Tag: Father James Manship

Radio

Reporter’s Notebook: Conn. Priest Shows How to Earn the Trust of an Immigrant Community

FI2W reporter Aswini Anburajan produced a radio piece for NPR’s Latino USA on Father James Manship, a Roman Catholic priest in New Haven, Conn., who teaches his immigrant parishioners how to stand up for their civil rights, and who has been in the news in the past for being arrested in a confrontation with local police officers. Here, Aswini narrates how she managed to produce the piece, which aired on Latino USA and which you can listen to below.

[audio:http://latinousa.kut.org/wp-content/lusaaudio/856seg01.mp3]
By Aswini Anburajan, FI2W contributor

If you think that ethnic reporting isn’t critical to knowing a community, read on. This is the first piece I’ve done for Feet in 2 Worlds that hasn’t been on Indian Americans. The basis of FI2W is to get reporters to write about their own communities, but even I didn’t realize why this is so important until I delved into a project for Latino USA.

My piece was originally supposed to be on the economic life of a day laborer or someone new to the country, undocumented and trying to establish a life in the U.S. That piece remains undone. Being an Indian American with some high school Spanish under my belt, I thought it would be a cake walk. Call some social service agencies, reach out to immigrant coalitions, and I could “break in.”

Manship in 2008 visited with family and friends of his Connecticut parishioners, in the province of Morena Santiago, in the rainforest regions of Ecuador. (Photo: Courtesy J. Manship)

Manship in 2008 visited with family and friends of his Connecticut parishioners, in the province of Morena Santiago, in the rainforest regions of Ecuador. (Photo: Courtesy J. Manship - Click for more images)

Four months later, I had to think again. Without truly knowing a community, or having cultural or language associations with them, I found it impossible to get through and talk to individuals who were undocumented. It wasn’t that every door I knock on was slammed in my face. Most of the time, people pretended they weren’t home. This ranged from individuals I knew with ties to the Latino community to social service agencies.

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Videos

Cleared Of Charges, Conn. Priest Accuses Police of Racial Profiling and Harassment Against Hispanics

By Aswini Anburajan, FI2W reporter

Father James Manship, outside the New Haven courthouse - Photo: New Haven Independent.

Father James Manship, outside the New Haven courthouse. (Photo: New Haven Independent)

No sooner had prosecutors in Connecticut dropped charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with police activity against Rev. James Manship, than the Roman Catholic priest announced a campaign to have federal authorities look into charges of racial profiling and harassment of Hispanics by East Haven, Ct. police.

On the night of his arrest, Manship, of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in New Haven, had been videotaping police at a local store owned by Ecuadorean immigrants who had complained that police harassment of Hispanic customers had caused fear in their community and a sharp drop in business.

Manship videotaped police officers as they removed license plates from the walls of My Country Store. The owners claimed the plates were just there for decoration, while officers argued that the store owner had illegally bought them.

Officers told Manship to stop videotaping, and when he didn’t, they arrested him. The officers later claimed that Manship had been holding an “unknown shiny silver object,” which caused them to fear it was a gun, according to The New York Times.

However, a fifteen-second video clip released by Manship’s lawyers shows an officer asking Manship, “Is there a reason you have a camera on me?”

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Connecticut Back in Crosshairs of Immigration Debate: Priest Arrested For Videotaping Police

James Manship in court - Photo: New Haven Independent.

James Manship in court. (Photo: New Haven Independent)

Father James Manship of St. Rosa of Lima Catholic Church in New Haven, Conn. pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of disorderly conduct and interfering with police. Father Manship was arrested by police in nearby East Haven after videotaping town police officers who he claims have been harassing Latino immigrants for a period of several months.

The case once again puts Connecticut at the center of the debate over the treatment of undocumented immigrants. In 2007 New Haven became the first city in the nation to offer ID cards to undocumented residents, allowing them access to municipal services. The Elm City Resident Cards have drawn sharp criticism and court challenges. In communities near New Haven, some say the hostility toward Latino immigrants goes even further.

“My arrest is the tip of a toxic iceberg of racial profiling by East Haven police,” Manship told reporters at a press conference following his court hearing.

On February 19th, police ordered owners of My Country Store, a Latino-owned market in East Haven, to remove license plates that they had used to decorate store windows, claiming they were inappropriately using government property.

Manship, who was in the store, began to film the officers, who then arrested him, claiming that they believed the priest was holding a weapon. (The New Haven Independent’s website has the police report.)

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