Save the Indian and Latino-American Commissions!

Dear friends,   

Not content with trying to saddle Nebraska with an Arizona-style anti-immigrant law, Sen. Charlie Janssen of Fremont is extending his legislative crusade against people of color and seeking to abolish Nebraska’s Indian and Latino-American Commissions.

“I'm not ashamed to say I led the motion to get rid of what's formerly known as the Mexican-American Commission, and also the Native American Commission,” Janssen stated in a January 3, 2011 article in the Fremont Tribune.  The current state budget crisis, he said, presents an opportunity “to get rid of a lot of programs that government doesn't really need to be in… We have too many programs and they're not run efficiently.”  He said the Commission on Indian Affairs and the Commission on Latino-Americans weren’t “gone yet,” but touted the “$400,000 a year in taxpayer money” that the state looked to save from their abolition.

This is unconscionable politicking, if not outright racial prejudice.  I was personally involved in getting both of these advocacy groups established in the 1970s, and I know they have done much good in protecting our most vulnerable citizens.  For a legislative body that—after ten years—still cannot find a way to legally resolve the atrocity of Whiteclay and is actively seeking ways to penalize the children of undocumented Latino parents to even suggest that discrimination is no longer a fit subject for state government is the height of hypocrisy. 

They must not be allowed to get away with this shameless behavior. 

Call your State Senator and urge them to retain both the Indian and Latino-American Commissions  

Nebraska’s State Motto is “Equality Before the Law.”  As of today, we are still a long ways away from upholding that standard.  

As constituents and voters, let’s do our part to make sure our elected representatives live up to this constitutional duty.

Paul Olson
President, Nebraskans for Peace

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