"Fact-Finding Mission" to Central America
April 1, 2022 Members of the U.S. Congress– Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rep. Cori Bush (MO-01), Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04), and Rep. Jamaal Bowman (NY-16) – as well as representation from the office of Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), joined U.S.-based solidarity organizations, including Witness for Peace Solidarity Collective, SOA Watch, the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, and the Institute for Policy Studies - Global Economy Program, for a fact-finding mission to Central America. Upon return, the Congressional representatives issued a joint statement, saying:
“We traveled to Central America to investigate the root causes of migration from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, and the U.S.’ role in those causes. What we found is a resilient region where corporate interests, international development institutions, and the U.S. government have played a profoundly destabilizing role.
“In Honduras, we witnessed cautious optimism as newly elected President Castro and her administration work to uproot corruption and defend human rights. In Guatemala, however, we saw dangerous signs of regression toward authoritarian rule as civil society is persecuted and principled judges are forcibly removed from office. El Salvador is showing similarly worrisome trends. But the one constant we witnessed, no matter the political context, was the tireless work of organizers and dissidents defending Indigenous, environmental, and human rights.
“While we were overcome by people’s experiences of repression, criminalization, disenfranchisement, and persecution, we were also struck by the parallels between their struggles and those our own communities face. We return home determined and energized to advocate for a rights-based U.S. policy at home and abroad.”
While in Honduras:
The delegation met with Honduran President Xiomara Castro, members of her cabinet, and the President and Foreign Affairs Committee of the Honduran National Congress. The members of Congress visited the grave of internationally recognized Indigenous leader Berta Caceres, who was assassinated in 2016 for opposing a U.S.-backed hydroelectric project, and heard from her organization COPINH about the continued impunity enjoyed by the powerful actors ultimately responsible for her assassination. Three of those found guilty for Caceres’ murder to date received training at U.S. military institutions.
During a visit with the Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH), three members of the Congressional Black Caucus made connections about the impacts of the war on drugs, militarization, and state violence in Black communities. Leaders from OFRANEH shared how the ancestral lands of the Garifuna people have been affected by agrofuel plantations and tourist projects. A delegation from the Moskito people, who were victims of the May 2012 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) killings in Ahuas, joined OFRANEH in sharing their experiences with the delegation.
During a visit to communities organizing to defend the Jilamito River from a hydroelectric project to be financed by IDB Invest, a multilateral development bank of which the U.S. is the largest shareholder, the delegation saw firsthand how international economic development financing can benefit local elites and international corporations rather than those who need it.
The Agrarian Platform shared their many years of struggle to defend cooperative land titles in the Bajo Aguan region from powerful agri-business actors backed by military and paramilitary forces, often with U.S. training. Guapinol River defenders shared about their struggle against the Los Pinares mining project in the Carlos Escaleras National Park and that the eight water defenders who were recently released after 914 days in prison have only been granted provisional freedom. Bertha Oliva of the Committee of the Relatives of the Detained - Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) shared about the struggle for justice for victims of human rights violations following the 2009 coup and during subsequent U.S.-backed regimes.
While in Guatemala:
The delegation met with representatives from the Association for Justice and Reconciliation (AJR), Center for Legal Action on Human Rights (CALDH), and Association of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Guatemala (FAMDEGUA). They shared about current legal cases for crimes against humanity committed by the U.S.-backed Guatemalan state in the 1980s, including the Ixil genocide case and the Military Diary case, which includes charges for enforced disapeareance, sexual violence and other crimes against humanity.
Judge Pablo Xitumul spoke with the delegation about attacks on judicial independence, only two days after being removed from his position by the Guatemalan Supreme Court of Justice. This removal is widely recognized as a blatant act of criminalization towards Judge Xitumul, who issued historic sentences in the Molina-Theissen transitional justice case and the “Magic Water” corruption case against former Guatemalan Vice-President Roxanna Baldetti. His removal was the latest in a pattern of attacks against independent judges and prosecutors.
Members of the Peaceful Resistance La Puya met with the delegation at their permanent protest camp, which they have maintained for ten years at the entrance to the Progresso VII Derivada mine, owned by Nevada-based mining company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA). Local community members expressed their commitment to defend already scarce water resources from the devastating impacts of mining, and shared experiences of criminalization and police repression. They underscored the injustices of the arbitration suit that KCA has brought against the Guatemalan government for over US$400 million under the terms of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) with the United States.
The delegation was welcomed by a large turnout of thePeaceful Resistance of Santa Rosa, Jalapa, and Jutiapa at the permanent resistance camp erected in 2017 to halt mine-related traffic to the Escobal silver mine, owned by Canadian-U.S. company Pan American Silver. It held meetings with representatives of the Xinka Parliament of Guatemala and Diocesan Commission for the Defense of Nature (CODIDENA). Community members discussed how the mine was violently imposed on them, how this led to forced displacement of one community, and called for the court-ordered consultation process underway with the Xinka People to respect their self-determination and be free of pressure, coercion, intimidation and violence.
The delegation met with Maya and Xinka Ancestral Authorities from across Guatemala, as well as several Guatemalan Congresswomen, who shared analysis on Guatemalan history and current events, including an analysis of systemic corruption, impunity, and racism and how extractivism and privatization are root causes of forced migration.
Representatives of the Maya Achi communities affected by the Chixoy Dam met with the delegation to discuss the ongoing effects of the dam’s construction and their leadership on the issue of reparations for Indigenous communities. In the 1970s and 80s, multilateral development banks funded the construction of the Chixoy Dam, which resulted in brutal massacres and mass displacement of Maya Achi Indigenous communities.
The delegation also had the opportunity to learn about the current political crisis in El Salvador, including rising levels of political persecution, militarization, threats of privatization of public services, and the ongoing role of U.S. foreign policy in creating unstable conditions in the country.
Humanitarian Needs in Cuba letter
December 16 2021 , House Rules Committee Chair James McGovern (D-MA), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Gregory Meeks (D-NY), House Appropriations subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA), and House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Energy Chair Bobby Rush (D-IL) led 114 Members of Congress in a letter to President Biden asking him to prioritize the well-being of the Cuban people as they experience the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in recent history...
In the wake of this year’s protests, the members urged the administration to support the Cuban people by suspending U.S. regulations that prevent food, medicine, remittances, and other humanitarian assistance from reaching the Cuban people...
Signatories included Jamaal Bowman.
CPC Special Order Hour Conveners
Our Revolution endorsement 2020
Virtual National Town Hall
Virtual National Town Hall on the PRO Act featuring US Reps. Katie Porter and Jamaal Bowman, as well as leaders from the Communications Workers of America, the Democratic Socialists of America, the Working Families Party.
Solidarity with Amazon workers
Eric Hall March 6 2021.
Eric Hall is with Camilla Thompson and Kelsey McClure, Nicole Watkins, Richard A. Rice, Julia Siergiey Juarez, Cory Pettway, Martez Files, Jilisa Renee, Jamie Foster, Haley Mack, Johnny Scott, Majadi Baruti, Gabriel Samuel Rob Burton, Terri Rector Michal, Stephanie Hicks, Keith O. Williams, Ralph Young, AC Poteete, Jason Kobielus
I want to recognize the local organizations on the ground everyday canvassing, connecting with folk, providing security detail, putting up signs in the community.... you may not see them in the spotlight all the time but they work like hell in support of Amazon Democratic Socialist of America Birmingham Chapter 🌹, SWEET Alabama, Black Lives Matter Birmingham, Dynamite Hill-Smithfield Community Land Trust, Alabama Working Families Party, and, of course, Our Revolution Birmingham.
People's Charter endorser
Endorsers included Jamaal Bowman.
The People's Charter Launch
October 8 2020.
WFP PEOPLE’S CHARTER LIVE LAUNCH: We know that defeating Trump is a doorway, not a destination. Join us for the live launch of a #PeoplesCharter—a new, ambitious roadmap out of our current crisis, to an America that works for all of us. Featured speakers include Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Rep. Ro Khanna, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Jesus Garcia, Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush. (via act.tv)
DSA in Congress
DSA NPC newsletter, August 20, 2020:
- Congress, too, saw some DSA wins, with Rashida Tlaib’s re-election and Cori Bush’s historical win over a 50+ year political dynasty. They’ll be joining DSA members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, as well as our friend Ilhan Omar.
Bowman’s primary challenge really began picking up steam when protests against police brutality erupted nationwide. The 44-year-old insurgent ran primarily on Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and other policies addressing issues of racial and economic justice. Though his focus was on domestic issues, he did criticize Engel over his deference to military contractors and certain foreign policy positions, including his support for the Iraq War. Bowman, who supports defunding the police and repealing the 1994 crime bill (which Engel backed), drew on his own experiences with police violence as a black man and teenager in the Bronx.
Bowman won a surge of endorsements including from neighboring congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the New York Times editorial board, and Rep. Katie Porter of California. He also won endorsements from high-profile progressive groups like the Working Families Party and the Democratic Socialists of America, and Andom Ghebreghiorgis, a fellow local educator who dropped out of the race earlier this month after landing, in that same poll, at 1 percent.
“If successful, Jamaal will be the first candidate elected to Congress from this latest movement uprising for racial justice,” said Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats. “He’s assembling the ‘Obama’ coalition in the 2008 primary of people of color, young people, and older white liberals but grounded in a deeply progressive ideology.”
Democratic Socialists of America June 15 2020·
DSA is proud to announce our endorsement of Jamaal Bowman for Congress (NY-16). Born and raised in NYC public housing and rent-controlled apartments, Jamaal grew up in a world that’s been all but eliminated in the age of austerity politics. For twenty years he’s fought and won for teachers, parents, and students. Jamaal currently serves as the founding principle in one of NYC’s best public schools and will fight for equitable investment in schools, to finally pay teachers a living wage, and fund full-time nurses, counselors, social workers in every school.
As a Lower Hudson Democratic Socialists member in Congress, Jamaal will focus on funding schools, healthcare, and jobs instead of bombs and bullets. Jamaal’s election is on June 23rd and you can request your absentee ballot until the end of today if you haven't already.
- When I ran into Bowman early this year, just after he had declared his candidacy, I cautioned him about his opponent’s progressive record. However, I also shared with him what I perceived as Engel’s reactionary and potential vulnerabilities—his war hawkishness in general and his unquestioning pro-Israel, anti-Palestinian positions. While acknowledging Engel’s progressive record, Bowman was determined to challenge him on his egregious foreign policies and his failure to attend to the needs of the district. Raised in public housing and educated in the public schools, Bowman was drafted by Justice Democrats, an offshoot of Bernie Sanders’s former campaign staff. The organization, led by a young woman, Alexandra Rojas, was committed to challenging Engel and electing a progressive candidate..
- The organization helped Bowman pull together a campaign strategy and a platform, raising funds by soliciting small individual contributions, refusing corporate donations, and reaching out for endorsers. Bowman called for a New Marshall Plan to invest in our cities, the nation’s infrastructure, affordable housing, education, and similar progressive causes; he supports both Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, and wants Congress to create well-paying union jobs, end institutional racism, and overhaul the racist criminal justice system. He has rolled out a New Reconstruction program that includes reparations. When Bowman was interviewed on the radio, the host commented that much of Bowman’s program was socialist. “Well, if that is so, then I guess I am a socialist,” he conceded unapologetically. And after the victorious primary, he admitted that he had joined the DSA a year ago.
- Bowman’s challenge to Engel won him endorsements from Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; thus they rejected Engel even though he had co-sponsored their bills. The soon-to-be member of Congress also won the backing of the Sunrise Movement, which provided his campaign with scores of volunteers and who made over a million phone calls on his behalf. The endorsement of Bowman by the New York Times was a major blow to Engel. The list of Bowman’s individual backers is impressive: they include Senator Elizabeth Warren; State Senators Alessandra Biaggi, Gustave Rivera, and Robert Jackson; NYC Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams; City Comptroller Scott Stringer; Naomi Klein; and Jessie Ramos. His organizational endorsements included UAW, CSA, NYS Nurses Association, WFP, Move-On, NY Progressives, and Jewish Vote. His campaign raised over a million dollars in small donations. Record numbers of voters turned out on primary day. Overall, Bowman defeated Engel 55.38% to 40.55%, a 15% spread.
Lower Hudson DSA
Netroots Nation 2021 ORGANIZING THE JEWISH VOTE: BUILDING A LEFT JEWISH ELECTORAL FLANK Panel; Fri, 10/08/2021 - 02:15pm (Eastern)
In recent years, Jewish grassroots organizations (Bend the Arc, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Jews United for Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace, IfNotNow) have created c4s and PACs to engage Jews in targeted electoral fights. We’ll explore lessons from using primaries in heavily Jewish districts to elect strong progressives, such as The Jewish Vote’s growth from a base of Jewish seniors active on long-term care to a key partner in Jamaal Bowman’s win over Eliot Engel. We’ll discuss the role this organizing can play in a broad progressive coalition; disrupting conventional assumptions around Jewish priorities and leadership; and how we build alongside campaigns to respond to anti-Semitism, its weaponization, and white nationalism.
Led by: Katie Unger
Jamaal Bowman has been a teacher, guidance counselor, dean, and, for the last decade, the founding principal of a well-regarded middle school in the Bronx.
Now, he wants to add a line to his resume: Congressman.
Bowman announced Tuesday a primary challenge for New York’s 16th Congressional district, pitting him against 16-term incumbent and powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee chair Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). Bowman isn’t the only educator mounting a challenge: Andom Ghebreghiorgis, who has worked as a special education teacher in New York City, is also running.
Though the odds may seem long, Bowman has the backing of the Justice Democrats, who are hoping for another upset after successfully supporting Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s insurgent bid for office.
Bowman is counting, in part, on his 20 years of experience in education to appeal to voters. Long before throwing his hat in the political rink, Bowman started The Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, or CASA, a middle school that has produced notable academic results despite serving mostly disadvantaged students.
He has been a vocal supporter of the opt-out movement boycotting state testing, especially within the black community. Bowman has also pushed for discipline reform, favoring restorative practices such as mediation in his school, rather than suspensions, which are disproportionately meted out, city data shows, to students of color. He’s also a big believer in the importance high-quality, early childhood care and education. A favorite word of Bowman is ‘holistic’ — an approach he likes to see in schools and one he’d like to see in government.
Brand New Congress
DUH 2020 possible endorsees
Albert Lee 2020 July 5, 2019,
Muslim Left connections
Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children Act
April 2021—U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the Defending the Human Rights of Palestinian Children and Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act, or H.R. 2590, provides that no U.S. funds to the Israeli government may be used to support the military detention or ill-treatment of Palestinian children; the seizure, appropriation, or destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied West Bank; or to facilitate further unilateral annexation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government in violation of international humanitarian law.
The bill establishes annual certification and reporting obligations on the Secretary of State to show that no U.S. funds have been used by the Israeli government to support the prohibited activities included in the legislation. The McCollum bill also requires oversight reporting detailing the Israeli government’s human rights violations against Palestinians.
Initial co-sponsors were Reps Bobby Rush, Danny Davis, Andre Carson, Marie Newman, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, Raul Grijalva, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jesus Garcia .
Sponsoring organizations included Adalah Justice Project, Al-Haq, Americans for Peace Now (APN), American Friends Service Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC), Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Center for Constitutional Rights, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Christian Jewish Allies for a Just Peace in Israel/Palestine, Churches for Middle East Peace, Church of the Brethren – Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, CODEPINK, Defense for Children International – Palestine, Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Democratic Socialists of America BDS and Palestine Solidarity Working Group, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Eyewitness Palestine, Freedom Forward, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, IfNotNow, Institute for Policy Studies – New Internationalism Project, J Street, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Justice Democrats, MADRE, Massachusetts Peace Action, Middle East Children’s Alliance, MPower Action Fund, National Council of Churches USA, New Generation for Palestine, NGP Action, Norwegian Refugee Council, Palestine Legal, Peace Action, Presbyterian Church (USA), Progressive Democrats of America, Reformed Church in America, Sacramento Democrats for Justice in Palestine, Tree of Life Educational Fund, U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, United Church of Christ, United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network, United We Dream Network, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), US Palestinian Council, Veterans for Peace, Win Without War, Working Families Party.