Saturday, May 2, 2009

Cats, jobs, music, gardens

The cats broke into my room quite early this morning, bringing an end to my plans to sleep in. Maybe it's just as well. I have to finish a grant for Arise this weekend. More than anything, I'd like to be outside working in the garden, but most of that will have to wait for my next unemployment check and a solid block of time.

Last night I went up to the annual May Day event organized by Western Mass. Jobs with Justice which this year took place at the Campus Center Auditorium at UMass. Funny, I've always supported unions but never been in one!-- never any union at the places I've worked.

The speaker this year was long-time community and labor organizer Stewart Acuff. In his speech, he laid the moral and economic foundation for the Employee Free Choice Act, which strengthens the right of workers to unionize.

We gather on this May Day of 2009 at a time of great hope and great promise and a time of great challenge.

How we meet the challenges and opportunities which we face all around us will determine the near term future of our country, the quality of life for our kids and grandkids and possibly even the world.

Though some of us may have been divided in the past, we no longer have the luxury of division.
Workers, trade unionist, advocates and organizers of the poor and immigrants, environmentalists, feminists, LGBT activist, clergy and people of faith, community leaders, seekers of peace and warriors for justice, our individual destiny is bound up in our common destiny.

So we are bound by our common destiny, but we are bound even more tightly by our common values. You see, my brothers and sisters, we believers in justice and progress are bound by the fundamental thread of humanity - as old as the human species and the human spirit.

The Huffington Post has published his entire speech.

As usual, music was a big part of the celebration. Western Mass. is blessed with talent. Tom Neilson, Red Valley Fog, Verne McArthur, Jay Mankita and Jose Ayerve all performed, as well as the WMA contingent of the Raging Grannies.

I'm not on the inside of this, but it seems to be union organizing is ready to make the biggest gains in years.

11 a.m. and a quick glance out the kitchen window: I think my strawberries are flowering and I'm going to go look.

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