Thursday, August 4, 2011

Politics, curfew law, “Back to School” community block party, Leslie Orear, WOW Internet Cafe

President Obama
                 MY OPINION: There is a misguided political message whirling around our Chicago Latino communities by some community activists. Here is what they are saying: “That the Mexican/Latino voter should hold’ their presidential vote from President Obama in 2012”. Politically, this message is counter-productive. Why? Because we should be encouraging our community to VOTE, not discouraging! Ironically, the majority of our registered voters don’t vote! There are approximately 14,000 registered voters in the 22nd Ward and only 4,000 vote. Our Chicago Latino communities are already ‘holding’ their vote.
                 YES, PRESIDENT Obama did not keep his first term promise to our community by not giving us a comprehensive immigration reform law. Yes, there has been more deportation under his presidential watch. These raids are being aggressively conducted by ICE [U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement].  If Obama interferes with ICE’s job, Obama would look as if he does not support the law of the land or the immigration policies of the United States.   
            STOPPING THE RAIDS will not give us a comprehensive immigration law. The reality in Washington is that President Obama does not have the votes to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill. If he had the votes in Congress, I believe we would have a comprehensive immigration law today. Obama needs our political help now more than ever. Victory comes by our numbers at the ballot box.
            IN ALL the years that I’ve been in politics, I’ve never heard of such a ridiculous political strategy as “holding” votes. You either VOTE or you don’t vote! What would be the alternative if we don’t vote to re-elect President Obama; voting for a Republican candidate?
            THE REPUBLICAN PARTY members are blocking compressive immigration reform. Also, a majority of Republican governors have been pushing laws in their State to destroy our Mexican communities in America; fourteen Republican controlled States want to deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants. Arizona Sen. Russell Pearce [R] said “This is a battle of epic proportions.” Sen. Pearce is the author of Arizona’s new police-state immigration law. Mexicanos, we are in a political war. Estamos en una guerra politica. 
            THE BEST chance of getting a comprehensive immigration law in the future IS with President Barack Obama. The best thing we can do to help undocumented immigrants is to VOTE, overwhelmingly, to get President Obama re-elected. Let’s use our time wisely and politically by hosting citizenship workshops, registering new voters and to work hard to get-out-the-vote on Election Day! Politicians only listen to one thing---VOTES. It is the currency of politics!

CURFEW LAW: The City of Chicago adopted a curfew ordinance July 28, 2011 that applies to children ages 16 years and younger, as follows:
Weekday curfew for minors 12 through 16 years of age is 10:00 pm.
Weekday curfew for minors 12 and younger is 8:30 p.m.
Weekend curfew for minors 12 through 16 years of age is 11:00 p.m.
Weekend curfew for minors 12 years and younger is 9:00 p.m.
CURFEW VIOLATORS are subject to a fine of up to $500 or community service. Three offenses in a twelve-month period shall be subject to up to $1,500 in addition to community service.   
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL applauded Ald. Toni L. Foulkes [15th Ward], Ald. Michelle Harris [8th Ward] and Ald. Lona Lane [18th Ward] for working to provide an enhanced curfew ordinance that will help better protect the children of Chicago
“EARLIER CURFEW for younger kids can only help protect them. Anything we can do to get kids off the street can assist us in reducing violence,’ said Alderman Foulkes. Enforcement is the key to all laws.

      DON’T MISS: The 5th Annual “Back to School” community block party sponsored by the Little Village Community Council  is this Saturday, August 6, 2011. The party begins at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at 26th St. to 25th St. & Central Park Ave., in Little Village. FREE school supplies, hot dogs, pop, popcorn, ice cream for the children in Little Village. Also pony rides for a donation of $3.
              THERE WILL BE two jumping jacks, piñata, face painting, a clown and DJ music by Jesse Barraza. Contributors to the block party are Zemsky Store, Midwest Generation, State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, Azteca Mall, State Farm Insurance, La Chiquita Supermercados, Pete’s Market, Little Village Chamber of Commerce,  Latin American Motorcycle Club, Farragut Career Academy, Judge Rodolfo Garcia, Meyer Steel Drum Inc., State Sen. Tony Munoz, Wal-Mart, El Milagro Tortillas, Lawndale News, Emi & Sons Joyeria, Ambrosio Medrano, Calli Arch-Tech Inc., Violetas Permit & Business License LLC,  Cermak Foods and Blue Bunny Ice Cream.
                 THIS IS a community block party to bring a day of fun to the children of Little Village before returning to the classroom. Registration to the Block Party will begin at 9 a.m. The LV Community Council welcomes sponsors, please call 312/286-3405.

Leslie Orear
                 LABOR LEADER: A trade unionist and organizer Leslie F. Orear, 100 years old, is still active in the labor movement. Les was the founder and President of the Illinois Labor History Society organized in 1969. He entered the labor force early in the Great Depression.  A college dropout, when both cash and credit ran dry, Les got a job in Chicago’s meat packing industry. He worked on the production line in the cured meat shipping department of Armour & Company.  His pay was 32.5 cents an hour!
             WHEN THE Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) burst upon the scene in 1936, he was among the first in the Chicago stockyards area to sign an authorization card to be represented by the Packinghouse Workers Organizing Committee.  Before long, Les became editor of the national union’s newspaper. 
                 AFTER A few years, he was reassigned to the organizing staff in Kansas, and later returned to the national headquarters as assistant to the vice-president in charge of organization.
                 IN 1952, he moved back to his old duties as Editor of The Packinghouse Worker until 1968 when the union merged with the Amalgamated Meat Cutters.  He remained with the Meat Cutters in its national headquarters as an aide to Pat Gorman, its principal officer, until his retirement in 1977 after 40 years of service to his union.
            WITH GORMAN’S encouragement, Les joined forces with several other staffers of Chicago area unions to set up the Illinois Labor History Society in 1969.  Elected president of the new group at its organizational meeting, Les Orear continued in that capacity until 2006 when he became President Emeritus of the society. Now at the age of 100 Les only asks, “What’s next?” 
           IN 1973, Les Orear as the President of the Illinois Labor History Society and I was the President of the Latin American Advisory Council of Blue Island; also an honorary member of the Illinois Labor History Society. It was President Orear’s leadership that helped LAAC to successfully receive an Illinois Arts Council grant to paint a Mexican labor mural on a wall in Blue Island. 

                 THE PAINTING of the mural in the City of Blue Island became highly controversial and hotly contested by the city officials at that time. City officials did not understand our culture and threaten to stop the painting and arrest anyone involved. They called the mural “advertising” because the mural had a “Black Eagle,” the Union flag of the United Farm Workers Union, which would require a permit. We called it free public art and a mural. The threat and action by the city only gave the project national publicity in the newspapers.
                 TINA DUARTE, owner of Tina’s Restaurant, Broadway & Western Ave. gave us permission to paint the mural on the north end of the wall. Three muralists, Ray Patlan, Vincente Mendoza and Jose Nario, were hired to sketch and paint the mural. Our muralist did an outstanding job; the mural became a shrine and a tourist attraction for years.
                 THE MURAL DEPICTED the evolution of the Mexican workers from laboring in the fields, steel mills, packing houses to becoming lawyers and doctors. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Black Aztec eagle flag of the United Farm Workers Union was in the mural. We named it “The Forbidden Mexican Mural of Blue Island.”
            WE ORGANIZED a rally in support of the mural. Les Orear, labor leader Francisco Montalvo and Congressman Marty Russo joined more than 50 people waving American flags at the rally. Fear and tension was in the air; we were threatened to be arrested if we painted the mural. A priest from St. Benedict’s Church led us in prayer and we all touched the wall, as a gesture of our support. The muralist didn’t know what to do, under the threat of being arrested, I told them, “Start painting.” We expected the police to come and start arresting us but much to our surprise the City officials backed-off and let us be. Our historic mural was painted. It was a beautiful with bright colors. As years past on, a new owner of the building white-washed the wall and the mural and its story was lost forever. It was a victory for the Mexican community in Blue Island. Thank you Les Orear for the support you gave our Mexican community. Viva Orear!