Blacks and Latinos Gather in LA Mosque to Discuss Immigration, Jobs

June 4, 2006

Source: Los Angeles Times,1,7426272.story

On June 4, 2006 the Los Angeles Times reported, "A forum to discuss the viewpoints of Latinos and African Americans on such issues as immigration and jobs attracted about 200 people — and 20 protesters — Saturday night to a mosque near downtown Los Angeles. The event was intended to be the first of monthly 'black and brown roundtables' on topics that tend to divide and unite the ethnic groups, which share neighborhoods in South Los Angeles and other parts of the region, according to organizer Najee Ali. Ali, an African American activist and director of Project Islamic HOPE, a nonprofit civil rights organization, said his goal was to have a frank forum, even if it triggered verbal fireworks. 'I don't want a meeting where everyone gets together and sings "Kumbaya." This is a serious discussion; no holds barred,' he said before the meeting, which was sponsored by the Latino and African American Leadership Alliance. 'The only way both groups can understand each other is an honest discussion.' In fact, tempers flared before the meeting started. Protesters from the Minuteman Project — which wants to stop illegal immigration by monitoring the border — lined Exposition Boulevard outside the Masjid Omar ibn Al-Khattab... near USC. They waved American flags and carried placards bearing slogans such as 'Secure the Border' and 'Stop Illegal Immigration.'"