Milwaukee Rallies Behind Organized Labor! (My article in the Community Journal)
On Saturday February 26th, residents of Milwaukee County, gathered at Milwaukee Laborers, Local 113 in support of the plight of Public Employees across the State. Saturday was slated to mark the State’s largest day of demonstration in Wisconsin History, with satellite rallies also taking place across the country.
The Milwaukee event’s chief organizer, Mandela Barnes along with others who have been active in demonstrations to support worker’s rights, sought to replicate the efforts locally for those who could not make the trip to Madison, but wished to show solidarity. The event was joined physically by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, County Supervisors Johnny Thomas & Willie Johnson Jr., and County Executive Candidate Chris Abele; event attendees were also joined, remotely by State Senators Chris Larson and Lena Taylor, who both phoned in to address supporters. The Jeff Stone Campaign was contacted but he could not attend.
County Supervisor Johnny Thomas, who was elected wile Governor Scott Walker served as Milwaukee County Executive, compared Walker’s budget plans to buying a lottery ticket; in the sense that Walker banks on luck, not substance. When asked if Senate Democrats could possibly be tricked as Democrats in the Assembly were, Senator Chris Larson replied that he knew what kind of tricks Scott Walker may be up to, and they are prepared to remain in Illinois as long as it takes. Senator Lena Taylor reminded protesters that although in Illinois, they are here(there), fighting for us.
At the event’s conclusion, there were two large novelty greeting cards that were signed by all in attendance. One card was addressed to Governor Walker, with a sarcastic congratulatory message, the other was a ‘Thank You’ card for the heroic Democratic Senators. Barnes, with great appreciation, welcomed Mayor Tom Barret as the initial signatory for both cards.
Walker’s Budget Repair Bill is an antonymous approach to the Labor Laws championed by the State of Wisconsin in the 1950’s, and rallies continue to take place all over in opposition of Walker’s assault on public sector employee’s and their rights to collectively bargain.
First they came for the Communists,
and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jew,
and I did not speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
And there was no one left to speak for me.
NOT UP IN HERE!!!
Today, I have a new found respect for our leaders in the Wisconsin State Senate. Win, lose, or draw, I can honestly say that they have absolutely done everything they could possibly do to this go around to protect the rights of Wisconsin’s working class. I, personally have accumulated over 24 hours inside these doors of the State Capitol building, and every minute feels like the first all over again. The energy is relentless and at the same time contagious. Signage, percussion, and chants, fill and have filled the halls of each wing of the State Capitol building since Tuesday. Solidairty is the the theme of Unions, but it has become every citizen’s theme in this building.
Not a union memeber… not a problem, people from all walks of life have gathered to support the plight of Wisconsin public employees, the people who have become they prey of the Scott Walker administration and both Houses of the Republican controlled State Legislature.
Of the most bold acts of solidarity, the Firefighters Union, who had been left out of Scott Walker’s budget restrictions on Collective Bargaining for Public employees stepped in to support worker’s rights. It would have been all too simple to not involve themselves in the issue, but they recognized the struggle of their union brothers and sisters and were celebrated as the heroes they are upon entering the State Capitol, because of it.
People have literally resided in this building, and WILL NOT leave until something is done to rectify the will of Scott Walkers impending dictatorship of our State. The cooperation of law enforcement officials has been inspiring; there is no race, age, or gender in this building, we are all a union of Wisconsin residents who will not be walked on(Pun intended). We are standing up to a bully, this is our Tahir Square, but we will surely not allow this regime to reign in terror for 30 years. It has not even been 60 days, but Wisconsin has clearly stated that enough is enough and a recall inevitably looms over Governor Scott Walker’s administration.
In a sea of events taking place over the past few days, perhaps the most compelling took place today, when Senate Democrats who have all chosen to listen to the people decided to flee. This an act that I’d like to deem, brave abandonment. Senate democrats did not have the power in votes to block the Walker budget, but DID have the power to prevent a vote from taking place. With a majority of 19 Republicans in the Senate, they did not make quorum to take a vote, so Senate Dems decided to skip town, and that they did. Wisconsin State Patrol was called in to lead the search, but the last known location of the Senators was Rockford, IL… OUT of jurisdiction.
This story, all deserving, has finally gained National Attention (mainly MSNBC), as well as champions of organized labor coming in from all across the Nation in support of Wisconsin’s Public workers. Out of town, my home can be a joke, but I am damn proud to be from Wisconsin. To Scott Walker and anyone who chooses to infringe upon the rights of our good people, we say, NOT UP IN HERE!
Now that I’m all blogging right now and what not, I feel that more pastors, specifically of “the black church” should take a more vested interest in how their message is received by the members of the congregation. Every member is different, and will not be on level mental ground with one another; therefore messages should be crafted to be received by minds that are possibly less capable than the average.
I will never attack the church in any way, because these are the follies of a few. The motivation of this stems from being out one day dressed rather, “business oriented.” I was approached by a man who stated “you must be in school to be a lawyer or somethin.” I replied no, and gave him my stats in formal education. He told me that he didn’t even have a GED, to which I replied that it wasn’t too late. I then asked did he ever plan to get one. He told me “What I need that for, Jesus ain’t have no diploma.” 0_0!!! So many responses came to my mind, but no words from my mouth. It was almost as if I found myself in a partial state of shock. Aside from this being a completely different day and time, I was almost certain that this man I was having a conversation with, was not born of immaculate conception.
On the walk to my car, I had a little more to time to develop in depth thought about the talk I just had, and was brought to the concept of Christianity in general. Christianity = to be like/as Christ, a meaning that is often taken too literal, with little consideration to the factors of the times and situations or simply just applied when convenient. My biggest problem with what I was told, by the man, is considering how many other people are operating under this concept that has been ill perceived by them. How many other people are limiting themselves in this attempt to walk in the image of Christ, or was he just a lazy soul, who rested his choice in livelihood on the bindings of the Bible? In these situations, its never just one; even if it was, one is too many.
The whole notion of letting go and letting God, while inspirational, is an ideology that at times, works to promote helplessness in so many people when taken the wrong way. The Bible says that God helps those who help themselves, but so many choose to put matters that they themselves can work to fix on their own, in his hands and just hope for results. It becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” type of mentality for them. The mind of the man with blind faith can be as receptive and absorbent as that of a small child, one that cannot differentiate situational uses of things they hear and learn. There has to be some level of delineation when delivering messages of belief, especially when dealing with a belief system as strong as religion. My challenge to anyone who professes any word of any faith to be cognizant of who receives the and how it is then interpreted.