• Downtown Las Vegas needs a curfew that’s fair and just

    Our Field Director Howard Watts III penned this blog about the proposed curfew in Downtown Las Vegas. The Las Vegas City Council recommending committee will decide tomorrow, October 1st, if the City Council votes on this new ordinance.


    Over the last several months, the forces of “economic revitalization” have ramped up a longstanding campaign to remove unhealthy or unwanted elements from Downtown Las Vegas. A more realistic phrasing is that the powers that be are forcibly removing anybody that doesn’t fit their idea of Downtown. Over the past decade, this administrative “disappearing” has focused primarily on homeless people and the low-income African American community which was literally walled off from the core of Downtown during a freeway expansion (they have successfully pushed to get a gateway between the two areas re-established. Fremont-Street-East-street-scene-edit

    Recently, as more bars and liquor stores have combined with increased popularity to create a rowdy party atmosphere along the Fremont Street East corridor, authorities have taken to barricading streets, over-enforcing open container laws, and relying on the intervention of the Rangers, a private security force established by billionaire Tony Hsieh, to ensure his newly relocated employees feel safe during their own after-work partying. Now, after collecting anecdotal evidence from Las Vegas Metro Police on underage drinking and hearing the bemoaning of some downtown businesses, the Mayor of Las Vegas introduced a new curfew ordinance. While there is already a curfew in effect throughout the city and even county, this would create a special zone in which minors without specific business downtown would be subject to citation and detention starting at 9:00 pm on weekends (the current curfew for weekends is midnight). This zone would have originally covered a substantial portion of central Las Vegas, including thousands of residents, many of whom are low income and people of color. This would have criminalized the children playing in their neighborhood streets, going to the nearest store or restaurant, or utilizing the social services and community centers within the area. Both child and parent would face fines and potential detention.

    Upon learning of this policy proposal (PLAN’s Las Vegas office was within both the first and second proposed set of boundaries), we educated our youth volunteers about the effects it could have on their activities as well as popular cultural events like First Friday, and in the process of our research discovered the flaws in our current citywide curfew. We released a statement and testified on changes to the curfew that would restrict a new zone only to the bar and casino-filled “adults only” area and reduce fines and penalties to keep young people out of the school to prison pipeline. We also highlighted the need to build a downtown that is inclusive for all people, the need for social services to address  issues of substance abuse, and a focus on controlling the flow of liquor in Downtown Las Vegas by policing distributors as strictly as we police consumers. Thanks to this pressure, we got the curfew area reduced to our ideal size, and we are continuing to push for a reduction in penalties for curfew violations. This has also helped energize young people in a current issue that directly affects them, showing the importance of civic engagement, and is creating an opening for us to take on issues of Correctional Justice at the state and local levels. A final ordinance could be voted on as early as October 2.

  • March for Justice in Reno and Las Vegas

    This Saturday thousands of civil rights activists from across the country will meet in Washington, DC and march for voting rights, economic freedom, civil liberties and equality for all to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

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    The March on Washington was organized by a coalition of civil rights, labor and religious organizers in 1963. They welcomed close to 300,000 marchers from across the country; it was at that march where Dr. Martin Luther King gave his historic ‘I Have A Dream Speech.’

    The energy in Washington this weekend will be just as powerful as it was 50 years ago. The March on Washington is credited for the passage of both the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act, and recent actions including a brutal voting rights decision from the Supreme Court, has renewed the call to action to fight for justice and civil rights.

    If you can not make it to Washington this weekend, there are events happening in Las Vegas and Reno. We hope that you can join PLAN and other community organizations in celebrating the March on Washington, and renewing our vows to social justice for all Nevadans.

    Reno – March for a Dream

    Bruce R Thompson Federal Courthouse
    400 South Virginia Street
    Reno, NV 89501

    Saturday August 24th

    10:00am – Noon

    For more information:
    NAACP Reno/Sparks Branch #1112
    Phone: (775) 322-2992
    P.O. Box 7757
    Reno, NV 89510
    Email: info@renosparksnaacp.org

    Las Vegas Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

    8:00 AM – March starts at Doolittle Community Center 1960 J Street, Las Vegas NV 89106

    9:00 AM – Program begins at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr statue on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Carey Avenue

    For more information:
    Our Own Voices
    Rodney Smith
    (702) 430-6685
    Email: rodney@ourownvoices.com

    PLAN will be registering voters at the Las Vegas rally with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., stop by and say hello!

  • Are you ready for an immigration listening session with Mark Amodei, Reno?

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    This Friday August 23rd Congressman Mark Amodei (District 2) is hosting an immigration listening session for his constituents. Right now immigration reform activists (pictured above) are preparing for the listening session by practicing, developing questions, and calling on PLAN activists to attend.

    It’s the August Recess, a month long break our Members of Congress have from their Congressional duties in Washington, DC. They’re home in Nevada talking to constituents, visiting small businesses, and holding town halls. A town hall is an opportunity for you to speak directly with your elected officials. Friday is your opportunity to ask Congressman Amodei directly what he will do to guarantee there is a vote in the House THIS YEAR for immigration reform that keeps families together and provides a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

    If you’re in the Reno area Friday, we hope you will attend. Here are the details:

    Congressman Mark Amodei Immigration Listening Session

    Friday August 23, 2013

    10:30am – Noon

    Washoe County Commission Chamber, Building A

    1001 East 9th Street, Reno NV 89512

    Prior to the listening session there will be a vigil at 9:30 AM with immigration activists,

    feel free to join us!

  • Take action against fracking in Nevada

    This morning our state director sent the following message to our activists. Take a look, and take action to stop fracking in our state!


    Dear Activist,

    Our friends at the Western Organization of Resource Councils just sent this compelling alert on how you can influence new Bureau of Land Management policies on fracking on federal lands. I’ve pasted it below and encourage you to submit comments today! 

    Since our state has not acted to protect Nevada from the dangers of fracking, we must demand federal regulators step in before our fragile lands and precious waters are completely plundered.


    Begin forwarded message:


    Dear Bob,

    This is our last week to tell the Obama Administration that its rules for fracking federal oil and gas wells don’t do enough to protect clean air and water.

    Send your comments to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today.

    Fracking pumps toxic, cancer-causing chemicals into the ground, threatening water resources. It fouls the air and can lower property values.

    Last spring, the BLM first proposed new rules for fracking on federal lands – and for private lands that lie over oil and gas owned by the federal government. They were a good start but, unfortunately, the White House and BLM gave in to pressure from the oil and gas industry and proposed different rules headed in the wrong direction.

    The latest requirements for public disclosure of chemicals and well safety tests are weaker, not stronger.

    Tell BLM that people living near oil and gas drilling need stronger protections for their health, water, air, property and quality of life.

    BLM’s fracking rules should:

    • End the use of open pits to store fracking wastewater.
    • Require all wells to be tested to make sure they are isolated from groundwater. 
    • Require disclosure of chemicals before fracking.
    • Require oil and gas companies to do baseline water quality tests to document whether contamination occurs after drilling and fracking, and share the results with residents.
    • Set “no drill” zones around homes and water supplies.

    To comment, go to WORC’s Action Page by noon, Friday, August 23. We’ll deliver your comment to the BLM before the close of the comment period.


    Best Wishes,

    Keep up with WORC on Facebook.

    Subscribe to WORC Action Alerts & News Updates.

  • Three town halls in Clark County TONIGHT!

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    Clark County’s Congressional Representatives are holding town halls August 20th – that’s tonight!

    It’s the August Recess, a month long break our Members of Congress have from their Congressional duties in Washington, DC. They’re home in Nevada talking to constituents, visiting small businesses, and holding town halls. A town hall is an opportunity for you to speak directly with your elected officials.

    Tonight three of Nevada’s three Members of Congress who represent parts of Clark County are holding town halls. Below you’ll find information for each town hall. We strongly encourage you to attend!

    Congressman Steven Horsford: Voter Rights and Social Justice Town Hall with Congresswoman Maxine Waters

    West Las Vegas Library Theater, 951 West Lake Mead, Las Vegas, NV 89106, 6:00PM

    Congresswoman Dina Titus: Fraud Prevention Fair for Immigration

    East Las Vegas Community Center, 250 North Eastern Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89101, 5:30PM

    Congressman Joe Heck: Spring Valley Town Hall Meeting

    Victoria Fertitta Middle School, 9905 West Mesa Vista Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89148, 6:00PM

  • Immigration Summer — Important Dates

    Congress is on break from their duties in Washington, DC during the “August Recess”. Nevada’s Members of Congress will be home in Nevada, and we need you at town halls, visiting your Member, calling their office and writing letters to the editor. The time is NOW for immigration reform — poll after poll, no matter the demographic, Nevadans overwhelmingly agree: our immigration system is broken, it needs to be fixed this year with a pathway to citizenship that keeps families together!

    We’ll be adding more events as they come up. 734495_10151495908356509_1608823817_nContact Astrid if you want to volunteer: asilva@planevada.org 702-791-1965

    • Write a letter to the editor :

    Las Vegas Sun

    Las Vegas Review Journal

    Reno Gazette Journal

    • Throughout the month of August, Mi Familia Vota will be canvassing and phone banking, talking to voters in Congressional District 3. Please contact them to volunteer: marisolm@mifamiliavota.org or 702-776-8205


    • August 12th-August 15th: Congressman Joe Heck is meeting with community organizations to talk immigration reform. Contact his office to make an appointment with your organization, church, school, club, etc…the Congressman needs to hear from his constituents!


    • August 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th at 9:00am, noon, and 5:00pm: Families, workers, immigration activists and constituents of District 3 will meet in the parking lot of Congressman  Joe Heck’s office for prayer, and to share personal stories. Congressman Heck’s office is located just off of Interstate 215 and Eastern Avenue: 8872 South Eastern Avenue, Suite 220, Las Vegas, NV 89123



    • August 16th: Breakfast with Congressman Mark Amodei at Jack’s Cafe in Reno, NV 7671 South Virginia Street, 8:00am


    • August 16th: Labor and community activists attending the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance convention will stage an action on the Strip to call for a vote on citizenship in the House, around noon.



    • August 20th: Public Assembly with ACTIONN, PICO, Justice for Immigrants, 6pm, Little Flower Catholic Church in Reno, NV. Click here for more information.



    • August 23rd: Town hall with Congressman Mark Amodei — details (location and time) have not been released by his office
  • 41 people arrested today on Capitol Hill for protesting unjust immigration policies

    The following is a press release from the Center for Community Change. Please contact PLAN communications director Laura Martin if you would like press contact information for CCC lmartin@planevada.org



    Over 30 Advocates Arrested on Capitol Hill For Protesting Unjust Immigration Policies, House GOP Inaction on Path to Citizenship

    (WASHINGTON)—More than 30 immigrant rights, labor, faith and other leaders were arrested today on Capitol Hill protesting against the unjust immigration policies and the House GOP’s inability to pass a bill that contains a pathway to citizenship and keeps families together.In total, 41 people were arrested.

    The civil disobedience action was held to send the strongest message possible to House GOP leaders that the fight for immigrant families has been escalated and will continue through the August recess and into the fall until the House produces a comprehensive bill that creates a path to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants.

    Thursday’s action is just the start of many nationwide activities that will be held to continue putting pressure on House GOP lawmakers. Over the August recess, the groups will participate in “40 Days of Action” to make sure Republicans don’t forget the urgency of passing immigration reform. The actions represent an escalation in the fight for immigrant families and a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

    Advocates blocked traffic at the intersection of First Street and Independence Avenue Southeast by the House Cannon Office Building. Participants chanted, sang and held banners demanding the end to the immoral separation of families.

    House GOP members have not just failed to act on a pathway to citizenship, but have instead let the most conservative and anti-immigrant GOP members take the lead in the debate, prompting advocates to turn to non-violent direct action to address the moral crisis of the broken immigration system.


    “I was arrested in an act of civil disobedience against unjust immigration policies that are tearing families apart, leaving children without their parents, wives without their husbands and brothers and sisters without each other. I was arrested with more than two dozen other courageous activists in the immigrant rights, progressive, faith and labor movements to send the strongest message possible to our leaders: No More! No Mas!” – Deepak Bhargava, Executive Director, Campaign for Community Change

    “Speaker Boehner needs to understand the urgency for reform. Until the House passes a bill that includes a pathway to citizenship, we will continue to be in the streets, at town hall meetings and on the phones, demanding justice for the 11 million aspiring Americans in our country.” – Eliseo Medina, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer

    “Our organizations – immigrant rights, faith, progressive and labor – will not stop escalating until we win what is right and good for America.  Our rapidly growing political power confronts Congress with the moral urgency and human cost of our broken immigration system that can only be ignored at the risk of unprecedented upheaval. America deserves a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship.” –-Kica Matos, Director of Racial Justice and Immigrant Rights, Campaign for Community Change

    “With all of the talk about polling and demographics, I think too many people have lost touch with the human and moral crisis of deportations. Every day, roughly 1,000 people are deported because the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives is denying the majority of the US Congress a chance to vote on citizenship. I will be arrested today because the labor movement stands with the families tragically ripped apart by John Boehner and the House Republicans’ embrace of a broken immigration system.” —Arlene Holt Baker, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President

    “This summer, thousands of immigrant families face separation, deportation, and alienation.  It’s all part of the status quo which the House of Representatives refuses to address and fix.  While this summer, members of Congress seek family, peace, tranquility, vacation, our community will enjoy none of it unless immigration laws change.  In the absence of justice and a path to citizenship, this will not be a regular summer for us nor the members of Congress.” –Angelica Salas, Executive Director, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles

    “All of us in CWA are proud to stand for citizenship and against intolerance.  I am proud to represent our members today as we demonstrate the broad movement that supports a citizenship path for 11 million of our co-workers and neighbors.  We will support this campaign as long as it takes whether we are sitting in the streets or organizing in our communities.” — Larry Cohen, President, Communications Workers of America

    “As Americans, we honor and celebrate our unique commitment to protecting families, and giving equal opportunities and respect to women and girls. Immigrants like my parents came here to share in that vision. Yet our current immigration policies tear mothers from their children and discriminates against immigrant women. The House of Representatives has a choice: to do nothing and leave this country divided, or to take strides towards a house united for common sense immigration policy reform that treats women fairly and that keeps families together.” — Miriam Yeung, Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

    “Each day that the House pushes immigration reform to the side, another 1100 members of our community are deported. We’re taking a stand today to say enough is enough. Our community has organized, mobilized, and voted to demand a vote on the road to citizenship, and we will not stand down until that vote is taken.” — Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center

    “We are willing to get arrested to put the spotlight on what is at stake for millions of families and the nation. There are millions of parents who will be separated from their children, married couples that will be separated all because some House Members refuse to do what the voters want them to do: create a path to citizenship so communities around the nation can heal.” –Denise Lopez of Michigan United

    “I left my two daughters at home, to participate in this action, because everyday parents are being taken from their children. I know I will see my girls soon, but many immigrant parents don’t know when they will be able to see their children again. We need immigration reform that respects the dignity of our families and allows millions of immigrant women and their families to enter the pathway to citizenship without fear that some family members may be excluded.  We belong together.” — Andrea Cristina Mercado – National Campaign Director, National Domestic Workers

    “Today we directly confronted obstructionist House Republicans for embracing the status quo – a status quo that is broken – over the will of the American people who want a comprehensive fix for our current immigration system. In dismissing a real solution to our nation’s unjust, unsound immigration system, House Republicans are choosing to ignore hard economic data and compelling public opinion.  The House GOP must move our nation forward by passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation that includes a pathway to citizenship and strong worker protections.”  — Sarita Gupta, Executive Director, Jobs with Justice/American Rights at Work

    “We urge Republican leaders, including Speaker John Boehner and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, to make a stand for real immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship. There’s a notion that doing so is somewhat complicated, but it’s not complicated. House Republicans could just choose to allow a vote for the Senate bill or for the comprehensive immigration reform proposal that a bipartisan group of House representatives are working on. Americans and new immigrants have been waiting for too long.” –Giev Kashkooli, Vice President, United Farm Workers 

    “I am proud to join my friends in this simple act of conscience.   Immigration reform with a path to citizenship is a defining issue for our generation.  It is time for the House leadership to stop dithering, delaying and denying a vote. It is time to let the bipartisan majority that exists in the House of Representatives today to vote in favor of reform that includes a path to citizenship.  It is time for Congress to do the people’s will and ensure that America lives true to its creed of “out of many, one.”– Frank Sharry – Executive Director, America’s Voice

  • Attend the Social Justice Institute at UNLV!

    On Friday September 27th the Rural and Urban Nevada Social Justice Institute, sponsored by PLAN member group Community Chest, will beScreen Shot 2013-07-31 at 3.59.21 PM held in Las Vegas for the first time. The Social Justice Institute will showcase humanitarian work in our state — health and human services providers, teachers, community volunteers, public service employees — to see their work in the context of social justice. Too many of our brothers and sisters fail to grasp the potentially transformative nature of their work. We are convinced that if they did, we’d have many more appreciating and auguring for human-friendly policies and practices in Nevada.

    To register for the Social Justice Institute visit www.communitychestnevada.net


  • DOMA is unconstitutional, Prop 8 is struck down

    Today the US Supreme Court ruled the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and struck down California’s Proposition 8. These are enormous victories and a joyous day for loving couples and their families, and for equal justice under the law. Today the Supreme Court affirmed that all loving and committed couples who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment.

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    PLAN immigration organizer Astrid Silva was in Washington, DC to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision

    These decisions have added momentum for marriage, and PLAN will continue to lead the fight for Marriage Equality in Nevada by seeing to it that Senate Joint Resolution 13 is successful. The Nevada Legislature must approve the Resolution again in 2015 because it makes it to the ballot in November of 2016.

    This is an incredible chance to move marriage forward for the Silver State. Thousands of families are depending on us.

    Click here to sign our SJR13 petition and join the growing number of Nevadans organizing for Marriage Equality

  • Father’s Day Rally: What we as Interns learned.

    Our inter Dulce Valencia penned this blog about her experience hosting her first rally!

    Father’s Day Rally: What we as Interns learned.

    So, last Friday we interns hosted our first event: A rally. Earlier, Chris had shown us some letters about undocumented immigrants and we saw how many of them didn’t have their fathers with them because they had been deported. We decided to host a rally in honor of Father’s Day and here are some things we learned on what it takes to host and plan an event.

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    Dulce (left) phone banking with fellow DREAMer Victoria, as seen on Las Vegas Telemundo!

    Number 2-Social media isn’t the only way to go at it. Sure it’s always great to tweet and post stuff on Facebook, but you also have to tell people yourself. It helps if you can tell them face-to-face, but a phone call can also make a difference. That’s how we got Blanca and Elba to come. See, it seems like people are more motivated to do something when they see the person go out of their way to inform them.

    Number 3-We can actually get things done, we just have to maintain our optimism. Things didn’t start out great, let me just say that. It was just Alma, Dulce, and her sister. Then a reporter from Univision came, but she left after it seemed no one would show up. Alma and Dulce started calling people like crazy. (That’s how we got Elba and Blanca). Then, when it seemed like we would have an unsuccessful event, two people we didn’t know showed up and they had this amazing huge banner! They were so nice. Then Laura and Astrid showed up, we changed our location a bit and then an entourage came! I was so excited! We passed out signs, we chanted, cars honked in support, and Dulce talked to a newspaper reporter who told her she was going to feature her in a story! She was such a nice person to talk to. Finally, we wrapped up and Laura told Dulce if she wanted to do the circle thing, and she did! She called on the guy who had brought the great banner. He told us his story about how he came to the U.S. when he turned 19 to pay for his sisters’ education. He married a U.S. citizen, but he said that even though people believe that as soon as you marry someone who’s a citizen you get papers, that’s not the case. It was a great story.

     Overall, we’re really happy with our event, and we think we made everyone at PLAN really proud. Also, as interns we learned valuable lessons that will help us when we organize future events.