Walking that walk in the inner city – Guazabera Insights

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Febo speaking to inmates at Hudson County Correctional Facility. (image via YouTube)

In light of the daily debates taking place on social media and beyond about crime, drug use/abuse, and protests about police in inner cities, it’s nice when you see someone actually walking the walk behind the talk.

Dennis Febo of Guazabera Insights, LLC, is one of those people.

I’ve known Febo (though, virtually, not in person!) since 2013 through my college sorority network. (My sorority, Mu Sigma Upsilon has a brother fraternity (Lambda Sigma Upsilon), which Febo is part of.)

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 11.54.52 AMHe founded Guazabera Insights in 2010 as a health and educational services provider whose mission is to raise social consciousness and uplift communities. They do this through the dissemination of cultural and social consciousness education in communities of need, while addressing the social issues that affect communities through organizing and action.

Most of the work is done in Jersey City, a large and diverse city right outside of Manhattan in which 52% of its population speak another language other than English in the home, and, in some wards, citizens still struggles with crime. The organization also provides employment and internship opportunities in Jersey City and Paterson, N.J.

Each weekend, Febo and others from Guazabera Insights hit the streets to educate the public on healthier lifestyles. He explains why in this video, which was shot recently while engaging with the public in Jersey City’s Journal Square.

But the work doesn’t stop on the streets. How about helping the incarcerated at Hudson County Correctional Center, which many wrongly assume are beyond change, with a reintegration program?  Febo, a fantastic public speaker, does that, too, as illustrated in the video below.

You can watch a more comprehensive video of Guazabera Insights’ work at the Hudson County Correctional Center here.

A Brooklyn native, Febo graduated from the University at Buffalo with a master’s degree in Humanities Interdisciplinary: Caribbean Cultural Studies, studied in Havana, Cuba and Bahia, Brazil. His master’s thesis, “Sazón Batería y Soberanía: Puerto Rico in the Dance for Self-Determination,” is a documentary regarding Puerto Rican Sovereignty. He also attained a bachelor’s degree in Latino Studies, concentrating in history and politics.

Learn more about Guazabera Insights here.

Rick Perlstein in ‘The Nation:’ Why I Am A Liberal

Only liberals know how to make you freer on the job, which is where most of us suffer the gravest indignities in our lives.

Liberals, in fact, make you freer everywhere. Look at liberty’s greatest historic advances: ending slavery. Giving women the vote. Outlawing legal segregation.

Each and every time, the people at the forefront of advancing those reforms—often putting their lives on the line—called themselves liberals.

Each and every time, people who called themselves conservatives announced that those reforms would unravel civilization.

Then—each and every time—once the reform was achieved and taken for granted, and civilization didn’t collapse, conservatives claimed to have always been for it, even holding themselves up as the best people to preserve it.

Read more here.

Paul Ryan and the moral argument for rationing health care

By Charles Camosy of Fordham University:

As a vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appears to have made our polarized politics even worse. After all, what could be more polarizing than his serious attempt to reform the third rail of politics: entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid? But Ryan actually provides an important opportunity for a real conversation about making hard choices about health care—one that our culture desperately needs to have.

Read more in the Washington Post‘s “She the People” blog here.

Why I Continue to Remain Hopeful Despite Evidence to the Contrary

Photo from interview on ABC.com

By Mark Naison
Professor of African American Studies and History
Fordham University
Author of White Boy: A Memoir

Today, I am oddly hopeful that some, perhaps many, people will not accept the grim future being prepared for them–a future of austerity, low paying insecure work, relentless surveillance, crushing debt and elite monopolization of the nation’s wealth and income. I say this not only because of the movements that occurred last fall, and now are reinventing themselves off the radar screen, but because of hundreds of conversations I am having with people, some in person, some through email and social media, which suggest that a society where the few control, manage and  exploit the many is not their idea of what America is  or what they want their own future to be. And this is a feeling which crosses party lines, and divisions of race gender and age. Many people look at where their lives are heading and feel profound dismay. And they may be angry enough and proud enough to do something about it.

I am not suggesting that their dissatisfaction will always be expressed peacefully, or constructively. I think we are likely to see all kinds of violent outbursts, some individual, some collective as life becomes more insecure for a growing number of people. But–and I believe this with every core of my being–we are going to see people coming together to prevent themselves from losing what little they have while the few live untouched by hardship.

For the next few months, our attention will be diverted by the drama of elections, with peoples hopes and fears being projected onto political candidates. But once the elections are over, and current trends toward immiseration and economic stagnation continue unchecked, and quite possibly, accelerate, you will begin to see people decided to take their future in their own hands, in their workplaces, in their neighborhoods, in their schools, in the streets, and in city halls, state houses and the Congress.

And this time, it will be much more broadly based than the Occupy movement and much more difficult to suppress, peaceful, militant, but with an undercurrent of rage embodied in violent outbursts that will be occurring spontaneously because of the pressure that people will find themselves under.

I plan to be there with the peaceful protesters, raising issues and demanding solutions, but I will not  not turn my back on those, who in frustration and desperation, turn to violence, or allow authorities to use their outbursts to justify a further expansion of police power and the prison industrial complex that is already the largest in the world.  

These will be hard times and challenging times, but the greatest danger is silence and compliance, not resistance. And I think more and more people are ready to accept this.