Daily Archives: Jun 4, 2020

Expertos en derechos civiles hablan del discrimen racial en la Isla y cómo ha sido invisibilizado sistemáticamente, en el marco de las protestas por la muerte de George Floy

( San Juan) PH – En los 20 años que Neyza González Rodríguez lleva de relación con Luis González, los comentarios de índole étnico-racial han sido constantes y el primer cuestionamiento que conocidos y extraños le hicieron estuvo relacionado al hecho de que ella es blanca y él negro.

“Lo triste es que ya lo vemos NORMAL”, escribió recientemente Neyza en la red social Facebook donde enumeró múltiples instancias en las que han sido víctimas de comentarios que implican discrimen.

“Siempre me veían y me decían: ‘qué cómica, tan blanca con un trigueño’. Primero, que no encuentro lo cómico en mi relación y, segundo, que no sabía que los blancos tenían que casarse con blancos”, descargó en el escrito.

Cuando llegó el embarazo de su hija Daniela, surgieron también comentarios racistas por aquellos que -más que al estado de salud de la madre o la criatura- se cuestionaban qué color de piel heredaría la bebé.

“Qué cosa salió, trigueña”, relata que le decían constantemente.

“Han sido preguntas y respuestas que ya las vemos normal. Preguntas y respuestas que son innecesarias en un mundo que debe ser de igualdad”, agregó.

En entrevista, Neyza dijo que sintió la necesidad de hablar del tema enmarcado en la cadena de eventos ocurridos con la historia de George Floyd, un hombre de Minneapolis que murió el 25 de mayo en medio de una intervención que evidencia brutalidad policíaca de un oficial de seguridad de raza blanca contra el ciuadadano negro.

Un filme de un videoaficionado que estaba cerca del lugar muestra el momento en que Floyd fue lanzado al piso por el policía Derek Chauvin, quien mantuvo su rodilla sobre el cuello de la víctima durante 8 minutos y 46 segundos. En un momento dado se escucha en el video a Floyd suplicar porque lo soltaran. “I can’t breathe.. I can’t breathe”, dijo el hombre y padre de una niña de seis años que no podia respirar ni moverse, hasta que murió. Chauvin fue despedido y se le imputó de asesinato en tercer grado el 29 de mayo. Otros tres policías que lo acompañaban fueron arrestados recientemente.

Desde el 26 de mayo comenzó una ola de protestas en Minnesota y que se ha extendido por varios estados de Estados Unidos y otras jurisdicciones, como Puerto Rico, en un reclamo por el fin de un racismo sistemático contra los ciudadanos afrodescendientes.

Para Neyza es injusto que situaciones como la de George Floyd ocurran, pero si alguien conoce que el discrimen racial es real y consistente es ella y su esposo, a quien apodan Choco desde niño luego que unos compañeros de clases -en la adolescencia- le dejaran en una ocasión en su cubículo una imagen del mono que decoraba la caja de los cereales Choco Krispies.

“El racismo también lo hemos vivido en la Quinta Avenida (en Nueva York) cuando no lo quisieron atender en Tiffany (lujosa joyería) por su color de piel. Posteriormente, otro empleado se percató de la situación y fue amable. Pero también el racismo lo vivimos cuando viajamos porque a él lo detienen en todos los aeropuertos… o como la vez que esperábamos en un valet parking por nuestro auto y llegó una muchacha y le dio la llave a mi esposo para que le estacionara el carro. ¿por qué le dio las llaves a él y no a otro muchacho blanco que estaba al lado de nosotros. Gracias a Dios que mi esposo assume todo con una actitud de chiste y no le da importancia. Pero no todos soportamos igual y no hay porqué tolerarlo. Debemos respetar la diversidad, todos somos iguales, todos somos humanos”, destaca Neyza.

El discrimen racial es sistemático

El discrimen racial en la isla -aunque evidente en muchas instancias cotidianas- es ignorado, invisibilizado y negado por el mismo sistema que está llamado a atender este problema social que lanza a muchos puertorriqueños a la desigualdad en términos de educación, salud, acceso a la justicia y mejores oportunidades en el empleo, entre otros factores.

Así lo expresaron en un análisis con Primera Hora la catedrática y expresidenta de la Comisión de Derechos Civiles, Palmira Ríos y el abogado criminalista y activista Marcos Rivera, ambos incansables luchadores contra el racismo en Puerto Rico.

Plantearon la ironía de la situación en la isla donde, incluso antes que en Estados Unidos, se rechaza el discrimen racial pues el artículo II, sección 1 de la Constitución de Puerto Rico (1952) estipula que “la dignidad del ser humano es inviolable. Todos los hombres son iguales ante la Ley. No podrá establecerse discrimen alguno por motivo de raza, color, sexo, nacimiento, origen o condición social, ni ideas políticas o religiosas. Tanto las leyes como el sistema de instrucción pública encarnarán estos principios de esencial igualdad humana”.

“La situación aquí es cómo hacer efectivo ese mandato constitucional. No hay que enmendar leyes ni constituciones. El problema es que aquí por años, todos los gobiernos, han dicho que aquí no hay ese tipo de problemas y se prefiere mirar en otra dirección… se prefiere ocultar, ignorar e invisibilizar”, expresó Ríos

Agregó que en términos de estadísticas los negros siempre han sido una población invisible a la hora de formular políticas públicas, de ofrecer servicios y crear programas que atiendan sus necesidades específicas.

En ese sentido inquirió a los aspirantes políticos de las elecciones de noviembre a expresar sus propuestas a fin de atender estos señalamientos. “Hay que incluir ese debate en las campañas electorales”, sostuvo al agregar que los líderes religiosos y organizaciones comunitarias de base y las universidades deben también sumergirse en el tema.

“No hay tasas estadísticas, por ejemplo, de cómo es el aprovechamiento académico por razas o grupos socialmente construidos como raza o la diferencia en los empleos en esta población. Tampoco sabemos si hay discrimen en conceder préstamos para comprar casas, en el acceso a la salud y todos esos factores de vida… o más simple y cercano: aquí, a diferencia de Estados Unidos, no se está llevando el rastreo y conteo de casos de la COVID-19 incluyendo el factor de raza. Ya sabemos que en Estados Unidos es evidente que afecta más a los afroamericanos y a los latinos. Pero aquí ese tipo de estadística no se recoge… y por ahí hay que comenzar. Hay que identificar el problema y empezar a recoger datos para saber si hemos progresado o hemos retrocedido”, dijo Ríos al cuestionar cómo se analiza la pobreza sin incluir el factor de la raza, algo esencial en otros estudios a nivel mundial.

Por su parte, el licenciado Rivera describe el discrimen racial sistémico como una dinámica “activa y silenciosa” que se manifiesta en diversas fases, incluyendo el proceso educativo del país, “el cual carece de un currículo que le enseñe a los niños y niñas desde grados elementales lo más básico: los derechos que los protegen en la Constitución”.

“Hay que revolucionar la filosofía educativa. Que el niño sepa desde chiquito que tiene derecho a la igualdad que sepa que no puede ser discriminado por su color de piel, por su religión, por su condición social o que tiene derecho a la libre expresión”, indicó el abogado reconocido por liderar varios casos de índole racial en la isla, incluyendo el de la niña Alma Yadira Cruz

El caso de Alma Yadira causó indignación en la isla en el 2017 pues la niña -en aquel entonces de 11 años- enfrentó cargos por una agresión simple, dos por amenaza y otros dos por alteración a la paz tras un incidente con otras niñas en la escuela Dr. Modesto Rivera Rivera, en Carolina.

Alma y su mamá siempre sostuvieron que la niña se defendió de un patrón de bullyingdel que era víctima, y así lo habían denunciado en el plantel. El Ministerio Público luego retiró los cargos pero “el daño ya estaba hecho en la menor”.

“En este caso Alma fue víctima de bullying en la escuela y victimizada también por el sistema”, explica Rivera sobre el caso que culminó con una demanda civil por negligencia y discrimen en el que sus padres reclaman $1 millón por los daños, sufrimientos y angustias mentales ocasionados, según los demandantes, por el Departamento de Educación, el director escolar, la trabajadora social y la Policía.

“En Puerto Rico, el caso de Alma es el de muchos niños y niñas del sistema público y privado… y fijamos responsabilidad no solo en el estado, sino también en los padres porque son conductas que aprenden en sus casas con unos padres que nunca recibieron educación sobre igualdad y discrimen. Definitivamente, nuestro sistema necesita ser revisado y debe comenzar por esa filosofía educativa”,destacó

Por Bárbara J. Figueroa Rosa

 

The rally was quiet in nature, and it concluded after a Buffalo Police officer said if the group agreed to leave at 8 p.m., no action would be taken against them

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Police officers took a knee, and protesters peacefully went home when the 8 p.m. curfew struck Wednesday at City Hall.

A group of 80 people had gathered downtown at Niagara Square, where people had gathered every day since Saturday following last week’s death of George Floyd.

The 46-year-old black man died after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.Earlier Wednesday, faith-based leaders and community activists held a rally at the same spot, calling for specific and immediate changes with police reform. That rally was organized by Voice Buffalo, a community activism group.

The evening rally was much quieter in nature, and it concluded after a Buffalo Police detective told the crowd that if the group agreed to leave at 8 p.m., no action would be taken against them.

The detective also told the crowd that police still on site would take a knee at 7:55 p.m. in a moment of solidarity.

The events at City Hall started around 3 p.m. and featured a diverse mix of people who used chalk, would would be easily washed away.

 

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The epic damage to America’s job market from the viral outbreak will come into sharper focus Friday when the government releases the May employment report: Eight million more jobs are estimated to have been lost. Unemployment could near 20%. And potentially fewer than half of all adults may be working.

Beneath the dismal figures will be signs that job cuts, severe as they are, are slowing as more businesses gradually or partially reopen. Still, the economy is mired in a recession, and any rebound in hiring will likely be painfully slow. Economists foresee unemployment remaining in double-digits through the November elections and into 2021

If their forecast of 8 million jobs lost in May proves correct, it would come on top of April’s loss of 20.5 million jobs — the worst monthly loss on record — and bring total job cuts in the three months since the viral outbreak intensified to nearly 30 million. That’s more than three times the jobs lost in the 2008-2009 Great Recession. And if the jobless rate does reach 20% for May, it would be double the worst level during that previous recession.

Overhanging the jobs picture is widespread uncertainty about how long the unemployed will remain out of work. Most of the layoffs in recent months were a direct result of the sudden shutdowns of businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As many of these businesses reopen, at least partially, workers who had been laid off have held out hope of being rehired soon.

But some small employers might not reopen at all if the recession drags on much longer. And even once companies do reopen, their business may not fully return until Americans are confident they can shop, eat out and return to other previous habits without becoming sick. For now, most people who have lost jobs still say they expect their unemployment to prove temporary.

Even if just one-third of the job losses turn out to be permanent, though, that would leave 10 million people who will need to find work at new employers or even in new occupations. That is still more than all the jobs lost in the Great Recession.

A hole that size would take years to fill. Hiring will likely rebound over the summer and fall as states and cities further lift restrictions on economic activity. But it won’t match the huge job cuts this spring. Oxford Economics, a consulting firm, estimates that the economy will regain 17 million jobs by year’s end, a huge increase by historic standards. But that would make up for barely more than half the losses.

Seth Carpenter, an economist at UBS, said that after an initial bounce-back, future hiring will likely be slow and could be interrupted by another wave of the pandemic.

Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork, notes that the fastest year for job growth since the Great Recession was 3 million jobs in 2014. Even at that pace, it would take at least several years to return to the pre-pandemic job market.

Since mid-March, more than 40 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. That doesn’t mean that that many people are still unemployed. The figure likely includes some duplicate filings: In some states, self-employed and “gig” workers applied under their regular state unemployment systems before they were able to file under a new federal program that has made them eligible for benefits for the first time.

In addition, some people who lost jobs early and applied for unemployment aid have been rehired. That, along with slowing layoffs, helps explain why the net job loss for May is expected to be far less than April’s. Goldman Sachs estimates that up to 3 million people who were initially laid off have already been rehired.

Weekly surveys of small businesses by the Census Bureau show an uptick in the number of such companies that are hiring and providing more hours of work, though the gains are slight. In mid-May, the most recent data available, nearly 10% of small companies surveyed said they had added jobs in the past week, and 12% said they had added hours. Both figures were roughly double their level three weeks earlier.

Still, 16% said they had cut jobs, and a third said they were still cutting hours — figures that are consistent with ongoing but smaller job cuts in May.

Three-quarters of states have allowed dining-in services to resume at restaurants, though most are still restricting total capacity. Many states have reopened gyms, hair salons and movie theaters. But a meaningful rebound will require greater public willingness to return to their old activities without fear of contracting the virus.

Adam Kamins, senior regional economist at Moodys Analytics, said this probably won’t happen until a vaccine is available or testing expands significantly.

Civil unrest in dozens of cities since the weekend in response to the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd may also weigh on the economy in the short term, though analysts for now expect the consequences to be limited. Kamins said the economic damage was likely mitigated by the fact that so much activity is still closed down in large cities like New York and Washington, with many people already working from home.

Data from the restaurant reservation app OpenTable showed a slight drop in dine-in activity Monday and Tuesday that might have been caused by the protests.

“It certainly doesn’t help to have this layer of uncertainty added on,” Kamins said.

Heidi Shierholz, senior economist at the progressive Economic Policy Institute and a former chief economist at the Labor Department, suggested that more government aid will be necessary to keep consumers and businesses afloat so that many laid-off workers will have jobs to return to.

“Those jobs are not going to come back if the federal government doesn’t do the things it needs to do to stimulate the economy, so that the demand and confidence is going to be there, so that those businesses will need to call workers back,” Shierholz said.

 

    By KEVIN FREKING

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary rebuke, former defense secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday denounced President Donald Trump’s heavy-handed use of military force to quell protests near the White House and said his former boss was setting up a “false conflict” between the military and civilian society.

    “I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis wrote.

    The criticism was all the more remarkable because Mattis has generally kept a low profile since retiring as defense secretary in December 2018 to protest Trump’s Syria policy. He had declined to speak out against Trump, saying he owed the nation public silence while his former boss remained in office

    But he’s speaking out after this past week’s protests in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody.

    Trump responded on Twitter Wednesday evening by calling Mattis “the world’s most overrated General.”

    “I didn’t like his ‘leadership’ style or much else about him, and many others agree,” Trump tweeted. “Glad he is gone!”

    Mattis had a scathing description of Trump’s walk to a historic nearby church Monday to pose with a Bible after law enforcement forcibly cleared Lafayette Square of mostly peaceful protesters.

    He said he never dreamed troops “would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

    “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people —does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by The Atlantic. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”

    Mattis called on Americans to unite without Trump. “This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children,” he wrote.

    Mattis said of the protesters that Americans should not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. He said they are rightly demanding that the country follow the words of “Equal Justice Under Law” that are on display at the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values — our values as people and our values as a nation,” Mattis said.

    Mattis took particular issue with the use of force to move back protesters so Trump could visit St. John’s Church the day after it was damaged by fire during protests. Several different groups, including the National Guard and the U.S. Park Police, were involved.

    “We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution,” Mattis said.

    One day after Trump announced he was pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, where they were partnering with local Syrians to fight the Islamic State, Mattis tried but failed to change Trump’s mind. So, he resigned. Trump soon turned on Mattis, calling him a failure. He said falsely that he had fired Mattis.

    “What’s he done for me?” Trump said January 2. “How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan, and I shouldn’t be happy.”

     

     

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