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By Halisi Lester
For several years now, there has been a gradual swell of support for college “student athletes” to receive additional compensation above the cost of their athletic scholarships. Last month, football players at NorthwesternUniversity took another major step toward gaining more pay. The National Labor Relations Board ruled that the players were employees of the university and therefore have the right to unionize, citing their time commitment to their sport and the fact that their on-field performance is directly tied to their scholarships.
Of course, Northwestern vehemently disagreed with the NLRB’s decision and with the help of the NCAA will no doubt fight it tooth and nail. But the hope is that this ruling will ultimately be looked at as a landmark in college athletes eventually receiving fair compensation for their services. As the system stands now, everyone involved in the NCAA model (university presidents, athletic directors, coaches, etc.) are paid handsomely — except for the athletes themselves. Read more
Sistahs’ Talkin Back held our 24th annual AFFIRMATIONS program recently. The theme was “Resist and Redefine: Harnessing our Collective Power”. We had three dynamic sistah warriors presenting. Holly Roe, Sonjah Gholston-Byrd and Tempestt Olivia schooled us on the benefits of using our collective power to ensure that employers give us the respect that we deserve.
Holly, a case worker with the Family Division of Social Services, talked about worker rights and how when these rights are disregarded clients are also affected. Sonjah, a union steward for CWA Local 6300, explained the need for women workers participate in unions so that company executives hear their voices. To wrap up the powerful session Tempestt spoke on the collective work she and the other fast food workers are doing with the “Show me 15” campaign. She shared how her and many of the women she works with have learned to lean on each other for support.
Along with these sistahs, Kimberly from the St. Louis County Firefighters Association came and shared the importance of recruiting more women into the profession. Emile Taylor and Williams & Associates were on hand doing health screenings and HIV/AIDS testing; promoting our awareness of health.
It was a special moment together where we celebrated ourselves, shared our struggles and wisdom, and laid tracks for the future work. We thank all the participants including our wonderful vendors Njoki Redding of Progressive Emporium, Dail Chambers of GYA Art Collective, Angela Roffle, and sistah Danyel Gill with her relaxing messages.
By Joe Navarro
I went to see the movie, Cesar Chavez on his birthday, March 31st. I watched and felt a mix of sentiments about it. Being an individual who was partly inspired by Chavez and the United Farm Workers Union (U.F.W.) I felt a certain amount of kinship with the characters of the movie. As a former union president, of the International Molders & Allied Workers Union Local #164 in Northern California I felt a sense of solidarity. I met Chavez in Exeter, CA in 1979 while we discussed mutual support of each others unions. They walked with us in our picket lines and we walked with them and supported their boycott campaign.
The national boycott was inspiration to many people of my generation. We walked picket lines at Safeway and Lucky stores to discourage shoppers from buying grapes and lettuce. Many young Chicanas and Chicanos like myself thought of the United Farm Workers Union as an extension of the “Chicano Movement.” The Huelga (strike) made people conscious of the conflict between capitalists and workers in an agricultural setting. Read more
“When you are in Mississippi, the rest of America doesn’t seem real; and when you are in the rest of America, Mississippi doesn’t seem real,” Robert “Bob” Moses, who was the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) project director for Mississippi from 1961-1965, once remarked of the state.
Because Mississippi is known for its anti-black violence, racist codification in law of discrimination, and the denial of basic citizenship rights, change in Mississippi was brought on through arduous, dangerous struggle, particularly during the year of 1964. That was the year when Bob Moses spearheaded a movement to change Mississippi, which would be called the Mississippi Summer Project. “Freedom Summer” in Mississippi not only changed the state, but also changed America by taking on four major issues: gaining and securing voting rights, quality public education, opportunity for work and fair pay, and healthcare. Read more