blog

“Homeless People Not Wanted Here”

They are all addicts, criminals, on drugs, mentally ill, dangerous and have made bad choices, unlike us.  That was the general sentiment of the people who showed up to protest a new homeless shelter in the community where I live. They might as well have put a sign out that read, Poor People Keep Out. It was so disheartening and sad for me to hear what privileged white people believe about people who do not have homes. I do not own a home, either. Is this what they think of me? Is my value as a human being solely based... Read More

Andy’s Story: Class and Homelessness

Before the year 2004, the word “classism” was not in my vocabulary. As a music teacher at a prestigious private elementary school and a private teacher of piano and voice, I schmoozed comfortably with those who could afford such high-quality education for their children. The fact that many of them lived in million dollar homes in the Bay Area suburbs of Hillsborough and Atherton, while I was only a renter, never seemed to enter the picture. But then, a misdiagnosed medical condition, mistreated by an ill-prescribed medication, cost me my job, my car, my rented room and every penny of... Read More

Let’s Dial Back 2017’s Extreme Classism

Classism Continued to Spin Out of Control in 2017 Again in 2017, Class Action asked people from across the United States to vote for the Most Classist Comment of the year. The “contest” is an extension of our work to raise awareness of the classism that is spinning out of control in the United States. U.S. Senator Charles (Chuck) E. Grassley’s comments denigrating average Americans (R-Iowa) was the “winner,” receiving 35.7% of the vote. During the first weekend in December, Iowa’s senior senator stated, “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing as opposed to those... Read More

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Statement Voted 2017 Most Classist Comment

For Immediate Release: December 31, 2017 Contact: Anne Phillips, 617.477.8635; Denise Moorehead, 781.608.4608 BOSTON – For the eighth consecutive year, Class Action has asked people from across the United States to nominate and then vote for the Most Classist Comment of the year. With 35.7% of the vote, U.S. Senator Charles (Chuck) E. Grassley’s (R-Iowa) comments denigrating average Americans is the 2017 top vote-getter. During the first weekend in December, Iowa’s senior senator stated, “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have,... Read More

Cross Class Dialogue Circle

It was on a bulletin at a local coffee shop, Cross Class Dialogue Circle. What did those words mean? Cross made me think of the patterns on top of a pie. Class, I thought I knew what that was: divisions based on wealth and a word I always flinched at for some reason. Dialogue, easy: a two-way conversation with the truth coming out somewhere in the middle. Circle, so everyone would sit in a circle? I signed up. I had no idea what to expect. No idea that it would change me, unearth deep-seated doubts, dreams, mysteries in my relationships with people... Read More

Cross-Class Alliances: Silicon Valley

On Labor Day, I thought, what better way to celebrate than to show up for cross-class picketing at a local McDonald’s? The first thing I saw was a line of yellow school buses bringing the picketers from the local labor council to the restaurant, partly because many workers rely on a bus, not a car to get to work, and partly because parking was limited. I couldn’t help noticing the contrast to the sleek luxury buses that carry engineers around the valley. And what a rebuke to those who equate union political spending with billionaire and corporate spending. I don’t... Read More

Sexual Predators and Blue Collar Women

Finally. The manifestation of the recognition that women’s rights ARE human rights. That’s how I’ve been feeling about the outing of so many well-known sexual predators, long known but never punished for their predatory ways. Learning about some has broken my heart. Charlie Rose was my hero, as was John Conyers. But, like every woman I know, I’ve experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault: #metoo. And it has felt good these past few weeks (maybe good is not quite the right word) to see that our collective voice is finally be heard and believed. But, the more I’ve sat with this feeling of... Read More

Homeless Shelters as Band-Aids: Housing Is a Human Right

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 25: (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. In an era of increasing economic inequality,... Read More