Our community has lost another great artist. Louis Reyes Rivera, prolific writer, poet, and activist, has passed.
For those who may not know much of Rivera, he was an influential educator and artist. Steeped in a Pan-African outlook and dedicated to teaching those around him, Louis made numerous literary contributions. Despite earning many accolades, he was always approachable. The winner of many literary awards came to be known as “The People’s Poet” through his embrace of issues of everyday folks. One of his sharpest points of focus was on the connection between African-American and Latino culture.
Rivera was born in New York City in 1945. Raised in Brooklyn, he would come to do some vital things in the world of activism. He was a key person in the struggle of Black and Puerto Rican students back in the 1960′s. Louis was a student leader in the 1969 takeover of City College, and the co-founder of The Paper, a student publication for people of color. Without the efforts of Rivera amongst others, generations of people of color would not have had the opportunity for higher education.
Always willing to reach back into the community and share his wealth of knowledge, Louis could often be found at a workshop or classroom. He would teach on the finer points of poetry, knowing your rights as a writer, and carrying forth the history of the oppressed through artistic means. He was a member of the National Writers Union and performed a piece at the 30th anniversary of the organization late last year. He held workshops at the Harlem Book Fair, and performed on Def Poetry.
Louis Reyes Rivera was a conduit of information, and inspired many artists and activists. He will definitely be missed. For paving the way for countless students of color to gain access to public higher education, I must say Rest in Power, and thank you. Rivera was 67 years old.
-Marc W. Polite
In reference to the distinctive art of the DPRK and the traditional rubric “painting on Wednesday” to present you an artist painting Shin Yung Heck “Our teacher.” Juche 67 (1978), 104 x 155 cm Oil on canvas.
In 2003, Texas Governor and current GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry was the driving force behind an insurance scheme to bet on the deaths of retired teachers while Wall Street turned a profit, according to information obtained by The Huffington Post.
According to Zach Carter and Jason Cherkis at HuffPo, Governor Perry and his office tried to convince retired teachers to accept a life insurance plan that would ultimately provide benefits to Wall Street and the state of Texas, rather than family members of the deceased.
According to the notes, which were authenticated by a meeting participant, the Perry administration wanted to help Wall Street investors gamble on how long retired Texas teachers would live. Perry was promising the state big money in exchange for helping Swiss banking giant UBS set up a business of teacher death speculation.
All they had to do was convince retirees to let UBS buy life insurance policies on them. When the retirees died, those policies would pay out benefits to Wall Street speculators, and the state, supposedly, would get paid for arranging the bets. The families of the deceased former teachers would get nothing.
The meeting notes offer the most direct evidence that the Perry administration was not only intimately involved with the insurance scheme, but a leading driver of the plan.
[…] The notes make clear that the governor’s proposal deliberately targeted the elderly. The state was only seeking to take out life insurance on people between the ages of 75 and 90. At a separate meeting five days later, the plan’s proponents discussed the “mental capacity” of these retirees to grant consent as one of three major technical obstacles to the plan, according to notes from that meeting.
At the first meeting, Morrissey said it could take 10 to 12 years for Texas to “earn” money from the scheme, but insisted the deal could be worth up to $700 million for the state if the retirement fund could sign up 40,000 retired teachers.
Perry and team even used a financial incentive to pitch this scheme, according to a meeting attendee:
The governor’s office was even prepared to put down a little cash up front. If retirees balked at the notion of the state profiting from their deaths, Perry’s budget men suggested they could be persuaded for the cost of a pair of shoes, according to the meeting notes. If a retiree signed a contract allowing the state’s teacher pension fund to buy life insurance on them, the governor was prepared to give them between $50 and $100.
The life insurance plan never happened and Perry’s office has since attempted to distance itself from the idea. However, as the article points out, the governor’s office “had not only endorsed the concept, but had already formulated a plan to implement it,” according to the meeting notes.
Things that I am now afraid of thanks to Doctor Who:
Hair loss tonics
People Wearing Gas Masks
18th Century France
Beats of Four
(Source: , via cumberqueer)