“One tries to treat them as the miracles they are, while trying to protect oneself against the disasters they’ve become. … impaled…”

Thank you, Prof. Baker, for this excellent post, which I am reposting…
Shira

The History That James Baldwin Wanted America to See For Baldwin, the past had always been bent in service of a lie. Could a true story be told? Source: The New Yorker By Eddie S. Glaude, Jr. June 19, 2020 As both James Baldwin and Martin Luther King, Jr., insisted, America is an identity that […]

via The History That James Baldwin Wanted America to See — Profesorbaker’s Worldwide Bilingual Blog

“Let me say that again. Ernest, a middle aged black man in uniform cannot work past dark in Myrtle Beach in 2020 because it’s not safe for him. He did not say this with any kind of agenda. It was a quiet, matter of fact truth.

A truth that needs to be heard.”

Thank you for listening, and for sharing this voice:

We have a serious problem in the U.S.: we don’t listen to each other. Okay, yes, we have many serious problems in the U.S. today, but many of them could be solved if we simply took time to listen … really listen … to each other and consider what the other person is saying. Instead, […]

via A White Woman Listens … Really Listens — Filosofa’s Word

Language Learning, enslaved family history, and in-kind reparations

“You will only be given tick marks to identify how many EPs were in each gender/age category. For these, also create unique records for each tick mark. Let’s say you are drawing information from the 1840 census, and there are two identified as Slaves/Male/10 & Under 24. You will create a Source Child to Enslaved Population named something like “1840 Census.” The two EPs will be added as children to 1840 Census with the given names:

Male #1 c1817-1830
Male #2 c1817-1830”

Wow: this is brilliant. Just as I’d given up hope on the argument for updating database fields on the site where I’ve been volunteering as Slavery sub-Project coordinator, I found the Beyond Kin Project (translating articles written in three languages is rewarding, especially when it provides practical help in finding enslaved persons from the Caribbean, but Last Name fields created for anglo names do not work for those of us tracing enslaved ancestors, nor for Latino families with two last names…). It helps. Really.

It is the breath of fresh air that I needed just when I’d begun to despair of arguments with the descendants of slave holders who did not want their names on the profiles of enslaved persons who had been held in bondage by their ancestors. Explaining that the vast majority of enslaved persons did not have their own last names, oddly, did not help. But apart from language barriers and social barriers, there was another hurdle: the records themselves. How do you find the name of a person listed only by description, or even as no more than just a tick mark on a ledger? Well, now, there may be a way.

The Beyond Kin Project method is a way of using documents naming or enumerating Enslaved Persons to keep the various bits of data in one place while gathering enough information to find and record the names and family groupings of former slaves and their families. This is data mostly in the possession of the descendants of slave holding families and institutions. Thus, the BKP method encourages descendants of slave holders to take the initiative, as one form of in-kind time-donation based reparations, of using the documents in their family archives to make it possible for those of us tracing our enslaved ancestors, once we get back beyond the usual 1870 Brick Wall.

The Beyond Kin project also offers all of us, whether related to slavery or not, a new hope. The hope that the children of slave owners and those of their slaves can work together, and the hope that those not involved in the history of slavery at all can also help, and that we can all heal together.

Yes, we can.

The 1619 Project: another good start

The 1619 Project is the first sort of project I have heard of from a major newspaper aiming to reframe the history of the USA in the light of our use of slave labor to build our country. One early article in the series that caught my attention ends with the quote from the little known Urban Renewal movement of the 1930s through about the 50s, by James Baldwin: “urban renewal means Negro removal.” As I created tours to give in DC, I learned of the neighborhoods devastated by the urban renewal movement, but I never knew of the ways in which the Interstate system deliberately used the highway system to build roadblocks between white and non-white neighborhoods, which were then reinforced by both RedLining and the FHA mortgage loan system. All of this, based on a ship that arrived in colonial Virginia in August of 1619.

(First seen in this blog post: https://jilldennison.com/2020/06/12/its-time-to-end-the-civil-war/ …)

“With Black people, however, it is different. They are deemed permanently unassimilable in a society cursed by racism and white supremacy.”

And we, even or sometimes/places especially those with light skin, are still deemed so…

In this interview, Chomsky provides insight on how we can best grapple with the current moment – and prepare for the sobering future.

via Noam Chomsky: Trump Has Adopted a “Viva Death!” Approach to the Presidency — Vox Populi

Weeks, Languages, Loans, Aladdin, and Elisha?

As we come up to the holiday of שָׁבוּעוֹת Shavuot, for the seven weeks, or 50 days counted down between Passover and Shavuot, we naturally think of the pleasures of staying up all night long to study languages, er, em, that is, to study Torah, in our Biblical languages of Hebrew and sometimes also Aramaic, with the occasional reference to another Semitic language like old Arabic, or Ugaritic, etc, for difficult words.

Great, so where do the loans come in, and what could the thief Aladdin and the prophet Elisha possibly have in common, apart from having spoken sister languages, you say.

Thank you! I am so glad you asked. It turns out that Aladdin and Elisha had quite a bit in common, being literary figures, young men of action, and you could even say financiers: they both gave Free Financial Assistance in their communities!

We know who and how Aladdin helped in stealing to survive, and in solidarity with other poor souls living in the streets. We also know how the prophet Elisha helped the widow by multiplying her oil and telling her to sell it, saving her and her sons from enslavement by their creditors. But how much better could it have been for both Aladdin, Elisha, and their communities , if crushing long-term debt didn’t exist in the first place? Isn’t that why we were commanded to release debts (and slaves) every seven years, and return property to original owners every 50 years?

This is where the Pro-bono legal aid, free debt and financial consumer education piece of our #PublicDomainInfrastructure is crucial. Knowing your rights and obligations is the first step toward taking responsibility for your own house, and then toward contributing to your community. Our financial and economic infrastructure must help create ways to rectify the structural biases inherent in our system, and encourage both individuals and communities to do the same. One tool for accomplishing this is debt-forgiveness, in circumstances of structural or personal inequity. Another tool is locally created currencies, such as Ithaca Hours or Time Banks. These are most effective when encouraged by local government as a supplement, or a means of complementing the existing federal currency. While local or community issued currencies are useful, they can be more useful in a society that has more fully included all of the population in the economic life of the community. For this reason, local currencies are more fully discussed in conjunction with Phase III of the #fourfreedomsmovement. These tools provide some short and long term solutions to problems that inhibit our democracy from building to full potential. Such solutions can further our ability to encourage every human being to live, contribute, and create to the fullest potential possible.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:

1. #libraries,

2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,

3. #UniversalHealthCare, and

4. good #publictransport

Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19 ShiraDest

May, 12020 HE

Astérix: Learn a language to bring freedom to others?

In Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra, the Druid Panoramix, of that unconquerable village shared with Astérix the Gaul, came away with a scroll from the Library of Alexandria. Could it have contained what we see in the image above? Unlike Queen Cleopatra, we do not have to speak ten languages, but studying at least two or three can help widening one’s perspective. Or simply communicating with fellow workers.

FDR’s Four Freedoms, particularly freedom from fear, are echoed in this film. From fear of being fed to Sacred Crocodiles to fear of losing face, languages and learning play a key role in this film, as in our real world today. Languages and libraries can also play a key role in moving us from our current world situation to one in which every human being is free from fear. Here is one proposal for how I hope we could move on, from #publicdomaininfrastructure as phase I, to phase IV’s #freeRoomAndRice for every person.

Phase I, already coming into motion, involves both humanizing all people in the eyes of one another, and building up existing infrastructure that contribute most directly to our long-term democratic institutions. The arts and media have been effective, historically, in sculpting ways of seeing the world, and in bearing witness to events. This is important for building empathy. Films like this one, books like the Harry Potter series, and TV series like Babylon 5 all help. But our institutions also need support, in order to support us over the long haul.

Growing up without a car showed me the importance of having transportation. Living in Europe showed me how efficient a railway system can be. Events over the past 3.5 years have shown us all the importance of both public education and also of adult education in the local community, as well as ongoing availability of free legal and financial advice. These sets of needs all come together in the institution of the Public Library system, as does one other. The public health system relies heavily on the assumption that both basic health education and current information are accessible to the entire population. Thus, all four parts of our infrastructure: transport, libraries and early education, adult continuing education (especially financial and legal), and access to health care, impact all of us at all income levels. So, the hashtag #publicdomaininfrastructure was created to pull together those specific issues as a way to focus on a reduced set of areas that could have a higher impact on the lives of many people. In doing so, energy and time are freed up to allow more constructive solution sets to be created to all of our problems. Once transportation and knowledge are established in support of general health, ways of funding our remaining critical policy needs can be found, starting with reducing the needless and crushing collections burden many face for medical and student debt. Once reduced, these burdens then allow time and energy for more apprenticeships, tutoring, and ways of educating ourselves that allow for far more cooperation and community building.

Phase II can then begin to lay the groundwork for new ways of seeing ourselves and our responsibilities toward one another. More to come on Phase II soon…

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:

1. #libraries,

2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,

3. #UniversalHealthCare, and

4. good #publictransport

Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !

#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19 ShiraDest

May, 12020 HE

Language learning, local education, and lots of ideas

Spanish has always been my favorite language, especially after moving to the bilingual South West. Technically, I was hired for my experience in Unix which led to my MAT in mathematics, but on the ground, my love of learning languages proved to be more important in the classroom. As an adult education instructor at the Continuing Education division of the San Diego Community College District, my fluency proved helpful for many of my students, and also, of course, the ESL classes help our students from many nations contribute in the USA.

Every local educational institution has room for improvement, particularly when seen from both faculty and student perspectives. I posed some questions recently about ideas for implementing low-cost projects that would have been helpful to our students when I taught in North campus involving

1.) a small library or study area,
2.) workshops by CA Promise Program graduates, 
3.) an on-site nurse paid for by medi-Cal, and
4.) access to public transportation:

1.) Many of my students told me they didn’t have a quiet place to study.  While I know that space is in very short supply on the North campus, I wonder if a small area, possibly in the multipurpose room when it’s not being used, could be set aside with cubicles or movable small desks and a small movable lending library like the tiny libraries?

  2.)   I wonder, on the assumption of course that having graduated and started a new career as a professional with a bachelor’s degree anyone can be found who will have time, if any students having graduated with a bachelor’s degree after getting their first two years of community college paid for through the California promise program or with the San Diego promise program, could be persuaded to come back either as tutors, mentors, or even just to give workshops in the areas in which they got their educations?  Particularly accounting majors or paralegal/pre-law majors who could give small workshops on dealing with debt in California including, California statutes of limitations, or financial planning workshops or how to do your own taxes if you only need to do the 1040EZ, etc?  One-on-one tutoring, and also mentoring,  that supportive help, especially for our high school equivalency students, could be both useful and inspiring.  Seeing successfully graduated professionals with a bachelor’s degree who came through the community college system and are willing to spend individual time with them, even if only a couple of hours a week, could make a difference.  Could interns or SCORE volunteers put a program like this together?  Do we track or stay in touch with students who finish the California or San Diego promise program once they finish their bachelor’s degrees?

3.) Many of my students worked two jobs or for other reasons never had time to see a doctor even when they were ill. I wonder if it is possible to pay, through the Medi-Cal system, for a nurse to be on-site, perhaps based out of the office  of each campus, a couple of days/evenings a week?

4.)  One of the biggest problem areas that I saw for my car-free students was that neither the Continuing Education division, nor the CE faculty Union was able to get the transit authority to enforce acceptance of CE student IDs for the monthly bus and rail pass discount.  In planning for post-#Covid-19 classes, will we have any resources to address public transportation discount and access issues?

I imagine that some of these ideas may be a little overwhelming, because I understand that time and resources are extremely limited, but once in a while, as Dr. Rivera-Lacey noted: we do have to dream.

Please share your ideas for improving local education, or for supporting any other parts of our critical Public Domain Social Infrastructure!

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness, & #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

May, 12020 HE

Learn a language, lose yourself in someone’s love, like little Çilek

A lack of affection in our lives can be both an emotional and physical health risk, especially for people who come from traumatic families of origin. But, until that adoptive family or “intentional family” comes along, maybe even a bit of imaginary parental love can help. Watching shows that show love from characters who become family, like the love of Betüş for little orphan Çilek when they adopt her, can help.

The love and safe affection of close friends can also help heal the wounds left by childhood abuse. Family can be created. You don’t even have to be a Fairy to navigate the landmines: real love is enough (although public transportation also helps for navigating the roadways!).

If you know someone without family, please try to show some love and affection: it could make a big difference.

For all of us.

Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our good #PublicDomainInfrastructure:
1. #libraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare , and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write, Ranked Choice Voting and Housing for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE