Demanding Justice for Murdered Immigrant Luis Ramirez Is AlterNet's Top Take Action Campaign of the Week


On July 12, 2008, in Shenandoah, Pa., Derrick Donchak and Brandon Piekarsky beat Luis Ramirez so viciously that he died in a hospital two days later.

Ramirez, 25, had lived in Shenandoah for seven years and was an undocumented immigrant. The hate crime revealed the tensions in the small Pennsylvania town and became an example of the dangerous rising trend of anti-immigrant violence in America.

On May 1, 2009, another tragedy occurred. An all-white jury acquitted Donchak and Piekarsky on all serious charges. This injustice has sparked outrage in immigrant and progressive communities alike and has devastated the friends and family of Ramirez.

According to the FBI, hate crimes against Latinos increased 35 percent between 2003 and 2006. What type of message does it send that we allow perpetrators of prejudice-assault to go free? That is why we have chosen’s campaign demanding that Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell speak out about Ramirez’s slaying as our top action of the week.

Rendell’s silence on such an important issue damages Ramirez’s family, the state of Pennsylvania, and, with the rising tide of bigotry and violence against immigrants and Latinos, it hurts the country. As governor, it is imperative that Rendell speak loudly and clearly about his commitment to the safety of all residents of Pennsylvania, no matter their country of origin or immigration status.

Join us in urging Rendell to do the right thing and help begin the process of healing in Shenandoah. We must make sure that what happened to Ramirez never happens again.

Once you have signed the petition at, check out the rest of the campaigns we are highlighting this week:

II -- Act Now! Today is Global Day of Action for Troy Davis

Today, May 19, is Amnesty International’s Global Day of Action for Troy Davis.

Davis faces execution for the killing of Police Officer Mark MacPhail in Georgia, despite a strong claim of innocence. Seven out of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimonies, no murder weapon was found and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime. The Georgia Board of Pardon and Paroles has voted to deny clemency, yet Gov. Sonny Perdue can still exercise leadership to ensure that Davis' death sentence is commuted. Please urge Perdue to demonstrate respect for fairness and justice by supporting clemency for Davis.

III -- Fight the Disparity: Change America's Crack Laws

For the first time in decades we have an opportunity to roll back punitive federal drug policies, starting with the crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity.

This disparity, which punishes crack cocaine offenses 100 times more severely than powder cocaine offenses, is wasting taxpayer money, destroying families and creating enormous racial disparities in the federal criminal justice system. The Drug Policy Action Network is calling on Congress to repeal it. Pick up the phone and you do your part to fix our antiquated drug laws.

IV -- Mobilize for Climate Justice

Are you over the corporate compromised climate politics of the Beltway? Want to find more empowering ways to build power, stop climate change and take action? Now’s your chance! The Mobilization for Climate Justice has put out it's call to action. Join a group of organizations and activists dedicated to building a North American climate-justice movement that emphasizes direct action and public education to mobilize for just and effective solutions to climate change.

V --Tell President Obama It Is Time to Repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

Lt. Dan Choi went on the Rachel Maddow Show in March and spoke three truthful words: "I am gay."As a result Choi received a letter from the Army discharging him for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.Choi is fighting to stay in the military and to ensure that no other soldier is ever again discharged as a result of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Join the Courage Campaign and Credo Mobile in supporting his effort to secure equality in our armed forces.

VI --Stop Starbucks

Starbucks has a history of being anti-barista, anti-union, and thus anti-Employee Free Choice Act. Brave New Films, which took on the giant chain store Wal-Mart, is spilling the beans on Starbucks' atrocious labor practices, and it needs your help. Let Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz know that you demand he stop opposing the Employee Free Choice Act and allow his workers to unionize. Also, if you work at Starbucks, know someone who does, or even just got a coffee there today share your Starbucks story.

VII -- Take On Rich Lobbyists to Save Health Care Reform

Recently, former hospital CEO Rick Scott bought ads for his group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights on CNN and Fox News networks. Scott’s ads contain blatantly false statements and misleading excerpts of interviews with health care professionals.

Call on cable news networks to adhere to their own "truth-in-advertising" policies and pull these ads.

We must keep on Obama to carry out his campaign promises about fixing our broken health care system, and we must not let rich lobbyists like Scott get in the way. Click here to learn more about what you can do to help.

VIII -- Protect American Workers, Help Get the Employee Free Choice Act Passed

The Employee Free Choice Act is the most important labor legislation in almost 40 years, but it is facing huge, well-financed opposition from greedy corporations. Help cut through the corporate propaganda and show that this bill is about helping workers who are the backbone of our economy. Take action now:

IX -- Hold Shell Oil Accountable for Its Environmental and Human Rights Crimes

Shell Oil Co. will stand trial on May 26 on charges that it was complicit in the slayings of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Nigerian activists. is a collective of environmental and human rights groups that have formed a global campaign to hold Shell accountable and demand that it stop gas flaring in Nigeria.

Call for Shell to come clean about its corporate irresponsibility, human rights abuses and record of environmental devastation. To learn more about how you can help, go to

X -- Tell Congress to Investigate Human Rights Violations in Gaza

Jewish Voices for Peace is calling on you to urge your congressperson to demand an investigation into whether Israel complied with provisions of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act in its recent Gaza offensive. Numerous human rights organizations have documented direct attacks on civilians in Gaza, attacks that were disproportionate or indiscriminate, and some apparently deliberate.

Make sure the U.S. government knows that your tax dollars come with strings attached: do not allow your money to contribute to more of the violent same. Click here to learn more.

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