5/14 – change.org – “Human Rights Summer” Announced in Response to Signing of Anti-Immigrant Law in Georgia | Change.org News

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via “Human Rights Summer” Announced in Response to Signing of Anti-Immigrant Law in Georgia | Change.org News.

by Gabriela Garcia · May 14, 2011

At noon on Friday the 13th (coincidence?), Georgia governor Nathan Deal signed the state’s Arizona copycat bill, HB 87, into law. The law is one of the most punitive yet — undocumented workers can be charged with felonies and face up to 15 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Citizens who commit traffic infractions can face up to 12 months in prison and $1,000 in fines for driving in a car with an undocumented person. Already, groups including the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center are preparing for civil right lawsuits to block the law.
Immigrant families, protesters, and human rights groups weren’t allowed into the capitol to witness the signing. But outside, organizers stated that a boycott of the state is “on like Donkey Kong.” “This is not the end of the battle, only the beginning of a new stage,” Adelina Nicholls of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights said. “This law can and must be fought, and it can and will be defeated.”

Just hours after the signing, a public assembly was held in which broad coalitions of civil rights groups announced their plans, which begin with a “Human Rights Summer” in Georgia. In a state with a long and painful history in the battle for civil rights, this resistance movement brings to mind the 1964 “freedom summer” that ultimately resulted in the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Among the events planned for Human Rights Summer: a Women’s March in Defense of the Immigrant Family on May 22. And July 1, when HB 87 goes into effect, will be a day of non-compliance when human rights supporters will be asked not to go to work or buy anything. Others events and actions will be announced.

Immigrant sanctuaries and “buyspots” will also be established during this time of boycott. Businesses, community organizations, places of worship, and institutions that refuse to comply with the law, which states that it is illegal to “harbor or transport” undocumented immigrants, will place decals on their windows indicating it is a safe space for immigrants and a place where supporters can feel comfortable spending their money.

“The Montgomery Bus boycott became a symbol of opposition to the racial segregation, political disenfranchisement, and persecution of blacks in the South,” reads the We Are Georgia coalition page. “Just as the Montgomery Bus boycott was about more than where black people could sit on a bus, the Georgia boycott is about more than HB-87.”

One way to stand with Georgia right now is to ask MLB commissioner Bud Selig to break baseball’s silence on this at their annual Civil Rights Game happening in Atlanta.

Gabriela Garcia is a freelance writer who has written for Latina, the Miami New Times, National Geographic Traveler blog, and Matador Network blogs, amongst other publications.

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