Mass Arrests of California Immigrants

Screen grab of headlines from Bay Area ABC 7 News,

I expected to attend a bail hearing today, for an immigrant detained by ICE. Instead, there’s going to be a rally to protest the arrest of 150 immigrants in Northern California since Sunday. I’m horrified by what I understand about yesterday’s Supreme Court decision (still reading up on it). Briefly, from NPR: “The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that immigrants, even those with permanent legal status and asylum seekers, do not have the right to periodic bond hearings.” Here’s the email I received about the arrests and today’s protest. I’m headed there shortly.  – Eva

Press release from the Power, Not Panic Emergency Response Committee: Major Protest Planned in SF to Denounce ICE Raids

As lawyers mobilize, civil rights groups condemn raids as retaliation, Demand due process and transparency

SAN FRANCISCO  — This evening (Feb.27), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that it had conducted at least 150 arrests in deportation operations across Northern California over the last several days. Local “rapid response” hotlines documented a pattern of psychological intimidation beginning Sunday. For example, ICE agents congregated at food trucks in Napa and reportedly joked about who would be arrested next. In Atwater, ICE agents conducted several arrests simply by racially profiling people who walked into a convenience store.

Advocates caution that ICE has a long track record of deceiving the public about its arrests and call upon the press to question the agency’s claims. Advocates also encourage community members to Know Their Rights.

A broad array of local organizations, coalitions, and networks, informally known as the “Power, not Panic Emergency Response Committee” has come together to denounce ICE’s operation as a profound abuse of power and to mount an emergency response.

  • Groups across the Bay Area will denounce ICE’s operation at a 12:00 PM rally at ICE’s Northern California headquarters at 630 Sansome St. in San Francisco.

  • Dozens of trained attorneys are on standby to assist those who are affected, and to monitor and document abuses, as well as to advocate for due process.

The arrests come amidst an escalating series of retaliatory actions nationwide from ICE. In California, the Trump administration has taken aim at state and local policies which limit law enforcement involvement in painful deportations. These “sanctuary” policies, advanced by a growing movement, help keep families together and limit racial profiling. The operation also comes in the wake of a devastating Supreme Court ruling today which allows the federal government to indefinitely detain immigrants without the due process that every person deserves.

The following is a statement prepared in advance of ICE’s threatened operation, issued by the organizations named below:

As community, civil rights, and legal organizations, we stand together to demand an immediate halt to politically motivated abuses of power.

In these situations, it is vital to uncover the truth. We ask that our elected officials vigorously scrutinize ICE’s claims about the arrests it makes. All too often, from Santa Cruz to Texas, ICE’s claims have later been proven false.

Here in Northern California, we know that immigrants are a vital part of our communities and families. We believe all people should be treated fairly, no matter what they look like or where they were born. And we have enacted policies to uphold these values.

Thus, we are deeply troubled by the federal government’s threats against local policies that protect families and defend civil rights. We decry the awful, xenophobic agenda at play, and the trauma raids induce in communities of color. No amount of intimidation can suppress our values or bury our basic rights.

As we organize to demand that retaliatory raids and arrests cease, the “rapid response” networks are also mobilizing an extensive network of attorneys.

We call for full protection of all people’s constitutional rights to due process. ICE must ensure full access for legal representatives, release anyone arrested who is eligible for release, and not whisk people to for-profit detention centers out of state.

This statement is issued by the following coalitions – ACILEP (Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership), ACUDIR (Alameda County United in Defense of Immigrant Rights), FREE SF (Full Rights Equality & Empowerment SF), Contra Costa East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition, Monterey County Rapid Response Network, SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network) – and the following organizations: Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, African Advocacy Network, American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, Causa Justa::Just Cause, Centro Legal de la Raza, California Immigrant Policy Center, Dolores Street Community Services, East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy, Filipino Community Center, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Immigrant Liberation Movement, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, La Raza Centro Legal, Legal Services for Children, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, Oakland Community Organizations, Pangea Legal Services, People Acting in Community Together (PACT), Sacred Heart Community Service.


Rapid Response Across the USA

Helplines Assist Undocumented Immigrants; Opportunity for Citizen Solidarity

Screen grab from Humboldt Rapid Response Network

We’ve written before about Rapid Response Networks, which offer real-time support to people who are witnessing or experiencing an ICE raid on undocumented immigrants. We’ve been very inspired by the trainings and emergency call-outs we’ve received to observe threatened ICE raids. It’s emotionally powerful to physically “show up” to say it’s wrong for our government to intentionally sow fear. (Read more here about how our local Santa Clara County Rapid Response Network works and how to support it.)

California has around a dozen Rapid Response Networks, which makes sense given that it’s long been a state where many undocumented people live and that it’s home to approximately 25% of young immigrant DREAMers. The Pew Trusts has an interactive map showing the number of “unauthorized immigrants” living in the US, by state. The topline figure was 11.3 million in 2015-16, of which a bit more than half were born in Mexico. Spanish-speaking immigrants are the most visible, but not the only targets: Vietnamese immigrants are thought to be vulnerable in Santa Clara County, California and Irish immigrants in Boston.

The Santa Clara County Rapid Response Network‘s dispatchers—-the people who take the calls reporting ICE activity and, if the caller is targeted, walk them through their rights—tell us that immigrants call from all over the US seeking advice. Hearing that, we’ve started compiling a list of Rapid Response Networks operating around the country. We’re sharing it here (see below).

Maybe you’re interested in volunteering for one, or maybe you or someone you know could use assistance from one. Please write us if you know of other Networks. We plan to continue updating this spreadsheet.

Saturday Reading: Kids These Days!


There is a horrible magic happening right now: high school students who survived the Parkland school shooting, along with peers in South Florida and across the country, are calling on our elected officials to do something about gun control. It is a sign of abject national failure that students, many too young to vote, have to take on the engrained ‘thoughts and prayers’ congressional and media ‘so it goes’ response to these tragedies. But we here are cheering them on, and we’ll be following developments closely.

If you’re getting caught up, here are a few write ups that are worth your time:

From the LA Times, “Horrified Florida students beg the adults: Please, do something about guns”

Over at RawStory: “Parkland survivor slams GOP for shrugging off dead kids — but freaking out over ‘rainbow wedding cakes'”

And on NPR: “Students Who Survived Florida Shooting Want Politicians to Know They’re Angry”

SmallStones Interviews: Nada Djordjevich, Education Consultant

Public Education in Anxious Times and Hope in Everyday Actions

Teachers engage in STEM professional learning. Courtesy of Nada Djordjevich

Nada Djordjevich is a writer and consultant with more than fifteen years experience working to strengthen schools, communities, and arts organizations. As Executive Director of Gibson and Associates, she has secured more than $35 million in private, state, and federal funding for education initiatives and developed three-year plans for two of the ten largest school districts in California. As an educator, she taught history, English language development, and writing and served as an academic dean. She has worked in both public and private high schools as well as community college and non-profit settings. You can read more about Nada Djordjevich at and, or follow her on Twitter (@NadaDjordjev) or LinkedIn.

She spoke with Eva Kaye-Zwiebel on January 3, 2018. Their conversation has been edited for length. Updated information on the California budget and resource links were added for reference and context.

Small Stones (SS): Can you tell me, big picture, about your work, and then about the big issues that your clients are, collectively, encountering right now?

Nada Djordjevich (ND): I’ve been involved in all sorts of areas of school reform: creating school district plans, large-scale partnerships between school districts and institutes of higher education, and teacher pipeline programs. These are projects for which district administrators or schools usually need to hire somebody outside to get the work done. As a consultant, I’ve worked under Republican and Democrat administrations—in both California and the federal system. I’ve been involved with several initiatives at the federal and state level including No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top. With NCLB, for better or worse, because it was bipartisan people thought, “We don’t like it necessarily, but we know it’s here to stay.” There have been a lot of transitions recently, and that creates anxiety and a lack of traction.

Image courtesy of Nada Djordjevich

This happens with any administration, Democrat or Republican: you have an exodus of knowledge, when people who have been in departments for years and years leave. You see that at the local level, too, when you have a change of superintendents. Like I said, people could argue against the vision, but between 2000 and 2016, for the most part education vision was bipartisan. You might have Democrats, certainly at the local level, more willing to tax, but there wasn’t a sense that we are on completely different teams.

SS: Can you give some examples of areas where there’s less agreement than before?

ND: STEM and higher ed are two examples. A lot of my work is in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). I’ve written 12 grants in this area. The science and math emphasis actually came from the Bush administration, and then Obama took on the STEM initiative. There was a sense of, “It doesn’t matter who’s going to be in power; Republicans and Democrats both like science and technology and both are going to be advocating for it.” The Math and Science Partnership grants were wonderful partnerships and there were 13 years of them. The lack of support for STEM now, that’s been a real shift. A recent article from Fast Company describes how STEM budget cuts impact low-income youth’s access to science and technology.

Continue reading “SmallStones Interviews: Nada Djordjevich, Education Consultant”

Friday Music: ‘This Land Is Your Land’

One of us is just done celebrating Chanukah and the other is about to head into Christmas festivities. In this week when we’ve felt a bit down about the state of the country and world, we’re offering you a familiar standby.

Here’s This Land is Your Land in a new rendition by Maxwell‘s AllStars, filmed by Boyd Matson, who captured both the recording session and a montage of newsreel films touching on civil rights, immigration, and the variety of people and places that constitute America. The direct YouTube link is here.

Here’s Matson’s description of the film and the list of participating artists.

Continue reading “Friday Music: ‘This Land Is Your Land’”

Friday Music: Pink’s ‘What About Us?’

Image courtesy of Pink and the AMAs.

On a rainy day in the midst of exhausting sexual harrassment news, we needed a song with some ethical fire. The song What About Us?, by Pink, has been all over the radio, but we hadn’t listened carefully to the words ’til Pink was on NPR, having a frank conversation with Michel Martin about the state of US politics. What About Us? is all about the past year.

One Year Later: An Election Reading List


We’ve been thinking a lot lately–as probably evidenced by our slightly-unplanned lack of activity. Thinking about what our mission is, thinking about what we’d like our communities to become, and thinking about what the past year has meant for us all.

Some of the thinking you’ll see in this space soon, as we resume our Small Stones Interviews with people resisting in large ways and small, working to make our country and their home towns just a little bit better.

Continue reading “One Year Later: An Election Reading List”

On Our Best Days, We Elect Them Homecoming Queen

Al Franken, Muna Abdulahi, and the potential expansiveness of American identity

US Sen. Al Franken is shown June 5, 2016 at the Willmar Senior High School graduation of Muna Abdulahi. Rand Middleton/Tribune file photo. Original here.

Tuesday night, while driving home from a not-very-good public talk about artificial intelligence, radio station KQED was rebroadcasting a City Arts & Lectures interview with Senator Al Franken. It touched us, serving as a reminder of the face-to-face decency our country is sometimes capable of achieving. We’re sharing it for that reason: as a hopeful anecdote.

City Arts doesn’t archive its audio, so we’re relying on an excerpt from Franken’s new memoir, Al Franken, Giant of the Senate, to share the story with you. Here it is, with Franken narrating in the first person:

Continue reading “On Our Best Days, We Elect Them Homecoming Queen”

Helping Kids Embrace Their Differences

 This article caught our attention as we sit here, hurt and raging over the atrocious mass shooting in Las Vegas: Illustrated Books to Help Children Embrace Their Differences, from the New York Times’s Match Book series. The article responds to a mother’s letter asking for books to offer her 4-year-old, on-the-spectrum son. She writes,


He’s just beginning to realize he’s a little different. He has always loved reading, so I’ve begun to use books to help him find comfort in this world.

The content is gentle and focused on the comforting fact that a picture book can help put little people a bit more at ease in the world. We also love that it starts with The Story of Ferdinand; one of us had a beloved doggie named after the gentle Spanish bull.

Writer Nicole Lamy’s response is reprinted below (original is here). We’ve added hyperlinks to the books she mentions.

Continue reading “Helping Kids Embrace Their Differences”

Friday Music: Song for a Peaceful Night

Image by Laura Bolter

Today is the tenth anniversary of my father’s death, and next week is the start of the Jewish new year, or Rosh Hashanah. In honor of the occasions, here’s a Jewish prayer and song, Hashkiveinu, sung by Craig Taubman. Hashkiveinu means something like ‘Let us lie down’. For me, Fall has always felt like a time of renewal, perhaps because it’s when the school year starts. Emily and I wish you a weekend of peace and time spent with loved ones.   ~ Eva

Continue reading “Friday Music: Song for a Peaceful Night”