When: September 6th, 2013
Where: Cass Corridor Commons
4605 Cass Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201
East Michigan Environmental Action Council, 5E, Heru, and the American Indian Health and Family Services invite you to the film screening of, Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience, on September 6th, 2013. The showing will take place in the D. Blair Theater of The Cass Corridor Commons.
Focusing on the lives and experiences of the Native/Indigenous community in the Midwest, Our Fires Still Burn is a one hour documentary that works to dispel the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the United States. The narrative that Native and Indigenous peoples no longer exist in the US has been perpetrated in many forms since the beginning of colonization in the US, with perhaps the most famous example being the book (and movie), The Last of the Mohicans. The narrative usually argues something along the lines that because Native peoples are now dead (or are actively dying), we need non-Native peoples to "save and recover" (read; loot) Native artifacts (very often including actual bones of human beings). Another strand of the narrative argues that names like Washington Red Skins are actually compliments that honor long dead tribes rather than the offensive insults that Native/Indigenous peoples say they are.
Our Fires Still Burns argues that the narrative that Native/Indigenous peoples are dead is harmful in that it invisibilizes and makes unnecessary the voices of the very much alive Native/Indigenous community. But as Our Fire Still Burns shows, Native and Indigenous peoples continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society.
The film viewing of Our Fires Still Burn will appeal to native and non-Native alike, and will be followed by a question and answer session featuring many of the people appearing in the film, as well as film director Audrey Geyer. Ms. Geyer is an independent video producer and director whose programs have been broadcasted locally and nationally on PBS. She is the founder and current executive director of Visions, an independent video production company local in Metro Detroit. Visions work focuses on creating documentaries that tell the stories of communities that are underrepresented in mainstream media.
As East Michigan Environmental Action Council co-director, Diana Copeland says, the most important thing to do right now in light of various attacks on marginalized communities in Detroit is to build community responses to those attacks, "Conversations that happen where we can begin to get to know each other are essential and will only make our communities stronger."
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson took a step in the right direction last month when he announced “substantial changes” in how the department treats migrant families taken into custody along the southern bor
Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles has initiated a petition to be delivered to the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans, in advance of its July 10 ruling on President Obama's executive action.
a wrap up of activities, updates and news you can use
[NNIRR note: We have grave concerns about this so-called shift, that will heighten border enforcement and increase criminalization of immigrants re-entering the country to re-unite with families.] The Obama administration has begun a profound shift in its enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws, aiming to hasten the integration of long-term illegal immigrants into society rather than targeting them for deportation, according to documents and federal officials.
Expand Deferred Action for Families of All Shapes and Sizes
By Kate Kanelstein, Burlington resident and Lead Organizer for the Vermont Workers' Center.
Last week the US Supreme Court upheld subsidies for buying private health insurance in states with federally-run marketplaces or exchanges.
The court’s decision has been an enormous relief for the millions of people who stood to lose access to coverage had the subsidies been revoked, and is seen as a vindication of Obamacare. However, many people with healthcare issues are asking whether it’s time to move beyond Obamacare’s market-based insurance system -- in which subsidies ultimately flow to the big private insurance companies -- and instead ensure that our public dollars go towards meeting the needs of our families and communities.
As in many other states, here in Vermont the rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare exchange has only increased -- rather than resolved -- our continuing healthcare crisis, with the failure of private contractors to make the Vermont Health Connect website work resulting in a series of mishaps -- most recently in the form of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont claiming back payments from 6,000 people for care they thought was covered. Thousands of us have experienced healthcare uncertainty and unaffordable costs, with grave implications for our health and ability to make ends meet for our families.
Our frustrations should be directed at CGI and Optum, the private, for-profit contractors hired by the state to roll out the VHC website, as well as the Shumlin administration for failing to hold these contractors accountable.
But we risk missing the forest for the trees if we don’t acknowledge that the roots of the flawed VHC rollout lie in fact in the market-based approach of the Affordable Care Act, with its insurance industry-guided design, complete with tiers of coverage and eligibility restrictions. Rather than ushering in a new era of treating healthcare as a right and a public good for all, the ACA has enshrined a fundamentally unjust market-based system with different and unequal insurance products, different and unequal prices for health services, and different and unequal access to care.
If we are serious about universal healthcare, providing public subsidies for the purchase of private insurance products is just not going to cut it. The inequitable financing of healthcare contributes directly to the largest concentration of wealth in our country since the 1930s and the biggest income inequality gap since the late 1970s. Even with subsidies, low-income people pay proportionally much more for healthcare than the wealthy, for insurance plans that rarely meet all of our needs. One in three people in the US struggle with medical bills, while insurance executives are raking in billion-dollar compensation packages.
In Vermont, on top of the collections letters thousands of us will be receiving over the next few weeks for back payments, BCBS is asking the Green Mountain Care Board to approve an 8.4% rate increase for its 2016 Vermont Health Connect plans. The board is holding a public hearing on July 29th at the Statehouse to take public comment on the request, which is expected to impact more than 41,000 people in the state. Meanwhile, BCBS is paying its CEO, Don George, more than ten times the average Vermont resident’s salary, putting him (and many of their other executives) at the top of the state’s 1%.
It’s no big news to say that the healthcare system fails to meet our needs. But the long and short of it is that addressing the healthcare crisis is going to take more than fine-tuning the VHC website, or switching to Connecticut’s exchange or the Federal exchange.
Thankfully, unlike other states struggling with the fiasco of implementing Obamacare, Vermont already has a clear path forward towards an equitably-financed, no-nonsense, universal healthcare system: Green Mountain Care. With Green Mountain Care, we would no longer need private health insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, and instead can treat healthcare as a public good, like our roads and fire departments.
It is time for our state to start walking that path.
As the 2016 election season approaches, we can count on politicians to make all sorts of promises about how they’ll address the issues impacting our communities. But for those of us with healthcare horror stories, or who’ve lost family members because they were denied the care they needed, we know that we can’t afford to sit back and rely on politicians to do what’s right. It’s up to us to organize and ensure that decision-makers follow through with Act 48 and pass equitable financing for a universal, publicly-financed healthcare system that treats healthcare as a public good and a human right.
All UE locals who come under the UE/GE National Agreement have ratified the new 4-year national agreement with GE. Local 506, the locomotive manufacturing plant in Erie, PA represents over 3200 members ratified the new agreement today. The previous contract expired on June 21st, and locals used the additional time to hold membership meetings and schedule voting.
The new agreement has solid gains and protections that includes protecting post-65 health care security for members who retire during the life of the agreement. This was one of GE's big issues; to eliminate company subsidies for all post-65 retirees. The union was also able to secure a guarantee from GE that it will not attempt to freeze the pension during the term of this contract and the next contract, securing pension benefits until at least 2023. Other significant pension improvements were gained as well, adding thousands of dollars per year to a members average pension as well as improving guaranteed minimum pensions, career earnings tables, and early retirement supplements.
Solid wage, COLA and lump sum bonuses will result in pay increases totaling more than $15,000 over the life of the agreement. Health insurance contributions were frozen until January 1, 2017 and deductibles and co-pays frozen for the entire length of the contract. In addition, each UE-GE local union will receive a $2000 ratification bonus as well.
Many more contract improvements were also gained. The new contract came about because of UE local and national leaders determination at the bargaining table to achieve a fair agreement to take back to for our members. Contract negotiations were held in New York City that begun on June 1, concluding with a tentative agreement being reached on June 21. The Coordinated Bargaining Committee (CBC) is represented by eleven different unions with the UE, IUE-CWA, UAW, IAM, and IBEW hammering out the final agreement.
MORE DETAILS TO COME.
Imagine: You are an immigrant family, waiting to hear that family members have crossed the border safely to join you in America. You receive a call, with bad reception, that your loved one is lost or injured, lacking food and water on a trek that can last two grueling weeks. Then their phone loses power.
Lets start with the different causes, and effects to air pollution. Currently San Antonio is affected by Ground-level Ozone, it is considered to be one of the most harmful effects is in our air quality. Ground-level ozone is the main component of smog, and this type of air pollution most harmful to people's health; exposure to Ground-level Ozone causes respiratory problems like coughing, chest pain, irritation of the throat and lungs leading to health diseases like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. There is also a risk, and the increase likelihood of heart attack or stroke. These health problems are a concern in which SWU brings awareness to children, youth, elders, and working-class members of our community who is exposed to air contamination.
Ozone located in the stratosphere protects us from dangerous UV rays from the sun. Having mentioned the concern about Ground-level Ozone, I will mention its formation. Ground-level Ozone is created when Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) reacts with Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) under the presence of heat, and sunlight--a green house gas--Nitrogen Oxide is 300 times more damaging to the environment than carbon dioxide. It is important to clarify that trees and other vegetation naturally produce both NOx and VOCs and we would have them in the environment regardless of human interaction. However, it is human activity that has disrupted nature’s balance completely off and produced unnatural amounts of these compounds into the environment. We need to observe the environmental destruction led by corporate companies using extreme energies, and extraction processes that amplifies the contamination to mother earth, and our health.
People have increased the amount of NOx present in the air through agricultural, transportational, and industrial habits. For San Antonio, half of NOx emissions come from vehicles and about 30% come from major industrial facilities, like power plants, chemical plants and refineries. VOCs come from products like paints, gasoline, solvents, pesticides, glues, and cleaning supplies. VOCs are actually a bigger problem indoors than outside due to all the household products people use. But outdoors, over 60% of VOC emissions for San Antonio come from smaller commercial buildings, like gas stations, and residential buildings.
The city’s response to controlling ozone levels is primarily based on voluntary actions. The Environmental Protection Agency designed the Air Quality Index, which rates air quality from “good” to “very unhealthy,” to help the public understand the daily risk of air pollution and “protect themselves.” There are three levels of “unhealthy”: unhealthy for sensitive populations, unhealthy, and very unhealthy. When any of these warnings are given for a certain day, business owners and individuals are supposed to do things like drive less and avoid being outside to protect themselves that day. However, there are state officials who do not view our health to be a priority and does not regulate injustices done to our environment.
There are so many issues with that system. It would be great to have a system that seeks to give people more information but people need to first have an understanding of what Ground-level Ozone and environmental issues are in general to understand why it's important. More importantly though a just transition for putting the responsibility on individuals doesn’t address the real systemic issues we are facing in our health, economic justice, and workers rights. Huge industries, like commercial agriculture and fracking, are hugely responsible for the contaminants in our air but they are not being held responsible like they should be. Relying on individuals to change their habits while letting huge companies do as they please helps the very few at the expense of many.
San Antonio is included in the Eagle Ford Shale region; drilling for oil and gas in the region has increased hugely since 2011 but effective regulation hasn’t come with that growth. Due loose and protected government regulation, it is difficult for SWU to document how many emissions are released in the air by drilling sites. However, the Alamo Area Council of Governments did an investigation concluding that most likely more emissions are being released into the air than allowed and certainly more than is healthy for the environment. These emissions contain VOCs that can then travel in the air throughout the region, including San Antonio, to mix with NOx and create more ground-level ozone. A correlation can be seen over the past years with the development of the Eagle Ford Shale region and increased air pollution in the region.
Familias of color from low-income and working-class are the frontline communities of all ages are more likely to develop and be diagnosed with asthma, other breathing problems than predominately white families with socio-economic advantages.
- Grace Obregon
* for access to cited works given, please copy and paste links into your browser
http://vault.sierraclub.org/ecocentro/survey/2012 Latinos and the Environment Survey_Exec Summary_English.pdf
 http://texasalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/TCEQs-San-Antonio-Air-Quality-Update.pdf https://eos.org/opinions/is-the-shale-boom-reversing-progress-in-curbing-ozone-pollution
U.S. immigration officials on Monday announced transgender detainees will for the first time be able to be housed in detention facilities that match their gender identity.
Pride celebrations of the LGBTQ community are taking place throughout the nation. The community takes great pride in celebrating our diversity and the progress we have made throughout the years.
Under fierce pressure from Democratic lawmakers and immigration advocates, the Obama administration said Wednesday that it would take steps to minimize the controversial practice of detaining immigrant women and children who cross the southern border.
Until late February, ten Kevlar tents and a few adjacent buildings housed nearly 3,000 inmates in a south Texas prison called the Willacy County Correctional Center. The Raymondville facility near the Mexico border was known by most inmates as "Ritmo," a nod to the notorious prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
NEW YORK CITY
The UE-GE Conference Board voted today to recommend to the membership the Tentative Agreement which was hammered out at the CBC small bargaining table on Sunday night. The CBC was represented at the small table by UE, IUE-CWA, UAW, IAM, and IBEW.
Tentative Agreement Has Solid Gains and Protections
Most importantly, UE and others unions successfully resisted GE’s attempt to eliminate company subsidies for post-65 health care. All UE members will continue to retire with post-65 health care subsidies.
UE and the other unions also secured an important guarantee from GE that it will not attempt to freeze the pension during the term of this contract and the next contact. Our pension benefits will continue to accumulate with substantial improvements and are secure and free from GE attacks to freeze such benefits until at least 2023.
Wage, COLA, and lump sum bonuses will result in pay increases of more than $15,000 for every UE represented GE employee in the U.S., if ratified by his/her Local union. Health Insurance contributions are frozen until January 1, 2017 and even after 2017-2019 increases go into effect, all members will realize more than a $12,000 increase in total compensation.
Retiree life insurance which GE also threatened to eliminate will continue for all members who retire under the contract, but starting in 2016 will be reduced to $15,000 per retiree.
Pension improvements are impressive and contain a pension update which will increase average pensions for members who retire under this contract by more than $5,000 per year. Guaranteed minimum pensions, career earnings tables, and early retirement supplements are also increased. For the first time in almost three decades disability pensions have been improved.
GE has also committed to a new health processing system under which only one health care card is needed and claims processing can be done directly through medical providers without using computers, telephones, and faxes. In major locations like Erie, GE will provide a health care advocate to help process any difficult claims. The new system will start January 1, 2016 and by mid year UE and GE will meet to review the changes to make sure that claims are processing smoothly. If not, changes will be made quickly.
Commenting on the tentative settlement UE General President Bruce Klipple said: “We protected post-65 health care, stopped pensions from being frozen until 2023, and made sure that all members receive much more in increased pay than the new health care contributions.” He continued, “ I urge all members to vote for this settlement even though we didn’t get everything we wanted.”
Under the terms of this settlement, each UE-GE local union must vote to ratify the agreement by July 3 so that its local members receive the $2,000 Ratification Bonus next month.