“Since they don’t want to come to the table, we took it upon ourselves to bring our own table,” Papa John’s Pizza worker and Fight for 15 leader Shantel Walker told Peoples World. “Many domestic workers are immigrants who don’t know their rights … but don’t feel they have the right to speak up, because they live in fear,” said domestic worker Daniela Contreras of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “We must build organizations that make it possible for us to come together and organize to have our human and working needs met.”
The most significant outside factor in the 2016 campaign was not the scattered cases of voter fraud, or Putin’s hacking, or even former FBI Director Comey’s interventions. The most significant factor was the suppression of the vote – particularly the black vote – in North Carolina, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Milwaukee. As Berman has argued, federal court records show that “300,000 registered voters, 9 percent of the electorate, lacked strict forms of voter ID in Wisconsin.” A recent study by Priorities USA, a Democratic PAC, estimated that Wisconsin’s harsh voter ID laws “reduced turnout by about 200,000 votes” – disproportionately black votes. Trump won the state by 22,748 votes.
What is also so frustrating is that although there is all this hand wringing and lamenting by a plethora of writers, journalists and reporters, there is a lack of direction by anyone of the progressive or leftist slant to propose anything to halt these racist, state sanctioned lynchings. I would venture some proposals including everything from civilian review boards, peoples’ tribunals to community patrols to monitor the activities of the police who in so many instances act like an occupying army rather than protectors of the communities they are supposed to serve. There has to be community control of the police. Keep in mind that the courts, so far, have been on the side of the police. The so-called justice system in this regard is broken.
As an aggrieved mother of a recent victim so poignantly said: “the police cannot police the police.”
Council member Costa Constantinides of District 22 spoke to the crowd. Pointing to the waste plant in their neighborhood, he said, “This plant burned six million gallons of No. six oil this year and 12 million gallons last year. This grade of oil has many noxious gasses when burned. My district has higher levels of asthma and hospitalizations. When Trump is stepping out, we have to step up!”
Costa’s is co-author of INT. 359 (bit.do/INT359), which ensures that the Department of Environmental Protection and Department of Mental Health and Hygiene will identify and study environmental justice communities, neighborhoods with a significant low-income population and communities of color. The study would include sources of pollution, adverse health impacts on the pollution, the environmental impacts of city policies on communities, barriers to participation by the communities in environmental decision-making, use and potential future use of renewable energies, and policy recommendations to address environmental concerns.