Friday, January 23, 2015

The Truth About Government Assistance, by Raquel Magana

Guest Voz: Raquel Magana, a Latina Immigrant mother of 4, who has Cancer and is currently receiving assistance. Understand, this is NOT the story Republicans promote about those receiving assistance. Instead, this is a true story about a loving Mother, with an illness, in modern America, looking for a means towards a better life for her children.
The Truth About Government Assistance, by Raquel Magana
A little insight to government assistance, because I am not embarrassed or ashamed about who I am and what I am capable of in this life, I am able to be transparent about it:

I started assistance what will be 2-yrs ago this coming June when I was introduced to it by a family advocate that was involved with my family. Mind you, coming in from a life in Mexico, this was big. I remember the intake worker saying that I would receive $600 a month and I was floored. I thought that was so much money for doing nothing. She was floored in return by my response because she was used to clients complaining that $600 was peanuts and wanted more. Again, I was coming in from Mexico where $600 a month could mean instant middle class status, or at least meat at dinner.
The past year and a half that I have received assistance I have been a full-time student, did the whole cancer battle thing, and now travel back and forth over an hour away to secure work, field work, and classes. Basically my daily schedule is close to throwing myself over the ledge and bouncing off the terrain the entire way down. I keep myself from focusing on all of the things that are not "right" because I have to focus on one thing and that is finishing. Otherwise, we are stuck in this life. No, not stuck, but screwed. There is no option. There is no out. There is only one way and that is to finish with at minimum a masters.

Last year through my chemo and surgeries I was involved in a year-long program that allowed me to use my classes as my "back to work 20-hr/wk requirement" that welfare has adopted I do believe in the year 1996 with half a dozen other rich white guy failed reforms - another topic. I still had to achieve the requirements of 20-hrs a week work related obligations to get any benefits, like assistance and the kids going to the YMCA, if, for example, I happened to have surgery scheduled. I would have to do a "job search" that added up to 20 hours that week of surgery or chemo or whatever. Now this year I work for Easter Seals for that 20 hour requirement. School does not count twds that 20-hr requirement. Only work can count towards the requirement.

The year that I was able to count my school classes for the 20 hr requirement, I was given $600 cash, actually $580. That was helpful, but certainly not living up to the label "getting rich off of the system" with four kids. When I took the job at the Easter Seals, the adjustment to that assistance went to $200/month, because I made $400 a month (200 every 2wks) at my new job. Actually, my last check was 196, 173 of it went to pay for internet so that I can do my homework. That is how we live.
If we make anymore than that, we will not get assistance. That will change the kids' circumstances at the YMCA enrollment that is only $10/wk for me instead of the $2,500 per year.

Julian, now 16 wants to get a job. He can't if he lives with me because it will count towards household income. Because we all know he will be paying my electric and heating bill - yeah, right. It would be helpful if he could drive, but we just can't.  So a house of single mom and four kids is only allowed to make 600.

Think about that when you consider the welfare system. WHO is going to get out of that type of life? No one that is who. I am because I started with school long before assistance affected me. I came from middle class and I have a lot of advantages with my own experiences and connections etc.
The only way that a person on assistance can have a different life is to die and come back as someone else. I know. It's all scraps thrown to you and your kids.

That is the truth.

Meanwhile, the kids and I look around in our house and analyze what we have and where we are and we have it good. We are rich compared to our life in Mexico. We have carpet. We have a couch. Granted, it was someone's garbage, but we have one. And our house is absolutely adorable. We have lamps and actual kitchen cupboards with real dishes in them. We have hot water - well most of the time - except for that month or two that I was fighting with the gas company. We have beds with pillows. We are appreciative in comparison to where we have been. We have access to a Laundromat - instead of a creek and washboard with Zote.

I don't know. Something's messed up. One day I will figure it out I hope. I can say that my family is tired of being oddballs in society. We are tired of being different and of knowing that a typical person's trivial complaints remind us instantly of where we have been and where we actually are. It's human nature.

Julian worked for money in Mexico in the tortillaria (tortilla making store). He also bought paletas (hand-made popsicles) for 2.50 in town and sold them in our neighborhood for 5-pesos each. And he was like nine/ten/eleven yrs-old?

Now he can't go get a job or our family's existence will be imbalanced and screwed up and he can't until I finish school.

That's something that I cannot wrap my head around. To tell my son, no you can't work, even though it is good for you. No you can't drive, even though I need you to. Julian used to shop for me in Mexico. Every day I would give him and Leah 20 or 50 pesos to run up the road to get "this, this and that" to make dinner and if that store doesn't have it, go up to that other place over on the corner. They were little.

Imagine how it is to learn about inequality and poverty and all of the stuff that social work is expected to "cure" about the USA and the things that I am to learn. And I just have to think about the whole deal in a neutral way. In each class I feel like I am going through the motions to get the degree of things that I've lived. I guess the entire trialzzzz can be considered my field work. Or validation, one or the other.

Don't judge.

One politician gets in my face one day. Just one.. I hope I live long enough.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Targetting the 2016 Latino Vote: Do's and Don'ts

The 2016 Presidential Election is just around the corner. The party that understands the following about Latino Voters may win our votes:

DO Understand:
Latinos in America are a Variety of people. Don't view us as "Mexxkins" or "Foreigners."
We are Brown, Red, Yellow, Black and White.
We are Rich, Middle Class and Poor.
We are young, middle aged and old.
We are educated, whether through formal schooling, home schooling or the school of life.

The vast majority of us speak / understand English and Spanish.
The vast majority of us are Christian and we believe in God.
The vast majority of us love our Families and are family focused.
The vast majority of us are Spiritual in Nature and feel close to our Earth and our Surroundings.
The vast majority of us are Native to the Americas. We are an indigenous people. AND we have lived in the U.S. for centuries. We LOVE the U.S.
The vast majority of us support: Universal Healthcare, Women's Rights, a Healthy Economy, Jobs, Low Gas Prices, Social Security/Medicare, low taxes, raising the minimum wage. We support our Troops. We support honest/fair Policing. We oppose: Deportations, Arpaio tactics/arrests, Racial Profiling and all forms of Discrimination.
The vast majority of us are U.S. Citizens and we VOTE, particularly in Presidential Elections.
The vast majority of us are hard working and NOT on WELFARE!
The vast majority of us love and marry other ethnicities. We have blended families and our blended families ...(wait for it) .... VOTE the way we do!

Don't stereotype us. Don't think we are all DUMB MEXXKINS.
Don't think we all "just came here yesterday" and "we are all illegal."
Don't make your TV/Print Ads only in Spanish, sending us messages you think we will like, which is opposite of what your TV/Print Ads say in English.
Don't have one website for your Tea Party types and another website targeting Latinos.
Don't think we are stupid. We can speak/understand both languages and we see your hypocrisy when you do this.
Don't think we only watch Univision and Spanish Language TV.
Don't think we don't understand or utilize technology. We have PCs, Laptops, iPads, etc. We use Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and more.

So to Summarize:
If you want the Latino Vote, share your written Policies on your websites and in TV/Print Ads. Be Honest. Say the same thing to Latinos as you say to the Tea Party. Tell the Truth!!
If you are duplicitous, be very Aware that Bloggers like me will do our research and publish the facts on our Social Media outlets and you will NOT get our Votes!!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Stop the Madness! Stop Racial Profiling Violence by Police and Violence Against Police!

I've been reading about the Police Shootings and the shooting of police, the protests by "the people" and by "the police." Most recently, my viewers have encouraged me to read the case of "Omar Abrego", a young father of 3 who was beaten to death by police after a traffic stop.

My uncle was a police officer. I also had a nephew killed by the police.

I DO NOT support the shootings.

There are good cops and bad cops.
There are good people and bad people.
Racial Profiling happens.
There are violent people. There are innocent people.
There is TOO MUCH force by the Police.
There is TOO MUCH crime by the criminals.
Sometimes innocent people are caught up in the mix.Too often minorities are shot and killed and beaten down by police.
Sometimes crazy people shoot police.

The media exploits for ratings.
Fox News BLAMES the minorities.
Rev Al BLAMES the cops.

I don't agree with the Police UNION.
They are causing Divide where they should be promoting dialogue.
I wish the media would promote DIALOGUE.

My View:
As Cesar Chavez said --
"It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did NOT promise us that the world would be Humane and Just. He gave us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth!"

We MUST speak out and voice our Support Against Violence and Injustice whether done by Police or by the people. It is only through openness and dialogue that we will STOP the Madness!!

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