Category Archives: Justice Speaks

Healthcare Should Be A Human Right For ALL People!

DSCF6090The US national debate around healthcare reform is really a debate about human rights and whether the US government will place human rights for ALL over private profits.

As one of the most developed and wealthiest countries in the world, the US has an obligation to use the wealth created by the labor of its former slaves, and its workers and consumers, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity, to provide healthcare for ALL.  The poor health conditions of many people in the US are a direct result of injuries and illnesses from their working conditions and the impacts on the environment in their communities.

Healthcare for ALL was one of the promises of progressive change of the Obama campaign that got him elected as US President.  The opponents of any change that places human rights over profits are using the issue of healthcare reform to create of climate of racial polarization, division and fear.

Instead of offering a real alternative to the Obama plan or ways to improve upon it, the opponents use the issue as an opportunity to promote anger against immigrants and to make Obama look like he is trying to take rights away from white America.

Core democratic and human rights are always challenged by the forces that place profits over the needs of the people.  This was true for those defending slavery over freedom, segregation over civil rights and political disenfranchisement over Black voting rights.

Very much like the struggle for Black voting rights, it took a movement mobilizing masses of Black people and allies to win the Voting Rights Act as a progressive reform.  The struggle for Black voting rights was not centered around or decided by a debate in the US Congress. It was also not discouraged by efforts to racially polarize society, as there were some whites who united with Blacks in the struggle for change.

There are many white workers today who support healthcare reform.  Many have lost their jobs and health insurance along with Black and workers of Color, like at the Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant and have been demanding recall rights for workers.

The Black Community must be a powerful force that fight for public healthcare for ALL, including making proposals that strengthen the Obama plan which is being greatly weakened by political compromises.  Without the organized and active demand by Black and working class communities for a strong public healthcare system for ALL based on the single payer model, the opponents will further weaken the Obama plan and divide the people in order to force through other compromises that place profits over human rights.

The turnout and participation by the Black Community in the Rocky Mount Town Hall meeting on healthcare reform held by Congressman G.K. Butterfield, shows the importance of mobilizing and organizing.  Our involvement around this issue must continue!

We must build strong healthcare for ALL coalition as part of a Peoples Assembly movement that help to connect grassroots organizations, faith based institutions, elected officials, labor organizations and students and youth in this struggle for human rights, and use this struggle to rebuild hope and new priorities that can constructively channel the energies of young people as was done during the 1950s and 1960s.

Real Democracy Involves People’s Power & Places Human Needs Over Profits!

BWFJ Editorial: Environmental Racism Plagues Black Communities

BWFJ logo color1In North Carolina, there are 10 million hogs held in these confined animal feeding operations known as CAFOS that are concentrated in Black Communities in the eastern part of the state. There are hundreds of open lagoons located next to these feeding operations to receive the millions of tons of hog waste yearly that is sprayed over fields and communities when the lagoons begin to overflow.

The CAFOS, lagoons and spray fields create health problems because they contaminate the drinking water of ground wells in the rural communities and the air, causing respiratory problems. The antibiotics in the hog feed alters the immune systems of people whose water is contaminated and affects their resistance to diseases like the Swine Flu.

This is clearly environmental racism and should be part of the charge of the human rights forces that call on the UN to investigate and to appeal to the US to provide protections for these communities. Here is an obvious reason why the US should have participated in the Durban Review Conference on racism recently held in Geneva. The movement against environmental racism in North Carolina needs ourstruggle to be raised to an international level and made a major demand of the US‐wide struggle against racial discrimination and oppression.

The Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference held in Durham, NC, in mid‐April took a tour in Duplin County where 2 million hogs are concentrated. We call on all to organize and demand that our international human rights be respected and enforced by the international community.

Justice Speaks Mar./Apr. 2009

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Justice Speaks Jan./Feb. 2009

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Justice Speaks Sep./Oct. 2008

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