Freedom of Speech in America is a sometimes thing.
If you want to test it, just criticize Mexico to see how far you get.
Last month, I reported on the case of Walter Kehowski, an Arizona mathematics professor. Kehowski had posted links on his website to VDARE.COM in response to campus groups seeking to replace the traditional concept of Columbus Day with Dia de la Raza.
As hot as things remain for Kehowski, he was never physically attacked for expressing his opinions.
But Colorado activist Terry Graham hasn`t been so lucky.
Graham found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time on July 22 2004 when she attended a public forum sponsored by the First Data/Western Union titled, "Immigration: What Reform Will Bring to Our Nation."
First Data, through its various subsidiaries and foundations, has provided substantial funding for organizations that encourage massive illegal immigration.
Shortly after arriving at the meeting, Graham began to openly tape the six panelists—all proponents of illegal immigration—on the stage at Denver`s North High School. (The school gained national infamy last year for hanging a Mexican flag inside the classrooms.)
When Graham exercised her First Amendment rights by objecting that the panel failed to include speakers with opposing views, 31-year-old Julissa Molina-Soto—then director of multicultural outreach for the Hep C Connection—assaulted her.
According to the civil suit filed October 20 2004 by Graham against Molina-Soto, the First Data Corporation, Western Union Financial Services, First Data Western Union Foundation and the Hep C Connection,
"This action arises out of a violent physical robbery, assault, and battery against Plaintiff Terry Graham, who justifiably feared for her life during this brutal and totally unjustified attack. Defendant Julissa Molina attacked, repeatedly hit, and knocked down Ms. Graham, in the absence of any provocation, all in retaliation for Ms. Graham`s peaceful exercise of her First Amendment right to participate in a community forum. The other Defendants either negligently set up the forum without taking reasonable steps to protect the safety of participants, and/or negligently hired or placed Defendant Molina in a position of contact with the public, with reckless disregard for her violent and dangerous propensities."
The suit also charges the defendants with ethnic intimidation and civil conspiracy.
An eyewitness made the following official statement to Denver police on July 30
"…The woman (Julissa Molina-Soto) suddenly launched herself from about four seats away at Ms. Graham and began beating on Ms. Graham`s head with two closed fists. Every three or four blows, the woman would grab at Ms. Graham`s hair and continue to hit Ms. Graham while pulling Ms. Graham`s hair. She would then release her hair and resume beating Ms. Graham`s head with closed fists."
Molina-Soto also grabbed the tape recorder, tore out the tape and continued to pummel Graham.
Paramedics treated Graham—who said she feared for her life—at the scene.
What happened next is key to understanding the status of free speech in America today.
Denver police arrested Molina-Soto. But she was immediately released—because, according to Graham`s legal complaint, of the intervention of
"…Defendants First Data and Western Union, the Mexican Consul, LARASA (Latin American Research and Service Agency), and Servicios de la Raza, Inc. The latter two entities are funded by Defendant FDWU Foundation."
And, as Graham was being escorted out of the auditorium to catcalls and additional verbal threats, the crowd was promised by Polly Baca, a member of the Board of Directors of the FDWU Foundation and Executive Director of LARASA (email her) and by attorney Adrienne Benavidez, who sits on the Boards of Servicios de la Raza and the Denver American Civil Liberties Union, and runs something called Color of Justice, Inc at the University of Denver (email her), that Molina-Soto would have legal representation.
Unlike Molina-Soto, Graham must pay for her own attorney fees.
Not much is known about defendant Molina-Soto.
"Who is Julissa Molina-Soto? Who knows? This woman has more aliases than I have pairs of socks." (According to the lawsuit, Molina-Soto is known by five different names.)
Molina-Soto`s legal status is also unclear. A Mexican citizen, Molina entered the US nine years ago with her two children. She claims to have permanent legal resident alien status.
What is clear is Molina-Soto`s philosophy toward free services for illegal aliens. In a January 2004 interview with the Rocky Mountain News regarding a proposed Constitutional amendment proposed by Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo to eliminate social services to aliens, Molina said:
"Life in the United States is a hassle for undocumented immigrants. It`s a whole different culture where you have little choice and limited access to services. What Tom Tancredo is doing to immigrants will only add to our misery." [Agencies fearful of Tancredo plan, By April M. Washington]
(Note that although Molina-Soto claims to be a legal resident alien, her comments about "…our misery" unwittingly include herself among the "undocumented immigrants.")
Regardless of Molina-Soto`s immigration status, the degree of "misery" experienced by illegal aliens in America is debatable. And since being in the US illegally is a crime, detractors like Graham should be able to express a contrary view without taking a beating.
Graham`s attorney Robert Corry said,
"No person in the United States of America should fear violent retaliation for exercising her First Amendment rights to speak out and participate in an open community forum."
Graham remains upbeat. In an interview, she said:
"Americans will not be silenced by immigrants like Julissa Molina Soto, who assaulted me for exercising my God-given, First Amendment right to free speech. The fact that I have to hire an attorney to defend the First Amendment, while this violent Mexican woman was promised legal representation by an ACLU lawyer—even while I was being seen by paramedics—speaks volumes about the precarious state of our nation.
"But have no doubt, the American Spirit will prevail!"
Graham`s case may be key in the struggle to defend America`s traditional freedoms against the intolerance of our alien invaders.
Joe Guzzardi [email him], an instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.