People protesting

The May Free Press Second Saturday Cyber-Salon, hosted by Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism Board Member and longtime activist Mark Stansbery, had the theme of Immigrant and Worker Rights.

Watch the video here.

Mark started out acknowledging that the salon was happening right after May 1st – International Worker’s Day, as well as the day before Mother’s Day.

The first speaker was Andrew Lin of the Socialist Alternative who talked about the Amazon unionization effort in Alabama that Columbus Socialist Alternative supported along with organizations all over the country. Although the effort failed, it was a great step forward and taught the organizers a lot of lessons going forward.

The second speaker was Edith Espinal, formerly in sanctuary at a local church, who told us what it was like to constantly be under the scrutiny of ICE, even now that she has been released. She still has to check in with ICE every four months. Thanks go to Carrie Vereide who helped with interpreting. Joel Cali let us know that while Edith is home, this doesn't solve all of their family's needs. Edith has now applied for a work permit, but such applications take approximately 6 months for approval. You can support Edith and her family here at this Go Fund Me campaign

Tim Chavez told us what he knows about a Guatemalan woman who is experiencing immigration problems in Butler County, Ohio who needs some support. Contact Sara Liebler  at Ohio Immigration Visitation for more information. 

Tom Sodders noted that an Immigrant rights Zoom forum was held in Cleveland on May Day. At the conclusion, one of the speakers, Baldemar Velasquez, President of FLOC, suggested that a statewide call be set up to explore the prospects for an Ohio wide Immigrant rights formation. The proceedings are at:

Tim also promoted the community radio station WGRN – please listen and get involved!

Mary Stutz of Community Festival announced the openings for activist organizations to put in proposals to give virtual workshops at the virtual Comfest this year. Here’s an email to send your video.

Travis Irvine announced that he just finished a new short documentary called “HOW AMERICA KILLED MY MOTHER” about the issues single mothers face in the U.S. — feel free to watch at with your moms this weekend! (Or just call them if you can :)

Doug Todd announced that BREAD will have its Nehemiah action this Tuesday May 11th at 6:45 pm. This is its signature action done once yearly, focusing on housing, police misconduct, mental health, economic equality and other areas of concern.  It is virtual and if you want to come in person you can attend BY AUTOMOBILE at the First Church of God on Refugee Rd. Go to to register. If you don't belong to any of the BREAD congregations, no problem just click "other" or if you want me to get credit for your presence click "St Thomas the Apostle."

Cathy Cowan Becker announced the Ohio United Against Hate rally is Sunday, May 16. It was also noted that there is also an event Saturday May 15th at 3 PM at the Franklin Park Conservatory called Justice in the Park sponsored by Ohio Families Unite Against Police Brutality.

Pat Marida announced that S. B. No. 117—Repeals the coal bailout in HB6. It repeals bailout of the OVEC coal plants in entirety. The Sierra Club says: Take a moment to make your voice heard and tell your senator to take action and support SB117.

Sandy Bolzenius announced a Move to Amend event about the Kossuth Street Garden. She also solicited people to come visit Rep. Joyce Beatty about the Move to Amend issue. Contact Sandy if you can help.  

The Free Press thanks Steve Caruso for being our technical guru for these cyber-salons.

Hope to see you at the next one!

Pete Johnson
President, Columbus Institute for Contemporary Journalism
Contact: 614-253-2571