Philadelphia’s Queer Latino Community Stands In Solidarity with Black Community Against Racism In The Gayborhood

Philadelphia’s Queer Latino Community Stands In Solidarity with Black Community Against Racism In The Gayborhood

 

PHILADELPHIA – Recent instances of anti-blackness and overall racism in Philadelphia’s gayborhood, have made the news on both citywide and national platforms. As any Queer person of color can tell you, this is not a new phenomenon. Anti-blackness, anti-immigrant rhetoric and discriminatory practices against our communities are a commonplace occurrence in Philadelphia’s gayborhood.

As Queer Latinos, surviving and thriving in the face of such a landscape, is part of the resilient history of our people. GALAEI’s foundational work has always been to create access to the resources of holistic health, safe space and community for Queer Latinos. Juntos’ long standing mission has been to fight for the human rights of our city’s immigrant communities which includes ensuring that our undocumented LGBTQ familia is able to live and thrive in a system that refuses to acknowledge their existence.  Our work collectively has helped build our community’s power, raised the voices of those most affected by these oppressive practices and reimagined our communities free from oppression.

Yet our communities are still faced with what sometimes feels like insurmountable odds. Year after year our community has proclaimed that racism runs rampant in the Gayborhood to what feels like deaf ears.

We exist in a landscape of hiv/aids prevention work in which front line black and brown queer workers are STILL disproportionately and grossly underpaid, not in positions of power, overlooked for promotions at major nonprofits and organizations, in and outside of the city.  Black and brown queer people face racism in the very establishments meant to serve queer people. We have seen instances where our immigrant LGBTQ community have been denied admittance into some of the city’s most prominent gay nightclubs due to club policies that refuse to accept valid forms of identification, such as non-American passports or Consular ID Cards. Access to comprehensive healthcare for undocumented LGBTQ people is yet another huge barrier, compounded by limited bi-lingual staff and the reality that none of the resources needed by our communities are offered directly in our neighborhoods, placing the burden of access squarely on their shoulders.

All the while, community and government entities that are supposed to protect and serve ALL it’s community members such as the city’ most prominent LGBTQ rights orgs and even the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs respond to acts of anti-blackness, racism and discrimination against Queer people of color with silence, delay, and inaction.

When Queer Latinos dare to speak up against these injustices, we are verbally, and physically assaulted, criticized, and targeted by tactics that demonstrate that anti-blackness and anti-immigrant sentiment is not just the occupation of singular hateful individuals, but rather, embedded within the institutions that say they stand with us; but do not.

Juntos & GALAEI are organizations rooted in the self-determination and liberation of our people, striving to hold ourselves accountable to the intersectional needs and demands of our community. As such, we stand with our community and the efforts of The Black & Brown Workers Collective (BBWC) to dismantle any institution that serves to perpetuate racism in our lives, including city officials who stand in the way of our freedom.

Juntos is Hiring an Office Manager / Program Assistant

Job Posting

Office Manager / Program Assistant

The Office Manager / Program Assistant for Juntos will support the organization’s office, administrative operations and its programs. H
e or she will report directly to the Executive Director.

Key Responsibilities

  • Overseeing the smooth function of the office
  • Serve as primary contact administratively for the organization
  • Being in charge of phones, messages, and making sure calls have been returned.
  • Managing general communication accounts
  • Maintain office and staff scheduling and calendar
  • Keeping all program files in order, digital and paper.
  • Purchasing supplies as needed.
  • Overseeing the clean and orderly state of facilities and the working order of all equipment.
  • Providing staff with support for events, including outreach, set-up and logistics.

Bookkeeping 

  • Managing accounts payable and receivable.
  • Handling program billing and related record keeping.
  • Handling reimbursement for staff expenses.
  • Banking as needed.
  • Supporting the work of accountant

Support Development and Program Administration

  • Managing calendar of due dates of grant proposals or reports to foundations.
  • Support with program reports, grant reports
  • Drafting of grants and organizing of materials for funders
  • Maintaining of development database of foundations, donors, and sustainers.
  • Sending paper acknowledgements to individual donors in a timely manner.
  • Keeping records of all correspondence.
  • Reporting any problems with Juntos website or Facebook page.
  • Provide administrative support for the Executive Director and staff as needed.
  • In consultation with Executive Director, preparing agenda and reports for Board Meetings, filing minutes and taking notice of Board decisions requiring action.

Qualifications

  • At least three years experience in office management, bookkeeping and writing for development support.
  • Strong computer skills; proficient in MS Office Suite and experience with databases and spreadsheets.
  • Ability to create and maintain filing and office organizing systems
  • Excellent oral and writing skills in English.
  • Ability to speak Spanish fluently.
  • Time management and problem solving skills; able to work under deadlines and multi-task while maintaining attention to detail.
  • A good disposition to communicate respectfully and kindly with all people.
  • The will to maintain confidentiality concerning legal matters.

This position is an average of 40 hours a week and based out of our office in Philadelphia; includes benefits

Juntos is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It encourages applications from any qualified candidate regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, age, or disability.

Please send resumé and cover letter to:

 juntosjobsearch@gmail.com

before September 15, 2016

Berks Family Detention Center’s License Revoked

Blogpost Berks Press Release

Berks Family Detention Center’s License Revoked

Pennsylvania – On January 27th Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS) issued notice that the licensing of the Berks County Family Detention Center (BCRC) would not be renewed and officially revoked, potentially ending family detention in Pennsylvania.

The Shut Down Berks Coalition hails this action as a victory for the state and the country against the horrible abuse and rights violations immigrant families have been subjected to for far too long. The state license will be revoked as of February 21st of 2016 and in the meantime Berks County has the right to appeal. Many in the coalition wonder how Berks county, a county already in fiscal crisis, can find it in their budget to spend on a legal process given that nationally family detention has already been determined unconstitutional.

Nationally, many groups hailed the response as a step in the right direction as well and as a sign that family detention is finally ending.

Community Reactions

“ICE has been operating the center already in violation of federal law with some families being detained again for months at a time and now without a state license they will be in violation of state law.  Therefore, we demand the release of the families detained in Berks immediately, they should not endure one more day in unjust detention.” said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos.

“Revoking this license is an important first step towards closing this detention center, and, we hope, a step toward ending family detention here in Pennsylvania and nationally,” said Executive Director of PICC, Sundrop Carter.

Adanjesus Marin, Executive Director of Make the Road PA said, “As residents of Berks County we are thankful that DHS has confirmed what we always knew- that this center is unjust and should be shut down. We call on our county commissioners to stop stalling and take immediate action to stop jailing families.”

Miguel Andrade, Vice-President of the Board of Directors of GALAEI in Philadelphia said, “The news that PA DHS will revoke the Berks County Family Detention Center’s license is a monumental victory not only for the immigrant community of our state, but for the millions of immigrant families across this country. Just this past summer ICE was hailing Berks as a model detention center and were looking to it as an example for Trans and LGBQ detention. We in GALAEI stand firmly against any and all detention and see that what is happening in our state has the potential to have a domino effect nationwide and it gives us hope that one day we can end all detentions and deportations that tear apart our communities.”
“The State of Pennsylvania sent a strong message today that immigration detention facilities are no place for children, especially those that have suffered trauma,” said Wendy Cervantes, Director of the First Focus Center for Children of Immigrants. “We know that even a short amount of time in detention can have a long-term impact on a child’s mental health and overall development. All children deserve to be in an environment where they can be free to play, learn and thrive, not behind bars with the government watching their every move and rationing their food and playtime.”

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The Shut Down Berks Campaign is a grassroots coalition fighting to shut down the Berks County Detention Center immediately and end family detention. Members include Detention Watch Network, GALAEI, Juntos, #Not1More, Make the Road PA, Migrant Power Movement, PICC, UUPlan and We Belong Together.

Nutter, We Said it Before and We’ll Say it Again, No Police/ICE Collaboration

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Nutter, We Said it Before and We’ll Say it Again, No Police/ICE Collaboration

On Friday, December 11th Mayor Nutter’s administration released their proposed changes to the city’s ICE hold executive order, a historic win in separating the Poli-Migra.

The immigrant community, immigrant rights organizations and advocates have been clear for weeks that any city collaboration with ICE is unacceptable. We must stand against any use of city resources that will lead to the deportation of our community.

Read the Philadelphia Family Unity Network’s full response below.

En solidaridad,
Juntos

 

——————————————————————————————————————————–

 

 

Hon. Mayor Michael Nutter

Room 215

City Hall

Philadelphia PA 19107

 

Dear Mayor Nutter,

We are writing in response to the draft Executive Order provided to us by your administration which would rescind and replace Executive Order No. 1-14 (“Policy Regarding U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency Detainer requests”). Our concerns are not swayed by our review of this draft. We urge you again not to make any changes to your position on this issue, and to let the original order stand, in response to the unanimous call to do so.

We understand from our meeting with Deputy Mayor Gillison that your administration anticipates the number of individuals who would be subjected to this revised policy to be relatively small, and that your position is that communicating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement in these situations will contribute to public safety. However, this reasoning ignores the experiences of thousands of Philadelphia families that have been ripped apart by the deportation machine and made to feel unsafe and unstable in their own homes and communities because of the activities of ICE.

If your administration believes that the criminal legal system in Philadelphia is capable of adjudicating criminal matters, we see no reason why Philadelphia should participate in the practice of singling out certain individuals for additional punishment with permanent consequences simply due to their immigration status. This change in your policy also contradicts your position on the value of reentry and rehabilitation for returning citizens and instead forces these individuals to be permanently exiled from their families and communities. We know you value re-entry and second chances as illustrated by your signing of a comprehensive Ban the Box policy just yesterday at City Hall. With this in mind, we strongly oppose any revision to the existing order that allows city employees to report Philadelphia residents to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, full stop.

The additional provisions in this order do not allay our concerns for several reasons. While we appreciate the intention behind the creation of an advisory board, we disagree that the goal of any advisory committee on this issue should be to promote dialogue with federal immigration officials. As we have explained in detail through our previous communication, outreach materials, press conferences and in numerous meetings with your administration and previous Mayors over the past decade, the Department of Homeland Security has traumatized Philadelphia’s immigrant communities through brutal, racist practices that have destroyed families and disrupted community stability with impunity. If your office would like to create an avenue for community input on issues related to law enforcement in immigrant communities, we suggest that you start by convening community forums to solicit input on city policies related to immigration from those directly affected by those policies.

We know from experience that local efforts to address abuse at the hands of ICE will be fruitless without accountability at the federal level. This lack of accountability is a core piece of why we believe that any local participation in the deportation system should be prohibited. With regard to your request for DHS to create a hotline to accept complaints, we are unclear as to why community members would report abuse at the hands of the Department of Homeland Security to the agency which is committing the abuse. DHS currently operates several avenues where problems may be reported, none of which are effective in actually addressing concerns. Public relations efforts, such as the “public advocate” position previously created by ICE, are not effective in facilitating dialogue for the reasons described above. We do of course applaud the request for data, as ICE has been notoriously reluctant to provide information on its activities, however we don’t see why you could not obtain this information through other channels that would not require a revision of the existing Executive Order.

In accordance with the concerns raised above and in direct response to the needs and experiences of the communities we serve, if your administration insists on replacing the previous Executive Order, we call on your administration to make the following changes in place of your proposal:

  1. Enhance community safety and trust in city agencies by prohibiting the Department of Homeland Security from using city property and resources, including physical space in police districts and prisons, to interrogate Philadelphia residents and enforce civil immigration laws;
  2. Conserve city resources by prohibiting city employees, including police and prison staff, from communicating with the Department of Homeland Security to facilitate the deportation of Philadelphia residents.

Sincerely,
The Philadelphia Family Unity Network

 

The Philadelphia Family United Network members include 1Love Movement, Juntos, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition and Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia.