writing to know, knowing thru being, being for writing... this is me, writing about the one thing i know, which is myself... and even that is sometimes a mystery...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

miami university living wage campaign (students for staff)

there's not enough time in a day, i'm finding.

so many things to do and the lighted hours are simply not enough.

one thing that has been taking an abundant amount of my time and energy lately has been the miami university living wage campaign, which i have been fervently dedicated to since i found out about the situation.

the sad thing is that this is not a new concern on our campus. two years ago, my senior year of high school, there was a strike on campus, which ostensibly became antagonistic and violent.

worse, the student body was radically divided about the issue then, and it seems that it still is now. i suppose there's a lot of residual sentiment on either side regarding the movement, and it's been interesting, from my outside perspective, to see the memory of the strike manifest itself in my interactions with students, and staff.

the student body really needs to unify in support of this movement for it to be effective and for the administration to consider our proposal. the university exists for the students, and because of the students. we have more control and political weight than we sometimes realize, and i wish more people would do something about it.

what i have been working on is educating students about the issue. most students don't think twice about the people they see everyday in dining halls and residence halls. it's sad, but there's this distance and reservation between the consumer and the agents of consumption in this society. we've come to consume our fellow human beings, they become extensions of the object. not people, but faces we greet in between. faces become screens.

i took a class last year about work, class and the meaning of money, and what that says about the nature and value of work. our society places so much value on work and money. one's job/career is the most defining characteristic of one's identity. we are what we do.

and the work available to an individual is linked directly to class. unfortunately, not everyone is born into the kind of situation i, or any of my fellow miami university students, were lucky to have: financial security and, concurrently or subsequently, the means to afford an education and formal training for future occupations.

people don't realize that class is limiting and unavoidable.

my parents would always tell me to work hard and get good grades in school so i wouldn't end up picking up trash or cleaning dishes for a living. and i listened and did.

but some people don't have that option.

that's what this movement is about, for me anyway. it's about dispelling the myth of the american dream and self-made man.

it's not really about the wages. for me, it's about what those wages represent: an acknowledgement of the value of all work, no matter the nature. and a respect for one's fellow humans, and the willingness to see past class and materiality to identify with another's situation, the human condition.

it's not about conservatives/liberals. it's about what is ethical and just.

for more information:
please visit the students for staff website!
and thanks to J at the ZenfoPro for the shout out. what an honor.

also read my editorial in the student, miami's newspaper.
and the horrific editorial which prompted my response.
article in the student about students for staff.


  • At 2:53 PM, November 21, 2005, Blogger Buckeye Beauford said…

    "[I]t's about dispelling the myth of the american dream and self-made man" -- please, make that statement as public as you can. That'll really rally people to your cause.

  • At 3:12 PM, November 21, 2005, Blogger Ogbuefi Stephi said…

    you know what? i'm not seeking the support of the people too scared to lose their own balance if they rock the boat of convention.

    people are too content to wallow in their self-made, self-perpetuated illusions, and it keeps them from doing anything progressive for change. and the biggest problem is that apathy is cheap. it's too easy!

    i can't stand the people who get uneasy at the slightest mention of change. those people are the ones that prevent any kind of social progress, because they get motion sick with the smallest movement forward.

    be it uncomfortable, unsettling, disturbing or otherwise, change needs to happen. of course it's scary and unnerving. but once you get past the fear of falling, you soar.

    isn't that what revolution is all about?


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