latino activist

Carlos A. Cooks was born in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic on June 23, 1913 to parents from St. Martin. He died in Harlem, New York, on May 5, 1966. He was a key link in the history of Black American nationalism between Marcus Garvey before him and Malcolm X, whom he influenced. He was also a member and leading figure of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) branches in Harlem and San Pedro de Macoris.

Luisa Moreno (1907-1992) was a Guatemalan social activist who emerged as a leader in the United States labour movement during the 1940s. She was responsible for a number of important activities, such as organizing and leading strikes, or writing pamphlets in both Spanish and English, working to improve the status and living conditions of Latino workers in the USA.

She worked as a seamstress in Spanish Harlem during the Great Depression, and organized her colleagues – mostly Latina women – into a garment workers’ union. Her efforts brought together many Hispanic unions with the purpose of improving their pay, life, and status in society. In 1939, she organized the first national Latino civil rights assembly, the Congreso de Pueblos de Habla Española. She eventually gained enough notoriety and influence that she was deported in 1950.

When the FBI branded Martin Luther King Jr a “dangerous” threat to national security and began tapping his phones, it was part of a long history of spying on black activists in the United States. But the government surveillance of black bodies has never been limited to activists – in fact, according to the FBI;you only had to be black .

In the current fight between Apple and the FBI, black perspectives are largely invisible, yet black communities stand to lose big if the FBI wins. A federal judge in California is set to rule on Tuesday whether the FBI will be granted a request compelling Apple to unlock the iPhone of a San Bernardino shooter.

While seemingly about protecting national security – the same rationale used to justify 20th century surveillance of MLK, the Black Panther Party and others – this case is about much more. It could establish a legal precedent used to suppress the growing movement for black lives that is deposing public officials and disrupting the daily assault on black people in cities across the country.

Building off the civil rights and black power movements of the 1960s, a 21st century movement for black lives is coming of age, mobilizing the same courageous methods of non-violent direct action, using the same local-to-local strategy, and making many of the same demands. An intersectional approach is replacing old identity politics, and a newfound digital landscape is making communication possible in more directions and at previously unimaginable speeds. The movement for black lives is attracting the brightest minds and bravest bodies. Black activists are developing new ways of grassroots organizing in an information economy.

Like its predecessors, the democratic movement for black lives has been met by anti-democratic state surveillance and anti-black police violence. New “smart” policing methods are being used by modern-day gumshoes who, fueled by the false rhetoric of black criminality, experiment with high-tech tools to the detriment of black democratic engagement.

In the 20th century, the FBI admitted to overreaching and violating the constitution when it used its counter intelligence program, COINTELPRO, for domestic surveillance that spied on black activists. Last year, FBI director James Comey admitted in a congressional committee hearing to flying spy planes that monitored protests in the wake of police killings of black people in Ferguson and Baltimore with the agency working in tandem with local police. In Chicago, home of the infamous “red squad”, police collected “ First Amendment Worksheets ” on black organizations such as We Charge Genocide, and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition.

There are reports from activists on the front lines of protests about police employing “kill switch” technology to cut off live-streaming, using Stingraysto intercept phone calls, or flying drones overhead for crowd control, but such claims are unconfirmed as police refuse to reveal their techniques and are not compelled by law to do so.

Twentieth century surveillance is alive and well in the 21st century, and is one powerful reason why, in a digital age and era of big data, the fight for racial justice must also include a fight for the equal and fair application of first and fourth amendment rights.

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A letter was sent by some of us in the Black Lives Matter movement to California federal magistrate judge Sheri Pym, who is overseeing the Apple case, warning of the dangerous implications of siding with the FBI. It was signed by Beats, Rhymes & Relief, the Gathering for Justice, Justice League NYC, writer Shaun King, Black Lives Matter co-founder and Black Alliance for Just Immigration executive director Opal Tometi, as well as the organization I work for, the Center for Media Justice.

I signed because, as the child of a Black Panther, I grew up with the persistent threat of police spying. The police “watched” my family in the name of “safety” and “national security”, but I knew that we became targets of government surveillance because my mother advocated for black bodies abandoned and abused by state violence.

That is why the FBI case is not only against Apple, but is also against communities of color and communities of resistance. It is against democracy. It is against the black immigrant worker who has fled political persecution, the black and Latino youth putting themselves on the line to catalyze deep change, the gender non-conforming bodies subjected to daily assaults, the Muslim communities regularly targeted by bias and hate crimes. We don’t have the same protections others take for granted, we are instead treated as perpetually guilty.

Reports have surfaced that the Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the movement for black lives since the initial uprisings in Ferguson. We know that police are watching the tweets we write, the Facebook event pages we set up, and the demonstrations we organize in the streets. If we are arrested, our phones will be confiscated. Whether or not police can look into our phones, whether or not they need a warrant, is being tested in court. This is not a vision of some distant dystopic future, this is happening right now. This is why the FBI case against Apple, is also against us.

For black communities and others pushed to the margins of political and economic power – democratic engagement and the exercise of our human and civil rights in a digital age demands the ability to encrypt our communications.

It isn’t just Black activists either – Latino activists are raising a similar rallying cry. Consider the prospect of a President Trump, who has notoriously expressed his anti-immigrant views, and sided with the FBI in its fight against Apple. With record numbers of deportations already at hand – could undocumented immigrants be rounded up using the information transmitted from their cellphones?

A newly developed open source app for iPhones called Signal , which encrypts phone calls and text messages, has become a favorite among organizers as well as Edward Snowden . It allows for free and instant encryption of messages that cannot be cracked by anybody wanting to eavesdrop. Activists across the world have adopted the app as one way to protect their right to organize.

Yet encryption technology is for more than just activists. Whether protecting from identity theft or government surveillance – all communities need to protect their data in the digital age. We cannot have a healthy democracy without everyone’s voice.

Black voices, and other voices of color, have long been missing from the debates on government surveillance – but not anymore. We’re here, and we are calling on companies to protect the rights of consumers, and on legislators to protect the rights of residents. One way to do both is to pass the Encrypt Act 2016 , which would, if passed, prevent the government, or a contracted company, from altering the security functions of computers and cellphones, or decoding encrypted information, in order to conduct a search. Even now, members of congress are bizarrely moving to ban encryption at the state level using the rhetoric of terrorism and black criminality.

Encryption is necessary for black civil and human rights to prosper, but isn’t enough. While it protects our democratic right to organize for change, we must fight for a world in which those rights are not under persistent threat. The Apple v the FBI case is a test case for democracy. It will determine, for this and the next generation, who has the right to communicate, and therefore the power to define reality.

In the encryption debate, the stakes are high for black people. Indeed, we are in a fight for our lives. I believe that we will win.

anonymous asked:

"I don’t identify as hispanic, I prefer latina or mestiza." Isn't "Chicanx" the more politically conscious term? The student's I've seen into decolonial self-identity, that study their history,seemed to identify as Chicano/Chicano Studies etc. It also ties the historic, anti-racism, political movements of "brown' peoples in the U.S. Doesn't "mestiza" focus on the mixed Euro aspect rather than decentering from that and identifying as "Chicano"/native?

“I don’t identify as hispanic, I prefer latina or mestiza.” Also “Latino” refers to the LATIN language which is based in Europe, the ancestor to Spanish, so technically saying latino and Hispanic is basically the same thing. I never understood why so many “latino” supposed activists still have an aversion to calling themselves “Chicano” despite the more university students & “latino” professors also identifying as Chicano first. Non-Euro centered.

“I don’t identify as hispanic, I prefer latina or mestiza.” So really, Latino, Mestizo and Hispanic all center white/Euro/Spanish as the focus. Chicano is more accurate to describe Mexican-Americans but there doesn’t seem to be a blanket term to unite all brown people other than under some Euro Spanish umbrella. The brown community should think of a new name.

k, so clearly u missed my points about not interfering with how someone else chooses to go about their respective identity in the face of colonial forces.

But since u decided to ignore that, i’ll pick apart how u speaking on my personal terms with a misinformed idea about my history was a bad choice on ur part.

The first of many mistakes that u sought fit to spew onto the world was to think of ‘Chicanx’ as a term that had any potential in addressing the diversity/complexity that is the larger latin american community as a whole, when it is a term whose history is specific to only mexican americans.

((Like..How can u tell me that chicanx is a more ‘politically conscious term’ when ur bases for that is under the assumption that all “brown people” [not all latinx are brown, so…go u for mistake number 2~] should align themselves with a term specifically meant for mexican americans???))

Latinx is NOT ‘basically the same thing’ as hispanic…

Latinx is a term specific to latin americans who recognize the impact of our history with colonization from latin-language based nations (Spain, Portugal, etc), which many of us across borders have shared in different ways, while hispanic is a recognition/alignment to Spanish origins that doesn’t just involve people in the Americas.

((Also… not sure what ur point in bringing up “Why don’t more ‘latin’ activists ID as chicanx like my smarty smarts university students and professors???” was other than an attempt to make ur proposal to substitute ‘chicanx’ identity for latin american identity as a whole seem more credible based on classist assumptions on ‘higher’ education))

Mestizx is a term that originated  from the Spanish casta system that was used in their social casting projects during colonization, so for once u aren’t wrong to say that words like ‘mestizx’ and ‘latinx’ (no genderedized language pls…) have their beginnings in europe. 

But that isn’t something that we’re trying to hide under the covers to begin with.

Both latinx and mestizx have since been reclaimed terms for latin americans who have more differences between one another than similarities, although one of the bigger similarities being the fact that all of us are impacted by past conquests of European superpowers (though in different ways) who have had latin based languages.

My interests in identifying as latinx over hispanic isn’t to omit the Spanish part of my history, it was a personal choice to avoid placing it at the forefront my own being.

I don’t believe in erasing a history that i find ugly. Which is the same reason why I don’t believe that calling myself ‘native’ over ‘mestizx’ is going to change anything about how European influence has had a part in my creation.

Mestizx is a term that has been reclaimed by people who have lost connection to their native ancestry under spanish colonizers and often lack other means to self identify.

Unfortunately, there are mestizx (as well as many chicanx in the mexica movement for example) who have turned their ideas of ‘reclamation’ of ‘native identity’ in their decolonization efforts as a cover for the continuation of oppressive mestizaje ideologies; which target, erase, and kill traditional/connected latin american natives who have fought mestizx assimilation since the beginning in our communities.

Though i support challenging people to become more insightful about the terms/structure of colonial hierarchies, trying to bypass a legacy of mestizx working to erase/silence native latin american in the name of “decolonization” is something that i have to fight against.

That’s why i choose to call myself a mestiza. Because that’s how i recognize myself in history. I understand its origins and implications, i know how people like me came to be, and what we have/are participating in.

I don’t need or want you to try to blanket my identity as “chicanx” because that experience is not a part of my history, and i will not identify as ‘native’ because im honest enough with myself to know where to respectfully set my boundaries.

Kindly fuck off with this faux “#decolonization” “#viva aztlan” shit that you’re telling me i need to swallow.

There wasn’t a damn word you said that i found ‘liberating’ to my self identity in latinidad.

- liz

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Happy Birthday, José Ferrer Canales!

Dr. José Ferrer Canales (September 18, 1913 – July 20, 2005) was an educator, writer and a pro-independence political activist.

Ferrer Canales was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico into a poor working-class family. Despite the economic hardships his family faced, he was able to attend school. He received his elementary education at the Pedro G. Goyco Elementary School and his secondary instruction at Román Baldorioty de Castro School in San Juan. He attended and graduated from the Central Superior High School. It was very difficult for him because after school he had to work in order to help support his family.[1]

In 1934, Ferrer Canales enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico. During his university years he met and befriended Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos, leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. This led to his active participation in the pro-independence movement. In 1937, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Arts, graduating Magna Cum Laude. In 1944, Canales earned his Master’s degree in Arts with his thesis: “Enrique José Varona”. He felt influenced by the philosophic ideas of Varona, Eugenio María de Hostos and José Martí.[1]

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