AMV & PAA join “Oppose Patriot Act II Now”
kick off rally in San Francisco
American Muslim Voice (AMV) and Pakistan American Alliance (PAA) joined the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, the Blue Triangle Network and other Bay Area Community organizations in a rally on July 7 that launched a week of concentrated citizen lobbying of Congress to stop the passage of draft legislation dubbed “Patriot Act II.” The rally was held outside the Federal building in San Francisco. Samina Faheem, Executive Director of the AMV & PAA (seen addressing the rally) urged Americans to join their brothers and sisters in the fight to preserve our liberties. Then she urged Moslems to join them in defending everybody’s rights and safety.
Riva Enteen speaking on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild said: “The Bush Administration wants citizens to have no privacy, to be completely transparent to the government but they want the government to be completely secret with no oversight.”
Less than two years after Congress passed (on Oct. 26, 2001) the USA Patriot Act, giving new, sweeping powers to the federal government to compile information on ordinary Americans, Attorney General John Ashcroft now wants to introduce legislation that would further erode constitutional checks and balances.
The Domestic Security Enhancement Act would further enhance government powers, eliminating or weakening government oversight and the remaining limits on government surveillance, wiretapping, detention and prosecution.
Colleen Akai speaking for Refuse and Resist intoned this prose of resistance:
We need resistance that builds upon the spirit of the librarians
who are shredding records so Ashcroft can't get his hands on
what books people are reading
We need resistance that say yes,
everyone has something to fear not from their neighbors
but from this government - the men and women who run it.
We need to fight against the climate of snitching and complicity with defiance.
We need resistance with the youth in the forefront (and the old people not far behind)
inspiring and breaking grounds for others with the change the world attitude.
We need resistance that builds in the legal community on Patriot 1 and 2
and the more than 130 cities that have rejected these laws as violation
as being unjust, immoral.
We need resistance to defeat this whole repressive program
but through doing so prepares itself to withstand and continue to build
resistance in even more repressive times.
We need resistance filled with dreamers and schemers.
Where another world is possible, where different people are respected
and different cultures are celebrated.
To Big Brother and the war makers
To the racists and women haters
To the gay bashers and welfare slashers
To the prison builders and executioners
We say the future is not yours
We will REFUSE & RESIST!
Speakers at the rally were:
Allan Solomonow, American Friends Service Committee
Bob Kearney, Associate Director of the American Civil Liberties Union
Cecilia Chang, Justice for New Americans
Colleen Akai, Refuse & Resist
Dave Meserve, Arcada City Council person
Henry Norr, fired SF Chronicle reporter
Joanne, Not in Our Name - Pledge of Resistance
Marjane Castillo, Oakland High school student
Matthew von Saun, Amnesty International
Rev Michael Yoshi, Buena Vista Methodist Church of Alameda
Riva Enteen, National Lawyers Guild
Samina Faheem, American Muslims Voice & Pakistan American Alliance
Shahram Agahmir, fired Oakland city worker
The rally was endorsed by:
ACLU, Amnesty International, American Muslims Voice, Blue Triangle Network,
Global Exchange, SF Gray Panthers, Justice for New Americans,
National Lawyers Guild, Not in Our Name, Tri City CAREs, Tri City Action,
Refuse & Resist!, Pakistani American Alliance, South Alameda Peace &
Justice Coalition and Vanguard Foundation