Tag Archives: cooperation

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.

Beat the odds by learning a language? These ancient Literate Ladies did…

Ask Tamar, Ruth, and Scheherazade.
רֶגַע… Rega… Wait, you say:
Scheherazade is not in the Bible, she is from the Thousand and One Nights, originally in Arabic, or maybe partly in Persian, but certainly not in Hebrew;
This, you remember!

Ok, point taken, her book was not in Hebrew, but Arabic is a sister language.   More on this shortly…

Tamar was a Canaanite woman, and so had to learn Hebrew, or Judah’s dialect of Hebrew at the very least.
Ruth, a native of Moab, had to learn the Hebrew of the time of Naomi.
Scheherazade, at the palace, had to learn the hardest languages of all: the languages of heartbreak, of story, and of love.

So, you see, Scheherazade’s story is the same as that of her Biblical sisters: she was a clever woman faced with a survival situation in a man’s world. And she, like her sisters, had to learn a language in order to survive.

Each lady had to live by her wits in difficult times, and to use the tools available to her at that time. Nowadays, they would surely go together to the Public Library to learn to use the power of modern tools like computers and smartphones, especially using Unix to navigate this new world. And as they succeeded then, so would succeed again, using adaptability, daring, and hope.

Hope for us all.

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

image: By Wikimedia – Wikimedia commons, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=55282489

How a missed trash can led to Formation Tortue, but learning languages can help treating childhood trauma

Why did that paper ball flying over my head make me dive for the floor?

Shortly after I turned 51 years of age, a young coworker launched a simple balled up bit of paper at the trash can in front of me. It missed. What I saw was not a mere bit of paper becoming litter, however. Out of the corner of my eye, something came flying at me from behind. I reacted instinctively: by ducking. Since this was not the normally appropriate behavior for a 51 year old woman in an office environment, you can well imagine my embarrassment. My coworker apologized profusely: the poor thing had simply missed a trash can with a tiny bit of paper. What he saw was a reaction out of an earthquake drill. I also apologized profusely, but the damage was already done. For the rest of the day, coworkers eyed me suspiciously and slowly walked over to place their trash in the bin. The awkwardness was palpable, and I was grateful when some of my Mexican coworkers began talking and joking in Spanish, drawing attention away from the incident.

As I sat on my afternoon break with a cup of hot water, I suddenly recalled a time I haven’t thought of in over 40 years. Another object was flying over my head from behind me, but it was not a simple bit of paper.
It was a belt buckle.
Pandemonium had broken loose as an old man bellowed his wrath, and swung his belt. I was the only person in the room not running away. For some reason, I could see the old man, the belt, and the other kids in the room. All looked either furious or frightened. But it all seemed to be happening somewhere else, with me simply frozen in place. The sounds were there, but muted as if in an old fashioned film.

It suddenly hit me that this event was from a time that I had worked very hard to forget. I’d been 9 years old, in the house overnight of a babysitter who was rather negligent. I told my mother, yet she did nothing. So, I forgot. But I never knew why objects flying over my head made me panic; until today.

Spanish, in particular Mexican Spanish, has always been my favorite language to switch into when I need to move my thoughts out of English. As a child, I’d always wished that I had magical powers to allow me to fight, or that I had a fairy sister to defend me, but the reality was that I was thrown back upon my own resources, so hiding or being ready to run usually seemed to be my best option. Hiding from my own thoughts was fairly easily accomplished, even in my dreams at times, by singing or thinking in Spanish.

It turned out that I could not hide from myself indefinitely. Things we’d rather not remember have a way of springing up, in the end. As I began to get therapy for events from my childhood it turned out that hiding and forgetting was not an effective way of dealing with those events. I had to relive them, again. This was probably more frustrating for my therapists than it even was for me, as I was told again and again that pushing away the memories would only make my #C-PTSD worse. But the focus on just being functional made it easy to ignore, once I was back in a job where I could pour my time and attention into something complex. (This 13-26 week cap that Medicaid puts on the number of sessions is yet another reason that we need full #UniversalHealthCare for everyone. Complex cases of many illnesses require long-term therapy that, when covered, will make for a healthier work force and population, not just the functional-to-panic-back-to-functionality roller coaster that kills so much time and so many people, in the end…)

The final straw arrived when the regional economy took a dive, sending myself and the vast majority of people I knew out of work. Some went to California, and I went overseas for work. In a new country and environment, stress flared up, and so did my panic anxiety. But this time I had to talk to a therapist in a language I was only just beginning to learn. As it turned out, I was finally able to access a good bit of the emotional content, while remaining present and able to stem the tide of anxiety during each session. As we began to unpack more of the childhood memories I’d been avoiding, being forced to express myself in a language I was still learning appeared to keep me emotionally distanced enough to prevent being pulled completely into the pain of the original event. When I came back to the USA, I found in California that having a Mexican therapist allowed us to switch from my native English, which was required to access the full emotion of the memory, into Spanish. So when she needed to lower the intensity level of the session, but keep me in the memory, she would switch into Spanish, distancing me just enough from the experience to process it. Who would have thought that #learning a #language could help in this case? But, it did.

So, what would Astérix do? He’d ask the Druid Panoramix, who would say: Il faut #ArreterdeFumer tout de suite !!

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 COVID-19
ShiraDest

April, 12020 HE

Black Women Writers at Work: Review of an older but very persistently worthwhile book

I am so glad I happened to see this book Black Women Writers at WorkBlack Women Writers at Work by Claudia Tate
at the public library.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was moved with both recognition, and with fear, at Audre Lorde’s comment that “it’s scary because we’ve been through that before. It was called the fifties.” Then I was moved with that stirring to act, upon reading in print what I have known and been told in different words since Dunbar (High School): “My responsibility is to speak the truth… with as much precision and beauty as possible. … We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.”
And we must not remain silent while the blood of our sisters/brothers/neighbors/communities/fellow human beings is shed.

Sherley Anne Williams reiterates this responsibility of a writer to write as well as one can and to “say as much of the truth as I can see at any given time.”

Although this book is dated, and does not include my favorite author (Octavia Butler), I am so glad that I read this book in spite of my initial misgivings. From Bambara’s hope that “We care too much … to negotiate a bogus peace,” to DeVeaux’s “responsibility to see,” I find my own compulsion to write validated by the responsibility of a writer to render individual expression into a universal expression, and to give voice to the voiceless/unseen/erased. To show the unspoken and to “empathize with the general human condition.”

Society needs all perspectives because without those perspectives, we are missing vast parts of what our society actually looks like, which leads to deep problems. Writing, as was pointed out, must transcend individual experience, but it also comes from and is filtered through individual experience, so we desperately, as leaders from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to Octavia Butler have pointed out, need every point of view.

Last note (not in my GR review): I think that this book has helped me to see that my intended audience has two possibly conflicting sections –
I. those who have endured traumas in early childhood or also in adulthood, particularly due to structural racism, and
II: those who can change that situation.

View all my reviews

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
ShiraDest

April, 12019 HE

Acre per, Adulthood, Languages: was Gatekeepers, Quipus and land for all

Given the crying need for global cooperation we see sorely lacking during this current pandemic, I am adding #languagelearn to my list of tags related to my proposal for a new rite of passage and set of prerequisites for Adulthood. To manage even an acre of one’s own land, and to manage the responsibilities and rights of citizenship as an Adult in our modern worldwide society, each person needs to be able to learn independently, and to teach some needed life skill to another person, in short: to #cooperate.

Winning glory on today’s battlefield: The Modern Mind

Aug. 30th, 2014 02:56 pm
WilliamJamesMEOWdate: (see link to his MEOW below…)

Renault’s excellent book The Persian Boy shows the difficulty of learning, and of teaching. Both would probably be easier if our society understood what it takes to teach a person a useful and necessary skill from start to finish. Hence my proposal for a modern universal
Adult Rite of Passage. What we need our children to prove, upon 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 member of the community, from level 0, how to do something that is both difficult and absolutely neccessary in our society today. By requiring our children to teach some other person, child or adult, a needed life skill, over the course of about a year, this pre-adult shows persistence, perseverence, discernment, and of course, the key skill in question. A useful side effect of this is also that it would effectively increase (dramatically) 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. Thus we provide an esteem building excercise and respect building accomplishment all in one go. We then reward that accomplishment with full adult status, whatever the age of the pre-adult in question. This obviously assumes that the pre-adult has had opportunity to prove his or her good judgement in other ways as well, prior to seeking said 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 human kind to rise above our instincts, and learn to cooperate. In other words (from Lenier in Bablylon 5): to be better than we are.

Community Cooperation Shira,
Gregorian Date: Saturday, August 30, 2014
MEOW Date : Wednesday, August 29, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)
William James: The Moral Equivalent of War

(ShiraD.livejournal.com Subject was: “Generating more respect for teachers requires cultural change” … )

https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/08/30/winning-glory-on-todays-battlefield-the-modern-mind/
Tags:

adultriteofpassage, b5, babylon5, continuous shared learning, cooperation, saraho

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Do gatekeepers enslave human potential?
Aug. 28th, 2014 03:28 pm
meowdate: (Default)
In Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839 Frances Ann Kemble points to the reactions of slave owners and overseers in the capacity of gatekeepers, preventing the voices of slaves from being heard.

More generally and in the same vein, Voices of Dissent’s C. Heifetz and Sarah Ariste (magazine article from abt. 2006 now unfindable…), ask in “Voices Without Authority” whether our gatekeepers are preventing us from living up to our values as a society.

I further that question:
Are our gatekeepers, and particularly, those who choose the gatekeepers, preventing humanity from reaching its full potential? For, if we fail to live up to the values we profess as a society, such as freedom for all, or equality before the law, then are we not also limiting the potential contributions of some, and thus failing to achieve all that we could, as a whole?

I realize the need, in certain situations, for gatekeepers. However, when the gatekeepers act on the basis of priviledge or perception, rather than on the actual needs of the given situation, they can be counter-productive. They can artificially prevent access, resulting in uneven or misleading outcomes, or in simple outright injustice. This reduces our effectiveness as a society in providing each person the opportunity to contribute fully to the creativity and productivity of the human race, and that, is a shame for all of us.

Gregorian Date: Thursday, August 28, 2014
MEOW Date : Monday, August 27, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)

https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/08/28/do-gatekeepers-enslave-human-potential/
Tags:

economic democracy, gatekeepers

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Gatekeepers and Quipu (Khipu) Democracy; Los guardias y la Democracia del os quipus
Aug. 28th, 2014 03:25 pm
meowdate: (Default)
In Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, Tobin and Dobard point to what is essentially a Quipu made of fabric. The question is whether the gatekeepers of today will allow our modern quipus, ‘memoriathon’ quilts and oral histories to make a difference.

Quipu for Peru’s dead; Un Quipu por los muertos de Peru

A quipu made from stories collected and added as a knot for each story representing a victim in the ‘memoriathon’ to prevent the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission from August 2003.

from PeacebyPeace magazine, p. 16-17 published by Fr

Click to access F0R_PbyP_jan2007.pdf

As an aside, which was posted back in 2007 on LiveJournal, I wonder (given that we know trade routes existed before the Spanish Conquest) if the art of making or interpreting the quipu was known up in north america, outside of the Incan

empire?

No pude encontrar traduccion de este articulo, pero se describe mas sobre el Khipu aqui:

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu

Me pregunto si se puede saber (ya que sabemos que habia rutas de intercambio entre el sur y el norte de America antes del conquista de los espanyoles) si el arte del quipu fue conocido al norte del emperio Inca?

Paz
“Cancion para Pablo Neruda” – Atahualpa Yupanqi.

Shira Destinie Jones Landrac

Gregorian Date: Thursday, August 28, 2014
MEOW Date : Monday, August 27, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era
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quipu

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Harry Quebert: friend, liar, or both?
Aug. 27th, 2014 03:32 pm
meowdate: (Default)
Love and friendship are entwined with community.

In Joel Dicker’s book , Harry makes one think about all three:

Common committment to the idea of community: open communication, positive action, pro-active,consensus-oriented. That is the type of community I have hoped to help build.

I used to believe that, despite my own personal feelings about a given person, the fact that that person is a member of my community entitles that person to something from me: my acceptance, my patience, my invitation to a community event; some acknowlegement that we are in the same boat, and that like him or not, as long as he accepts my personal boundaries, I cannot exclude him simply on the basis of arbitrary personal dislike or taste.

Now, I no longer know.

In Service to Community,
Shira

Gregorian Date: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
MEOW Date : Sunday, August 26, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)

https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/08/27/harry-quebert-friend-liar-or-both/

updated during self-isolation:
Let’s #EndPoverty , #EndHomelessness ,& #EndMoneyBail starting by improving these four parts of our #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
ShiraDest

March, 12020 HE

Resisting Unjust Laws Then and Now, Stayed on the Call of Freedom and Cooperation

(Image: ValuableGangOfYoungNegroes1840.jpeg from wikimedia commons…)

Many laws in our history have been resisted as unjust, from the Enclosure of the Commons, to the Cherokee Removal which was litigated successfully by the Cherokee nation, to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, to the recent Muslim ban.

In the 17th century, from whence this popular folk song comes, litigation was not an option for most people, so they resisted in rhyme:

They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
Yet let the greater villain loose
That steals the common from the goose

And then as now, community cooperation on a very wide scale was key to winning the freedoms promised in our foundational documents like the Magna Carta, the Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  So we continue to walk, rhyme, and support court and non-violent community-based actions to cooperate in making this a safer and kinder world for all of us, and to non-cooperate with injustice.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 22nd, 12017 HE

How Chinese Kung-Fu and Neighborliness Really Do Help Build Community

I’ve been thinking all morning about Kung Fu and Knowaste: two tools which are locally produced and can help build community.

Ski” is one of the founders of Knowaste, and a neighbor who helped me change a stuck lock on my Landlady’s front door: by taking the door off of the hinges.  This community cooperation task gave me the opportunity to practice my out-of-use spinning back-kick on the door’s stubborn hinges while we worked together to dismount the door.

After initially refusing any sort of payment, Ski finally gave in to my insistence on paying him something, accepting payment in a local currency, as we’d spent a solid 5 hours or more working on the door.  What local currency, you ask?  In this case, it was a gift card from a local cooperative, which is now being made to circulate as a local medium of exchange.  I described the benefits of this and other local currencies in my talk on Gandhi’s homespun and salt, last year at UNM.  That talk, like working with Ski the other day, showed how locally issued currencies can build both trust, and sustainable local economies.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

September 24th, 12017 HE

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!              Lawmakers in every country need to act to prevent this sort of financial and emotional bullying (in the case of landlords, offering apartments which do not suit, and then reneging on promises to fix issues, while in other cases, offering credit knowing that those who accept are at a relative disadvantage).
In the USA, each state regulates how long one can be sued for a debt, but even then, if the debtor does not know to defend, or is unable for some reason to go to court even if h/she knows, oftentimes creditors sue illegally and win. Now this cannot happen in MD, but of course debtors are still free to harrass up to and beyond the Statute of Limitation (‘expiration’) of the debt.

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

my resume: JonesPolicyResumePublic
June 26th, 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

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !
ShiraDest
March 16th, 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: toward The Four Freedoms for All Human Beings

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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