Can We Dedicate This Labor Day Weekend to Hispanics in Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect?

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Master Sergeant Raul Perez "Roy" Benavidez

Just a note: This article is not intended to be anti-USA or anti-Union or anti-working Americans. When reading this article, please think outside the box, consider the benefit of the doubt, and strive to communicate so you understand the issues before you push your hot button.

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If there is one acceptable bias to have about Hispanics, it is that they are hard working, friendly people with a very strong work ethic — never working with a bad attitude, and always with a smile.

Take a look at many streets in Arlington Heights in the summer, and you will likely see a crew of hard-working Hispanic men mowing lawns, trimming bushes, and planting trees and bushes. If you give them a wave or a friendly nod, you will always get an enthusiastic smile and a wave in return. In the winter, while you are warm in bed sleeping, there are plenty of Hispanic crews in pickup trucks with plows, small tractors with plows, and shovels working hard to clear the snow from driveways and sidewalks.

Shop at Mariano’s in Arlington Heights and a large percentage of workers there are Hispanic men and women. Cashiers, stockers, bakery workers and more. Reyes, in the produce department, will set down the corn he is sorting, and walk up to you with a great big smile and ask you if you need help. He’s been up very early in the morning fixing ravaged store shelves in the produce section from the night before — getting them ready for another day of customer shopping by the 6:00 a.m. — still full of enthusiasm.

Same thing at McDonald’s and Burger King and more fast food restaurants … scores of Hispanics preparing meals and taking orders with efficiency.

In downtown Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect you’re likely to be served by very professional waiters and waitresses at many of the fine local restaurants.




Martha E. Bernal (1931-2001), Mexican-American clinical psychologist, first Latina to receive a psychology PhD in the United States

Antonia Novello (1944-)
Puerto Rican physician (pediatric nephrologist), 14th Surgeon General of the United States, first woman and first Hispanic to hold the position

Sarah Stewart (1905-1976)
Mexican-American microbiologist; discovered the Polyomavirus with scientist Bernice Eddy

Helen Rodríguez Trías (1929-2001)
Puerto Rican American pediatrician, advocate for women’s reproductive rights

Lydia Villa-Komaroff (1947-)
Mexican-American cellular biologist; third Mexican American woman in the United States to receive a PhD in the sciences

Rodolfo Llinas (1934-) Colombian American neuroscientist.

Miguel Algarín (1941-)
Puerto Rican author and co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Café

Rudolfo Anaya (1937-)
Mexican-American author of Bless Me, Ultima

Sandra Cisneros (1954-)
Mexican-American author of The House on Mango Street

Judith Ortiz Cofer (1952-)
Puerto Rican author of Silent Dancing: A Partial Remembrance of a Puerto Rican Childhood

Angie Cruz (1972-) Dominican-American author of Let It Rain Coffee

Alberto Rios (1952-)
Mexican-American poet, Arizona’s first poet first state poet laureate

Benjamin Alire Sáenz (1954-)
Mexican-American author of Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club

Sergio Troncoso (1961-)
Mexican-American author of The Last Tortilla and Other Stories and Crossing Borders: Personal Essays

Medal of Honor
Master Sergeant Raul Perez “Roy” Benavidez, member of US ARMY Special Forces who received Medal of Honor for his valorous actions in combat near Lộc Ninh, South Vietnam on May 2, 1968. Also Purple Heart (5), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal

When you’re driving, take a look around, and you will probably see a hard-working Hispanic riding their bike to work — sometimes in dangerous roads with no sidewalks, and sometimes at night, or in the rain, or both … or in the snow. Maybe they can’t afford a car, or maybe they prefer to bike to work.

There are also a number of good automotive repair businesses in Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect owned and operated by Hispanics, with hard-working Hispanic employees.

Then there are the dangerous jobs. Many Hispanics work as roofers or other construction jobs with the risk of falling, or getting struck by lightning. Some employers are cited by OSHA for failing to provide proper scaffolding.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2013 Hispanic workers experienced an increase in both the number of on-the-job deaths (817 from 748 in 2012) and fatality rate (3.9 from 3.7). The only demographic group that reported such an increase was the Hispanic group. Many of their injuries go uncounted in an “underground” economy where workers are paid in cash and stay off the books.

Employment in industries such as construction or agriculture – some of the most dangerous for workers – is one of the primary contributors to Hispanic workers’ higher fatality figures. When compared with other ethnicities, Latinos have a higher injury and illness rate within high-hazard industries. “The Latino workers we know are definitely in a more vulnerable position in comparison to others,” according to Jessica Martinez, deputy director of National COSH (National Council for Occupational Safety and Health).

Martinez alleged that a few employers may even “shamelessly” violate workers’ rights because the workers fear retaliation. Workers are told to sign a sheet saying they’ve been properly trained. If they don’t sign, they lose their job, according to Martinez.

Horrific industrial accidents sometimes occur in large metal stampers or rollers in Elk Grove Village, especially. OSHA is called in to investigate, but preventable accidents keep happening.

So there are many reason to have great respect for Hispanics. And not just at the workplace … also at home where Hispanic mothers work jobs AND take care of families. Do you know a special Hispanic Mom that takes care of an adult child with a disability, and then adopts three more Hispanic children to give them a good life. Some of you reading this, probably do — she’s from Prospect Heights.

Some of you know we reported this past week about three male/Hispanics that were involved in a suspicious traffic/pedestrian incident on Kensington Road. It was never considered that this suspicious report would be generalized as bias against Hispanics in general; but The Cardinal received a lot of criticism, the worst of it involved accusations of racism. One teacher from Mount Prospect School District 15 started out very rude, but made one good point. We don’t want outsiders to think this is a racist community.

An Arlington Heights woman persisted in calling the report racist, even after some explanation. She said, “So your message is to look out for any non-white walking while you’re driving in Arlington Heights?” There was nothing in the article to suggest people beware of “any non-white walking” but unfortunately many people understood it that way.

There is no doubt that there is racism that negatively affects Hispanics, but the worst is in the workplace, and energy should be focused at the workplace where wages are too low and injuries and fatalities are too high.

When the Arlington Heights woman wants to persist with “racism” charges against The Cardinal’s minor suspicious person report, she is missing the target with False Activism. She may also just be using the issue to fuel rage against multiple issues in her political ideology.

By using the techniques of a demagogue to agitate and appeal to people who are sincerely interested in fighting racism, that Arlington Heights woman is only wasting her own time and energy, and the time and energy of the actual victims who want to fight racism. The real racism is occurring in the workplace, the economy, and involves limitations of participation of Hispanics in society. This is where stereotyping and discrimination is damaging to Hispanics.

In a study published in Race and Social Problems in 2012 the largest number of discriminatory complaint comments -— over 90 — was about employment incidents. The most prevalent among these were reports about being denied promotions. Some respondents reported that they felt they were not hired for jobs based on their racial appearance.

False activism or misdirected activism fails to detect and acknowledge real local crime problems, and can make people fearful of reporting suspicious activity or have guilt about even thinking someone is suspicious. Even in a case as large as the San Bernardino mass shooting incident by Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, neighbors feared reporting them in case it was merely racial profiling. Farook and Malik were ‘receiving packages’ and ‘working at strange hours in their garage’ according to their neighbors. A neighbor described her regret at not reporting Farook and Malik. The neighbor had seen Farook and Malik receiving multiple packages, but did not want to racially profile them. Could you imagine some of the commenters on The Cardinal Facebook page saying, “Now it’s illegal for non-Whites to receive multiple packages?” Of course that’s not illegal by itself, but detection is all about the additional circumstances surrounding the shipments that might add up to something significant.

There is no doubt Hispanics have justifiable complaints about discrimination, but the focus of anti-discrimination should be focused where Hispanics can be helped in their pocketbooks, purses and wallets.

If you want to fight racism, think about the place of Hispanics in the workplace, the economy, and in participation in society.

Maybe starting today, a good start would be to tell them with a smile, “Have a good Labor Day Weekend!” and tell them you really appreciate the hard work and good work that they do. Then hopefully employers and circumstances will progress to work harder to overcome discrimination with resulting better earnings and safer job situations for Hispanics.

See also …
Vilma Ortiz and Edward Telles Racial Identity and Racial Treatment of Mexican Americans Race Soc Probl. 2012 Apr; 4(1): 10.1007/s12552-012-9064-8.

Safety and Health Magazine Why are workplace injuries and deaths increasing among Latino employees?

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Rank and organization: Master Sergeant. Organization: Detachment B-56, 5th Special Forces Group, Republic of Vietnam
Place and date: West of Loc Ninh on May 2, 1968
Entered service at: Houston, Texas June 1955
Born: August 5, 1935, DeWitt County, Cuero, Texas.
Master Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Roy P. BENAVIDEZ United States Army, distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions on 2 May 1968 while assigned to Detachment B56, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, Republic of Vietnam.

On the morning of 2 May 1968, a 12-man Special Forces Reconnaissance Team was inserted by helicopters of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company in a dense jungle area west of Loc Ninh, Vietnam to gather intelligence information about confirmed large-scale enemy activity. This area was controlled and routinely patrolled by the North Vietnamese Army. After a short period of time on the ground, the team met heavy enemy resistance, and requested emergency extraction. Three helicopters attempted extraction, but were unable to land due to intense enemy small arms and anti-aircraft fire.

Sergeant BENAVIDEZ was at the Forward Operating Base in Loc Ninh monitoring the operation by radio when these helicopters, of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, returned to off-load wounded crew members and to assess aircraft damage. Sergeant BENAVIDEZ voluntarily boarded a returning aircraft to assist in another extraction attempt. Realizing that all the team members were either dead or wounded and unable to move to the pickup zone, he directed the aircraft to a nearby clearing where he jumped from the hovering helicopter, and ran approximately 75 meters under withering small arms fire to the crippled team.

Prior to reaching the team’s position he was wounded in his right leg, face, and head. Despite these painful injuries, he took charge, repositioning the team members and directing their fire to facilitate the landing of an extraction aircraft, and the loading of wounded and dead team members. He then threw smoke canisters to direct the aircraft to the team’s position. Despite his severe wounds and under intense enemy fire, he carried and dragged half of the wounded team members to the awaiting aircraft. He then provided protective fire by running alongside the aircraft as it moved to pick up the remaining team members. As the enemy’s fire intensified, he hurried to recover the body and classified documents on the dead team leader.

When he reached the leader’s body, Sergeant BENAVIDEZ was severely wounded by small arms fire in the abdomen and grenade fragments in his back. At nearly the same moment, the aircraft pilot was mortally wounded, and his helicopter crashed. Although in extremely critical condition due to his multiple wounds, Sergeant BENAVIDEZ secured the classified documents and made his way back to the wreckage, where he aided the wounded out of the overturned aircraft, and gathered the stunned survivors into a defensive perimeter. Under increasing enemy automatic weapons and grenade fire, he moved around the perimeter distributing water and ammunition to his weary men, reinstilling in them a will to live and fight. Facing a buildup of enemy opposition with a beleaguered team, Sergeant BENAVIDEZ mustered his strength, began calling in tactical air strikes and directed the fire from supporting gunships to suppress the enemy’s fire and so permit another extraction attempt.

He was wounded again in his thigh by small arms fire while administering first aid to a wounded team member just before another extraction helicopter was able to land. His indomitable spirit kept him going as he began to ferry his comrades to the craft. On his second trip with the wounded, he was clubbed from behind by an enemy soldier. In the ensuing hand-to-hand combat, he sustained additional wounds to his head and arms before killing his adversary. He then continued under devastating fire to carry the wounded to the helicopter. Upon reaching the aircraft, he spotted and killed two enemy soldiers who were rushing the craft from an angle that prevented the aircraft door gunner from firing upon them. With little strength remaining, he made one last trip to the perimeter to ensure that all classified material had been collected or destroyed, and to bring in the remaining wounded.

Only then, in extremely serious condition from numerous wounds and loss of blood, did he allow himself to be pulled into the extraction aircraft. Sergeant BENAVIDEZ’ gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men. His fearless personal leadership, tenacious devotion to duty, and extremely valorous actions in the face of overwhelming odds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflect the utmost credit on him and the United States Army.

— “Department of the Army General Order 1981-08, Award of the Medal of Honor to Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez” Headquarters, Department of the Army.

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