Category Archives: Uncategorized

Predatory Landlords, Debt, and Repairing the World

Dr. King said that,

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ”

The question is how does such “restructuring” happen?

Following up on my earlier post regarding debt as a problem of financial self-defense, particularly in the case of apartment renters who are forced to live in a lemon or face Breach of Lease, Biblical Law may have something to say about the long term consequences of artificially pushing people into debt (talking about otherwise frugal folks who do not spend profligately).

I respectfully submit that we have had one possible tool in our hands for several thousand years, and it may need to be examined in the context of our present debt crisis -the release of debts, both short term and long term, at different times.  Below is a handout from one of several talks I gave on the relationship between debt and community building, this one from the book of Deuteronomy: DCBM20August_Reeh_Class.

AfterNote: while debts do “expire” at different times in each state and DC according to the type of debt, only two states actually “extinguish” expired debts, and only Maryland prohibits lawsuits being brought against debtors for already expired debts!

May we look to our collective good, as one Human Race, and to the potential of each and every Human Being.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest
June 26th, 12017 HE

Relating PTSD, homelessness and debt to lessons not learned in youth: do we need studies?

What we need our children to prove, for recognition of adulthood, is not their prowess in battle or the hunt, not their virility, not their adeptness at social maneuvering, but their ability to contribute meaningfully to society by teaching another person, from level 0, how to do something that is both difficult and absolutely neccessary in our society today. By requiring our pre-adults to teach some other person a needed life skill, over the course of at least a year, that pre-adult shows persistence, perseverence, discernment, and of course, the skill in question.

Thus we provide an esteem building excercise and respect building accomplishment which we then reward with full adult status, whatever the age of the pre-adult in question. This obviously assumes that the person has had opportunity to prove his or her good judgement in other ways as well, prior to seeking adulthood recognition. This might help as one step of a series of steps implemented by and through local communities which could lead to more long-term thinking in society at large, given a critical mass and good faith in the ability of humankind to rise above our instincts, and learn to cooperate.  Certain pre-requisites should apply: knowledge of emotional, financial and physical self-defense.

Tying into emotional challenges like PTSD, pre-adults must learn how to communicate non-violently, manage their own emotions and prevent emotional manipulation, which eases the recognition and treatment of difficult past traumatic disorders.   Homelessness and debt both relate to issues of financial self-defense, by which I mean the ability not only to balance a check book and write up a home budget, but also to avoid falling victim to scams of all sorts, as well as the ability to plan for long-range problems like job-loss, or illness, etc.
Hence the post I mentioned developing the idea of an Adulthood Rite of Passage:

First elaborated here: https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/04/17/pre-adulthood-adults-and-rites-of-passage/ with an annoyingly trivializing comment, and then here:

http://adulthoodchallenge.dreamwidth.org/318.html , with more extensive conversations.

Then the prerequisites which are essentially being able to defend oneself physically, financially, and emotionally:

http://meowdate.dreamwidth.org/6177.html but more cleanly written (w/ref. to V. Frankl, also) here: https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/06/27/am-i-an-adult-part-1-definition/

(A useful side effect of this idea is that it would effectively increase the number of available tutors, and also lead to every adult in our society coming away with an understanding of the challenges involved in teaching anyone anything non-trivial.)

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
May 7th, 12017 HE

Black and Jewish Americans fight together for human dignity… in Spain…

As we discussed my all time favorite show, El Ministerio del Tiempo (sorry B5!!), a friend recently told me that one of her relatives had fought in the Spanish Civil War as part of the Lincoln Brigade which turned out to have been known officially as the Lincoln Batallion.

Looking into the history of the Lincoln Batallion, I found, among others, Oliver Law, a Black man who had to leave the USA to become the first African-American in US history to command a military unit (not counting NCOs during the US Civil War like Robert A. Pinn, who picked up the standard and command after the deaths of all of his officers), during the Spanish Civil War.

In total, one Black woman and 54 Black men volunteered from the United States, where they were treated with disdain, to fight racism and oppression on the other side of the Atlantic. They hoped to change things back home in the US, and they were following the calling of their consciences, to fight racism and oppression where they could: in Europe.  For Tom Page, it was the first time he was treated with human dignity, and for Salaria Kea, the only Black woman to volunteer, it was a dashing of hopes upon returning home.  But for all, it was honorable service to humanity.

Like Delmer Berg, the last surviving American to travel to Spain, 1/3 of the volunteers were Jewish. This was in keeping with a long but little-known tradition of cooperation between the Black and Jewish communities well before the 1960s.  In that sacred tradition, led by Dr. King, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Gandhi and many others, we must continue the cooperation between individuals, families, communities and states that so desperately needs to continue, to move us all forward as a united human race.

May all of their memories be a blessing to us all, and a reminder of Human Cooperation
Zichronam LiVrachah,
Shira Destinie Jones Landrac

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
March 16th, 12017 HE

 

One use of genealogy: restorative justice

FYI for anyone possibly descended from slaves sold by Georgetown University, if this is true: check your genealogy and apply for that (alleged) scholarship!! Details: https://www.wikitree.com/…/are-any-descendants-slaves-sold-… Please see the full article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/restorative-justice-based-genealogy-creative-ways-help-landrac
-ShiraDest.
13 Feb. 12017 HE

Change the Calendar, Change the World? Really?

In light of Popular Mechanics Mag’s article on the Holocene Calendar, I’m reblogging this article to link with my more recent cultural framing article…

ShiraDest Community Cooperation Blog

In my review of a book on Cherokee Women’s Voices, I commented that the change in the calendar, from the traditional East Coast native American way of seeing time, to the Gregorian Calendar, played a large role in cementing the ‘civilization’ plan to Europeanize Native Americans.

See:  http://meowdate.dreamwidth.org/8663.html

But I wonder whether all the work those of us in the Calendar Reform movement do will really lead to the cultural change, and hence the world change, that we want to see?  In inclusive calendar should, hopefully, make people think more open-mindedly, or at least think in terms of Humanity rather than just the Christianity of 2014 AD, or Judaism’s 5773, or Islam’s 6xxx years?   But are we calendar reformers too optimistic?  How do we all come to think of ourselves as just human beings, rather than Black, White, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, American, Russian, Ukranian, etc?

In Service to Community…

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The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850

reblogged from Dancing Palm Trees…

Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit

http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/fugitive-slave-acts

fugitive-slave-1840

http://www.nationalcenter.org/FugitiveSlaveAct.html

Fugitive Slave Act1850 

The Fugitive Slave Act was part of the group of laws referred to as the “Compromise of 1850.” In this compromise, the antislavery advocates gained the admission of California as a free state, and the prohibition of slave-trading in the District of Columbia. The slavery party received concessions with regard to slaveholding in Texas and the passage of this law. Passage of this law was so hated by abolitionists, however, that its existence played a role in the end of slavery a little more than a dozen years later. This law also spurred the continued operation of the fabled Undergound Railroad, a network of over 3,000 homes and other “stations” that helped escaping slaves travel from the southern slave-holding states to the northern states and Canada.

 


 

BE IT enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of…

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New Year, New cultural Frame? (with thanks to PM for G. Tepe image…)

The previous year, 2016, has shown us that the entire world is in need of change, in particular in the ways that we see, or do not see, one another.  Cultural dominance, as  shown by the use of the Gregorian Calendar, is something that frames the world-view of all of us who grow up within Western/European culture.  To build a more inclusive and kinder world, we must learn to reframe our ways of thinking, change our perspectives.

One way of doing this is by watching and creating more shows which show women and other traditionally marginalized groups in positions of authority, such as Turkish businesswoman Güler Sabancı  on Sihirli Annem (2003).

Another way of doing this is to begin using a calendar that is inclusive of all humanity: The Holocene Calendar (El calendario Holoceno.)

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
January 20th (updated 7 February), 12017 HE

Words and their impact: important…

While watching El Ministerio del Tiempo with me, a friend commented that it was already passing the Bechdel test for sexism in films/TV shows in the first 20 minutes of the first episode, and then explained that the test also applies to racism in the media.  The importance of this is not just to hit political correctness marks, but to show the impact that words have on both our personal and our cultural development.

After watching the recent electoral campaign, I am more convinced than ever that we as a society need to learn how to think critically, to investigate fully, and above all, to put ourselves in the histories and shoes of the other (see the #SafetyPin movement…).  We need to learn to speak and think Non-Violently, and to think and act inclusively.  Not just for ourselves, but for our posterity.

If there is still a  habitable planet in another hundred years for our posterity, that is.  Even if not, who would want the coming generations to live in fear and aggression in what is left of humanity’s time on this earth?

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
November 9th, 12016 HE

Does the media shape culture, and how?

https://www.kanald.com.tr/sihirliannem/20-bolum/2549?p=2

“Her anne gibi…” (“Like every mother…”)

When I taught English in Izmir, not a day went by without my Turkish co-workers (and perhaps even my British colleague) spending several minutes harranguing me about the need to wear make-up, in their professional opinions. I refused, but I paid a price, in lower esteem and in difficulty relating to others. A scene in which little Cilek wants to dye her hair is a telling one. Her older sister comments that their mother dyes her hair, as all mothers do. But how much of this cosmetic change that we make to ourselves is because we want to, vs. because society expects us to do so? And who benefits?

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
September 2, 12016 HE

La Censura: Una Amenaza para la Salud Pública

Me quedo sorprendida de haber aprendido (a traves de mi programa favorito: El Ministerio del Tiempo) que La Gripe Española de 1918 en realidad no comenzô en España, sino era llamada Española por el hecho de que España era el primer paîs (o el unico) de haber permitido noticias de esa maladia cuando empezô.  Otros paîses censuraron la noticia debido a la Gran Guerra, y asi terminaron ayudando al virus de extenderse con el regreso de los soldados tras la guerra.   Una triste manera de aprender como la censura puede haber consequencias mortiferas en todo el mundo.

(Correcciônes a mi español recibidos con buen grado…)

a Leer, Escribir, Soñar, Enseñar!

ShiraDest
27th of August, 12016 HE