Archive for July, 2010

A Day of Action

July 29, 2010 2 comments

There’s lots happening in Arizona today.

Today is the first day of implementation for SB 1070 there are some pretty big rallies and marches being planned by L.A. union leaders and the United Farm Workers.

From the press release:

“If SB 1070 and other similar laws proposed around the country are allowed to go into effect, it would have a negative impact on the nation’s agricultural industry. Arizona produces much of the nation’s winter vegetables. Today somewhere between one-half and three-quarters of the U.S. farm labor workforce is undocumented. Agricultural employment is often the entry point for new migrants to this country. We need to end the fear and help improve the lives of the immigrant farm workers whose sweat and sacrifice bring the rich bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to our tables. They do the hardest, most difficult jobs other American workers won’t do,” [UFW President Arturo] Rodriguez said.

Chartered buses are on their way to Phoenix as I write this.

Organizers of other rallies are planning to be in attendance without papers and there will most likely be arrests.

Speaking of protest and direct action. One of the best pieces of political theater I’ve seen so far was staged by DREAM Act activists (DREAMers) at Netroots Nation. I think it really drove home the point of what we’re dealing with here. The DREAMers posed as ICE officers and stopped those who looked “European” and asked for their papers before allowing them to enter the Netroots lunch on “Civil Rights in the Modern Era.” They cited an uptick in the number of undocumented European immigrants. People of color, like myself, were waved on through. Check out the video after the jump.

(video courtesy of

Most folks rolled with it, yet they definitely acknowledged the uncomfortable feeling of being stopped for no reason. Others were not quite so tolerant and one white gay male blogger, John Aravosis of Americablog, even made a complaint to the Netroots organizers and demanded apologies from the DREAMers. Though I couldn’t tell you what for. Nezua of the has a great video up on the action and an interview with the young woman Aravosis tried to belittle. The action starts at about 5:30. For the most part, though,  the progressives at Netroots rolled with it. This was a bold action that, unfortunately, may be realized if SB1070 is not rescinded altogether.

Today is an important day for immigration reform. I’m standing with them in solidarity.

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Netroots Nation 2010 Recap: Intro

July 26, 2010 2 comments

You may have noticed from the previous post’s date that I wrote it last Thursday, but that I’m only now just recapping my experience there.

While my experiences with blogging have evolved, I still think a vital part of any successful blog (and I use that term liberally) worth reading accepts as the premise that one should post on a semi-regular basis. I try to keep to this, though my archive doesn’t necessarily reflect it. Still, my excitement over going, as my first Netroots post shows, was partly because of the amount of blogging I would be doing while there.

Cut to day one of the LGBT Pre-conference event. I was a little tired after arriving at 1 a.m. west coast, but I was jazzed and ready to go! Wi-fi service wasn’t free on this day as Netroots hadn’t actually started yet, so I paid for it. I was happy to.

That’s when the connection I had just purchased only an hour or so earlier suddenly went out. Never to return for the rest of the day. Drat. It was fine, though. I just decided to update on the 22nd, Thursday, the first day of the conference. It would be free, too.

Imagine my horror when the connection still wouldn’t return! I managed to catch it a couple of times, but it would never last. There was a point that day, though, where I managed to get a signal for a good while. Then my computer, Tiffany, started freaking out on me. I know she’s an old Mac, but I thought she’d hold up fine. Nope. I guess Tiffany had had enough because she refused to cooperate and shut down my browser and started what I call “hiccuping”. The menu bar just flashes and I have to force quit.

I get it, Tiff. You want to retire. I need a new computer. Oy.

The entire conference was plagued with technical issues for others besides myself and Tiffany only compounded a bad situation. I just had to accept that my first bloggers conference would have to go blogpost-free until I got home. Go figure.

I was able to Tweet my time there, so check out my Twitter feed on the lower right or on the website, for some pretty fun Tweeting. Searching hashtag #nn10 should yield some good stuff from the whole conference, too.

The “Encouraging Signs” post was written last Thursday, but as soon as I clicked “Save Draft”, Tiffany shutdown and I pretty much gave up. I wasn’t even sure it had been saved. Imagine my surprise when I get home to start my post-conference blogging and I see the post saved and ready to go. I’m especially glad because I am exhausted and had to return to my full-time job. This beauty needs rest.

Consider that post the prologue to upcoming posts over the course of this week about my time at Netroots Nation 2010: Las Vegas.

Look for another recap tomorrow, this time on Day 1 and so on.

I walked away with some new thoughts on where the progressive movement should be going. I’ll also have more thoughts on how the LGBT and Latino communities can rally around immigration reform as well as some pretty funny-ass stories involving mohawks, a Tequila Caucus and, of course, Chippendales.

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Encouraging Signs

July 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I am a proud gay man. I am a proud Latino. I’ve spent my adult life working on behalf of both of those communities.

Sadly, those two communities have not always embraced each other. The gay rights movement has for too long been lacking in diversity and has been slow to address that issue.

The Latino community, with its heavy Catholic influence and family dynamics that are often rooted in traditionalism is wary of what gay rights could mean for them.

This has been a source of frustration for me and I’ve often racked my brains over how to bridge that divide. After the first couple of days at Netroots Nation, though, I am seeing some very good signs of encouragement.

It seems that everywhere I go at this conference, everyone is talking about immigration, including progressives in the gay community. Indeed, Kate Kendall of National Center for Lesbian Rights, made a compelling case for how the gay community must embrace and support the Latino community, and minority communities in general. This is a significant move for the gay rights movement as it is finally starting to realize that immigration affects them, too. I see much collaboration between the two communities in the coming years, and I think the conservative right should be scared.

I have been delighted to hear that gay bloggers want to make our leaders accountable on immigration reform, not only where it concerns UAFA, which would directly affect bi-national LGBT couples but on immigration reform in general.

One of the most encouraging talks I’ve had about what we bloggers can do to work with immigration reform advocates had to do with being in the closet. And, I think it is one of the best selling points we can make to win over the hearts and minds of those in the gay community who, at best, have been lukewarm to the idea of supporting immigration reform.

Undocumented immigrants are also in the closet and every out gay person knows what it is like to live a lie and to be in constant fear of being discovered. We have all been through it at one point or another and if for no other reason than this, we should be supporting immigration reform that would help these folks come out of their immigration closet. Our undocumented brothers and sisters live every day in fear that they may not see their families after they leave for work in the morning. They live in fear that their families will be ripped apart for an unknown amount of time. They live in fear of having to make the trek back across the border after being deported.

The gay community can make real inroads with another community that is in desperate need of the kind of advocacy the gay rights movement is famous for.

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Netroots Nation and Me

July 21, 2010 2 comments

I’ve been a busy traveler these past couple of weeks and I’m a bit exhausted from having worked at the annual NCLR conference in San Antonio.

Now, I’m off to the Netroots Nation 2010 conference in Las Vegas. This is really a treat for me and I’m eternally thankful to Mike Rogers and his National Blogger and Citizen Journalist Initiative and another pair of great friends who I’ll be working with while in Vegas.

This is going to be my first Netroots Nation conference and I’m super psyched about it. First off, I’m looking forward to storming Las Vegas with a few thousand fellow progressives and meeting some new friends.

Mostly, though, I’m looking forward to jumpstarting my writing, which has been sorely lacking these days.

Part of that lack in content has to do with what Jim and I have been dealing with these days, not the least of which is a dismal job situation that has soured both of our moods for quite some time.

We’ve also been grappling with one of the worst episodes Jim has ever dealt with and being a caregiver for him has sort of zapped my energy. It is exhausting and I can only imagine how hard it must be for him, and still, I would not trade living with and being his partner for antyhing. We have been through so much together and I’m glad that I’ve been able to be around for him when he needs it the most. There is so much misunderstanding of mental health and I’ve been with him on those days when it seemed like nobody cared about what he was going through. It must be a lonely place sometimes, but at least I’ve been around to see him through it.

So, my hope is that going to Netroots will provide the boost I need to get back to the craft I love so dearly and which I think could use improvement. You should expect to see more posts on this space and on from myself and other Bilerico Projectors this week.

With that, I’m off to Netroots to enjoy what is arguably one of the best conferences around. Seriously, check out the agenda, even if you’re not going. It should entice you to go next year.

So, hasta luego. The next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Vegas, baby!

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