Sunday, June 24, 2007

To PIIN and friends of PIIN: about Pgh Police and stops to brown skin folks seeking 'papers'

This is a call to action in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers who have been the victims of some of the most reprehensible, immoral, and illegal actions by local law enforcement.

Just in this month alone:

Two times in the last month, workers at a house in the Pointe Breeze section of Pittsburgh were approached on private property by City of Pittsburgh Police officers and asked for “identification and papers” and were further asked about their immigration status.

A woman was stopped in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh where she was walking and a City of Pittsburgh patrol car drove up next to her and asked her for identification and she was asked about her immigration status. No suspected crime whatsoever.

Three men were working at a house in Braddock which because of bad electrical wiring caught fire. These 3 victims of this fire were never asked by the County Police if they needed water, medical attention, or any other kind of help, but were only asked for their ID’s, papers, and questioned about their immigration status. No crime suspected, they were victims of a fire. And all three were detained by police for over 8 hours and 1 remains in jail on an immigration hold.

This week, in the North Side of Pittsburgh, a car with 3 children, 2 mothers, and a man was stopped by the City of Pittsburgh Police with no traffic violation, 6 other patrol cars converged and all occupants were demanded to show their documents. The women and children were crying and all felt terrorized and intimidated.

One common thread in all these is: all were Latinos; all had brown skin; all were residents of our region; all were never suspected of a crime; all were victims of intimidation and fear; all of them are our sisters and brothers.

Sadly, these are only a few of many incidences we could relate. Yesterday it was racial profiling for African Americans (and even today), today it is racial profiling for people with brown skin, tomorrow you may be asked for your papers while working in your yard or walking the street. IN THE NAME OF OUR US CONSTITUTION AND IN THE NAME OF GOD, THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL BEHAVIOR MUST STOP, NOW!

Last October, at the PIIN Public Action, City of Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl committed to meet with PIIN leaders before the end of January 2007 to formulate an immigrant friendly policy for the city. After being shown a similar policy adopted by Philadelphia he said, “It’s a shame you need to have a policy to say these things.”

Since that time, PIIN has met with Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala who have been supportive of our efforts for a new policy. We have even met with the Chief of Police as well as the mayor’s policy manager and assistant solicitor. The goal was to create a policy for Allegheny County as well as the City of Pittsburgh so immigrants would not have to live in fear.

It was agreed that a meeting with all three officials (Onorato, Zappala, and Ravenstahl) would accomplish a comprehensive immigrant friendly policy for our region. We have been trying in earnest for this meeting since March and while Onorato and Zappala have been ready to meet, Ravenstahl has never given a date to them or us.

It is tragically ironic to us that the mayor had time to run to Oakmont uninvited to cajole Tiger Woods for a picture and cannot meet with us when families are being separated, people’s basic rights are being ignored, and some on his police force are instilling fear in an immigrant community that wants to help our city and region, just like most of our parents and grandparents did.

THE ACTION: Nonviolently, we will all meet on Monday, June 25th, at 9:30 AM on the 5th floor of the City-County Building (located at 414 Grant Street) to demand a reasonable date from the mayor to meet with us regarding the creation of an immigrant friendly policy for our city and county. Go directly to the 5th floor of the City-County Building.

As many people as possible are needed for this action. If the mayor refuses, then a number of PIIN members and friends of PIIN intend to make a public act of civil disobedience, or rather Divine Obedience. Those wishing at that point to retreat to the steps of the City-County Building or other point of safety are most welcome.

If you are planning to attend this action, please call or email anyone from the list below:

Alfonso Barquera, 412-715-1750,

Sr. Janice Vanderneck, 412-578-0402,

Scott Fabean, 412-398-4000,
Put this into the report card rankings, P-G Or, perhaps because this is an agenda item that is beyond what Luke wants, it can be ignored. The P-G graded Luke on what he wanted to be graded upon.

No comments: