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Trayvon Martin: Opening day to justice

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It’s been over a year since Trayvon Martin came into our living rooms. The black teen was gunned down by George Zimmerman, a self-styled vigilante, as he made his way back home from the store. A national outcry to the killing is the reason why there’s a trial.

This shouldn’t be seen as a slam-dunk. Three big reasons: one is that Trayvon can’t tell his story;  two is that we have a basically white jury of women; and three is that the Stand Your Ground is also on trial (and Florida loves it racist laws). There is plenty of circumstantial and forensic evidence that should prove that Zimmerman’s life was not in jeopardy and that, in fact, he was the aggressor. Over the years, I have been in many courtrooms and witnessed less than just outcomes. Read more

Heels: How high is high?

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Women’s high heels are higher than ever. Women have internalized the notion that high heels are sexy but watching them walk in the 5-6 inch heels is anything but pretty. It’s painful to watch. It’s more painful to walk in those suckas.

At the Affirmations Women’s program, the issue of health problems associated with high heel shoes was the center of lively debate.

In an UNSUNG episode featuring famed percussionist Sheila E, the danger of heels re-emerged. The talented musician, who once played with Prince, collapsed one day and couldn’t get up. In fact, she couldn’t walk even when someone got her up. Luckily, the prognosis was good.  After years of performing and playing drums in high heels, the damage to Sheila E’s legs caught up to her. It took months of physical therapy for her to learn how to walk again.

The history of high heels is interesting. According to Willam Kremer of BBC News, clunky heeled shoes were worn by European men centuries ago and were essential to stable horseback mounts and dismounts as well securing a soldier’s stance when he had to stand up in the stirrups to aim his bow and arrow or his gun. Men in heels enjoyed a brief style trend. As the use of horses as a major mode of transportation begin to fade along with other class-related factors, so did heels. They were no longer practical.

Here’s where it gets real-l-ly interesting. The re-emergence of heels for women came in the mid-19th Century with pornographers. Their nude women models sported high heels. And the rest is history or the present–however you prefer to look at it.

Finally, as if women need some more stress and pain–90% of the nearly 800,000 surgeries associated with foot problems are women.  Over $2 billion is spent annually and that doesn’t include the $1.5 billion of lost work time.

Sistas have allowed men to dictate what makes them look good as opposed to what is good FOR us. Let’s take a deeper look inside and see what’s there that can be lifted up.

 

Food Fast Workers United

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Over the last few months, we have seen the public acts of workers rising up against their unlivable wages and intolerable working conditions.  Here are links to two articles I wrote about their struggle:

“Fast food workers are standing up and walking out” is the cover story for BlackCommentator.com where I am a editorial board member.  My banner is “A View from the Battlefront.” 

“Birth of an organizer” is my column in the award-winning St. Louis American and focuses on Chipotle worker Patrick Leeper.

Overstand what these fast food workers are going thru when you roll up to the counter or window of a fast food worker. The total order will probably be more than what that worker makes in an hour. At Micky D’s, a Big Mac, large fries and a big Coke is about $8.50 depending on what part of the country you’re in. Mickey D workers make the federal minimum wage–about $7.25.

 

Also keep in mind…

  • This is a $200B industry that consumers have helped to create.
  • Most of these foods are low in nutritional value, high in calories, salt and sugar content.
  • Most of these fast food dens are concentrated in poor communities.
  • Workers are often forced to work free (off the clock and don’t get paid overtime).
  • Workers don’t get paid sick days and other benefits like healthcare.