Everyone has a truth, here is mine

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Jack Nicholson as Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

 

By now you may be familiar with the term depression. That does not mean that you understand that it is a mental illness or that anyone can get it. But you have, at least have heard the word depressed.

No one knows if, or when, they will be struck by depression, but it can happen to anyone at any time. It's like catching a cold in that anyone can catch a cold at anytime. One can't, however stop it or predict it. The only thing one can try to do is avoid catching it.

Even though many people have heard of the term depression, and may even know, at least conceptually, that it is a mental illness they still can not, for some reason, separate being sad from being depressed. While it is true that everyone gets sad after losing a loved one, it is not true that everyone gets depressed after losing a loved one. Sadness and depression are not mutually interchangeable. You can be sad and not depressed however you can not be depressed without being sad.

But sadness is not the only manifestation of depression. Depression can manifest itself in anger or in ways that make one appear to be anti social or isolationist. Sometimes depression can even manifest itself in physical pain, or worse, it can manifest itself in all of the above.

Some people think that you just have to "man up", "shake it off", "snap out of it" or just "stop whining". If only it were that simple.

Many people suffer with depression and do not even know they are depressed, they have never been properly diagnosed. And when I say suffer I truly mean suffer. While in a state of depression one truely has no control over their emotions. As stated above, these emotions can run the gamut from simply sad and withdrawn, to weeping uncontrollably, to sheer anger. Often people confuse a depressed person with an arrogant person.

 

Erik Johnson, Conflict Mediation Coach Improve relationships, manage emotions, resolve conflict

 

Living with with someone that is depressed is no easy task. It takes a special person to put up with a depressed person. Just as it takes a special person to keep living with someone loved that suddenly becomes blind, or has lost the ability to walk. It is not easy and the love one needs to continue with the person is one that is so profound that it defies logic.

Some people struggle with depression for many years before getting help, others never know they are depressed so never get treatment. Its often been called the silent killer precisely because of this. Depression is not obvious to the naked eye. It's not detectable like a broken arm or even a heart attack is.

Some people can even quasi function while being in the throes of depression. They get up and go to work every day and just function. They may be the person on the job that every secretly says "man that dude or chick is really weird" or they may be the loners. Or they may the one that is always angry, cranky, moody. To you they may appear to be weird but to them they are in utter pain. Since depression is a mental illness, it has to do with the wiring within the brain. Sometimes they call it a chemical imbalance.

In his blog post Are Mental Illnesses Caused by “Chemical Imbalances?" Peter Earley quotes the book SHRINK RAP: Three Psychiatrist Explain Their Work written by Dinah Miller, Annette Hanson, and Steven Roy Daviss explain the term chemical imbalance as it relates to mental illness.

“Chemical imbalance is a term with imprecise meaning…Saying that a psychiatric disorder is caused by a chemical imbalance, although an imperfect explanation, sometimes makes psychiatric disorders more palatable to patients and less stigmatizing. The term gives some credence to the practice of treating these disorders with medication. But there is no psychiatric disorder for which we know for certain which chemicals are “imbalanced” if any.

http://www.peteearley.com/2015/01/30/mental-illnesses-caused-chemical-imbalances/

I was depressed for decades. I never knew I was depressed probably because I self medicated. I was a heroin addict and had never allowed myself to feel anything, I was always high or in search of the next high. I did the things that drug addicts do and paid the price to.  When I finally got clean I was an angry miserable person. I was charismatic and was always able to draw friends. I was an activist and always on the go. But as fast as I made friends just as fast I lost them. People thought I was an arrogant SOB. Then my depression was not manifested in sadness, it was manifested in anger and perhaps I did have a streak of arrogance. Not that I had anything to be arrogant about.

I never knew that I was depressed until one day my wife insisted that I see someone because my mood swings were getting worse. To humor my wife, more than to seek treatment, I finally saw a psychiatrist at Mt. Sinai Hospital. That was the first time in my life that I was told and could not deny that I had a mental illness called depression. Wait, lets back track a minute. After my teenage years and early twenties while still an addict I went in and out of jails a few times. Always for petty crimes. But When I was 21 I guess my number came up and this time I was sent to the state penitentiary. I was sentence to 2 and one third to seven years in prison. That was it my life was changed for ever. While in prison I was finally forced to take a fearless, moral inventory and decide what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. It could have remained the same, getting out of jail (well this time it was prison) getting a job I hated and eventually doing the same things with the same people in the same neighborhood. Or taking drastic action and changing my whole thought process. I have read a book while on Rikers Island  called I'll Quit Tomorrow by Dr. Vern Johnson. I attribute this book to changing my life and leading me into the path of recovery. Anyway, I opted to change my life, I did not want to go back to jail or prison. I realized that I was already on the recidivist tract and did not want to be on it. I did not want to get institutionalized and get used to coming in and out of jails or prison as a normal part of life. I took a legal research class, got a certificate in legal research and went on to get my high school diploma. Those credentials made it possible for me to get a job in the prison legal library. I was a white collar worker in prison. The two highest paying jobs in prison are breaking your back working in the metal shop or working in the law library. Suffice it to say that in state prison those the qualify to work in the law library are few and far in between. Perhaps in federal prison things are different since the type of prisoners that commit federal crimes are often of a higher intelligence quotient.

I had made a plan for myself. It consisted of upon release volunteering at the Manhattan Legal Services Office on 116th Street on top of the chuchifrito store, enrolling in and graduating college and working for a lawyer either as a researcher or as an investigator. My plan was working, I managed to secure a volunteer position at Manhattan Legal Services and I enrolled in and was accepted into John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Unfortunately I was still a drug addict, my illness was just in remission until it was reactivated. I kept true to my word, I did not want to ever go back to jail/prison so I was no longer engaging in petty crimes. I managed to get a job at the East Harlem Committee on Aging as a case worker. This kept me away from crime but I was still using heroin. As a result of this heroin use I no longer felt comfortable attending John Jay College since many of my classmates worked in the various fields on law enforcement, from DEA to narcotics to under cover cops. I was afraid the eventually I would slip up and end up humiliating myself as I was escorted out of the college in hand cuffs. So I dropped out.

I then got involved with local politics by joining the block association. The president of the association was a friend and had connections with the State Assemblyman, Angelo Del Toro. Though this association I met the assemblyman's brother William whom himself had served a little time  and had just gotten funding for a deterrent program called "Just Us" Comedian Richard Pryor had not long before released a comedy album called "This Nigger Is Crazy" and in one of his jokes he talked about the justice system, he said that it was just us going to jails (meaning black and Latino's). I guess that's were Bill took the name for his new program, Just Us. I enrolled as a participant in this program, it was an easy way to make bucks with out having to engage in crime. It was a very cool experience. The gist of the program was building maintenance and preparing a group of participants for another better paying job program that was about to start in weatherization. While in this program I met a guy named Juan M. he was very good in all aspects of construction. So Juan and I formed a contracting company with we called Reconstruction after a Ray Barretto Album by the same name. The goal was to strong arm some subcontracts from the white construction companies that were getting all the bids for the new housing construction going on in East and Central Harlem.  Sounded good, to good to be true. Juan was also a heroin addict in remission. We started jogging everyday, the goal was a strong body and strong mind to tackle the serious job of strong arming construction sites. You have to remember that in New York City jobs like construction and sanitation belonged to the mob. We were about to embark on doing to the mob what they had done to get to where they are today. This was very dangerous shit we were about to embark on. But, addicts being addicts, are only good at one thing, being addicts. It started with Juan and I sharing a ten dollar (dime) bag of heroin to snort (inhale). That lasted all of one day because we started using needles and all hopes and dreams were dashed. I was caught in this maze again for another 5 years. I eventually stopped hanging out with Juan, and enrolled in Boricua College. But an addict is an addict and I did what addicts do. I learned that as a college student I qualified for student loans, so naturally I applied for them. I got the maximum amount I could borrow. I got myself a cheap used car and with the rest, I thought I'd invest it and double or triple my investment. So now I was a drug dealer. I was still involved with the block association which meant rubbing shoulders with the local politicians. So here I was selling cocaine to some of the political leaders of our community. The people that make policy that affect the lives of many woman and children in our community. Boricua Power!

Soon my drug dealing was overcome by my drug using. So now instead of making money and rubbing shoulders with the policy makers, I was being shunned by them. I was still "around" them but not in the same way. No more inner circle "meetings". Believe it or not I was able to finish a 2 year degree. I remember thinking that it was a huge milestone, I finally did something. That is until I realized that in the real word, especially in the world of academia an associate degree has no bearing at all. So despite my drug addiction and everything that that madness entails I registered for the next semester. I was determined to secure my four year degree, While at Boricua College I went back to Manhattan Legal Services and worked under the tutelage of the Community Development and Community Activist Ramon Jimenez. Ramon guided me, he was my mentor, into organizing a Law Day. Back then I was toying with the idea of becoming a lawyer and in my research learned that there were less than 9000 Latino lawyers in the USA to represent the array of legal issues afflicting the entire US Latino population.

So I organized and coordinated the first of two Law Days to ever be held at Boricua College. We had representatives of all the major Law schools (note not one Ivy League Law School chose to participate). The event was a success. Yey!

I got involved in the student government and of course the resentments were there. I did a law day event without the participation of said student government. The truth is that I approached the student government but they did not want anything to do with this event. They had there own agenda, not sure what it was since the only thing they ever accomplished before I got there and since was bringing four of the five recently released Puerto Rican Nationalist to address the student body. The turn out was abysmal considering that these were the heroes of the Puerto Rican Nationalist and Independence Movement. One would have assumed that there would be mobs of people and standing room only. Instead we all sat around in a circle and listened to Irving Flores, Oscar Collazo, Rafael Cancel Miranda,  Andres Figueroa Cordero, recount the events leading up to that fatal on March 1, 1954, day when they opened fire on members of congress in the Blair House in Washington, DC. The one person not present, the one person I truly wanted to meet was Lolita Lebron.

 

My life was a constant dichotomy, vanguard community activist, sleazy drug addict. A life of total chaos. I felt like I was  going crazy. I got involved romantically with one of my professors and with her help I was able to graduate with my Bachelor of Science degree.

At this point I could not function anymore. Every free moment I has was spent at the "shooting gallery" (a shooting gallery in this context is a place where drug addicts go to shoot up or inject heroin), every penny I was able to muster was spent on heroin. It got to the point that I knew exactly how many steps it took to get me from my seat on the coach to the drug dealer and back. As I sat there with a needle in my arm I would be pontificating about "the man" and how the AIDS crisis (that's one of the terms used was back then, an HIV/AIDS crisis). Until one day I was sick and tried of being sick and tired and  I checked my self into a hospital. I since was working, I had health insurance so it was rather easy for me to get into Gracie Square Hospital. Thank my lucky stars because back then those hospital stays were 30 days long. In today's environment, even if you have good health insurance substance abuse treatment is limited to 7 day stays. During those 30 days members of the various anonymous 12 step programs would come to give testimony. Before when I was in a city drug detox ward I'd actually run away from these 12 step folks. But this time I was first to be in my seat to listen to what they had to say. For 30 days I listened to the message brought to us by members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and Pills Anonymous. I listened very intently because I did not want to leave this hospital like I did so many times before, just determined to get high differently so that I would not have to come back. But I always kept coming back. This time I wanted to make sure I paid attention so that when I left the hospital I did not go straight to the drug man.

At the end of those 30 days, full of both excitement and fear I left the hospital. We were a group of 10. Out of that 7 of us did exactly what they told us to do, we went straight to an AA meeting one block over from the hospital. Then 4 of us took that next step and went to an NA meeting in St. Marks  Place in the East Village. They had told us that out of the group that gets released together only one, maybe two will follow the suggestions and stay clean. The rest, they said, will continue the merry go round of jails, institutions or death.

That was 28 years ago. Of course there is a lot that is left out of this narrative. For example being selected as a delegate in 1988 to Jesse Jackson's run for president only to be voted out by the Boricua leadership. The rationale was that my "drug use" could be used to disqualify Jesse. Or the fact that I laid in a hospital bleeding to death after being stabbed in the abdomen when I was ripped off by a fellow Puerto Rican. Or the fact that I organized a bunch of illiterates, former members of the block association - people I grew up with to form an urban homesteaders association only to get voted out after all the hard work was done and the city funding game. Or the fact that I founded a not for profit agency with a so-called friend and a bunch of other locals. Spent years developing the concept, getting a small grant to run the program, negotiated a beautiful office space, had teenagers running a public access television show, where they did everything from creating the story line, to interview the guest, to operating cameras, to editing. Then once again being voted out by my Puerto Rican brethren.

Yes all those let downs and betrayals probably contributed to my mental health issues. The point is that I could be mad and I could even be sad about any of these situations, that in and of itself does not equal depression.

Depression, the mental illness is part of my DNA. I am, was depressed because of my mental illness and not because of any circumstance that I may have been confronting. The issue of being anti social, angry, mean and isolationist were the manifestation of the illness not the cause. In

In January 1993 after just five years of being drug free I got married. The following February my first daughter was born. 16 months later my second daughter was born. My wife was a young woman that had recently graduated from an Ivy League College. It was unfortunate for her but she feel in love with me. Our marriage lasted 23 years and she put up with a lot because of my mental status. She carried the full load of the family, for that I am eternally grateful. But there were underlying issues that affected the family as a whole to. It's sad to say (sad not depressing) that my wife was elitist. It's a problem with many people that have accomplished something that others in their group have not. For example she graduated from Princeton University one of the best, and renown universities in the world. A top tier college for sure that some would say is on par with, while others would say second to Harvard University. Regardless of that nuance,, graduating from an Ivy League institution for any minority is a great accomplishment. Equally remarkable, at least in my eyes, is over coming decades of intravenous heroin addiction and incarcerations, then graduating from college, in my case graduating from Boricua College. Then moving on to receive a Masters degree from Fordham University. My wife also got a Master degree, this time form a Baruch College one of ten senior colleges of The City University of New York (CUNY).

So while we were married, the agreement we had, at first because perceptions and stories change, was that I'd stay home with my daughters while she got her career stated.  She was, at this time, working for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. This opportunity put her in a national position. As the years went by and her career was becoming solidified, I was at home with my girls sinking into a deep depression. Part of this depression manifested itself with my obsession to building a business on the internet. Another problem with being depressed is the inability to stay focused. So over the years while I kept working "toward building an online business" I'd get sidetracked by every shiny new toy (software, app, strategy) that came along. I was never able to focus on one thing thus never able to establish any real or sustainable business. My obsession fed perfectly into my depression. I had a terrible case of insomnia, which was caused by my depression but that I interpreted as drive for my new "business".

My obsession forced me to forgo many wonderful once in a life time events that my wife would invite me to. I had declined attending so many events with her that eventually she stopped inviting me. I spent hours, days, weeks on my computer with out interacting with my family. And, any interaction I did have usually ended in a yelling match. I would get so irritated whenever I'd have to do anything that would pull me away from my computer. Mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, driving my wife or children anywhere. All these normal daily family tasks would infuriate me.

This went on for years. My daughters grew from my best friends to girls that didn't want to have any interactions with me, to young ladies that just ignored me. I had been no father to them at all. For all these years while my wife busted her rump to ensure our family had the necessities and more. Like vacations; ensuring that my daughters attended concerts and did normal teenage girls things with their friends, I contributed nothing. Wedding anniversaries, birthdays,  graduations, I contributed nothing. Before our daughters were born my wife and I would sit and talk about all the things we were going to make sure they experienced and had. My big thing was a desire to give her (at the time my wife was pregnant with our first daughter) a brand new car when she graduated high school and let her experience a wonderful summer before going off to college. I guess that was just wishful thinking because the reality struck and it struck hard. My depression not only affected me, it affected my family as well as my extended family. I ruined family relationships before they even have started. In hind sight I really don't blame them for disliking or even hating me. I don't blame them at all, truth be told they were great despite my condition. But to them, I'm pretty sure, it must have seemed that I was just lazy and living off the sweat of my wife's brow.

In my mind I was one click away from a very successful and lucrative online business.

More will be revealed.

One Nation Under God

Imagine if you can, a Puerto Rican boy growing up in an urban ghetto during a very turbulent time in modern American history. Not only was society undergoing a cultural revolution, but the Puerto Rican community and family was deteriorating as well. It was the second generation of Puerto Ricans to be born on the United States main land during this turbulent time. The generation prior was the generation still with one foot on the Island and one foot in New York, where the vast majority of Puerto Ricans had emigrated to. While still being called spics, this second generation had more in common with the American ways than they did of those of the Island, and they fought back. The older generation was the generation that formed the barrios in New York City for the rest of us. They set up the bodegas and established our communities, our own little place in this smorgasbord of ethnicity and culture. Their form of activism, for the most part, was by establishing social clubs. These social clubs were where the men would hang out to play dominoes, a favorite past time of most Hispanic cultures. But these social clubs served more than just a hang out for playing dominoes, they served as social service agencies for our people. These social clubs were formed based on hometowns, so for example, if you came from Lajas, Puerto Rico you would join the Lajas social club, if you came from Ponce or Mayaquez you'd likewise join one of those clubs. New arrivals from the island would be acclimated into American society via these social clubs. Job openings, housing availability etc were shared via these clubs.

It was hard for that generation making their way into New York City. Those pioneering Puerto Ricans were sold the same BS that other immigrates had been sold. Ask your elders about the concept of "streets being paved with gold." Everyone was led to believe that America was this wonderful welcoming society where jobs and housing were plentiful for anyone. Of course that was nothing like the truth.

The truth about America

The truth is that while there were opportunities in New York City and everywhere else in this country, those opportunities were/are reserved for white people only with a rare few and rare exceptions. America is a xenophobic, racist society that only respects violence. To anyone reading this I may sound like a hater, a bigot myself. Maybe you are right, but if I am one I was made this way by the environment I grew up in. You see, Puerto Ricans have always been the rainbow people. Long before Jesse Jackson co-opted that term for his Rainbow Coalition Puerto Ricans were called the rainbow people. You see, within one Puerto Rican nuclear family you could find a father with skin the color of burnt coffee grinds, a mother with yellow hair and blue eyes and children with complexions that run the gamut of very fair and snow white like, to caramel colored, dark coffee and even to burnt sienna. We did not know the concept of racism since within our own family we had them all. Racism is a learned behavior, no one is born a racist. If you don't believe it, they to find a place where there are very young children of mixed races playing together. You will observe that they all get along just fine, playing and sharing. It is the parents that have the disdain for the other children and their parents.

Unfortunately this is a color eccentric society. The older you are the more likely it is that you have subconsciously bought into the whole white is beautiful, good and pure and black is ugly, evil and un-pure rhetoric.

To be clear I am not saying all white people are racist and or haters. But I also have to be albe to express my reality unapologetically. History proves my point for me. While the white media paints black and brown people as violent savages, the truth is in fact the opposite.

According to the history book a vast majority of people beleive in, namely the bible, it supposedly cronicals the beginings of mankind. Well according to that very sacred and most trusted book, the very first violent act ever was when Cain killed his brother Able.

If you recall, Cain and Abel were the Son's of Adam and Eve. If you further recall they, historians and religious philosophers, Adam and Eve were Caucasians.

That is the chronology of mankind according to those historians. If you fast forward, every major upheaval henceforth was perpetrated by whites against white or whites against people of color.

In North America, the natives welcomed the white settlers with open arms. In fact the indigenous peoples taught the whites how to survive that first brutal cold winter. What does the white man then do? He treats them like idiots and steals their land, then begins the wanton slaying of men women and children. Fast forward a little more and we encounter the slave trade. Again white men brutalizing black people and eventually herding them onto ships like cattle for that long transatlantic voyage and into the arms of slavery. Oh but it's not limited sole to North American. White people, with their white privilege did this and more to black and brown people around the entire planet.

Now, perhaps, you'll begin to understand what Trump and his minions are attempting to put in place. They say that the first rule of nature is self preservation, then it would appear that the white Man's greatest fear is fast approaching. So Chump is trying to put people with his propensity into key positions that can affect the lives of millions of people for years to come.

To be continued...

The Island Nation of Puerto Rico has been abandoned

The Island Nation of Puerto Rico has been abandoned by the Federal Government and the money hungry corporate community we are sinking so deep into the quagmire of debt that soon there will no longer be a Puerto Rico.

After the tax incentives ran out, so to did the parasitic pharma companies. Three and one half million people through no fault of there own are floundering, on the verge of starvation. The political infighting between Partido Independentista Puertorriqueño, Partido Nuevo Progresista and Partido Popular Democrático has not served the best interest of the people.

I live here in the mainland United States, I do not want to voice a political opinion, what I do want to do is help bail Puerto Rico out of this abyss its in. There are more so-called Puerto Ricans living on the Mainland United States than there are on the Island, and multitudes more living elsewhere on the planet. Many love to raise a fist and yell out "Que Viva Puerto Rico" but that does not really mean anything. That does not serve anything but to make you feel good for that moment. "BORICUA" sounds awesome, makes you feel like you belong to something special right? Well it is something special, we are someone special and we are worth preserving, worth saving.

It is time to stop wearing that false Puerto Rican pride on our sleeves and to actually roll up our sleeves and do something to safeguard the motherland. We, "La Gente," "el pueblo" can do it. We can save our Island all we have to do is "chip in". Between all of us we can raise the $72,000,000,000.00 to take our Island out of debt. Once we do that, then we can worry about the form of government we need. But before we can even think about governance we have to save the Island.

The first step toward accomplishing this is for all Puerto Ricans to band together. Put our party idealogies aside. The goal should be to save Boriquen. After we accomplish that the rest will work its self out.

Among our people I know that we have the brain power to figure it all out. It's time to use that brain power, put those skills to work for the salvation of a majestic people. You say you want self determination, well here is your chance, a real chance to determine for yourself weather Puerto Rico flourishes once again, or just sinks into history like Atlantis.

If you really feel anything about Puerto Rico take a stand. The federal government, the municipal Puerto Rican Government has once more demonstrated that we can not depend on them to bail us out. The usefulness of Puerto Rico to the United States has come and gone. The only reason we were made a commonwealth was because they needed us as a strategic military installation during the Cold war, that war has been over since the 1980's. The only reason we were made citizens were so that we could be drafted to fight in the world war. Now Trump and his people even want to take that away from us.

Did into your pockets and make a contribution to the most worthy of all the causes you will ever make in your life, a contribution to save BORIQUEN. Now that is a legacy worth leaving.

5 months in, but whose counting?

[perfectpullquote align="left" cite="" link="" color="" class="" size=""]Tomorrow is the super bowel of politics and the world will be watching. The Nixon Watergate scandal pales in comparison.[/perfectpullquote]

This has been the longest 5 months in my life. It feels like an eternity but is was just on January 20th that Donald J. Trump was sworn in as our 45th President. All the things Trump accused Hillary Clinton of and how she was supposedly engaged so many illegal activities seem to have been his way of deflecting attention from himself. In fact, it was he that was the crook, and liar all along. For the 52% of us that did not vote for him we already knew, or at least suspected that he was full of it.
For 30 years the Republicans went after Hillary Clinton, using every negative adjective under the sun. Yet no matter what rock they looked under they could never find anything remotely indictable. For all his jumping and stomping and pleading to "lock her up", it seems that his moronic followers are going to witness him being locked up or leaving the White House in disgrace like his brethren, Richard Milhous Nixon.

It never ceases to amaze me just how stupid, or hateful, or both, Republicans are. I cant get it out of my mine that despite the things that Donald Trump has said and done, not imagined as in the case of Hillary, they continue to support him.

In a long ago interview Trump told Oprah that if he decided to run [for president] he would do so as a Republican because Republicans are so stupid they believe anything he says. His words not mine. Just as it was his words that mocked the Mayor of the London City that had just experienced a horrific terror attack, or his lack of words to reassure our allies that we (America) have there back as they had our back after 9/11.

Tom Hanks character, Forrest Gump, was lovable in his naivete and stupidity. It is not, however, befitting the American President. For all his money and world travels, his celebrity and his status Donald J. Trump remains the PT Barnum of the 21st century. I can't help it but whenever I see him on TV attempting to sound presidential all I can see is W.C. Fields drunk man from "My Chickadee" making a sales pitch to Mae West.

It's Wednesday June 11, 2017 the day before fired FBI Director James Comey is to testify before the Senate Committee investing Trumps collusion with Russia. This week has not been business as usual despite Trump's feigned appearances. The conflict between he and his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, has become public with Mr. Sessions offer to resign. More Republicans are beginning to stand up to Trump leaving his group of allies smaller then ever. His poll numbers keep dwindling and his son in law, Jared Kushner, may prove to be the nail in Trump's coffin.

Internationally, Trump has made himself the laughing stock of the free word. After his absurd reprimand of the G7 last week and his deliberate omission to affirmation US support those that supported us after the 9/11 attacks he has left the United States more vulnerable than ever. I guess he never learned the concept that no man (or in this case no country) is an island. Then again maybe its by design. He alienating of our allies and embracing of our enemies. Perhaps he and Vice President Mike Pence really are Pinky and the Brain trying to take over the world.

Whatever, tomorrow is an exciting day for us political needs. Tomorrow is the super bowel of politics and the world will be watching. The Nixon Watergate scandal pales in comparison.

To be continued...

Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon

While it is rare for a poet to become a cultural icon, Julia de Burgos has evoked feelings of bonding and identification in Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the United States for over half a century.
 
In the first book-length study written in English, Vanessa Pérez-Rosario examines poet and political activist Julia de Burgos's development as a writer, her experience of migration, and her legacy in New York City, the poet's home after 1940. Pérez-Rosario situates Julia de Burgos as part of a transitional generation that helps to bridge the historical divide between Puerto Rican nationalist writers of the 1930s and the Nuyorican writers of the 1970s. Becoming Julia de Burgos departs from the prevailing emphasis on the poet and intellectual as a nationalist writer to focus on her contributions to New York Latino/a literary and visual culture. It moves beyond the standard tragedy-centered narratives of de Burgos's life to place her within a nuanced historical understanding of Puerto Rico's peoples and culture to consider more carefully the complex history of the island and the diaspora. Pérez-Rosario unravels the cultural and political dynamics at work when contemporary Latina/o writers and artists in New York revise, reinvent, and riff off of Julia de Burgos as they imagine new possibilities for themselves and their communities.
 

Gilberto Cintron Life In The Rear View Mirror

I was born in 1954. That is the decade that America started changing. It was the decade of Brown V. Board of Education, it was the decade that Rock N Roll music took over the air waves, and the Motown sound was getting established. My mother and father arrived in New York City in 1950. My older sisters, Aida, Maggie and Lucy were brought to New York in 1956. That is the year that the newly established New York City Housing Authority opened a new development in East Harlem New York, The Thomas Jefferson Houses. I was two years old when we moved in. My family was one of the first families to move into that development.

1960's
I attended kindergarten PS 102. It was 1960. One of the most popular TV shows at the time was Davy Crockett. A story of a white man hired to hunt down and kill Indians (Native Americans). Of course being that young I had no idea of the political innuendo, but it was a very popular TV show. In kindergarten I had two teachers Mrs. Aberamson and Mrs. Mysell. These teachers really loved working with the children and would give us gifts once in a while. I received a Davy Crockett raccoon tail cap. I really loved it and I really loved those two teachers.

The 1960's were a very tumultuous decade. This was the decade of assassinations; President John F. Kennedy, Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr. presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy and Nation of Islam leader and community activist Malcolm X. It was also the decade of the hippie movement was born, college takeovers by student, and the era of Bull Conner, the racist
American politician who served as a Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, during the American Civil Rights Movement. It was under his orders that the use of fire hoses and police attack dogs were used against civil rights activists.

From these events and forward my memory does serve me. Even as a young child I knew what they were doing to the Freedom Marchers was wrong. Bare in mind that childhood in the 1960's was much different than childhood these days. Children were not in-tune with current events like the kids are today. There were no computers or 24 news shows on TV in fact television consisted of three major networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and a few minor ones.

1970"s
The Black Panther Party was a community based organization formed to change the treatment of the black community by whites. Founded by young black college students, The Panthers fought back when confronted by the white racist police. Whereas historically black people were subservient to white people, after reconstruction black people secretly started organizing. Is was horrible for blacks, lynchings occurred almost daily. By the 1960's they were a little more firm in there stance, however many still paid deference to white people while protesting non violently under the leadership of Martin Luther King. The Black Panthers changed that. They began to purchase rifles and to walk the streets carrying them. This was legal for the second amendment guarantees its citizen's the right to bare arms, in California one is allowed one to walk around with an unconcealed weapon, i.e. rifle. This action was in response to the constant brutalization at the hands of the police. It was during this time that blacks began to act differently. This new generation of black people refused to be subservient any more. Malcolm X while a Black Muslim started educating the black masses. He was the one saying that it is OK to defend yourself from racist "By Any Means Necessary". After his assassination, there was a void in that type of leadership. Luis Farrakhan attempted to fill that void and while he and the Black Muslims had many adherents, he was not as charismatic as Malcolm X had been.

black-panther-party-for-self-defense

Waring their hair naturally, the "Afro" hair do became very popular. This new generation of blacks refused to be labeled negro and began espousing self determination. It was during this time that James Brown had a hit song "Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud". Of course the media portrayed the Panthers as a gang in an attempt to justify the white police action. No longer did black people allow themselves to be fire hosed or attacked by dogs. The black community had awoken. It was a sleeping giant that once awake would never go back to sleep.

Meanwhile on the East coast Puerto Rican's were getting similar treatment. In 1898 the small Island Nation of Puerto Rico became a colony of the United States. It was ceded by the Spaniards after losing the Spanish American war. This Island was important to the US because it was strategically situated to protect the US from invasion by any hostile nation. American corporations began buying up the land and building businesses. The industry with the biggest share of land was the Pharmaceuticals. The entire Eco system of the island became turbulent. These large American company's became the islands biggest employer. Puerto Rico was the biggest exporter of sugar. Many Puerto Ricans were farmers. Puerto Rico had never been a self determining nation because prior to 1898 it was under the rule of the Spanish Crown. For 500 years the island had no self determination. When it was ceded to the US, the islands inhabitants were elated, and dancing in the streets. The assumption was that finally free from the Spanish, Puerto Rico could form it's own government and have self determination. The US, however had different plans. The geography of Puerto Rico consists of the Island of Puerto Rico and five other, smaller islands. One of these small islands, "Viegues". The US military took over that island, displaced it's populace and began constructing its military base.

nyt-puertorico-invasion From the time Europeans first landed on the Island of Puerto Rico it had never had it's own government. The native Puerto Ricans, the Taino Indians welcomed the Europeans with open arms. However once the rumor of gold being buried in the Forrest spread the Spaniards began forcing the people into compliance. It was not until 1948 that Puerto Rico had it's own democratically elected governor. Luis Munoz Marin was the island's newly elected governor. Now depending on one's political ideology or outlook Marin was either a blessing or a curse. It was Luis Marin that got the Islands status to recognized as el "Estado Libre Asociado" which loosely translated means the Associated but free State of Puerto Rico. It was in 1948 with the election of Marin that the US government initiated "Operation Bootstrap" a massive economic development project that transformed the island from an agrarian society into an industrial society. It was this initiative that destroyed the farming industry on the island forever.

In 1917 Puerto Ricans were made American citizens. That means that anyone born on the island of Puerto Rico after 1917 was automatically an American citizen. On paper this sounds wonderful, but for those residing on the island its a two edged sword. On the one hand a passport to travel from the Island to the main land is not required, on the other hand Puerto Ricans are treated as less than second class citizens.

When the turmoil of Operation Bootstrap took hold, many former farmers, now unemployed, emigrated to the US, specifically Brooklyn, New York. This first migration took place aboard an ocean liner named the "Marine Tiger." Packed like sardines onto this ship, Puerto Ricans were excited about landing were the streets are paved in gold. Upon landing on the shores of Brooklyn, New York the reality smacked them in the face. Not only were the streets not paved in gold, they received a hostile reception. As all immigrant's do upon arriving in the US, Ricans began forming their own communities. Many of these Puerto Rican immigrants found jobs in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Most however could find no employment. This was especially true for Puerto Rican men. Consequentially women found jobs in the garment district of New York City as seamstresses. Because of the long commute from Brooklyn everyday, it made sense to relocate to Manhattan. The community they settled on was East Harlem.

For those familiar with the Broadway show, and later the movie, Westside Story you will recall that the premise was about the rejection Puerto Ricans received when settling in a new community. You will also recall that a white boy fell in love with a Puerto Rican girl, a taboo in the 1950's. To protect themselves from the harassment, name calling and physical assault, Puerto Rican's formed gangs. Never mind that for decades prior to Puerto Ricans arriving on these shores, whites of every group formed gangs to protect themselves as well. While Puerto Ricans did not have to go through Ellis Island like prior emigrating groups, they did go through the same initiation those former groups received. In 2002, Producer-Director Martin Scorsese released a film with the title "Gangs of New York."
gangs-of-new-york

This movie, while a work of fiction accurately depicted the hostility between one group that was already in New York, and the new immigrants. Bare in mind that these were whites against whites, when Puerto Ricans arrive and are not welcomed by the host community and subsequently formed gangs to protect themselves, the news media from those days forward depicted and continue to depict minority communities as wild, uneducated and lazy savages. To be historically accurate, it was not minorities that were robbing banks across the country in the 1920's and 30's. It was not the minorities that organized crime and killed many innocent people over the illegal alcohol trade during prohibition.

A very partial list of White US criminals throughout history:
Jesse Woodson James AKA "Jesse James", Robert Leroy Parker AKA "Butch Cassidy" and Harry Longabaugh AKA "the Sun Dance Kid", Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, George Francis Barnes Jr. AKA "Machine Gun Kelly", Alphonse Gabriel or Al Capone AKA "Scarface", Adelard Cunin AKA "Bugs Moran", Vito Genovese AKA "Don Vito", Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Joseph Charles Bonanno, Sr. AKA "Crazy Joe", John Gotti AKA "The Teflon Don", "The Dapper Don", "Johnny Boy", " Black John", "Crazy Horse" and of course the motorcycle clubs specifically the big four, "the Hells Angels, the Pagans, the Outlaws, and the Bandidos"
To be cont.

An Interesting Article about East Harlem, Hillary Clinton in East Harlem

Here's why information about East Harlem is important -

East Harlem health impact assessment shows...

"...first for the community of East Harlem. The East Harlem HIA shows the many ways that the rapid ... development or other activities.East. Harlem, the Academy's home and one of the poorest..."
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-09-east-harlem-health-impact-importance.html


We sincerely feel that East Harlem can change the world because -

To find out more about "East Harlem health impact assessment shows..." and East Harlem , click here | Share with your friends!

 

Fighting gun violence - Video

"...program in Manhattan called S.A.V.E., or Stand Against Violence East Harlem, is not only acknowledging that gun violence exists, but is intent on addressing the issues from within the..." http://www.fox5ny.com/news/207914531-video

 

 

Here's why information about East Harlem is important -

PsBattle: Hillary Clinton in East Harlem  Madam President. Here Hilary Clinton Is Looking Very Presidential

"She is shocked that an "honest" living is a real thing."
http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/54qcgz/psbattle_hillary_clinton_in_east_harlem/d840zvh


We sincerely feel that East Harlem can change the world because -

To find out more about "PsBattle: Hillary Clinton in East Harlem" and East Harlem , click here | Share this post with your friends and family!





Top 10 Crazy Donald Trump Moments

  

Here are some Donald Tumpisms to ponder  as we enter the 2016 Presidential convention season:

  1. “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud"
  2.  “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me – and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” 
  3. “One of they key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don’t go into government.” 
  4. “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
  5. “If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired."
  6. “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  7. “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.” 

Top 10 Crazy Donald Trump Moments

 
 

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The History of the Young Lords.

The Young Lords, Celebrated Today, not so back then

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<<< A VIDEO ABOUT THE YOUNG LORDS

A Video About the Young Lords

The Young Lords

The Young Lords: From a Garbage Offensive to Occupying
the Church on East 111th Street in East Harlem, NY.

The Young Lords were a radical group founded by Puerto Rican college students and modeled on the Black Panther Party of California. It was late July 1969, New York City Sanitation workers were on strike. The garbage in East Harlem kept piling up and emitting a foul stench into the air while a few blocks south the community of Yorkville continued to have regular thrash pickup. As a result, the Lords staged their first action, an effort to force the City of New York to increase garbage pickup in East Harlem.

 


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<<< The History of The Young Lords