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Thursday, June 1, 2023


UH ‘speaks out’ at event

Sandy Abrmayr, of the nonprofit organization Public Citizen, spoke to attendees of the SPEAK OUT event about the trouble with private corporations having the same rights as public citizens. | Jasmine Umenyi/The Daily Cougar

Students, professors and members of the community discussed issues such as immigration, voter turnout and corporate funding in elections at SPEAK OUT, a rally to increase student awareness and participation in government.

The event was held Tuesday in the University Center Satellite.

Brendan Laws, a sociology junior, spoke to students about the importance of immigration to our economy and recognizing immigrants’ rights.

“We have an economy that is dependent on migrant labor,” Laws said. “(As an immigrant), not only do you have to worry about paying rent and surviving, you have to worry about speaking up for your rights.”

Laws stressed that increasing security at the borders will not decrease immigration.

“The only way to stop immigration is to improve conditions in other countries … in the past 10 years as security has gone up, so has immigration because desperate times call for desperate measures,” Laws said.

Another issue discussed was the lack of participation in government by young people.

“It’s important for this university community that’s comprised of young people to get involved in not only the next election, but the grassroot issues,” said Lorenzo Cano, associate director for the Center for Mexican American studies.

Cano stressed the importance of young people getting together to make their voices heard.

Sandy Abrmayr of Public Citizen, a nonprofit organization used to represent consumer interests in Congress, passed around a petition to create a constitutional amendment to prevent corporations from having the same rights as regular citizens.

“Congressmen owe their positions to corporate money,” Abrmayr said. “Just in this last election, (corporations) spent $300 million in ads.”

Other speakers at the event included Don Cook, a member of the Green party, who discussed the deregulation of banks; Angela Pompey, a communications senior, who discussed the struggles of minorities; and George Reiter, a UH physics professor, who discussed the economy.

“For many years, people have been very passive, and decisions are made for them, having very disastrous consequences,” said Fred Schiff, associate professor in the school of communications and organizer of the event.

“Ordinary people have to get active if they want any say in which way the country, state and university goes.”

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