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We are the 99 percent


Hello to all,

My name is A. I am a 40 year old Puerto Rican male who is unemployed now for nearly two and a half years. I currently am receiving food stamps and medicaid, and have no other form of income to sustain myself since my unemployment benefits were exhausted recently. I am fortunate enough to have a partner who is employed at a local city hospital as a Patient Care Associate (PCA) and is a member of the DC37 union of hospital employees. She is trying her best to keep us both from ending up in a homeless shelter while at the same time dealing with a system that is corrupt and broken.

Between my loving partner and I, we are barely making ends meet, and it seems that every other day a new financial and/or social issue arises that makes us wonder how much longer we will be able to survive in this current economic and social state. Some of the issues that we both face together and individually that have prompted me to say "enough is enough!" and join the "OWS" movement are as follows:

1. As I stated before, I have been unemployed for nearly two and a half years now. Within that time I have sent out thousands upon thousands of resumes to no avail. I will be the first to admit that "yes" I do have prior criminal convictions, but the law does state that employers are not suppose to discriminate against someone who has a past conviction, especially when the conviction has no relevance to the position being applied for. I have already paid my debt to society, so why am I still being punished after the fact? It is a known fact that a majority of the individuals touched by the criminal justice system are the males of latino and black communities. So now the question in my mind that arises out of this "Is the criminal justice system a new tool for opening up a surrogate, legal form of discrimination against latinos and blacks in hiring practices by employers?". If the answer to this question is "YES", then that brings up the issue of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Should Title VII be used to address this social injustice of discrimination against mostly latino and black individuals by employment practices used by employers when doing background checks? Common sense would dictate that the answer to this question is "YES" since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was created and enacted to address social injustices such as discrimination in employment and education that have an adverse affect on a particular group or class of people, in this case latino and black males. Not only have my legal and constitutional rights been taken from me, but so has my unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

2. My partner is currently involved in a legal battle in Nassau County, New York Family Court over visitation issues with her thirteen year old son. Needless to say that the person(s) she is up against in this battle are part of the One percent (1%). The main individual (her ex-husband) and his new wife have used their money and influence in a way that has defamed my partners character as a loving mother who has done nothing short of trying her best with the little she has to provide good health and happiness to her children. Because of their financial and social status, the ex-husband and his new wife have been able to manipulate the legal system in a way that is baffling to me and many others. Although my partner has abided by every stipulation and order set forth by the family court, her ex-husband has not. He has violated every court order and stipulation regarding visitation issues, and his actions have done nothing short of hurting my partner emotionally, mentally, physically, as well as financially. He has succeeded in destroying the relationship between a mother and her children, hurting everyone involved. He has done everything in his power to alienate a mother from her children. What's even more disturbing to me is the fact that he blatantly does these violations, makes contradicting statements and decisions which prove he is blatantly violating said orders, but yet the legal system and the judge in this case have done nothing to address this. On the contrary, the legal system and the judge in this case have turned my partner into a victim, and have allowed for her to be continually victimized, vilified and defamed by her ex-husband. Here's another kick in the teeth, not only has he been able to manipulate the Family Court system, he also has brought forth false criminal allegations against my partner which she is currently fighting in court, and has filed false allegations with the New York State Department of Children and Family Services Child Abuse Registry which my partner is also currently fighting through an appeals process. Last but not least, my partner was a victim of Domestic Violence at the hands of her ex-husband for many years during their failed marriage, which is why in 2006, she finally found the courage and determination to escape from an abusive environment. She took her children, left the marital home, and filed for divorce, all with the help of the Nassau County Domestic Violence Coalition. If all of this sounds surreal to you, trust me it does to us as well, but it is unfortunately true. The system is broken and does not work.

What I just mentioned above is but a small piece of the larger picture which is our lives and the adversities we face on a daily basis. But it is because of these two aforementioned major issues that many other ills have been precipitated in our entire life.

Recently I was participating in a Welfare to Work Program. I stopped participating in the program because of what I felt was a mismanagement of taxpayers money on a program that is doing nothing to help individuals become gainfully employed, and the demeaning policies of the program in part by the New York City Human Resources Administration (NYCHRA) and the agency contracted by NYCHRA to run the welfare to work program. One example I will give of this programs failure is when I was in a supposed job readiness training class, the only thing the instructor and participants would do is either play kid games or watch movies on DVD, and if neither one of these was occurring, then they would pretty much have us sitting there doing nothing all day. Now that is supposed to help a person become gainfully employed? Who do we hold accountable in this instance, NYCHRA, the contracted agency running the program, or corporate America for not helping to create jobs. Who should be held responsible for this programs failure?

I am tired of feeling afraid every time I step outside, afraid that I will be stopped and frisked by the police for no reason other than because I am a Puerto Rican male and I "fit the desription". I'm tired of wondering when will I finally get a job and be able to feel like a productive positive member of society. I'm tired of feeling like a low life scumbag. I'm tired of wondering when will my partner who I care for and love very much finally get the justice she deserves and be reunited with her children, because when she hurts and cry, I hurt and cry with her. I'm tired of wondering when will the politicians, the corporate CEO's, the banks, and whomever else is responsible for precipitating the societal ills we face today realize the damage they are causing and change their ways. I'm tired of seeing good people (such as my best friend of more than twenty years) lose their jobs, their homes, their stable and secure lives to the greediness and corruption that is rampant in society today. I am tired of seeing people feeling hungry and being homeless because of the state of the economyof this nation. I'm tired of hearing in the news how Congress and all the politicians in Washington D.C. not being able to get their act together and steer this nation back to its greatness for the good of the people. To quote Fannie Lou Hamer, "I Am Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired!"

So with that said, I am ready to join the "OWS" movement. Enlist me as a soldier for the cause. I am ready, willing, and able to fight the good fight! I am willing to sacrifice my life for the good of many, today and for future generations to come. I have my protest sign ready to go. In this world today, all I have are my balls and my word, and I break neither for no one!

On a final note, I noticed on the website that there is an event scheduled for Saturday, December 17, 2011, down on Canal Street and Sixth Avenue by Varick Street. I would like very much to attend this event. My birthday is on that same day and I will turn 40 years old. Nothing would make me happier on that day than to know that I am surrounded by people who care about each other and the society they live in. For the past three years, I have been preaching how this country needs a revolution to wake it up from its slumber. I am glad to see that the revolution is finally here.

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