1903. $500 was equivalent to two years wages of a Chinese labour at the time. Meanwhile, Chinese were denied Canadian citizenship. In all, the Federal Government collected $23 million from the Chinese through the Head Tax.

Despite the Head Tax, Chinese immigrants continued to come to Canada. In 1923, the Canadian Parliament passed the Chinese Immigration Act excluding all but a few Chinese immigrants from entering Canada. Between 1923 and 1947 when the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed, less than 50 Chinese were allowed to come to Canada. Passed on July 1, 1923, Dominion Day, this law was perceived by the Chinese Canadian community as the ultimate form of humiliation. The Chinese Canadian community called this “Humiliation Day” and refused to celebrate Dominion Day for years to come.

In addition to the Head Tax and Exclusion Act, Chinese immigrants faced other forms of discrimination in their social, economic and political lives. The most devastating impact of the Head Tax and the Exclusion Act, however, was found in the development of Chinese Canadian family. During the exclusion era, early Chinese pioneers were not allowed to bring their family, including their wives, to Canada. As a result, the Chinese Canadian community became a “bachelor society”. The Head Tax and Exclusion Act resulted in long period of separation of families. Many Chinese families did not reunite until years after the initial marriage, and in some cases they were never reunited.

While their husbands were struggling abroad, many Chinese wives in China were left to raise their children by themselves. They experienced starvation and other extreme economic hardships.

Because of years of racist, anti-Chinese immigration legislation, today the Chinese Canadian community exhibits many characteristics of first-generation immigrants despite its history of close to 150 years in Canada.

What these “Go Back to Africa and Mexico” White Supremacists don’t realize is, if all of us, every single obviously black person left and every brown person that remained moved, nothing but white and fair skin remained. YOU AND THIS ECONOMY WOULD HAVE NOTHING AND WOULD SUFFER. Why? We make up the majority of your top beloved sports, black men are now in college more than they are incarcerated. Black women are among the highest in college attendance and career advancement. PLUS we have a great if not the greatest in buying power! You wouldn’t get to benefit from great films featuring Denzel Washington and Will Smith, the films that have helped drive the entertainment industry. And if we had left like you wanted us to in the 60’s you wouldn’t have Eminem or Michael Jackson, the 2 people you have cried over for years. And the immigrants you laugh at who don’t mind tending to our fields, if they left, agriculture would suffer! Black and other cultural influence has driven America and you feed off of the currency it brings. You wouldn’t even have Taco Bell, or any Mexican food you claim to love from the people you claim to hate. You wouldn’t be better off. If we leave, this nation suffers. The numbers don’t lie. Besides, this IS an immigrant nation, you’re not home either.
—  Karena Atkinson (If We Leave)

“Now, you’re not going to get this tattoo removed or covered up with a different tattoo, are you?”

“Oh no, officer.”