Tag Archives: Iincitytimesworcester.org

Fatimah’s book review on “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America”



“The shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America”

By Jonathan Kozol


During this pandemic, reading has been one of my favorite things to do with my free time. One book that was very life changing for me was “The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America.” An amazing book by Jonathan Kozol. Kozol has visited nearly 50 schools in the United States, with the majority made up of Black and Hispanic students. Kozol shares his outrage for what he saw in America’s schools and his passion for change; that mixture of outrage and passion together create change!

In the book, Kozol writes about the obsessive focus on tests in schools and the need to pass these tests so that the schools can get the funds and any resources they need. These standardized tests are starting to control the teaching … Some schools even had to get rid of recess so as to use the time to get ready for the tests. More than a quarter of a year is wasted on these tests’ preparation.

Many students need school supplies – often bought for them by kind-hearted teachers!

Kozol also describes the way he felt about high officials. He says, “All children can learn. … If the officials who repeat this incantation honestly believe all kids can learn, why aren’t they fighting to make sure these kids can learn in the same good schools their own children attend?”

This is the sad reality of our world. Kozol’s outrage is something that many people in America feel every. But not everyone takes the necessary actions. Kozol uses the tactics of anger and emotion to get to the reader. This can also be the most effective with people who themselves have been through that kind of life. But, also at the same time, it will be annoying for those types of leaders because they only think they are doing the right thing because they are serving their children and their needs. I share Kozol’s outrage: all children deserve the best education, and it is everyone’s responsibility to help with providing all children with the best education!


The lack of resources for these schools was something that society did not have much knowledge of because people outside the schools never visited them – or care about their students. This quote by Kozol perfectly explains society in this situation: “Playing games of musical chairs with children’s lives, when half the chairs are broken and the best chairs are reserved primarily for the people of his class and race, is cynical behavior in a President.”

A lot of our leaders forget that all children should have all the resources they need in order to get their education.

Kozol also does a great job describing the terrible conditions of these schools. The schools that Kozol visited had unsanitary conditions and lacked many of the necessary resources. School classrooms and resources were spread out, creating a disadvantage for all students. Kozol says, of one classroom, “… the room smelled very bad, and it made me sick to my stomach. There was blood all over the place.”

The solutions that Kozol provides in his book:

providing more resources for these schools

all community leaders should be responsible for helping the schools that need resources.

Kozol lets the reader know the reality that some school children in America have to experience every day in school – and outside of school. Kozol makes his arguments in compelling ways.

The world needs change.

People need to study and educate themselves.

Instead of blaming the people – calling them bad – listen first!
These school days students will need PPE!

We the People! Please share!


“We the People is a nonpartisan campaign dedicated to igniting a national dialogue about American identity and values through public art and story sharing.

“Print [these posters], paste it, post it — just don’t sell it. Share this art with your community!”

By Shepard Fairey:




By Jessica Sabogal:

final after mask newest

By Ernesto Yerena:


Last week’s Worcester rally in support of immigrants and refugees… (photos: Mayor’s Office)






We the people!

And …

Black Culture Movie Night

At the Worcester Public Library
Salem Square

Compiled by Parlee Jones

Feb 15 – Wednesday

Black Culture Movie Night

6 p.m.

Hidden Colors – Part 1

Hidden Colors is a documentary about the real and untold history of people of color around the globe. This film discusses some of the reasons the contributions of African and aboriginal people have been left out of the pages of history. Traveling around the country, the film features scholars, historians, and social commentators who uncovered such amazing facts about things such as: *the original image of Christ * the true story about the Moors *the original people of Asia *the great west African empires *the presence of Africans in America before Columbus
*the real reason slavery was ended *And much more.

Feb. 22 – Wednesday

Black Culture Movie Night

6 p.m.

Trials of Muhammad Ali

No conventional sports documentary, THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI investigates its extraordinary and often complex subject’s life outside the boxing ring. From joining the controversial Nation of Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali,to his refusal to serve in the Vietnam War in the name of protesting racial inequality, to his global humanitarian work, Muhammad Ali remains an inspiring and controversial figure. Outspoken and passionate in his beliefs, Ali found himself in the center of America’s controversies over
race, religion, and war. From Kartemquin
Films, this film examines how one of the
most celebrated sports champions of the
20th century risked his fame and fortune to follow his faith and conscience.

Feb. 25 – Saturday

Black Culture Movie for Children

2 p.m.


Under the cover of darkness a small boy,
Maki, loosens the shackles that bind him and escapes into the desert night. Pursued by slavers across the moon-lit savannah, Maki meets Zarafa, a baby giraffe – and an orphan, just like he is – as well as the nomad Hassan, Prince of the Desert. Hassan takes them to Alexandria for an audience with the Pasha of Egypt, who orders him to deliver the exotic animal as a gift to King Charles of France. And so Maki, Zarafa and Hassan take off in a hot-air balloon to cross the Mediterranean, setting off an adventure across Northern Africa, the bustling port of Marseilles, and over the snow-capped peaks of the Alps, arriving at last in Paris. But all the while, Maki is determined to find a way to return Zarafa to her rightful home.

Today! Be there!

The Islamic Society of Greater Worcester is inviting the community to an interfaith prayer service. 

TODAY, Sunday (Dec. 13)

1:30 pm 

in front of Worcester City Hall, Main Street  

Please join the Worcester NAACP as we stand with our community in expressing sympathy and condolences to the families of the San Bernardino California mass shooting.  

Birds suffer – perpetrators get blanket immunity

By Jeffrey S. Kerr, Esq.

More than 500 birds die of starvation and parasites. Feral dogs attack and kill caged flamingos. Fifteen confined parrots perish in a fire. In every one of these cases, the federal authorities who are supposed to protect captive animals did absolutely nothing. How is this possible?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is charged with enforcing the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the only federal law that explicitly protects animals used in entertainment. For years, it excluded birds from protection under the Act, but in 2002, Congress amended its definition of “animal” to include all birds except those “bred for use in research.” The USDA subsequently updated its regulations to make it clear that birds (other than the unfortunate ones used in experiments) would be protected.

But in the 13 years since, the agency has yet to bring a single enforcement action on behalf of birds and has declined to regulate their welfare, even though many are suffering greatly and many have died as a result of neglect. Dealers, breeders and roadside displays can starve birds, deny them water, jam them into barren cages and never take them to a veterinarian—all with impunity.

Last year, the Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park posted disturbing photos on its Facebook page of two blue-and-yellow macaws and a Goffin’s cockatoo lying dead at the bottom of filthy cages. The photos show the birds surrounded by disintegrating newspapers and excrement, with no trace of food or water visible. The cockatoo had apparently plucked the feathers out of his chest—something that birds do when sick or distressed. They probably all suffered from neglect, trauma, stress, starvation and dehydration before they died. Yet the USDA insists that it won’t take any action in cases like this.

On the same day that the USDA announced that it would protect birds—other than those used in experiments—it also acknowledged that birds needed regulations specific to their complex needs. After issuing a notice of the proposed new rules, it received more than 7,000 comments about the issue, so it hired an avian health-and-welfare expert. Yet to this day, more than a decade later, the agency has not written, much less published or enforced, any bird-specific regulations.

In the meantime, the USDA is purposely disregarding the fundamental protections that all animals are already afforded in the AWA. Every animal, including birds, needs safe housing, wholesome food, fresh water and routine veterinary care. But the agency’s position is that if bird-specific standards don’t exist, then birds aren’t protected.

After PETA took the USDA to court over this issue, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found that even though the agency had failed to enforce the AWA and failed to impose bird-specific standards, its lack of action was not “unlawfully withheld” and concluded that it could not force the USDA to take action.

How can this be? And how many more birds will suffer and die while the USDA continues to do nothing? Every taxpayer and everyone who cares about birds should be questioning this senseless decision.

This weekend downtown Woo will be hoppin’ with the bike race and the road race …


If you wanna skip the traffic, crowds and parking challenges why not do some stress-free antiquing at UNIQUE FINDS Antiques and Vintage Gifts Shop? Leave the hassles behind and stroll down to Unique Finds – located at 1329 Main St. … (in the Webster Square area, by Henshaw Street.)

Parking won’t be a problem because there’s a big free parking lot in back of the building!

This is a sprawling, stuffed-to-the gills shop! Spend $2 or $200! Many items can be bought for a song! HAVE FUN! IT’S A LITTLE ADVENTURE!

Open til 8 p.m. tonight and every day! (shop closes 6 p.m. on Sundays)

A few unique finds at UNIQUE FINDS:



text/photos – R.T.


Massachusetts home care workers
first in nation to win $15/hour starting wage!

Boston – Tears of joy streaked the faces of cheering home care workers assembled in their Dorchester union hall on Thursday afternoon as a decades-long struggle for recognition and a living wage culminated in a historic moment of celebration.

According to an agreement reached in contract negotiations between the 35,000 home care workers of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and the administration of recently elected Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R), Massachusetts Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) are poised to become the first in the nation to achieve a statewide $15 per hour starting wage.

Upon reaching the agreement, workers called off the fifteen-hour picket they had planned to begin at the Massachusetts State House on the morning of Tuesday, June 30th. Instead, caregivers are planning a celebration of this milestone and nation-leading achievement of a $15 standard at 4:00 p.m. on the State House steps the afternoon of June 30th.

“This victory, winning $15 per hour, it means we are no longer invisible,” said Kindalay Cummings-Akers, a PCA from Springfield, MA. Cummings-Akers cares for a local senior and became a union activist at the onset of the campaign. She was also a member of the statewide PCA negotiating team that reached the agreement with the Baker administration. “This is a huge step forward not just for home care workers, but also toward ensuring the safety, dignity, and independence of seniors and people with disabilities,” she added. “We are a movement of home care workers united by the idea that dignity for caregivers and the people in our care is possible. Today, we showed the world that it is possible.”

“Massachusetts home care workers are helping to lead the Fight for $15 – and winning,” said 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner. “We applaud Governor Baker for helping to forge this pathway to dignity for PCAs and the tens of thousands of Massachusetts seniors and people with disabilities who rely on quality home care services to remain in the community or in the workforce. As the senior population grows, the demand for home care services is increasing. By helping to ensure a living wage for these vital caregivers, Governor Baker is taking a critical step with us toward reducing workforce turnover and ensuring that Massachusetts families can access the quality home care they need for their loved ones.”

The home care workers’ journey began in 2006 when they banded together with senior and disability advocates to pass legislation giving Personal Care Attendants the right to form a union – a right they previously had been denied because of an obscure technicality in state law.

After passing the Quality Home Care Workforce Act to win that right and introduce other improvements to the home care delivery system in 2007, the PCAs voted to join 1199SEIU in 2008 through the largest union election in the history of New England. 1199SEIU is the fastest-growing and most politically active union in Massachusetts.

Prior to the legislative and organizing campaigns, PCA wages had stagnated for years at $10.84 per hour. In a series of three contracts since forming their union and through several major mobilizations, rallies, and public campaigns, the PCAs achieved a wage of $13.38 on July 1st, 2014.

Last year, the Massachusetts home care workers also united with the burgeoning Fight for $15 movement and the local #WageAction coalition, helping to kick off the $15 wage effort in the Bay State with rallies in Boston, Springfield, and Worcester on June 12th, 2014.

Home care workers took to the streets again on April 14th, 2015 as part of a massive Fight for $15 mobilization that drew thousands to the streets of Boston. That Boston-based action served as the kickoff for similar coordinated protests in more than 200 cities and 50 countries across the globe.

Caregivers say they are excited that the picket action they had planned for their current contract expiration date of June 30th can now serve as a celebration of this achievement and the spirit of cooperation that made it possible.

“This is an inspiring moment for home care workers, but also for our children – and our children’s children,” said a beaming Rosario Cabrera, a home care worker from New Bedford, MA whose children Kendra, age 14, and Daniel, age 12, were with her at the negotiating session as workers cheered the new agreement with the Baker administration. “I am so proud that I can show my children and someday tell my grandchildren that I was part of this moment in history, that I was part of a movement for social justice. We want all home care workers to win $15 per hour – and to do it first in Massachusetts fills us with pride. It is evidence of what people can do when we organize and negotiate in good faith to reach common ground.”

“Not only is this going to help the PCAs, but this is going to help us as consumers because it’s going to be easier to hire an attendant now that they can receive a dignified living wage,” said Olivia Richard, age 31, a paraplegic consumer who lives in Brighton, MA. “In the past, consumer employers have had issues with getting PCAs simply because the wage wasn’t enough. This is going to make a huge difference in our lives, as well.”

In negotiations, workers and the Baker administration reached an agreement extending the current collective bargaining agreement and establishing a commitment that all PCAs statewide will receive a starting rate of at least $15 per hour by July 1, 2018. Workers will receive an immediate .30 cent raise effective July 1, 2015, a portion of which will be paid retroactively once the contract is ratified.

A new round of discussions will then begin no later than January 1, 2016 to solidify details on the series of wage increases that will elevate PCAs to the $15 mark by the agreed upon date of July 1, 2018. Meanwhile, PCAs across the state will vote by mail ballot on ratifying the contract extension and the terms therein, including the commitment to establish a statewide minimum $15 starting rate.


Representing more than 52,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts and nearly 400,000 workers across the East Coast, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all. 1199SEIU is part of the 2.1 million member Service Employees International Union.