Archive for May 20th, 2011

May 20, 2011

5/20 – GA Voice – Gay-led Latino organization won’t support boycott of Georgia after passage of controversial immigration bill

Gay-led Latino organization won’t support boycott of Georgia after passage of controversial immigration bill

by Dyana Bagby
May 20, 2011 14:05

Jerry Gonzalez

Jim Galloway, writer of the Political Insider column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, says that the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials won’t support boycotts of the state as part of opposition to passage of the law.

GALEO is headed up by openly gay man Jerry Gonzalez.

According to Galloway, Gonzales issued a statement that states:

“HB 87 is deeply flawed legislation that will be challenged in the federal court system. Absent a federal injunction, our groups will work to ensure Latino and immigrant civil rights are protected in our state should HB 87 be fully implemented in our state.

“However, Georgia is our home and we do want our state to progress and develop. HB87 will make our efforts much more difficult, but as good-hearted Georgians, we will stand together to make Georgia a better place for all of us, including Latinos and immigrants. Georgia is home to almost 900,000 Latinos and thousands of immigrants; it is where we live, work, and play. A boycott would devastate Georgias tourism and convention industry. Many Latinos and immigrants depend on this, and other industries, for their livelihood.

“Certainly, there is much fear and anxiety within the immigrant community. However, the intention of HB87 was also to spread fear in order to drive immigrants away from Georgia. We ask our community members to reject that fear and to remain informed and educated about the pending legal process.”

Other LGBT-led organizations, such as Southerners on New Ground, which also opposed the legislation, are supporting boycotts of the state as well as partnering with SOMOS Georgia to ask local businesses, organizations and places of worship to sign up as “safe zones” and “Buy Spots.”

Lesbian-owned Charis Books & More up as the first business to be a Buy Spot and “Sanctuary Zone” as part of a new movement titled “We Are Georgia.” As a safe zone and Buy Spot, the business is letting Gov. Nathan Deal it will not comply with the law and will work with other groups to overturn the law.

Gay-owned Radial Cafe also signed with “We Are Georgia” on as well as the queer alternative fest Mondo Homo. Other groups serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community that have signed on in recent days include GetEQUAL GA, the Queer Justice League, Gentle Spirit Christian Church and Decatur United Church of Christ.

Southerners on New Ground and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force joined Latino and labor organizations as well as other human rights groups in calling for a national boycott of Georgia if Deal signed the bill into law. Deal signed the legislation May 13.

The NGLTF sent a letter to Gov. Deal asking him to veto the bill and informing him that if he signed the bill into law, its annual Creating Change conference planned for Atlanta in 2013 would be located in another state.

Top photo: Jerry Gonzalez, the openly gay executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, says his organization won’t support boycotts of Georgia after the passage of HB 87. He’s pictured here at the Rally for Truth at the State Capitol in March. (by Dyana Bagby)

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May 20, 2011

5/20 ajc.com – Group that fought illegal immigration bill won’t support boycotts of Georgia | Political Insider

Group that fought illegal immigration bill won’t support boycotts of Georgia | Political Insider.

The head of the group that led the fight against Georgia illegal immigration bill said his and two other Latino groups will not support boycotts of the state or its products.

From the statement by Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials:

HB 87 is deeply flawed legislation that will be challenged in the federal court system. Absent a federal injunction, our groups will work to ensure Latino and immigrant civil rights are protected in our state should HB 87 be fully implemented in our state.

However, Georgia is our home and we do want our state to progress and develop. HB87 will make our efforts much more difficult, but as good-hearted Georgians, we will stand together to make Georgia a better place for all of us, including Latinos and immigrants. Georgia is home to almost 900,000 Latinos and thousands of immigrants; it is where we live, work, and play. A boycott would devastate Georgias tourism and convention industry. Many Latinos and immigrants depend on this, and other industries, for their livelihood.

Certainly, there is much fear and anxiety within the immigrant community. However, the intention of HB87 was also to spread fear in order to drive immigrants away from Georgia. We ask our community members to reject that fear and to remain informed and educated about the pending legal process.

– By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

May 20, 2011

5/20 – ajc.com – Opponents of Ga. immigration law clash over boycotts | ajc.com

Opponents of Ga. immigration law clash over boycotts  | ajc.com.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Activists fighting Georgia’s tough new immigration enforcement law revealed this week that they are sharply divided over whether to support economic boycotts targeting the state.

The Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia and the Latinos in Information Sciences & Technology Association announced their opposition to boycotts Friday, saying they could hurt Hispanics who work in the state’s tourism industry.

On the other side, organizations that advocate for immigrants — including Cuentame and Southerners on New Ground — have been encouraging businesses and conventioneers to cancel their trips to Georgia because of House Bill 87. Some opponents of the new law have created Facebook pages calling for boycotts aimed at the state. Meanwhile, activists confirmed this week that they are weighing whether to target specific Georgia companies for boycotts, including Aflac, Coca-Cola Co., Delta Air Lines and Home Depot.

For a glimpse of what could happen here, both sides could look to Arizona, which enacted a similar bill targeting illegal immigration last year. In all, the Grand Canyon State has lost about 40 conventions amid economic boycotts inspired by its new law, according to the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association. One estimate says the lost bookings have cost Arizona $141 million. Numerous cities and counties have targeted Arizona with economic boycotts as well.

Like Arizona’s law, Georgia’s HB 87 authorizes police to investigate the immigration status of suspects. Georgia’s law also punishes people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants or use fake identification to get a job here.

Supporters of the measure say Georgia needs to take immediate action because the federal government has failed to secure the nation’s borders, allowing illegal immigrants to burden this state’s public schools, hospitals and jails. Opponents say Georgia’s new law will promote racial profiling and damage the state’s economy by scaring away migrant workers and conventioneers.

Jerry Gonzalez, executive director of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials, strongly condemned HB 87 at his association’s annual breakfast Friday morning. Hours later, he issued a statement from GALEO, the Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia and the Latinos in Information Sciences & Technology Association that opposes boycotts.

“A boycott would devastate Georgia’s tourism and convention industry,” Gonzalez said. “Many Latinos and immigrants depend on this, and other industries, for their livelihood.”

Delta and Coca-Cola have donated to GALEO, Gonzalez confirmed Friday, and Rudy Beserra, vice president of Latin affairs for Coca-Cola North America, serves on GALEO’s board. Both those issues did not factor into GALEO’s decision to oppose boycotts, Gonzalez said.

After Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 87 into law this month, Southerners on New Ground — a group that represents minorities, immigrants, gays, lesbians and bisexual and transgendered people — called for boycotts.

“We are calling on all businesses, conventions and conferences to cancel your trips to the state of Georgia and pledge to not spend one dollar here until this law is repealed,” Paulina Hernandez of Southerners on New Ground said in a news release. “We are also putting the nation on alert that there may be soon a Georgia products boycott as well — so stay alert and be prepared to stay away from businesses such as Home Depot, Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, and Aflac Insurance.”

In an interview, Hernandez criticized Coca-Cola for contributing to Deal’s gubernatorial election campaign last year. Deal campaigned on bringing an Arizona-style law to Georgia.

Coca-Cola issued a statement, saying “calling for boycotts is not productive.”

“Consumer boycotts hurt the local economy, local businesses and local employees,” said Charlie Sutlive, a spokesman for Coca-Cola. “In Georgia, we produce, sell and distribute beverages, employing more than 9,000 local associates and fueling the local economy. Everyone along our value chain is affected by a boycott.”

Aflac declined to comment for this article. A Home Depot spokesman said his company was not involved in the debate over HB 87 and did not lobby on the bill. Delta officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

One group — the U.S. Human Rights Network — has already announced it will cancel plans to hold its annual conference in Atlanta because of HB 87.

Moments after signing HB 87 into law last week, Deal told reporters the costs of illegal immigration for Georgia “far outweigh any of the dangers that may be threatened by boycotts.”

“But that is not to say we want or that even we expect” boycotts, he said. “We think our state is a great state. It is open. It is friendly. That is what has made us a great place to do business. And we certainly will continue to welcome those who want to come here.”

Staff writers Jeremiah McWilliams, J. Scott Trubey and Kelley Yamanouchi contributed to this article.

May 20, 2011

5/19 – The Scanner – Students Protest Georgia’s Immigrant Profiling Law

Students Protest Georgia’s Immigrant Profiling Law


High schoolers say the policy discriminates against minors brought here as children

MABLETON, Ga. (AP) — About 100 students walked out of class at a suburban Atlanta high school on Tuesday, protesting Georgia’s new law cracking down on illegal immigration and a new Georgia university system policy that effectively bars illegal immigrant students from the five most competitive state colleges and universities.

The students at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton left class at 2 p.m. and rallied outside the school. Several illegal immigrant students shared their stories and some other students expressed their support for their illegal immigrant friends.

“I feel like doing something like this raises awareness and also shows our voices,” said Dulce Guerrero, a senior who was brought to the U.S. illegally when she was 2 years old. “I’m here to give all undocumented students a face.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the students would face any penalty for walking out of class. A woman who answered the phone at the school said the administration had no comment and a spokesman for the Cobb County School District did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Georgia’s new law would authorize law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of certain suspects and would penalize people who transport or harbor illegal immigrants in certain circumstances. It also would require many employers to check the immigration status of new hires.

The Georgia university system implemented a new policy last year that would bar any school that had rejected an academically qualified applicant in the previous two year from accepting illegal immigrants.

The students called May 17 a symbolic day because that was the day in 1954 that the Supreme Court handed down a decision that declared segregated schools unconstitutional.

The Rev. Timothy McDonald, a civil rights activist, addressed the students gathered outside the school. He is a former staff member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization founded by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that led the movement for equality and justice for blacks.

“There is no doubt in my mind that if Dr. King were alive today, he would be here,” McDonald said. “I am a firm believer that immigration is the 21st century civil rights issue and we will win.”

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