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The third annual Houston Palestine Film Festival brings an honest and independent view of Palestine and its diaspora's society, culture, and political travails through the art of film. This group of groundbreaking cinematic texts rise above the degrading stereotypes or reductively politicized depictions that are so familiar to Houstonians. A major goal of the Festival is to directly expose our local community to the perspective of artists as a first step toward circumventing the many government and media filters that pollute our understanding of Palestine and the wider region.

The Festival starts Thursday April 16th with a Live Performance by Poet Suheir Hammad at the El Dorado Ballroom, and continues with films at Rice Cinema on April 17, 18, 24 and 25. [see the full schedule]

View a Trailer for the Festival | In January of 2007 Suheir Hammad performed at The Proletariat, listen to an interview conducted by HIMC volunteer Renee Feltz

from the open publishing newswire: A small group of local activists have joined knowledge, time, and efforts to create a garden that features foods that are/were indigenous to the Mexica People (The 7 Warriors) and have opened the gates to us in an effort to share & trade information that they are learning and to promote backyard organic gardening to all gente.

WHY AN ORIGINAL JARDIN? Several reasons. We've all seen what is happening in the grocery stores due to the current economy. Prices are going up and the quality of the produce available is going down. We are paying more for less and with many people now living under the constant pressure that they might lose their jobs. Well, it just adds more anxiety to our daily lives. We have land that is good to plant on and the reasons why not to ran out. The time has come to start planting. Not relying on 'the man' for our basic needs will get us to a more secure place. Having knowledge about the land and how plants grow will ensure that if/when prices inflate even more, we will still have access to foods we use regularly and conveniently out of our yards. Health-wise, if you are part of the process of creating it, you know what is inside of it. No additives, chemicals, non-pronounceables. [read full article]

Check out Our DH Streets a blog that aims to connect the people living in Denver Harbor- Houston to each other and the rest of the East End. This is a conscious space for neighborhood opinions, pics, going-ons, and to keep us all up to date on news that directly effect DH.

from the open publishing newswire: Kids Against the Death Penalty has won the 2009 Youth Abolitionists of the Year award given by Students Against the Death Penalty and Texas Students Against the Death Penalty. The award was announced and presented to KADP at the Texas Capitol on March 24 by Hooman Hedayati, president of Students Against the Death Penalty and Jason Kyriakides, board member of Texas Students Against the Death Penalty.

The award recognizes the hundreds of hours of activism performed by Kids Against the Death Penalty in the last year educating the public about the injustice of the death penalty. The hard work and passionate commitment of members of Kids Against the Death Penalty has greatly benefited the national movement to abolish the death penalty. Several members of KADP are relatives of Jeff Wood, who is on Texas death row convicted under the Law of Parties even though he did not kill anyone.
[read full article] Kids Against the Death Penalty Lead the 9th Annual March to End Executions that took place this October in Houston.

from the open publishing newswire: Houston's Mayor Bill White has asked the Department of Homeland Security to expedite entering an 287(g) program, making Houston's Local law enforcement responsible for enforcing immigration law. Read his letter here [pdf].

287(g) is a tiny provision in federal immigration law that allows Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take local police away from their mission of fighting crime, and pull them into the murky territory of targeting immigrants for arrest without suspicion of crime. ICE described the 287(g) program as a public safety measure to target “criminal illegal aliens,” but its largest impact has been on law-abiding immigrant communities. Rather than focusing on serious crime, police resources are spent targeting day-laborers, corn-vendors and people with broken tail-lights.

Residing in the US without proper documentation is a civil immigration violation, but it is not a crime. Imagine if the IRS empowered local police to check the tax records of every person stopped for a traffic violation to see if their filings have ever violated civil tax laws. If the police started filling our jails with people who might have made a mistake on their tax filings, citizens would be outraged. Yet under 287(g), people are jailed when their civil immigration status is in question. [read full article]
Justice Strategies:Local Democracy on ICE: Why State and Local Governments Have No Business in Federal Immigration Law Enforcement | Davey D: Experts call ICE program used by Arpaio a failure | HIMC Radio Collective: HIMC interviews Aarti of Justice Strategies on why 287(g) is bad for Houston

from the open publishing newswire: Around 20 youngsters from Houston joined Students for a Democratic Society of UH for a protest of the Houston Processing Center as part of the Campaign to End Family Detention. Other participating groups included Houston Anti-Racist Action, International Socialist Organization and whatever the RCP's youth crew is going by these days.

Our protest started on Greens road where we were visible to traffic, we then marched while chanting and chatting to the visitors entrance on the south side of the facility. Many folks were there waiting on family members who were meeting with people detained inside. We rallied an chanted again and spoke with some of the folks there who shared some of their stories about the plight and struggles of their loved ones in detention.
[Read full article with photos]

from the open publishing newswire: Negotiations between AT & T and the Communications Workers of America continue to move slowly. With 5 Regional Contracts across the country set to expire April 4th, workers in Locals from coast to coast held strike votes this week. Rachel Clarke and Courtney Wilson bring us more from Local 6222 out of Houston. [listen up!]

From CWA Local 6222 President Claude Cummings: As I stated earlier bargaining starts today and we have a tough round of negotiations before us. Management has made it pretty clear that they want cost shifting on our health care benefits, two tier wages, along with other concessions from the union. This is why they have hired temporary workers the past several years rather than place these members on the payroll, hoping to get CWA to agree to wages and benefits for new occupational employees that are well below what we have achieved through years of bargaining. In other ways to save money and reduce the number of employees we represent, they have systematically moved work from CWA bargaining units by outsourcing, subcontracting, and moving work to management. They are also attempting to justify this attempt to reduce to cost shift due to the economic conditions in the country today. They should be working with us to help maintain the middle class in this country not destroy it!! All of you must remember that at&t is not on the brink of bankruptcy like some other companies, as a mater of fact they still made a profit last year, even increased the dividend to the shareholders, and added over 2 million wireless customers, all off of the backs of it’s most important asset, the occupational employees!! [Read More] Interview With Claude Cummings President of CWA Local 6222 CWA Photos | Ready To Walk

from the open publishing newswire: In a tumultuous, somewhat stunning turn of events, David McKay's guilty plea was accepted in federal court in Minneapolis Tuesday, a day after Judge Davis indicated that he was unlikely to accept the plea on the basis of evidence pointing to entrapment by FBI informant and horrible human being-extraordinaire Brandon Darby at the original trial. McKay had been motivated to plea at the last minute - supporters and courtwatchers did not know about the plea until Sunday evening - when the state compelled co-defendant Bradley Crowder to testify against him, threatening additional prison time for noncooperation. The plea deal was to plead guilty to all three counts - possession of an unregistered firearm (the molotov cocktails), illegal manufacture of a firearm, and possession of a firearm with no serial number - in exchange for the government not to seek four additional sentencing points for "intent to use" the molotov cocktails.

At what was supposed to be the beginning of the retrial on Monday, Judge Davis called potential jurors to line up in the hallway, before reconsidering his position and giving the parties a night to "think it over" and argue the matter again Tuesday. The rollercoaster series of events left many feeling emotionally spent; many hoped that Davis would reject the plea and bring the matter to trial again to prove Darby's entrapment, feeling that McKay had been pressured into accepting the deal - although McKay in court affirmed there had not been any official persuasion for him to do so (but who knows?). A source close to the defense reported that at the original trial, the jury had been deadlocked at 6-6 on the question of entrapment.

Here's what happened on Tuesday: [read full article] Past HIMC Coverage: 1/29 Trial of David McKay of the Texas 2 underway in Minneapolis (ends in hung jury) | 1/6 Austin RNC Informant Brandon Darby is Provocateur Not Hero | 12/31 Brandon Darby Acknowledges working with FBI as informant in Texas 2 Case | 10/9 Police Continue Harassment of Texas Activists in Wake of RNC

from the open publishing newswire: In a major setback to the environment last night, the Laredo TX city council voted to allow the Border Patrol to aerially spray the US-Mexico border with the toxic herbicide Imazapyr, a substance which begins to kill all vegetation immediately upon application. Many residents at the meeting opposed this move, citing the environmental impact and potential health side effects, as well as the likelihood that the chemical could contaminate the water supply for Nuevo Laredo, their Mexican sister-city.

The accompanying photo (above) shows the effects of an aerial spray conducted six months prior on a test site near Laredo. Federal officials considered the results "successful" in efforts to eradicate the invasive plant carrizo; however, the site now slated for defoliation contains 1000 living species, including four endangered species. This photo was taken on the Zachary Ranch in March 2008 by Dr. Jim Earhart of the Rio Grande International Study Center.

Local activist Jay J. Johnson-Castro Sr. of the Rio Grande International Study Center stated in a telephone interview that federal agents intend to eventually spray the extensive border river area, from Big Bend to Brownsville Texas. "Why would they make the initial spray in a populated area?" he queried. Clearing 1.1 miles of border between the cities of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo will cost $2 Million.
[read full article]

from the open publishing newswire: On Monday, March 16, the retrial of Austin activist David McKay, accused of possessing Molotov cocktails at the Republican National Convention last September, will begin in Minneapolis. McKay’s first trial in late January was declared a mistrial as a result of a hung jury over the question of whether the conduct of the main informant in the case, Brandon Darby, constituted entrapment. While this was not the acquittal that was deserved, it remains a clear indictment of the government's conduct and use of informants.

Many of us familiar with the situation and the individuals involved, in Austin and elsewhere, easily saw through the lies presented by the State and their informant Brandon Darby at the first trial. Despite the State assigning one of their top prosecutors to the case, the jury obviously did as well. Jurors could not in good conscience send McKay to prison for the alleged crimes for which the FBI and their informant bear the real responsibility.

Darby is an excellent example of the government's long history of using informants to destroy community organizing and activist groups. In reports from folks who knew him, Darby is consistently characterized as an intentionally divisive figure who escalated conflicts, fetishized violence, and often encouraged the use of force, instead of cooperation, to get things done.
[Read Full Article]

from the open publishing newswire: Nearly 100 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were refused entry to Union Bar and Lounge in Midtown Friday while others were welcomed. Patrons started lining up at about 9:40 p.m. and were told to wait in line and not allowed inside, even as straight-appearing people were waved through. As the line grew and patrons waited in the rain, employees at the door told those who were that they were maintaining a “ratio.” Later, the bar employees simply indicated they had the right to refuse anyone.

“I was shocked to be a victim of that kind of discrimination in a city like Houston in 2009,” said Neal Falgoust, a Houston law student. “I have never experienced anything like that before in my life.” A patron who arrived at the bar early reported that the bar was nearly empty at about 9:40 p.m., when gay people started arriving and were stopped at the door. Gay people continued to line up to the street and around the corner as people who appeared to be straight went to the front and were ushered in.
[Read Full Article]

from the open publishing newswire: Austin, Texas – March 11, 2009 - The Rhizome Collective is a consensus-run 501c3 nonprofit organization that has operated a center for community organizing and urban sustainability in an East Austin warehouse since 2000.

This warehouse was inspected on March 3rd by officials from the Building and Standards Commission of the City of Austin. On Thursday, March 5th The Code Enforcement Division of The City of Austin delivered a letter outlining a list of code violations to the Collective. The City mandated that the residents and organizations based in the warehouse must vacate before March 16th. The Collective is looking into all options, but is preparing to vacate the warehouse by the deadline. Before this inspection, the Collective was in negotiations to buy the warehouse from its current owner.

The Rhizome Collective is making every effort to work with the City on this matter. Contractors are currently completing an estimate of the cost required to bring the building into compliance with city building codes. Based on conversations with contractors, the Collective does not believe it will be possible to get an estimate, obtain permits and complete the work by the City’s deadline.
[read full article]. The Rhizome also hosts the following projects: Inside Books a free books to prisoners program, Bikes Across Borders fixes and sends bikes to Cuba, Mexico and Central America, Austin Food Not Bombs shares free vegan food with homeless, KPWR People Will Radio, an urban, community, web-based radio project. Rhizome also held the Austin Indymedia Space.
The Slow Decline of a Dying Rhizome

from the open publishing newswire: Hardly anyone even knows it by name, but virtually anyone who has spent time in Montrose at all knows of Wilshire Village. Seventeen mostly vacant apartment buildings largely obscured from view by beautiful old magnolias and oaks. The buildings are in varying states of decrepitude, the consequence of generations of benign neglect. Most of them are effectively uninhabitable and uninhabited. Others are surrounded by carefully tended gardens, patio furniture... children's toys. Of course, it could not last. It has been considered a given for decades that there would come a day when the slow decay would be accelerated by bulldozers. Years of rumors of demolition began to segue into fact in 2005, when plans were announced for the construction of a pair of high-rise residential condominiums on the property. Although the plans never got beyond the press-release stage, public records show that within a year the property had changed hands.

Ignoring the stories of impending demolition ceased to be an option at the beginning of February, when eviction notices began to arrive via certified mail. Although there were and continue to be questions regarding the legitimacy of these notices, it became something of a moot point on February 19 when city workers affixed notices from the Fire Marshal's office to the buildings of Wilshire Village. The notices state that the buildings are unsafe for human habitation. [read full article] or go pick up the march issue of Free Press Houston.

from the open publishing newswire: Anarchists Against the Wall member Schachaf Polakow spoke in McAllen, TX and Houston to share videos and images of the ongoing struggle against Israeli aggression in the occupied territories. His presentations were part of AAW's North American tour to raise funds to cover the thousands of dollars in legal fees the AAW and Palestinian activists face for their arrests and detentions.

Polakav explained that AAW began in --- and has worked in solidarity with Palestinian popular committees on a number of actions and regular protests against Israeli aggression. AAW members only participate in actions when they're invited to villages and they meet with the village popular committees to decide what kind of actions and collaborations will take place. [read full article]

Contribute to AAW | Watch videos from the presentation | A new website whoprofits.org lists companies invested in Israel and the occupation

Houston Indymedia has changed the wording of our Mission Statement, which sits on the about page and serves along with the Action Guidelines as the document new participants sign. The wording of the new statement is:

"The Houston Independent Media Center is an all volunteer collective committed to using media production and distribution as tools for promoting social and economic justice. We seek to provide alternatives to for-profit media not only in our coverage, but also within our collective by implementing consensus based non-hierarchical work-group models of decision making. While focusing on local social movements, we will explore connections to global systems. We believe that by reporting on dissent, by critiquing corporate, government and military domination, and by promoting art, culture and critical thinking through participatory events, we can contribute to the development of an equitable and sustainable society."

Some of the significant changes since the previous Mission Statement from early 2001 includes that we are all volunteers, that we are focusing on social movements, that we reporting on dissent, and that our events are intended to be participatory.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with us at Houston Indymedia, please send an email to: houston at indymedia dot org

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Last updated: Wed, 31 Dec 1969 16:00:00 -0800imc-houston (top)

Local News

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Through the Rabbithole: Tea Party in Downtown Houston A16 1:36PM

The Silent Majority Squeaks A15 8:32PM

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A New Way Forward- Join Us! A12 6:57AM

HIMC interviews Aarti of Justice Strategies on why 287(g) is bad for Houston A11 8:58PM

Kids Against the Death Penalty Named 2009 Youth Abolitionists of the Year A11 4:48PM

April 25 Houston Event for Mumia Abu-Jamal A09 5:00PM

Rhizome Collective members debate debate loss of warehouse A09 2:45PM

Houston Palestine Film Festival A09 1:11PM

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