Campaign archives for Press

Using Facebook in the Arizona Immigration Fight

by Nick Judd at Tech President

That interest groups are turning to Facebook and Twitter to organize around the recently passed Arizona immigration laws are, as CBS News’ Charles Cooper wrote, “a case of dog bites man.”

The idea that people are using Facebook and Twitter to do activism is no longer interesting on its own. How exactly they’re using it — and to what extent — is. And in the second week of debate over Arizona’s new immigration laws, Facebook is seeing heavy use from everyday people as well as organizations that hope to convert people from Facebook friends into committed activists.

“This will serve as a very strong registration drive and mobilization ahead of the 2010 election,” said Axel Caballero, a co-founder of Cuéntame. Cuéntame is a Brave New Foundation project to build a Latino community on Facebook. Thanks in part to interest in the immigration issue, it had nearly 29,000 fans when I checked on Tuesday.

The Arizona immigration bill, which Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law on April 23, requires law enforcement officers in the state to stop and demand identification from anyone they have reason to believe to be in this country without legal immigration status. For two weeks running, it has been a top national issue, sparking not just social media chatter but widespread debate — both for and against — online and in the streets. May Day rallies, some of which were organized on Facebook, drew thousands out nationwide to protest the bill and call for federal reform of the immigration system.

In Cuéntame’s case, the spoils of Facebook activism are still relatively meager. In just a few weeks of existence, Brave New sold (for nonprofits, it’s not selling per se; Caballero used the word “placed”) about 3,000 t-shirts as a fundraising and messaging tool. An online petition collected 100,000 signatures, Caballero said, and videos posted to the Cuéntame Facebook page showed people wearing their “Do I Look Illegal?” t-shirts at rallies in Los Angeles.

But the meme — Do I Look Illegal? — also caught the attention of Donordigital. The online fundraising and advocacy firm hitched onto the wave with a website that allows you to put luchador masks on people in photos. There’s a campaign to change your Facebook profile picture to one of yourself with a sign asking, “Do I Look Illegal?”

Plenty of people on Facebook also take the opposite view, and are noting their support for the Arizona laws. Their Facebook events don’t look to be as well-populated as their groups are, but they do have their own t-shirts. And the Tea Party Patriots’ online petition in support of the bill touted 43,500 signatures when I checked.

There is still a lot of debate in the online activism world whether Facebook is worthwhile. Consultants periodically share statistics that they say reveal a correlation between Facebook activity and increased action rates like donations or website visits, but these, after all, are often the same consultants that get paid to set up and manage Facebook campaigns. Some call social media activism “slacktivism.” (I propose the more neutral “facetivism,” for Facebook activism, but my fellow blogdwellers here tell me that one ain’t going viral anytime soon.)

The so-far-milquetoast blowback on immigration from the right online is evidence that Facebook clicks don’t always translate to actions — not a lot of people on those pages in support of the bill are directing folks to the Tea Party petition or to take to the streets waving signs, for example.

But Facebook organizing can work. In 2008, organizing on social networks was credited in large part for a massive rally against FARC in Colombia. The New York Times credited a single New Jersey high school student for using Facebook to start a push that turned into widespread student walk-outs andrallies last week protesting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s cuts to public school funding.

Part of the point, too, is to use Facebook as a list-building tool. Issues drive interest, and interest drives pageviews, and pageviews can turn into email address captures and attendance at events. Caballero said Cuéntame is growing as a result of its involvement in the immigration issue.

“We hope to create a powerful Latino bloc that is ready to take action at any time,” he said.

This is a road that goes both ways; there’s also the Facebook-as-the-center-of-everything strategy at play here. For example, as Cuéntame exists solely on Facebook, I can’t embed here any of the videos they posted. So if you want to be a part of Cuéntame’s activism, there’s only one place to do that: Facebook.

Arizona Law Leads to Online Organizing by Latinos

Arizona Law Leads to Online Organizing by Latinos

by Roy Temple at Cassidy Digital  Strategies

When Arizona’s S.B. 1070 was signed into law by the Governor, there were many effects its sponsors intended, but somehow I doubt that a burst of online organizing by Latinos was one of them.  However, the efforts by one group, Cuéntame, suggest that might be one of the more significant outcomes of this entire controversy.

Axel Woolfolk, Co-founder of Cuéntame puts it this way:

“The response to the Arizona law proves that Latinos have arrived to the world of social media activism. This campaign represents the first major Latino mobilization in light of the 2010 mid-term elections. Within hours of the launch of our campaign, thousands flocked to our Cuéntame Facebook page within a matter of hours, highlighting the fact that Latinos are hungry and ready to participate in online social network activism.”

Since April 23rd, when Governor Brewer signed the legislation, Cuéntame has been busily organizing.  The group now has over 28,000 Fans on Facebook, and was active at yesterday’s rally in Los Angeles.  They also have their first video up and have T-shirts to support their “Do I Look Illegal” campaign.

It’s also worth noting how integrated their online and offline organizing efforts appear to be.  This effort will be instructive on many fronts.

Hundreds rally for worker and immigrant rights in Watsonville

by Alia Watson at Santa Cruz Sentinel

WATSONVILLE — The streets of Watsonville echoed with chants Saturday, as nearly 400 people rallied for workers rights and against Arizona’s new anti-immigration law.

The May Day protest and rally filled Watsonville Plaza at 4 p.m. Hundreds of immigration reform supporters created signs and T-shirts demanding nondiscriminatory reform. Some of the signs read “The Pilgrims were illegal and they stayed,” and “No one is free when others are oppressed.”

“We have a lot of migrant families that go from Watsonville to Yuma, Arizona, to work,” Watsonville Councilman Antonio Rivas said. “The City Council is planning to send a letter to the companies they work for requesting that they not be sent there so workers can stay here where we support their rights.”

National outrage over Arizona’s law SB 1070 stirred opposition marches across the country Saturday. Critics say the new legislation, which requires Arizona police to question anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally, targets Latino minorities.

“The problem is there is a new fear that the law has reignited,” Santa Cruz Councilman Tony Madrigal said. “The real solution lies in common sense immigration reform that benefits Americans, the economy and is fair to families.

“Today is recognized internationally as a day for workers so it’s very fitting that here in Santa Cruz County people have come together to say we are workers, we are not criminals, we have families here, and we are united as one community.”

Parents and their children gathered around a sign-making station set up in the plaza to voice their opinions.

“It’s really depressing to think that the natives and Mexicans who were inhabitants of California, Arizona and the Southwest, people who were here for years, can be kicked out. It’s just inhumane,” said Victoria Banales, an English teacher at Cabrillo College. “It bugs me that there is such ignorance blaming immigration for every problem in the U.S. Nobody wants to leave their home country but they do because they want to make a better life for their families. People need to become more aware of why people come here.”

For 21-year-old Nayeli Gil, who was born in Tijuana, living in the U.S. has delivered an opportunity for a higher education.

“I’m undocumented myself so this affects me as well,” Gil said. “I can feel what they are going through. I’ve been in Watsonville all my life. I go to Cabrillo College. I’m here to become a better person and try to reach the American dream like everybody else. I’m here today because I care about myself, I care about my family and I care about future generations.”

Gil and a few other protesters with the Watsonville Brown Berets wore homemade shirts that read, “Do I look illegal? Welcome to Nazi-zona.”

Around 6 p.m. the march paused at River Park on Dawson Street where they were greeted with the booming drums of Watsonville Taiko.

“The area is historically known as Japanese Town so this was to honor the rich, multicultural heritage here and to celebrate the waves of immigration over the decades,” Watsonville resident Liliana Barrios said.

The march ended at the Watsonville Plaza, where people could get free consultations with immigration attorneys and Watsonville Taiko and Vive Oaxaca performed closing ceremonies.

VIDEO: Do I Look Illegal? – White Student in Chicago, IL

by Kevin Gosztola at OpEd News

After being present at a boycott action outside Wrigley Field stadium against the owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks who have financially supported the very people pushing the new Arizona immigration law and before May Day, a day to stand in solidarity with all workers and immigrants, I began to ponder the following question:

“Do I Look Illegal?”

In the above video, I explored this question.

I posted around 4 pm CT yesterday. By noon CT today, I have 10 comments.

A combination of inflammatory and celebratory comments have been posted on this video, which starts a conversation.

Brave New Films director Robert Greenwald has a post on this question.

Cuentame on Facebook is leading a “Do I Look Illegal?” campaign.


When we ponder what it means to be illegal, it is impossible to not conclude that there is an overt agenda against anyone who is perceived to have immigrated here from Mexico.

The Arizona immigration law puts all who have come from Mexico on notice and requires them to carry papers, show them when asked or else.

If you aren’t Latino or Hispanic looking, what are the chances you get asked to show your papers? You probably won’t be asked.

But, if one group has to show papers, we all should have to show papers. We all should be illegals.

Take a moment to explain what it means to be illegal. Leave a comment on this video or others asking, “Do I Look Illegal?”

And, for all the workers and immigrants, happy May Day!

Decenas de miles marcharon por la reforma migratoria en Los Ángeles

by Eillen Traux at La Opinion

Entre cantos y consignas, los diversos contingentes que marcharon por la calle Broadway en el centro de Los Ángeles hoy, llegaron a Broadway y Temple, donde representantes de organizaciones religiosas, sindicales, comunitarias, y funcionarios electos, hicieron un llamado al presidente Barack Obama y al Congreso de Estados Unidos, para que den solución a la situación migratoria en que se encuentran los extranjeros indocumentados en el país, y así evitar situaciones como las que se viven en Arizona.

“El Presidente dijo que el Congreso no tiene apetito por una reforma migratoria, nosotros estamos hoy aquí para decirle que tenemos hambre y que necesitamos la reforma ya”, dijo Ángleica Salas, directora ejecutiva de CHIRLA.

Al final de la manifestación, los distintos grupos se fueron quedando en la calle Broadway a celebrar el éxito de la marcha como lo saben hacer los salvadoreños que bailaban cumbia en la calle Segunda, o los percusionistas con un bandoneón que tocaron vallenatos frente al Mercado Central.

Los organizadores estiman que unas 250 mil personas asistieron a la marcha por la reforma migratoria en Los Ángeles.

El contingente de manifestantes que salió de Broadway y Olympic a las diez de la mañana, aún no había avanzado una cuadra, cuando miles de trabajadores de los sindicatos de la construcción, transportes y costura ya colmaban las calles entre la 5ta. y Broadway en el centro de Los Ángeles.

La marea de personas impidió que el contingente principal cruzara antes, por lo que fueron los trabajadores quienes iniciaron la marcha, y luego continuaron los miles de personas que los seguían.

Al mediodía, el contingente principal en el que vienen los oradores del acto, se hallaba en las calles 3ra. y Broadway, mientras que decenas de miles de manifestantes se encontraban en el punto final de la marcha aún, ocupando tres bloques de calles más.

Un grupo de mujeres destacaba con camisetas blancas, con la leyenda “¿Me veo ilegal?” (Do I look illegal?) .

Una marea de manifestantes que portaban playeras blancas y ondeaban banderas estadounidenses cubrió esta mañana las calles del centro de Los Ángeles.

Miles de ellos se congregaron desde antes de las 9:00 am, en las calles Novena y Broadway, donde organizaciones sindicales como Liuna y los Teamsters esperaban el paso de la marcha para unirse a ella, que en el punto de salida, en Olympic y Broadway, donde a las 10:00 am ya no cabía un alma más.

A esa hora, el cardenal de Los Ángeles, Roger Mahony, encabezó una ceremonia ecuménica en compañía de dirigentes de otras denominaciones religiosas.

Personalidades del medio artístico como Gloria y Emilio Estefan, la actriz Kate del Castillo, el actor Demián Bichir y el locutor Eddy Piolín Sotelo dirigieron unas palabras a los asistentes mientras el contingente se preparaba para iniciar la marcha.

Austin immigration rally draws thousands

by Steve Alberts at KVUE News

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