Murguia: Join NCLR and the Drop Dobbs Campaign

NCLR President Janet Murguia posted this essay on the Huffington Post yesterday:

This Tuesday, my organization, the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), joined with several national advocacy organizations to launch the Drop Dobbs campaign, an appeal to advertisers to withhold their advertising support for CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight program. We came to this decision in the wake of Dobbs' participation at an anti-immigrant rally in Washington, DC sponsored by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), an organization designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a hate group.

According to SPLC:

- FAIR was founded by John Tanton, who also operates a racist publishing company and has compared immigrants to "bacteria."
- FAIR has employed members of white supremacist groups in key positions.
- FAIR has promoted racist conspiracy theories.
- FAIR has accepted more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation devoted to eugenics and to proving a connection between race and IQ.
- FAIR president Dan Stein once suggested that Asians and Hispanics were engaged in "competitive breeding."

For two years, I have tried working behind the scenes with CNN to bring some fairness to the relentless bias of CNN programming due to Dobbs' show. I have documented a litany of issues involving Lou Dobbs, including:

- His regular use of guests representing hate groups, vigilantes, and nativists as experts on immigration
- His relentless repetition of stories on immigrants and crime that project an impression far from reality
- His association of immigrants as carriers of disease that has been both inaccurate and pejorative

I have appeared on the Lou Dobbs show to ask him to curtail his bias and distance himself from the vigilantes and nativists who have appeared on his show. I have also partnered with CNN to address the levels of diversity before and behind the camera in hopes that this would help. CNN's disregard for Dobbs' alarming appearance at the hate group's rally this week has forced us to reconsider our behind-the-scenes approach.

Words have consequences. The Latino community knows all too well the effect that extreme and polarizing rhetoric can have. Over the past five years, the often vitriolic debate surrounding immigration has created a toxic climate for our communities. During that time, we have seen a double digit increase in the number of hate crimes against Latinos and substantial growth in the number of hate groups targeting Latinos. As was illustrated less than one year ago by the murders of Marcelo Lucero and Jose Sucuzhanay, lives are literally at stake.

Lou Dobbs, as a private citizen, has every right to speak at whatever event he pleases. As a representative of CNN's "best political news team in America," however, Dobbs' appearance at this rally provides FAIR the legitimacy of the CNN brand and signals an intensification of the lopsided coverage Dobbs has provided during the debate over immigration reform.

This should be of deep concern to CNN and every one of its advertisers. The credibility of all of their brands is at stake. The Drop Dobbs coalition is compiling a list of those advertisers supporting the Lou Dobbs show and will be reaching out to educate them about this issue. We recognize that many advertisers may be unaware that FAIR has been designated as a hate group, so we are contacting those companies before publicly releasing the list. However, unless and until Dobbs and CNN disassociate themselves from this hate group, we will be asking advertisers to withhold their support.

Join us online at the Drop Dobbs campaign and ask U.S. corporations to drop their advertising from the Lou Dobbs Tonight show. Together we can make a difference and bring accountability back to CNN.

NDN is a proud founding member of this important effort.  If you haven't yet, please visit the site,, sign our petition and then ask others in your networks to do the same.

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UPDATE: NDN, America's Voice, NCLR Reiterate the Need for Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year, the Message Goes Abroad

In keeping with our "new tools" theme, reporters in Mexico made use of our new live webstreaming capability and were able to watch our conversation on "Making the Case for Passage of Comprehensive Immigration Reform This Year."  Our case is crossing borders, as a journalist from one of Mexico's most respected newspapers, El Financiero, writes in this piece.  The article elaborates on the two key points made by the speakers: 1) Immigration reform is vital in order to help revive our economy, and 2) legalizing those currently outside of the protection of American labor law will only help bring them into the system and generate greater revenue for the U.S. Treasury.


"La Raza Cósmica"

San Diego, CA - "The cosmic race," that is how Barack Obama referred to the Hispanic audience to whom he emphatically said, "Make no mistake about it: the Latino community holds this election in your hands," at NCLR's annual conference.  Yes, the Hispanic vote is a varied one, and a crucial one, and the comments I hear from the audience denote that - for the first time - they know it.  Folks here are excited and increasingly comfortable with having demands and expectations of candidates on the issues they care about because they know that their vote is more central to American politics than ever before.  As Andres noted in his interview with Maria Peña of EFE yesterday, whoever wins over Hispanics is assured to win the White House.

The use of the cosmic race denotes that Sen. Obama understands that the Hispanic community is one with a rich tapestry of cultures, colors, and beliefs.  Immigration is still by far the issue at the forefront on the minds of the attendees at this conference, mostly because of the impact of the ongoing immigration raids in the Hispanic community.  Yesterday I also heard many praise Sen. Obama for addressing a wider array of issues in more detail, in addition to immigration.  The challenge is on - it has been expected that given his current unpopular stance among Hispanics on immigration, Sen. McCain would focus rather on discussing economic and other issues of importance to this community during his address to NCLR.  Well, Sen. Obama seized the opportunity yesterday to beat him to the punch and introduce a proposed tax credit for small businesses providing health insurance to their employees, to discuss his plans for the economy, education, health care, veterans, and received thunderous applause as he attacked the impact of immigration raids on families, and he once again called out John McCain for having "abandoned his courageous stance" on immigration. 

It will be a hard act for Sen. McCain to follow, no doubt.  Sen. McCain has also recognized the differences within the Hispanic vote, and is working to appeal to more conservative Hispanics.  Both candidates are still refining their approach - as reported by the Associated Press yesterday, "like awkward suitors," both candidates have at times fumbled their approach to Hispanics by addressing members of the community too directly and rationally, with a "take me to your leaders" kind of tactic.  But Hispanics like to develop closer, more personal relationships.  Sen. Obama opened his speech by individually naming and recognizing several grassroots and immigrant rights activist in the audience, like Enrique Morones of Border Angels, and throughout his speech appealed to the heart and "character of this community," making the audience feel that he appreciates their values, and that those values are American values.  Sen. McCain is recognized and respected by the community, but to win these voters over he will have to:  1) take advantage of this golden opportunity to show courage on immigration and move away from his party on this, 2) show that he does not look at Hispanics as votes, or even worse, as a voting block to be convinced, he must show that our struggles are his struggles, that he also knows the community's "big heart" and that he genuinely cares about fighting alongside and as part of the Hispanic community.  "Familia" is a big foundation of the "raza cosmica", and he has to make this community feel his desire to be part of the family first.  


Sunday Brunch With Obama

San Diego, CA - Showtime is a few minutes away, Barack Obama will address the largest civil rights group in the nation and deliver a much-awaited speech on his proposals on issues of importance to the Latino community.  The air is one of excitement and a great deal of anticipation.  One cannot understimate the importance of the group Barack Obama is addressing - those attending the NCLR conference are the most active community leaders, grassroots organizers, and advocates on behalf of the Hispanic community.  And these leaders will undoubtedly disseminate their impressions of Barack Obama's speech today and John McCain's speech tomorrow to their communities when they go back home. Obama is expected to deliver a message of empathy and unity with the Hispanic community as he speaks about the inequalities and stigmatization currently suffered by Latinos accross the country.  His speech has grown increasingly passionate, so everyone is anxious to see how he delivers his address to this intimate family gathering of about 2,000. 


NDN's Andres Ramirez to Speak on Latino Voters at the National Council of La Raza Annual Conference

NDN's VP for Hispanic Programs, Andres Ramirez, will speak as a panelist during the National Council of La Raza's (NCLR) Annual Conference Andres will address NCLR members, affiliates, individuals and corporations from across the country during the following panel, which is part of NCLR's Latino Empowerment and Advocacy Project (LEAP):  

Latino Voters:  Making Their Mark on the 2008 Election

Tuesday, July 15

8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA

Andres will present analysis of Latino demographics, registration and voting patterns, the issues that motivate Latino voters, as well as the potential impact of the Hispanic vote on this election cycle.

To learn more about the the Latino vote in the 2008 elections and this year's NCLR Annual Conference, continue to follow our blog in English and Spanish as write more on this throughout the weekend.

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