Hi guys! Hope you are enjoying your holidays and New Years!
I write this today on the 75th anniversary of the Flint Sitdown Strike, something I learned about just recently. Why did I learn about this just recently? I mean, it's not like this was one of the monumental labor movements in history? I took AP US History, we learned about all kinds of stuff! We learned how Columbus led to the genocide of millions of Native Americans! We learned about the Haymarket Square Riots, how a demonstration by striking workers led to a riot which claimed the lives of many policemen and workers. Yet it took the movie Capitalism to teach me how this movement led to the UAW becoming a major labor union and eventually leading to the unionization of the US Auto Industry. FRENCH history textbooks mention this movement because it went hand in hand with some strikes occurring in France in the 30's. This movement is one of the first OCCUPY movements; the autoworkers OCCUPIED their factory during the winter. GM shut off the heat, they remained. Police attempted to raid, they still remained! 44 days later the UAW was recognized! I live not 40 minutes from the factory, and I still didn't know! We need to spread the word about this!
As mentioned, I watched the movie Capitalism for the first time in July. I've always been a fan of Michael Moore's documentary's and books, and after watching Capitalism, I felt the need to contact Michael Moore and tell him about some of the things we've done at Fordson with our Political Science group. Bringing Mr. Moore to come speak about why itâs important to be active in politics, even at a young age would definitely inspire kids to make a change and take action even if itâs the smallest things that they are worried about.
Hereâs somethingâs I learned during Michaelâs speech:
First off, itâs sad that we honor Christopher Columbus, who may have discovered the Americas, but who also led to the genocide of millions of Native Americans, yet our country hasnât dedicated December 1st to be Rosa Parks day, honoring the woman who singlehandedly sparked an uprising that would define the African American civil rightsâ era. On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks said âno.â She said no to bigotry, she said no to segregation, and she said no to discrimination. Little did she know what an impact this would have on the movement to end segregation nationwide. The story that all Americans should learn from Rosa Parks is that sometimes, itâs the simplest actions that make a huge difference, and every day we should be reminded by that! Our group at Fordson has already contacted the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute, and we are making plans to have some local congressman adopt a resolution that states thisâŠ I encourage all of you to be in support of naming December 1st, ROSA PARKS DAY!
Secondly, the fact that 44,000 Americans die yearly just because they have no health care is staggering. There is no Ground Zero for them, their names arenât read during the Superbowl, and we donât have an annual moment of silence for them. Iâm not saying that this is what we should do, but this shows how important it is that we stress for Universal Health Care here in the United States. No one should have to die because of they couldnât afford to cure a medical condition that is out of their control.
Another thing I learned, is that President Bush and his clan of war-hungry politicians should be charged for War Crimes. Bush manipulated Americans into believing that we were going to war to fight those who did us wrong on 9/11. Eight years later, the decision to invade Iraq has led to countless soldier deaths, as well as the deaths of millions of Iraqis. Just because he wears a tux and shows up on TV a couple times doesnât mean he is exempt from being prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A rich manâs war is a poor manâs fight. The government owes it to 4484 grieving families.
The fourth thing I learned is that, no matter how financially strong the 1% is, they will never be as democratically strong as the 99%. Aristotle once said âIn a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme.âAccording to the democratic system imposed in America, what a majority of the people want, is what they will get, which means, even though 400, yes FOUR HUNDRED, people have more wealth the half of ALL Americans, they will still never have as much votes. All money should be taken from the electoral system, and the government should do itsâ part in registering more voters, so that Democracy can be practiced to itâs fullest extent. This leads into the fifth and final thing I learned:
Democracy is a participatory sport, and we are all in this together.
We all should envision ourselves as leaders of the future, which is why itâs important to become active at an early age. It is important to be informed about what is going on in your community, in your state, and in your country. The election season is coming up and itâs time for the American people to chose who they want to lead their country. Be informed about who is running, know about the kinds of issues that matter to them, and envision what this country will be like after 3 years of them being in office. Stress to your parents, family, friends, and more importantly, to yourself about the importance of this.
What touched me most during Michael speech was his mention of how us as Arab Americans shouldnât be worried about our place in America. A majority of our school (95 %) is Arab American. Weâve been called âHezbollah High Schoolâ, âCamel Jockeysâ and âSand N*ggers.â Weâve had our fair share of hatred. Democracy America is one big table. Some people may have more comfier chairs, some people may have to sit on their knees to be a part of this table, but we all have a spot, and that we all should know, that those who are racist, those who are discriminatory, and those who believe they are more important than any other Americans, are the minority.
We are all in this together, and when the time comes, a majority of us know to stand up for justice, because as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, âInjustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.â
Best wishes in the New Year!
P.S.: When ABC rolls the fragile Dick Clark out on TV for the final minute of the year, donât feel bad for him. If you were a single mom who took an hour long bus ride every day to barely make ends meet, chances are, he wouldnât feel bad for you.