No ‘Thanks, ‘till you’re better paid’

My mother, Nola Mae Canteberry, was a dear woman. She was hard of hearing, but she was full of charming sayings, which were always just right for every occasion.

“Thanks, ‘till you’re better paid.” she’d respond to a special kindness. The kind person would always smile. “Thanks, ‘till you’re better paid.”

The hint that the reward might even be better than the payment. Sometimes, that’s all we have to hope for, and it’s rarely negotiable.

But it shouldn’t be like that in the workplace. If you’re being underpaid, you’re being ripped-off…and unfortunately, most of us are.

Face it. “Living Wage,” “Living Stage,” it doesn’t matter: if you are being paid less than $12.87 per hour, you are being way, way, underpaid, and that is in “Y2K Dollars.” This year is Y2K-7. Continue reading

Free The Cuban 5! Why?

Free “The Cuban Five!”

Why?

Because they are innocent!

I for one, plan to join in solidarity Sept. 12-Oct. 8, 2007, for “International Days of Solidarity with the Cuban 5.”

Los Hermanos—The Brothers. The five men—Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Rene Gonzalez, and Fernando Gonzalez—were convicted in a “kangaroo court” trial in Miami in June 2001, accused of being part of a spy ring called the Wasp Network, which infiltrated Brothers to the Rescue and other militant anti-Cuban exile groups.

The “Five Heroes,” as they are called in Cuba, were not even spying against the United States government (which has committed open war crimes and attempted assassinations of Cuban President Fidel Castro by the way, a good reason for any country to want to “keep an eye” on what’s going on here), they were merely trying to uncover right-wing anti-Cuban terrorists based in the U.S., anti-Cuban terrorist groups with the blood of both Cubans and innocent U.S. citizens on their hands.

That’s why they are in jail, with more time than a man with 700 top-secret U.S. government military documents when caught. There’s snooping, and there’s spying. Continue reading

Pardon Marcus Garvey! Leave John Conyers Alone!

I reserve a healthy amount of respect for Cindy Sheehan and members of Code Pink, women against the war. But I think they went a little bit over the top when they staged a sit-in at the offices of Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee.

They and many anti-war activists are angry the Chairman Conyers has gone along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and taken impeachment of Pres. George W. (For worst in history) Bush officially “off the table.”

With 17 months and four days until Jan. 20, 2009, when I will be able to finally exhale, I am counting the days until the next President is inaugurated, whoever that might be. In the meantime I don’t put the possibility of martial law and a suspension of the entire Constitution and a postponement of the 2008 election, off the table. I don’t put any dirty trick past these scoundrels now in office. Continue reading

Freedom Now! For Imam Jamil Al-Amin

I see nothing wrong with the unreconstructed goals I embraced in the 1960s. I pray to see the day when the descendants of slaves in America are truly free, justified and equal. I salute those who’ve gone before, paving a way for others to follow. I salute those who fell in our struggle, from David Walker and Denmark Vessey, to George Jackson. I embrace their struggle as my own, without qualification.

As the calls go out in this country over the criminal injustice-system mistreatment of the Jena 6, Troy Davis, Genarlow Wilson, and Mumia Abu Jamal, I raise my voice in solidarity. I say all that to say, I enthusiastically embrace the declaration of innocence by Imam Jamil Al Amin, a wrongly persecuted man, and I plead for justice, a fair trial, a new trial for this innocent man.

With all that said, the sad reality is that Imam Al Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, former leader of the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, is at this very moment on 23 ½ hour lockdown in the Super-Max, maximum security underground prison in remote Colorado, where the “Una-bomber,” and all of this country’s most notorious convicts are locked up.

Another militant Black Muslim, former Civil Rights leader in jail. Why is that not surprising? Convicted of killing a police officer, almost as if the scenario had been scripted somewhere or another. Continue reading

Michael Vick, Barry Bonds & Cal Ripken Jr.

Astronauts getting high in space. An NBA referee betting on games he officiated. Who knew? It’s said that sports are a metaphor for life.

I can truthfully say with an open heart: There is nothing that I know about Cal Ripken Jr. that I don’t like. Which is not to say that there isn’t anything about him I don’t like. Only to say, there is nothing that I do know about Junior that I don’t like.

I don’t dislike his team’s name. In fact, there is an oft-recorded Jazz song called “Baltimore Oriole,” and I am very fond of that really “hep” song. I learned about the Tangipahoa River listening to that song, a river where many true believers were baptized, a river that even figures into America’s Slave Narratives.

I liked his father and namesake, who doubtless worked with my John Muir Junior High schoolmate Paul Blair from Los Angeles. Paul’s name is not in Cooperstown, but he is a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame.

I liked that when he officially became baseball’s “Iron Man,” shattering the decades-old consecutive games record, the first person Junior saluted was Eddie Murray, a Black player, his role model when he joined the team. His critics say that he was honored just for coming to work every day…every day for 19 years! He is my ideal of an epic American sports hero, definitely not Black, but not White either. A lucky guy with some great baseball genes, who lived every day for the game and its Glory. It’s still 90 feet from home plate to first base. Continue reading