austin indymedia

U.S. Boat to Gaza: Austin Solidarity Launch 6/26/11

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_FQO4qnfOw

CodePink Austin, along with other friends and supporters of the U.S. Boat to Gaza, held a symbolic "launch" on the Pfluger Bridge over Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas. Participants read excerpts from writings by Alice Walker and Kathy Kelly and the letter... to President Obama regarding the reasons for the trip to Gaza. Austin citizens were asked to stop and write messages to the passengers and participate in other symbolic actions.

This event took place on June 26th, 2011. Organized by CodePink Austin (http://www.codepinkaustin.com).

To learn more about the voyage please visit: http://ustogaza.org/

To read about US activists who prepare to break Israel's blockade on Gaza, please visit: http://electronicintifada.net/content/us-activists-prepare-break-israels-bloc...

Video produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
http://austin.indymedia.org

This video is a ZGraphix production.
http://zgraphix.org

World Refugee Day Music, March & Rally in Austin

World Refugee Day March & Rally in Austin, TX 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNg-YItXrKU

 

Music from World Refugee Day March Rally in Austin, TX 2011

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUMb7gtCPqg

 

This video contains live Son Jarocho music from June 20th 2011; which was World Refugee Day, and it also marked a lengthy discussion at the Texas Capitol on Senate Bill 9 and House Bill 9, both immigration bills left pending in committee.

Outside the Capitol building, civil rights and immigration rights groups marched in opposition of those two bills and in opposition of an immigrant detention center being built outside San Antonio. The march was organized by Texans United for Families, but the immigration bills have stirred up plenty of controversy.

Other organizations joined the march including PODER, Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition, Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera, American Gateways, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Detention Watch Network, Grassroots Leadership, Texas Civil Rights Project, Texas Jail Project, Texans United for Families, San Antonio Immigrant Youth Movement, Save Our Youth, Southwest Workers Union, Wilco Justice Alliance and Workers Defense Project.
To learn more about the movement and the detention center to be built outside San Antonio in Karnes, check out the Grassroots Leadership website (http://www.grassrootsleadership.org/).

This video is a ZGraphix production.
Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
http://zgraphix.org
http://austin.indymedia.org

Click here for more photos and full-size videos.

Builder of 21Rio Partners with Workers Defense Project to Protect Workers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DKosdp9gTU

It has been almost two years since three construction workers died while building the 21 Rio complex in West Campus. Now, the company that subcontracted some of that crew is partnering with the Workers Defense Project to raise awareness about employee safety. The three men who died at 21 Rio were employed by American Mast Climbers, a company subcontracted by Maxum Development.

Investigators say faulty scaffolding led to the workers' death in June of 2009. It's reported the crew was forced to work more than 60 a hours week applying stucco to the building, which is now an apartment complex."They not only worked long hours, but were forced to work in hazardous working conditions without workers compensation or rest breaks," Director of the Workers Defense Project, Christina Tzintzun, said.

"They were even illegally charged for their safety equipment."This past April, a judge forced the contractor to pay $15 million to the victims' families, and Maxum

Development dropped American Mast Climbers from all of its projects. In addition, Maxum plans to improve communication at construction sites and increase safety inspections and training."We are trying to build a repertoire with the workers to make these projects flow better, safer and work better as a team," Gary Perkins with Maxum Development said. Maxum's Gary Perkins signed an agreement Thursday with Workers Defense Project, promising those construction site improvements.
"I think many construction workers that already work in Texas are sometimes even afraid to go out every day to do their jobs," Tzintzun said.

"I think we need an industry where people--at the end of each work day--know that they can go home safely to their families."As Austin's skyline continues to change and urban development moves forward, the Workers Defense Project hopes other companies will follow Maxum's lead.Last fall, Austin City Council adopted an ordinance requiring workers to take breaks every four hours. The mandate also requires contractors to have drinking water available on site.Construction rights advocates still say there is still much to tackle in terms of safety. Just this past Tuesday, a teenager was hospitalized after suffering a severe heat stroke on a construction site. He told investigators he did not take any breaks and was not drinking enough water.

This is a ZGraphix/Austin Indymedia Production.

Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.

http://zgraphix.org
http://austin.indymedia.org

 

Thomas Jefferson Dance Party in Austin & Police Violation of U.S. Law

 

Watch in HD on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1bqZ2WZ284
Watch on blip.tv here: http://blip.tv/austin-indymedia-center/thomas-jefferson-freedom-dance-party-in-austin-police-violation-of-u-s-law-5253199

June 4, 2011 Austin Activists join forces to form a solidarity dance party in the Texas State Capitol Building, exercising their constitutional rights when Agent Harris from the Capitol Police harass and use unreasonable force against Austin Indymedia reporter Jeff Zavala. The Police Agent Black also refused to help a victim of assault.

Facebook event invite: May 28 2011 Adam Kokesh and friends were wrongly assaulted and arrested at the Jefferson Memorial for dancing. They will be back out next weekend and here in Austin we are planning a similar event in solidarity. Come out and dance to make people aware of the recent ruling making it "illegal" to dance at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. and also the brutality of police against peaceful protesters on May 28, 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jUU3yCy3uI 

-And remember WE CAN DANCE IF WE WANT TO! “Dancing is a healthy and elegant exercise, a specific against social awkwardness.” ~Thomas Jefferson.

 

This is a zgraphix production.

Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.

http://zgraphix.org

James Galbraith on "The Great Crisis in the US and the World: Debt, Inequality, Fraud and Oil"

 
Economist James Galbraith discusses the roots and consequences of the financial crash and the ongoing economic crisis. A professor in the University of Texas' LBJ School of Public Affairs, Galbraith is the author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too and Created Unequal: The Crisis in American Pay. In addition to his teaching and research, Galbraith has served in several positions on the staff of the U.S. Congress, including Executive Director of the Joint Economic Committee. He writes for numerous magazines including Mother Jones, The Texas Observer, The American Prospect, and The Nation.
 
Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
A ZGraphix/Austin Indymedia Production.
http://zgraphix.org
http://austin.indymedia.org

Audio by Allan Campbell - 91.7 FM KOOP Radio
http://koop.org

Photos by Vanissa W. Chan - 
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vanissa-W-Chan-Photographer-Illustrator/46564629287?ref=ts

Rally to Save Texas Schools 3/12/11

 

Well over 11,000 parents, teachers, educators and community leaders from over 300 independent school districts converged at the state capital in Austin on Saturday, March 12.

“Today, Texans have come together in great numbers and have sent a very strong, clear message to our elected officials that we must do better by the children of our state by funding education to the maximum extent possible,” says Allen Weeks of Save Texas Schools, the grassroots coalition organizing the rally, and director of Austin Voices for Education and Youth.

“And it’s not over with this rally. We’re going to continue our fight to keep Texas smart.”

After a drum line led blocks of rally-goers on a march starting from Waterloo Park to the Capital grounds, a fantastic line-up of speakers and performers made heartfelt pleas for education.

“We live in the 21st century. We have a global economy,” said Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, in his podium address. “Here in Texas I wonder how long the fortune 500 companies will stick around if we can’t produce the students who can compete,”

Superintendent John-Kuhn of Perrin-Whitt, CISD, rollicked the crowds with his impassioned speech, saying: “Public school teachers, you are the saviors of this society. You are the first responders standing in this rubble while they sit in their offices and scribble judgmentally on their clipboards. You are heroes and what you do isn’t worth $27 billion; it is priceless.”

In a unified voice, rally participants urged legislators to take three critical steps to help close state budget gaps that are threatening education:

Use the $9.3 billion Texas “Rainy Day” Fund to help rescue schools from the current crisis. Sign the paperwork for $830 million in federal aid for teachers. Fix school funding laws to be fair to all districts and our growing student population.

After the rally, Save Texas Schools offered a training to those who plan to continue to work for public education across the state. Topics covered included how to keep the grassroots effort growing, how the legislative process works, and how education is funded in Texas.

To learn more please visit: http://savetxschools.org

Photography by Rene Renteria http://renerenteria.com

Filmed, Edited & Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
A ZGraphix production.
http://zgraphix.org
http://austin.indymedia.org

 

March to Save Texas Schools

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_RRmnCffvw

 

Day of the Fallen - Austin, Texas 3/2/11

 

 
Cardboard coffins lined Congress Avenue until all 138 of them filled the front lawn of the Texas Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.

The coffins were painted black and represented the 138 Texas construction workers and laborers who lost their lives on the job in 2009. Their memories served as the rallying cry for the roughly 600 people who gathered at the Capitol in support of new legislation on workers’ rights and safety. The Workers Defense Project organized the rally and gathered lawmakers, clergy members and activists with the families of those who had died.

“The cause we’re here for today is not just a good one, but a sacred one,” one member of the church said at the beginning of the rally.
Political commentator Jim Hightower spoke at the rally to state the activists’ demands.

“We’re not just here to honor the memory of the workers,” Hightower said. “We’re here for just a little bit of justice. We’re not asking for the whole thing. If we were, we’d be asking for Wall Street salaries and benefits — now that would be justice.”

This justice comes primarily in the form of mandatory workers’ compensation, which would require every employer to provide wage replacement and medical benefits to any employee injured while on the job, said Billy Yates, an intern at the Workers Defense Project. As it stands, Texas is the only state that does not require such compensation, he said. He also cites simple things, such as required breaks, as important preventive measures.

“A construction worker dies every two-and-a-half days in Texas,” he said. “If Texas is 112 degrees during the summertime and workers don’t get a single break, you can’t really wonder why there are so many deaths in the construction industry.”

This lack of mandatory workers’ compensation, rest breaks in the work day and proper safety education all contribute to Texas’ reputation as “the most dangerous state in the union for construction workers,” a phrase that was repeated throughout the rally, Yates said.

Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, and Rep. Armando Walle, D-Houston, hope to change this. They are currently putting forth bills that would make workers’ compensation required for not only those injured on the job, but for the families who lost relatives in work-related incidents.

“It’s a simple bill in that it mandates that all businesses provide what every other business in every other state already provides, and that is compensation for workers,” Lucio said. “It is what’s just and it is what’s right.”

The event also included live music, prayers and stories of the hardships incurred by those injured on the job.

“When we are helping to build this state, we are wanted,” said one man, who is now confined to a wheelchair after falling 30 feet while working at a construction site. “But when we are injured, we are tossed aside.”

We have two new bills that have recently been filed and need the support of your local legislator. Please, use this link to find your state senator and representative: (http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us ) and ask your legislators to support...

HB 2196 / SB 1024 to prevent wage theft
Authors: Rep. Eddie Rodriguez & Sen. Jose Rodriguez
This bill will clarify the language in Texas Penal Code 31.04 (Theft of Service) which will enable local law enforcement to enforce the law against employers ; who do not pay their workers.

HB 1739 / SB 938 to provide workers compensation for all construction employees
Authors: Rep. Armando Walle & Sen. Eddie Lucio
This bill will require that workers compensation be provided for any and all construction employees in Texas; thus, reducing Texas' uncompensated care costs in hospitals, lowering property taxes, and lifting the burden off of taxpayers.

This is an Austin Indymedia & ZGraphix production.
Produced by Jeff Zavala.
Edited by Jeff Zavala & Matt Gossage.
http://austin.indymedia.org
http://zgraphix.org

Lawrence Lessig speaks on the corrosive effects of money in politics

 

 

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig spoke on the corrosive effects of money in politics and potential remedies to the problem. For much of his career Lessig has focused on law and technology, and his current work addresses the question of "institutional corruption," influences that weaken the effectiveness of an institution and public trust. He is the author of Remix (2008), Code v2 (2007), Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999) and has served as lead counsel in a number of important cases marking the boundaries of copyright law in a digital age.

The talk was followed by a panel discussion including Sherri Greenberg (UT Center for Politics and Governance, LBJ School of Public Affairs), Steve Bickerstaff (UT Law School), and Brian Roberts (UT Department of Government).

Sponsored by the Coffee Party-Austin Chapter.

This is a zgraphix production.
Filmed, Edited & Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
http://zgraphix.org
http://austin.indymedia.org

Austin Rallies in Solidarity with Wisconsin

 

MoveOn joined with the following individuals/groups (Van Jones, USAction/ TrueMajority, Color of Change, PCCC, CREDO, Democracy for America, National People's Action, Center for Community Change, Courage Campaign, and Progressive Majority) across the country to show our solidarity with the workers in Wisconsin. Republican Governor Walker is attempting to break the unions there, and other states with Republican governors will... be attempting the same strong-arm tactics if we don't stand up now.

The country needs to stand behind these heroic individuals demonstrating in Madison.  Republicans have no use for unions, especially ones that have the best interests of children and aged at heart.

This is a zgraphix production.
Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
http://austin.indymedia.org
http://zgraphix.org

Tim Wise Speaks on Myths of “Post-Racial” Politics in the Age of Obama

 

 Video of the lecture can shared and viewed at: http://blip.tv/file/4821804

 Tim Wise, http://www.timwise.org/ , has emerged over the past decade as one of the most eloquent and forceful white people speaking for racial justice. He is the author of five books, including the 2010 Color Blind: The Rise of Post-Racial Politics and the Retreat from Racial Equity. Wise is a frequent speaker on campuses across the country and a regular commentator in mainstream media, including this interview on Tavis Smiley’s ...PBS show,http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/201008/20100812.html . 


The event was sponsored by St. James’ Episcopal Church, http://www.stjamesaustin.org/ St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church,http://staopen.com/ and the University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement,http://www.utexas.edu/diversity/index.php 

Filmed, Edited & Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala 

 

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