From My Corner: June 15, 2021

Critical Race Theory

There’s something new and revolutionary coming to schools in the United States this fall and parents all over the country are complaining about it.  It’s called CRT (Critical Race Theory.)

This was borne out of the 1619 Project, written by Nikole Hannah-Jones who was awarded the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary.  The reason for its name is for being the year when the first slaves arrived as part of the founding of St. Augustine, Florida, aiming at teaching the racial history in this country.  The Project claims that the United States was founded on racist roots and continues to be a racist nation.

There’s no doubt that this country has had a brutal history for several centuries and it should be taught in school to make sure we don’t repeat it.

Since the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln fought to emancipate the slaves and that’s we now celebrate Juneteenth which stands for June 19th, 1863, the day slaves were declared as free men.  It was a slow process to be implemented until the mid-1900s when discrimination was rampant, particularly in the southern states.

I’ve been in this country since 1963, before the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1965, and remember the chaos brought on by demonstrations on the streets and the objections to racial equality.  In Boston, school busses carrying little children were being stoned by parents in opposition to school desegregation.  Those are dark days that we never want to live again.

Black history and slavery must be taught in school as part of history classes because it should never be forgotten.

The problem is that they are back but in reverse.  Having elected twice a Black president, and having more minorities in government is a sure sign that our country has changed.  When we thought we had achieved harmony and that was just a memory, university students started asking for separate dormitories and commencements for minorities.  We started seeing divisions that were never there and people were seen according to their skin color, just opposite to what Martin Luther King wished for.

Now, CRT has been taken to the extreme.  Beginning with kindergarten children, teachers separate them by race pointing out that the students with lighter skin are “privileged” and will have more opportunities in life, just because of their skin color. They will also tell Black children how they are seen by Whites as “inferior” that they would never amount to much.  The class teaches that Whites are “oppressors” and Blacks are the “victims.”

How is that going to affect our children’s behavior?  How is that going to cure the racial conflicts they are creating now?  Kids don’t choose their playmates by race but if Black children see themselves as victims, why would they want to play with their oppressors?

It’s one thing talking about history but pointing out their differences today to youngsters is teaching them to hate.  I see a very dangerous path ahead.

Parents must be involved in their children’s education.  Talk to them, ask them what they learned today and listen to their comments about their peers.


Licensing Commission

There are so many things happening at City Hall that it’s difficult (even for me) to keep up.  I try watching the council meetings and the Boards and Commissions because things are happening at a fast pace right in front of us and most people don’t notice.

For example: on June 23, the Licensing Commission had a hearing on the Mt. Vernon Liquors issue.  After a unanimous vote, their license was suspended indefinitely.  I didn’t think anything of that, after all, the establishment was under surveillance and the investigators saw 61 counts of improprieties such as selling to underage teens.  That was severe enough for that punishment.

A liquor license is valuable because the numbers are limited and there are none available and people are willing to pay to get one at any price.

A few days later, things began to fall into place.  The decision over the license was made on June 23 and on June 25, Alfred Potter, one of the members of the Licensing Board resigned unexpectedly.  He didn’t even follow the required procedure for resigning from his post.

But it gets better!  On June 28 he began working for Interim Mayor Kendrys Vasquez as Neighborhood Planner or Community Liaison and finally settled for the title of Assistant to the Mayor earning $44,000.  Again, “deocraticamente” (just by signaling with his finger) was chosen.  Was this position advertised? Who else applied for the job?  Does the job exist?  Has the city council created an ordinance for this position? If so, what’s the pay scale?  Nobody knows.

The interim mayor hires people the way the ranch owner picks his laborers.  We know that he believes that this ranch belongs to him and this type of hiring makes for faithful subjects, willing to go the mile – even asking businesses for campaign contributions.  He owns them!

My only question now is, how soon before that liquor license ends up being allocated to someone else?  We need to follow the connection because having a liquor license is practically a license to print money.


Elections Department

Last Friday, July 9th, the employees at the Elections Department in Lawrence were alarmed when they open an envelope containing a white powder.  Immediately, the police, fire department, ambulances, and even hazmat were called arriving within minutes.

It is known that sometimes just being in the presence of certain drugs an individual could be affected and it’s even worse if it touches the skin.  For over three hours they made sure that the employees were healthy but they were asked to stay in the building until further investigation.  Meanwhile, they sanitized their hands with bleach, just in case.

The interim mayor was called and the first time they were told that he was not around.  Once they found out that he was upstairs, calls were repeated a few times and he never had the decency to come down from the third floor.  Other employees were concerned and showed it.

This person is in charge of the entire city’s well-being and that includes city employees.  An incident of this sort, no matter how dangerous it could have been, was not going to provide a photo-op for him.  Let that be a fire and he’ll be the first one on-site talking to the media.

Once the hazmat officials were able to determine that the powder was not a drug mixed with sugar, everybody was able to go home, advising that the office should be a good cleaning with chemicals to make sure.

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