Dear ROCLA (Rochester Committee on Latin America) Members and Friends,
Thank you so much for your continued interest in ROCLA’s mission. We value your attendance at our programs, your support of our work, and especially your ideas and input.
Our latest ROCLA Summer 2022 Update on the Americas Newsletter is now availabe! There is so much happening in Latin America that we research many articles to choose those that are included here, and we aim to cover a variety of countries in each newsletter. But of course we miss things too. So we welcome any articles, reports, or ideas you would like us to consider, and, of course, your feedback about our quarterly content. Please send them to: [email protected]
We appreciate and thank you for your continuing support! Please click here to read our Summer 2022 Newsletter!
The ROCLA Steering Committee
On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, revoking the constitutional right to an abortion nationwide and leaving the right to reproductive justice in the hands of the states. Abortions will soon be banned in thirteen states, with more to follow, and the accessibility of a safe, private abortion for millions of individuals will be made increasingly difficult.
Concurring opinions demonstrate the Court’s willingness to strip Americans of the liberty and personal privacy embedded in the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas signals that the rights to same-sex marriage, contraception, and other protected activities are at risk with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.Read more
When our world, our rights, our freedoms are being bombarded left and right, seemingly on a daily basis, it can be easy to get to a level of frustration and fatigue. The last two years of the pandemic were hard enough. Not only are we still dealing with Covid 19, now we are back at it fighting fights we thought we had already won. Is this really where we are in 2022, fighting, ONCE AGAIN, for people with uteruses to have the right over their own bodies? The potential backlash from the reversal of Roe v. Wade could be catastrophic to reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, and further burden poor and disenfranchised communities Our neighbors of color are being violently attacked in senseless acts of terrorism. We are watching as voter rights are being attacked seemingly unchecked in state after state, district after district. We are watching as forces of empire, capital, and fascism have turned Ukraine into a warzone and taken hundreds of innocent civilian lives. And the tragic latest….the murder of 19 children, and two teachers, by a teenage gunman with an AR15 rifle, and over 300 rounds of ammunition.
Corporations and the greedy politicians that serve them rely on us burning out in the face of tragedies and attacks on our rights, so that we stay exploited and the rich stay rich. But, that moment where there just seems to be so much going on that you don’t know what direction to look in, or where to start that, and you get that overwhelming sense of dread, fatigue, and feel the optimism slip away….that is when we turn to each other for guidance, for strength, and for support to fight back harder. We, as a Metro Justice and Rochester community, will continue to be resilient. In numbers, we have strength.
Now is the time to continue to fight side by side together, and turn to each other for guidance, for strength, and for support.
Then we stand arm to arm and show those with power that we can be a powerhouse ourselves.Read more
To everyone who joined us --
It was an honor to be in solidarity with you to defend reproductive justice last Saturday.
Our only way to build and protect reproductive justice, once and for all, is to build collective power against the ruling class and take bold action. We must organize with vision, strategy, creativity, and militancy.
All sponsoring organizations, including Metro Justice, are debriefing our activity so far and discussing next steps. Here at Metro Justice, we plan to encourage the formation of a local strategy and organizing plan that coordinates with a national strategy. Our Organizing Director, Mohini Sharma, is contacting national networks to ask if such organizing conversations are happening at a national level, and how we can plug in. We hope to have an update for you next week!
In the meantime, we encourage you to join us at Metro Justice to stay active in the movement. (Read on to learn how!)
As we watch clips and testimonies of Ukrainian casualties and refugees; of Russian bombings and invasions, we are forced to ask ourselves why the working peoples of the world must suffer at the hands of the wealthy? Why do consumers get squeezed at the pump due to corporate price gouging? Why must families flee their homes because of Russian imperialism? Why was the encroachment of NATO towards Russia so conspicuously kept out of our political discourse, hidden from the American public?Read more
It is deeply unsettling for Monroe County's top law enforcement officer to abuse his office for a racist vendetta against a private citizen and community elder. Jalil was a Black Panther political prisoner for nearly 50 years. He “served his time” and now has a constitutional right to privacy again.Read more
2021....What a Year!
2021 was an incredibly difficult year for our community and our country. Even with the long-awaited release of the vaccine, we are still battling the effects of the pandemic, Covid-19, and its variants. However, where there is darkness, there is also light. We have seen that aspects of Universal Healthcare can work in our country with the evidence of the rollout of free vaccines, testing, N95 masks, home tests, and paid leave for those that do fall ill with the virus. As a result of this, and ongoing realizations of the holes in our current healthcare system that more often than not fails the most vulnerable of our communities, calls for Universal Healthcare are gaining momentum. The marginalized and young generations are joining the fight in droves to better their communities, and fight for equality. Our community Teachers’ Unions stood in solidarity with students and families to fight for better protections for teachers, staff, and students as reopening plans for schools were rolled out amidst the ever-present pandemic. We have seen progress in Union organization across the nation. Due to the increased demand on “essential” workers, Covid health risks, understaffing, and overwhelming conditions, locally we have seen Foodlink and Starbucks employees unite to form Unions, and demand more from their parent organizations. Upstate NY now has the only Starbucks Unions in the country, and all with the help of Union organizations that we are proud to call partners combined with the incredible support of community like our tireless members.
And then there is the progress of our own initiatives in Metro Justice.
With our proactive member support, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish together,
Past…. Present …. and FUTURE!Read more
Metro Justice has accomplished so much in the first half of 2021! Read on for a review of our year so far.Read more
On the night of March 23rd 2020, the Rochester Police Department brutally murdered Daniel Prude. Mark Vaughn, Frank Santiago, and Troy Talladay killed him while several more cops stood by, watching and laughing. In the city of Frederick Douglass, they lynched a black man naked in the snow for the crime of experiencing a mental health crisis.
City Hall and the Rochester Police Department then maintained a months-long cover-up. They got caught when Daniel Prude's family filed legal documents accessible to the public. Then we saw the video, erasing all doubts. If not for the bravery of Prude's family, we might never have known about his murder.
Mayor Lovely Warren suspended the cops with pay, instead of firing them. She also let the RPD use rubber bullets and chemical weapons against protesters demanding justice.
This week, almost a year after Daniel Prude’s death, Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office failed to make their case to the grand jury. No charges. James repeatedly used the racist pseudo-scientific dog-whistle term “excited delirium,” and ultimately passed the buck to the state Legislature.Read more
(Photo sourced from Newsweek)
The suffering and turmoil we’ve witnessed in Texas is a stark reminder of how vulnerable all of us are when we are reliant on inadequate and inequitable energy infrastructure. The Texas energy system is a failed experiment with deregulation—that much is obvious. But the failures of a privatized energy infrastructure are disproportionately borne by the most vulnerable and historically disenfranchised members of our communities. The consequences of natural disasters are not shared equally, and the priorities of investor-owned utilities are reflected in the prioritization of wealthier and whiter communities across Texas. Until we have transparent and democratically governed utilities, we will remain vulnerable not only to the rapidly destabilizing weather patterns of a warming planet but also to the unjust and racist decisions made by those who control our infrastructure.Read more