WE NEED YOUR PRESENCE on Sunday, March 26 at 1:00pm at Goodale Park (120 W Goodale Ave Columbus, OH) for the "Parade for Human Rights"! We will take the streets for farmworker justice with the march ending at the Ohio State campus; where 19 students have been fasting all week demanding OSU ends their contract with the Wendy's on-campus.
The Central Ohio Worker Center (COWC) is pleased to invite all to stand with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and their 4-year long campaign demanding that Dublin-based Wendy's respect farmworker dignity through the "Fair Food Program". The CIW has served as an inspiration for organizers in Columbus locally and their powerful struggle winning farmworker rights was integral to the formation of COWC.
Over 70 farmworkers from Immokalee will be visiting Columbus for the culmination of their "Return to Human Rights " Tour; a nearly two week journey across the country calling attention to the Wendy's Boycott. Hundreds of allies from across the country will also be spending the weekend in Columbus to stand with the CIW.
CentralOhioWorkerCenter & People's Justice Project Statement on Columbus as a Sanctuary City & Police use of Mace
Immigrants and Refugees Hear Love but see Mace
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 1st, 2017
Tammy Fornier-Alsaada, (614) 623-5368, TammyA@ohorganizing.org
Ruben Castilla Herrera, (614) 589-0732, LatinoLeaderShift@gmail.com
COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Monday January 30th, Columbus showed what it can be at its best, as well as just how far we have to go. Mayor Ginther and City Council joined the movement led by immigrants and refugees to name Columbus a "Sanctuary City” and Council Member Elizabeth Brown proposed creating a legal defense fund to protect DACA youth, refugees, and immigrants who could be facing attacks. These are crucial first steps to protecting the rights of the nearly 10% of our community whose lives are at risk under the Trump administration.
In the days and weeks ahead, the city’s timeline must reflect the urgency of the attacks being launched on families. We are excited about the idea of a public process mentioned by Council President Klein to garner input from stakeholders - the success of any initiative depends on the input of people directly affected being at the center of driving the solutions. When the news cycle passes, immigrant and refugee families still need protection. The Mayor’s words must be followed followed by real dollars and real actions.
This act of solidarity contrasted with the scene a few hours later, however. Thousands of Columbus residents gathered at the Ohio Statehouse in a peaceful demonstration against President Trump’s hateful authoritarian policies. Black, Latinxs, Native, Asian, Arab, and white community members marched together through the streets of Columbus and stopped at the intersection of High and State Streets to sing, chant, and pray. Muslim youth, many from families that arrived as refugees, prayed over the gathering. Despite the peaceful nature of the protest, police threatened to arrest and use pepper spray against the crowd. Eventually, they charged into protesters, chasing and spraying people as they ran away.
Right before this escalation by police, a chant cried out “Who do you serve, who do you protect?” A question that the Black community has been demanding an answer to since Henry Green was killed in June, since Tyre King was killed in September, and since Jaron Thomas was killed just a few days ago. In Mayor Ginther’s announcement he said “It is the responsibility of municipal leaders to protect the well being and safety of all people residing in their cities, to respect the rights of and provide equal services to all individuals.” Right now, the Columbus Police do not protect all residents, neighborhoods and communities equally. They must be held accountable for needless escalation on peaceful protesters, for the daily criminalization of poor people and people of color, and for the deaths of unarmed black boys and men in our city.
The idea that Columbus is America’s “Opportunity City” or “Safest Big City” must be met with the same question--for whom? The reality is we live in a tale of two cities where opportunity and safety are only accessible for some. Mayor Ginther said in his address, “Our city codes have been our guiding light, prohibiting discrimination based on race, religion and national origin.” This aspirational calling is what we should strive for together. We must continue to resist any and all of Trump’s policies that threaten the safety of our community and we must define together how to build a true Sanctuary City for all of Columbus residents.
People's Justice Project
Central Ohio Worker Center
Sign on supporters:
Ohio Student Association
Columbus People's Partnership
Ohio Interfaith Immigration and Migrant Coalition
Yes We Can Columbus
International Socialist Organization
Real Food - Ohio State University
Socialist Alternative - Columbus, OH
Showing Up for Racial Justice - Columbus
Over 300 people attended “Sanctuary for Immigrants 101: Theory, Data, and Action” hosted by COWC. The gathering educated community members about current immigration law, enforcement, and sanctuary policies (see link below). The energy in the room was palpable with local residents ready to move forward and make Columbus a sanctuary city for all.
On January 25, President Trump signed an Executive Order threatening to withhold federal funding for cities established as “Sanctuary Cities”; municipalities with policies protecting immigrants by not prosecuting them for violating federal immigration laws. Sanctuary cities provide safer space for our immigrant communities by not living in constant fear of deportation and family separation.
The City of Columbus, while in the past having made only broad statements supporting immigrant communities, has never declared itself as a Sanctuary City nor introduced policy to hold us accountable to these communities. In response to Trump’s order, COWC began circulating a petition to Mayor Andrew Ginther gathering over 1,700 signatures in less than a week to “Tell Mayor Ginther and city council to stand up to Trump and take action that doesn't just symbolically defend immigrants but transforms our city's policies to stop targeting us for imprisonment, risk of removal, and state violence at the hands of police and aggressive immigration agents.” Mayor Ginther responded on Monday (Jan 30) announcing he and City Council are taking concrete steps towards sanctuary-like policy for Columbus.
While this is good news, we need to hold Mayor Ginther and City Council accountable to follow through with his local executive order with a timeline, resources, and involvement of impacts communities. Our resolve is stronger than ever to hold our elected officials to their word.
What can you do next?
*Please feel free to view and distribute the slides from the presentation
The Central Ohio Worker Center (COWC) is proud to be a part of the coalition One ID Columbus organizing for a recognized city-wide Municipal ID. Many in the Columbus community including members of COWC do not have the benefits of a form of identification: something most take for granted. A form of ID is a crucial need that is felt by these members of our community.
A form of Municipal ID would put Columbus on the map with many other cities with such programs in place, including New York City, Iowa City, and Newark, NJ, San Francisco and Oakland, CA, and New Haven, CT.
A Municipal ID for Franklin County would have many benefits including:
● Allow all residents to prove who they are and identify themselves as members of our community.
● Connect residents to services, programs, and benefits, such as public transportation, public libraries, or city parks and recreation centers.
● Be used as a prepaid debit card, benefiting residents without the ability to open atraditional bank account.
● Give cardholders access to discounts at participating businesses and cultural institutions like zoos and museums.
● Give community members the confidence needed to report issues to law enforcement. All too often issues such as theft and domestic violence go unreported because individuals without ID do not feel safe contacting the police.
● Help residents who face barriers to obtaining ID, including the homeless, youth in the foster care system, the low-income elderly, the formerly incarcerated, people with mental illness and disabilities, transgender individuals, victims of domestic violence, immigrants, students, and workers.
Municipal ID is more important now than ever. With the new Trump Administration determined to incite fear in vulnerable communities, the time is now to come together in support of our immigrant, refugee, homeless, LGBTQ, etc. brothers and sisters in Columbus.
One ID Columbus has been actively meeting and gaining support from with City Council members, non-profit organizations, and congregations/diocese across Columbus. A city-wide Summit is scheduled for Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 10 a.m. at Congregation Tifereth Israel (1354 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205).
If you would like to become involved in this crucially important work, contact us at CentralOhioWorkerCenter@gmail.com
In the wake of the election results, COWC Board members joined others calling for a gathering to hold a safe space for our community. With a president-elect who has vowed to “build a wall” and to deport millions of immigrants when he takes office in January, many COWC members, their families, and communities now feel unsafe and more at risk than ever. Within 12 hours of the election results, over 100 community members gathered together to hold vigil together and commit to standing with each other for what is to come.
COWC recognizes that the new political climate will be rough and vows to advocate for and stand with communities that will be negatively be affected by this new administration. As an organization dedicated to organizing for worker and immigrant power, we anticipate a tough but inspiring road in the coming years.