Thursday, November 27, 2014

Dr. Martin Luther King- Race Riots and The Other America

"The Other America" - Speech by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Grosse Pointe High School - March 14, 1968]

Rev. Dr. Harry Meserve, Bishop Emrich, my dear friend Congressman Conyers, ladies and gentlemen.
I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be here tonight and to have the great privilege of discussing with you some of the vital issues confronting our nation and confronting the world. It is always a very rich and rewarding experience when I can take a brief break from the day-to-day demands of our struggle for freedom and human dignity and discuss the issues involved in that struggle with concerned people of good will all over our nation and all over the world, and I certainly want to express my deep personal appreciation to you for inviting me to occupy this significant platform.
I want to discuss the race problem tonight and I want to discuss it very honestly.  I still believe that freedom is the bonus you receive for telling the truth. Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. And I do not see how we will ever solve the turbulent problem of race confronting our nation until there is an honest confrontation with it and a willing search for the truth and a willingness to admit the truth when we discover it.  And so I want to use as a title for my lecture tonight, "The Other America."  And I use this title because there are literally two Americas.  Every city in our country has this kind of dualism, this schizophrenia, split at so many parts, and so every city ends up being two cities rather than one. There are two Americas. One America is beautiful for situation. In this America, millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing before them. This America is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies, culture and education for their minds, freedom and human dignity for their spirits. In this America children grow up in the sunlight of opportunity. But there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair.  In this other America, thousands and thousands of people, men in particular walk the streets in search for jobs that do not exist. In this other America, millions of people are forced to live in vermin-filled, distressing housing conditions where they do not have the privilege of having wall-to-wall carpeting, but all too often, they end up with wall-to-wall rats and roaches. Almost forty percent of the Negro families of America live in sub-standard housing conditions. In this other America, thousands of young people are deprived of an opportunity to get an adequate education. Every year thousands finish high school reading at a seventh, eighth and sometimes ninth grade level. Not because they're dumb, not because they don't have the native intelligence, but because the schools are so inadequate, so over-crowded, so devoid of quality, so segregated if you will, that the best in these minds can never come out. Probably the most critical problem in the other America is the economic problem. There are so many other people in the other America who can never make ends meet because their incomes are far too low if they have incomes, and their jobs are so devoid of quality.  And so in this other America, unemployment is a reality and under-employment is a reality. (I'll just wait until our friend can have her say) (applause). I'll just wait until things are restored and. . .everybody talks about law and order. (applause)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving- A Troubled History


By far the “the king of the holidays” is Thanksgiving. The narrative has been burned into our consciousness to the point that few Americans question the facts because no one wants to lay the proverbial intellectual pedo.
Almost everyone is grateful for the day off. Merchants love Thanksgiving. It is the perfect opening act for Christmas.
The ritual of sitting down with the family to eat cheap turkey, chucked full of hormones, has been immortalized by Norman Rockwell. It is a day when you eat cheap turkeys and hams and everyone can pig out.
Not much thought is given to the truth of the narrative. Kids just want their four day relief from school, and parents are smug in the belief that the colonist and the Indians lived in peace. The only ones that care about changing the narrative are Native Americans who call it a National Day of Mourning.
I call Thanksgiving “El Día de los Pendejos” (The Day of the Fools). I tell my students to enjoy making graveyards out of their stomachs that they fill with the flesh of turkeys that have been held prisoners in small dirty cages.
Why do I call the Indians fools? Because they should have let the Pilgrims starve.
Few people know that the tradition of Thanksgiving was invented during the Civil war by President Abraham Lincoln in October 1863 when he proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. Thereafter, the myth of the Pilgrims and the Indians was constructed.
The story is known by almost every American. For twelve years, from K-12, they learn the story of that in the early autumn of 1621 fifty-three surviving Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest. The natives joined the celebration and instead of attacking the Pilgrims they made peace.
The Indians were thanked: their land was stolen from them, they were massacred, and many lived out their lives in slavery. The consequence is that less than one percent of Americans have Native American blood, contrasted to 90 percent of Mexican Americans with indigenous blood.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Important Immigration Information

Thanks to the President's  announcement that he will take administrative action on immigration, I have real hope. The president's action will provide millions of working people and families with the opportunity to come out of the shadows and into the light of our economy and society without fear.
Those who can benefit from this administrative action should use - a new resource offering informational tools and interactive opportunities to become full participants of our nation's democracy.

Visit iAmerica and share it with a friend now (There's no application process that exists yet, but once there is, this will be a trusted resource to receive accurate information).

Friday, November 21, 2014

LA Unified begins requiring Ethnic Studies

                                                                      Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed.  You cannot un-
Cesar Chavez & Duane Campbell, 1972.
educate the person who has learned to read.  You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.  Cesar Chávez.  November 9, 1984.

By 2019, every Los Angeles Unified School District high school student will need to take a class in ethnic studies to graduate.
The LAUSD board voted 6-1 on Tuesday to require the courses and increase ethnic studies classes as hundreds of students rallied outside the district's downtown headquarters, shouting "We won!"
District officials estimate the new requirement will cost $3.9 million to roll out to all 140,00 high school students, but the board has yet to be presented with the program's budget.
Ethnic studies, the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity and culture, has long been offered in colleges, but has not been widely available in high schools. 
Several ethnic studies courses, such as Chicano Literature or African American History, are already offered at 19 district schools, but fewer than half count towards California university entrance, according to a board report.
Supporters say exposing students to the stories and cultures of other ethnicities promotes racial tolerance and teaches a more accurate version of the country's history.
“There is a saying: 'The real story of the hunter will be told when the lion and the buffalo get to write,'" said LAUSD board member George McKenna, co-sponsor of the resolution who represents South Los Angeles. 
Angie Escalante, a senior at Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School near USC, complained her history and literature courses focus too heavily on white people.
"It says that we don't exist and when we do, it's for something bad," Escalante said. She heard about the initiative to require ethnic studies and encouraged her classmates to attend the board meeting – a first for many.
"When I heard we would have the chance to change history, I was like, 'That would be awesome,'" said Brenda Perez, her voice cracking from four hours of shouting.
"We think this builds a young person's sense of self and empathy in others,"said Manuel Criollo with Community Rights Campaign, an advocacy group supporting the ethnic studies policy. The group shuttled in dozens of Little Caesars' pizzas to feed the crowds of teenagers.

Why California Students Need Ethnic Studies
By Duane Campbell
Children and young adults need to see themselves in the curriculum.  Students, particularly students of color, have low levels of attachment to California and U.S.  civil society  messages in significant part because the government institution they encounter the most- the schools- ignore the students own history, cultures and experiences.

Immigration Move : a first step

Immigration Move a "Stopgap Measure"
David Bacon
November 20, 2014
Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA)
[President Obama] said today: "The administration's decision to step away, at least partially, from the policy of mass deportations that have hurt millions of people over the last six years is a good step, but it is only a step. It leaves millions more people subject to deportation and vastly increased enforcement.The administration is imposing increasing enforcement and labor programs as a price for deportation relief. The U.S. already spends more money on immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement programs combined. Giving Silicon Valley more work visas and tying labor programs to deportation relief is a step towards lower wages, undermining the rights of all workers. At the same time, the administration has announced support for more free trade deals, like the Trans Pacific Partnership, which will lead to more displacement and migration, while eliminating jobs here at home. Instead of a stopgap measure, we must change U.S. immigration law and trade policy to deal with the basic causes of migration, and to guarantee the human, civil and labor rights of migrants and all working people."
[David Bacon is author of several books on immigration, including The Right to Stay Home and Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants. He is a labor and immigrant rights activist, and part of the Dignity Campaign.]
The Dignity Campaign - Real Immigration Reform
United We Dream
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation. Our powerful nonpartisan network is made up of over 100,000 immigrant youth and allies and 55 affiliate organizations in 26 states. We organize and advocate for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mexico, A Toxic Mix of Crime, Corruption and US Collusion

The recent kidnapping and likely murder of 43 Mexican students from a teachers college in Ayotzinapa Guerrero has inflamed the anger of people both within Mexico and abroad. In this incident, local politicians ordered the police to attack and shoot protesting students and then handed 43 of these young people over to an allied criminal gang who kidnapped them. The missing students have yet to be found and are presumed to be dead while their remains and any evidence of this horrendous crime have most likely been destroyed and covered up. Other such deadly attacks upon small farmers and their organizations by politicians allied with wealthy landowners and criminals have also been commonplace in the state of Guerrero which is governed by the supposedly ‘leftist’ PRD party. This violent and grisly act that was committed by these oligarchs  against these young people was intended to intimidate and silence the voices of protesting students and this incident is symbolic of what is left of a shattered Mexican democracy. The growing financial and political complicity between government officials and criminal gangs and their blatant use of terror and violence is aimed at stifling the rights of the Mexican People to enact social change through democratic means. Other victims of this violent trend within Mexico have included numerous journalists, politicians seeking reform, trade unionists and human rights advocates. This deadly attack and kidnapping of these students is a clear example to the world of the blatant lack of democracy and rule of law that now exists within Mexico. Such growing lawlessness on the part of government officials and gang cartel members combined with a consistent growth in financial inequality and unemployment throughout the country has also exerted a downward push on people’s standard of living and on the economic well-being of their families.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Vigil por Ayotzinapa Wednesday.

Please join us in solidarity to PEACEFULLY DEMONSTRATE & hold a CANDLELIGHT VIGIL in front of an event being HOSTED BY THE MEXICAN CONSULATE at the CREST THEATER. LET YOUR VOICES BE HEARD!! On WEDNESDAY, our elders will continue to address the lack of information, investigation, evidence & accountability given towards the lives that have been stolen as well as those who continue to be missing from Guerrero's Ayotzinapa training college. WE NEED ALL PERSONS & STUDENTS to join us for a demo & candlelight vigil..

(WEAR BLACK With Red Paños on your face OR SHIRTS with the #43...BRING CANDLES & POSTERS)

As students, activists, & human beings..WE ALL have an obligation to join one another to speak out & demand answers to where exactly these men are. This could be your missing father, brother, son, uncle, cousin, or friend.

We will meeting in front of the CREST THEATER where the event will be held: 1013 K Street Sacramento, CA 95814 PLEASE BE There at 4:30pm =)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tell President Obama- Take Action on Immigration

President Obama has committed to take action on immigration but there are a lot of people who don't want him to—namely, House Republicans.
These are the same House Republicans who have had more than a year to act on the immigration reform bill that the Senate passed—but did nothing instead.
As Republicans try to stop the president, we need to show him that the American people overwhelmingly support him taking action for millions of families.
According to a Nov. 13th New York Times piece, the president's executive action to keep immigrant families together could come as soon as next week. Regardless of the exact timing, we're closer than ever from the biggest immigration victory in decades -- and Republicans are panicking.
They've already begun issuing threats to keep up their bad track record of blocking any immigration reforms while making vague pledges to pass legislation. No more ploys. We are not falling for that false promise again.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Normalistas take over government buildings in Michoacán

November 13, 2014.  La Jornada
Integrantes de la Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación (CNTE) tomaron esta mañana 113 presidencias municipales de Michoacán; demandan la presentación con vida de los 43 normalistas de Ayotzinapa.
Se prevé que en algunas alcaldías los integrantes de la CNTE coloquen fotografías de los normalistas desaparecidos. En la capital michoacana marcharon por la avenida Madero y se manifestaron frente al Congreso local; después se dirigieron al ayuntamiento, que estaba resguardado por decenas de policías.
Los manifestantes tomaron las alcaldías para decirle a la sociedad que no quieren que lleguen al gobierno alcaldes como el de Iguala, Guerrero, José Luis Abarca. Asimismo, se pronunciaron contra las reformas estructurales y por el respeto a las escuelas normales y a la educación pública.
Se estima que al menos el 30 por ciento de las 11 mil escuelas de educación básica -donde los maestros de la CNTE tienen presencia mayoritaria- pararon labores.

Monday, November 10, 2014

La Masacre de Guerrero

Similar to the murder of the Jesuits in El Salvador.
The opinion of the NY Times editorial board. Nov. 12, 2014.

The disappearance, and presumed murder, of 43 college students six weeks ago has brought parts of Mexico to a tense point. On Monday, thousands of protesters blocked access to the airport in Acapulco, and last week tens of thousands more filled the streets of Mexico City.

They are understandably outraged at a government that has failed to provide security, respect the rule of law, hold criminals accountable and ensure justice for victims and their families. In short, when gang members, security forces and others kill, they know there is a good chance they can get away with it.

The 43 students from a rural teachers college disappeared on Sept. 26 in Iguala, 120 miles south of Mexico City. They had traveled there to collect money and steal buses for transportation to a demonstration. According to authorities, the town’s mayor feared the students would disrupt a speech by his wife, so he told the police to stop them. The police ambushed them, engaged in a shootout that left six people dead, and then turned the students over to members of a drug gang who killed them, burned their bodies and erased much of the evidence.

Republicans seek to throw out ballots in Latino heavy district in Arizona

McSally is the Republican running against incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District, one of the tightest races that still hasn't been called. Right now, McSally is leading Barber by a slim margin of 341 votes according to the Arizona Daily Star. But about 9,000 provisional ballots have not been counted yet, according to Tucson Weekly
McSally's lawyers suggested that they could go to court in an effort to stop some of the provisional ballots from being processed. McSally's campaign, in particular, is focused on six precincts in Pima County, five of them happen to be in the 2nd Congressional District, according to the Tucson Sentinel. Notably, Pima County is 35 percent Hispanic or Latino, according to the United States Census Bureau. Five of those Pima County precincts went for President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Bill Fletcher: A few quick notes on the election

(1)There is almost always a low turnout during a midterm election and the party which controls the White House tends to lose.  This is definitely true but should not let us off the hook.
(2)The Democratic base largely stayed home except in certain important races, such as in North Carolina.  I think that we have to face the reality that the base that would be expected to vote Democratic was dis-spirited.  It is not just the ads that the Republicans ran.  The Obama administration has not led in a progressive direction.  There are certainly some major accomplishments, but there had been great expectations by many that after the 2012 election he would come out swinging.  I never had such expectations, but many people did.  Instead the administration continued to be stuck in various crises but also was not articulating a clear direction.  The Republicans were able to make Obama out to be the problem despite certain important facts, e.g., the economy has improved; troops had been pulled out of Iraq.
(3)Though the economy has improved, the condition for the average working person has not.  Yes, unemployment is down but we are still dealing with structural unemployment that is weighing on everyone.  The damage from the foreclosure crisis is far from over.  And the rich are the ones who are benefiting from the improved economy.   To turn any of this around masses of working people need to be organized to fight for a division of the wealth.  Yes, that means building and supporting labor unions.  But when the President does not make that a clarion call–except when speaking with union members–he has no answer to the public that is asking for their share.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Make a Plan to Vote

I set myself a big reminder today about voting, and I thought it might help you, too. 
You’re the kind of person who votes, but having a plan makes things easier. Thinking through the little details, so nothing gets between you and the polls on Tuesday, will ensure you cast your ballot.
Every political pundit says this election will come down to one thing: turnout. And turnout is expected to be high this year, so your vote is really going to matter. And don’t forget to make sure your friends and family will support your work and get out to vote as well. 
I’ll be going to the polls early because I have to get into the office and monitor the election returns as they come in. And I’ll be walking to vote, because my polling place is only a few blocks away from my house. 

This election is vital. 
A group of billionaires and Millionaires are trying to buy this election for Tuck.