Atlanta, GA – The US Human Rights Network (USHRN), an Atlanta-based coalition of more than 300 organizations from around the country, announced today that its 2011 national conference will be held December 9-11 in Los Angeles, CA.
The biannual conference and membership meeting was originally scheduled for Atlanta, GA. However, the passage of controversial anti-immigration bill HB 87 prompted the Network to move the conference out of Georgia in accordance with the organization’s principles and in support of a general economic boycott of the state.
After careful consideration, the Network chose the Radisson Hotel at Los Angeles Airport as the new conference site in part to highlight the efforts of state and local governments in California to fulfill their human rights obligations to all residents regardless of their citizenship status. “In contrast with Georgia and other states that have chosen to scapegoat their most vulnerable residents with punitive legislation, California has taken a more progressive and humane approach to immigration and other human rights issues,” says US Human Rights Network co-director Kali Akuno.
In July, for example, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that allows undocumented college students in California to receive private financial aid for higher education. Assembly Bill 130, also known as the California Dream Act, is the first of two bills that will expand educational opportunities for undocumented students in the state. Although AB 130 does not create a pathway to U.S. citizenship, it is definitely a useful step toward a real understanding of the complexities of immigration in the U.S. and the need for comprehensive immigration reform.
California has also shown leadership on other human rights fronts. In August 2010, California took the historic step of becoming the first state in the nation to publicize the text of three U.N. human rights treaties ratified by Congress and submit reports to the State Department for consideration by the U.N. treaty committees. Additionally, local governments throughout the state have taken proactive measures to uphold and strengthen the human rights to housing, transportation, health care and other basic necessities.