Community Members and Faith Leaders Say to Ed Lee “Don’t Veto Our Rights!”
Black Church Leaders Draw Connections Between Racial Profiling of Trayvon Martin and Civil Rights Violations Against Arab/Muslim Community
(San Francisco, CA, 04/01/12) – On Friday, March 30th, over 300 community members rallied and prayed in Civic Center Plaza to tell Mayor Ed Lee to support the Safe San Francisco Civil Rights Ordinance (file #120046). Despite repeated requests to listen to community needs, Mayor Lee has not yet met with the Coalition for a Safe San Francisco which hosted today’s rally.
Reverend Amos Brown of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People stood alongside several other Black church leaders saying “they may come for the Blacks in the morning but rest assured that at noontime they will come for the Arabs and the Muslims. We are standing with you because it is wrong to profile Blacks and it is wrong to profile Arabs and Muslims in these United States of America.”
With Supervisors Chiu and Olague, Ordinance author Supervisor Jane Kim explained that this is an effort to “ensure that today and in the future, at least our SF employees will never engage in this type of racist profiling which does not make our city any safer but instead engenders mistrust, fear, and frankly anger and frustration.”
|SF Supervisors Stand Together for Civil Rights
Mokhtar Alkanshali carried the sentiment of the communities’ frustration, directing his statements to the Supervisors who have voted against the Ordinance, saying “We especially want to ask Supervisors Wiener and Cohen who claim to represent marginalized communities – why aren’t you here with us today supporting this ordinance?” Supervisor Cohen was present on the steps of City Hall earlier for a rally demanding justice for Trayvon Martin and asking for an end to racial profiling of African-Americans, but did not attend the rally.
Niloufar Khonsari of the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Defense Committee, a key coalition working to ensure the City remains a Sanctuary for immigrants, carried the message of Cesar Chavez that the Committee “firmly stands with the majority of our Board of Supervisors in support of civil and human rights protections.”
Finally, UC Berkeley Professor Hatem Bazian shared a Muslim sermon where he asked the critical question “What is the value of religious freedom if we have infiltrators in mosques?” then reiterated, “It is not right for the Police Department to sign a secret agreement with the FBI. We want the SFPD to protect our constitutional rights, not violate them.”
Other Speakers Included: Shad Riddick – Metropolitan MB Church in the Bayview, Reverend Deborah Lee – Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights, Molly Porzig – Critical Resistance, and Nasrina Barghzie – Asian Law Caucus.
Community members are asking Mayor Ed Lee to meet with them so that he can (1) closely examine the Ordinance, (2) listen to community stories demonstrating the clear need for this Ordinance, and (3) restore local standards, local oversight and local control through legislation so that San Franciscans know that the local police is operating in a manner that is consistent with civil rights laws.
Over 80 organizational endorsers and hundreds of community members have spoken out in support of the ordinance as a way to ensure that the SFPD will not overstep San Francisco’s civil rights protections while collaborating with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.
The final vote on the Ordinance is currently set for this Tuesday, April 3rd, 2:00pm at SF City Hall – Room 250. To stay updated visit www.safesf.org or find us on Facebook.
The Asian Law Caucus was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. The Asian Law Caucus is a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice. For more information, please visit http://asianlawcaucus.org.
The Coalition for a Safe San Francisco is a growing grassroots alliance dedicated to protecting the civil rights and civil liberties challenged by overbroad national security policies. These policies have historically impacted communities of struggle and today are disproportionately targeting South Asian, Arab, and Muslim Americans. Our Coalition seeks to end racial, religious, and ethnic profiling and harassment by local and federal law enforcement agents in the City and County of San Francisco through community organizing, education, and policy and legal advocacy. For more information, please visit: http://www.safesf.org