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2017 National GreenLatinos Summit

The 2017 National GreenLatinos Summit brings together GreenLatinos members, partners, allies, and stakeholders to address environmental, health, jobs, and justice issues most impacting Latino communities, lay out comprehensive strategies to change the dynamics for the better, and develop cohesive and strong bonds to propel our efforts forward.

Click here for more information and click here to register.

The City Project’s Robert García is proud to serve on the Board of Directors of GreenLatinos and to speak Tuesday and Wednesday at the National Summit.

Brown v Board of Education Equal Justice and Human Dignity US Supreme Court

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held in Brown v Board of Educatioon May 17, 1954, as follows:

Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does.

. . .

To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone.

. . .

We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Brown v Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).

Brown v Board was the result of decades of legal strategizing by black and Latino organizations. The Civil Rights Revolution includes attorneys taking cases to court, ground breaking judicial decisions, grass roots organizing, legislation by Congress, action by the President, implementation by administrative agencies, and people voting to support civil rights. The Civil Rights Movement is a paradigm for social change. Celebrate the Civil Rights Revolution: The Struggle Continues…

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The legal team in Brown v Board of Education from NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc.

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NRPA Defend Our National Monuments, Diversity and Inclusion

By Robert García and Daniel Rossman | Posted on May 16, 2017

The San Gabriel Mountains Forever Academy

Following President Trump’s recent executive order calling for a review of national monuments designated since 1996, the Department of the Interior has released a list of national monuments that could be scaled back or even eliminated. While this entire process stands on shaky legal ground, the list reveals that six monuments in California are targeted: the San Gabriel Mountains, Sand to Snow, Mojave Trails, Berryessa Snow Mountain, Giant Sequoia and Carrizo Plain national monuments.This president is using false rhetoric, attempting to drive a wedge between communities across the country. Nowhere is this more apparent than here in the greater Los Angeles area and the foothills of the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. We heard complaints of “overreach” and “land grabs by the federal government” just before the designation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. But the truth is, the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition worked for nearly a decade to earn local support for the national monument. Following that designation, the official Community Collaborative worked with the U.S. Forest Service for three years developing the monument’s management plan.

“We were able to come up with a document that we can all support, which is the first time this has been done when a national monument has been designated to serve the recreational needs of such a large, urban population,” said Liz Reilly, City of Duarte councilwoman, and a member of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.

From the beginning, former President Barack Obama listened to the local community, recognizing the need for a place where everyone — especially children of color living in low-income communities — could experience nature and learn about the rivers, streams and forests that provide us with clean air and water. It was a win for the environment and social justice when he dedicated the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in 2014.


Bears Ears National Monument: Mason Cummings, The Wilderness Society

Now, President Trump has ordered the secretary of the interior to go back more than 20 years in search of ways to cut, shrink or remove protections for our national monuments. He has denigrated the work that brought diverse communities together in support of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, along with many others across the nation. This review is politically motivated and an affront to the people of the nation, who have shown overwhelming support for parks, refuges and national monuments.

Diverse communities were the force behind many of the monument designations targeted by the executive order, from those in urban neighborhoods seeking access to nature, to others working to protect their cultural identity. The recent designation of Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains national monuments in our Southern California desert helped protect and celebrate Native American history, values and culture. The first target of the president’s monument review is likely to be Bears Ears in Utah, where 30 Native American tribes came together to support a monument designation celebrating cultural sites and ancient artifacts and to protect them from vandalism and looting.

This attack on our national monuments puts oil drilling and mining interests, big business and developers ahead of the needs of local communities. We, the people, must raise our voices to defend the health of our neighborhoods and the future of our children. We must insist on more parks and greater access to healthy outdoor activity, along with protection for all our public lands and waters — including national monuments.

A public comment period on this national monument review is already underway. With your help, we can demonstrate the overwhelming public support for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and all national monuments. Comments may be submitted online at www.regulations.gov, then searching “DOI-2017-0002,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.

Now is the time to speak up for our national monuments!

Robert García is Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, and a member of San Gabriel Mountains Forever and the Community Collaborative.

Daniel Rossman is the Senior Regional Representative for The Wilderness Society based in Los Angeles, and a member of San Gabriel Mountains Forever and the Community Collaborative.

This blog post is available online at Open Space, the official blog of the National Recreation and Park Association.

180 Former Federal Prosecutors for Southern District of New York Call for Special Counsel to Oversee FBI Investigation

May 12, 2017

Rod J. Rosenstein, Esq.
Deputy Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Deputy Attorney General:

We, the undersigned, are former United States Attorneys and Assistant United States Attorneys for the Southern District of New York. In view of the recent termination of James Comey as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we are writing to request that you appoint a special counsel to oversee the FBI’s continuing investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election and related matters. This letter is addressed to you rather than the Attorney General since he has recused himself from this matter.

As you know, Jim has had a long and distinguished career with the Department of Justice, beginning with his appointment as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York serving under United States Attorneys Rudolph Giuliani, Benito Romano and Otto Obermaier from 1987 through 1993. He returned to the Southern District of New York in 2002 when he was appointed the United States Attorney and served in that capacity until he was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General in 2003. Most of us came to know Jim when he worked in the Southern District of New York. Many of us know him personally. All of us respect him as a highly professional and ethical person who has devoted more than 20 years of his life to public service.

While we do not all necessarily agree with the manner in which he dealt with the conclusion of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, we sincerely believe that his abrupt and belated termination for this conduct, occurring months later and on the heels of his public testimony about his oversight of the investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election, has the appearance – if not the reality – of interfering with that investigation. Even if this investigation continues unabated, there is a substantial risk that the American people will not have confidence in its results, no matter who is appointed to succeed him, given that the Director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. We believe it is critical in the present political climate and clearly in the public’s interest that this investigation be directed by a truly independent, non-partisan prosecutor who is independent of the Department of Justice, as is contemplated by 28 C.F.R. §600.1.

We are Republicans, Democrats and independents. Most importantly, we are proud alumni and alumnae of the Department of Justice. We do not suggest that you or any other members of the Department of Justice or a newly appointed Director of the FBI would not conduct yourselves properly, but the gravity of this investigation requires that even the appearance of political involvement in this investigation be avoided. As former prosecutors, we believe the only solution in the present circumstances would be to appoint a Special Counsel pursuant to 28 C.F.R. §600.1, and we urge you to take that course.

Respectfully submitted,

Jonathan S. Abernethy Elkan Abramowitz Richard F. Albert
Marcus A. Asner Martin J. Auerbach Miriam Baer
Thomas H. Baer Kerri Martin Bartlett Maria Barton
Andrew Bauer Bernard W. Bell Richard Ben-Veniste
Neil S. Binder Laura Gossfield Birger Ira H. Block
Suzanne Jaffe Bloom Barry A. Bohrer Daniel H. Bookin
Jane E. Booth Katharine Bostick Laurie E. Brecher
David M. Brodsky Stacey Mortiz Brodsky William Bronner
Jennifer K. Brown Marshall A. Camp Bennett Capers
Michael Q. Carey Neil S. Cartusciello Sarah Chapman
Robert J. Cleary Brian D. Coad Glenn C. Colton
William Craco Nelson W. Cunningham Constance Cushman
Frederick T. Davis John M. Desmarais Rhea Dignam
Gregory L. Diskant Philip L. Douglas Sean Eskovitz
Jesse T. Fardella Meir Feder Ira M. Feinberg
Michael S. Feldberg Steven D. Feldman Edward T. Ferguson
David Finn Eric P. Fisher Sharon E. Frase
Steven I. Froot Maria T. Galeno Catherine Gallo
Robert Garcia Kay K. Gardiner Ronald L. Garnett
Scott Gilbert Barbara S. Gillers Mark Godsey
Joshua A. Goldberg James A. Goldston Mark P. Goodman
George I. Gordon Sheila Gowan Stuart GraBois
Paul R. Grand Helen Gredd Bruce Green
Marc L. Greenwald Jamie Gregg James G. Greilsheimer
Jane Bloom Grise Nicole Gueron Barbara Guss
Steven M. Haber Jonathan Halpern David Hammer
Jeffrey Harris Mark D. Harris Roger J. Hawke
Steven P. Heineman Mark R. Hellerer William Hibsher
Jay Holtmeier John R. Horan Patricia M. Hynes
Linda Imes Douglas Jensen James Kainen
Eugene Kaplan Steven M. Kaplan William C. Komaroff
David Koenigsberg Cynthia Kouril Mary Ellen Kris
Stephen Kurzman Nicole LaBarbera Kerry Lawrence
Sherry Leiwant Jane A. Levine Annmarie Levins
Raymond A. Levites Donna H. Lieberman Jon Liebman
Sarah E. Light Jon Lindsey Robin A. Linsenmayer
Edward J.M. Little Mary Shannon Little Walter Loughlin
Daniel Margolis Walter Mack Kathy S. Marks
Mark E. Matthews Marvin S. Mayell Sharon L. McCarthy
James J. McGuire Joan McPhee Christine Meding
Paul K. Milmed Judith L. Mogul David E. Montgomery
Lynn Neils Peter Neiman Rosemary Nidiry
Tai H. Park Robert M. Pennoyer Elliott R. Peters
Michael Pinnisi Robert Plotz Henry Putzel
T. Gorman Reilly Emily Reisbaum Peter Rient
Roland G. Riopelle Michael A. Rogoff Benito Romano
Amy Rothstein Thomas C. Rubin Daniel S. Ruzumna
Robert W. Sadowski Elliot G. Sagor Peter Salerno
Joseph F. Savage John F. Savarese Edward Scarvalone
Kenneth I. Schacter Frederick Schaffer Gideon A. Schor
Julian Schreibman Wendy Schwartz Linda Severin
David Siegal Marjorie A. Silver Paul H. Silverman
Charles Simon Carolyn L. Simpson David Sipiora
Dietrich L. Snell Peter Sobol Ira Lee Sorkin
David W. Spears Katherine Stanton Franklin H. Stone
Richard M. Strassberg Howard S. Sussman Erika Thomas
Richard Toder Timothy J. Treanor Paula Tuffin
Peter Vigeland David Wales Max Wild
Samuel J. Wilson Elaine Wood Paulette Wunsch
Thomas Zaccaro Ellen Zimiles

cc: Jefferson B. Sessions III, Esq.
Attorney General of the United States

This letter reflects the signers’ personal views, not of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the U.S. Department of Justice, or any other government agency.

Photo USAO SDNY, One St. Andrew’s Plaza, New York, NY

Smithsonian Anacostia Newsletter Community Driven Collaborations for Park Access and Health Equity in LA

Community-driven collaborations have helped make people’s lives better through park access and health equity in Los Angeles over the past 17 years. The recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity recommends community-driven best practices. The report recognizes park access and residential segregation as social determinants of health, and recommends civil rights and environmental justice strategies to promote health equity. That’s the good news.

Challenges remain. People face deportation and green displacement. . . . Other people with resources and power march against deportation raids and the Muslim travel ban, and need to apply equal justice laws to their own work.

Read the full article Community Driven Collaborations for Park Access and Health Equity in L.A.

Comey out is just. Who fired him is not.

For one brief shining moment U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein restores faith in the US justice system. Justice Department leaders, elected officials, and ordinary people condemned Comey’s actions regarding the FBI email investigation, as Deputy A.G. Rosenstein reports: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/09/us/politics/document-White-House-Fires-James-Comey.html. Removing Comey is just for those reasons.

It is not just for this president to do the firing while this administration is under investigation regarding Russia. This president impugns the justice system further even while firing Comey: “I greatly appreciate your informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.” If Comey said that, that is reason enough for Comey to be fired – and there is no reason to rely on this president. It appears that only this president can fire the director of the FBI under current law.
Rough justice. We the people lose.
I am proud to be a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, which instills a commitment to justice in current and former AUSAs. Despite a career of public service, Comey dishonored the traditions of that Office through his actions in the email investigation.
Robert García, Director-Counsel
*post updated

NRPA National Academies Reducing Health Disparities and Promoting Health Equity #PromoteHealthEquity


Click here to see all of the recommendations and key findings, or to download a copy of the complete report or comic.

This column is available online or as an eZine and in the hard copy edition of National Recreation and Parks Association NRPA’s Parks & Recreation Magazine (May 2017).

#Solidarity #Resist #peoplesclimatemovement Ventura

People come together in solidarity and resistance April 29 from local communities like Ventura, CA, to major marches in NY, DC, LA . . . . Local parks are traditional First Amendment forums for democracy and participation, and help reduce the urban carbon footprint and heat island effect.

People’s Climate Movement

Raul Macías and Anahuak Youth Sports Association LA State Historic Park Oral History #LASHP

Q. I want to get back to the park itself. Obviously there were different proposals for things that might be done with the land. The school, the Buddhist temple, a park, various things at different points. I would just be curious if you could describe before you guys beat Roski, in the midst of all this, you personally, what was your vision of what would be done with the land? What was your hope for what would be done with the land, and how does that compare to what it is now that it’s a state historic park.

I’m a simple man with a simple vision. My vision really is driven by the Olmsted Plan for parks, schools, and beaches.

We really were hoping and praying and fighting for L.A. State Historic Park to be part of a continuous parkway with what is now the California Endowment site, El Pueblo, Río de Los Angeles State Park, and the river. All of this would be continuous parkway space. That does not mean it’s all one big park. That would have been as close as we had come at the time in 2000, 2001, to the 1930 Olmsted vision of parks, playgrounds and beaches for the Los Angeles region. Along with that big park space, schools. . . .

We got our inspiration in part from the Olmsted Plan, and in part from places like the Golden Gate National Recreation area in the San Francisco Bay Area. The National Parks Service recognized years ago that there will be few opportunities to create places like another Central Park in New York City, or even L.A. State Historic Park in L.A. You need to connect park spaces through signage or streets and boulevards lined with trees, so that there’s an obvious connection.

Frankly, that was my vision. It wasn’t just mine. That was the vision of Anahuak Youth Sports Association and Raul Macías, and Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles. They are another set of unsung heroes. . . .

Let me emphasize the role of Raul Macías and Anahuak Youth Sports Association. . . . Raul was not a part of the Chinatown Yard Alliance from day one, but he did become a leader later. He was a part of the struggle for Río de Los Angeles State Park at Taylor Yard from day one.

Raul is a businessman, a successful businessman. Raul owned MGM Apparel, which was a clothing manufacturing business immediately across the street from Taylor Yard on San Fernando Road. He saw that in the local park, Cypress Park, there was no place for children to play except for a little space, almost a pocket park down the street from MGM, just big enough for one small, not regulation size, soccer field.

So he went to neighborhood kids and said, “I’ll buy your uniforms and shoes and balls, and I’ll pay for a coach and I’ll get you refs, if you agree to form a soccer team. All you have to do is come tell me once a week how you’re doing.” The kids said sure. After a few weeks, they’d come and tell him we lost to such and such a team. We lost to such and such a team. Raul got angry. He fired the coach, he started coaching them himself, and the team grew. More and more children wanted to play. He didn’t charge them anything. This is not like AYSO, American Youth Soccer Organization, where you pay 60, 70, 100 bucks, whatever. These families can’t afford that. He would, out of his own pocket, finance the team.

When we started the struggle to stop the commercial development at what is now Río de Los Angeles State Park, we met with him early on, and he became a core leader of that alliance. Just like Chi Mui had ties to the Chinese community here at L.A. State Historic Park, Raul worked in the community and the people who worked at his clothing business lived in the community. They’re immigrants, they’re Latinos, they love soccer. That’s what drove them to fight to create the park. This was the Coalition for a State Park at Taylor Yard, and their tagline was Give our kids a place to play. Raul was a core leader.

The developer wanted to build a big box project at Taylor Yard. They went to Raul and said, “We’ll give you several hundred thousand dollars to buy equipment for your team, pay the park fees at other sites, if you withdraw from the alliance.” Raul said, “No, it’s not about me, it’s not even about Anahuak. It’s not about our members. It’s about the community and the alliance, and we’re not going to walk out on them.” That was at a time when it was unsure we would win. He might have lost everything. He might have lost the site, Taylor Yard. He would have lost several hundred thousand dollars. But he stayed a part of the struggle.

Raul Macías later became a member of the L.A. Neighborhood Council for that area. To this day elected officials, the Mayor, state officials, congressional officials, local officials, when they want to meet with their constituents, they will go to Anahuak Youth Sports Association coaches’ meetings, or they will go to the soccer tournaments and talk to the people there.

We learned this in the process of organizing. Juan Gonzales wrote the standard history of Latinos in the U.S. He writes in Harvest of Empire that new Latino immigrants in the U.S. do not organize politically. They organize soccer teams and soccer leagues. They use the human organizing skills they learn from that process, and then go on to organize politically. We saw that is true with Raul and Anahuak Youth Sports Association.

Raul is a respected community leader. . . . He is still devoted to Anahuak and the children.

Prior: Juanita Tate and Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles

The community plan with soccer fields and a school for LA State Historic Park . . .

Top photo Raul Macías and Anahuak Youths Sports Association celebrate the 10th anniversary of Río de Los Angeles State Park on Earth Day, April 22, 2017

Juanita Tate Concerned Citizens South Central LA LA State Historic Park Oral History #LASHP

Here’s another bit of the Cornfield story. Juanita TatJuanita Tatee from Concerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles fought with us from the beginning for L.A. State Historic Park. She was the head of Concerned Citizens of Southcentral Los Angeles, one of the first Black environmental organizations in the nation.

Juanita had not publicly joined the Chinatown Yard Alliance yet, but I had talked to her about supporting the park. She told me this story later.

Juanita gets a call from one of the two Johns who were Vice Presidents at Majestic. We used to call them the two Johns, John Hunter and John Semcken. One of the Johns calls Juanita and says, “Hi Juanita. How you been? I was thinking we could go out dancing.” Juanita says, “Oh, that sounds really great John, but I don’t really remember you ever calling me to go out dancing before. What’s up?” John said, “Well, you know there’s this site where we want to build. We want to create jobs for your community at the Cornfield, and we want you to support our job proposal.” Juanita said, “Well, I’m always in favor of jobs for the community. I’ve talked to this fellow, Robert García, who wants to create a park there. What about that? You know anything about that?” John said, “Robert García is a communist.”

Juanita says to John, “Robert García might be a communist, but he’s a damn good lawyer and we’re going to support his effort for a park there.” That was that. I’m not a communist, by the way.

Juanita Tate was our hero, our inspiration, and our long time client. The Juanita Tate Social Justice Fellowship at The City Project is named in her honor.

Juanita Tate, Concerned Citizens, and Juanita’s children Mark Williams, Noreen McClendon, and Eugene Williams provided critical ties to the Black community to support parks and recreation at the Cornfield and Taylor Yard. Juanita later died too young from leukemia. We share the vision for schools with playing fields open to the community, and for using parks, school yards, and soccer and sports as organizing tools to bring people together — for equal justice, democracy, and livability for all.

Next: Raul Macías and Anahuak Youth Sports Association

Prior: Chi Mui

Mark Williams LASHP Grand Opening