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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How do you spell E-N-D-O-R-S-E

By Chris Miller

The right to vote. A right some take for granted. A right some choose not to exercise. A right some have given their life for. A right that some of our foreign brothers and sisters only dream about. When I stop to really think about this basic principal of democracy, I am awestruck by its power. If you don’t understand the power, ask Al Gore, a few hundred vote swing in November, 2000, and the first decade of this century would look vastly different than what will be written about in future history books.

If this right is so important, then why do so many choose to not educate themselves on the choices? Ah, but an even bigger question, why do some in position of perceived authority choose to educate us without first educating themselves.

The political endorsement. Many organizations, periodicals and individuals tell the masses that we need to vote for a particular candidate or referendum. Those doing the telling are usually in a position of authority such as a past or present elected official, an editorial review board, a labor union, an group of individuals held in high esteem. You would think that any of these ‘endorsers’ would take the process seriously. Well, think again.

It has come to my attention that in this primary season, there are several entities that have chosen to ‘endorse’ candidates, not on the basis of an interview or from answers on a written questionnaire, but because of how they might ‘feel’ about a candidate. They also endorse because of ‘identity politics’. i.e. I am a woman, therefore I will always endorse the female candidate. This occurs even if the male candidate has the same voting record and beliefs as the woman.

The endorsement process needs to be taken seriously. Calling a candidate a ‘Jackass’ or telling us to ‘not for for him’ when you haven’t completed due diligence is inexcusable. So if you are referring to an endorsement as a way to determine who to vote for, here are a few simple suggestions:

1.Look to see how the endorsement process was completed? Was it through an interview, questionnaire, or someone’s ‘feelings’ toward a candidate

2.Check to see who is doing the endorsing? If the endorsement comes from a periodical or a group, the names of the persons on the panel should be published. Don’t forget there are candidate friends who can ‘stack the deck’ on an endorsement vote.

3.Read everything. Flippant comments are not a sign of a serious process.

4.Do your own homework. The internet is a valuable tool that is quick and easy to use.

Remember, voting is one of the most valuable rights you have. Be educated. Be informed. Please take the process seriously.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I was made aware of an email this morning that really hurt my heart. It hurt because it showed the level of education that our Black community still needs when it comes to matters of Black & Brown people.

Here's the email:

Hi Every One.

listen up I think it would be very unwise for the black community to get involve
in the illegal immigrant confusion. I feel that is a Spanish problem. I sympathize
with Spanish concerns, but I don't think the Black community has the resources
to sub stain us in a battle such as that, after all we are law biding people and we
believe in Justice for all. let the spanish citizens handle that problem.

respectfuly yours

I left the name unexposed.

There's so much wrong with this email that it's hard to know where to start. But, here we go.

The Black community MUST get involved in the issues of the Latino community. Why? It's actually very simple.

Recently, Arizona passed an awful law that makes it legal to stop people based on the fact that they "look illegal". Why does that matter to Black people? Have you ever been to Miami? Florida is chock full of Haitians who are in the country without papers. Now, imagine if the law spreads to Florida. The police will then be allowed to stop anyone they suspect of being "illegal".

Guess what color Haitians are?


I am sure that many of you are aware of the fact that a whole lot of us Black folk (myself included) look more Latin than we do Black. There's quite a few of us mixed with Native American who could easily pass as Latino. Now, imagine a light skinned ("High Yella") person takes a day trip to see the Dam in Boulder City and crosses the border into Arizona only to be stopped because they "look illegal". How exactly does a light skinned Black person prove they are a citizen? A Nevada Drivers License is not proof of US citizenship. How many of you carry your "papers" with you? How many Black folk have a passport? How many Americans actually carry their birth certificate with them?

I don't and I look hella Latino.


I was especially concerned with the section of the letter that refers to "us" as "law abiding citizens". Uh, ask the people who came up with this law what they think of Black people and if they feel that Black folk are "law abiding". I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of people who support this law don't think much of us either. Btw, I'm Black as is my little brother and he's in jail for the rest of his non law abiding life. Generalities are never pretty.

I learned from a local leader that all problems faced by minorities are all minorities problems. Why? Because what could happen to someone else could happen to you. How dare we Blacks dismiss another group after all we went through to get equal rights. I myself being Gay have less rights than the vast majority of people who will read this including "illegals". Do I say "screw you until I get mine"? No. I say, "how can we work together and build trust and foster communication so that I know your struggle and you know mine and together we can prevail?"

When did we forget that the Jews and other non Black groups marched with us into Selma and to Washington? How have we forgotten that a Gay Black man, Bayard Rustin planned the actions that led up to the most important event in Black Civil Rights history, The March on Washington? How on Earth can Black people turn their back on any group that needs our help?

If we turn our backs on the Latino community now in their time of need, how can we expect them to be there for us later?

And if there is any doubt that we will need them later, look around you. We live in a City, County, State and Country that is rapidly browning. Latinos will soon be the majority. They will sit on the school boards, in City Hall and in all of the highest offices of the land. In fact, after Barack, there will probably be a Latino President. Why should they help us if we turned our backs on them?

I'll close with a very famous poem that perfectly describes why we must become more involved in our Brown Brothers & Sisters lives.

This was written by Pastor Martin Niemoller:

In Germany they first came for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me —
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Please, read and learn from this and try to curb your own inner racism and prejudices.

We as Black people are better than that.



TEAM REID 2010 joined thousands of other walkers to raise money for and celebrate the good work that Aid For Aids of Nevada does for people living with HIV/AIDS in Nevada. Several dozen people from all walks of life and ages ranging from those in strollers up to active seniors joined to show support for both the charity and for our friend, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid.

We were joined by progressives from various clubs and caucuses such as the Red Rock Dems, Stonewall, the Clark County Democratic Black Caucus and others. OFA showed up in force along with African Americans for Harry Reid, the Asian American Caucus, both the state and Clark County Dems, folks all the way from Mesquite and Laughlin and members of various unions such as SEIU and the Southwest Flight Attendants.

The walk attracted over 8500 walkers and was followed by a family festival with lots of hot dogs and smiles. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley came and hung out meeting and greeting pretty much everyone in the place while never tiring of stopping to chat, listen or have her picture taken with her many admirers. The woman is a Rock Star!

Secretary of State, Ross Miler and his (gorgeous) wife were there to accept an award for his work on behalf of Equal Rights for all Nevadans and Kristine Kuzemka (who's running for Justice of The Peace) was honored as well. Several other candidates such as Paul Murad, Gloria Sturman (District Court Judge candidate), Nancy Alf and Carolyn Essex (running hard for the Assembly seat in North Las Vegas!)and too many others to remember and list, all joined with TEAM REID 2010 to make this year's AIDS Walk a smashing success!

Take a look at the pictures for a front row seat on the fun!

Monday, April 26, 2010


It's been said that even though people may love sausage, if they knew how it was made, they might just pass on that next plate of Bangers & Mash.

The same could be said for politics and how your life is being affected by the relentless Conservative attacks on basic American values.Hopefully, instead of passing on the sometimes ugly backstage process, you will take what you're going to learn and get involved in taking back America from those who hate her.

Welcome to The Sausage Factory. And no matter how ugly it gets, keep your eyes open.

The Grind