Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Danny Glover Takes Up Cause Of Houston Janitors—Harris County Dem. Chair Lane Lewis Takes Up The Fight While Mayor Annise Parker Is Nowhere To Be Seen

Actor Danny Glover was in Houston yesterday to talk about efforts by janitors in Houston to be paid a higher wage, and to talk about larger issues of economic fair play in our society.

(Above–A picture from the event yesterday that was posted on the Facebook page of the Houston Janitors.)

From the Houston Chronicle

“Noted film actor and social activist Danny Glover met with a delegation of Houston janitors at the Third Ward Multi-Service Center on Sunday to talk about fair wages for workers cleaning offices in some of the city’s largest companies. Glover, who’s best known for his roles in the “Lethal Weapon” movies and “The Color Purple,” also called upon Houston civil rights, faith and political leaders to establish a task force to protect the First Amendment rights of Houston’s janitors…Glover’s visit to Houston comes at a critical time for Houston’s janitors, many of whom make just $9,000 annually. For the last month, more than 3,000 janitors, who are members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1, have been working without a contract after they asked for hourly wages to be increased from $8.35 to $10 to be phased in over four years. However, employers have offered a raise of just 50 cents an hour over five years..During Glover’s earlier meeting with three janitors in a private room, he listened intently as Adriana Vasquez, a single mother of three, explained how she cleans up 90 bathrooms in five hours as a janitor at JP Morgan Chase in downtown Houston..”On many levels, we’re talking about an epidemic,” Glover said. “We’re talking about a situation in which men and women have been reduced to objects simply for profit. In their stories, I see some of the most passionate, incredible human beings who are willing to stand up against those obstacles that are placed there and begin to build a life. I’m moved by their courage.”

It would be great to see Houston Mayor Annise Parker and our Houston City Council Democrats taking a lead role in this issue. It is difficult to understand how these folks can work hard to criminalize many acts of sharing food with the poor, but cannot work to assist hard-working people in a fight to make just a few extra dollars.

Mayor Parker and Council Democrats were silent after a Houston Police Department horse knocked down a pro-janitor protester at an otherwise peaceful march last month in Downtown Houston.

The Harris County Democratic Party and Harris County Democratic Chair Lane Lewis have been taking a role in this fight.

Here is a picture I took of Mr. Lewis at the June rally in Downtown Houston—

Maybe Mr. Lewis was on the phone here asking local elected officials and civic leaders to come on down in the fight for everyday working people.

Here is the Facebook page of the Houston janitors.

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July 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Age Of Homespun—Everyday Life Is About Both Fact And Imagination

I’ve been reading The Age of Homespun–Objects And Stories In The Creation Of An American Myth by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

It is about the role of women, and importance of the crafts and creations these women made in Colonial and post-Revolutionary America.

The author notes the role of women working together to spin clothes and needed textiles that could not be taxed by the British. The author says–“While New England’s Sons of Liberty indulged in rum, rhetoric and roast pig, her daughters worked from sunup to sundown to prove their commitment to “the cause of liberty and industry.”

The book discusses both the role of women in the time and the many limits to the lives that women could lead in early America.

From the New York Times review of this book in 2001—-

“The American pastoral, with its central signifier of clothmaking, is the subject of a remarkable new book by the Harvard historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Ulrich is a supremely gifted scholar and writer. And with ”The Age of Homespun” she has truly outdone herself. Venturing off in a new and highly original direction, she has put physical objects — mainly but not entirely textiles — at the center of her inquiry. The result is, among other things, an exemplary response to a longstanding historians’ challenge — to treat objects, no less than writings, as documents that speak to us from and about the past.

”The Age of Homespun” is loosely but effectively organized around 14 specific objects, including two baskets, two spinning wheels, a yarn winder, a rug, a tablecloth and ”an unfinished stocking.” If this list seems unprepossessing on its face, the point is all that Ulrich makes of it through a deeply creative process of analysis and contextualizing. In fact, her objects become meaningful only when they are joined to the experience of the people who produced, owned, used and preserved them. It is, finally, the connections that make her investigation so unusual and rewarding.”

Much of what we need to understand the world can be found in everyday objects and everyday life. These objects can be studied and interpreted in ways that are both precise and creative.

We can can look at everyday things and see the connections that exist between the people who made these things, the purposes these objects serve, the materials used, and the metaphoric value that objects hold when we consider possible ways they could be perceived by people.

There is a whole big world right out in front of us each and every day. This world is founded on both fact and imagination.

There is nothing in everyday life that the average person cannot understand and think about  on a deeper level.

July 2, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment