Showing posts with label Civil Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil Rights. Show all posts

June 3, 2020

Still Fighting For Our Rights

This picture about sums where we are in having to protest the same things we've been fighting for since the beginning of time:
I can not believe I still have to protest this crap!!

Just went you thought humanity (at least Western civilization) had mostly evolved past all the discrimination, biases, bigotry, prejudice, and racisms.

We arrive in time only to find out that HATE is still brewing in our societies and people's evil hearts. 

What a shame--that we misinterpret what divides us as taking precedence over what unites us!

What a pity--that we misjudge people by the color of their skin, their race, their religion, etc. instead of by the worthiness of their deeds. 

What a disgrace--that we mistreat our fellow man simply because they are different from us and in the most superficial of ways. 

With all our scientific advances and technological progress, we are still in stone ages of the evolution of our humanity.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 30, 2020

A Neck Is Not Something To Step On

A neck is not something to step or kneel on. 

Justice for George Floyd!

Murder is murder. 

While I greatly respect and admire our law enforcement for the difficult jobs that they have, police brutality and racism is not something that can be tolerated. 

Our law enforcement is better than that!

Hold the responsible officers accountable, but also bring peace and civility back to our cities and streets. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 14, 2019

Another Week, Another Anti-Semitic Attack

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Another Week, Another Anti-Semitic Attack."
From The Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh to the Poway Synagogue shooting in California to the shooting at the kosher market in Jersey City this week. The latest shooting occurred literally just the day before President Trump issued an executive order at a White House Chanukah celebration to cover anti-Semitic acts under the civil rights laws that ban discrimination based on national origin. Yet, despite the Constitution and all the protective laws and orders on the books, we are getting to the point where it is starting to look and feel awfully like there is nowhere safe anymore if you are a Jew, even in this great land of freedom.

What anti-Semitism, G-d forbid, will the next week bring, and the week after that, and after that? This vile behavior coming from people that hate us just because we are Jews, because we are Jacob and not Esau. May our eyes be open to what is happening around us, and may Hashem have an abundance of mercy on us.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 10, 2019

Harriet And The Underground Railroad

We saw the movie Harriet today. 

Obviously, it was about Harriet Tubman and her rescuing the slaves through the Underground Railroad of secret routes and safe houses. 

She was an amazing heroine that they even called her "Moses" for her rescuing the black slaves from the southern plantation where they were sorely abused in every way. 

Even though she herself was a runaway slave who made it though a100 treacherous miles from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Freedom, she went back over and over again to save others. 

The movie said she saved 70 other through the underground railroad and then in the civil war led the black troops to free another 750 slaves!

Her courage and faith through it all was truly inspirational.

I was so glad when she carried a gun and shot at her nemesis who enslaved her and her family before he could kill or capture and torture her. 

She didn't kill him, but she told him in no uncertain terms that people were not meant by G-d to own and enslave other people!

We need more people like Harriet Tubman in the world who fight for what's right and clearly know the difference between good and evil. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2019

State Of Our Politicians

Last night was the State of the Union...

But this morning, I still can't help thinking about the State of our Politicians. 

The picture from Virginia governor, Ralph Northam medical school yearbook is outrageous, and yet he refuses to step down.

This didn't happen when he was kid, but as a responsible adult. 

And even for those of us who believe in personnel change and forgiveness, there has to be accountability for something this callous, hurtful, bigoted and offensive. 

What happened to our politicians being true patriots, looking out for our good and the best interests of our nation?

One lady said to a group of us last evening:
I know who I am going to vote for in the next elections, and it's NO ONE currently in political office!

To which another gentleman replied:
It doesn't matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.

Somehow, I still have faith that there are people who can rise to the occasion and be the leaders that they must be. ;-)
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January 31, 2019

Respecting Native Americans

So I don't know what went down with the students from Catholic Covington High School and the Native Americans in the video that was widely circulated the other day.

People claiming all sorts of racism and hate, and others saying nothing happened--usually the truth is somewhere in between. 

In light of this, I wanted to share this awesome painting, and say we should absolutely respect the Native Americans and do everything we can to help them. 

These are the indigenous people that were here long before we ever were, and let's just say that they suffered and lost a lot when the first Europeans arrived on these shores. 

We are all G-d's children, and no one acting with integrity and peacefully should ever be mistreated or disrespected, no one! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 30, 2019

Slavery Touches Us All

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Without Slavery and Genocide."
Coming out of the museum, my daughter asked how anyone could actually do something like this to another human being. I had no answer to this...just like I have none to the Holocaust or any of the other incredibly cruel, sick, and wicked things that people do to each other. 

Hopefully we can all have a brighter future without slavery and without genocide.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 21, 2019

@MLK Celebration



(Source Videos: Andy Blumenthal
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November 10, 2018

Democrats and Democracy

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Democrats and Democracy--Could It Be Again?"
The polarization, opposition, racism, and hatred is despicable and seems to only be getting worse. Two more people came to me today after synagogue to tell me they are “resigning” from the democratic party. We all used to love the Democratic Party and what it stood for, especially as Jews, who know the endless and murderous barbs of discrimination and anti-Semitism. What has happened? What once stood for freedom, respect, and dignity for all has turned upside down and inside out. All I hear now is hate, hate, and more hate.

Whichever political party and leadership can do what's right for the nation and adhere to civil rights, human rights, and doing what's right--that's the one for me. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 6, 2018

The Diversity Tapestry

I really liked this sign with the saying by civil rights leader, Maya Angelou:
"We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their color [or race, or origin, or religion, or age, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability]."

Ok, I added the "or" statements at the end. 

But the point is the same and important.

Discrimination, bigotry, prejudice, and bias are stupid. 

They are a function of ignorance. 

- We learn from diversity. 

- Life is richer with diversity. 

If everything was in monocolor...if life was homogeneous...if there was only one type of everything, then what type of humdrum, monotonous, and boring place would this be?

Value the variety.  Value the diversity.  Value the differences. 

They make us better and stronger than we could ever otherwise be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 21, 2016

Heads Down, Pants Down

If you put your head down in the global sand, then eventually your pants are going to get pulled down too, and you are going to get royally scr*wed (or should I say scr*w things up). 

And that's exactly what's happening to the reputation of the U.S. here and abroad.

Domestically, another 3 terror attacks just over the weekend in New York , New Jersey, and Minnesota.

While overseas, a humanitarian aid convey is attacked in Syria destroying 18 trucks and killing 20 people, and this after being coordinated with Russia, in advance.

And despite our touting our own horn of achievements at the UN yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal today, the former prime minister of Denmark and secretary-general of NATO is crying out on behalf of the world and imploring the U.S. to once again lead in the world, stating:
"We desperately need a U.S. president who is able to lead the free world and counter autocrats...right now, the [global] village is burning...we need a policeman to restore order; we need a firefighter to put out the flames."

He goes on as to the consequences of the apparent reluctance to lead:

- "Middle East is torn by war"

- "Libya has collapsed and become a breeding ground for terrorists"

- "Resurgent Russia has brutally attacked and grabbed land by force from Ukraine"

- "China is flexing its muscles against its neighbors"

- "Rogue state of North Korea is threatening nuclear attack"

Oh, and I think he forget this one, but another WSJ piece captured it:

- "One year after Iran deal, Iran's right's violations and aggression continue [unabated]"

But aside from fighting terrorism and despots in the world, even when it comes to fighting for critical civil rights, there is weakness and disillusionment (today from Jason Riley in the Journal):
"By almost any traditional metric,--home-ownership, median incomes, labor participation, poverty--blacks are worse off today than they were at the start of Mr. Obama's first term." 

This country cannot lead with it's head down and it's hands tied!

It's way past time to pick our heads up high and buckle our belts and get back in the ring to fight with belief and determination for what is right for us and the world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 20, 2016

Please G-d In The Workplace

So here is a true story that happened to me at work.

You know how you put on your "out of office message" in Microsoft Outlook when on leave...

Well, I was responsible and did just that. 

My message was typical informing people that I was out, when I plan to return, and who to contact about urgent matters in my (brief) absence. 

But something astonishing happened then...

I actually got a reply to my out of office message from an executive scolding me about it--imagine this being how government time is spent. 

Yes and dun da da dum...here was my big offense to this senior executive, in my out of office message, I simply used the words "Please G-d," as in:

"I am out of the office and plan to return, please G-d, on [such and such day and date]."

The message I received back in my inbox:

"I'm not sure what the 'please G+d' reference means. It's a bit confusing. You may want to delete it."

OMG, I was being admonished in the federal government for using the words "Please G-d" in my out of office message--for simply respecting and recognizing Him/Her. 

- What is confusing about "Please G-d"?

- And how can anyone ask that I delete G-d from my message or in any way from my life???

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) states under religious discrimination and harassment that:


 "Harassment, can include, for example offensive remarks about a person's beliefs or religious practices."


Further, "the law requires an employer or other covered entity to reasonably accommodate an employees religious beliefs and practices," barring an undue burden. 

What burden to the government was there in me saying, "please G-d."

And why did I get back a mocking message spelling it this way, "G+d," which I read as being a cross in the middle, mocking me as someone of Jewish belief.

Understand that I write the word G-d with a hyphen, because I was taught out of respect not to spell out ( or even say) G-d's name in vain, which is the 3rd commandment in the biblical Ten Commandments.

The executive's comments to me were not only extremely rude, offensive, and discriminatory, but also illegal.

It is outrageous that this type of behavior should be allowed to go on in 21st century America, let alone in the federal government itself that writes and enforces the law of the land--the land of the free and the home of the brave--read it, it's in our national anthem and our constitution. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 10, 2016

Lives That Matter Not

With the presumed racially bigoted killing of Black people, we got Black Lives Matter. 

Now with the sniper attack murdering 5 police officers, we have Blue Lives Matter. 

From the unfortunate political response to both, it seems that No Lives Matter. 

With all the violence, and revenge violence, and cycles thereof, it was amazingly sad to hear our President say last week, "I firmly believe that America is not as divided as some have suggested."

Oh, really!

From Trayvon Martin to Freddie Gray to the five police officers killed last week--there sure seems to be a lot of bloodletting for a country that is not all that divided. 

The problem is that the serious racial divisions are only a part of it. 

Economic inequality is another big factor in the equation with the top 1% owning more than 50% of global wealth, and the gap continues to widen. 

And on top of that you have the political elites who perhaps are not only above the law, but are so much intertwined with the law of the land that they can be "100% confident" on doing what they want and not getting in any trouble.  

So does the 99% matter? Perhaps only as much as your vote and/or donation count for the 1% to get and keep their beloved and worshiped money and power. 

One thing that is amazingly clear across the spectrum from the likes of Donald Trump to that of Bernie Sanders is that the system is rigged.

Yet as disparities and inequalities exist in treatment from black to blue, the elites are most able to manipulate the "echo chamber" with loads of spin to give the perception of calm and stability and some breadcrumbs for all. 

Everyone has a chance to live and to prosper except when they don't.  

Still we can gloss over the spilled blood and the ridiculous inequality with some promises, gestures, and maybe even a few handouts--and make you 100% confident that you do matter so very much. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 28, 2016

Equality Is Human Rights


I was most impressed recently with the organization (including the marketing and branding) behind the LGBT movement. 

The new bumper sticker with the yellow equal (=) sign.

The people on the street in yellow "Equality" t-shirts wanting to talk and promote themselves.

The tablet computers they are carrying equipped with slide presentation on equal rights (and their association with the larger issue on their website for human rights).  

The on-the-spot electronic sign up for either monthly donations and/or petition for the Equality Act to amend the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation. 

Religious beliefs aside, and as long as you don't hurt others, people are people and should not be discriminated against. 

All people should be treated fairly and protected from disparate or unfair treatment, bullying or worse. 

Equality really is human rights. ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 3, 2013

12 Years A Slave, But Not Anybody's Property

I saw the movie "12 Years A Slave."

I have seen other movies on slavery, such as Amistad and Glory, but none were as potent and realistic as this was. 


I came out with my head full of feelings of pain and injustice, as if I had just lived through those 12 years as a slave myself. 


I literally felt sick to my stomach and the room felt as if it was spinning and I could hardly breathe. 


My wife said to me, "You wouldn't be human if you didn't feel bad."


And I responded to her, "I feel bad that they (the slave owners and traders) weren't human."


I cannot tell the story of Solomon Northup or of the horrors of slavery any better than the movie in fact did. 


But what I can convey is my shear disgust for how anybody could enslave and mistreat others the way the Black people and others throughout history were. 


As a Jewish person, my own people have a history of 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and this took on a whole new meaning. 


As great actors as Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner were, The movie, The Ten Commandments, did not show the depths of Hell of slavery as much as the breadth of Heaven of redemption. 


And while the Pyramids of Egypt were built not with massively powered Caterpillar earth movers and construction equipment, but with the flesh and blood of my people under the whip of servitude 3,500 years ago, similarly the Capitol of the United States and The White House were built with Black people in chains and hung by the noose. 


In the movie today, the plantation owners said they could do what they wanted to the slaves and without fear of retribution or sin, because the slaves were their property. 


What is unbelievable is that anyone can believe that anybody can be the property of anyone other than G-d, the Master of the Universe, him/herself. 


The slave trader in the movie, tearing apart a family and selling the mother and her children separately, when questioned on his ability to commit such atrocity, says matter-of-factly,"my sentimentality extends the length of a coin."


For a buck, what will a person not do?


In history, we have seen individuals and whole societies cheat, steal, rape, enslave, torture, murder, and commit every treachery and treason...for a buck or even just because they could. 


What is the lesson for all of us?


People can do great good in this world, but unfettered by faith, conscience, reason, or fear of justice, they can do great, great evil--and for that we can never let our guard down.

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November 22, 2012

In The Back Of The Bus

I love seeing the sign on the bus commemorating the heroism of Rosa Parks for civil rights.

However, on this Thanksgiving, I was reminded that all is still not well when it comes to bigotry and racism in this country.

I rode the S bus this evening--the one that goes up and down Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

The beautiful architecture of the luxury condominiums and hotels, and the palm trees, beach and waterways, along with a good smattering of fancy automobiles and yachts, makes for some impressive scenery.

But this is in stark contrast to most of the people on the bus, who come from a much poorer lifestyle. 

This afternoon, the bus was very crowded and my daughter and I found ourselves in the back of the bus.

And the vibes were not very good at all!

First, there was a young lady dressed somewhat scantilly, and there was a guy riding in the back row who just kept looking her up and down--again and again. I imagined how uncomfortable and scared she must feel. But within a few minutes, I was glad when I saw her get off the bus, safely. 

Now, I guess it was our turn, unfortunately. And beside the man who had been ogling the woman is a another guy. This guy has wild hair and his eyes are intensely dark, and he is staring at me.

First, when I noticed him doing it, I did the usual quick look back, which shows the person you are noticing them staring at you, and then they stop, right? That's what usually happens, but not this time.

This guy stares straight at me with piercing angry eyes--and he won't stop.

I look over at my daughter to make sure she is okay, but she is aware that something is wrong and that there is danger nearby, sitting just a few feet away.

I look up front to see if we can move away--but the bus is still crowded and we are sort of hemmed in. 

The guy continues to stare straight in my face, and there is no avoiding it any longer. 

I say, "Are you looking at me?"

He continues to stare, doesn't say a word, and he looks up at my Jewish head covering, my Yarmulka. Then he lifts his hand--he points first at his eyes and then straight at me.

I get my daughter up and we squeeze our way forward toward the front of the bus. Thank G-d, this guy didn't pursue.

We lost our seat, but by the way this guy looked menacingly at us, I think we could've lost a lot more. 

This was quite a frightening situation, and it made me think that while the Rosa Parks sign on the bus has a permanent place there, unfortunately, there are still lots of people who hold onto blind hatred and refuse to let it go. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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