11
Mar
08

The Gulf Coast in the news today

First, let’s thank NY Gov. Spitzer for reminding us of Vitter’s sexual indiscretions.  Both men rule on platforms of fighting vice. I say, if we’re going to oust Spitzer, let’s make sure Vitter’s sitting beside him in the back of the Lincoln Town Car as they both get the hell out of town.

(As an aside, check out this pro-legalization of sex work piece from Cara at The Curvature.  Brings up some great points re: women’s rights and gender equity.)

I hear MS has a primary today?  But let’s not overlook this little nugget from The American Prospect (registration), summed up at Racewire:

Mississippi’s Black labor groups are organizing alongside the state’s growing immigrant population to fight for driver’s licenses for all residents.

Throughout the 1990s more immigrants arrived looking for work. Some guest workers overstayed their visas, while husbands brought wives, cousins, and friends from home. Mexicans and Central Americans joined South and Southeast Asians and began traveling north through the state, finding jobs in rural poultry plants. There they met African Americans, many of whom had fought hard campaigns to organize unions for chicken and catfish workers over the preceding decade.

It was not easy for newcomers to fit in. Their union representatives didn’t speak their languages. When workers got pulled over by state troopers they were not only cited for lacking driver’s licenses but also often handed over to the U.S. Border Patrol. Sometimes their children weren’t even allowed to enroll in school.

As someone who’s had the honor to work occasionally with activists for Latino immigrants and African-Americans in the Gulf Coast since Katrina, it’s thrilling to read news like this.  The AFL-CIO unions are named specifically in the Prospect piece.  From what I’ve seen of their work the international and some of the locals are really making an effort to bridge long-standing divides and build strong coalitions in the post-Katrina Gulf Coast.  

This is great news. 

Finally, here’s a round-up of links to the UN’s comdemnation of human rights abuses via the racially and economically discriminatory plans to demolish much needed public housing in New Orleans.  The UN treats post-Katrina government failures as the ultimate example of enduring racial discrimination and inequity in the U.S.:

The UN Committee calls for adequate, affordable housing in Katrina-affected areas, and also for the remedying of housing conditions in racially segregated areas across the country.

Right on. 

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