In the News -
Poverty, Dreamers, Gun Violence
"Our Unity Must be Forged
in the Fires of
Aaron Scoggins, BLM
The new year of 2018 can be disheartening with daily breaking news on an increasing number of issues: no clean DACA and yet a proposed border wall:, increased defense spending, tax cuts for the rich and projected social service cuts; racism and runaway economic inequality,continued gun violence; deteriorating infrastructure; gerrymandering,voter suppression and a undemocratic census; climate denial; disaster assistance and the list of issues goes on and on. Each issue questions the country's and our own personal values and moral integrity. How will we find ourselves, voice our values and turn this around?
There are signs of hope. Indivisible and women's march groups along with other resistance groups continue to flourish. People who have never been involved before are speaking out and stepping up. You have written letters, made posters and phone calls to make your concerns known on a variety of issues including children's healthcare, social security and tax reform. You speak out for the victims in Puerto Rico, Syria, Yemen and Palestine. Poor people need you. Dreamers need you. Workers need you. Victims of violence, war and disasters need you. Democracy needs you and MCHR needs you to stand up and fight for a better world, a world of compassion and respect. MCHR wants to encourage you to keep up the activism and join us along with other groups when you can.
Another hopeful sign is how groups and social justice movements are collaborating together to address the complex issues we face. We recognize that numbers matter, whether it is phone calls to stop a bad bill or feet on the street to support those in need. So unions join with church groups, environmental groups join with social service groups, young people join with seniors. The Poor People's Campaign and the Women's March are both examples of how, when groups come together, great things can happen. MCHR's board itself represents a diverse coalition of individuals and groups who focus on a variety of human rights issues. You can read of some of the things they are involved in as they offer their reflections below on matters that they are passionate about.
What are you passionate about? How will you act on that passion? Who can you join with in that work?
"Small acts when multiplied by millions of people can transform the world." Howard Zinn
Good News on our 2018 Annual Dinner
Since you are reading this artice,
you have probably contributed to the success of our Annual Dinners in the past. We are so grateful!
We are also so pleased tp announce that our 2018 annual dinner will be Sunday, March 18th at Marygrove College.
OUR SPEAKER WILL BE:
An Indian American attorney, author, and activist from
Los Angeles, California. She is an advocate for restaurant and low wage workers including immigrants and the undocumented.
Saru is a graduate of Yale Law School and the Harvard
Kennedy School of Government.
The Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC United) and Director of the Food Labor Research Center at University of California, Berkeley.
She was listed in CNN's "Top10 Visionary Women" and recognized as a Champion of Change by the White House in 2014, and a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2015.
She has written:
"Behind Kitchen Doors" 2013 and
"Forked: A New Standard for American Dining" 2016
Saru and ROC are promoting the One Fair Wage campaign here in MI and across the country. Mark your calendar. You won't want to miss her.
The Fight for the DREAM Act in Michigan
by Adonis Flores, MCHR Board Member
Regardless of how or why people have come to America, we each share some common ideals and values; freedom, equality, opportunity and justice. America does not always live up to these ideals and values - and Trump's recent decisions to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for many immigrant communities are some of the most recent examples- but we must persist.
At MCHR, we support the efforts of allied organizations and coalitions calling on members of Congress to pass a clean DREAM Act and a bill for TPS recipients that will allow young Americans the opportunity to continue the lives they have built in this country. We must not compromise our dreams. We cannot be a country that holds these young lives hostage to the demands of the white supremacist faction in the country. We will not bow down to Trump's deportation machinery. We believe families should stay together. It is immoral to force young Americans to choose between citizenship and deportation of their parents. America must be better than that.
A small vocal racist minority should not be allowed to overtake any party. Passing a clean DREAM Act should not be a partisan issue. Rather, it's a question of morality and doing what's right. So, to those elected officials who don't want to do the right thing, we say "good luck in 2018." Any politician who has the gall to stare down these young people, who personify all that is good about America, and tell them to leave better watch out. We will make sure that Latinx and millennials turn out in droves to vote out politicians who don't stand with DACA youth.
The elections of 2016 are a warning sign to politicians considering to adopt Trump's, hateful, racist and divisive agenda. Good spirited Americans all across the country voted to replace transphobic politicians with transgender representatives; to replace islamophobic politicians with Muslim and Sikh leaders; to replaced racist politicians with people of color and most importantly voters sent a clear message to politicians that they are tired of the hateful, racist and divisive politics of Trump.
Voters want to unite as a nation across race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. Americans are so thirsty for a moment of unity, so tired of partisan grandstanding and DREAMers are such a fundamentally American story - that whoever gets there first on a bold and generous solution will reap the political benefits. That's what the American people want: 76% want Dreamers to remain either as citizens or permanent legal residents, including two-thirds of self-identified Trump voters. At a time when so many issues divide Americans down the middle - the DREAM Act unifies all but the most radical racist fringes of America.
We cannot forget about why we are standing so strongly behind the DREAM Act. This bill will protect the hopes and dreams of nearly 800,000 young Americans, allowing us to dream big and embrace the future in a country we call home. The DREAM Act is the first, but definitely not the last, step in our effort to ensure that our immigration policies protect TPS recipients fleeing wars and natural disasters, keep families together and provide 11 million immigrants in this country with the opportunity to live up to the ideals and values of what it means to be an American. All our families deserve that chance.
Reversing Runaway Inequality
by Jerry King MCHR Board Member and Marge Sears, MCHR staff
We live in an era of runaway inequality. In 1970 the gap between CEO pay and the average worker was about 45 to 1. That's a hefty gap. It means that if you could afford one house and one car, a top CEO could afford 45 homes and 45 cars. Today, the gap is an unfathomable 844 to 1 and rising. 844 houses to your one!
That money gushing to the top is the direct result of 40 years of neoliberalism, a philosophy that captured both political parties. It calls for:
Tax cuts (especially for the wealthy);
Government deregulation (especially for Wall Street);
Cuts in social spending (especially for programs and infrastructure that benefit the rest of us.); and
Free trade (which gives corporations the tools to destroy unions and hold down worker wages.)
Supposedly, this plan would create a massive profit and investment boom, job creation and rising incomes for all. Of course, it failed miserably for the vast majority of us, while succeeding beyond belief for the super rich.
Based on a book by Les Leopold, trainings have been deve
loped to train people to spread the word about how runaway inequality is linking all of us together.
These workshops are designed to inform of the following:
Runaway inequality will not cure itself. There is no hidden mechanism in the economy that will right the ship. Financial and corporate elites are gaining more and more at our expense.
The financial strip-mining of our economy impacts all of us and all of our issues - from climate change, to mass incarceration, to job loss, to declining incomes, to labor rights, to student loans.
It will take an organized mass movement to take back our country from the hard right. That means no matter what our individual identity (labor u
nionist, environmentalist, racial justice activist, feminist, etc.), we also need to take on the identity of movement builder. We all must come together or we all lose.
We can start the building process right now by sharing educational information with our friends, colleagues and neighbors.
Calling All Activists!
MCHR WILL COSPONSOR WITH SE JOBS FOR JUSTICE:
REVERSING RUNAWAY INEQUALITY TRAINING
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 10TH, 9-3 PM
at Metro Detroit A Philip Randolph Institute 1770 E. Seven Mile Rd
Limited number of spots Lunch and book included
Register by calling MCHR 313 579 9071
Let Us Stop This Madness / Put Down Your Weapon
by José Cuello, Ph.D., MCHR Board Vice President
Anthropologists call war a human universal. So is love. When we were hunters and gatherers, we had a universal religion based on the sacredness of all life, of all existence. We respected Nature's power to give life and take it. We lived and worked collectively because we had to survive. We live by the Principle of Reciprocity. The taking of a life required a corresponding sacrifice, especially in the form of a prayer of gratitude. We lived by a government of, by and for the People and the Earth. Then we discovered agriculture and the 1% invented civilization to herd the rest of us into cities where we have worked for them ever since. The 1% created war and mass violence. Not just war against "The Other"; but internal war among ourselves and against our very selves. Life lost its sanctity. The Principle of Reciprocity has been corrupted into the Principle of Individual Greed that creates isolated loneliness that produces murder and suicide. We, like our cities, take all life from Nature and give nothing back but our poisonous wastes. Yet within our souls, love continues to flicker as the saving remnant of a humanity that is out ultimate redemption. If we are to grow the flickering flame into a fire, we must stop the madness and let the Earth swallow our weapons. Here are two poems that carry the message.
Let Us Stop This Madness
by Trinidad Sánchez
The bullets from the guns
that massacred the invalids
in San Miguel, El Salvador,
the bullets from the guns
that killed the poet
in Johannesburg, South Afrika,
the bullets from the guns
that kill the actors on TV,
for no other reason
than our own enjoyment,
are the same bullets
from the same guns
that kill the children
in Detroit, Michigan.
The bullets from the guns
that killed Martin Luther King, Jr.,
that killed Mahatma Gandhi,
that killed Oscar Romero,
are the same bullets
from the same guns
that kill the children
in Detroit, Michigan.
When will it stop?
When will we learn
to listen to the artists
teaching the children
songs of life?
Let the children
grow into man/womanhood.
Let us stop weeping
for the invalids in San Miguel,
for the poet in Johannesburg,
for the children in Detroit.
Let us take a stand,
let us stop the bullets
from the guns
that kill our children.
Let us stop teaching
that the bullets from the guns
are the only way
to deal with life.
Let us destroy the factories
that make the guns
that shoot the bullets
that kill our children.
Let us take a stand
to share life,
to break bread
with each other.
Let us stop this madness...
Put Down Your Weapon
by José Cuello
Put down your weapon
Put aside your anger
Disarm your hate
Deflate your ego
Re-pent your sins
It's never too late
Release your soul
from the prison
Free your mind
from the terror
Unbind your heart
from the jealousies
Let yourself feel
the barbed pain
of your loneliness
the ache of separation
from our shared holiness
Feel the violence
on the beauty of the land
The blood we've spilled
killing each other atop
God's master plan
Put down your weapon.
A New Poor People's Campaign
Fifty years ago in March 1968, M L King joined with leaders of 50 multiracial organizations, a meeting where the leaders of different sections of the poor and dispossessed come together on the basis of their common needs and demands.. The campaign climaxed in a Solidarity Day Rally for Jobs, Peace and Freedom. Some 53,000 people participated on June 19, 1968.
Rev William Barber of Moral Mondays will lead a new Poor People's Campaign that will pick up where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. left off 50 years ago when he turned his focus to uniting poor people across lines of race and geography and pushing their priorities onto the federal agenda. The campaign will kick off on Mother's Day. Organizers are already expecting tens of thousands of poor and disenfranchised people, clergy, and other leaders to risk arrest in local actions that will feed into a major demonstration at the US Capitol on June 23.
In the meantime, here in Detroit, educational sessions are being held to
to build a broad and deep national moral fusion movement - rooted in the leadership of the poor, marginalized and moral agents and reflecting the great moral teachings - to unite our country from the bottom up. These sessions take place in the lower level of the Charles Wright Museum of African American History on Sundays from 2 pm-4 pm. Free and open to the public. Come join the movement!
Financial education for an Arabic-speaking audience
(برامج التعليم المالي باللغة العربية)
With an influx of Arabic-speaking refugees being relocated to Michigan, MSU Extension is providing free financial education in Arabic.
by Khurram Imam, Michigan State University Extension, MCHR board member
As pockets of Syrian refugees trickle in, relocating to dilapidated areas in Pontiac, Flint and Detroit, the process of resettlement begins. Fortunately, there is support to build a sustainable life in this new homeland. One particular organization, the Syrian American Rescue Network (SARN), located in Dearborn, Michigan provides English classes, resume workshops, job trainings and other simple life skills easily accessible for native speakers. However, one area that still needs urgent attention is financial education as the American system of credit, banking and insurance. Lack of education exposes new arrivals to scams, fraud and instability. In this effort, financial empowerment is integral to alleviate chronic poverty.
Currently, the highest number of refugees in the world are of Syrian nationality, according to the UN Refugee Agency. In 2016, the White House raised the cap to 110,000 accepted refugees per year effective Oct. 1., as stated in a USA Today article written by Alan Gomez. In response to this situation, University of Minnesota Extension (UM), Who is Hussain-Michigan (WIH), Syrian American Rescue Network (SARN) and Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) partnered to translate the basics of a financial education curriculum into Arabic- the main languages of the Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni, Lebanese, and Middle Eastern populations.
In initial community meetings, the discussion revolved around developing manuals for instructors and students. WIH's volunteer base worked solely on translation, while SARN conducted the final review and edit. The team translated an easy-to-teach curriculum covering money decisions, goal-setting, budgeting, understanding taxes, basics of paychecks and saving, credit, insurance and fraud-summaries of which can be found on MSUE's Financial and Homeownership Education webpage. The entire process took nearly five months to complete.
Published in early 2017, the five-module manual encompasses:
SMART goals Decisions about money Budgeting Income, reading paychecks and understanding taxes
Savings Credit reports and FICO scores, credit cards, debit cards and types of loans
Insurance, consumer fraud and identity theft.
COMING UP! Please Join Us!
MCHR Detroit Repertory Theater Outing
Sunday, January 28th, 1 pm reception, 2 pm play
Tickets $20 can be reserved by calling 313 579-9071
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