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ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION FORUM VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Members of the community and students protest anti-immigrant rhetoric

Monday, April 30, 2007
Time: 6:22 PM


Most people who read reports on yesterday's irrelevant fear mongering illegal anti-immigration forum from the News-Times noted the small attendance from groups on both sides of the immigration issue.

But there is more to the story than meets the eye.

Although there was no excuse for the laughable attendance from an anti-immigration group that established itself in the area two years ago, there was a reason for the smaller than usual attendance among the immigrant rights supporters. I learned a coupe of weeks ago that many of the members of the immigrant community who would normally protest forums such as the one yesterday were volunteering their time towards the annual Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty (CROP) walk-a-thon.

For those who don't know about this fundraiser, here's a brief detail of the event.
Dollars donated in Danbury this weekend may soon end up helping needy people on the other side of the world.

Encouraged by the support they received last year, organizers of a city walk to generate public awareness and money for hunger and poverty relief are holding another fundraising walk Sunday.

"We raised a modest amount of money last year, but we deliberately kept the walk small because it was our first year," the Rev. Laura Westby pastor of First Congregational Church of Danbury said Monday. "This year we are setting a goal of $10,000."

Last year's walk, organized by Westby and the first of its kind in Danbury for years, generated $3,459 and drew 63 people of all ages and religions in 12 different groups.

The walk covers just under 4 miles of downtown city streets and is known as a CROP Walk, named for the faith-based group Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty.

[...]

Westby said although 75 percent of the money raised by this year's CROP Walk in Danbury will go to the work of the Church World Service, the remaining 25 percent will be given to the Danbury-based Association of Religious Communities (ARC), the walk's sponsor.

Westby said ARC plans to use the money for its emergency relief and advocacy programs.
The First Congregational Church of Danbury and Danbury-based Association of Religious Communities are very active organizations in the immigrant community. In turn, many immigrants in the area offered their time and energy to make this year's CROP walk a success.
"While ARC and CROP are faith-based groups, they provide help to all people and partner with civic organizations," Westby said. "The city of Danbury works with ARC to provide services to the homeless. One of the most exciting things about last year's walk was the involvement of the Hispanic community."

[...]

Kathy Burton, assistant director for the tri-state region of CWS, welcomed the revival of the CROP walk in Danbury.

"Danbury is a nice community in which to walk," Burton said. "As well as generating financial support, the walk itself is also a good opportunity to make local people aware of hunger and poverty."
What does this have to do with yesterday's protest you ask? Well, the walk started at the exact same time as the protest outside the University.
Sunday's CROP Walk steps off at 2 p.m. near the War Memorial at Rogers Park.

Now that we straightened out the whole deal with the small number of immigrant right supporters, lets get to the video.

Although the attendance at yesterday's protest was smaller than usual, the high level of support among the people who drove up and down on White Street was quite apparent to all who were there.

One of the things I found most unusual was the silence from the University regarding their hosting of the event. Most students were unaware that the forum was even taking place on campus and there was no advertising of the event by the University on campus (which is equally unusual for a University event seeing that they have an entire graphic department which handles advertising). I'll dig depeer into the questions surrounding the University sponsoring of this event in later posts this week.

From Sunday's protest, here's my first video with protesters who were highly critical of the University decision in sponsoring the event with an anti-immigrant group.


posted by ctblogger at 6:22 PM | Permalink|

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On September 26, 2007, ten plaintiffs filed suit in response to an arrest of aday laborers at a public park in Danbury, Connecticut. Plaintiffs amended their complaint on November 26, 2007.

The amended complaint states that plaintiffs sought to remedy the continued discriminatory and unauthorized enforcement of federal immigration laws against the Latino residents of the City of Danbury by Danbury's mayor and its police department.

Plaintiffs allege that the arrests violated their Fourth Amendment rights and the Connecticut Constitution because defendants conducted the arrests without valid warrants, in the absence of exigent circumstances, and without probable cause to believe that plaintiffs were engaged in unlawful activity. In addition, plaintiffs allege that defendants improperly stopped, detained, investigated, searched and arrested plaintiffs. Plaintiffs also allege that defendants violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights when they intentionally targeted plaintiffs, and arrested and detained them on the basis of their race, ethnicity and perceived national origin. Plaintiffs raise First Amendment, Due Process and tort claims.

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