Out4Immigration’s Grassroots Efforts Get Senate’s Attention

Permanent Partners Included in Senate Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Yesterday was an important day for Out4Immigration, the all-volunteer grassroots organization that fights for same-sex binational couples and their families to be included in comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). With the inclusion of permanent partners in the Senate’s framework for CIR, it is evident that the many different grassroots activities the group engages in are having an impact.

Amos Lim, Founding Board Member, says in an open letter to the group’s members who have worked tirelessly for passage of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and its inclusion in CIR:

I cannot tell you how happy I am to finally get the confirmation that LGBT Families will be included in Comprehensive Immigration Reform — making it a truly INCLUSIVE bill.

The HARD work now begins: Now, more than ever, we need to step up our efforts. If you want an INCLUSIVE CIR bill to be passed, we need to keep up the pressure right now and do everything we can to make sure Congress hears us!

I do not think this success would have been possible if YOU did not write letters to your Congressional representatives sharing your personal stories. It would not have been possible if you did not participate in our weekly CALL CONGRESS and Letter Writing Campaign activities. It would not have been possible if YOU did not step up and help work on getting your cities and counties introducing resolutions in support of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) and an INCLUSIVE CIR. YOU DID IT!

So if you have just been sitting in your little corner of the world and doubtful of what you can do — this is the time to shake it off and start doing something!

Now I need you to do more. Can you do more?

(Read more)

Out4Immigration Urges Boycott of Arizona

PRESS ADVISORY:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

APRIL 27, 2010

Out4Immigration Urges Boycott of Arizona
State’s Draconian Anti-Immigrant Law Leads LGBT Immigrant Rights Group to Join Others in Calling for Repeal of SB 1070

Media Contact:
Amos Lim, Out4Immigration, 415-742-1626, amos@out4immigration.org

San Francisco, CA – April 27, 2010 — Out4Immigration joins other LGBT, human rights and immigrant rights organizations in calling for a repeal of Arizona’s new law that makes it a crime to be undocumented while living in or traveling through the state. Out4Immigration also urges a boycott of entities, corporations or companies conducting business in Arizona and that anyone against its draconian anti-immigrant law avoid traveling to the state.

“This is a repressive and regressive law,” said Mickey Lim, Vice President, Out4Immigration, a grassroots group based in San Francisco that advocates for change to current US immigration law to recognize LGBT Americans with foreign partners. “We advocate an overarching boycott of entities, corporations or companies conducting business in Arizona by not purchasing their goods and services. This includes suspending all travel to the state. (Read more)

Twitterverse Chatter Added Source for Online Reporting

An interesting trend in online reporting has been emerging. After the who, what, where, how, why and when’s of standard journalism a final paragraph is devoted to what the chatter is on Twitter about the story. Latest example: Sandra Bullock has adopted a baby boy.

What a year it has been for Sandy! First she gets nominated for an Oscar for her role in The Blind Side and goes for Hollywood’s top acting prize against Meryl Streep. She wins. Within weeks, her seemingly happy marriage crumbles when she finds out hubby Jesse James is cheating on her. She dumps him and files for divorce. But what we didn’t know — until this morning — is that Bullock and James were in the process of adopting a baby boy back in January. Bullock will continue the adoption as a single parent.

The source of this blog post is OMG! from Yahoo! which features extensive first person quotes from Bullock as given to the May 10 issue of People magazine. OMG! cites Live! With Regis and Kelly as its first up-to-the-minute source for this breaking story when the TV co-hosts held up a copy of People magazine with Bullock and baby on the cover this morning.

But an even more real-time bonus source than a live morning TV show (which, btw, has not aired yet on the West Coast) is what’s shaking in the Twitterverse about Bullock’s big news as it breaks — in print, online and on live TV:

And on Twitter, early entries saluted the new mother: “Sandra Bullock is a true role model,” posted judyavanness. “True grace under pressure.”

“Good for Sandy! Soo cute! The best love is from your child!” declared LScott17.

Australians in Favor of a New City, Just Not Sure Where

While there are many similarities between Australians and Americans and our countries and their landscapes, there are differences, too. One of the biggest is the size of the population relative to the land space available. In Australia there are a lot less people to fill about the same amount of land, approximately 21 million Aussies (on approximately 3 million square miles) vs. 300 million-plus Americans (on about 3.8 million square miles).

Americans are always iffy about welcoming new immigrants due to population concerns but Australians are a little more open-minded. As long as any population shift of any type doesn’t further overcrowd its two largest cities — Sydney and Melbourne.

Doug Dingwall, writing for the Australian online publication The Punch, took the question to average Australians about where would be the best place to build a new city if the Australian population increased significantly and its eastern seaboard, primarily Sydney and Melbourne, couldn’t handle the overflow.

Answers ranged from on the west coast “somewhere between Perth and Broome,” to “building over” Canberra (which is kind of the national joke, the way say Cleveland or Fresno is in the US). Expanding regional centers like Ballarat in Victoria or maybe Broken Hill in New South Wales could be options, but as another respondent said, those places were “boring”, and they lack a great deal of employment options, too.

For now the question of where to build a new city in Australia remains purely a hypothetical one. The 21 million population however is expected to climb to 36 million by 2050.

Source: The Punch.

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.

Bigotry on 24th Street

When activists from One Struggle One Fight’s Building Bridges Conference unfurled one of the original LGBT flags that once flew proudly over the Castro on Saturday evening in San Francisco’s Mission District, something unexpected happened. A man got very upset at the sight of the flag and the beautiful rainbow of people — gay, straight, trans, bi, questioning, queer, black, white, Asian, Latino, immigrants and US citizens (a microcosm of San Francisco) and began calling everyone in the block the usual names. Not content with just a run-of-the-mill verbal assault, he proceeded to toss what was left of his cheap beer on the flag, as well as some garbage. The activists stood fast and chanted, calling the man and his less enthusiastic sidekick out for their bigotry and wore them down.

Bigotry on 24th Street is not something you usually see in San Francisco, but it’s out there. This is what it looks like. Cheers to the Building Bridges contingent that stood up to it and didn’t back down.

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.

Textaurant Makes Waiting for a Table a Breeze

In the rush-and-tumble of everyday life, everyday people hate to wait — for anything. But one thing that irks us most is waiting for a table at a restaurant. Waiting (even when you have a reservation) is the reason why we drive-through, take-out and stay at home. But Textaurant is the kind of service that can change that.

Textaurant is a Waltham, MA-based startup, offering service only in the Boston area right now. The idea behind the technology is that when you arrive at a restaurant and there’s a wait, you give the host your cell phone number and they will text you when your table is ready. This is great if a restaurant is located near other shops (or even a bar) that you can duck into for 20 or 30 minutes.

Restaurants pay a sign-up fee. And restaurant customers, like you and me, can decide if we just want a one-time only text to tell us our table is ready or if we want to continue receiving text message offers about discounts and so forth.

If you frequent the Chili’s in Burlington, MA or The Asgard in Cambridge, you can check out Textaurant now. If you want to read more about the nuts and bolts behind this company and its technology, check out this VentureBeat story. And, if you’re just curious about if Textaurant has become available in your area, bookmark their website or give them a Google in 6 months or so to see where they’re up to.

I call it simply technology for the rest of us.

Source: VentureBeat: DigitalBeat: Textaurant wants to change the way we wait in restaurants.

Facebook Career Killers to Avoid

Every time I log onto Facebook I thank my lucky stars that this phenomenon did not exist when I was in my teens, or 20s (or 30s…ok, I’ll stop). How fortunate I’ve been in my career (so far) that the worst online faux pas I’ve ever made has been hitting the “send” button before sleeping on a particular email (or 2…or 117). Well, it’s that time of the news cycle again to trot out a story on Facebook career-killing mistakes (this one from Investopedia). Consider these stories about what not to post on Facebook as friendly warnings if you’re thinking of applying for a new job any time during the rest of your life.

What’s better though, since we now digest most of our information visually, are seeing Facebook career killers in pictures, like this one to the left. In case you need to be reminded of what not post on Facebook — click here for words. And here for photos. Or, simply never post anything you don’t want your mother to see.

Photo courtesy of Daily Mail Online.

The iPad Vest — Seriously

A lot of iPads have been sold this week, but no sales figures are available yet for the iPad vest (pictured here). Of course you’ve been wondering how you will store this new gotta-have gadget. Maybe you’ve even put off buying one until you figured out a way you could safely carry it around town (and show it off). The iPad vest (not its real name) is actually the SeV Travel Vest manufactured by Scottvest. It has a handy-dandy inner pocket that will safely hold an iPad, making it the first (but certainly not the last) iPad-compatible piece of apparel. It’s priced at $100.

It’s currently available in all men’s sizes except XXXL khaki, according to the owner of Scottvest, who has put up a video here, in which he models the vest and shows how neat a fit it is for your iPad.

Source: Mashable

Minneapolis and Cambridge, MA Pass Resolutions in Support of UAFA

Minneapolis and Cambridge, MA are the two latest cities to pass resolutions in support of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), thanks to the hard work of grassroots volunteers at Out4Immigration .

These resolutions, along with letters of support (another recent one just came in from the city of Campbell, CA) may be what ultimately turns the tide in favor of equal immigration rights for same-sex binational couples.

For over a year, Out4Immigration has been conducting a letter writing campaign at Change.org. Each week, the all-volunteer, grassroots group picks five Senators and Representatives and generates an automated email asking them to co-sponsor the UAFA, or include its language in Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). These efforts alone, sometimes coupled with phone calls, personal letters and stories, have gotten at least 20 additional co-sponsors in the House, and 5 in the Senate. They have led to UAFA being the immigration bill in Congress with the most co-sponsors! It makes it a no-brainer for any Senator or Representative who champions CIR to include equal immigration rights for same-sex binational couples. How could they explain leaving out a sector of people, who include gay and lesbian Americans with foreign partners, when there is so much support?

But this support is not enough. Politics is a game of give and take – and, unfortunately the rights of same-sex binational couples or LGBT immigrants could easily be exchanged for support from a religious organization or two for a larger CIR bill. (Read more)