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By Elliot Booker — 5 years ago
By Michael Hill
“Newark is here! We’re ready to work! We work or nobody works,” said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka.
Baraka made good on his promise and led a protest at the Port of Newark, first shutting down one lane of truck traffic and then all lanes on Corbin Street outside the Maher Terminal where he tried to deliver job applications from Newark residents. Port Authority Police watched. Some truckers became hopeless and turned around. Some port workers yelled, “Go back to Newark” and “Run the animals over!”
But, the mayor and hundreds of protesters who came by buses were undeterred as he held court in the middle of the road.
“Guy hit me up on Twitter said you should be worried about crime. I said I am that’s why I’m worried about jobs,” said Baraka said.
The mayor has asked the Justice and Labor departments to investigate and accuses the International Longshoremen’s Association and the New York Shipping Association of denying full-time jobs to Newark residents and said these Newarkers got temporary jobs but were not called back while counterparts from another town were.
“And all that we ask as citizens of the great city we call Newark is the opportunityto be a part of the greatest job opportunity that the great city of Newark has to offer,” Newark resident Alan Gates said.
In response to the mayor, the ILA’s president wrote: “Historically, the percentage of longshore workers who live in Newark has fluctuated. Even though many Newark residents have been hired for these jobs over the years, many of them have decided to move themselves and their families to other areas of New Jersey and New York to experience a different lifestyle.”
The city of Newark and the Waterfront Commission say the hiring numbers here are disappointing and staggering.
The commission was formed to combat corrupt hiring practices and it says as of March 1, this was the ethnic breakdown of the nearly 1,600 Port of Newark maintenance workers: 40 black, 252 Hispanic and 1,281 white — all men.
In a statement, the Waterfront Commission told us, “The Waterfront Commission has been tirelessly fighting to secure waterfront job opportunities for minorities and residents from Port communities. While our efforts have resulted in an overall increase in minority hiring, the practices of the New York Shipping Association, Inc. (NYSA) and the International Longshoremen’s Association, AFL-CIO (ILA), and others continue to result in an incredible lack of diversity in waterfront employment.”
The ILA said the mayor knows what it stands for and has accepted its $9,000 in contributions to his political war chest. Its president said, “The longshore industry is committed to a discrimination-free waterfront” and “Mayor Baraka presents multiple claims to create the appearance of nonexistent racial discrepancies”
And the Shipping Association, which does the hiring, says the most recent numbers paint a much different picture than the mayor’s.
But, these Newark residents cheered on their mayor’s employment quest.
“We have to say if we can’t get employed there’s going to be hell to pay down there at that port until they start opening up their doors to all Newark residents in this city,” said Baraka.
They vowed this is not the last protest here, it’s the first.Post Views: 952
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Today’s REVIVE show topic is entitled:
It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832. This episode of REVIVE will be an open forum so all perspectives can be heard through great conversation.
This episode on REVIVE is entitled “Sunday Edition” we will be talking with your guy Keith Taylor from TLSpolitics! We also have a weekly thrill guest that is out of this world! Call in to REVIVE at (215)490-9832, you never know what may happen!
Brittany Garret: Brittany Garret originally from NYC found her passion for saving young lives, similar to her own. She used her inner fat girl, as a voice for change, and has embraced herself from inside out. She is the creator if Dear fat girl. It’s a brand that is dedicated to promoting body positivity among women and young girls through mentor-ship, workshops and a variety of events. It is a brand that inspires and motivates women and young girls to be true and unapologetic in their journey to self awareness and acceptance. Their Motto is “Fat is not always physical , sometimes it’s a mindset.”
YOU CAN CATCH REVIVE EVERY SUNDAY 11 AM-1 PM & EVERY WEDNESDAY 8 PM-10 PM!!!
It would be amazing to hear your perspective. So please call in we want to hear what you guys the listening audience out there have to say always. Once again this show is for the people. We here at REVIVE thrive off of communication. So call us at (215)490-9832 & follow on Twitter, IG & Facebook @REVIVE_POC
WE NEED YOU ALL TO BE APART OF THE CONVERSATION!!Post Views: 772
By Elliot Booker — 3 years ago
Once numbering more than 50, 13 historically black towns in Oklahoma are struggling to survive.
African-American women wait outside a rural church while other members of their families attend a church business meeting in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, in 1939. (Smith Collection, New York Public Library/Gado/Getty Images)
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — His baby brother, barely a year old, came down with pneumonia in September 1948, when Lonnie Cato’s family still lived in the historically black community of Vernon, 70 miles south of Tulsa. The streets, even in the middle of town, were still gravel back then, but Vernon seemed to be thriving with 2,500 residents, two or three general stores and a couple of cafes, where blacks, whites and Native Americans all mingled without seeming to notice skin color. Or, at least, not caring much about it.
Everybody, including Cato’s family, was poor. But they didn’t seem to notice that, either.
“Vernon was a happy-going, barefooted, sand-between-your-toes kind of place,” Cato remembers. “Shoes was a luxury. We only wore them on Sundays when we went to church.”
The town didn’t have a doctor. And by the time Cato’s family got his little brother to a hospital in Tulsa, it was too late. The baby died. And for Cato’s father, that was the end of Vernon.
“I’m not going to raise my kids where there’s no doctor care,” he told the family. And they moved to Tulsa.
Cato was too young to notice, of course. But his family was part of a much larger trend that started after World War II and continued for several decades, a mass exodus away from small towns in general and historically black towns in particular, leaving their populations gutted. The general stores closed. The cafes vanished. Houses fell into disrepair and entire neighborhoods turned into vacant lots, old foundations overgrown by weeds.
“We have to do something or these historically black towns will die,” said Cato, now 77 years old. “And I think there’s too much history to just stand back and let that happen.”
In hindsight, World War II was the turning point, Cato said. An entire generation of young men went off to fight and even the survivors never came back to Vernon, where they would’ve spent their lives behind a plow on a cotton farm.
“I didn’t want to look a mule in the butt anymore,” an uncle told Cato after settling in Kansas City after the war.
While growing up in Tulsa, where he graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1959, Cato often went back to Vernon, taking a two-hour bus ride to visit grandparents and cousins. The town shrunk smaller with each visit. And by the time he came home from Vietnam, where he served in the Air Force during the early 1960s, Vernon seemed barely recognizable.
“Young people kept leaving until only the old folks were left,” he said. “And as they died off, the town was dying, too.”
With no local businesses left to collect sales taxes, one of Cato’s uncles launched the Vernon Charitable Foundation in 1973 to collect donations from people who had moved away, helping to pay for the town’s upkeep. But that source of funding dwindled as former residents died off and their children, who had no memories of town, saw no reason to contribute.
By 2005, the Vernon Charitable Foundation decided to change tactics and, instead of going after donations, go after grant money. But for that, the town needed an elected mayor, an office that had never been filled, even during the community’s heyday.
Cato had just retired from American Airlines, where he was a mechanic.
“I guess I’m going to have some time on my hands,” he told the foundation, agreeing to be a candidate. In fact, the only candidate.
He has since been re-elected three times, with McIntosh County allowing him to continue living on six acres near Skiatook as long as he owns property in Vernon and is registered to vote there, Tulsa World reported. And he can point to several accomplishments, including preservation work on the old Vernon School, which is now a community center, and the town’s first-ever paved road.
Vernon, if not exactly revitalizing under Cato’s leadership, has survived. And that’s all Cato really hoped for.
“But I’m not going to be around forever,” he said. “Somebody will have to take over.”
Getting ready for bed one night last September, Cato noticed blood on his toothbrush.
“I must have damaged my gums while brushing,” he thought, and shrugged it off. But he woke up later to find blood soaking into his pillow.
A visit to the emergency room at 2 a.m. led to surgery on his mouth, which led to a diagnosis of head and neck cancer, leading eventually to surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Now in remission, he still has trouble chewing and swallowing, while he has lost nearly all sense of taste.
“I’ll trade taste for life any day,” he said with a laugh. “So it’s OK. I’m doing fine.”
But the health scare has convinced him not to run for re-election again in 2020, leaving Vernon – with a current population of exactly 37 people – to look for a new mayor.
Oklahoma used to have more than 50 all-black towns, established largely by freedman families who had come to Indian Territory with tribal slave owners in the early 19th century. All but 13 of those towns have vanished, and now they’re struggling to survive.
“It would be a travesty to let them die,” said Jessilyn Head, part of a husband-wife team from Oklahoma City who head up The Coltrane Group, an organization devoted to saving Oklahoma’s remaining historic black towns. “There’s too much history and heritage that would be lost forever.”
Too small and under-funded to thrive individually, the 13 towns need to work together to promote awareness and tourism, Head said. Most of the towns have at least one annual event that could attract crowds – Vernon, for example, has a Memorial Day celebration that serves as a kind of town reunion, drawing former residents from all over the country. Anyone with an interest in black history should pay a visit, too, Head said.
“But people don’t know about these towns,” she said. “That’s one thing we have to fix.”
The Coltrane Group is working with state officials to post highway signs to help travelers find historic black towns, and the group is building a new website that will promote tourism to the towns, she said.
“Slowly but surely we’re seeing interest start to grow,” she said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, maybe not even in our lifetimes, but these towns can be rebuilt and revitalized.”
Cato doesn’t have much hope for Vernon to grow. In fact, he doesn’t have any hope for that.
“It will never be any bigger,” he said. “That’s for sure.”
He’d be satisfied with mere survival.
“What’s left of this town,” he said, “should be held together so people will know how things used to be.”Post Views: 1,646