Higher-Ed Thanksgiving Story

I was too busy to post on my college blog yesterday because I was struggling with a semi-broken oven as I tried to cook a 22-pound turkey, a pumpkin praline pie (my husband’s favorite), blueberry pie (my son’s favorite) and lots more with low heat. An hour after I put the turkey in the oven it was still pinkish. Oh well, the late dinner tasted great.

As I am still in vacation mode up here in the San Francisco Bay area with family, I wanted to share a higher-ed Thanksgiving story that I saw in The Washington Post. The story is about Mario Rocha, who spent 10 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of the murder of a teenager in a gang-riddled part of Los Angeles.  Mario’s talent for writing emerged in prison and it caught the eye of a nun, who ended up finding a prominent law firm to look into his case. His plight was the subject of a documentary called Mario’s Story.

Here is the higher-ed part, Mario is now a 30-year-old freshman at George Washington University.  It’s a great story to read during this Thanksgiving holiday.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also write a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.com.

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  1. Thanksgiving throwback!

    Coincidentally stumbled across this article today, Ms. O’Shaughnessy. Was humbled by your gracious words, and remembered the moment when the attached Washington Post article was printed. A well-written profile by Daniel De Vise, who incorporated the piece into a series of exposes on higher education across the United States. Mine was among several others that might interest your readers.

    Molly Hennessey-Fisk, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, recently ran a story about my short-lived victory against the State of California for monetary compensation, of which I became only the 18th formerly wrongly convicted person to succeed in this pursuit via California’s Penal Code 4900 Claim of False Imprisonment. There are several factors behind the “short-lived” aspect of this latest chapter in my ongoing story of struggle both as a formerly imprisoned young man and as a free walking target for various law enforcement agencies throughout Los Angeles County, where I returned to live post-GWU in my current efforts to launch the Sixth Sun Press as an independent publication and literacy advocacy organization for the community.

    Please feel free to contact me for an update on my battle for economic justice, not to mention a host of projects-in-progress aimed at pushing forward the cause for humanity as a self-identified “ambassador” for Global Justice. In a word, global justice serves a continuum to the growing international campaign for human rights originated by way of his final speeches, titled “The Ballot or the Bullet,” by none other than the Honorable Malcolm X upon defecting from the Nation of Islam and returning to the United States after his famous religious pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca prior to his assassination. Let’s hope my fate will not match that of Malcolm X’s more than 50 years ago as a result of the scandal that the US corporate media exploited perhaps by orders of high level authority who by failing to save his life essentially condoned his tragic death at the hands of three black triggermen who were also affiliated with the black Muslim movement that Mr. X helped to galvanize as a former member of the NOI.

    During my studies at GW, I focused on learning more about various leadership models in any context through the Organizational Science program offered to both graduate students and undergrads. In this, Malcolm X teaches us that oftentimes when we are speaking on behalf of organizations, our organizational mentality can seriously hinder our individual abilities to speak boldly and honestly in open forums regarding issues that are critical of our own organizational practices, such as that of the behavior of the dishonorable black Muslims who would ultimately conspire to end the life of one extraordinary leader who had yet to reach his full potential as an independent voice for human rights when he was murdered. This can be said about Dr. Martin Luther King and many others whose precious lives were robbed from us by the same criminal organizations that run the show today in almost every part of the world. For this reason, we as a People must, first and foremost, take a stand as individuals in solidarity with human beings anywhere and everywhere who shall continue to rise to the momentous occasion before us today and tomorrow to uphold Global Justice as an everyday personal struggle waged through our collective commitment and, most of all, individual courage to lead the fight wherever it may lead.

    In closing, being that today is Thanksgiving, let us recall the words of Malcolm X when he said, “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us.”

    Long live the revolutionary struggle for human rights and global justice!