DC is Holding A “Secure Your Own Community” Training This Weekend

DC Mayor Office ActionDreamActivist D.C., in collaboration with the National Immigrant Youth Alliance is hosting “Secure Your Own Community” (SYOC) training in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area where participants will learn the basics of stopping deportations in their own communities. There is a lot of excitement about this training, with organizers coming from across the country, joining grassroots organizers in D.C. to hold this training by and for the community.

The training will be in Washington D.C. on Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15, from 10 am until 6pm.

SYOC trainings are designed to:

  • Provide background information and history of SYOC campaigns
  • Inform participants on how to effectively apply pressure on legislative officials
  • Train participants on the basics of organizing and mobilizing immigrant communities
  • Teach how to use social media to build momentum around deportation cases
  • Conduct an interactive session to give participants a chance to practice newly learned skill

The training is free for the community, through spots are limited so RSVP today. Please share this link with persons who may be interested in attending the training.

Thanks to the generosity of the AFL-CIO, we have been able to secure a great location for the event. However, we need at least $1000 to cover the cost of getting organizers to the training and providing attendees with sustenance to carry them through two days of trainings. The organizers have already raised $130 and a generous donor has agreed to match funds so they only need to raise $400 more, which you can do by contributing here.

Other Ways You Can Help

We know some people just can’t contribute funds, but they can help us by

  • Getting out the word through social media
  • Reaching out to the national affiliate The NIYA to organize these trainings in your own communities. Dulce Guerrero is a fantastic organizer, responsible for stopping hundreds of deportations in Georgia, and she leads these trainings.

I will be attending and I hope to see everyone who believes in securing our communities there.

A Time to Change: Unconscionable Contracts and Workers’ Rights to Use Social Media As Concerted Activity

Image representing Change.org as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

Since I believe in open and honest communication and people are curious as to what transpired between Change.org and me, here is a fleshed-out version. It is not meant to ruffle any feathers but just a statement of facts that transpired over the course of the last few days.

I was told early Friday morning — before my last law school final and arguably what was supposed to be the best day of my life this year — that all blogging contracts were being terminated. Shocked and upset, I rushed off an email to the “Immigrant Rights” team, asking them to clarify what was going on and whether there was something else in the works.

I received a clarification: they would love to keep me on at 1/3 pay and did not discuss a new contract with me because I was doing my exams. I still don’t understand why it is acceptable to send me a notice of contract termination during my exams but not two sentences about a new contract. It is incompetent communication.

I was noticeably livid and posted on Facebook and Twitter about my disappointment over losing my job. Then I went to take my final exams. That evening, instead of celebrating with my law school classmates, I stayed in and received a copy of my NTA from DHS with charges that made no sense. I was in removal proceedings facing provably false charges and just lost my job, which would have been a tremendous help during proceedings. It was an extremely tense and stressful situation for me and my entire family.

I checked my email later, which had apologies from practically everyone from the owner of the site down to the Editor of “Immigrant Rights.” On Saturday, I was on the phone with the “Director of Immigrant Rights,” who tried to apologize once again and work through a new contract. On Sunday, I was given a new offer with an apology. I accepted the apologies, agreed with the offer and asked for a formal contract to be drawn up.

I don’t need to get into how I virtually built that site and lent credibility to several causes over the last two years. I wasn’t just a blogger — I went above and beyond the call of duty to teach people how to write, organize and even recruit new members for the team. I was a constant model for how to organize using social media. And that is an understatement. But I digress.

Late on Monday night, I was told that the company had issues with my use of social media. They felt disparaged and pointed to a contract provision that stated that I could never speak ill of an employee or the company under the old contract and going forward in the future. I was told an exception would be made for my past use but not going forward.

In typical law student fashion, I pointed out that the contractual provision from the old contract and the new one on the table was
1) unconscionable (standard boilerplate contract)
2) a violation of public policy (per NLRB v. American Medical Response of Connecticut, prohibiting a worker’s concerted use of social media is illegal)

The next thing I hear, there is no contract for me: clearly, a violation  of an agreement-to-agree in good faith.

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Homophobia Wars on Twitter

Sometime today it was hard to avoid the #uknowhowiknowurgay trend on twitter. It’s full of filthy, vile and stereotypical comments about LGBT folks and often nothing in particular.

@thelinster started a counter-trend with #yaygay which became a trending topic at the expense of #unknowhowiknowurgay. You can call this a mini (meaningless) social media war although some are dubbing it as the power of community.

Trending statistics

After 3 hours, #yaygay surpassed AT&T, the lowest trending topic, so it should have replaced #AT&T on the trending list. Instead, it came behind AT&T and the homophobic trending topic was removed / replaced.

Maybe I am reading trendistics wrong but #uknowhowiknowurgay was still trending much higher than #yaygay before the removal. It was only after 30 minutes of its removal that it plummeted. Did Twitter step in or are the ‘real-time’ trendistics slow in updating?

Either way, #yaygay lasted at the top for only a short while, before plummeting. 5 hours later #uknowhowiknowurgay was trending again. I checked trendistics and it revealed this chart which certainly does not match up with Twitter trends:

There are plenty of losers in all of this but in this 4 hour war, one winner was certainly our cellular phone companies. The other winner is Twitter–way to keep both sides happy.