Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vandalism, AFL-CIO

            VANDALISM: Who splashed black paint on our mural? Who did this disgraceful act? At a time when Mexicans and Latinos should celebrate our history, culture and accomplishments during Hispanic Heritage Month [Sept. 15-Oct. 15]; some ignoramus vandalized the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza mural. The mural, located in the heart of the Mexican community of Little Village, depicts Mexican heroes who should be held in the highest regard and honored by the Mexican/Latino community.
            SHAME on those vandals. Their actions have brought disgrace to our Mexican community. Why would anyone tag a mural honoring our Mexican/Latino heroes and parents? In my opinion, using black paint to cover the faces of our heroes symbolizes that their struggles were not significant and their lives do not matter to these vandals.
Mexican mother with children
students in Little Village.
          BLACK PAINT splashed on the faces of PCF Manuel Perez Jr., a recipient of the  Congressional Medal of Honor; labor leader Cesar E. Chavez, union organizer, civil rights leader, founder and president of the United Farm Workers Union who fought for justice for the farm workers; Dr. Hector P. Garcia, Founder of the American G.I. Forum and World War II veteran; Corporal Rodolfo P. “Rudy”  Hernandez, Korean War, 187th Airborne and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the United States Supreme Court, is shameful.  
         MANUEL PEREZ JR. Memorial Plaza was built in 1980 to honor and pay homage to all Mexican-American soldiers and veterans. Every year members of local veteran groups hold ceremonies to honor their military comrades at the plaza. The plaza is also the namesake of the Manuel Perez Jr. American Legion Post 1017 in Little Village.
Dr. Hector P. Garcia,
a student, Rudy Hernandez  
        TO LEARN more about these heroes, I urge you to YouTube their names and watch a video on their lives. Their contributions make us proud to be Hispanic. Encourage our young people to learn about our heroes and respect their legacy.  This is especially important since our [Mexican] community does not have many heroes. 
            WHY the mural was vandalized will always be a mystery. Who did it will always be a mystery. But it is clear the vandalism was done by someone in our own community.
            LOOKING AT the damaged mural, in full, it is obvious the vandal[s] must be connected to an independent political organization. Why? All of the faces in the mural were defaced, except for one. The vandals[s] intended to make a statement and left their message for all the community to see. The action is a pathetic commentary of the independent political organization’s understanding of the lives portrayed in the mural. How sad.
            EVERY Mexican, but especially veterans, Union members, and muralist should be outraged over this vandalism. Those of you who believe in decency and respect to public property, I invite you to come to the Manuel Perez Jr. Memorial Plaza at 26th St. & Kolin Ave. in Little Village.  See, for yourself, the damage these vandals did to our beautiful mural.

               POLITICS: Many years ago, I met with Steelworker Labor Leader, Joseph “Joe” LaMorte, the Sub-District Director for the United Steel Workers of America, District 31, to discuss labor’s political agenda. Joe’s office was in South Chicago at the USWA Local 65 building. At that time, I was a young trade unionist and Chairman of the AFL-CIO Committee On Political Education [COPE] in the South Suburbs.
                JOE TOLD me something that really stuck in my mind and made quite an impression on me. He said, “Augie, we [unions] are victims of our own success.”  I asked Joe what he meant. Joe answered: “Unions have been successful fighting for decent wages, working conditions and benefits for our members. Our success made it possible for our members to move out of the city and into the suburbs, buy a big house, a fancy car, play golf and rub elbows with professional people; and then [our Union members] politically end up voting for REPUBLICANS!”
                 UNIONS WOULD not have so many problems today if their members would only stop voting for Republican candidates. I personally know of some Union members who vote Republican and are proud of it! It boggles my mind; I just can’t understand why they would vote against their own best interest. The father of the labor movement, Samuel Gompers, the first president of the AFL, encouraged union members to take political action to "elect their friends" and "defeat their enemies."

JOE WAS RIGHT. There are some International Unions who openly endorse and financially support Republican Party candidates. These Unions, and their members, forget it is the Republican Party who wants to destroy Unions in America. It is the party who protects corporations, the rich, and wealthy from paying their share of taxes. It is the Democratic Party who supports the Unions, the middle class, and disadvantaged.
Wake up Union members and heed to Gompers’s advice before it’s too late!

                     CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Friday, October 7, 2011-- BOXING NIGHT: Chicago Teamsters Hispanic Caucus Scholarship Program is sponsoring a “Friday Night Boxing” show. Teamster Local 705 Hall, 328 S. Marshfield Ave. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony 7:00 p.m. Mariachi Band, Salsa Band, DJ Tunes. Exciting boxing matches! Tickets $20.00 each. Everyone is invited!

Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011—Mexico City Committee Marathon Cheering Station, 8 a.m. to 12 Noon at Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago, 204 S. Ashland Ave. (Cor. Adams & Ashland Ave.) Over 2,000 Mexican athletes travel to Chicago for the Marathon. Help welcome them. The largest contingent of foreign runners!
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011—“Courage to Quit”, smoking cessation classes. Every Tuesday, 7 weeks, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 1401 W. 18th St. For more info call 312/455-9455 ext. 0.

Saturday, Oct. 15 & Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011-- OPEN HOUSE: The Museum of Mexican Culture and History, 3610 W. 26th St. in Little Village from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Curator William Guillermo Luna, 773/551-4750. Free admission, donations for the museum accepted.

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 Rainbow House’s La Noche del Arcoiris hosted by City Clerk Susana Mendoza, 6:00-9:00 P.M. National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 West 19th Street. Donation: $50. Tickets can be purchased in person the day of the event. Or, contact