A WORD FOR OUR BLACK & LATINO COMMUNITIES TO LEARN — “PLACATE”
By Nate Wright, Gust Writer
“To appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures; make (someone) less angry or hostile.”
This is what is done to the Black community on a consistent basis. Examples…
-Painting Black Lives Matter (BLM) on the street where people walk, pass by, or drive by. I feel some type of sense about this. I like the art, but still…
-Naming a street near the White House BLM Plaza. You are really acting like every President before TRUMP was not against the Black community…
-New York State Governor Cuomo deeming it (NOW) “illegal” for Law Enforcement to strangle suspects. I mean, really? He had to put that on paper to say it is wrong.
-Knocking down Confederate statues, meanwhile their names are still on the sides of prestigious buildings and streets, and slave owners are on our currency. I’m for destroying them, unlike those towns who used city workers (taxpayer money) to “safely” remove their statues into storage…
Having THOUSANDS of people (from other races) across AMERIKA, and around the world, including political officials and the rich, walk with you, hold up colorful signs, and sing very questionable mantras, but even with all those people together (minus a handful of individuals), it won’t put a single penny towards financing our ‘economic independence’; let alone treat us equal, gives us equity, stop gentrifying our communities, and end the colonization in our homeland that has existed for generations, and is getting even worse today. I mean independence, and not another community center that will go underfunded, not college grants, and not telling us how we should vote.
I’m talking REAL equity; Land, Property, Building real Black infrastructure, Education, Business and Economic Development, etc.
I just do not understand why it is so easy to deceive our people with such empty platitudes and gestures with NO real tangible solutions. We have some serious work to do!
About Nate Wright: Born and raised on Buffalo’s East Side, always a critical thinker, and has a passion for helping others. He is the Co-Chairperson of the Erie County Green Party.
WRITER’S DIARY: THE WANNABE
By Michael Power, Contributor
The pandemic came like a cold splash of water in the face after partying all night. Nobody could have anticipated the debilitating vice grip it would have on the world and all the functions that kept society moving. We were not ready for the demand for change and what it meant to our own private lives. Businesses are now wondering if they need to have so many people on payroll and the employees are wondering if this job feeds their desire to feel purposeful in their existence. Relationships are being challenged, personal images have been shattered, and I have realized how I have procrastinated my way to the edge of obscurity and failure. Harsh but this stay at home edict has made me have to face the lazy and often negative version of myself more directly than just a simple nod of acknowledgement in the mornings before work.
I’m a writer, not by profession, but by one of the most fortunate means you could ask for, talent. I was always a writer, creating my first childhood stories as soon as I could spell. I captivated my readers, and once they got past the poor grammar and misspellings they fell in love with the stories. Now, as I have been kept at home for about 4 months, not working but still receiving my full check every week, I realize how much time I have wasted not moving in my creativity. Being a writer is not just about writing, it is a lifestyle, a way of thinking and being, something I think I have down for the most part, just not the part that matters the most, the actual writing. I find myself sitting to type up something with this fire of creative fervor that will burn for a couple of weeks before starting to die down and then completely extinguishing. I would love to say that life itself has robbed me of my opportunity, but that would be a lie. I often wrote for a purpose, for it to go somewhere, instead of writing to just write. I was abusing my gift and not appreciating it. You don’t use your legs only when you have somewhere to go, sometimes we just like to walk without direction. Writing, or any talent, deserves the same appreciation.
This time watching as humanity tries to rediscover itself and come to grips with its own reality, no matter how ugly, has demanded me to see these mistakes in my own life and now, hopefully, move in a better direction. I want to be more than a wannabe writer. I guess that starts with, well, writing.
What are your passions? What are your gifts? Are you feeding them? I will need to ask myself this regularly and hold myself accountable. In some way this pandemic has made us all accountable, just hope I stay dedicated to the process.
FOR THOSE STUCK AT HOME DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
By Nadia Pizarro
April 2020 Issue:
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, homeschooling your kids and they are driving you crazy! I’m sorry you’re trying to work from home, with kids yelling, your spouse annoying you, constant distractions and no copier!
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, your business is closed, you’re not making money, are afraid you will lose everything. I’m sorry you can’t go to work; you can’t make money and are fearful that you can’t pay your bills or buy food.
I’m sorry you can’t walk across the stage for your graduation, go to that concert, enjoy spring break, the vacation you planned or to the bars. I’m sorry that you are bored, that you’re lonely, that you are anxious and that you don’t have the food and supplies you need because the stores are bare from people hoarding in fear.
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, and I understand that it sucks! But there is something I need you to please think about. You are stuck at home, but you are safe and with your family, and know that they are safe too. You can hug and kiss your children and the people you love. You can go on your porch, yard, park, grocery store, take a walk, go for a bike ride or order curbside pick-up when you get cabin fever.
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, but I need you to understand, that there are so many people that wish they were stuck at home, because they are not. They must go to work every day and spend eight hours in fear. They fear their clients or coworker may infect them. They fear that someone may cough on them or they may touch the wrong thing. They fear that the sore throat, cough, headache, exhaustion or stuffy nose they’re feeling could mean that they are infected.
But they are “Essential Workers” who understand that if they don’t show up to work, people die. They are people like my amazing staff, who showed up Monday and when asked if they were willing to fight to save as many lives as possible, they stepped up! The type of people who’d go out to every store they can in the middle of a pandemic, scavenge all the food and supplies they can, bag them up and deliver them to the most vulnerable people in the city and would not go home until the last delivery was made. The kind of people who, for however long it takes, are willing to live without seeing their parents, children, friends and loved ones, who go right home after work and do not leave their homes because they know that they’ve had so many contacts with others, it is not safe. They are grocery store and retail workers who interact with hundreds of people per day. They are postal workers, police officers, social workers, behavioral health providers, truck and bus drivers. They are homeless services providers like my amazing colleagues who are trying to protect a group of people who have no home to isolate in or who are in shelters where one sick person can affect them all. They are healthcare workers, doctors and nurses who are treating the sick and putting their lives on the line for 18 hours a day.
I’m sorry you’re stuck at home, but please understand that there is nothing we wouldn’t do, if we, our staffs, colleagues, friends, family and loved ones who are “Essential Workers”, could be stuck at home like you, so we could be safe too. So, while you are stuck at home, keep your butts at home and take a moment to put yourself in our shoes. Then pick your hands up, and think of us, and say a prayer or two.
FAITH GIVES US THE STRENGTH
By Evelyn Rosario
October 2019 Issue:
On a day in September 2015, I was in my office, meeting with a counselee, when I received a phone call. It was from the doctor who gave me the news- “You have cancer.” It was as if time stood still. “I have cancer!” – “Yes […] you have to contact the surgeon for surgery.” When my student heard the news, she was stagnant. I do not know which one of the two of us was more in shock. Nervous, I shared the news with my colleagues. I was not prepared for it. Yet, I was not alone. Three of my four siblings also have had cancer. At that point, I did not say “why me”? I said- “why not me”? After all, I was not an exception. I thought if others have it, I can have it, too. I identified with my siblings (breast, kidney and bone marrow cancer) and several close friends of my faith who have and have died of cancer –Puerto Ricans like me, who had to confront that reality including Axel, the youngest, who lost his battle on August 5th but there are three of us left.
Biopsies, sonograms, painful exams, MRI’s, and blood tests confirmed the diagnosis. I thought, Relax! My daughter, who was working in France, took it harder. She transferred back to her company in Buffalo to assist me during the process of surgery and treatment. I am a survivor for four years, having the support of my family and friends. My siblings and I talk, check on and support each other in our own crisis. Thanks to the medical staff that takes care of us in Puerto Rico and in Buffalo, we are still standing. And, if our mission in life is shortened, our faith gives us the strength that we need.
In my case, other support is coming from Roswell Parks Hospital via its annual conference – Chapter 2, their medical staff, also in Windsong facilities, my colleagues at Buffalo State, and my doctors- Dr. Rajiv Jain, Dr. Katherine O’Donnell, Dr. Frederick Hong, Dr. Julian L. Ambrus Jr.
Something that cancer did to me was instill the courage to fight back. I decided to continue my doctorate studies and while taking the last course, I was receiving radiation therapy. Dr. Donald Grinde, my professor and Chair of my dissertation committee and its members, my classmates and Karen Reinhard in Transnational Studies at UB, encouraged and supported me through my struggle.
A key element during all this process is my faith. As Christians, my family and I embrace our reliance in our God, Jehovah, and the hope of resurrection. Therefore, we look at the future and death from a different perspective; we celebrate life [Job:14:14, John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15].
Thank you to those by my side during this whole experience, the support of my faith’s brothers/sisters, too many to mention, Dr. Mervin Román Capeles and Priscila Del Moral, M.S.
Note: Evelyn has a BA in Sociology (University of Puerto Rico), MA in American Studies (UB), and she is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Transnational Studies (Indigenous Studies) at UB. She is well-know figure in the local Puerto Rican/Latino community — engaged in various community organizations.
Por Chiqui Vicioso
October 2019 Issue:
Los hechos recientes en Puerto Rico, donde casi un millón de enfurecidos boricuas se lanzaron a la calle para expulsar del poder al gobernador, se han convertido en sujeto de estudios de todos los laboratorios sociales del mundo, por una sencilla razón: sus protagonistas fueron jóvenes menores de 22 años. En Borinquén, según el censo, hay 657,809 centenials, equivalentes al 19% de la población. Divididos en 338,094 hombres y 319,715 mujeres. 42.5% entre 15 y 20 años. 75.5% vive con sus padres y 12.3% con sus abuelos. El 69.9% estudia en escuelas, o universidades públicas.
¿Qué es lo que define a esta muchachada?
1.-No se sienten representados por la clase política.
2.-Se identifican con causas sociales, como la protección ambiental y la equidad de género, son nativos digitales porque desconocen un mundo sin internet.
3.-Nacieron entre 1997 y 2012, por lo que no pasan de 22 años, y durante las recientes manifestaciones tuvieron una destacada participación.
4.-Creen que cada ser humano comete errores, y que Rosello y sus allegados se burlaron del país; y que se merecen algo mejor. “Puerto Rico merece un cambio y no es cuestión de colores ni partidos políticos, sino de hacer las cosas bien”. “Este es nuestro país y teníamos que salir a defenderlo”.
5.-Creen que tenían que ser partícipes y parte del cambio que quieren para su país, eliminar el maltrato infantil y contra la mujer y el daño ambiental (ideales de la juventud a nivel mundial).
6.-El gobierno de Rosello no atendió ningún reclamo. Además cerro más de 400 escuelas públicas, liderado por una secretaria de educación, Julia Kheeler que fue arrestada y acusada a nivel federal por cargos de corrupción. Una “ministra” que no sabía quiénes eran Hostos ni Balderiotti.
7.-Para todos en Puerto Rico fue una oportunidad de entender que la democracia no es ir a votar cada cuatro años, sino exigir que los gobernantes escuchen a su pueblo. Fue un proceso de aprendizaje para todos.
8.-Se diferencian de los MiIlennials (nacidos entre 1981 y 1996) de muchas maneras. Han crecido viendo a los Milennials irse, y no quieren irse de Puerto Rico. Quieren un mejor futuro y mayores oportunidades.
9.-Solo conocen de austeridad, pero se preguntan: ¿Cómo es posible que en el mismo lugar donde se construyen trenes urbanos y megaproyectos (“Nuevayor Chiquito”) no pueden mantener escuelas abiertas, ni hospitales y dejan morir a los enfermos por negligencia?
Los Centenials son los “tigueres” y “tigueras” de los barrios pobres de aquí, los que viven por debajo de la línea de pobreza y aun insisten en estudiar, en rechazar la droga, en creer en el país, de quienes nadie se ocupa. Quien tiene oídos para oír…