Thursday, July 2, 2009

Time To Get Serious.

My class Leadership for Social Change, is a very productive class. I learn a lot of things everyday . The CYA (California Youth Authority) is a very important thing that I learned about that I never knew before. The CYA is known for their beatings and abuses, both sexually and physically. The CYA abuses have been going on for years . What I also did yesterday was do a campaign to stop Nike from selling shoes, clothes, shirts etc. because of their use of sweatshop labor. There are sweatshops in places such as Honduras, China, Japan, and even in Thailand. What I really didn't know was that there are other U.S. territories that nobody really knows about that also use sweatshop labor to make clothes and shoes . These include things that say made in U.S. and is really deceiving because you would never think that sweatshop labor would go all the way into the U.S. Immigrants get tricked by corporation owners because they say that the immigrants will get a job, and will be able to live in the U.S. But what they didn't know that the U.S is also United States Territories such as the Northern Mariana Islands (Saipan, Guam, Rota etc.) My campaign is based on getting the principal to help support us by sending newsletters, e-mails, phone calls, etc. to parents and probably other schools to inform them on how bad sweatshop labor is, on how they hire even little kids such as Iqbal Masih who escaped child sweatshop labor at a young age and was assasinated at the age of 12 trying to make a difference. I want people to know about how sweatshop workers get paid less then $1 a day, maybe a little over if they are lucky, but still don't have enough money to support their families, even when they work over 60 hours a week. I also want to inform the students about how in the sweatshops it takes only $3 to make the shoes, but we pay over $100. Not only are we getting ripped off, but we are also continuosly buying a new pair of sneakers and that helps supports sweatshop labor. I not only want to help the people in my community, I want to also help suffering people around the world. When I first got here, I was only thinking about myself and talking about things such as buying hats and such, but that's not the issue I should be adressing. I should be focusing more on how I want to make a change, how am I spending my time, and how I can use this time at Brown to my advantage. You don't need power to make a change. There are a childrens groups everyday that make donations, or even make web pages to help eradicate sweatshop labor. When I first got to Brown I didn't think about doing any of this. I thought that just because I didn't have power, just because I wasn't an important person, nobody would listen. Now my thoughts have changed. How did the people making a change get to where they are today? They started off right where i'm at right now, and that's by thinking of ideas. Ideas that not only change my community, but to also change the world. A leader is someone who influences others, and in my opinion makes a difference. I learned that Adolf Hitler is a leader, even if he wiped out millions of Jews. Adolf Hitler had a cause, and people followed his cause, that's a leader. Martin Luther King Jr. had a cause, people followed him because they believed the same thing that he did, he was a leader. Ruth Simmons believed in diversity enough to get over $1 billion, because people believed in her and her cause, that's a leader. Now if I have beliefs, hopes, and dreams that I think will change the world, I KNOW that people will follow. I know that people feel the way I do about getting younger crowds to know about life changing opportunities, such as having a summer at Brown, so that they wouldn't think that they couldn't make it in life, or that they couldn't make a difference. I once thought that too after my junior year. Knowing that football isn't everything, or my grades weren't good enough, was what had me declining even further. I use to sit at home thinking about my future, thinking that I wasn't going to make it. But since I came to Brown, all that is gone, because it's never too late to make a change. This whole trip to Brown is not only about changing the environment, communities, or even the world. It's about changing yourself and knowing who you are and what you can do as a leader. All of these things are up to me, and the only question i have nowadays is,How far am I willing to go?


Charles Tillman Ramsey said...

This is a what I needed to read from you. This is a great post and provides me insight into how you see this class.

The one thing that I clearly see is how you have coupled your words with your life. Now how do you take it back to Pinole Valley High and encourage others who have "lost faith" in themselves to work harder to get back on track.

Now is the time to redouble your efforts and show everyone that you want it more than they think, that now is your time to take it to the "next level".

Tomorrow you will be in New York, look at the environment and examine everything that you see. Many people will only look at the tall buildings and large crowds of people. You need to closely examine the environment and see how many people are really struggling. Look at the panhandlers, look at those who are peddling goods and services on the side of the street.

Yes, enjoy yourself, but be conscious of your surroundings. It will tell you a great deal.

Take care and a very thorough and enjoyable post that you have written.

Keep up the good work.

Charles T. Ramsey, Esq.
School Board Member
West Contra Costa
Unified School District

Don Gosney said...


I appreciate that your blog today indicates that you’re in New York for purposes other than gaming, shopping, hanging out with your new buds and demonstrating your athletic prowess.

I wish, however, that you wouldn’t delete your blogs. At the same time, I don’t want you to feel that you have to restrict what you put into the blog for fear of negative comments from some of us back home.

It’s good to see that you’re becoming aware of the problems we face with the CYA. Something you might ask yourself, though, is how did it all come to this? Do you really believe that the State goes out of their way to hire cruel and vindictive people to work in the CYA? Could some of this be a result of the frustration in dealing wit a system that will not allow certain types of discipline and inmates who have learned to make the system work for them? Even in your own classrooms, you know that there are certain things the teachers cannot do to the students so don’t you see some of the students taking advantage of that to see how far they can push the teacher—how much they can get away with?

There’s never any excuse for crossing the line with anyone, let alone young people, but we need to look at the whole picture before tarring the whole system with the same brush.

I hope you also know that what you saw was a piece put together to demonstrate a specific agenda. Of course they were going to show the worst-case scenarios. Thos are the ones that validate the message they’re trying to get across. And if you stop right there and fail to check things out on your own, then these people will be able to claim victory.

What you saw was a form of propaganda assembled to get the public inflamed over a specific issue. Their goal was not to provide a fair and balanced report but to stir the embers to affect a change. Were they successful with you and your classmates?

Lastly, you’re allowed to break your blog into multiple paragraphs. An 825-word paragraph might make your AP English teacher shudder just a bit.