NPA conference report

colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Thu Jun 12 07:42:38 CDT 2003


[ed:  finally, it's happening in the right people's backyard.]

From: "Tracy Van Slyke" <Tracy at nationaltraining.org>

On May 31-June 2, National People's Action held its 32nd annual 
conference with 1,000 community leaders from across the country 
in attendance.  The conference covered a multitude of issues, 
including: housing, predatory lending immigrant rights, education, 
youth and neighborhood safety.  For more information, please go to 
http://www.npa-
us.org/pressreleases/mayjun03/domesticagenda.htm Leaders also 
participated in successful direct action events...Highlights of the 
direct action events and subsequent results included:  

SECRETARY OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT 

On June ,1 NPA leaders in 16 yellow school buses turned the 
corner at the home of the Secretary of Housing and Urban 
Development Mel Martinez's and cornered him in his backyard!  As 
the leadership team barraged Mel with how he's been ignoring NPA 
and ignoring housing needs and problems in neighborhoods across 
the country, Martinez declared that he would not meet with NPA 
"under duress."  Minutes later, Mel caved to pressure from NPA 
and agreed to meet with 15 leaders on Monday at the HUD 
building!  The direct action event was covered by the Washington 
Post.  For more information, please go to http://www.npa-
us.org/pressreleases/mayjun03/martinez.htm  

At the Monday meeting, Martinez brought his two top guys John 
Weicher and Roy Bernardi - both of which had refused to come out 
to NPA's Sunday workshop. NPA received commitments from 
Martinez for follow up on specific issues raised by leaders while he 
avoided setting a specific date to meet again. "Martinez has a 
responsibility to form a partnership with NPA. His job is to work with 
the people most affected by HUD's decisions - we are the people," 
said Marilyn Evans of Communities United for Action in Cincinnati, 
OH.  

FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM 

A diverse leadership team, including NPA's three co-chairs, 
descended on the headquarters of the anti-immigrant Federation 
for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on June 2.  NPA's 
Immigrant Rights leaders were there to take FAIR to task for its 
attempts to deny immigrant youth access to higher education.  
After FAIR Director Dan Stein told an immigrant student that had 
been in this country since she was two years old to go back to 
Mexico to get an education, NPA Co-chair Emira Palacios laid into 
Stein with a vengeance!  Then, in case he hadn't gotten the 
message yet - Palacios ended the action by awarding Stein with 
NPA's distinguished "Horse's Ass of the Year" award.  Following 
the action, NPA has been flooded with calls and letters from around 
the country praising the direct action event as "much needed" and 
"a long time in coming!"  For more information, please go to 
http://www.npa-us.org/pressreleases/mayjun03/immprotest.htm.  

NPA's Immigrant Rights leadership then further established their 
reputation as a powerful grassroots voice in Washington, DC by 
chairing a packed Immigrant Rights Briefing in the Capitol Building. 
NPA leadership addressed over 20 Congressional staff, members 
of the media and immigration allies.  Leaders pushed for the 
passage of the Student Adjustment Act for immigrant students and 
furthered the fight to recognize foreign identification for immigrants 
and called for consistent and fair treatment of immigrants by local 
law enforcement.  NPA immigrant rights and youth leaders then 
held 10 meetings with U.S. House of Representatives Republicans 
to push for passage of the Student Adjustment Act. For more 
information, please go to http://www.npa-
us.org/pressreleases/mayjun03/immigrationreform.h tm  

To learn more about the National People's Action, please go to 
www.npa-us.org. For more information on the conference, please 
call Tracy Van Slyke at 312-243-3038.  




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