The thing we like to call democracy

March 27, 2003
We can’t create democracy by unilaterally burning buildings and babies. We can’t protect democracy by disempowering the the United Nations, the only major institution that could foster democracy’s international viability by creating at least one space in which nation-states work to decide things together. And we cannot make democracy evaporate by suppressing and circumventing it »

Quick! Have sex while you still can

February 14, 2003
The day last week that I read that most married Americans are having less sex than ever was the same day that I rode a bus to Hartford to protest the proposed state budget that attempted to cut municipal aid to New Haven by about $2 million. At first I thought this was just one »

U.S. subsidies destroy the world

January 27, 2003
Thirty-five thousand people live in Zacatelco, a rural town in central Mexico where most people used to make money from selling corn, wheat or dairy products. Everyone calls Zacatelco the “town without men” because so many men — almost one in every family — have left for the farms and cities of the United States »

Selling your sweat day by day, job by job

November 19, 2002
It was 5:20 a.m. yesterday and it was very cold. I was barely a mile away from Cross Campus and about 10 black men were doing the same thing they do every morning at 5:20 — trying to sell themselves for the day. Ten black men wearing jeans, sweaters and heavy boots sat among the »

Rowland’s aid cuts and Conn.’s tax structure punish the city

November 4, 2002
I knew Nikki from a class I was helping to teach. She didn’t like to do anything without knowing at least a little bit about why. She also liked to talk to her friends and giggle, even if a teacher at the front of the room was struggling to explain synecdoche. That’s what she was »

The passing of life in an uncertain time

October 14, 2002
Johnny Martinez was a complicated man who did wonderful things. I campaigned for state Rep. Johnny Martinez last summer when he was running to be re-elected to represent the 95th district, but I knew his opponent a lot better than I knew Johnny. Present Ward 16 Alderman Raul Avila has consistently blocked constructive things from »

Wednesday’s upcoming rally: a boost for workers

September 24, 2002
I am not a union fanatic, especially not a New Haven union fanatic. I really don’t like some of the internal politics of the Yale unions. I also don’t like how some union leaders compared University President Richard Levin to a pharaoh and themselves to slaves. I especially don’t like how the leaders of the »

Employing New Haven’s future workers

September 9, 2002
I met Ebony Beatty at Hillhouse High School in a class four Yale students were teaching last spring. I could write a whole column about the uniquely horrifying circumstances she has triumphed over, but that is not my point today. Ebony was the shining star of our class. She is passionate, articulate, persuasive, poetic, responsible »

Adding to the burden of poverty in America’s richest state

April 15, 2002
In two Headstart Centers on James and Cedar Streets, any day of the week, you can find classrooms full of 19 three-to-five year olds engaging in imaginative play, making kites, learning about the Chinese New Year or getting ready to read. The early care centers provide breakfast and lunch, age-appropriate toys and games and bi-monthly »

Extending human rights to America’s illegal aliens

April 1, 2002
I met Lupe about five weeks ago at Junta, a non-profit committed to progressive action for new immigrants in New Haven. Lupe is the same age as me — 20 years old. She arrived from Mexico in 2000 by walking through the desert to Arizona. The coyotes who charged her family $2400 to cross the »

Local campaigning in run-down Ward 16

March 4, 2002
Almost every day for six weeks, seven of us have been walking up and down the streets of Ward 16 in Fair Haven, trying to talk to the ward’s 1,400 registered Democrats. We stand in doorways of houses with bright colors but faded paint, and Magda Natal and Denise Maldonado introduce themselves. They explain that »

Seeing whether good fences make good neighbors

February 18, 2002
Yesterday, I went to look at the fence that separates the city of Hamden from West Rock, which is home to New Haven’s most desolate and dilapidated public housing projects — a gray and profoundly depressing monotony of unit after unit of abandoned public housing. Last week, the mayor of New Haven and the mayor »