Thursday, March 27, 2008

Play in Fort Collins and Boulder this week

Remembering Edgar Chocoy
Play serves as a reminder of the sometimes fatal flaws in the U.S. immigration

By Greg Campbell
1:05 a.m. MT Mar 27, 2008

Four years ago this Thursday, a 16-year-old boy was gunned down in the streets of Villanueva, Guatemala, by members of a notoriously violent gang from which he tried heroically to free himself. The regularity with which such murders occurred in places like Villanueva made the death of Edgar Chocoy at the tattooed hands of Mara Salvatrucha wholly unremarkable. But the circumstances of his being on the streets in the first place made those gunshots echo around the world.

They will be heard in Fort Collins as a play based on Edgar’s struggle to save his own life comes to the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University. It’s a documentary look at how a troubled boy who was trying desperately to change his life was sentenced to death by a flawed U.S. immigration system.

Chocoy’s story begins and ends in the slums of Guatemala, but his fate was sealed in a Denver courtroom. His Fort Collins lawyer, who hasn’t yet seen the play, said knowing his story will be told on stage brings back a flood of emotions, including anger and sadness. But there’s also hope and opportunity.

“There was a lesson to learn in Edgar’s death and we haven’t learned it,” said immigration attorney Kim Baker Medina. “I’m very glad that they did the play because we shouldn’t forget about Edgar Chocoy as a person and for what he represents. The system failed him terribly, and we need to learn about why that happened and we need to work to see that it doesn’t continue to happen.”



Du Novo, Part 1: Lil’ Silent will be performed in
Fort Collins
Date: Monday, March 31
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Lory Student Center as part of CSU’s week-long celebration of Cesar Chavez.
Spanish translation will be available on a limited basis.

The event is free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.

A second performance will be held:
Date: Wednesday, April 2
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: the University of Colorado Law School in the Wolf Law Building’s Wittemyer Courtroom.

For advanced reservations to the Boulder show, email

Friday, March 14, 2008

Anti Immigrant Hate Crime in Boulder!

Write a Letter to Support Ivan and his family!
(talking points included below!)

While the Boulder Community pulls together an appropriate response for their community, our support in the form of Letters to the Editor is necessary and welcome!

What You Can Do:

1. Read the coverage
2. Make a pro immigrant comment online
3. Send off a letter to these two news agencies:

Daily Camera
Two teens arrested for bias attack in Boulder
Pair allegedly insulted, pushed and hit Hispanic man

By Vanessa Miller , Heath Urie; Originally published 01:37 p.m., March 12, 2008

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of assaulting a Hispanic man Tuesday outside a PDQ convenience store after calling him a derogatory name and asking him, "Why are you stealing our jobs?" according to Boulder police.

Abraham Paquet, 19, of Broomfield, and Joshua Ruzek, 19, of Lafayette, were arrested after officers saw them attacking Ivan Ponce De Leon-Najera, 26, of Louisville, about 6:15 p.m. outside the store at 5200 Manhattan Circle.

Ponce De Leon-Najera told police the teenagers approached him as he was leaving the store, called him a name associated with his ethnicity and then asked him about taking their jobs, said police spokeswoman Sarah Huntley.Huntley said Ponce De Leon-Najera turned around and "exchanged a few words" with the teens.

The two suspects then started pushing and punching him, and Ponce De Leon-Najera told police they tried to spit on him, Huntley said.


Write a Letter:
Send it to:
The Boulder Daily Camera and send it to

The Rocky Mountain News Printed the same story…
Write a letter to the Rocky Mountain News and send it to

You Could Say:

· As a community we need to pull together to support the victim of this heinous and outright racist attack. I am shocked at the brutality of the hate crime and the ignorance of its perpetrators. Hate crimes like this are motivated by hostile feelings against an identifiable social group, in this case immigrants. They are very different from regular crimes motivated by economic gain or personal animosity. Hate crimes communicate to the whole immigrant community intolerance and discrimination. They are used to exclusively to intimidate an entire community, not just one person.

* Immigrants are often erroneously blamed for decreasing wages and unemployment levels. However, scapegoating this vulnerable population only distracts attention from the real causes of economic instability and inequality in this country; failed economic policies and corporate greed. Immigrants are an integral part of our society and are a valuable resource in our communities. Solutions need to embrace the people and families contributing to our nation economically and socially. In fact, comprehensive immigration reform would benefit all workers by bringing undocumented workers out of the margins, thus raising wages, improving work conditions, increasing public safety, and defending labor protection.

For Your Letter:
Three points are sufficient (although more is okay), the length of your letter can be anywhere from 8 sentences to a few paragraphs.

Remember, editors like to publish personal accounts or community impact. Often times, the newspaper will call indicating they might print your letter.

Rocky Mountain News:
1. No maximum length. Shorter letters are considered first and edited least.
2. Submissions must include full name, address and phone number for verification purposes.
3. Anonymity is seldom granted.
4. Letters by the same author rarely appear more often than every 90 days.

Daily Camera
1. Timely topics of local interest are given first preference.
2. All letters are subject to editing.
3. 300-word limit; name, full address and daytime phone required;
4. no anonymous or "open" letters;
5. each writer is limited to a letter a month

Please send a copy of your letter to
Thank you for supporting the human rights of immigrants!

More Reading on Immigration & Hate Crimes:

Published on Monday, March 10, 2008 by Associated Press
Hate Crimes Linked to Immigration Debate
by David Crary

NEW YORK - Anti-immigrant sentiment is fueling nationwide increases in the number of hate groups and the number of hate crimes targeting Latinos, a watchdog group said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, in a report titled “The Year in Hate,” said it counted 888 hate groups in its latest tally, up from 844 in 2006 and 602 in 2000.