Happy Diwali and Halloween

Sheth, who describes himself as religious, said he, and his mother, find peace with his sexual orientation in the context of Hinduism. He says the god Shiva embodies a balance of male and female energy, even if he is physically depicted as a male.

“I found that the idea of a soul in Hinduism is not gendered,” he said.

Ankita Rao in LGBT Diwali: Gay Hindus Seek Inclusive Festivities

The District is a miserable and lonely place to be for Diwali unless you are an undergrad at GW or American, and even then people are generally clueless when you try to talk to them about this major festival that is celebrated by more than a billion people in the world. That said, a Happy Diwali to all my South Asian friends and a very Happy New Year.

I took up writing for the Nota Bene, which is The George Washington University Law School newspaper, so check it out. The most recent piece is about the D.C. Mayor playing both sides of the immigration debate by banning public safety officials from asking for immigration status but still cooperating with federal immigration officials to deport non-criminals. Most people don’t know that the District does participate in the (In)Secure Communities program, which I’ve written about extensively on this blog.

Some immigrant rights groups are actually doing real work in Alabama (as opposed to the C-3s building their email lists from this crisis). Mohammad found a 17 year old Dreamer at the Jefferson County Jail, who is likely to be handed over to ICE for deportation. Tell ICE not to detain him here. We are also trying to get a large contingent of undocumented youth organizers to go down to Alabama from November 11 (a day after my own immigration court hearing in San Francisco) to document abuses, empower immigrant communities to fight back and work on changing things in Alabama so we need all the financial support we can get from supporters.

Movie recommendation: Aarakshan, a Prakash Jha movie that is a riveting socio-political commentary on the increased privatization of education and how it interacts with the caste reservation quota system in India. Aarakshan falls in line with my own philosophy regarding education and affirmative action: if there aren’t enough seats in a classroom, bring in another seat, build yet another classroom, and more schools till every student can have equal and free access to an education.

Looking for a Halloween costume? Don’t dress up as a member of a minority group.

Anti-Immigrant Group Kicks Pregnant Women out of National Conference

At Progressives for Immigration Reform’s (PFIR) 2nd National Conference on Immigration, Conservation and the Environment, on October 4, four pregnant women were kicked out after they raised concerns about mothers being blamed for environmental degradation.

During a talk by Californians for Population Stabilization’s Ben Zuckerman on the “impact of our growing population on our natural environment.” one woman asked the question, “Are you saying that the life inside of me is the problem? Won’t the next generation be leading us to new solutions?” According to a bystander, shortly after, the same mother stood up and said “my child is not the problem. My child is the solution.” As the other mothers stood up to show support, security guards physically escorted them out of the room while women sang “this little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

According to the flyer, the women are “mothers concerned with finding real solutions to environmental problems…committed to raising children to be conscious of social justice AND environmental issues.”

Kicking pregnant women of color out of a meeting for expressing themselves is hardly progressive. Neither is PFIR, an anti-immigrant group funded by white nationalists that is a spin-off of controversial anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform. PFIR does not have a problem with population per se — they have a problem with the growing minority population. Since its inception, PFIR has attempted to use progressive frames around conservation to lure environmentalists into the anti-immigrant movement. They blame high immigration levels — including legal immigration — for ravaging the environment while ignoring their own devastating footprint on the planet, turning a blind eye to the detrimental environmental conditions in other countries created by multi-national capital that compels people to leave their homes, and disputing that immigration can actually help to fund and drive the green economy in this country.

All this is to say that PFIR is not anywhere near progressive or environmental friendly and no one should fall for their anti-immigrant drivel unless being progressive now means hating immigrants and our babies.