Wednesday, 18 April 2012 10:54
A few weeks ago I spoke to the Ujima class at Pasadena City College. The professor is Gabrielle Pina, the author of the play, "Letters From Zora." Because I think that when we speak to young people we need to leave them with something meaningful, I prepared an exercise. The exercise involved requesting them to write in a little booklet while or after I talk. I handed the booklet out at the beginning of the class, and picked it up at the end of the class. On the booklet cover is the picture of a hobo/bum with the words, "If You're so smart why aren't you rich." I've spoken of this topic many times before in this column. You may remember, the picture idea comes from a drawing that my mother gave me after I passed the bar exam. The original was drawn in 1929, the year of the great depression. I prize the picture for a lot of reasons, not the least of which, it keeps me humble and is a constant reminder of the wisdom my mother and my father taught me.
Tuesday, 10 April 2012 20:24
With all that is going on in the world during this era of the Obama presidency, I opened one of my old Law School Constitutional Law casebooks and reviewed the 1896 case of Plessey vs. Ferguson. One case was called The Dred Scott decision of 1857. In Plessey versus Ferguson, a Black man named Plessey got on a train in Louisiana in 1890. Plessey was, as we say, "light, bright and damn near white." In fact, he was 7/8th's white and 1/8th African. Plessey got in the railroad car and sat in the white section. Apparently, he had forgotten that he was Black or that the law said there was to be segregation of the races on the railroad. Or maybe he was trying to be the Rosa Parks of his day. Consequently, Plessey was arrested, I guess, for sitting while Black. He sued and attacked the ridiculous state laws regarding segregation and, in a sense, he won. That is, if you call the decision of the Supreme Court a win where they said, in effect, that the rail cars could be separate as long as they were equal. I note that this will tell you what we have to look forward to as the present Supreme Court looks at President Obama's affordable Health Care Bill. I must say that I believe that so-called Justice Thomas' wife has already told him to stay in his place and vote to strike down the bill, just like (Massas) Scalia and Roberts tell him.
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 19:57
In the midst of what may be the biggest emergency since he arrived in Pasadena, in July 2009, Chief Philip Sanchez has proven that he is up to the job. The recent shooting of Kendrec McDade, on March 24, 2012 in Pasadena, California seemed tragic but was made even more tragic when it was determined that McDade was unarmed and that the 911 caller had not told the truth about his alleged robbers being armed.
The facts that began to surface showed that McDade was, in fact, unarmed when he was shot and killed by two Pasadena Police officers. The two officers, basing their actions on a belief that the alleged robbers were armed, acted in apparent self defense as they were in pursuit of the two young men identified by the 911 call.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 20:13
These pioneers endured discrimination and opened doors for the next generation without exception. The women we will honor at this year's Women of Achievement Breakfast on April 28th have felt the sting of racism in this great city we call the city of Roses. However, they struggled on, and in the tradition of Maya Angelou's poem, still they rose. Many of them met old man Jim Crow and discrimination in the southern states of Alabama and Mississippi. Leaving the south to come west for a better life, they were met again by old man Jim Crow wearing different suits called discrimination and segregation to cover-up who they were.
One of our honorees came to Pasadena with experience and degrees in hand but was not allowed to teach in the Pasadena School District because, as she was told, they already had their quota of Black teachers. Another was told she could only use her degree from Alabama A & M to be a cook because they didn't hire Black teachers. One who was a third generation Pasadenan at the time had earned a Masters in education, but had to drive daily to 139th School to teach because there was no room in Pasadena for a Black teacher. Another, with her degree in hand from Tuskegee, applied in Pasadena and was told that they couldn't hire her and it would be 10 to 15 years before they hire another Black teacher.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 21:10
. . . The Failure of One May Cause Disaster
In the last few days, I have been interviewing the ten women who The Journal will be honoring at our annual Women of Achievement breakfast on April 28, 2012. With the exception of one of the women, they are all at least 80 years old. One is "only 78", another is 99 and will reach 100 a few months after the breakfast event.
Their lives are the base and root of Black survival and existence. They were all born at a time after the end of slavery but before the end of public policies and laws that approved of race discrimination in employment, housing, schools, voting, and generally, all public facilities and activities. They are the ultimate consumers of no taxation without representation.
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