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SLAVERY IN AMERICA: RECENT APOLOGIES AND THE DEBATE ON REPARATIONS

I am  a child of slaves.  I am a child of first generation black Americans to have their own New York City Home.  I am a child of a African American family to be the first  to go to college.  I am a mother of a black child who is first generation to play tennis as his major sport of skill. 

 I am African American wife of  a skizophrenic, (who has been missing for ten years).  I am an African American wife of a African American male skizphonprenic- who has not provided child support for ten years due to his missing status and the RULES that govern the Social Security Administration.

  I am an African American who can not get HEAP HELP (GOVERNMENTAL FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR UTILITY BILLS i.e. Gas and Electric) because the government states that SINGLE PARENT STATUS…EARNING $43,000.00 PER YEAR, PAYING $1600.00 for 3 bedroom apartment in New York City,  paying full utilties of building,  $158.00 per month car insurance,  extremely high milk, juice, fruit, meat,  vegetables,  personal care products,  clothing,  medical needs insurances,  life insurances on my self valued at over $100,00.00 disability insurances on myself (especially since my missing sick husband left me responsible for my child),  catastrophic disease insurances on my self.

Having detailed my financial condition as a 48 yearold African American Daughter of slave ancestors….It would appear that I have the same if not similar problems as my white counter part Americans in some cases. 

 However,  what makes me believe that I do deserve a form if not actual SLAVE REPARATION–is that I would have completed COLLEGE many years ago—if it had not been for BEOG/ PELL AND TAP GRANTS BEING DENIED!  

Those grants were denied me when I was 21 years old!  I had just been accepted into CBS Television Internship Program through Queens College in the Journalism department.  I was registering for my course that was applied to the internship and was told by the college that PELL GRANTS,  BEOG AND TAP Aide had been denied to me because I had used up all of my POINTS! 

 I did not financial aide available!!!  I had ignorantly retaken courses that I had failed  and then passed.  However,  my re-registering for those courses had caused me to use up my points. 

 My Academic Counselor named  Barbara Blank  did not guide me properly,  —I am truly not clear on how this terrible mistake occured.

  Whatever caused this terrible error…caused me to have to leave college after I had already completed 61 credits!!!! 

 The financial aide counselor had discussed the problem with my mother….my African American mother….another daughter of ancestral slaves….My mother whose parents had not been educated higher than elementary school in Virgina (Drakes Branch,  and Farmville Virgina to be exact). 

 My mother had an option explained to her by the financial aide counselor….”Refinance your house so that your daughter could finish college.”

  My mother, descendant of slaves flatly stated,” NO! I am not wasting my mortgage on that!”

  My sister, who did not complete college and who was 6 years older than me– had been whispering into my mother’s ears heavily.

  She did not want me to complete college…because she was jealous and she told my mother  that I becoming a CAREER COLLEGE STUDENT….LEARNING BUT NEVER GRADUATING.

  I was only 21 years  old at that time.  Also CBS television internship supervisor in charge of my internship had promised me a great future!  I had to compete against other people—HUNDREDS! .. inorder to get accepted into that internship!

  I had made an impression on the CBS Internship program…but now!  My financial aide points had run out from Pell Grant,  BEOG,  and TAP were no longer funding my education.

  I could not work to make enough money to pay for those classes,–tuition was a mere $900.00 back then….but it was still to high for a full time college student. 

The final outcome is this….I left college, unable to pay for it. 

 My mother,  daughter of Slave ancestry could not see the benefit of helping me to complete my education because her thinking back then was limited  and poisoned by my sister’s jealousy. 

 Thus  I left college, severly let down….my mother,  daughter of slaves told me to just get a job….My mother could not understand the circumstances that would notw shape my life and her’s forever!

I went to a business school,  I went to Taylor Business Institute!  I learned secretarial skills. ((question–why was I able to get a loan for a trade school and not a college???))

 I was hired by a temp agency and began the long road back to college.  I began paying for my classes one at a time….I was eventually hired full time by J. Michael Bloom Talent Agency. 

 My big mistake was that I got married.  The marriage did not prevent me from being educated…but I began to rearrange my goals around the marriage.  My husband and I did accomplish some goals like buying a house,  and having  a child. 

 My African American husband wanted me to complete college…but coming full circle my husband suffered catastrophic severe skizphrenia and left me with bankruptcy,loss of a home to foreclosure,  and a child to raise.

  I am currently working on a job for the past 19 years that has abosultely NOTHING to do with my original college related goals.  The job  helps pay for food, and rent–barely–. 

 I struggle due to the previous explained debts that I worry about daily. 

 HIND sight is not twenty-twenty for me. 

 I knew that my level of success would not be fulfilled if I could not complete that INTERNSHIP AT CBS AND REGISTER FOR MY CLASSES WHEN I WAS 21 YEARS OLD. 

 However,  not having an educated family,  that would understand the value of an education,  and the financial scarifices required to accomplish that goal…thus here I sit today….BLOGGING…out my frustration. 

My actual, blogging is healthy for me…but it cannot replace the years of economic success I have not ever experienced,  education,  and opportunities that I have missed out on.

  Blogging cannot give me financial power to help cover the debts that HEAP will not help me to pay …because I am just $50 or more dollars over their limit of assistance for a single parent with only 1 (one) child.

  I have been told that I have to have more children to be eligible to receive government assistance. 

The  goal in this article is to explain why SLAVE REPARATIONS would have helped a person like myself. 

 I have been working ever since I had to leave college. 

 Understand that I only left college because I had no money to pay for tuition.  They would not allow me to take a loan….my mother would not refinance her home (which she actually did refinance some years later…so she could make a basment apartment for rental purposes)—I have always pushed to further my education,  I recently partly completed a program NYACK Adult Continuing education–called ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGMENT…I have to pay off about $600.00 and complete three essays to receive my Bachaelor of Science in Organizational Managament. 

 I should have done this two years ago.  So what is the hold up you ask?  I have my child who has been suffering with seizure disorder increasingly over the past two years,  and I also am caring for my mother who has become an invalid and stroke victim over the past 4 years. 

So here I sit.   I am gearing up to complete my 3 essays in the next few weeks and receive my full credit and I can graduate in November of this year. 

I have traveled a long road.  I know there are many others who have traveled a long road as well.

  Do I believe that educational reparations would have helped me….OF COURSE IT WOULD HAVE HELPED ME! 

 My educational goals would not have been tied to my mother’s personal finances..and I would have been able to complete the internship at CBS in Journalism. 

What type of EDUCATIONAL REPARATIONS would I have used you might ask?  Here is my concept of the best form of education reparations for children of ancestral African American Slaves:

  • SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE AND RECEIVE GED/HIGHSCHOOL DIPLOMA
  • MAINTAIN PASSING GRADES IN COLLEGE
  • TAKE REMEDIAL COURSES TO IMPROVE ACADEMICS AND SUCCESSFULLY PASS ALL REMEDIAL COURSES
  • NO—-TERM LIMITS ON EDUCATION
  • STUDENTS MUST ENROLL IN COLLEGE CONSEQUTIVELY—UNLESS EMERGENCY IN FAMILY,  MEDICAL PROBLEMS, FINANCIAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO BE EVALUATED BY REPARATIONS COMMITTEE ON ACADEMIC REPARATIONS
  • SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE BACHELOR OF any ACCREDITED COLLEGE,  IVY LEAGUE,  CITY,  STATE COLLEGE PROGRAM
  • SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE ANY INTERNSHIP PROGRAM
  • SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE ANY TRADE PROGRAM:  ELECTRICAL, PLUMBING, TRUCKING, NURSING, CAR REPAIR AND DESIGN, ETC.,
  • SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE PROGRAMS AND HAVE ACADEMIC GOALS,  AND JOB BOOKLET ON PERSONAL/INDIVIDUAL ASSESEMENT, and RESUME– COMPLETED AT THE END OF EACH SEMESTER.
  • MAINTAIN ATLEAST A — C– AVERAGE…WITH  EXPLANATION OF GRADES AND RESTRAINTS  AND DETAILING PROBLEMS RELATED TO COMPLETION OF ACADEMIC GOALS TO BE EVALUATED DIRECTLY BY ACADEMIC REPARATIONS COMMITTEE.
  • FULL TUITION PAYMENT FOR ALL AFRCIAN AMERICAN SLAVE DECENDANTS
  • FULL TUTITION FOR BACHELOR,  MASTERS PROGRAMS.
  • FULL TUTITION PAID FOR DOCTORATE AFTER PROVIDING 4OOO HOURS OF MENTORING,  PROJECT GIVE BACK, AND EACH ONE TEACH ONE PROGRAMS FOR SUMMER YOUTH AND YOUNG MOTHER PROGRAMS.
  • FULL TUTITION PAYMENTS FOR 2ND BACHELOR DEGREE FOR 7000 HOURS OF MENTORING, PROJECT GIVE BACK, AND EACH ONE TEACH ONE PROGRAMS TO BE DEVELOPED BY THE AFRICAN AMERICAN REPARATIONS PROGRAM.  
  • ALL CANDIDATES MUST SUBMITT DOCUMENTED PROOF OF 3000 HOUR AND 7000 HOUR GIVE BACK AND MENTORING PROGRAMS INORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE  FOR DOCTORATE PROGRAMS AND 2ND DEGREE PROGRAMS.
  • ALL GRADUATES ARE REQUIRED TO GIVE 100 HOURS YEARLY TO TALKS AT ELEMENTARY EDUCATION,  JUNIOR HIGHSCHOOL EDUCATION, HIGHSCHOOL EDUCATION,  AND  COLLEGE PROGRAMS FOR MENTORING AND PASSING ON THE LEGACY OF THE BENEFITS OF EDCUATION AND TAKING THE RESPONSIBILITY OF REPARATIONS AND BECOMING SUCCESSFUL IN ATTAINING ACADEMIC GOALS THAT ARE A STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE IN THE AFRiCAN AMERICAN SLAVE DESCENDANTS.

This is my concept of proper reparations.  I would abide by these rules so that I could have the opportunities to pass on the goals and future that keep America growing and great. 

We as a American Citizens do not need a hand out!  We need a hand UP! Help me to educate myself so that I can help continue the legacy of Pride in the United States as a Super Power in the World.  Help me to educate myself  so that I can give back to the generations to come.

As it stands right now…I can only give this blogg!!!!

  I could do so much more if my education was free…but with RESPONSIBILTY AND DEFINITELY STRINGS ATTACHED.  The type of strings attached will cause success in the future decendants of slaves…but those decendants would eventually be called desendants of SUCCESSFULL AFRICAN AMERICANS WHO HAVE MENTORED, AND GAVE BACK, THEREBY ASSISTING THE UNITED STATES TO MAINTAIN ITS ECONOMIC STRENGTH,  EDUCATIONAL POWER,  LITERACY,  AND GROWTH IN THE WORLD. 

WITH EDUCATION….COMES AN EMPOWERED WORKFORCE THAT CAN STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY…..CRIME BASED ON ECNOMICS WILL GO DOWN IN MINORITY COMMUNITIES,  BLACK MALES WILL BE INSPIRED TO GATHER RESOURCES AND BECOME MORE SUCCESSFUL AND STRONG.  YOUNG WOMEN WILL GATHER RESOURCES AND BECOME MORE SUCCESSFUL AND STRONG.

The program of reparations needs to be looked at. 

 It may take many years for it to come about. 

 MOst likely not in my life time,  or even my child’s  life time. 

 But the concept does need to be addressed. 

 Maybe my concepts are not all acceptable… there may be better methods of ACADEMIC REPARATIONS.

IN CONCLUSION:

DO NOT GIVE ME THE FORTY ACRES AND AN MULE….

I WANT A FREE….RESPONSIBILITY ACADEMIC BASED REPARATION FOR DESCENDANTS OF AFRICAN SLAVES. 

(((JOBS WILL COME WITH AN EDUCATED WORK FORCE!!!))) 

 NOTE…MANY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES MAKE EDCUATION FREE  FOR ALL!!!!

REPARATIONS ON AN ACADEMIC LEVEL WILL IMPROVE  THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND ECONOMIC STANDING OF THE UNITED STATES AS A SUPER POWER  AND ALSOIN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY AS WELL.

“`RIVEROFLIFELISAJOY

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MIDDLE PASSAGE AND THE MEMORIES OF A SLAVE~~~Fiction by Riveroflifelisajoy

Ma name is John Smith.

Ah, been in dis here plantation since a

was a young chile..sold offin’

my Mama befo’ I was ten.

But Ah memba’ my Mama face

and my Mama hands.

My Mama face wuz brown

tired and sad. 

She wore a ole’ faded

red head rag.   She would

take me wid her to clean

the chicken coups

and feed the cows.

Ah would play and chase

the chickens!

One day the master

of  da house came and

picked me out from

ma friends and told

my Mama it wuz time

fo’ me to go!

I wuz too big to

be playin’ anymo’.

The master sent ole’

Joe, the helper to carry me off

to the market to be

sold. 

Ah cried and kicked and

screamed fo’ my

Mama. 

She just stood a lookin’

after me and did not

move to help me!

Ah watched my Mama

grow tiny as the horse,

cart  pulled me and the otha’ slaves who

was packed into it away from

my birth plantation to a

new and dangerous beginin’!

Ah wuz sold to the Williams.

Mr. Williams was kind, but

his son was the mean one.

He liked to beat slaves fo’ nuthin’

and then leave um to die if they

put up a fuss.

He would jus’ buy mo’

slaves the next day.

The Williams plantation

was a cotton plantation.

Hard work, pickin’ cotton,

cuts up yo’ hands and stuff.

Ah grew big and strong.

I could carry three times my weight

on a good day.

So young master Williams took

good care uh me. 

But ah hated ta see

my friends suffer so.

One day we heard of the

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD.

Ah  decided to run awa’.

No, Ah told ye, that Master Williams

wuz good to me.  Ah just wanted to see

my Mama so bad.

Ah did not care about good treatment.

Ah wanted to be free! 

Ah made a chance run fo’ it

one night.

Ah wuz tryin’ ta meet

up wid the UnderGround RailRoad

in the forest.

Ah, made a mistake.

I told ole’ Buck, who curries the

Master’s horses.  He warn’ me

not to try it!  Ah, told him to minds his business!

I could out run any dog, or horse….cause the master

fed me the best food cause ah carried the heavy loads and pulled

plows when the horses went lame.

Sos’  I think that is why I wuz caught so fast.

When they draggs’ me back to the

plantation, there was ole’ Buck a lookin’

at me.  From a distance he kept gettin’

bigger, and bigger.  He stood right at

the wipping post and look at me….just starin’

and shaking his ole’ grey head.

When they tied me up I could see dried

blood where other slaves had been beat.

It wuz a cloudy day.

It wuz a hot night.

They found me in the day and wup me

deep into da night.

Young Master Williams took a break

from his workin’ my back, and

then told his workers to continue on

till the next mornin’ just wupin’

my back.

I stop yellin’ and then I don’t

member nothin after dat.

All I know is that I found ma’self

sittin up here wit Jesus, and da

Angels.

Oh, and I found Mama too!

Except  she got a big smile on

huh face, and she wearing a white

dress and she don’t look tired no’ mo’.

Fini~~~

Fiction Depiction of Slavery

by Riveroflifelisajoy

Controversy of the New Governor Paterson: I Need Parental Guidance for the Latest News Stories! Wow! Threesomes….I never thought such Words would be connected to Elected Officials!

   Jay Jewels Cry FOR HUMANITY(Jay Jewels “Cry for Humanity”)

I just can not take it anymore!  I had heard alot of negative things about Spitzer  before this  big mess came to the front.  All I want to know is this.  When he was having these activities where were his security team? 

Look,  I really do not want to discuss Spitzer.  I just want to know why the news papers have to keep making each head line full of words that you do not want to discuss in front of your kids….even your older kids for that matter.

  I am very open  in discussion with my family on many topics.       But the McGreevy issue was so way over the top of my level of existence I was embarressed.  I felt like I had a furtive glance over at the dirty magazine section in the subway newsstand!  I do not know what the future holds! 

What was worse is  that today I saw our new Governor’s wife’s foot bottom with her big toe sticking way out from underneath her leg in a yoga pose on the front of the Daily News!  Is that really neccesary?  Is it required to show every aspect of our elected officials private selves?

  I will not have the bottoms of my feet and big toe photographed just to get a private sector or public service job!  I just do not get it!  Did the legally blind new Governor Paterson cheat on his wife for three years or less? 

 Why did I have to know about it?   I do not believe any one has not cheated …even if it has been emotional cheating.  You know what I mean.  The type of cheating that involves the phone calls to a good “friend” from work. 

 You eat lunch with this person and laugh about job issues, get frustrated together,  complain about the same stuff and cry on each other’s shoulder when the other does not get that much wanted  promotion.  YOu know what I mean!  That job friend that is of the opposite  sex! 

 Emotional committment….days that person is absent from work…are empty days.  Sometimes you might even tell your spouse that you work friend was sick and work slowed up in his or her absence!  You just could not hide your emotions about the empty feeling you had all day.  So now you mope!

Any way,  I digress!  The problem I find in all of this open discussion is that after a while everyone will be found guilty!  Even today in the AOL Black Voices blog….the mayor of Detroit, who is black  is now being told to step down for not telling the truth about his affair! 

 This had nothing to do with his actual job.  But if you have cheated on your spouse, or had an affair you must come clean about it!  Or you face being let go under big,  big,  shame!  “THE SCARLET LETTER HAS RETURNED!”  —for those of you who are literature buffs! 

 Do we have to now tell of the crushes we had as little kids, tweens, teenagers,  then pets we owned,  aunts, uncles, we liked  or did not like?

  Do we have to tell of the time we accepted a gift and then turned around and regifted it because we lied about how much we liked something and really didn’t?  Are there going to be lie detector tests that will analize whether we tell somebody that the dress they brought looks good on them or not and whether we mean it? 

Do you have to now double check yourself and your personal relationships before you apply for a job?  Where will this end?  Public service is truly public isn’t it?  I just can’t take it any more. 

 I do not  want to know so much personal information.  I want to just know that I can get my taxes lowered,  get an increase in my annual pay,  go to college cheaper,  pay for my dental work cheaper….lose weight safely and go on trips in our free country!  Prosititution is not acceptable….definitely not! 

But do I have to see Governor Paterson’s wife’s FEET on page #2 of the Daily News?  Can we leave nothing private?  I never saw Nancy Reagan’s feet,  I never saw Hillary Clinton’s feet,  I never saw Jimmy Carter’s (President Carter’s) wife’s feet! 

 So why is Mrs. Paterson’s life so exposed?  JUST TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!!!  JUST LOWER THE RATES OF CAR INSURANCE!

  LOWER THE RATES OF MORTGAGES!  LOWER THE RATES OF HEALTH INSURANCE!  LOWER THE RATES OF TOLLS ON THE BRIDGES,  LOWER THE PRICE OF FOOD….GET THE MYSTERY GARBARGE  ADDITIVES,  OUT OF OUR FOOD.  STOP GLOBAL WARMING, SAVE THE POLAR BEAR,  SAVE THE SEA ANIMALS, STOP DREDGEING THE OCEAN FLOOR AND KILLING OFF THE BARRIER REEFS,  STOP OVER FISHING,  ETC., ETC., ETC.,!  

Can we get back to business please and save the planet and mankind please!  The only bare foot I want to see is that of a homeless person getting shoes and socks put on it! 

AM I WRONG?  PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

Thank you.

—-riverolflifelisajoy

Who is Thomas Crater and the New York Page? In Memories of J. Michael Bloom I discussed Thomas Crater….Another person who inspired me toward my Goals!

thomas-crater.jpg 

Well,  just so you know…. I always aim to give you something interesting to read.  I found Thomas Crater when I was googling and here he is.  So,  yes there was an actual NEW YORK PAGE….AND AND REAL THOMAS CRATER THAT ALLOWED ME TO WRITE AND PRACTICE JOURNALISM. But  I had lost touch of Mr. Crater over the years.  He was a great mentor to me.  Keep well Mr. Crater  and keep up the good fight of faith and making SouthEast Jamaica beautiful!  Thanks!—-RIVEROFLIFELISAJOY!!!—-

Thomas Crater Thomas Crater “People don’t know their history, they should go out and learn about their history.”

“People don’t know their history, they should go out and learn about their history.”

Thomas Crater is the chairperson and sole board member for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s (GJDC) Beautification Committee. He is always speed-walking somewhere, never without his briefcase, and he will turn any topic into a history lesson.
Greatest Achievement

Crater is known for fighting with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and government-run organizations about cleaning up the Downtown Jamaica area. He recently confronted the LIRR about the graffiti covering the railroad bridges and station, and according to Crater, they finally admitted it is their responsibility to clean up the defacement.Crater also started a publication called “The New York Page,” a newspaper he said he created to cover issues that everyone else is too scared to deal with. The paper prints when Crater gets around to it. He said he might print one before the November presidential elections if the paper is in high demand.Community Character

Crater has never entered a GJDC Downtown Committee meeting without a problem to discuss, and before anyone can address his concerns, he is on to the next one, without stopping to take a breath.
He avoids sitting down at meetings because he knows he is going to get riled up, so you will catch him pacing up and down the Jamaica Market Harvest Room until the meeting is over.
Crater is also known for his active involvement in the community, especially with the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, the church he has been a member of since he moved to the area.
Most Outrageous Act

Without a car, Crater finds it hard to be punctual when it comes to getting to meetings, but no matter how late he arrives, Crater ensures that his words will be heard, and when he is on time, no one can take away his microphone.
At the February Downtown Committee meeting, Crater was asked to give an overview of what the Beautification Committee was doing. Crater stood up, moved away from the table and started interrogating board members of the GJDC. “When do you plan on starting construction on the Airport Village? There’s all this talk but no action.”When board members tried to quiet Crater down, he ignored the requests and insisted that the people of Southeast Queens deserve to know what’s going on. Although Crater did not get his questions answered, he said that he never forgets what happens at the meetings, and the subjects will come up again.Work Relationship

Crater works hand in hand with GJDC to develop Downtown Jamaica. Although he is the only member on the Beautification Committee, Crater says he stays in touch with the organization to keep them aware of his progress. The Downtown Committee also sent Crater to meet with the Borough President to discuss ways of demolishing graffiti in the borough.
Although Crater provokes the members of the Downtown Committee about the progress the organization is making with the redevelopment of Southeast Queens, he said he supports them in their efforts to rebuild the community, he just wishes there was a time frame as to when the work would be done.–Raynelle Cerica Bull

“People don’t know their history, they should go out and learn about their history.”

Thomas Crater “People don’t know their history, they should go out and learn about their history.”

“People don’t know their history, they should go out and learn about their history.”

Thomas Crater is the chairperson and sole board member for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s (GJDC) Beautification Committee. He is always speed-walking somewhere, never without his briefcase, and he will turn any topic into a history lesson.
Greatest Achievement

Crater is known for fighting with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and government-run organizations about cleaning up the Downtown Jamaica area. He recently confronted the LIRR about the graffiti covering the railroad bridges and station, and according to Crater, they finally admitted it is their responsibility to clean up the defacement.Crater also started a publication called “The New York Page,” a newspaper he said he created to cover issues that everyone else is too scared to deal with. The paper prints when Crater gets around to it. He said he might print one before the November presidential elections if the paper is in high demand.
Community Character

Crater has never entered a GJDC Downtown Committee meeting without a problem to discuss, and before anyone can address his concerns, he is on to the next one, without stopping to take a breath.
He avoids sitting down at meetings because he knows he is going to get riled up, so you will catch him pacing up and down the Jamaica Market Harvest Room until the meeting is over.
Crater is also known for his active involvement in the community, especially with the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, the church he has been a member of since he moved to the area.
Most Outrageous Act

Without a car, Crater finds it hard to be punctual when it comes to getting to meetings, but no matter how late he arrives, Crater ensures that his words will be heard, and when he is on time, no one can take away his microphone.
At the February Downtown Committee meeting, Crater was asked to give an overview of what the Beautification Committee was doing. Crater stood up, moved away from the table and started interrogating board members of the GJDC. “When do you plan on starting construction on the Airport Village? There’s all this talk but no action.”When board members tried to quiet Crater down, he ignored the requests and insisted that the people of Southeast Queens deserve to know what’s going on. Although Crater did not get his questions answered, he said that he never forgets what happens at the meetings, and the subjects will come up again.Work Relationship

Crater works hand in hand with GJDC to develop Downtown Jamaica. Although he is the only member on the Beautification Committee, Crater says he stays in touch with the organization to keep them aware of his progress. The Downtown Committee also sent Crater to meet with the Borough President to discuss ways of demolishing graffiti in the borough.
Although Crater provokes the members of the Downtown Committee about the progress the organization is making with the redevelopment of Southeast Queens, he said he supports them in their efforts to rebuild the community, he just wishes there was a time frame as to when the work would be done.–Raynelle Cerica Bull

“People don’t know their history, they should go out and learn about their history.”


Thomas Crater is the chairperson and sole board member for the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s (GJDC) Beautification Committee. He is always speed-walking somewhere, never without his briefcase, and he will turn any topic into a history lesson.
Greatest Achievement

Crater is known for fighting with the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) and government-run organizations about cleaning up the Downtown Jamaica area. He recently confronted the LIRR about the graffiti covering the railroad bridges and station, and according to Crater, they finally admitted it is their responsibility to clean up the defacement.Crater also started a publication called “The New York Page,” a newspaper he said he created to cover issues that everyone else is too scared to deal with. The paper prints when Crater gets around to it. He said he might print one before the November presidential elections if the paper is in high demand.
Community Character

Crater has never entered a GJDC Downtown Committee meeting without a problem to discuss, and before anyone can address his concerns, he is on to the next one, without stopping to take a breath.
He avoids sitting down at meetings because he knows he is going to get riled up, so you will catch him pacing up and down the Jamaica Market Harvest Room until the meeting is over.
Crater is also known for his active involvement in the community, especially with the Greater Allen Cathedral of New York, the church he has been a member of since he moved to the area.
Most Outrageous Act

Without a car, Crater finds it hard to be punctual when it comes to getting to meetings, but no matter how late he arrives, Crater ensures that his words will be heard, and when he is on time, no one can take away his microphone.
At the February Downtown Committee meeting, Crater was asked to give an overview of what the Beautification Committee was doing. Crater stood up, moved away from the table and started interrogating board members of the GJDC. “When do you plan on starting construction on the Airport Village? There’s all this talk but no action.”When board members tried to quiet Crater down, he ignored the requests and insisted that the people of Southeast Queens deserve to know what’s going on. Although Crater did not get his questions answered, he said that he never forgets what happens at the meetings, and the subjects will come up again.Work Relationship

Crater works hand in hand with GJDC to develop Downtown Jamaica. Although he is the only member on the Beautification Committee, Crater says he stays in touch with the organization to keep them aware of his progress. The Downtown Committee also sent Crater to meet with the Borough President to discuss ways of demolishing graffiti in the borough.
Although Crater provokes the members of the Downtown Committee about the progress the organization is making with the redevelopment of Southeast Queens, he said he supports them in their efforts to rebuild the community, he just wishes there was a time frame as to when the work would be done.–Raynelle Cerica Bull
A word from Riveroflifelisajoy!—-So there you have it!  Still going strong in his own way.  I hope that all continues to go well for Mr. Crater.  He assisted a young college student to understand writing and the power of the ink on paper!  Thank you again.  Mr.  Crater.  Two very powerful people that I had met before the age of  thirty!  Two people who were not afraid to step out from their comfort zone and be the person they felt lead and drawn to be.  Be lead by your dreams and push the limits of what feels safe.  Yes,  J. Michael Bloom  Talent Agent (founder/CEO of the J. Michael Bloom and Associates), who has passed on leaving those of us fortunate to have known him or known of him to remember his great contributions to budding young and talented artists,  and Thomas Crater….News Paper Founder,  and CEO Entreprenauer of the SouthEast Queens Community who has been a mover and a shaker in the community WITHOUT  becoming a politician!  Yes,  I am still aiming to achieve my goals,  and I have two non-related people to which I can say thankfor your being who you are and were.  Thank   you for treating me with respect, and mentoring me.  I truly appreciate it to this very day!

——RiVEROFLIFELISAJOY! 

My New Year’s Resolution–It’s Gonna Be Great In 2008!!!

LIFE STARTS HERE.jpgNo matter what…I will resolve

to improve my status in life!

I  want to go in the direction of

Peace with my fellow man

I want to develop a clear and

concise plan

I will  move in the direction of harmony with

all.  But will not give up my self-respect

Because if I do,  I have wasted this long,  long up hill

trek.

Will you take my hand,

My fellow man?

Can we together rise,

up toward the heavenly skies to

bring down the fighting across the

globe?

Can we bring down the pain and suffering

in the lives of men,  women, and children?

Can we find ways to stay the course, and

not have to live out our lives full of

remorse?  From good deeds left undone,

from victories left not won?

Can you search deep within,  and see the one true love

of mankind that will give us the answer

and the goal that is about to unfold in the

coming year?

Does every year new have to begin with

Tears?

Can we shout in victory together, all man kind

of  every race, creed and religion? 

All of mankind of all lifestyles, and traditions

Can we this year….of 2008  be ready,  be real,

and prepared to be GREAT?

What say you, my fellowman kind and womankind–Are we up for the challenge to participate in the year 2008!

Come forward, and do not fear,  the end of the 2007 is drawing to an end. 

I hope you will take the challenge and  assist this beautiful world on which we reside to come to a mend and heal from deep inside.

You do not have to believe in the same God as I do. 

Just place your foot, within your shoe and take just

one step forward.

Take another step forward toward your destiny.

There is a purpose for all of us on this globe called earth!

Do not be afraid to see your value,  see your worth!

I will pray for you.  I will pray for myself…

I will pray that the Almighty God above reveal his love to one and all!  That you,  your friends, and family  and I will

receive joy, peace and prosperity in the coming year 2008!

Just do not forget to open the gate for the poor,  the down trodden,  the sick,  and the weak.—

For those who have received much….much is required back to assist those who are yet on the road as pilgrims seeking salvation and peace.

May the God of all—The Alpha and Omega

the Beginning and the End —give you all that you need to succeed in 2008! 

I resolve to be a help and not a hinderance on that road  toward our goals of man-kinds success!

Till next blog

RIVEROFLIFELISAJOY! 

Barefoot Workers surrounded by Hot Furnaces, and Molten Metal just so New York City can Have “Man Hole Covers!” Are you Serious! Where is Al Sharpton??? Here is a Real Human Rights Issue to be Addressed!

 I am truly thankful for the blessings that I have in my liife

That is why I am sharing this article from the New York Times with you today.  Please read this and be aware of the on going struggle for human rights in the job place.  With people still need ing jobs in this country, our manhole  covers have been out sourced and sent to what adds up to be SWEAT SHOPS in India. 

I do not understand.  How can you pay some body to work and yet keep them barefoot and without proper safety gear for dangerous, dangerous work  with hot metal???!!!!  Please read this article by Heather Timmons, and published on November 26,  2007.  I advocate human rights.  Look!  I am a member of a union on my job!  So I have to speak out on what is wrong when I see it.

New York Manhole Covers, Forged Barefoot in India

J. Adam Huggins for The New York Times

Workers in Haora, India, have few protections while making manhole covers for Con Edison and some cities’ utilities.

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Published: November 26, 2007
NEW DELHI — Eight thousand miles from Manhattan, barefoot,NEW DELHI — Eight thousand miles from Manhattan, barefoot, shirtless, whip-thin men rippled with muscle were forging prosaic pieces of the urban jigsaw puzzle: manhole covers.

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J. Adam Huggins for The New York Times

A foundry worker cooling off. Con Edison said it is revising contracts with safety in mind.

J. Adam Huggins for The New York Times

As metal pours into ladles, sparks fly, sometimes igniting workers’ clothing, at Shakti Industries in Haora. Plant officials say accidents do not occur.

The New York Times

The Shakti Industries foundry is in West Bengal State.

Seemingly impervious to the heat from the metal, the workers at one of West Bengal’s many foundries relied on strength and bare hands rather than machinery. Safety precautions were barely in evidence; just a few pairs of eye goggles were seen in use on a recent visit. The foundry, Shakti Industries in Haora, produces manhole covers for Con Edison and New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, as well as for departments in New Orleans and Syracuse.

The scene was as spectacular as it was anachronistic: flames, sweat and liquid iron mixing in the smoke like something from the Middle Ages. That’s what attracted the interest of a photographer who often works for The New York Times — images that practically radiate heat and illustrate where New York’s manhole covers are born.

When officials at Con Edison — which buys a quarter of its manhole covers, roughly 2,750 a year, from India — were shown the pictures by the photographer, they said they were surprised.

“We were disturbed by the photos,” said Michael S. Clendenin, director of media relations with Con Edison. “We take worker safety very seriously,” he said.

Now, the utility said, it is rewriting international contracts to include safety requirements. Contracts will now require overseas manufacturers to “take appropriate actions to provide a safe and healthy workplace,” and to follow local and federal guidelines in India, Mr. Clendenin said.

At Shakti, street

At Shakti, street grates, manhole covers and other castings were scattered across the dusty yard. Inside, men wearing sandals and shorts carried coke and iron ore piled high in baskets on their heads up stairs to the furnace feeding room.

On the ground floor, other men, often shoeless and stripped to the waist, waited with giant ladles, ready to catch the molten metal that came pouring out of the furnace. A few women were working, but most of the heavy lifting appeared to be left to the men.

The temperature outside the factory yard was more than 100 degrees on a September visit. Several feet from where the metal was being poured, the area felt like an oven, and the workers were slick with sweat.

Often, sparks flew from pots of the molten metal. In one instance they ignited a worker’s lungi, a skirtlike cloth wrap that is common men’s wear in India. He quickly, reflexively, doused the flames by rubbing the burning part of the cloth against the rest of it with his hand, then continued to cart the metal to a nearby mold.

Once the metal solidified and cooled, workers removed the manhole cover casting from the mold and then, in the last step in the production process, ground and polished the rough edges. Finally, the men stacked the covers and bolted them together for shipping.

“We can’t maintain the luxury of Europe and the United States, with all the boots and all that,” said Sunil Modi, director of Shakti Industries. He said, however, that the foundry never had accidents. He was concerned about the attention, afraid that contracts would be pulled and jobs lost.

New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection gets most of its sewer manhole covers from India. When asked in an e-mail message about the department’s source of covers, Mark Daly, director of communications for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, said that state law requires the city to buy the lowest-priced products available that fit its specifications.

Mr. Daly said the law forbids the city from excluding companies based on where a product is manufactured.

Municipalities and utility companies often buy their manhole covers through middlemen who contract with foreign foundries; New York City buys the sewer covers through a company in Flushing, Queens.

Con Edison said it did not plan to cancel any of its contracts with Shakti after seeing the photographs, though it has been phasing out Indian-made manhole covers for several years because of changes in design specifications.

Manhole covers manufactured in India can be anywhere from 20 to 60 percent cheaper than those made in the United States, said Alfred Spada, the editor and publisher of Modern Casting magazine and the spokesman for the American Foundry Society. Workers at foundries in India are paid the equivalent of a few dollars a day, while foundry workers in the United States earn about $25 an hour.

The men making New York City’s manhole covers seemed proud of their work and pleased to be photographed doing it. The production manager at the Shakti Industries factory, A. Ahmed, was enthusiastic about the photographer’s visit, and gave a full tour of the facilities, stopping to measure the temperature of the molten metal — some 1,400 degrees Centigrade, or more than 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

India’s 1948 Factory Safety Act addresses cleanliness, ventilation, waste treatment, overtime pay and fresh drinking water, but the only protective gear it specifies is safety goggles.

Mr. Modi said that his factory followed basic safety regulations and that workers should not be barefoot. “It must have been a very hot day” when the photos were taken, he said.

Some labor activists in India say that injuries are far higher than figures show. “Many accidents are not being reported,” said H. Mahadevan, the deputy general secretary for the All-India Trade Union Congress.

Safety, overall, is “not taken as a serious concern by employers or trade unions,” Mr. Mahadevan added.

A. K. Anand, the director of the Institute of Indian Foundrymen in New Delhi, a trade association, said in a phone interview that foundry workers were “not supposed to be working barefoot,” but he could not answer questions about what safety equipment they should be wearing.

At the Shakti Industries foundry, “there are no accidents, never ever. Period,” Mr. Modi said. “By God’s will, it’s all fine.”

Heather Timmons reported from New Delhi and J. Adam Huggins from Haora, India.