Sunday morning I got up and dressed in casual clothes as the commencement ceremony was taking place outside on Nickerson Field. BU usually gets a rainy day for this event, they are famous for their ponchos they give out, but today it was white hats with BU emblazoned on it to protect us from the sun.
A light breeze blew over the field which pushed clouds around sometimes having us in the shade, some times in the light, but right on time.
I was there for my good friend Ramya, I can’t believe four years have passed so quickly and I am proud of her achievements, but I must say I was equally curious about AG Eric Holder.
His speech was surprisingly light and informative for the top cop of the land, and I would suggest to the administration that they get him out there a little more giving speeches he was riviting!
He reminded these lucky graduates that with their ivy league education came the responsibility of using it wisely, and to not worry about the dark days we struggle with, without the dark you can’t see the stars or find the light.
You can sit back and curse the darkness or you can rise above these times and make them your own.
Also the class of 1970 whose commencement was cancelled due to the killing at Kent State were also honored with a ceremony finally after 40 years needless to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Add comment May 18, 2010 fayem1
The headline in today’s Metro paper is “Boston Youth have Problems with MBTA Police Department”. The issue they have is with the racially charged language that has been used towards them, and the lack of respect used by these police officers when dealing with them under casual circumstances.
This is one of many reasons, the major one being it violates the 4th Amendment, I am not supportive of the AZ immigration law. Leaving totally in the hands of the police to deicde in the blink of an eye guilt or innocence goes against everything this country was founded on.
This is why the 4th Amendment is there to protect us from over zealous law enforcement. Are all police bad people, of course not but it is the few who would mis-use this power, and all studies have shown once given this absolute power even good well meaning people will abuse the privilege.
Immigration needs to be fixed there is no doubt about that, but this law is not that fix or solution and will lead I am convinced to a costly law suit at the end of the day.
Congress needs to make reform a priority not just because of illegal immigration but for the thousands legally coming to this country who languish for years waiting for their turn to take the oath.
Add comment May 12, 2010 fayem1
Arizona: The Wrong Answer
I am saddened today at the prospect of a young Hispanic immigrant in Arizona going to the grocery store and forgetting to bring her passport and immigration documents with her. I cannot be dispassionate about the fact that the very act of her being in the grocery store will soon be a crime in the state she lives in. Or that, should a policeman hear her accent and form a “reasonable suspicion” that she is an illegal immigrant, she can — and will — be taken into custody until someone sorts it out, while her children are at home waiting for their dinner.
Equally disturbing is what will happen in the mind of the policeman. The police talk today about how theydo not wish to, and will not, engage in racial profiling. Yet faced with the option of using common sense compassion, or harassing a person who has done nothing wrong, a particularly sinister aspect of Arizona’s new immigration law will be hanging over his head. He can be personally sued, by anyone, for failing to enforce this inhumane new act.
I recognize that Arizona has become a widening entry point for illegal immigration from the South. The wave has brought with it rising violence and drug smuggling. But a solution that degrades innocent people, or that makes anyone with broken English a suspect, is not a solution. A solution that fails to distinguish between a young child coming over the border in search of his mother and a drug smuggler is not a solution.
I am not speaking from an ivory tower. I lived in the South Africa that has now thankfully faded into history, where a black man or woman could be grabbed off the street and thrown in jail for not having his or her documents on their person. How far can this go? We lived it — police waking a man up in the middle of the night and hauling him off to jail for not having his documents on his person while he slept. The fact that they were in his nightstand near the bed was not good enough.
Of course if you suggested such a possibility today to an Arizona policeman he would be adamant that he would never do such a thing. And I would believe him. Arizona is a long way from apartheid South Africa. The problem is, under the new law, the one or two who would do it are legitimized. All they have to say is that they believed that illegal immigrants were being harbored in the house. They would be protected and sanctioned by this law.
Abominations such as apartheid do not start with an entire population suddenly becoming inhumane. They start here. They start with generalizing unwanted characteristics across an entire segment of a population. They start with trying to solve a problem by asserting superior force over a population. They start with stripping people of rights and dignity – such as the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty – that you yourself enjoy. Not because it is right, but because you can. And because somehow, you think this is going to solve a problem.
However, when you strip a man or a woman of their basic human rights, you strip them of their dignity in the eyes of their family and their community, and even in their own eyes. An immigrant who is charged with the crime of trespassing for simply being in a community without his papers on him is being told he is committing a crime by simply being. He or she feels degraded and feels they are of less worth than others of a different color skin. These are the seeds of resentment, hostilities and in extreme cases, conflict.
Such “solutions” solve nothing. As already pointed out, even by people on the police force, Arizona’s new laws will split the communities, make it less likely that people in the immigrant communities will work with the police. They will create conditions favorable to the very criminals these laws are trying to disarm.
The Latinos in Arizona have not come to Arizona because they want to live in communities wracked with violence and crime. I would guess that the most recent arrivals have fled their border towns and the growing violence there as drug lords tightened their control of the communities. They want to live and raise their children in peace, just as you or I do.
I am certain that, given the chance, the leaders of the Latino immigrant communities in Arizona would enthusiastically work with the state to find constructive solutions to these problems. I am very sure that they would like, as much as others, to rid Arizona of the drug smugglers, human traffickers and other criminal elements infiltrating their communities.
We can only hope that this law will be thrown out of the courts in short order. I do not disagree with the calls to boycott the businesses in the state until it is turned around.
In the meantime, it has opened the door to some smart state leaders sitting down with the leaders of the Latino communities in Arizona and hammering out some solutions that actually work. Hopefully these solutions would recognize the difference between a drug smuggler and a man willing to stand outside a gas station in the hot sun for hours in the hopes that someone will give him some work for the day.
The problem of migrating populations is not going to go away any time soon. If anyone should know this, it should be Americans, many of whom landed here themselves to escape persecution, famine or conflict. With the eyes of the world now on them, Arizona has the opportunity to create a new model for dealing with the pitfalls, and help the nation as a whole find its way through the problems of illegal immigration. But to work, it must be a model that is based on a deep respect for the essential human rights Americans themselves have grown up enjoying.
From the Sothern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
Add comment May 10, 2010 fayem1
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
May 10, 2010
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan will plop an issue back on the nation´s table that hasn´t been seen or heard from or about in what seems like ages. And that´s affirmative action. Even before her nomination the word furiously circulated in some circles that during her six year tenure as dean of Harvard University Law School, Kagan had an abominable record on recruiting and hiring minority professors. At first glance, her record indeed looks atrocious. There were 29 new hires. They were 23 white men, 5 white women, and one Asian American woman; not one black or Latino professor in the bunch. When the dismal figure was released, the White House quickly pushed back. It issued a detailed fact sheet that essentially said that her zero hire of a black or Latino faculty member was grossly misleading. That Kagan had offered several African-American and Latino candidates visiting offers; visiting offers meaning invites to be a visiting lecturer. That´s not the same as a permanent offer for faculty spot. But the inference was that a visiting offer, if accepted, could lead to an offer of a permanent faculty position. That didn´t happen. The visiting offers were not accepted. That in itself is not a prima facie case to say that Kagan deliberately pushed diversity to the back burner at Harvard. Or even that she did not make a sincere effort to recruit minority faculty members. There are always factors, big, little and unseen in the business of faculty hires at major, even prestigious, universities. But Kagan´s motives and the effort she may have made to get a diverse faculty at Harvard Law in the end or a moot point. Her record on minority hires still stands– 29 faculty hires, and no black or Latino hires. This is hardly a moot point.
Full Commentary: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/155363
Add comment May 10, 2010 fayem1
I hope that every mother out there took a moment and enjoyed the dedicated to you, I also hope your children honor you on a regular basis.
A special Mother’s Day wish to all of those mom’s deployed, have children deployed or have lost a child in this current conflict.
As the mother and mother in law of reservists I know the pain of having them away from you, and I feel for those mothers who have lost a child in the sands of Iraq or Afghanistan.
By next mother’s day may more of our children be home, and our time there be coming to a close.
Add comment May 10, 2010 fayem1
“Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust,”
BLACK GERMAN HOLOCAUST VICTIMS:
So much of our history is lost to us because we, African-Americans often don’t write the history books, don’t film the documentaries, or don’t pass the accounts down from generation to generation.
One documentary now touring the film festival circuit, telling us to “Always Remember” is “Black Survivors of the Holocaust” (1997). Outside the U.S.., the film is entitled “Hitler’s Forgotten Victims” (Afro-Wisdom Productions). It codifies another dimension to the “Never Forget” Holocaust story–our dimension.
Did you know that in the 1920’s, there were 24,000 Blacks living in Germany? Neither did I. Here’s how it happened, and how many of them were eventually caught unawares by the events of the Holocaust.
Like most West European nations, Germany established colonies in Africa in the late 1800’s in what later became Togo, Cameroon, Namibia, and Tanzania. German genetic experiments began there, most notably involving prisoners taken from the 1904 Heroro Massacre that left 60,000 Africans dead, following a 4-year revolt against German colonization. After the shellacking Germany received in World War I, it was stripped of its African colonies in 1918.
As a spoil of war, the French were allowed to occupy Germany in the Rhineland–a bitter piece of real estate that has gone back and forth between the two nations for centuries. The French willfully deployed their own colonized African soldiers as the occupying force. Germans viewed this as the final insult of World War I, and soon thereafter, 92% of them voted the Nazi party into power.
Hundreds of the African Rhineland-based soldiers intermarried with German women and raised their children as Black Germans. In Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote about his plans for these “Rhineland Bastards.” When he came to power, one of his first directives was aimed at these mixed-race children. Underscoring Hitler’s obsession with racial purity, by 1937, every identified mixed-race child in the Rhineland had been forcibly sterilized, in order to prevent further ‘race polluting,’ as Hitler termed it.
Hans Hauck, a Black Holocaust survivor and a victim of Hitler’s mandatory sterilization program, explained in the film “Hitler’s Forgotten Victims” that, when he was forced to undergo sterilization as a teenager, he was given no anesthetic. Once he received his sterilization certificate, he was “free to go” so long as he agreed to have no sexual relations whatsoever with Germans.
Although most Black Germans attempted to escape their fatherland, heading for France where people like Josephine Baker were steadily aiding and supporting the French Underground, many still encountered problems elsewhere. Nations shut their doors to Germans, including the Black ones.
Some Black Germans were able to eke out a living during Hitler’s reign of terror by performing in Vaudeville shows, but many Blacks, steadfast in their belief that they were German first and Black second, opted to remain in Germany. Some fought with the Nazis (a few even became Luftwaffe pilots). Unfortunately, many Black Germans were arrested, charged with treason, and shipped in cattle cars to concentration camps. Often these trains were so packed with people and (equipped with no bathroom facilities or food) that, after the four-day journey, box car doors were opened to piles of the dead and dying.
Once inside the concentration camps, Blacks were given the worst jobs conceivable. Some Black American soldiers, who were captured and held as prisoners of war, recounted that, while they were being starved and forced into dangerous labor (violating the Geneva Convention), they were still better off than Black German concentration camp detainees, who were forced to do the unthinkable- -man the crematoriums and work in labs where genetic experiments were being conducted. As a final sacrifice, these Blacks were killed every three months so that they would never be able to reveal the inner workings of the “Final Solution.”
In every story of Black oppression, no matter how we were enslaved, shackled, or beaten, we always found a way to survive and to rescue others. As a case in point, consider Johnny Voste, a Belgian resistance fighter who was arrested in 1942 for alleged sabotage and then shipped to Dachau. One of his jobs was stacking vitamin crates. Risking his own life, he distributed hundreds of vitamins to camp detainees, which saved the lives of many who were starving, weak, and ill–conditions exacerbated by extreme vitamin deficiencies. His motto was “No, you can’t have my life; I will fight for it.”
According to Essex University’s Delroy Constantine- Simms, there were Black Germans who resisted Nazi Germany, such as Lari Gilges, who founded the Northwest Rann–an organization of entertainers that fought the Nazis in his home town of Dusseldorf– and who was murdered by the SS in 1933, the year that Hitler came into power.
Little information remains about the numbers of Black Germans held in the camps or killed under the Nazi regime. Some victims of the Nazi sterilization project and Black survivors of the Holocaust are still alive and telling their story in films such as “Black Survivors of the Nazi Holocaust,” but they must also speak out for justice, not just history.
Unlike Jews (in Israel and in Germany), Black Germans, although German-born, have received no war reparations because their German citizenship was revoked. The only pension they get is from those of us who are willing to tell the world their stories and continue their battle for recognition and compensation.
After the war, scores of Blacks who had somehow managed to survive the Nazi regime, were rounded up and tried as war criminals. Talk about the final insult! There are thousands of Black Holocaust stories, from the triangle trade, to slavery in America, to the gas ovens in Germany.
We often shy away from hearing about our historical past because so much of it is painful; however, we are in this struggle together for rights, dignity, and, yes, reparations for wrongs done to us through the centuries. We need to always remember so that we can take steps to ensure that these atrocities never happen again.
For further information, read: Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany, by Hans J. Massaquoi.
Add comment May 7, 2010 fayem1
It was no shock to turn on the radio yesterday and hear the tea party station better known as WTTK, Sevrin and McPhee beating the same old drum. That anyone who doesn’t support AZ supports illegal aliens that is laughable, a great talking point from Fix News, well except for Beck (could the world be coming to an end!) but it ignores one of their supposed core principals as independent Libertarians .
The law is illegal on two fronts, one only the federal government can set immigration policy and no state can do that. Two this law violates the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, tell me it isn’t so tea party crowd I thought the Constitution was your new wholly grail. I guess the truth is as long as it is violated and impacts anyone but YOU then that is okay.
The first time you stop an American citizen and they refuse to show ID, and a driver’s license we all know is no proof of citizenship, what can the police officer really do? I am protected against illegal search and seizure by law enforcement, it is a Constitutional right, and I would suspect that when this happens to a citizen they will sue.
AZ is already in a fiscal free fall, suffering as most states do from this bad economy, finding a scapegoat when times are like this is an old ploy steeped in a very nasty history that I would think no one wants to revisit.
The co-author of this bill ( and I use that term since FAIR is taking credit for helping) is state senator Russell Pearce, who has been sanctioned in the past for sending neo-nazi emails to supporters. As I mentioned Kris Kobach a legal rep for Federalist for Americas Immigration Reform (FAIR) is closely associated with and often a co-rally sponsor with J.T. Ready ( see pictures of rallies and ones with senator Pearce http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bastard/2007/09/russell_pearces_willie_horton.php) a blogger for NewSaxon.org a racist myspace page where he writes under the tag line ” for whites, by whites”. This uh “gentleman” is also claiming to have helped with the structuring of this bill, so with all that being true or not really senator Pearces’ record is alarming enough why would I want this person controlling immigration policy?
There are true illegal immigration issues in this country and the federal government is long overdue in fixing the problems seriously, I have every confidence that this administration will do so while treating American citizens with respect in their own country.
However shame on WTKK for attacking the City Council and us without the facts, or perhaps they do have them and are comfortable with them, in that case I ask the citizens of this city. Is this really the kind of radio content that should be tolerated in a city as diverse as Boston?
Because AZ has become nostalgic for the racists practices of the sixties is WTKK intent on bringing that hate speech to Boston, and more importantly does Rush know what your up to? I am sure he sees that as his job.
You are entitled to free speech but that doesn’t mean you can yell fire in a crowded theater, encouraging people to support an initiative without all of the facts is no different. J T Ready nor Senator Pearce have to like me or my beautiful brown skin, but I can reject their efforts to govern me if I feel their ability to do so is clouded by their views and racists behavior.
McPhee intimates that we should just trust the police to do the right thing, I guess if I was a caucasian in this country out of habit I might feel the same, as a woman of color I do not. A quick read of today’s papers and the charging of a twenty four year veteran of the police force with assault shows that longevity doesn’t always breed wisdom.
So WTKK commentators if you don’t want you and your tea party set called racist, then be mindful what you support, remember what your mothers taught you “you are judged by the company you keep”. These folks in AZ have chosen their path and language not I, and if you choose to stand with them then you are subject to that kind of scrutiny.
Let’s all try to treat people the way you would want to be treated!
Add comment May 7, 2010 fayem1
Well I am new to the blogesphere but I am moved to speak out because of the turbulent times this country is in. For all of those who are fearful or mis-informed I hope to provide dialogue that is respectful informative and from time to time funny if I can.
We are all in this world together and we need to find a path that we can follow together. “If not me who, if not now when”
“Well behaved women rarely make history!” Laurel Ulrich
Add comment May 7, 2010 fayem1