Politics , events around the world
New Proposal Could Separate Families Crossing Border
The Department of Homeland Security is considering a proposal that would tear apart families by separating women and children who are caught together illegally into the United States, Reuters reported Friday afternoon citing three anonymous government officials who had been briefed on the proposal. The proposal is apparently aimed, in part, at deterring mothers from crossing…
What Do We Think When We Hear the Word ActivismSubmitted by: Robert Desjarlait
What do we think when we hear the word activism? Maybe we immediately think of somebody with their fist in the air, defiantly persisting against something. Maybe we think of protestors and demonstrators visibly making their point. Maybe we think of angry people, better yet angry Indians, with loud drums. Maybe we think of the Zapatistas or the Republic of Lakotah. Whatever we consider activism, we are well advised to consider it with an open mind.
This definition of activism was pulled from the web: “Activism: a policy of taking direct and often militant action to achieve an end, especially a political or social one.” However, activism for Indians requires an expanded definition as we cannot only think of activism as an indigenous response to the attempted conquest (occupation) of our land and minds. Indian activists are not only pursuing ends within this system, such as equal rights, access to religious sites, access to education, capital, etc. Indians are also pursuing their own survival on their own terms. When it comes to Indians, we recognize that our “activism” is born out of an inherently free spirit; it is not always reactionary. We are born with existing responsibilities for life on earth, ceremonial and otherwise.
We expect our activists to protect our abilities to carry out these inherent responsibilities as well as our interests in American life. Activism is taking place all around us regarding—to name just a few examples—oil development, Indian mascots, and sacred sites. This activist spirit took a strong hold on Indian people during the 1960s-70s. We are fortunate to still have living activists who were around during those times. One such activist, Beau Little Sky (Oglala Lakota), has recently begun his journey to the spirit world. Beau was recognized as a member of the Tokala society; a traditional warrior society charged with sacrificing themselves for the women and children. The Tokalas as traditional protectors were ready allies of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in forever changing Indian history. Though the activism of the AIM days was armed, riskier and more dramatic, the activism of today is no less groundbreaking in terms of shaping our future. We should take their positive contributions and move on.
Over the years activism has been given new meaning as Indigenous people evolve inside and outside “the system”. Most of our activists are actually peace loving parents wanting what is best for their kids. Activism is those same parents presenting to their kids’ local non-Indian school about the benefits of diversity; activism is a local school board deciding Columbus Day will not be celebrated anymore and in fact deciding that a native language will be taught. I say this because sometimes activists are wrongly labeled as peddlers of their own victimhood.
Our activists need no longer be pushed to the edges of what is accepted behavior for Indians in America. We should embrace our activists, be proud of our activists, showcase them at conferences, etc.; because, in order for all the “Real Indians” to thrive, we all must become the activists. I do not mean yesterday’s activists, those labeled as longhairs beating the drum of victimhood. The activists of today are not continually perpetuating or exploiting their perceived victimhood. Rather, today’s activists have actually transcended the conquering wave of institutions directed at displacing their identity and erasing them from the face of this earth, forever. Today’s activists are anything but perpetuators of victimhood. Today’s activists are trying to meet the new world on their own terms. We are the teachers, coaches, school board members, council members, doctors, lawyers, language advocates, speakers, sundancers, singers, athletes, musicians, artists, writers, etc., W
ho say by their actions that it is good to be Indigenous. We do not have to give up our language, ceremonies, and other ways to succeed today; we can succeed with these essentials as our foundation. Today’s activists are, in fact, the victors we rely on to help our people grow. Thus, as I say toksaake (see you again) to my relative Beau and end with a quote from another activist, Steve Jobs:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things… They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who DO.”
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The United States is a country founded on the notion that all people are created equal. So it is reasonable to say that all Americans should be free from the any sort of discrimination. But have you ever been discriminated against? From the time we were little kids to the time we join the category of "Senior Citizens" we encounter instances of discrimination. Were you ever that kid that was picked last for kickball? It could have been because your so called "friends" thought you were too scrawny looking and wouldn't help out the team. Or if you're a female, say you've worked at a company for years and put in numerous hours of overtime. After you return from maternity leave, you tell your employer that you will not be able to put in as many hours of overtime. You then get demoted and you get less pay, while male coworkers in similar positions are allowed to cut back their overtime hours for personal reasons without any changes to their positions or pay. This is unlawful, but whose job is it to prevent discrimination anyway?
Workplace is not the only place where people face discrimination. It is also unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of sexual orientation. But because of social and cultural biases, those people directly affected by discrimination based on their sexual orientation are reluctant to report discriminatory behavior directed at them. They may find little to no support for their claims. And many are afraid that complaining might just lead to further discrimination such as loss of promotions in their jobs or even verbal abuse from co-workers. Grow-up people, no one deserves this. Are you on-board to prevent discrimination? You would be if you were the one being discriminated against.
Luckily, our Nation is taking baby steps towards equality. We've elected an African-American President and some states have bolstered up their individual laws against discrimination. And it will be a historic day for many when we can finally agree on making it a law that will enable same-sex couples to enter into contractual relationships with the same the benefits offered to married couples. Hopefully this comes about sooner rather than later. Those working to prevent discrimination all agree that we need to transform our world from one of exclusion to one of complete inclusion. Every one is the same. Not just in the United States, but throughout the world.
To fight injustice against humanity and lend your hand to prevent discrimination, join the Westmont Impact Movement.
Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Prevent-Discrimination--We-Are-All-One/243852
With the rare exception of a special report produced by educational television channels and shown sandwiched between reruns late at night, we seldom see the faces of America's enormous homeless population. They live their street lives in decaying downtowns and slum districts, hidden from our daily commute between work and the suburbs.
I live in the Los Angeles County section of Southern California. Within my one county are more than 90,000 people who have nowhere to call home. Like most of my neighbors, I never use public transportation or visit the poorer areas. Unless I make a special effort, I never see the thousands on the sidewalks.
It is only when disaster strikes a poor area that the country sees the face of poverty. After Andrew in southern Florida and Katrina on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi, the omnipresent television cameras caught a glimpse of what it is like to be poor in America. We saw the faces of the forgotten lined up in the Superdome and had to admit that the national dream of success and a comfortable lifestyle does not extend to everyone.
There are those who believe that the poor bring on their own misery. That anyone with any motivation would be able to work themselves out of the mess. Certainly there are thousands of homeless who have drifted away from the larger society because of drugs or mental illness, the have-nots who fail to qualify for the treatment and rehabilitation programs established for the more fortunate.
Many thousand more are simply victims of domestic violence, illness, structural unemployment, or a series of events that devastated their former working or middle class lives. Many thousands are simply the working poor. Lacking skills and contacts, they trudge daily to minimum wage, low level positions: motel maid, security guard, custodian, waitress, or day labor. The minimum wage is a social farce for a single individual, never mind someone with children or family to support.
Can Congress or the Administration explain how someone clearing less than $200 per week can feed and clothe themselves and their family and yet set aside enough money for even the cheapest apartment? Can the finest financial minds in the country calculate how to pay first and last month rent and a security deposit when there are only pennies left at the end of the week?
Yet President Bush moved to suspend the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act for the rebuilding of New Orleans. Is it his theory that the poor don't deserve the protection of prevailing wages so he can use that money to protect them from terrorism?
The poor and the homeless don't even think about a bomber at an airport or what's happening in the Middle East. They have more pressing concerns such as where is their next meal coming from, how can they educate their children, and where would be the safest place to spend the night.
And the oil companies, with their already obscene profits, get a tax break.
Where are we heading, folks?
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Article Source: http://www.articlesphere.com/Article/Poor-and-Homeless-in-America/192868