HOLLYWOOD, Calif.: Thousands demand ‘U.S. out of Iraq!’

Fernando Suarez del Solar held high a photograph of his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Jesus Suarez del Solar, who was killed in Iraq, before an estimated 5,000 people protesting the U.S. occupation, Sept. 28. “My son was a soldier for peace, not for petroleum,” the father thundered. “Bush is not the owner of the lives of these children. We are the owners.”

Parents of troops in Iraq, most of them Latino, jammed onto a stage on Hollywood Boulevard unfurling a banner in Spanish reading, “End the war! Bring them home now!”

A group of women carried a laundry line hung with pink women’s undergarments – “pink slips” – stenciled with names of Bush administration officials. At the rally, they unfurled a 30-foot pink slip for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The demonstration was held in conjunction with an international day of protest against the Bush administration’s war and occupation of Iraq.

OXFORD, Ohio: Miami U workers, profs, students for living wages

There is a tent city in from of one of Ohio’s most expensive universities.

On June 30, the contract between Miami University and the 900 members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCME) Local 209 expired. Negotiations failed. The school imposed a contract without union agreement. Workers had had enough and on Sept. 26 they struck. The university hired scabs.

The union got the word out to the professional staff and students that many food service, maintenance and grounds workers are supporting families on $7.73 an hour. At the home football game, Sept. 27, hundreds of students and supporters from Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton and Chicago picketed, held a 20-foot skunk aloft and leafleted 30,000 fans.

Walking into the stadium, Miami student Annie Perry, 19, commented, “I support the union. I really want to know where my tuition goes. It can’t be the best university if it doesn’t pay the laborers to live.”

NEW YORK: Immigrants win rights to privacy

For months, New York City police and other service workers could ask residents their immigration status and then turn over the information to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The results were disastrous, as thousands of families did not seek police assistance or other services for fear of deportation.

On Sept. 17, that situation ended as a coalition of elected officials, unions, civil rights groups and immigrant rights organizations forced Mayor Michael Bloomberg to sign Executive Order 41 banning police and others from inquiring about a resident’s immigration status.

“They’re standing up for one ideal, and that’s that immigrants have to be treated fairly; they shouldn’t be singled out because of their status,” New York City Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin told the World. “The same kind of gains made in New York have to be made nationally. … We have to take a new look at immigration law and we have to have the broadest possible coalition creating the debate and dialogue to change those policies.”

MONTGOMERY, Ala.: The fight is on for voting rights

Republican Gov. Bob Riley vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature which would have restored the right to vote to people who have served their jail time, completed parole and probation and paid all fines. Alabama is only one of 13 states where ex-felons are disenfranchised – forever.

“These individuals paid all of their dues to society,” said State Rep. Yvonne Kennedy (D-Mobile). “They’ve had rehabilitation, and they’re trying to regain full citizenship. [But] they are being continually denied the right to vote.”

In Alabama, one in seven African Americans are denied the right to vote because they served time in jail. The last governor’s election was decided by less than 3,000 votes.

The campaign to restore voting rights – which included a march of 1,000 last July – is being led by the local NAACP and other civil rights organizations, with assistance from the National Campaign to Restore Voting Rights.

National Clips are compiled by Denise Winebrenner Edwards (dwinebr696@aol.com). Libero Della Piana, Jack Blaine, and Dan Margolis contributed to this week’s clips.

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