Posts Tagged ‘People of Color’

Video of The People’s Cup

July 13, 2014

My Reflection on 12 years as a Slave

February 26, 2014

I went to see the film, 12 years as a Slave, couple weeks ago with a group of friends and like everyone in the theater I had a difficult time seeing the film without being emotionally shaken. I shed a few tears even though most of my tears filled my heart with a tremendous pain.

As I watched the film I started thinking about the ways this country has not change since the days of Slavery. We may not call it slavery but we continue to live in an Institutional Slavery society where one can argue that our current economic “free market” model is an example where America has not change its evil ways. Our current capitalist model allows certain people to become “masters” over others. Corporations are the new Masters. The 1% are the new Masters. The 99% are the new slaves.

Just like the Masters cling to their religion to dehumanize the slaves, the new Masters are the Religious Right who hold on to conservative views to portray themselves as good Christians or Catholics, while ignoring the social teachings of Jesus who stress compassion for all and recognizing the humanity and dignity of every human being.

There is an African proverb that says: Poverty is Slavery. Given this proverb, our society has treated the poorest of the poor and the working class as the 21st century slaves. In America, both Democrats and Republicans have not done enough to help the poorest of the poor and the working class. It is a moral tragedy that the richest country in the world has millions of people living in poverty and on the streets. Politicians who cater to the corporations and the 1% and don’t pass laws that assist the poorest of the poor to get out of poverty is like the slave master who didn’t want slaves to be educated. Republicans in the eyes of many Americans are clearly seen as today’s slave masters. Not only are the majority of Republicans White but those Republicans who come from the South may easily have relatives who were slave owners.

Another clear example of modern day slavery is America’s Prison Industrial Complex which has many similarities between inmates and slaves. Not only are the majority of people incarcerated people of color but the presence of minorities in overcrowded prisons for nonviolent crimes allows businesses to use inmates and exploit them for free labor. These inmates have to work on slave like conditions. I could go into further detail to showcase the similarities between prisoners and slaves but after watching the movie it will be too painful.

America has to come to grasp with its past by addressing the social issues that are present today. Ignoring today’s social issues only validates yesterday’s cruel behavior.

Remembering Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2011
Today is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball. Today we remember Jackie breaking baseball’s color barrier line in 1947. All managers, coaches and players will be wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. As a Jackie Robinson fan, I am very happy that Major League Baseball retired his number in 1997 and for the past several years have honored Jackie Robinson on April 15th. I have always felt that Jackie Robinson is not only an iconic figure in the baseball world but should be remembered by all Americans. I think America needs to have a national holiday to remember the life of Jackie Robinson. A national holiday that will include a day of community service. Jackie Robinson would not have it any other way. Jackie was so humble that if he was alive today and seeing Major League Baseball using April 15th to honor him, Jackie would be the first one to say that he rather have Major League Baseball be dedicated to the needs of the community where there is a baseball team. He would still be addressing the issues of justice and equality in our society.

Number 42 to me is not only my favorite number but according to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, number 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.” If that is the case, I would go as far as to say that Jackie’s number 42 was a code for America to change its evil ways. No longer must White baseball players play the game of baseball by discriminating players for the color of their skin. No longer must people of color be forced to go to separate bathrooms, stay in different hotels, eat isolated from White people, and be forced to live under an American Apartheid.

Jackie not only demonstrated America’s need to change its inhumane rules by the way he played the game but more importantly, how he carried himself in the baseball diamond. In order for the “noble experiment” to work, Jackie was forced to take all the abuse from white racist fans and opposing players. Even his own teammates didn’t want to play next to him or even share the same clubhouse. But, Jackie knew that many of his teammates didn’t care about the color Black but about the color Green. Robinson knew that as long as the Dodgers won a pennant or the World Series, he was helping his teammates get a good paycheck. Jackie once said, “Money is America’s God.” And to this day, this quote echoes throughout the whole world.

What people don’t know about Jackie is that even before he broke baseball’s color barrier line in 1947, he was always dedicated to the values of justice and equality. Once when he was in the military, he refused to get up from his seat and sit in the back of the bus. Jackie Robinson was court martial for standing up for his rights. In the military he and Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Joe Louis, advocated for the equal rights of African-American Soldiers. While Rosa Parks played an instrumental role in the Civil Rights Movement, I like to say that it was Jackie Robinson on July 6, 1944 who was probably the first African American to refuse his seat while riding a bus.

After retiring from baseball, Jackie played a tremendous role in American politics. He continued to fight for the rights of African-Americans in all sectors. He criticized the New York Yankees for being a team that only hired white people. He protested companies who didn’t hired African-Americans. On August 2, 1963, he joined workers who were picketing the construction site of Downstate Medical Center for allegations that Blacks were being discriminated from the hiring process. Jackie Robinson became great friends with Martin Luther King, Jr. MLK once said, “Jackie Robinson was a legend and a symbol in his own time.”  In 1964, he co founded the Freedom National Bank, a commercial bank owned by African Americans and operated in Harlem, New York. Jackie was not only a co founder but he served as the bank’s first Chairman of the Board. Jackie also championed for the equal rights in the housing sector. His concern for the racial segregation in the housing sector and the conditions that African American families were living in, inspired Jackie Robinson to start The Jackie Robinson Construction Company in 1970 to construct housing for low income families. Jackie Robinson was one of America’s true pioneers during the Civil Rights Movement and people should not forget about that.

It is my tradition to go to Dodger Stadium on Jackie Robinson Day. Tonight I will proudly wear my Jackie Robinson jersey. I wear number 42 understanding that I continue Jackie’s legacy of fighting for justice and equality. I owe a tremendous gratitude to Jackie Robinson for the amazing human being that he was.

Jackie Robinson is not only my hero but a source of my inspiration. No human being should go through what Jackie Robinson went through. His courage and unbending spirit are like no other. Jackie Robinson lived his life with a purpose. He understood that our lives are to be used to make our world a better place. Jackie is quoted as saying, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.”

Enjoy this great video on Jackie Robinson

Here are various pics of me wearing #42 to pay tribute to Jackie,
whether I’m throwing out the first pitch at Dodger Stadium,
riding a camel in the Jasailmer desert in India, playing softball
or just watching a Dodger game on Jackie Robinson Day.