Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Octavia Estelle Butler: On the 10th Anniversary of Our Sister's Death

This 24th day of February marks the 10th anniversary of the death of one of America's greatest modern writers, the late Octavia E. Butler. As a serious fan and follower of her work, I chose the two quotes in creating these images in tribute to her clear-eyed prescience. May our sister continue to rest in peace. #haikuhallofblackness

Monday, February 1, 2016

2nd Annual Latino Action Network Legislative Conference

Incoming Latino Action Network President Christian Estevez moderating morning Plenary Session with members of the NJ Hispanic Legislative Caucus, including Asw. Annette Quijano, Sen. Nellie Pou,  Asm. Marlene Caride, Asw. Annette Chapparo, and Asw. Eliana Pintor Marin.
This past Saturday, January 30, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual Latino Action Network Legislative Conference, held at the Robert Treat Hotel and Conference Center in Newark, NJ. Incoming LAN President (and PACHA Commissioner) Christian Estevez moderated the morning Plenary Session with members of the NJ Hispanic Legislative Caucus, who discussed issues of concern to the larger Latino population in New Jersey, including education, child care, earned sick leave, in-state tuition for DREAMERs, municipal IDs, and driving privileges for undocumented residents. I was especially happily to see some of my students from Essex County College in attendance at the conference--the Essex County Dream Team was represented!

Workers' Rights Panel.
Latino Action Network Steering Committee Swearing-in.
Several concurrent  breakout sessions included Immigrant Rights, Environmental Justice, Educating Our Children, Latino Youth Activism, Voting Rights, Affordable Housing, Political Empowerment, Health Enrollment and Access. One of the panels I attended was the Workers Rights panel, moderated by Craig Garcia of New Jersey Working Families. This excellent discussion focused on the fight for justice in the workplace, the recent successes in local worker mobilization to organize unions within their workplaces, and the importance of community engagement to improve working conditions.

Also speaking that day were Ambassador Phil Murphy, Sen. Ray Lesniak, Asm. John Wisnieskwi, Sen. Teresa Ruiz, and Sen. Steve Sweeney. NAACP State President Richard T. Smith also spoke, stressing the importance of coalition-building among communities of Color. The Keynote Speaker was Mayor Steve Fulop of Jersey City. Below, in part, are Mayor Fulop's remarks:

All in all, the conference was a great success, as attested to by the packed rooms for the entire day. I look forward to the next event, and to building upon the new networks!