Archive for September 2013

For Dignity And Respect

September 30, 2013

Saturday October 5 is National Day For Human Dignity and Respect. On that day millions of people across our nation, in  over forty cities, will be marching for:

  • “commonsense immigration reform with legalization that leads to citizenship, legal immigration rules October 5that promote family unity and protect worker rights, an end to the destruction of our families through deportations, and a halt to the rush towards massive wasteful spending on unneeded border militarization and for profit immigrant detention prisons”
  • “an America where our hard work is honored; where our many contributions to the nation are respected and where our families and children can dream of building lives of dignity and without fear. We cannot let the continued failures of Washington result in more families torn apart, more abusive employers and poverty wages, more children who cannot dream”
  • “a better America for all”

Faith, labor, and civil rights groups are joining together, and calling all who are concerned for social justice for immigrants to join them, to express and demand respect for the hard work and many contributions that immigrant communities make to our nation’s culture, economy, communities, and faith.

For more information about the Day For Human Dignity and Respect and where marches and rallies will be taking place, see the website of October Immigration here.

The Urgency Of The “Now”

September 23, 2013

On Wednesday of this past week (the 18th), I read an article in our local newspaper, The Eagle, entitled “The Poverty stuck at 15 percent; record 46.5 million poor.”

The article addressed poverty in America, in general, but it also presented a lot of information about poverty in Texas, the state in which my family and I live.

The article reported that:

  1. 25% of Texans do not have health care insurance compared to the national average of 15.4%
  2. Texas ranks 8th in the nation in poverty, with 17.2% living in poverty ($18,500 a year for a family of three)
  3. Texas has made no progress in reducing the number of medically uninsured people or the number of people living in poverty, which includes a third of Texas children.

Poverty is a horrible economic condition for a person to live in. At the individual level, it can be the result of personal choices or laziness. But, it can also be the result of policies and laws that are made at the government-corporation level that are designed to benefit Big Money. Those decisions and laws have a true “trickle down” effect and poverty and hardship is the result for millions of Americans. In this case, poverty is a systemic issue.

We could feel overwhelmed and defeated by the poverty situation in Texas and the nation as well as by the overall economic condition of our country today. I say that with grave concern for the systemic causes of the economic and life hardships that many people and families have to contend with every day. But, rather than throw our hands up and “accept things the way they are,” let us resolve to make a difference in the ways things are.  Let us know that today – “now” – is the time to begin bringing positive change to America and the State of Texas that results in better lives and living for people.

Marshall Ganz, a social movement activist, labor organizer, and teacher, told Bill Myers in a recent interview,

” … we face the fierce urgency of a now that requires action ….”

So, let us take action and begin to educate, agitate or motivate, and organize people for the making of positive systemic changes in our country.

Begin by sharing the above statistics, and other information you may have about the economy and laws that affect the poor, middle, and monied classes with people. Ask them how they and those they know and love have been affected by the Recession and its ill effects – jobs cuts, austerity programs, and attacks on unions and working people. Are they content with the way that things are – incomes soaring for the already rich, profits raging for corporations, the middle class disappearing and the poverty class swelling, austerity programs that eliminate the safety nets that provide security for the poor, infirmed, and elderly, and so much more?  Ask people if they are registered to vote and encourage them to vote.

And lastly, remind them that if they are upset and angry about poverty in Texas and America and the plutocratic assault on America, we can do something about it. After all, there are more of us than there are of them.

“Now” is the time.

The Oligarchic Reality Of It All

September 15, 2013

“Inherited privilege is crowding out equality of opportunity; the power of money is crowding out effective democracy.”

This quote is taken from Paul Krugman’s article, Rich Man’s Recovery, published on the New York Time’s web site (September 12, 2013).

In the article, Krugman says that American society, and the values and ideals that define America, is being undermined by extreme inequality. He describes this inequality as “the gap between the society’s meritocratic ideology and its increasingly oligarchic reality.”

Krugman writes that many claim that “inequality of outcomes doesn’t matter as long as there is equality of opportunity.”

Paul’s reply is that …

“If the rich are so much richer than the rest that they live in a different social and material universe, that fact in itself makes nonsense of any notion of equal opportunity.”

Read the article here.

September 5, Support Wal-Mart Workers

September 5, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013, support Wal-Mart workers and their rights to speak out for their rights on the job, a $15 an hour living wage, a regular work schedule, the right to form unions without fear of retaliation, and a reinstatement of the Wal-Mart workers fired for their presence and protests at the Wal-Mart corporate meeting in Bentonville this summer.

wal mart strikers
Speak an encouraging worker to a Wal-Mart worker. Express your concern to a Wal-Mart manager or associate manager about the corporation’s need to respect the needs, rights, and hard work of their “associates.”

You might even think about postponing your shopping at Wal-Mart until Friday. Better yet, if you need to go to the store tomorrow, spend your time and money at a locally owned grocery or retail store.

Check on this Daily Kos link to sign a petition that will be sent to the Walton family, asking them to respect the working men and women who work hard for a living and, in so doing, have helped make the Walton’s billionaires.

Inspiration For Today’s Movements: The March on Washington

September 1, 2013

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was a pivotal event in the history of our nation and lives.

I would encourage you to research and read about the 1963 March, how it originated, developed, and was organized, as well as about Leaders at Memorialits impact on the nation.  You will also want to learn about some of the key people who were involved in the March, men and women such as A. Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, Ella Baker, Martin Luther King, Jr. , John Lewis, Cleveland Robinson, and Walter Reuther.

The stories of the March and these great civil rights leaders will not only inspire you, they will model for us a way to effectively engage people, authorities, and the issues we are deeply concerned about today – the economy, income inequality, job creation, minimum wage, the right to form unions, worker’s rights, and voter’s rights.