Archive for May, 2012

NEW TRADER’S JOE

May 26, 2012


@ Fairfax & 3rd across from Farmer’s Market.

Advertisements

FREE JEFF LORBER CONCERT

May 26, 2012

“A Mother and Son For Obama” by Charles L. Freeman

May 9, 2012

Dominic Guerrero and Graciela Ramos

Her name is Graciela Ramos and his is Dominic Guerrero. She’s a 45 year-old native of Mexico, a hard-working, devoted single mother and he’s her Los Angeles born and raised 19 year-old son. She holds a master’s degree in Management and Leadership from the University of Laverne (2011) and he’s a wide-eyed, eager freshman at East Los Angeles College. Graciela’s position as Child Care director for the International Institute of Los Angeles was eliminated in June 2011 – prior to that she was a Head Start teacher for 10 years – because of budget cuts and she and Dominic, like so many Americans today, are scraping by on her unemployment benefits and dwindling savings. When they approached the voter registration table in the parking lot of a bank in Hollywood, CA one recent Sunday morning, it was apparent that this wasn’t going to be a typical encounter. For Graciela and Dominic didn’t walk up to the table; they came with Graciela pushing Dominic in his specially-made wheelchair.

Driving in from the San Gabriel Valley, this mother-son team were on a mission this particular day. Not only was Dominic going to register to vote for the first time in his young life, but both he and Graciela, who has applied for citizenship and hopes to be sworn in just in time to vote for President Obama’s re-election, were also ready to sign up to work on the campaign. So, when they met Renee Ayat, Neighborhood Team Leader for Baldwin Hills/Leimert Park and expressed their desire to get involved, she registered Dominic and signed them both up as Latinos for Obama volunteers.

Dominic Guerrero, Graciela Ramos and NTL Renee Ayat

This Sunday’s outing was both personal and educational in nature. Dominic had to fulfill a Political Science class assignment and chose to do so by going to the Obama campaign website and along with his mother, declared that “I’m In!” But, true to their determined personalities, that wasn’t enough for them; they wanted to do more. And so, mother and son made their way into Hollywood and began their journey with the 2012 campaign. As Renee helped Dominic fill out his voter registration form, I talked with he and Graciela, and a remarkable story of love, devotion and perseverance began to emerge.

Mom Graciela and NTL Renee look on as

Dominic Guerrero signs his voter registration form.

Born three months prematurely and diagnosed at the age of 2 with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Quadriplegia, Dominic’s young life has been full of challenges from day one and Graciela has been with him every step of the way. Despite a lack of accessible facilities and the usual red-tape that can come from dealing with some government departments, this mother-son team hasn’t been deterred from achieving their dreams. For Graciela, it’s seeing Dominic becoming as independent as possible and if that means doing whatever it takes to make that possible, then that’s what she’s done and will continue doing. Dominic, a bright and outgoing June 2011 graduate of San Gabriel High School, is currently taking general studies at ELAC while pursuing his dream of a degree in mathematics or electrical engineering. They both fully and enthusiastically support the California version of The Dream Act.

In talking with Graciela and Dominic, one can clearly sense the deep love and respect this mother and son share. When asked what they’d like to see from a second Obama term, they responded almost with one voice: “More jobs, lower college costs and more accessible public facilities and adaptive technologies for students like Dominic [me].” Dominic said that because both San Gabriel High and East Los Angeles College are older facilities, they tend to be harder for someone in a wheelchair to get around without any assistance (ELAC is being remodeled and upgraded to meet current ADA regulations). Graciela, without any hint of shame in her voice, recounted the times when Dominic was in elementary, middle and high school that she had to concoct an elaborate plan to help him with doors and even in the bathroom. Mother and son stated that there needs to be less red-tape and regulations in dealing with departments such as Children’s Services. As a single-mother who has to work and take care of her son’s needs, Graciela stressed the need for “more support systems for parents; listen to our concerns and give us the tools we need to help our kids succeed.”

Graciela and Dominic are ready to roll up their sleeves and do whatever they can to not only register voters in the Latino community, but to see that President Obama gets the opportunity to continue his work on behalf of all Americans. They’ve both signed up as “Latinos for Obama” and are working with NTL Renee Ayat to hold a voter registration event at their church in the next few weeks. Also, Dominic is going to reach out to the Associated Students Organization at ELAC about the prospects of holding one there as well.

Mother and son together; in life and politics. Graciela Ramos has the dream that every parent has for their child – a better life.  And all Dominic Guerrero wants is a chance to achieve it. Yes, they both need help in making their dream come true – who among us doesn’t? – but neither is looking for a handout or free ride. They just want to get a ticket on the train to prosperity and the American Dream.

Graciela Ramos and Dominic Guerrero are “In” and they want you to be “In” too!