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If One of Us Falls, We All Fall!

May 8, 2011

The Key to Our Future


In my email to my mentee last week, we had to write a speech about the problems in our community and what could be done about it if we were Mayor. I wrote about where I live now. If you read it, I went a different route with my speech. I’m not sure if I mentioned that I live in the community where I work. I work for a nonprofit helping the less fortunate get health insurance. So I’ve seen and learned a lot in my year of living and working in Bushwick, Brooklyn/Ridgewood, Queens. In writing this, I was inspired by Saul Alinsky’s Reveille For Radicals and Rules for Radicals.

Here is my speech:

The biggest problem in this community of Bushwick, Brooklyn/Ridgewood, Queens is the lack of jobs. This is a serious problem because people are having to choose between paying their rent and bills or feeding their children with the little money they get from unemployment, their low-paying job or public assistance. More and more people are signing up for public benefits. Public benefits are a great safety net, but it isn’t enough to get by. With the rising cost of food and rent, public benefits are just a drop in the bucket.

We must hold our elected officials responsible. They hold the key to enhancing our daily lives here. You have to protest as an united front in front of their office in this neighborhood. What I mean by united front is all of the small businesses, unions, interest groups, nonprofits, churches, etc. We are all suffering. If we don’t have jobs, how can we buy the clothes in your store or tithe to the church? If we can’t buy things, how are people suppose to get more hours and a liveable wage at their job?

You have to engage in conversations with the officials. If they won’t help you, you must vote them out and vote in one of us. What do you demand from them? We must demand for tax breaks for small businesses in the community for hiring our own people. We must demand the officials to bring companies to do business in our community and to hire us. We can ask companies as well such as Starbucks. Now, some of you might be worried about having these big businesses here, but we have a lot of empty spaces that aren’t being used. Why not use them up for our benefit? Why not have variety? What not have affordability as the businesses in this neighborhood compete with one another?

We must get our GEDs, High School Diplomas and College Degrees. Doing this will make us more knowledgeable of the system. Education is key to our survival. It will make our living situations better. We must find resources such as outside scholarships to pay for college. We must talk to our officials about making higher education affordable, holding public school teachers accountable, having better supplies in the classroom, hiring passionate teachers and school officials who are just like us and having more social/academic programs to keep kids off the streets.

We can do this. I have so much faith that we can do this that I am putting as much money as I can into our campaign for things like metrocards, supplies, snacks and water. I ask the churches, unions, nonprofits, interest groups and small businesses to provide what they can wither it be funds and/or space for our meetings.

Brothers and sisters, when one of use bleeds, we all bleed. When one of us dies from hungrier or cold from a lack of shelter, we all die. Let’s lift each other up. Let’s stand side by side and hold hands as a united front. Because if one of us falls, we all fall!

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