Thursday, December 20, 2007

Sayonara SotP

I'm saddened to report that one of the best blogs, if not the best, in South Florida has been disbanded. Stuck on the Palmetto has shut down because of really a media blitz. Read about it here on Mayo's blog post "Blog eat blog world"

Now there is just a sad little goodbye note and strange video clip on sotp.I'll keep the link up on my blog roll for awhile longer.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the most productive thing I did all day

GJAS Leadership Committee self-nomination

I first heard about the dire conditions of children’s health internationally at the launch of SCCS in the fall of 2002 and it changed my college major, career path, and my worldview. I aligned myself with Global Justice and served on the SCCS coordinating committee for a year and started a local chapter at the University of Miami which hosted our schools first “die-in” (which quickly became a biannual tradition), a meeting with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and sent five delegates to a national conference. In the spring of 2004, I also interned at the GJ office, but through the years Global Justice gave me a whole lot more in return. The unique power of students in advocacy and the role they can play in reshaping the way development funds are facilitated motivated me to remain in non-profit activism throughout college and into my current job. I was thrilled to see that alumni started to organize and took a couple days off work to fly up for the GJAS planning conference this past fall.

The GJAS can serve an important function for GJ’s growth and sustainability as well as mentoring college campaigns. Serving on the leadership committee would be an exciting way to stay involved with the efforts of GJ while setting up the system for the GJAS to operate. The team of alumni planning the GJAS are great leaders, creative thinkers, and efficient planners with a wealth of experience and I would be honored to work with them to develop the GJAS into a functional part of the organization which can benefit students and strengthen the organization as a whole. Right now, I am out of the child health sphere on a daily basis, and would love the GJAS to be my productive outlet to follow global health policy and partake in GJ actions. Specifically I would like to serve the GJAS leadership committee as the communications or events and programming chair. In my current job I plan events and run communications, so both positions appeal to me and I would love to volunteer for either role.

Overall, I credit Global Justice for giving me a foundation of an “empowerment” rather than charity focus in development work as well as personally giving me leadership opportunities and practical tools for mobilizing students and running successful targeted campaigns – be it for child health, or my work today in the labor movement. I hope to continue participating in Global Justice efforts and would like this opportunity to be a member of the GJAS inaugural leadership committee.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

business woman?

This sun-sentinel story shows how one has decided to abuse the system for her own gain.

I'm not sure why I'm posting it-- something about it though made me chuckle. Hey, though she was exploiting those in need, she did have a good idea working out for her there-- almost vigilante justice getting people in the country, but then she got greedy.

(don't try this at home).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Whose Beach? Our Beach!!!

Fisher Island Liberation Day a Huge Success!


With more than 200 community members demonstrating in support of Fisher Island workers last Saturday, we were able to bring a message of justice to Fisher Island and hope to Fisher Island workers struggling to support their families and facing discrimination on a daily basis.

Please see the following press coverage of the day as well as photos from the action and a short video which captures the challenge of swimming to shore and the excitement of marching through the island.

While we as members of the community were denied access to the public marina slip, we did make it to the beach and even found the public pathway to the ferry. Once at the ferry as you will see in the video, we were not allowed to board to safely exit the island and were forced to swim back to our boats.

The workers are excited that we made it to shore and want to continue bringing the community presence as often and loudly as possible until Fisher Island addresses the abusive treatment workers face and improve the conditions on the island.

View the photos from the day of action:

Watch the Video here:

Media Coverage:

1. Finding Way to Fisher Island Miami Herald. By Nicholas Spangler 11/18/07

2. Fantasy Island’s super-rich face upstairs, downstairs rebellion The Times. By Jacqui Goddard. 11/19/07

3. Downtrodden Workers Dirty on the Filthy Rich of Fantasy IslandThe Australian. (Crosspost of The Times article by Jacqui Goddard) 11/20/07

4. NBC6 coverage. Reporter Ian Wood. 11/17-11/18

5. World Have Your Say. BBC blog. “Fisher Island” 11/19/07

6. Other blog hits include: “The Union News,” “Critical Miami,” “Miamism,” “Stuck on the Palmetto,” and “Community Benefits Coalition” all link found here.

7. Rustbelt Radio. Pittsburgh, PA. 11/20/07 Interview regarding action and campaign.

8. Radio Caracol. Miami. 11/20/07 Interview regarding action and overall campaign.

Finding way to Fisher Island

November 18, 2007

For over a year the Service Employees International Union has been trying to organize the 360 housekeepers, groundskeepers and security guards of Fisher Island, a private community so exclusive you can only get to it by yacht, helicopter or private ferry.

The Fisher Island Community Association (FICA), responsible for maintaining the island's common areas, ferries and island security, argues its employees -- who earn an average of $13.81 an hour -- don't want or need a union, and has fought to keep the SEIU out.

The fight has involved arresting protesters off the MacArthur Causeway, until recently the closest they could get; an incident aired on about a stolen SEIU banner; and the Ferarri driver who allegedly called a ferry operator a peasant.

But on Saturday afternoon came the invasion.

Nine vessels took off from Jimbo's, the bar on Virginia Key, and steered as close to the island as the law permits. Thirty swimmers swam to shore, unfurled their protest banners and started a racket.

Chants of Justice Now! and ¡Si, se puede! echoed off the $5 million condominiums as they never had before. Airhorns exploded, megaphones blurted.

SEIU lawyers had found a way onto the island. Turns out the beach in the most exclusive community in South Florida, composed of sugar-white sand imported from the Bahamas, is public.

Not only that: the covenant developers made with the county years ago seems to guarantee public right of way on a pathway leading from the ferry landing to the beach.

''It feels good to be back,'' said Wisly Jonatas, a security guard who says he was fired earlier this month for violating island policy on the ferry -- walking through the residents' parked cars to get to the employee cabin, an action forbidden because of the danger to the cars' paint jobs.

''They're nice cars,'' said Jonatas, who now works at the Port of Miami. ``Mercedes, Bentleys. But I was tired.''

Yellow plastic tape lined the beach, behind which stood dozens of security guards, Miami-Dade police and residents, some with cameras, some in golf carts designed to look like Bentleys. There were few smiles and no words exchanged.

When the swimmers walked down the beach toward the public access path, security guards kept pace. More waited at the path, which turned out was not much of a path at all: more yellow tape had been laid down on walkways and on the side of Fisher Island Drive, too narrow for two people to walk comfortably.

It did, per the law, extend to the ferry landing. Almost. The tape ended outside the security office. This created a bottleneck of sandy-footed chanting protesters. More residents in fancy golf carts showed up, including one woman wearing a three-quarter length fur coat and a fur hat. She drove a cart painted in tongues of flame, that looked like a dragster.

Mark James, FICA president, emerged from the security office and after discussion allowed the protesters to continue to the ferry landing. The path should have, after all, extended to the ferry terminal area -- James grudgingly admitted as much in a recent letter to the union, which you can read online at -- but there would be no ferry ride back to land. The protesters turned around, walked back out to the beach and swam out to the boats that had brought them. Nobody was arrested.

It seems the covenant provided for a public access path, but no actual access; the path is a path to nowhere.

''That's correct,'' said Jose Cancela, a public relations man recently hired by FICA, later that afternoon.

Cancela didn't feel much had been accomplished. A publicity-hungry union had chosen a fat target, the richest community in the United States, populated by people who are sensitive, if not to the cause of social justice, then at least to the cause of their own quality of life and their privacy; but they'd only mustered 30 protesters, some flown in and some high school students.

''It's obvious that the employees are very happy,'' he said. ``They were fully guaranteed every right [to protest] and they chose not to.''

This was almost true. Housekeeper Marette Casseus came to see the boats off but didn't swim, because she injured her knee in an accident at work in the summer. She'd been making $8.50 at the time. 'Nobody ever called me, even one day, to ask me, `Marette, how do you feel? How are you?' They proved to me they don't care.''

Fantasy Island’s super-rich face upstairs, downstairs rebellion

November 19, 2007

Resorts on Fisher Island in Miami Beach

Jacqui Goddard in Miami

It is America’s wealthiest postcode – 216 acres of tropical gorgeousness and palatial living reachable only by private ferry, yacht or helicopter.

Surrounded by sand imported from the Bahamas, planted with orchids and palms brought from the Indian Ocean and South Pacific, and a-twitter with the sound of caged toucans and macaws that enjoy daily outings with a bird walker, Fisher Island is known as Fantasy Island. So monied are residents of the enclave, three miles off Miami, it is said that if you waved at everyone you saw in a ten-minute drive there, you would have waved at more than $1 billion (£500 million).

But those who tend its manicured lawns and golf course, guard its residents’ riches, shine their Bentleys and Lamborghinis and wash their champagne glasses for as little as £40 a day, have had enough.

In a case highlighting the upstairs, downstairs hierarchy, its mainly black and Hispanic workers accuse management and some home owners of racial discrimination, abusive treatment and unfair wages.

“When you have the super-rich who can have a little isolated fantasy island of their own, they unfortunately develop a plantation mentality, and that’s what the workers are dealing with; people who see them as workers, not as human beings,” said Magdaleno Rose-Avila, executive director of Interfaith Workers Justice, an advocacy group.

Fisher Island is the epitome of the growing divide between rich and poor, says the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and it has become the battleground for a workers rights campaign.

Claiming that their dignity and human rights have been violated, the SEIU and 19 employees have filed a class-action complaint with the Miami-Dade County Equal Opportunity Board alleging, in particular, that Fisher Island’s private ferry service, which makes the 15-minute trip to and from the mainland, exercises segregationist policies. “There is terrible discrimination on that ferry. When you get on, it’s whites on one side, blacks on the other,” Mariette Casseus, a housekeeper, said.

While residents relax in an air-conditioned lounge, employees must spend the trip in a separate room whose cooling system is often broken, they say. If they do not board the ferry before residents have driven their cars on, they are not allowed to squeeze past the vehicles to reach their room because they might sully the bodywork with smudges or fingerprints.

“Rather, the employee passengers are forced to stand under an outside awning that fails to protect them from heavy rain, debilitating heat, severe wind and ship fumes,” the complaint alleges. Seshma Sheth, of the Miami Workers Centre, said: “We are seeing two Americas, we are seeing two different worlds and Fisher Island typifies that. To get on that ferry, it’s basically taking a trip back in time. You are going back to a racist and backward time . . . We market Miami as a city of the future and then we have this island that’s just a throwback to our past.”

The first owner of Fisher Island - created by dredging the sea off Miami Beach in 1905 – was Dana Dorsey, south Florida’s first black millionaire.

In 1925, it was bought by William Kissam Vanderbilt, a member of one of America’s wealthiest families, who built a winter estate that is now a luxury hotel.

The public are not allowed on to the island unless invited and the privacy of its mainly white residents – largely financiers, corporate executives and property barons with little public name recognition who live there part-time – is fiercely guarded. Aides to the President of Venezuela, who visited in the 1980s, commented that it was easier to gain access to the White House than to Fisher Island.

Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Boris Becker, Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, the founder of the Samsonite luggage empire and the heir to the Bacardi rum fortune have all, at some time, had homes there.

The latest census, in 2000, gave the population as 467 and the island operates as a private club where cash is not required, just a membership card. It has eighteen tennis courts, two marinas and a heliport. Some residents are even rumoured to have paid for separate apartments for pampered pets.

The island’s management says that it works hard to address workers’ issues. But in a protest staged at the weekend, 100 SEIU activists “invaded” Fisher Island’s exclusive beaches to protest against the community’s perceived social failings. “Because they are so isolated, Fisher Island residents think they can wall themselves off from the poverty they create,” Hiram Ruiz, an SEIU representative, said. “We set out to make a point: there should be only one Miami, not one Miami for the wealthy and another for the rest of us.”

Island strife

$17.5m cost of a 8,300 sq ft seaside property

$236,000 average income per capita

467 number of residents

51 average age of residents

0.3 size in square miles of Fisher Island

Source: Times database,


Downtrodden workers dirty on the filthy rich of Fantasy Island

Jacqui Goddard, Miami | November 20, 2007

IT is the US's wealthiest postcode - 87.5ha of tropical gorgeousness and palatial living reachable only by private boat or helicopter.

Fisher Island

Picture: AFP

(Repost of The Times article in The Australian found here)


BBC Blog: World Have Your Say

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fisher Island
America’s wealthiest area (once home to stars like Oprah Winfrey, Jula Roberts, Robert De Niro) has come under the spotlight…Fisher Island, better known as Fantasy Island is in the midst of a racial segregation row…Workers who are employed by wealthy residents on the Island say they are being discriminated against.
In 2007 should these workers made to feel like second class citizens just because they are not as wealthy? Or is this kind of divide inevitable because of the wealth divide? Is Fisher Island being left behind the rest of America because of it’s racial practice?

The Union News
“SEIU organizers boat, swim to class-warfare protest”
(Posted Herald article. )

Critical Miami
Posted Herald article. )

Stuck on the Palmetto
“Fisher Island Protests”
(SOTP featured the Herald article, the resident snatching the sign you tube clip and the short youtube clip of the beach invasion with promises to cover more. )

Community Benefits Coalition
“Boatloads of Activists”
(Video of invasion)
On November 17th, 2007, several boatloads of activists pulled up to Fisher Island in Miami-Dade County, the wealthiest zip code in the country; an island accessible only by boat or ferry.

The activists, organized by Service Employees International Union, hopped off the boats and swam up to the exclusive and segregated beaches of Fisher Island, which under Florida law is open to the public.

Then they marched through the public-funded streets of Fisher Island, demanding better treatment and wages to the workers who clean and maintain the buildings on the island.

“Fisher Island Invasion Update”

Friday, November 16, 2007

friday news roundup

Also would like to have a theme of the week or post some news that caught my eye.

1. Pakistani opposition leader Benzair Bhutto is released from house arrest. AP. Following the situation in Pakistan has been depressing and downright scary. TV stations shut down, opposition leaders shut in, protestors killed, military rule. Negroponte is scheduled to visit and hopefully get Pres. Musharraf to lift emergency rule. The needless deaths of civilians are only deepening the severity of the situation.

2. South Florida Charities growing faster than others in nation. Miami Herald. From a study by charity navigator. This is fluff. We are more generous in So Fl? I don't buy it, maybe people are for tax write-off purposes, but they are giving to programs that have a 20% overhead on average?? and to programs that aren't proven at solving root-causes etc. The idea of charity itself is getting the axe in my book. If you care, you get out there and get dirty. Want to fight homelessness? Stop your bias and start talking to the homeless and give them an ear, take them to lunch. Step outside of your comfort zone. I'm so sick of "safe" volunteer work. You care about working families, you walk the picket lines. Sure we are all at different stages, but acknowledge that volunteering a few hours may cause more harm than good and commit to yourself to get involved more deeply in a social issue that is affecting your community.

3. South FL interest rate highest in country. South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Great.

I think the poll results so far say it all: more than half of the poll responders are considering leaving Florida because of the high cost of living.

Ok that is all for now.

first friday

It's 8am and I'm already on my second cup of coffee. It's the first day of winter in Miami- a frigid 57 degrees at this moment, but I also had to be up early to speak on 940 WINZ progressive talk radio at 7:35 a.m. You can listen to the segment here (it's half way through as she's putting the show up by hour)

Gearing up for the big action tomorrow. Must say, that having my dear friend "Chicken" captain the media boat has been fodder for some tasteless yet hilarious jokes at my expense all week- including last night's phone call at dinner where I was trying to get his commitment and to the president, my bosses and others all heard me say, "Are you captaining my ship or not. ... You want me to wear what??" which everyone doubled over in laughter. Ah, nothing like Chicken to save the day.

Anyways, I think on Friday's I'll create my picks-o-the-weekend-- maybe I should post them at the beginning of the week since this city never sleeps, well here goes:

Reasons to get out of bed on the weekend:

* Invisible Children screening at the Sagamore.
Friday 6-9 at the Sagamore hotel on the beach. collins and 16 or 17th. You can't miss it. This is hosted by the ONE campaign Miami. While the One campaign isn't the most effective or thoughtful organization, I do appreciate the folks in Miami trying to bring awareness to int'l issues. so i'm torn. that's a later discussion.

* Santa's Enchanted Forest. This Miami staple is so worth it. Though the tix are out of my price range this week I am keeping this one on the list of things to do this month.

* Armada to Fisher Island- yes, my shameless self-promotion. Hey, it's for a good cause. 12:30 Jimbo's (the scariest place on earth) to Fisher Island (the wealthiest zip code in America).

Sunday- there is zero reason to get out of bed as far as I'm concerned so I'm not even looking for an option here. I'm sure I'll update about the action though.

Blog Pick o the week
While this blog has no intelligent value I need something this raunchy and entertaining in my busy, serious life. Think of it as sex and the city for men or Entourage focused on just the sex. Love it. I'm subscribing. Don't judge me too hard.

Now at 8:50 i'm on my second breakfast pastry of the day. mmm guava and cheese.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beans and Franks

Why is it that so many young people straight out of college are struggling to land that dream job on their feet? Is the competition so fierce? Are the opportunities too slim? Have we just gotten lazy after 4 (or more) years reading ‘til our eyes swelled and writing until our fingers bled? No, I don’t think so.

I think there are a variety of reasons, many of which I’ll probably still discover but I do have some theories (proven and not).

1. College is too expensive.

From the baseline tuition expense to room and board, college is ever growing out of reach of the average middle class family, not to mention lower-middle class or low income families trying to reach higher education and keep the American Dream alive. I remember as a little girl my mom started a fund and telling me she had to start saving then because by the time I went to college it would be $20,000/year. I never thought that was possible. More than a new car? My mind swam. Well sure enough, I matriculated to the private University of Miami which has surpassed that $20,000 annual tuition expense.

Thank God I had the smarts to earn academic scholarships, a service background for more scholarships and honor student opportunities, as well as a mom who wasn’t earning nearly enough- thankfully getting us maximum Pell grant and other University awards- including free living arrangements on campus. I never told anyone that, well, because I never heard of anyone else receiving that kind of deal, and I thought it meant we were really poor. Poor really wasn’t the “in” thing at UM. I didn’t even know what “Coach” or “Louis” was before the U.

This can definitely delve into a discussion of how the increasing cost of tuition has made higher education an elite institution, oftentimes out of reach of good students. Not to mention all the students who are working their way through college and struggling to balance real life responsibilities even while they are in school. (I was lucky enough only having to work for my spending money)

I remember hearing that 1% of the world has a college degree. I really hope that changes- I hope that the Congress continues to pass increases to federal aid to help students and crack down on the loan industry for taking advantage of poor and minority students.

2. Student Loans are not the magic college credit card.

That six month grace period ends so quickly you might as well fill out the deferment paperwork now. While loans are definitely a big help for living expenses for many friends I know, I still think we are taking out too much and living too large. I took out a loan to fulfill study abroad dreams and I don’t regret it. Yet, when my mom was cosigning all those loans, I really didn’t see the numbers adding up or realize how much of a burden it would be….now. These first few years when I’m trying to get life in order yet have a $250/month bill to Sallie Mae and other loan companies. I think I was late every month the first six months which surely didn’t help, but I’ll get to that in point 4.

And as the national student loan scandal spotlighted by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, loan companies certainly don’t have the students’ best interest in mind. They are out to wine and dine school admissions officers to get your information and sell sell sell you loans you may not even need, and certainly at higher interest rates if you happen to be a minority student (in a practice called redlining). Even my university sold our social security numbers to Sallie Mae according to this St. Petersberg Times article. Again, we aren’t the only one. This higher education blog is a good summary of what's going on around the country.

3. Banks suck.

After college I left my credit union conveniently located on campus- and nowhere else in the city- and joined a bank whose size and marketing appeal to young folks surely meant they would cater to my needs. Yes, I chose the giant Bank of America. Well now I know that was the worst mistake, eh-hem a $640 mistake after all the fees they managed to add to my drowning account one month when I miscalculated how many emergency Dunkin’ Donuts coffee runs I had made. Apparently I’m not the only victim of Bank of America's bad policies.

Now I’ve switched to a local bank with free checking and more personal service. While it doesn’t have great returns at least I’ll be able to pay my bills until I find a better way to save money. In a recent Newsweek article there is a good breakdown of financial priorities which I am using like a Bible for my daily saving inspiration. The author, Linda Stern, places health insurance as the #1 necessity. Good job with health insurance, check. I’m ahead of the game. Next, “Get Creditworthy” another one I don’t worry too much about since my mom’s great credit transferred to me; however, I have missed some bills and have had creditors call about missed payments from hospitals, doctor visits, and student loans before so I’m not entirely sure where I stand. My favorite advice she gave was to 1. pay down high interest credit cards. (I definitely have debt there, you know a nicer hotel in the Dominican Republic and a night on the town). 2. budget online. I like and the best. 3. open a Roth IRA and then look into mutual funds. That is like Chinese but I'm going to try.

4. Becoming an Adult and Accepting Responsibility 101 was not offered at my school.

I am the first one in my family to graduate from college. A great achievement, sure; but also a bit of a burden. I’m charting unknown waters here with little help from those closest to me as far as advice goes. Bless my mom, for a waitress and service industry professional her entire working career, she has offered me great financial, career, and life advice. So a bit of this is learning as you go, making those Bank of America mistakes, picking up the pieces and moving on, and hopefully improving as you go.

Just recently two friends forwarded me a Washington Post article "Fulfillment Elusive for Young Altruists In the Crowded Field of Public Interest" that scared me out of my boots- eh, it’s 80 degrees but boots sounds better than “flip flops.” Basically the article focuses in on how so many graduates are going into public service, international service, they even mentioned child health causes and are stranded in low-paying, no future jobs- and yes they are all living in D.C. with aspirations of working abroad. The main girl in the article could have well as been me. Plans to serve in PeaceCorps, a history of service in Africa, same life outline going on… Apparently my friends saw the connection to my dreams in this article; and the scary outcomes that so many people in their 20s are facing.

I'm still optimistic that my experiences and passion will be enough to get me into great opportunities both in D.C. and abroad. Heck, I'm moving there in the next couple months. I'm also open to the fact that maybe putting D.C. life on a golden pedestal will only knock the experience quickly down--and I could wind up shipping back to South Beach. I hope I tough it out and follow my dreams (that seem to be a whole lot of others' dreams too). But I'm inspired by that- that in this post 9/11 world people who were in high school classes or saw the war divide our country, had a jump start and saw that we needed to give back to a hurting world.

Just check out my other friends doing awesome things:
Joelle is building a school in Tanzania
Billy is volunteering 2+ years in Tanzania teaching and building a children's center
Kristen runs an organization to build development projects and schools around the world

This post was inspired by the fact that tonight I washed my hair with $1 shampoo and $1 conditioner I found at CVS. It was the cheapest I could find and I had to pay in change. Tonight I ate some soup out of a can (which made me think of other canned items like beans and franks from the church food pantry my mom used to run) and am doing only 1 load of laundry because I have to save my $10 quarter roll for emergencies. I hope what I have shared will either scare my friends in college enough to start saving serious amounts of money or live more within their means- because, well right now all I have is this advice to give.

I’m not complaining. Like that Newsweek article pointed out, “young and poor is a time-honored stage of life. Someday you’ll remember it fondly.”

My original title for this entry was Dollars and Cents, but then I realized I didn’t have too much of those lying around to share.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

When a sense of entitlement goes too far

As community activists were protesting the discriminatory policies of Fisher Island and the irony of a lavish kids fundraiser while workers on the island are struggling on poverty level wages, a crazy resident runs up and steals their banner.

The very large banner (as you can see in the video) was held up by poles, and when this resident ripped it down the poles went flying injuring one of the demonstrators. He faces misdemeanor charges for theft and injuring people.

Fisher Island really thinks they can get away with anything- segregating the mostly Haitian, African American, and Latino workers to a "separate but equal" room on the ferry before they even get to clock in for work; telling workers they can only speak English in the presence of residents; pushing workers out of line if a resident walks up behind them in the marketplace-- it's fantasy island over there, like the NYTimes called it in June.

I really hope a ton of people turn out for the boat action Saturday where we will storm the beach to liberate Fisher Island workers from the dehumanizing policies they must face every day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Survey Says...

Today is election day in Miami Beach for the city commission and mayor's seat. I was out there at 7am waving a sign for honestly my favorite candidate this season, Jonah Wolfson. I was out there at 7am not necessarily by choice, but because of work. I'm employed by a labor union--and before you jump to any conclusions you should probably let me ramble on a bit before you start spouting some idiotic predetermined view of unions and political races stemming from New York or Chicago or Pittsburgh back when your grandparents starting making their millions off the back of laborers.

Anyways, back to working the voters. I truly believe it is next to pointless to stand out on election day with signs and t-shirts and info cards on your chosen candidate. If, and I strongly emphasize IF people are actually taking the time to go vote, I assert that they already have an opinion on whom they will vote. If they don't, if there is any value left in our shabby democratic republic, I hope they are not counting how many signs are in front of their polling station to determine which candidate is more popular-- or who they can pay more to stand out there like an idiot for hours at a time.

But there I stood waving my sign like one of those trickster rental place guys (did you know that is copyrighted- yes those guys that flip and twist the signs for you to rent or buy some condo). Luckily I met a lawyer who thought as I did-- standing out here was pointless for the voters. So why on earth would you do it? "Because Matti asked me to and I like her." So yes the whole point is to bolster the candidates feelings as they nervouly await the results at the end of the night. We joked about how many people's minds we changed by standing out there, the low voter turnout, how we should take the opponents signs and hit voters with them so they vote for our candidates...I have his card. His kid is my age.

I'm at UM right now. I just finished a presentation for STAND-- A Fisher Island worker, Mariette, came and spoke to them about the discrimination she faces and the plan of action-- November 17 beach invasion!!! what's up. It will be fun. Hopefully they will enter the contest.

I hung out with Liza which was great. She is writing a thesis on STAND and the movement, which will be great for record keeping. I admire her so much, she really is one of the most academically thoughtful people I know, and sweet- a good listener, and an intelligence that will come from nowhere and knock the wind out of you. She will definitely go far.-- ugh it only reminds me though how badly I need to actually graduate. It's been a running joke now for far too long. I have one measly paper left to actually attain my degree. If I don't hurry up, my cousin will beat me at graduating! I've lost my chance for this fall so I need to just do it sometime by January, apply for graduation, and simply wait for it to come to me in May. It's depressing to even think about.

I can definitely spend time on campus to be motivated to do my paper though, it m akes me want to study in the library, read and write. I miss school.

I miss it, yet I'm so ready for the next step in my life. I've been feeling as if I've been in transition for well, since I "graduated" (walked May 06).

My opportunity to move to D.C. has come about a year earlier than I expected- but you know I'm not waiting around for that door to open again! I love D.C. the sights, the atmosphere, the people, the work, the mood, the politics, the metro, the weather, the suits, the fast pace. I see this move as a true step forward in my life and I look forward to reflecting more when