Archive for December, 2010

Poetry

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I wrote a poem because I could not figure out how to get a map on here. Sorry.

The City

The city is gritty, dark, and hard.
The subways rumble on and on.
The rats scurry as the people overflow
Onto the station and up to the show.

 

Outsiders look up, locals look straight.
The vendors haggle, the hookers wait.
The traffic rushes scornful of the streets
Disfigured and littered with a million moving feet.

 

And yet the congregations grow.
Worldly masses turn and flow
To money as muslims do to Mecca.
And pilgrims walk amidst the glimpses of gods in Tribeca.

Unemployment Post Reflection

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Sabrina Thomas

English 379

Professor Lee

Final Project

Unemployment

The Unemployment rate is now 9.8%. Almost 10 percent of the population is unemployed, and a recovery it seems to be nowhere in sight. Yes, the government says they see a slight decrease in the number of people that are applying for unemployment benefits. Big deal. That is not really helping the economy as a whole and getting the people back to work.

I chose to do my project on unemployment because I was receiving unemployment benefits for the 2008 year. I lost my job and had no money saved at all. Yes, you should always save money for a rainy day, but I was young and felt that buying sneakers was more important. Being on unemployment was a difficult time because every week, you were not sure if they were going to cut it off. Imagine playing Russian roulette every week, not knowing if you were going to strike out. If that time will be your last “go around.” Sounds dramatic, but it is true. I had small bills to worry about, cell phone, and metro card. The two million people that are on unemployment do not have those small luxuries. They are dealing with mortgagees, child care and feeding their families.

Every time I log into my Yahoo email, I am bombarded with a new revealing about the unemployment crisis. Today on Yahoo, it says that hundreds of people have defrauded the state of Connecticut, by collecting unemployment benefits that they do not deserve. State labor officials mailed notices to over 800 people, giving them 60 days to repay or prove that they do not owe the money. This is one of the negative aspects of people who receive help from the government. Not everyone is looking for a quick scam, so people are just trying to make it to the next day and need that money to survive. I would be absolutely naïve to believe that everyone is a saint and people do not cheat the government and find ways to “get over.” No, I live in reality and know that people do things because they think that they will not get caught.

So with my project I decided to bring awareness to the people that are on unemployment and the services that are available to them. It was tough because the subject is so vast and the people that work in the unemployment buildings are not the nicest. Actually I think the people that work there and the DMV are related, but there are many services available even if you are not on the benefits to get people working again.

When I went to, Christ Church of God in Christ Jesus located on South Road, Jamaica Queens, to witness their soup kitchen and pantry. They no longer serve hot food because of the constant arguing over portion sizes and food running out more quickly. Every Monday and Wednesday morning, a line starts at 6 am to receive one bag full of canned goods. The bag usually consists of canned vegetables (white potatoes, corn, string beans) Raman noodles, and Vienna sausage. Yvonne Stennett, who talked to briefly said that she has seen an increase of the unemployed coming down because the government has also started to cut back on food stamps. She told me 

of one elderly lady who only receives $25 a month. That is obviously not a lot of money and would not be able to feed any one nutritiously.

I talked to another woman Rosa who spoke very little English. I could barely understand her because her Spanish accent was so prominent. She also had two young children; they had to be under five, with her. Mrs. Stennett told me she said she had three other children and comes every week. She also told me she does not want her children to learn English first because she wants them to preserve their culture. This made me think of readings that we had in class, such as Jose Rizal’s Noli Mi Tangere and Noenoe Silva’s Aloha Betrayed, centered on the theme of preserving culture. You can tell how much the woman really loved her family and felt that was the way to protect them. This brings up the degree of assimilation and wanting to hold on to cultural ties. No one wants to lose the true essence of who you are, and for some people, that would be the case if they adopt a new language. It was really weird for me being there in a room mostly full of poverty. I felt connected, a bond with them because I had cultural ties. I felt connected but at the same time distant because we lead two different lives.

When Professor Lee, put us in groups, it was only me and Natalie that day. We talked about our projects; she was doing domestic violence and needed to narrow down her focus a bit more. She gave me great feedback on what I could do better and what handouts I should give. I also got great feedback from the professor on the topic proposal. He liked my idea on raising awareness and wanted me to think of what I wanted to reveal and who can be helped in the outcome. Originally, I had planned to talk to Anne, Kirakosayan, who is a workforce coordinator for the Work force building on Jamaica Avenue. She at first was giving me the run around and then went on vacation, so I never got in touch with her. I decided to then focus on what can be done to bring awareness and my own experiences being on the system.

I also wanted to interview more people at the Workforce people but was not able to because that place is very busy. On one instance, I went up there and a man was cursing one of the supervisors out for the government cutting off his benefits. He missed one of the mandatory meetings that track your progress. It is really a sit down with a counselor, and they ask you if you have been looking for a job, and they go over your resume. The building became very chaotic as everyone chimed in on the situation and had an opinion.

Despite, these obstacles, I can say that I have learned a lot from this project and topic. Researching the issue of unemployment produced some interesting statistics. According to the Bureau of Statistics, since September of 2008, the black unemployment rate has jumped from 11.2 % to 15.9% this year. In September of 2008, Hispanic unemployment stood at 7.6 %, but jumped to 12.2 % one year later. About 40% of black teens are unemployed, a rate that is 21.6 percentage points higher than white teens. I also learned about the recourses that people have to continue receiving unemployment benefits but it is really up to the public to get involved. There are many online testimonies and accounts of the hardships that people face on unemployment. Talking to people at the Church really put things into perspective and made it hit harder home.

If I had to do my project differently, I would have been more aggressive in looking for people to interview at the Work Force Building. It kind of discouraged me, when Anne continued to blow me off. My major flaw was my inability to get in contact with someone from the inside. Someone that can give a different perspective on the situation and shed light on an area that I may have overlooked. I wish that I would have mustered up the courage to talk to people that

were receiving benefits at the building. After, I saw the chaos with the man, I king of chickened out. Those people were getting really aggressive. I can understand because it is money that defines their existence in some cases. After watching CJ’s presentation I was also inspired to write my own letter to encourage anyone who is considering discontinuing unemployment benefits. It is not a feasible option and the government should focus on creating more jobs first.

To all those interested in knowing more about the issue, there are many options and resources available. I encourage everyone to go out and witness the community first hand. You can go to any workforce building or food pantry and see people who are just like you needing a hand. As in my presentation, please take action and signed the pledge at UNEMPLOYEDWORKERS.ORG.  Join the fight to get America working again!

of one elderly lady who only receives $25 a month. That is obviously not a lot of money and would not be able to feed any one nutritiously.

I talked to another woman Rosa who spoke very little English. I could barely understand her because her Spanish accent was so prominent. She also had two young children; they had to be under five, with her. Mrs. Stennett told me she said she had three other children and comes every week. She also told me she does not want her children to learn English first because she wants them to preserve their culture. This made me think of readings that we had in class, such as Jose Rizal’s Noli Mi Tangere and Noenoe Silva’s Aloha Betrayed, centered on the theme of preserving culture. You can tell how much the woman really loved her family and felt that was the way to protect them. This brings up the degree of assimilation and wanting to hold on to cultural ties. No one wants to lose the true essence of who you are, and for some people, that would be the case if they adopt a new language. It was really weird for me being there in a room mostly full of poverty. I felt connected, a bond with them because I had cultural ties. I felt connected but at the same time distant because we lead two different lives.

When Professor Lee, put us in groups, it was only me and Natalie that day. We talked about our projects; she was doing domestic violence and needed to narrow down her focus a bit more. She gave me great feedback on what I could do better and what handouts I should give. I also got great feedback from the professor on the topic proposal. He liked my idea on raising awareness and wanted me to think of what I wanted to reveal and who can be helped in the outcome. Originally, I had planned to talk to Anne, Kirakosayan, who is a workforce coordinator for the Work force building on Jamaica Avenue. She at first was giving me the run around and then went on vacation, so I never got in touch with her. I decided to then focus on what can be done to bring awareness and my own experiences being on the system.

I also wanted to interview more people at the Workforce people but was not able to because that place is very busy. On one instance, I went up there and a man was cursing one of the supervisors out for the government cutting off his benefits. He missed one of the mandatory meetings that track your progress. It is really a sit down with a counselor, and they ask you if you have been looking for a job, and they go over your resume. The building became very chaotic as everyone chimed in on the situation and had an opinion.

Despite, these obstacles, I can say that I have learned a lot from this project and topic. Researching the issue of unemployment produced some interesting statistics. According to the Bureau of Statistics, since September of 2008, the black unemployment rate has jumped from 11.2 % to 15.9% this year. In September of 2008, Hispanic unemployment stood at 7.6 %, but jumped to 12.2 % one year later. About 40% of black teens are unemployed, a rate that is 21.6 percentage points higher than white teens. I also learned about the recourses that people have to continue receiving unemployment benefits but it is really up to the public to get involved. There are many online testimonies and accounts of the hardships that people face on unemployment. Talking to people at the Church really put things into perspective and made it hit harder home.

If I had to do my project differently, I would have been more aggressive in looking for people to interview at the Work Force Building. It kind of discouraged me, when Anne continued to blow me off. My major flaw was my inability to get in contact with someone from the inside. Someone that can give a different perspective on the situation and shed light on an area that I may have overlooked. I wish that I would have mustered up the courage to talk to people that were receiving benefits at the building. After, I saw the chaos with the man, I king of chickened out. Those people were getting really aggressive. I can understand because it is money that defines their existence in some cases. After watching CJ’s presentation I was also inspired to write my own letter to encourage anyone who is considering discontinuing unemployment benefits. It is not a feasible option and the government should focus on creating more jobs first.

To all those interested in knowing more about the issue, there are many options and resources available. I encourage everyone to go out and witness the community first hand. You can go to any workforce building or food pantry and see people who are just like you needing a hand. As in my presentation, please take action and signed the pledge at UNEMPLOYEDWORKERS.ORG.  Join the fight to get America working again!

Works Cited:

www.labor.ny.gov/

www.surviveunemployment.com/

Money.cnn.com/Lifeonunemployment

Gawker.com/5072531/tales-from-the-unemployment-line

Book: “The labor Market in the Great Recession” by Michael Elsby (Spring 2010)

Personal interview with Andrew Berga.

Personal interview with Yvonne Stennett.

Unemployment Powerpoint

Monday, December 13th, 2010

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