Categories
Civil Rights Education Education Reform Equity and Justice Politics

MLK Day Energy

MLK Day Reflection 

Today is MLK day. You are going to see tons of messages and post-humanist depictions of MLK, his words, and his speeches. But tomorrow, Tuesday the day after his birthday is celebrated, 99% of this MLK Day Energy will be lost.

My question is, and it’s an important one, how can we sustain and maintain this MLK Day Energy 365/24/7?

My Anxiety.

Usually, I am anxious when reading pieces about white self-reflection and introspection. Call me a skeptic, but sometimes I feel some white people have an inability to accept their guilt and acknowledge their privilege. So when I first contemplated reading this piece, Going Beyond MLK’s ‘Dream’ and Getting Uncomfortable in the Classroom, by Zachery Wright in ed post, I was very apprehensive. But after reading his article, I had a takeaway that I wanted to share.

Moving beyond "Allyship".
MLK on Education.

Hell, I still have anxiety typing the words white people because of traumatic experiences I have either witnessed or encountered.


8 Black Hands Podcast.

Yesterday the crew and I @8BlackHands1 did a live podcast in New Orleans with the National Parents Union. The crew and I talked candidly during the show about people stepping up to the plate to aid and assist us in the education reform movement. It is no longer acceptable for folks to like a tweet here, send an encouraging DM there, etc. 

Moreover, the fellas and I talked about Allies, co-conspirators, and white people making calculated efforts to lead this movement. Consequently, we posed a question on twitter that got some interesting responses. Lastly, the question that was asked was what is the next step in advocacy beyond being an ally and a co-conspirator?

The tweet turned into an engaging conversation in which people shared their thoughts about the next phase of support.  

Moving Past Being Allies, & Co-Conspirators.

Based on the responses, we narrowed it down to the following:

1) Lead Dismantler 

2) Defector

3) Unappologeticist 

4) Preservationist 

5) Disruptor 

Survey.

We will put a survey up on the @8Blackhands1 twitter account and run it for 1-Day. Thank you for all that suggested this new way of activating agency. Because together we are unstoppable and living the Dream set forth by Dr. King. The importance of living in this reality is our ability to match this MLK Day Energy every day and not just that one Monday in January.

Categories
Civil Rights Education Equity and Justice Parenting Politics School Choice

Parents Need to Unionize

Parents Need A Union.

First and foremost, when it comes down to schools, I’m a firm believer that parents need to unionize. Unions protect the best interest of their members. Secondly, In many of these schools, teachers and administrators have an association. Additionally, the only stakeholder that left unprotected is the families that send their kids to these schools blindly every day.

Blind Trust.

Hence, I remember my schooling as if it was yesterday. Often I felt bullied by teachers. Grades and grading policies were subjective, and family history could get you the benefit of the doubt. Because, for example, if you had a sibling perceived as a “good kid” of if teachers thought you came from a “good family,” they were more willing to work with you. But what about the students and families that don’t fit neatly in a box, whose looking out for their best interests? You got it, no one. All the more reason parents need to unionize.

How would a parent union look?

For that reason, Kerry Rodriguez of Massachusetts and Alma Vivian Marquez of California are the co-founders of the movement. This particular group builds agency within the parent ranks, in hopes to train parents to better advocate for their children.

Information on NPU.

Moreover, where can you find more information about joining the National Parents Union movement? It’s funny, you should ask. It seems like Google is suppressing searches for this parent group. The teacher’s unions are actively campaigning against this parent group. Even in its infancy stages, the mere thought of parents organizing on behalf of their children is terrible. Advocation for children is “theater of the absurd” material for some people.

The Funny Thing About Funding.

Often times when people encounter a message they don’t like in public advocacy, they start attacking the funders of the word. I don’t know who funds NPU. I don’t care. Here’s why: If these women were smart enough to come up with an idea, and get people to follow it, and corporations to donate to it, they’ve activated their agency. For that reason, to steal a phrase coined by my pod mate Dr. Charles Cole, “They’re Agentic AF.” Based on America’s treatment of Black and Brown students in schools, Parents need to unionize. I said what I said!

Categories
Civil Rights Equity and Justice Politics

Coach Smith!

Some call him Coach, I call him A. I’m referring to Coach Aden Smith, Sr., whose team just celebrated winning the Long Island County Championship in a 49-7 victory against Nassau County Powerhouse Seaford. Coach Smith’s Shoreham Wading River Wildcats was the Suffolk County Representative in the championship game after defeating rival Mt. Sinai.

Coach Smith’s Energy.

If you know Aden, you know he’s a very intense guy. Not highly recruited out of High School, he decided to play his college football at the University of Stony Brook. My first encounter with Coach Smith was interesting. I was talking with one of his teammates. He was a defensive back. I told him if I played WR, they’d take his scholarship. Aden immediately came to his defense. I liked Smith’s approach and immediately took him under my wing as my protege.

Split Second Decision Making by Coach Smith.

Circa 2019. This season started badly for my friend, the head ball coach. Smith and his SWR team were involved in an early-season scrimmage vs. Babylon. Against Smith’s better judgment, and without proper officials in place to referee the game, Smith and his team played the game. The game got “chippy,” and the students ended up in a physical altercation. Smith, acting in the best interest and safety of his players, intervened and stopped a student from the opposing team from sucker punching one of his students.

Media Hypocrisy.

The media crucified Coach Smith for his actions. It was a relentless assault on his character and his decision making. As my good friend was experiencing this situation, I checked on him frequently. He was always in good spirits, and he would always end our check-ins with his patented phrase, “One day at a time.”

The superintendent of SWR faced a challenge. On the one hand, you have the media putting pressure on the guy to terminate the coach. On the other hand, Smith’s team stepped up, the parents of the players stepped up, and said without Smith’s actions that day, someone could have gotten badly hurt. With this testimony, the SWR superintendent made the right call in Bringing Coach Smith back to the sidelines.

Long live the Ques! ΩΨΦ

Today as I write this blog post, I’m incredibly proud of my fraternity brother (ΩΨΦ) Coach Aden Smith, Sr. Guy, you persevered and pushed through the adversity and brought home a championship. Your legacy cemented forever. I’m proud of you, brother, God Bless!

Categories
Politics twu local 570 unions

Suspended Again!

Good Day Brothers and Sisters of the TWU Local 570 (LGA), I have been suspended again from being a TWU local shop steward.

These last 24 hrs have been a whirlwind filled with different emotions.

On Wednesday, one of our co-workers got terminated before an investigation. This unnamed co-worker alerted the union and followed all of the protocols set in place to have the TWU local 570 protect his job.

Fleet Service Clerk Terminated Without Due Process.

When I found out that our co-worker received discipline without cause, I was upset. How many of our co-workers are we going to lose before our union steps up and does what they’re supposed to do {protect the worker.} I spoke with a TWU local 570 Board Member, and he stated, “Raymond, H.R. is conducting all workplace investigations.” In other words, all decisions to terminate employees are H.R. decisions. That power is being taken away from the management team at LGA.

Question Everything.

I didn’t question the motives of this board member; I took him at his word. After all, he represents the TWU local 570 and has been a board member for years.

Back to the terminated employee, the employee was contacted on Thursday and told that his termination got rescinded. The company had to do an investigation now.

Mind you, when this employee got terminated, the letter clearly stated that an investigation had taken place. And as a result of said investigation, the employee would be terminated.

An Investigation Comes before the Termination.

The reason the employee got interviewed for the investigation was not that the union fought for him to get due process. It happened because the employee reached out to the higher-ups in the company, and they knew procedurally there was a slip-up.

The employee reached out to me and asked that I attend his interview. I cleared my schedule and drove two hours to ensure the employee’s rights were protected. The meeting began with a half-hearted admittance that the employee should not have gotten terminated before an investigation.

Suspended Again.

But let’s go back a couple of hours. I sent an email to the higher-ups letting them know my concerns about how I feel LGA is getting run into the ground. The meeting went as expected, and the investigation will eventually run its course.

Later that night, I received an email from the current union president, Dan Rivera. The email said that I was suspended again because I broke protocol and went to the higher-ups about our current work conditions.

I let Mr. Rivera know that he can keep his shop steward position because I have higher aspirations. This guy does not deserve re-election as president. I am his replacement.

I say all of this to address the many concerns you express about the TWU local 570. Those concerns are not without merit. If we want to change the TWU local 570, we have to be more active in the process, and we have to attend meetings and vote.

A new podcast episode will be available in the next couple of days!

Categories
Politics

Politricks as Usual

Politricks as Usual.

We live in a partisan political climate, and because of this, our country is in disarray. The majority of votes that come out of Washington are usually down party lines. Party line votes, in my opinion, ruin democracy as we know it. Especially when elected officials claim that they carry out the will of the people, yet vote against the will of the people that put them in office. Our current political system is failing right before our eyes.  This is politricks as usual.

The Black Vote.

The Black Vote is single-handedly the most critical vote in America right now. If you noticed, most candidates vying for the Democratic nomination have a black agenda. This agenda is meant to speak to the very needs of Black folks. It is a huge step forward for several reasons. 1) We can no longer assume that Black Americans will automatically vote Democratic. Black people are finally starting to realize there is more than one way to play the game. 2) The second– if inspired Blacks can fire up any base that they support.

The Current Democratic Class.

The current Democratic class stands as a whose-who in politics. While you have some candidates that stand out in polling, very few have ideas centered around improving schools. Senator Harris has stated her first order of business would be to pay teachers more. I agree teachers should receive fair compensation, but writing a blank check to teachers will not improve the educational outcomes for the nation’s underserved communities.

Senator Sanders has decided to use an NAACP moratorium on charter schools as his campaign platform. It is so out of touch with what Black folks want; it is hard to even talk about it. The bottom line is that there aren’t any transformational ideas that are coming out of the Democratic Party when it comes to education.  More politricks as usual.

Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have almost banked their nominations on busing, and the opportunities integration brings to black folks.  Although these policies may have benefited both, they have proven that they are both out of touch with what black folks want.  Both polling between 1-3% amongst black voters, it’s going to take something outside the box to energize the black vote.

Our President; King Trump.

 

Our president may be the most racist person on the planet. Trump frequently ostracizes women of color. He stated four congresswomen should return to their country of origin. Mind you, 3/4 of the congresswomen were born in the United States. True to form, along party lines, Democrats were outraged. Meanwhile, only a few Republicans Senators spoke against the racist words of the president.

Trump Makes It Hard.

As a Republican of the (John McCain/Colin Powell likeness) Trump makes it hard to defend the party and its actions. If he would just shut the hell up, and do his job, some things are happening that could get him re-elected.

For example, the economy that he inherited was at the right place, but now we are seeing record numbers on the Dow and S&P, unlike growth that we have seen in recent years. China (as far as trade) knows we mean business, and Trump’s targeted attempt to use tariffs have worked to renegotiate some lousy trade deals.

Tax Break Made Me Lose Faith.

On the other hand, the Paul Ryan tax bill was a travesty to the American worker. Shortly after receiving tax breaks, many of these companies took those funds and downsized. Also, Trump and his racist rhetoric are bad for America. Trump’s “Make America White Again,” crusade has got to stop, and the American people have to stand firm and to alleviate president Trump of his duties.  More politics as usual.

No one is against the Democratic Party as much I am. The idea of Socialism makes me cringe. I’ll be carrying a heftier tax bill than I’m comfortable with taking.

It should also be noted, that since Trump started his divisive rhetoric, he has risen five points in the Republican polls.

Moving the Country Forward.

But as much as it pains me to Vote Dem, I can’t with a good conscience vote for President Trump. We need someone to come in and unify our country. Trump has sowed some much discord amongst folks; we genuinely need a candidate that isn’t Trump. I hope more Republicans speak out about Trump and his tyranny.

Categories
Civil Rights Equity and Justice police brutality Politics

Black Lives Mean Nothing to Y’all

Black Lives Mean Nothing to Y’all.

Black Lives mean nothing to white people and I’m sick of it. A teenager in Broward County gets wrecked by police officers, all because he picked up a phone. Some will say it’s probably a back story on the situation, and we shouldn’t rush to judge.

We can sit up and make excuses for the why? At this point my feelings are, the “why” has been discussed ad nauseam.

How much more discussion needs to take place before we can readily admit that some police officers are ill-equipped to police Black and Latinx communities?

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Race as a Pretext.

It seems as if its a back story on every single issue that highlights race in the United States. The truth is Black lives have never mattered much in our country. As you walk yourselves through the progressive history of our country, minorities have always faced extermination in the sense that their lives haven’t mattered to white folks.

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Change.

Change starts with a conversation. But when communications are exhausted what’s the next step. If the next step is more conversations that’s fine, make sure you are having these conversations with your kids because these types of talks could be a matter of life and death.