Category Archives: ~ Campaign 2020 – 2021

The War on Poverty at … never forget


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What People Really Think About Poverty

On January 8, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” “It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it,” said Johnson.

50 years later, many of the programs that were passed in that era still exist and have helped keep millions out of poverty. In fact, the poverty rate would be nearly double today without them. But without a doubt, poverty still exists in this country.

The perception continues to be that there is a wide ideological gap across the county of what government’s role is in extending the ladders needed to increase economic mobility and lift people out of poverty. On this anniversary, the Center for American Progress and Half in Ten commissioned a poll to ask Americans what they really think about poverty in the United States. The findings might surprise you:

1. Between one-quarter and one-third of Americans experience direct economic hardship. Sixty-one percent of Americans say their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living, compared to just 8 percent who feel they are getting ahead and 29 percent who feel they are staying even. Anywhere from 25 to 34 percent of Americans-and even higher percentages of Millennials and people of color-report serious problems in the past year falling behind on rent, mortgage or utilities payments; affording necessary medical care; keeping up with credit card payments; or having enough to money for food.  Fifty-four percent of Americans say that someone in the immediate or extended families is poor — a 2-point increase since 2008 and an 18-point increase since 2001.

2. Americans blame economic conditions, not personal responsibility, as the reason people live in poverty in this country.  Almost two-thirds (64 percent) believe that most people who live in poverty do so because of bad economic conditions like low-paying jobs, compared to only one-quarter who think it is because the poor make bad decisions. Even white conservatives believe by a 2:1 margin (63 percent to 29 percent) that poverty is driven by socioeconomic factors and conditions rather than poor personal decision-making.

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3. There is almost unanimous agreement that government has a responsibility to fight poverty. An overwhelming 86 percent of Americans agree with the belief put forward by President Johnson 50 years ago.

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4. There is widespread support for a national goal to cut poverty in half within 10 years. Seven in 10 Americans–including a majority of those identifying as white conservatives–support this goal.

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5. Americans also express very strong support for a number of policies to help reduce poverty rates, particularly with jobs, wages, and education but also on more traditional safety net items. Among the proposals garnering strong support are emergency unemployment benefits, increasing the minimum wage, universal pre-kindergarten, and expanded nutrition assistance. Congress should take note.

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You can check out the complete results of the poll HERE. Our colleagues have also put together a variety of other resources on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. Be sure and check those out HERE.

Voting is a Right NOT a Privilege ~~ The Struggle continues


votingTime to pass the Voting Rights Act, change redistricting rules, and make it easier for ALL Americans to VOTE

 America

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy) was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. 

 On March 7, 1965, hundreds of brave unarmed nonviolent women and men dared to March for African Americans’ right to vote.

The fact is that less than 1% of eligible Blacks could vote or register to vote.

A group of people organized a Peaceful Protest: The March would start in Selma then move on to the state capitol in Montgomery.

However, as these peaceful protesters tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Montgomery the police, seemingly already assuming a defensive posture; some on horses had, looking back, a predetermined tactical intervention plan against protesters. The protesters, mostly young African Americans also walked quietly with a mixture of older individuals and white Students as well: and as they did so police proceeded to try and control the protesters  which quickly resulted in the “excessive use of force.”

As protesters continued, it became clear that the excessive force was now an active use of police brutality and acts of murder; the grotesque beating of a young black leader of nonviolent protesting #RepJohnLewis had his skull cracked open among other injuries to his body.  These Montgomery officers were out to do harm as they surrounded and knocked out young protesters using their nightsticks,  sprayed water cannons at close range while others used tear gas.

These kids had no weapons; they did NOT fight back because they were not there to fight, but showed much courage and strength in the face of absolute brutal violence by an adversarial organization minorities are expected to respect. These men in police uniforms hired to protect and serve citizens were actually a force activated by the state to show physical power,  discrimination, and racism in all its worse forms.

We must never forget that some of our fellow  Americans died for our right to vote! In what was an attempt to March in peaceful disobedience quickly became an adverse harmful environment to young black and white women and men,  students from all backgrounds, folks who believed voting is a right had to quickly retreat while journalists and photographers became witnesses to the suffering violence and death.

The brutal reaction by the police was not only caught on tape it forced then-President Johnson,  once against civil rights programs as a Senator to call on Congress for equal voting rights for all on March 15.

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The Voting Act of 1965 became a law on August 6; is a landmark piece of national legislation in the United States that outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the U.S.

A day that started out peacefully quickly descended into an awful johnlewisbeatwithknightstickugly March of death for the right to vote called, “Bloody Sunday”.

Now, some 50 years later, a new “Jim Crow” era has emerged with a major step backward in the fight for civil and voting rights. Conservative states are targeting not only African Americans but Senior citizens, first-time voters, early voting, Students, low income, immigrants, and the undocumented though Republicans call them (illegals) Dreamers; some born or brought to the US as youngsters all victims of circumstance now voting age. Also, Governors from the Republican-controlled States are allowing election officials to purge voters, people without birth certificates were given limited or completely denied access to the voting booth failing to meet new voter ID regulations in time, and were treated like possible (illegals). This is the 21st Century; we should be on a progressive path toward equality for all not one that will re-engage folks in the act of racism or exclusion leading to suppressing participation in the election process. In 2017, Republicans tried to pass and or enforce new, even stricter voter ID legislation or influence their districts with strange redistricting rules and regulations.  While some judges … have struck down some of these restrictive laws that ultimately suppress the vote, it is clear the effort to shut people of colour out of the election process sadly continues.

We need to push back on all attempts to suppress the Right to Vote.

With so much at stake, it is time to stop sitting on the sidelines. If we are going to succeed, Conservative lawmakers NEED to hear our Voices.

We cannot turn back the clock on Voting Rights or on the next generation.

Thank You for Taking Action

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In the Library: Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies


fruit&veggiesThis book is an ethnographic witness to the everyday lives and suffering of Mexican migrants. : Migrant Farm workers in the United States (California Series in Public Anthropology)

Based on five years of research in the field (including berry-picking and traveling with migrants back and forth from Oaxaca up the West Coast), Holmes, an anthropologist and MD in the mold of Paul Farmer and Didier Fassin, uncovers how market forces, anti-immigrant sentiment, and racism undermine health and health care. Holmes’ material is visceral and powerful—for instance, he trekked with his informants illegally through the desert border into Arizona, where they were apprehended and jailed by the Border Patrol. After he was released from jail (and his companions were deported back to Mexico), Holmes interviewed Border Patrol agents, local residents, and armed vigilantes in the borderlands. He lived with indigenous Mexican families in the mountains of Oaxaca and in farm labor camps in the United States, planted and harvested corn, picked strawberries, accompanied sick workers to clinics and hospitals, participated in healing rituals, and mourned at funerals for friends. The result is a “thick description” that conveys the full measure of struggle, suffering, and resilience of these farm workers.

Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies weds the theoretical analysis of the anthropologist with the intimacy of the journalist to provide a compelling examination of structural and symbolic violence, medicalization, and the clinical gaze as they affect the experiences and perceptions of a vertical slice of indigenous Mexican migrant farm workers, farm owners, doctors, and nurses. This reflexive, embodied anthropology deepens our theoretical understanding of the ways in which socially structured suffering comes to be perceived as normal and natural in society and in health care, especially through imputations of ethnic body difference. In the vehement debates on immigration reform and health reform, this book provides the necessary stories of real people and insights into our food system and health care system for us to move forward to fair policies and solutions.

from amazon.com


FDR had something to say about voting


votingFranklin D. Roosevelt once said

“Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Paul Ryan and ayn rand … a reminder of contradictions


I don’t know about you but if you grew up with a certain teaching or dogma and you are now in your mid-forties + … it must be hard to convince folks that you now reject a philosophy after only a couple of hours later –  just saying