In keeping the ancestorial tradition of story-telling alive, Claire Andrade-Watkins (“Cape Verdean neighborhood focus of new documentary,” Bay State Banner, April 21, 2010) is a modern day griot and she is helping to validate, celebrate and resurrect the history of Cape Verdeans in America.
When I first saw Claire’s “Some Kinda Funny Porto Rican?” I broke down in tears, because I thought I was the only one feeling the gaping hole in the story of my own family’s Cape Verdean roots. I had long ago tucked away my “truth” to blend in and assimilate into the African American mainstream.
I remember, so vividly, my cousins and I speaking, almost as if it were taboo, about “who” we were. One cousin said, “I knew we were ‘something,’ but I didn’t really know what.”
Having pride in oneself and in one’s culture is crucial to realizing the fullness of one’s potential. Claire, through her work, has pulled back the veil and has helped many Cape Verdean Americans embrace what makes us unique and thus what pulls us together, as family.
I support and encourage Claire’s work. She is a historian and visionary who understands that in order to move people forward, it is so important to reach back into the historical wells for knowledge — and then inspire. Claire’s work enriches the American story.
I was taught from an early age that there are consequences for bad behavior. For example, robbing a bank has dire consequences and even the crime of “uttering,” that is passing a bad check, can put you in the slammer. But, what can be done when the banks rob you of your property or pull a flimflam, with deception in order to gain profit by betraying your trust?
Apparently, little has been done about the actions of a group of financial parasites that nearly brought the nation to its knees. The only information to reach the public has had to do with the huge bonuses or rewards given to the investment banksters, which include Goldman Sachs, among others. So far, not one of the perpetrators or firms has faced any criminal charges.
Goldman Sachs knew as far back as December 2006, that things were going downhill and made the decision to keep matters secret and continue selling the toxic assets, which made them billions. So says Eliot Spitzer among others who realized that the mortgage balloon was about to burst, as far back as 2004, when the federal regulators refused to act and shut down an investigation by his office, when he was attorney general in New York.
What has been particularly disturbing is that the apologists of the Republican Party, who favor lax regulation, have blamed minority and working poor for the financial debacle, which has devastated our neighborhoods with thousands of empty properties. Yet, most of the major banks, like Bank of America and Wells Fargo who received millions in bailout funds and profited are still foreclosing on hapless homeowners.
Rumors abounded, during recent U.S. Senate hearings that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has made the case to federal prosecutors not to take any actions against the banks cause it could “rattle the markets.” If the only means of redress that Geithner can offer is a pass to the robber barons who nearly destroyed our economy, he should resign. That would be only the first step on the path to real justice.