EAST LOS ANGELES: Latinos protest Schwarzenegger

Republican gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger was greeted in East Los Angeles Sept. 16 by over a hundred picketers shouting “No to the recall”and “Hey hey, ho ho – Schwarzenegger has got to go!” Protesters were appalled at Schwarzenegger’s quickly-organized town hall meeting in the heart of a Mexican American/Latino immigrant neighborhood to share his views on immigration in the face of his support for Prop. 187 – one of the most anti-immigrant, anti-Latino measures ever passed.

Most of the 200 immigrants who participated in the town hall meeting were not Latino and were not from East L.A., but were brought in from places like conservative Orange County.

Newly appointed UC Board of Regents Trustee Dolores Huerta, a co-founder of the United Farm Workers, distributed a letter signed by many state legislators criticizing Schwarzenegger for his opposition to the new law signed by Gov. Gray Davis that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

DEARBORN, Mich.: Workers protest phony Bush jobs plan

For three weeks, unemployment lines in Michigan have grown longer and longer. Since Bush took office, one in six of the state’s manufacturing workers’ families, or 160,000 workers, use an unemployment check instead of a paycheck to keep the lights on.

So, when Bush administration Commerce Secretary Don Evans came to town Sept. 16, the state AFL-CIO “greeted” him, hundreds strong, outside a fancy hotel.

“President Bush’s tax cuts – billions of dollars worth – have done nothing to create the jobs American workers so desperately need,” Michigan AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney told protesting workers. “Since the president took office, we have lost more than 3 million private sector jobs and a stunning 2.5 million manufacturing jobs. Michigan has lost over 160,000 manufacturing jobs – one out of six.”

COLUMBUS, Ohio: Unity = Victory for Rx coverage

Led by the state AFL-CIO, two million Ohio seniors and low-income residents will soon be covered by a prescription drug plan, Ohio Best Rx. After three years of grassroots organizing, including a petition campaign which garnered the support of 143,000 registered voters state-wide, the Ohio Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs negotiated a groundbreaking medication program with the drug companies. Among the many provisions of the program, said William Burga, president of the state AFL-CIO and one of the chief architect’s of the plan, is raising the income cap on qualifications. Now, single Ohioans earning $22,450 a year and Ohio families of four earning $46,000 a year will qualify for state prescription drug benefits.

The coalition included 24 statewide organizations and 300 local groups. The plan will be presented to the state legislature with bipartisan support and the backing of Gov. Bob Taft.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.: African Americans live sicker and die sooner

James Lawson is chairman of the Metro Planning Commission, but, because he is African American, his doctor, who is white, failed to warn him that his blood sugar level is high. Lawson has diabetes.

Lawson was one of scores of African Americans who delivered direct testimony into the record at a forum on racism in the U.S. privately-owned health care system. The forum held in Nashville is a collaborative effort between Harvard and Vanderbilt universities to document racial discrimination in health care.

Dr. David Blumenthal of Harvard told forum participants that surveys showed that 65 percent of African Americans reported lower quality of medical care. Statistics bear out the survey’s findings: A final diagnosis of breast cancer takes twice as long for Black women than white women; cancer rates are higher for Blacks than whites and all racial and ethnic groups; the death rate for Black women during childbirth is 3.5 times higher than whites; and infant mortality rates are 1.5 times higher for Black children and Native Americans than whites.

Nashville attorney told the panel of doctors that universal health care is “an essential step to eliminating disparities.” Dr. Glenn Flores warned that Bush administration cuts will only deepen the life and death discrimination in health care.

National Clips are compiled by Denise
Winebrenner Edwards (dwinbr696@aol.com).
Evelina Alarcon, Bruce Bostick and
Joel Wendland contributed to this week’s clips.