Time to Take ActionThursday 14, May 2009
By Brittney Shepherd, Staff Producer | Straightlaced
We’ve heard about two different, yet very important causes that deserve some much-needed attention.
The first regards the tragic murder of Luis Ramirez, the 25-year old father of two who was beaten to death last summer. Evidence and testimony surrounding the beating and death of Luis Ramirez suggest that the defendants’ actions in the beating were motivated by Luis’ national origin, Mexico.
Recently, the teenagers who attacked Mr. Ramirez were acquitted of the crime. Yesterday, civil rights leaders and legislators took a stand to show their support of pending hate-crime legislation, the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.”
The bill strengthens existing federal hate crime laws by authorizing the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting certain bias-motivated crimes. This legislation will also provide more authority for the federal government to prosecute violent bias-motivated crimes directed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
Advocates are also calling for federal authorities to investigate the attack. The Department of Justice may, exercising prosecutorial discretion, bring a federal prosecution based on substantially the same acts in the prior state proceeding to vindicate a substantial federal interest.
To learn more about this case and the pending legislation, please visit the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund.
The second area of concern is the Alameda Unified School District is hearing public comment on their new proposed elementary school curriculum that promotes respect for family diversity and gender non-conforming youth. The curriculum, featuring our film That’s A Family!, has been proposed after 2 years of meetings between elementary school educators, staff, and community members. While the new bias and bullying prevention lessons have broad community support, hundreds of right wing activists bussed down from Sacramento and made a spectacle at a previous meeting held on Tuesday. They showed up early, filled the room, and kept legitimate local supporters and educators from attending. One person dressed as the devil and argued that teaching children respect for all families was the road to hell. Their hateful words hurt the families and children that were present – and we need to show the school board that we stand together in support of our community! The Alameda school board needs to hear your voice to remind them why LGBT-inclusive education is important to our communities!
The school board will be meeting again, this time on Monday, May 18th at 6PM in Wood Middle School’s Multi-Purpose room (420 Grand St, Alameda, CA). We are urging people to go and show their support for curriculums and classrooms that are inclusive of all people and families. If you would like more information about this event, or want to learn more about what you can do to help, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.