Justice


As part of the poetry class I’m taking, I was looking at various books of poetry I have on my bookshelves and stumbled across this piece by Marge Piercy, which seems to fit the times, although it was published in 1991.

So the event for Black History Month was on Feb. 28th, announced on Feb. 26.  The event for Women’s History Month was announced on March 3rd for March 12th.  Again, a nice musical group.  But, there will also be a reading of prize-winning essays from some local essay writing contest AND there will be an honoring of a half dozen women who have had achievements in our area.  Clearly, someone was a little more organized about this event than the last one because I’m sure the powers that be are not trying to say that there were not blacks in the area who have had achievements worth honoring, right?

So my employer is having a tribute to Black History month.  On February 28th.  Which sort of makes me suspect that they hit February and they were like, oh F—, we’d better do something – quick , how quickly can we book someone?!?

Now, it’s better than nothing, the tribute that is.  And the group that is doing some singing and dancing sounds pretty cool because in addition to touring they run an inner city arts center in a big city several hours away.  What’s ironic, is that here is this performance group, that’s also some kind of non-profit that provides vital enrichment services to poorly served neighborhoods, which are predominantly African-American, and what is my employer spending resources on?  Hiring this group to entertain some people hours away in a predominantly white area, presumably so it can can feel like it’s doing it’s part to support diversity.  Now, I’m hoping that the performance comes with a big fat appearance fee and/or donation to the arts center, but wouldn’t it make more sense to  spend money more directly?* 

I mean, I understand its Black History month, but isn’t part of the emphasis is not only to recognize achievements of the past, but by doing so, enable successes in the future?  You’d think my employer could spend its energies in either doing a donation campaign for this great organization or perhaps encourage more spending in the arts generally, which in underfunded schools, goes lacking?  That, to me, would be more to the point.

 * Don’t get me wrong, I think outreach about fabulous programs is great – particularly if the group has a good opportunity to talk about some of their  work that might encourage the audience to support it.  But I’m guessing few, if any, of my fellow employees will go, although my employer generously encouraged supervisors to be “flexible” about letting employees re-arrange their lunch hour or use their vacation time to attend.  And since the notice about the event came out on the 26th, for an event on the 28th, my impression is that this is a totally half-assed PR event.   Which pisses me off.**

**Kind of like the way that the week of MLKJr day is the only time you hear schools or media talking about civil rights and/or racism.  An acquaintance of mine had kids (high-school age, who should know better) who literally did not know why they had the day off that week – they assumed it was some sort of faculty enrichment day.   Seems to me that faculty should start enriching their students, with knowledge, dammit.

I know this, deep down, and yet I regularly suppress this knowledge in the rush of daily life.  I was reminded today while listening to the radio while getting ready for work.  Story: house fire. Reason: candles.  Subreason: the electricity was cut off last Friday. Result: Two kids dead, another kid and the mom in the hospital in critical condition.

What ‘completed’ this essence of despair was the closing comment by the broadcaster that the parents are now under investigation for endangering the kids and/or neglect.  Because of the fire.  Caused by candles.  Caused by the electricity being turned off.  Caused by an inability to pay the bill.

fuck.   I keep trying to add something here, but I am without words.

Please support the day of action.  There are many posts talking about the details of this , if you are not already familiar with the story, see here and here and here.