Daniel McGowan
Daniel McGowan
Daniel McGowan
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Archive for the ‘Immigration’ Category

Help Daniel find a job

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Dear Friends and Supporters,

In a nice change of pace from the usual tenor of our communications, we are happy to report some really good news: Daniel McGowan’s stay in the CMU is coming to an end! Despite many punitive measures over the course of the years, Daniel has maintained a sterling record in prison and has accrued enough “good time” to take 1 year off his 7-year sentence. What is even more exciting is that he has qualified to serve the last 6-months of this time in a halfway house in Brooklyn, beginning in December 2012! After so many years, and so much antagonism from Federal authorities, we are overjoyed to welcome Daniel back home, where he belongs.

The support you all have shown over these past 5 years has helped Daniel get through what are undoubtedly the hardest years of his life. Now that he is on the verge of rejoining us, and never looking back upon these dark times, the focus of support for the Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan is in assisting him in his re-entry and securing him meaningful employment. Not only is finding a job an important condition of Daniel’s being in the half-way house — in addition to his supervised release once he is done with his sentence — but it is also extremely important to Daniel himself, who joins thousands of other ex-prisoners who struggle to find employment because of their prior records.

Lots of people are looking for work these days, and it’s a daunting task for anyone. However, while Daniel is as highly-motivated and hard-working as many others seeking employment, it is obvious that he faces serious hurdles in getting a job because of his conviction. Daniel is a warm, intelligent, passionate, and dedicated person and he would love to find employment at a place that is doing work he cares about and finds meaningful. Over the years many of you have asked how you can help — helping Daniel find such a job would be the most important thing you could ever do for him.


In addition to having a Bachelor’s degree, Daniel completed a paralegal course as well as every continuing education and vocational course available (over 25!) while in prison despite limited opportunities for education, as well as frequent moves. He is extremely driven and has a broad skill-set that he is looking to utilize at a NYC-based, non-profit organization. Much of Daniel’s career experience from 1997 onward is within the non-profit world he has ample experience in development/fundraising, communication and IT positions. Daniel has a particular interest in working as a paralegal for civil liberties organizations but would welcome and appreciate work in any of these fields/areas:

*Civil liberties/Free speech
*Social justice
*Prison reform
*Food justice/security
*Urban agriculture
*Reproductive rights
*LGBT issues
*Climate change
*Harm reduction/Drug policy
*Prisoner re-entry
* “Green-collar”
*Alternative energy
*Sustainable transport
*Environmental justice
*Domestic violence

If you work for a NYC-based non-profit, have a close friend, partner or contact at one, or have a specific organization in mind that might be open to hiring Daniel, we’d love to hear from you!

All emails can be directed to friendsofdanielmcg@yahoo.com
Please put “jobs” in the subject line.

His resume will be made available upon request.

**Daniel is still in prison, in the CMU, and will be until the end of 2012.**


Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of newspapers and magazines since I’ve been here. Invariably, there are articles on things of interest to me, but I find myself surprised at the slant or perspective offered by newspapers like the NY Times or the factoid-driven USA Today. (Why this is, probably has much to do with a long-term withdrawal from corporate news – the fact that most newspapers and sources of news mimic the perspectives and opinions of those in power shouldn’t surprise me!) One of the issues covered in such a shallow and non-questioning manner is immigration – often it’s the “problem of immigration” or theorizing on “how to seal the border.”

While I don’t expect mainstream news sources to question the existence of borders (or as I like to call them, “lines on a map”), I hope for more than the ICE-loving, immigrant demonizing that passes for coverage on a really complex issue. The articles focus on people who die crossing the desert from Mexico (a not-so-subtle “you’re next”), raids on businesses/factories that employ a majority of immigrants without any criticism of how armed raids and the destruction of families is a horrendous affair and, of course, more propaganda about how out “leaders” are going to “build a better fence!”

What is lost in this barely under the surface reporting is the fact that we are speaking about people. I’m ashamed to say that it took events happening to a friend of mine to break through my lack of concentration on this topic. My friend Maria (not her real name), was traveling in the Southwest with her family on Greyhound when it was boarded by a migra. Her papers were checked, allegations were made that she and her parents are illegal, and they are now in the federal legal system (trust me – it’s a Kafkaesque place to be) fighting to stay in the United States. To top it off, they want to deport my friend to Mexico – where she has not resided since age 5 and her parents to another country. Her court dates are set for where the charges where filed, not her resident state – which is leading to immense travel expenses in addition to the legal bills. The US knows that defendants worn down with threats, financial debt and numerous delays are easier to deal with – it’s systemic, successful, and by all accounts, very successful.

As many of us have noted before, the United States has collective amnesia. Here we are – a nation of immigrants built on the (ongoing) genocide and ecological exploitation of this continent’s indigenous peoples, made rich by generations of chattel slavery that argue for sealing the border to brown people and Central and South America. (That’s really what makes the debate is about. Surely, the US is unconcerned with “white” or English speaking immigrants. Just go to Ridgewood, Queens or Greenpoint, Brooklyn and you’ll see what I mean!)

Growing up in NYC, almost everyone I knew had parents and grandparents who were immigrants – Irish, Puerto Rican, Italian, Dominican, German, and Caribbean families – and were 1-3 generations removed from their respective nations. My Irish grandfather, coming to the US in 1916 at the time of low Irish immigration did not have to deal with “Irish need not apply” signs. However, being a newcomer with only his sister as family here, he took the job he could get – as a laborer at a natural gas power plant in Brooklyn, NY. He worked that job for 50 years. His blood, sweat, and tears put food on the table during the Depression and supported a family of four.

When I think of my Poppa, his hard work and his reasons for coming here (impending civil unrest in Ireland, no opportunities), I can’t help but think of today’s immigrants. It is shameful enough that the US has destabilized and harmed much of South and Central America in the 1980′s (Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru) fueled by Reagan’s domino theory and the neo-liberal and Democrat-supported NAFTA of the Clinton years (affecting Mexico, perhaps, most of all).

Maria has been here for over 15 years – her parents employed as teachers and herself, a vibrant part of the NYC activist community. Is it fair to send her to a country she does not remember? Shouldn’t common sense prevail here? It’s the dehumanization of immigrants that allows things like this to happen. Fueled by propaganda and fear, municipalities promote ordinances that levy fines against people who hire “illegals,” people become snitches and call ICE on individuals or businesses, rednecks harass day labor sites. Meanwhile, the silence on the part of so many white people is astounding – even as, in my city, people sleep in hotels cleaned by, ride in taxis driven by, and eat vegetables picked by and animals slaughtered by immigrants. The May 1 protests of two years ago should have been a wake-up call – an invitation off the fence and a reminder that, aside from native peoples, we are all immigrants here in the US. Like a funny shirt I saw last year, “Who are you calling immigrant, Pilgrim?”

To be clear, it’s not the “immigrants are useful to me” debate that drives me (in the same vain as I value trees for their own inherent value. This is called ‘deep ecology’ in the environmental realm. What then would we call it regarding respect and consideration for people independent of such silly criteria as “national origin?”) It’s my friend Maria and her mother and father – people with names, lives, goals, and dreams. To give credence to borders over people is a freedom-destroying choice. The rhetoric of immigrants “draining the resources of the US” is laughable coming from a country that spends millions of dollars a day to fund an illegal and immoral war in Iraq and devoted 1/2 of its overall budget to the military!

Don’t use my previous excuses for not taking a stand on what this gov’t is doing to people fighting just to leave. Get off the fence and wade into what seems, at first, to be a complex issue. Meet and work with immigrant groups for justice. Learn Spanish! Don’t forget that, chances are, your family was immigrants too.

Addendum: The solution being proposed currently is that young people whose parents came here when they were young can gain citizenship by joining the military. This is appalling and needs to be resisted fully. They see this as a win-win – helping horribly low military recruitment numbers and reducing the numbers of illegal. But no one should have to die to be allowed to live in the US.