Art and life seamlessly merged a few weeks ago at Border X Brewery in Barrio Logan. It was the site of a launch party for Emmy award winning filmmaker Paul Espinosa’s latest project, a full length documentary about San Diego activist and musician Ramon “Chunky” Sanchez. It was a career milestone for both Espinosa, who is probably best known in San Diego for his critically acclaimed production of The Lemon Grove Incident and Chunky whose music has been a voice for social justice for over thirty years. [Read more…]
In my Labor Day column , I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions:
California labor history doesn’t begin and end with union membership. Forming and maintaining unions is one part of a broader story, repeated countless times–in coastal seaports, the Central Valley farms, the southern oilfields, and the Sierra foothills, in financial high-rises and bungalow classrooms—of workers journeys from isolation and powerlessness to community, strength, and hope. Their toolbox contains unions, to be sure, but also lawsuits, legislation, election campaigns, community murals, songs, demonstrations, and a mountain of dedication by ordinary people to shared ideas of fairness and social justice.
To learn more about this story and what about it is most important, I am pleased to present the first installment of my three-part interview with Fred Glass, author, teacher, union member, and long-time Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers.
By Anne Haule / Women’s Museum of California
The year was 1970, I was to graduate with a BA, the Kent State killings had just occurred and campuses all across the nation, including mine, were shut down. Never having to take our last set of final exams, my class was graduated – some of us walking down the aisle to receive our diplomas wearing black arm bands to signify opposition to the war in Vietnam. Having financed my education, my parents congratulated me and quickly let me know that I was now on my own as far as money was concerned.
So, since I had to pay rent, I went about the task of finding a job. I soon learned that my degree in English didn’t matter a damn but my halting ability to crank out 45 words per minute on the typewriter did– a skill I tried to learn in high school since I thought it’d be easier than trigonometry. [Read more…]
What’s wrong with Bob?
It’s a question I ask myself almost every day, usually after reading the news.
For the last 100 years* it’s been the third most popular name in America (if you’re including Robert), yet we’ve had no President Bobs. Not one.
We’ve had six James’s (the most popular name in the U.S.) and five Johns (the second most popular) elected president even though there’ve only been 50, 717 more Johns than Roberts born in this country over those 100 years. Bobs are solidly in third place in this country but we haven’t sent a single Bob to the White House. [Read more…]
By Denise Oliver Velez / Daily Kos
Today, let’s remember the courage of Elizabeth Eckford. While Donald Trump plays games pretending to court black voters (who don’t support him, and almost unanimously loathe and reject him) in order to convince some white folks that he “isn’t so bad,” let’s remind him—and anyone who buys his bullshit—that we black folks have long memories.
The screaming, spittle-flecked people in the crowds drawn to him like flies on shit, his supporters waving confederate flags, shouting racial epithets, and grinning proudly at their own bigoted cleverness evoke a racial déjà vu that some of us participated in, or remember witnessing firsthand on the news, or heard stories about from older kinfolks. We saw Eckford brave an angry crowd alone, separated from the other members of the group who would come to be known as the “Little Rock Nine.” The photograph of a lone Eckford, captured by young journalist Will Counts, will forever remain in my memory and in the minds and souls of all who have seen it. [Read more…]
Imagine Gloria Steinem, Coretta Scott King, Dolores Huerta, Betty Friedan, Billie Jean King and Malala Yousafzai all rolled into one amazing social justice activist.
Imagine a woman who made a difference in the suffrage movement, the labor movement, the racial equality movement, women’s education, and court reform…
Welcome to the world of INEZ MILHOLLAND – the 27-year-old woman, dressed in a white cape and crown atop a white steed, who led the Suffrage March of 1913 in Washington, D. C. on the day before the inauguration of Woodrow Wilson. [Read more…]
By Groundwork Books Collective
At the open house at Groundwork Books during alumni weekend our classic sign got a new layer of paint. A photo was posted online and we learned that the logo was designed by Charyn Segal and Lincoln Cushing.
It was Lincoln Cushing humself* that shared that bit of knowledge. Lincoln, a political poster designer and archivist, was involved in the original Groundwork Books project starting back in 1973.
Wanting to learn more about the groundwork of Groundwork Books (see what I did there mhmm) I reached out to Lincoln and he was happy to share some details. [Read more…]
Community Fundraiser Set for August 13 at Bread & Salt
The Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center is coming to Barrio Logan next door to Chicano Park. The City and museum have yet to sign a lease over the property that for years held the Cesar Chavez Continuing Education Center. But it will happen.
Activists involved with the Chicano Park Steering Committee created the nonprofit Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center. Board members include…
Chicano Park co-founder and lifelong CPSC member Josie Talamantez, who wrote the proposal to place Chicano Park’s Monumental Murals on the National Registry of Historic Sites and recently presented in Washington, DC before the National Landmark review committee (her proposal passed unanimously), is leading the charge to make the museum happen. [Read more…]
In Part I the activist path of Linda and Carlos LeGerrette connected them with United Farm Worker efforts in Keene California in the early 70s. Part II provides more details about their work with César Chávez and the UFW, how the couple faced personal crises and their abiding commitment to community service here in San Diego.
César Chávez approached Carlos and Linda about going to La Paz, where he had moved the United Farm Workers’ headquarters in 1971 from Delano. “On 187 acres in the small Tehachapi mountain town of Keene, Chávez began building a community of fellow union members and volunteers who worked with him full time for social justice.”
La Paz was housed in a former tuberculosis sanatorium. Linda and Carlos’ room was in what had been the kitchen. [Read more…]
The following article appeared in the 1969 print edition of the San Diego Free Press. It has been transcribed from the microfilm at the San Diego Public Library.
As Frank Pace says in the Foreward to Dynamic America: A History of the General Dynamics Corporation by John Niven. “In 1960, ours is the most powerful of nations, intimately involved in all the earth’s daily business, the major bulwark against communism and so most threatened. From these times to the present, during our growth, from an insular agrarian society to the world’s political and industrial leader, the position of the United States in world politics has determined, almost exclusively, the flow of product research and development from General Dynamics.” [Read more…]
Much of our patriotic culture was created by people with decidedly progressive sympathies.
By Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks / AlterNet
July 4 is an occasion for Americans to express their patriotism. But the ways we do so are as diverse as our nation.
To some, patriotism means “my country—right or wrong.” To others, it means loyalty to a set of principles, and thus requires dissent and criticism when those in power violate those standards. One version of patriotism suggests “Love it or leave it.” The other version means “Love it and fix it. [Read more…]
On this day when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence, it’s important to remember Jefferson himself believed that each new generation needed to make the American creed their own. And everyone from slaves to women to working people did just that as we see in Frederick Douglass’s great speech “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”, the early feminist manifesto “Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Seneca Falls,” and the much lesser known “Working Men’s Declaration of Independence.”
This last is centrally important to remember because while Americans are largely aware that the battle for inclusion involved long and heroic abolition, civil rights, and women’s movements, struggles around issues of class have all-too-frequently been relinquished to the dustbin of history. Such is the case with the early Working Men’s Party that was railing about what Bernie Sanders calls “the billionaire class” well before the time when many historians mark the beginning rustlings of the American labor movement.
Indeed, what the early Working Men’s Party history shows is class rebellion is as American as apple pie and was seen as a fulfillment of the Jeffersonian project. How so? [Read more…]
By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos
June 25th marked the 140th anniversary of the Little Big Horn Battle, known as Custer’s Last Stand to Americans at the time and ever afterward. Remembered as the Battle of the Greasy Grass among the Lakota (Sioux), Cheyenne and Arapahoe, it’s hard to overstate how much the 7th Cavalry’s defeat in the hills of Montana that June day in 1876 affected the nation then and how it has shaped and reshaped subsequent views of both Custer and American Indians.
In the past couple of weeks, there have already been a few published commentaries about the battle and its impacts, including this fascinating New York Times piece: A Real War Story, in Drawings. It looks at colored pencil pictographs of the battle drawn five years after it occurred by Red Horse, a Mniconjou Lakota. [Read more…]
Linda and Carlos LeGerrette are known in San Diego for their Chicano activism, particularly with farm workers. They started César Chávez clubs in San Diego and have been politically active for decades. They continue to be examples of what can be achieved when working together, not only in marriage but through a shared value system. Like many of us, they have had their share of life’s ups and downs. Both grew up poor but as Linda puts it they weren’t aware of that because everyone around them was also poor. [Read more…]
The 1970s were a period of unrest in San Diego’s Barrio. Norma was taking Chicano Studies at San Diego State and meeting with MEChA. Norma adds that Chicano Studies had a lot of theory but they did not always have the opportunity to practice what they had learned. This changed rather quickly as she started picketing the National City Police Station about police brutality and the Safeway stores as part of the grape boycott.
This was also a time of student walk outs that began with the “blowouts” in East Los Angeles in 1968. These walk outs were precipitated by inferior and discriminatory education in public schools with a high percentage of Latino children. Student walk outs soon followed in San Diego. [Read more…]
By Denise Oliver Velez / Daily Kos
Black women have a long and often unrecognized history of serving in our military. But this tempest in a tea party pot is really not about the military, except for the fact that the armed forces are symbolic of our nation’s strength and have traditionally been a male domain and preserve. The criticism is simply part of a historical continuum that attempts to repress any and all expressions of black pride, and our solidarity and success against the odds. [Read more…]
By Abby Zimet / CommonDreams
Having blithely orchestrated several genocides and the deaths of millions of brown-skinned innocents in the specious, imperial name of the right to bomb neutral countries in order to save them and maybe us – a right that America, despite our ongoing carnage, still claims – Henry Kissinger, our best and brightest war criminal, on Monday won the Distinguished Public Service Award, the Defense Department’s highest honor for private citizens.
In a stomach-roiling spectacle at the Pentagon wherein one discordantly unfit Nobel Peace Prize winner honors another, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called the former Secretary of State’s murderous service “unique in the annals of American diplomacy.” Kissinger, Carter said, “demonstrated how serious thinking and perspective can deliver solutions to seemingly intractable problems.” [Read more…]
By Brett Warnke
On the books, May 1st is officially Law Day, whose origins (like the holy portions of the Pledge of Allegiance and “In God We Trust”) came out of the Eisenhower Administration’s rhetorical battle against the Soviet Union. Of course, the silent smear was that radical workers lacked respect for a nation of laws. But for those with a sense of history May 1 is and shall be a day of observance for workers mourned after the bloody Haymarket Affair in 1886 which later became memorialized when strikers pushed for an eight-hour work day.
Is it so hard to imagine an era of endless work? Of plutocrats and bought government? Of a used, dispirited and duped population? [Read more…]
Editor’s Note: Frank Gormlie will speak about “Hippies in OB” this Saturday, April 30th at the OB Library, from 2 to 3 pm.
OB as the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego
In my many writings about Ocean Beach history – some of which I share below – I’ve always noted that in the late 1960s, OB became the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego. By 1967 – a year after the OB Pier had officially opened – it was already evident that Ocean Beach was morphing into the San Diego equivalent of that fabled and iconic San Francisco neighborhood synonymous with “hippie-ism”. If you were a hippie or a hippie-wannabe during this time somewhere in San Diego, you ended up in OB. [Read more…]
By Meteor Blades / Daily Kos
An unnamed senior federal official told CNN Saturday that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will announce this week sometime that Alexander Hamilton will remain on a newly designed $10 bill but a woman will replace Andrew Jackson on the $20. Just don’t expect to see bills with whomever that replacement is pouring out of the nation’s ATMs anytime soon.
Newly designed $5 and $10 bills will show up first. Because of the lengthy design and anti-counterfeiting measures, if Hillary Clinton becomes president and serves two terms, she’ll be long out of office by the time a woman appears on the $20—in 2030 at the earliest, according to Treasury officials … [Read more…]
So, today is national stoner day. You know, 4/20, dude. Californians will likely be voting to Legalize It in November, though it’s not certain at this point what language will be approved.
Legalizing pot won’t free it from its long history of association with racism, and we need to talk about it. And I’ll share some of the fun 420 coverage from around the state.
Harry Anslinger, made commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics after alcohol prohibition failed, was one of the driving forces behind pot prohibition. He pushed it for explicitly racist reasons, saying, “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men,” and complaining about “its effect on the degenerate races.” [Read more…]
Norma Hernandez’ road to becoming a Chicana activist is different than that of the other Latinos and Latinas I have written about. Norma was born in Tijuana in 1938 and lived there until she was fifteen years old. She is an only child born to Mr. and Mrs. Arce. Fortunately, there were a large number of cousin, aunts and uncles that provided an extended family experience.
Her great-grandmother Valeria was an Otomi Indian who lived in San Luis Potosí Mexico on a little ranchito. Norma’s mother was born in Johnson, Arizona, a small mining town near Bisbee Arizona which no longer exists today.
When her mother was a year old, Norma’s grandparents moved to Mexico. The United states was experiencing a chicken pox epidemic. Fearing for the health of his family her grandfather moved them to Tijuana where he would own a barber shop and later a movie theater. [Read more…]
Eyes closed into hands
touching the womb
Grass grows greener
where the goddess of Pomos
bent legs in birth
arms stretched out
over infant earth [Read more…]
By Leah Schroeder
March was a month for deep reflection for a lot of us women on the question, “how far have we come?” A plethora of articles and books are available that discuss this question, and dissect the variety ways in which women are still subjugated in all societies. There are so many controversial, frustrating, and generally negative circumstances I could write or rant about.
It’s easy to become angry at how “The System” (patriarchy, misogyny, menstrual cycles, racism, you catch my drift) has been set up against marginalized groups for millennia. Sometimes, this anger is consuming. For example, when reading about how an African American woman was (allegedly) gang-raped by men on the lacrosse team at a prestigious, majority white university (cite). Among other things, gender-based violence occurs all over the world, a lot more often than many people think.
The historical and deeply systematic subjugation and de-humanization of women that still prevails in many ways today can really get you down. However, there’s also a growing sensation of power that comes with education and the knowledge gained from women in the past and present. [Read more…]
Devoted Indigenous rights advocate and chronicler of Plains Indian history died this weekend in hospice in Billings, Montana
By Nika Knight / CommonDreams
Joseph Medicine Crow, the last living Plains Indian war chief and a passionate historian, died on Sunday at age 102.
A member of the Crow tribe, Medicine Crow was an outspoken advocate for his people, whose suffering he witnessed in the wake of the U.S. government’s relegation of American Indian tribes to reservations and the policy of cultural genocide in government-run boarding schools.