inequality in the coverage and treatment of victims of the fires in San Diego

Luisa Martin Rojo luisa.rojo at UAM.ES
Thu Oct 25 14:38:39 UTC 2007

>>FYI: for your interest. Me acaba de llegar esto 
>>de Ana Celia. Outrageous!! May
>>THis letter to Democracy Now, written by a Puerto Rican grad student in my
>>dept, accurately documents SOME of the outrageous inequality in the coverage
>>and treatment of victims of the fires in San 
>>Diego. Please help to disseminate
>>the truth about what is going on. Send to friends and all media sources that
>>you know. ana c
>>PS. UCSD is officially closed for the week 
>>because of the unhealthy levels of
>>particulates in the air, but the security, 
>>grounds, maintenance, cleaning and
>>cooking staff --mostly Mexican-- comes to work 
>>to care for the students who are
>>staying in their apts, leaving their own families and children, many of whom
>>have been forced to evacuate their homes.
>>Ana Celia Zentella
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: José Fusté
>>To: mail at
>>Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 5:28 PM
>>Subject: Urgent!!! Alternative news coverage 
>>needed for San Diego wildfires (we
>>need D.N.'s help!)
>>To: Amy Goodman, Democracy Now
>>Re: Urgent alternative news coverage needed for San Diego wildfires
>>Dear Amy:
>>I am writing as a concerned San Diego resident. I would like to report that
>>there are many alarming and unjust things happening in the midst of this
>>firestorm that are not being reported in the 
>>mainstream media.  I am wondering
>>if Democray Now would be willing to break these stories nationally.
>>First, there are several indications that the Border Patrol is using this
>>crisis as an opportunity to crack down on 
>>undocumented immigrants. According to
>>the San Diego Union Tribune "fire blog," today, six illegal immigrants were
>>stealing relief supplies from Qualcomm Stadium. Witnesses claim they were
>>stealing supplies from the site. The blog then 
>>states "Because some members of
>>the group spoke Spanish, officers called Border Patrol agents at the stadium
>>for relief efforts, who then determined the thieves were in the country
>>illegally and arrested them."(see:
>>What is troubling about this is that the article does not qualify why these
>>people were suspected of 'stealing' supplies. 
>>If they had been white, English
>>speaking Americans, would they have been seen 
>>as suspicious and reported to the
>>authorities? Also, how is somebody guilty of 'stealing' supplies that are
>>basically dropped off by donors in the Qualcomm 
>>parking lot? Yesterday I took
>>donations at Qualcomm and gave them to some unidentified civilians who were
>>loading them unto a pick-up truck. There was no government presence or
>>guidelines as to how the donation process was 
>>supposed to take place. This is a
>>bit reminiscent of Katrina and how white residents of new Orleans were
>>represented in the media as scavengers while black residents were demonized
>>as 'looters.'
>>San Francisco Indymedia is reporting that ICE has set up checkpoints at
>>Imperial Avenue in the south of San Diego and 
>>in San Marcos in the north. (see:
>>The Union Tribine’s fire blog is reporting that Border Patrol agents are
>>assisting with efforts to control the fires. Border Patrol agents are
>>also “assisting local law enforcement officials with evacuations, traffic
>>control, and perimeter control” (see:
>>Border Angels founder and immigration activist 
>>Enrique Morones who is heading
>>the effort to help undocumented evacuees reports that some undocumented
>>immigrants were told to work despite mandatory 
>>evacuation orders (good person
>>to interview- tel. 619. 269.7865, email: enriquemorones at This was
>>confirmed in an ABC news story on this titled “Dangerous Dilemma for Illegal
>>Immigrants Seeking Safety From Wildfires, Some 
>>Undocumented Workers Find Border
>>Patrol Instead” (see:
>>The other troubling thing happening in the midsts of this situation is that
>>residents of the Rincon Indian Reservation are 
>>reporting that they got no help
>>at all while 65 of their residences and 
>>buildings burnt down. According to the
>>SD Union Tribune Fire Blog: tribal councilwoman Stephanie Spencer said “"We
>>were left behind, nobody here to help
we are 
>>doing everything we can with our
>>casino and all our resources here, but they don't last forever” (see:
>>Meanwhile, firefighters have been aggressively trying to save homes in more
>>wealthier neighborhoods west of where the reservations are (San Diego is the
>>country with the largest population of Native Americans in california; most
>>live in areas affected by fires). This was also reported in the SD Union
>>Tribune Fire Blog:
>>Most of the national and local television and 
>>press coverage has focused on the
>>heroism of the firefighters and the tragedies suffered by residents of
>>predominantly white, middle and upper class areas, who were evacuated and/or
>>lost their homes. The Bush administration and Gov. Schwarzeneegger are
>>aggressively trying to publicly paint the government’s response to the
>>firestorm as the “anti-katrina” (See Huffington 
>>Post article titled “Things We
>>Lost In the Fire: 'Anti-Katrina' Efforts A Day Late and a Dollar Short” at
>>The people in this country need to find out 
>>that like Katrina, poor people of
>>color in San Diego county (more specifically 
>>undocumented immigrants and Native
>>Americans who are at the bottom of the social 
>>hierarchy here) are not getting
>>the same treatment that white middle and upper-class residents are receiving
>>(one of the areas that has received the most 
>>attention by authorities as well
>>as press coverage is Rancho Santa Fe, one of the wealthiest areas in the
>>nation). They are being neglected and persecuted.
>>Please send a correspondent here to cover this 
>>and/or do a story in your show
>>to help us get these stories out nationally. I 
>>am available over email if you
>>need assistance contacting people to interview 
>>or if you need us to do recorded
>>interviews ourselves and send them to you via the web or by mail.
>>Sincerely yours,
>>José I. Fusté
>>Ethnic Studies Ph.D. Student
>>University of California, San Diego
>>Mensaje enviado mediante una herramienta Webmail integrada en *El Rincon*:
>>------------->>>>>>>>   <<<<<<<<--------------
>Luisa Martin Rojo
>Depto. de Lingüística General, Lenguas Modernas, 
>Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia, Teoría de la 
>Literatura y Literatura Comparada
>Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
>Ciudad Universitaria de Cantoblanco
>28049 Madrid
>tel. +34 91 497 87 07
>fax.: +34 91 497 44 98

Luisa Martin Rojo
Depto. de Lingüística General, Lenguas Modernas, 
Lógica y Filosofía de la Ciencia, Teoría de la 
Literatura y Literatura Comparada
Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Ciudad Universitaria de Cantoblanco
28049 Madrid
tel. +34 91 497 87 07
fax.: +34 91 497 44 98

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