Tag Archives: justice

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

Review of a book worth buying: Separate and Unequal

Separate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American LiberalismSeparate and Unequal: The Kerner Commission and the Unraveling of American Liberalism by Steven M. Gillon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How sad that the contents and conclusions of this report are still relevant, and still ignored, today, 50 years after it was released in response to the riots in Newark and Detroit of the “long hot” summer of 1967. I found this book after seeing Dr. King’s response to the question, during the Memphis garbage workers’ strike, of what it would take to prevent or call off his Poor People’s March on Washington: the answer was to implement the recommendations in this report.

The report was commissioned to find out what caused the rioting, not how to prevent further riots. The clearest distinctions between those who actively participated in the rioting and their neighbors who did not, at least at the start of each riot, was the trigger of having witnessed or experienced police brutality. But what primed that trigger for action was the underlying anger, poverty, constant discrimination, and despair to which the Black community in particular was subjected over a very long period of time.

The report called for various measures to be taken which would have improved the lives not only of members of the Black community, but also everyone else in the nation. Measures like the elimination of sub-standard housing in inner-cities, building new schools, health centers, and community facilities, and introducing a guaranteed minimum income would help all citizens, not only those bereft of resources and hope when they were freed with only the clothing on their backs, unable to melt into White American society. From the disrespect by police, to the lack of garbage collection in inner-city neighborhoods, Black Americans were fed up with White America’s deliberate disregard for “the realities of life for many poor blacks” in the United States. This anger, combined with the criminalization of poverty (which was just beginning to kick off the era of Mass Incarceration), the lack of Black faces in [the media, police, highly paid professions and other areas of potential] power, led to a sense of hopelessness and fear that non-violent resistance would never break down a system which was inherently designed to break down the Black community. Ideas like the War on Drugs, brought back by Reagan after the Carter years, and Law and Order, parroted by both right and left, muddied the discourse around solving the problems that led to the riots, instead creating a cloud of convenient reasons to blame inner-city Black communities for their problems while ignoring the structural issues that had created and perpetuated the problems since the slavery era.

The conclusion drawn by the report, above all, was that the entire nation needed education and “a richer portrait of life in urban areas” and to hire many many more Black police officers.

I think that many of the issues of perspective mentioned in the book by the author in his analysis of the report and its time are now beginning to be looked at again, as the discussion around White Privilege becomes louder and more mainstream. That discussion is a necessary but insufficient part of the solution to our current problems, which go back to pre-existing problems pointed out by the report. Please read this book on the Commission report (and also see Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin), and then, write your reps!

Pages I found especially relevant included:

P. 6: 1966 result of creation of ghettos by the 1930s-50s urban renewal aka Negro Removal all across the USA
** P. 12: What a contrast: only 1/100 white people thought that blacks were poorly treated in the USA…
***Ribicoff P. 37: recos…
P. 100: “in the ghetto” last garbage collection (if at all), police disrespectful, school & housing dilapidated
P. 228 (and the answer to that boot-straps baloney:) discrimination and segregation prevented many blacks from following the same patterns which had been followed by immigrant groups, and limited blacks to all but the lowest … jobs

Let’s #EndPoverty & #EndMoneyBail 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 for ALL!!!!, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

March, 12019 HE

View all my reviews

I am not my government

When I lived in Turkey, in 2005, the US was pushing for Turkey to acknowledge a certain historical event an a way that Turks saw as biased against them.  I had been living in Izmir long enough to speak passable Turkish, and was regularly invited to my neighbors apartments to eat breakfasts, dinners, have coffee, and pass time with many of them.  One day, one of these neighbors came running up to me as I walked home from work, visibly upset, and began shouting at me in Turkish:  about my government trying to force her government to admit to a crime that had not been a crime.  She went on, quite emotionally and a bit frighteningly to me, as another neighbor came to stand by me, insisting that Turkey was being blamed, set up, or otherwise abused, and apparently blaming me for all of this.   Yet, I had left my own country, as I tried to explain to her, for the very same reasons she was angry with my government:  there was injustice being committed by my government, and I was powerless, as an ordinary citizen, to change that.  More of my neighbors arrived, giving her similar explanations, and comforting both of us as we all walked into our building.  I was stunned that I could be the target of such misplaced anger, apparently simply because I was the only US citizen most of them knew who actually spoke Turkish and lived in a lower middle class Turkish neighborhood, rather than in an expensive expat enclave.

Later, a similar thing happened.    Different country, same idea.

When I lived in England, in either 2006 or 2007 I believe, one day at a gathering, someone walked up to me and introduced herself.  Before I could finish responding with “Hi, my name is,”  she shouted “You’re an American!” turned on her heel, and stormed away, leaving me stunned and saddened.  I had  left my country of origin because of allegations of being “unpatriotic,” “un-American,” and siding with socialists even on the subject of illegal torture always being, well, illegal.  Yet here I was being broadsided by a similar blind hatred based on my national origin, and based on the assumption that I must supposedly agree with the policies of the government of the country in which I was born.

Just recently, online, a person from Bulgaria commented, when I pointed out that she’d misread, or not read, the details and context of a comment I’d written which she was criticizing, ended the exchange by cursing me as a person from “that Trump country America,” etc, apparently conflating my critique of her (lack of) reading, with the fact that I live in the United States, and thus assuming that I must be anti-American.   Yet, nothing could be further from the truth, at least regarding my association with Trump’s policies or presence in government.   Not only did I vote against him, but I spent a great deal of time working to persuade others to do likewise, and to mitigate the results of policies, particularly anti-immigrant policies, implemented by his administration.  (I am, after all, also a volunteer for an organisation that visits detained asylum-seekers…)

Yet, once again, I’ve been relegated to the status of an American who must therefore agree with my current government’s policies, however inaccurate this assumption may actually be.

As with the situation in England and in Turkey, no one  consulted me for my actual opinion on the matter,  but I was automatically the target of anger as a representative of my country of origin, based on a mistaken idea that I must agree with or represent that government.  The irony is that in fact I had left the country, or risked reaching out to someone in another country, precisely because I disagreed and disagree with and refused to fund, via my presence in the country and hence economic support via rent, food expenses, income tax, etc.  My reasons for living in a state that opposes the policies of this administration reflect the same reasons I left in 2004:  it is my duty as a citizen of a republic to uphold the ideals of the republic, even when difficult.  Now, perhaps more than at any other time in history, I feel it my duty to lend my little weight to efforts to change the course of this, my native country, toward the ideals voiced in the Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  But no one ever asked me about that.

 

So why do we human beings tend to assume that someone from a particular country must represent or even agree with the person or policies in power at the time?    Why are all people taken to represent the worst in where they come from?  Should we all not take the time to inquire of each person where he or she stands before casting the accusation of collaboration with injustice?

My life mission… to be edited…

the aim: Fully Inclusive Equality.

The Goals (allowing each person to contribute fully):

1. Each person, as a child, must learn to swim (or at least float).
2. Each child must learn emotional/psychological self-defense and physical self-defense to the greatest extent possible, in a Gandhian context.
(1 and 2 are part of the pre-Adulthood criteria: http://meowdate.dreamwidth.org/6177.html …)

3. Each child, at birth, receives half a hectare of land, non-alienable. He or she may rent, lend or swap the land, but always remains the owner. Where ever the location, it should have a well and be arable.
4. Fresh water for ever person (free!)
5. Each family should have a book in the local public library, containing the autobiography of every adult in the family (which means that each person needs free time and the means to write his or her autobiography).

(the same Goals in Spanish:)
—-
Un programa de Igualdad y Salud para Todos

Las Metas (para que todos pueden contribuir lo mejor):

1. Cada quien, de niño, debe aprender nadar
2. Que cada quien de niño aprende defenderse
3. Que cada bebe, al nacer, recibe .5 hectarios de terreno, que nunca se puede desprender. Se lo puede alquilar o prestar, pero siempre sigue esta persona como dueño o dueña del terreno. Que sea donde sea, será con un poso de agua y capaz de agricolar.
4. Agua potable para cada persona
5. Que cada familia tenga un libro en la biblioteca publica, con resumen del autobiografía de cada persona de la familia (eso quiere decir que cada quien tenga el tiempo libre y los recursos para escribir su autobiografia)

Peace,

Gregorian Date: Tuesday, 9 September 2014
MEOW Date : Saturday, 9 September, 12014 H.E. (Holocene Era, aka Human Era)

https://network23.org/communitycoop/2014/09/09/the-meow-vision-a-bit-like-herland-but-more-equal/

Ir en Metro, o en Deuda? Take the Metro, or Take the Debt?

Click here for English…

“ -Fuera lo espera un chófer con un coche oficial.

-Gracias.
Prefiero ir en metro. ”

Como el subsecretario Salvador Martí del Ministerio del Tiempo, ojala que habîan màs funcionarios que nos darîan el buen ejemplo de usar los transportes publicos. A menudo, la falta de transporte publico llega hasta faltar las citas medicas y legales, con consequencia de perder los procesos judiciales que no han de perder, si la persona endeudada hubiera podido llegar a la corte para defender sus derechos.

A corto plazo, otros estados de los EEUU podrîan seguir el ejemplo del estado de Maryland, que ha prohibido las acciónes civiles por parte de colectores de deudas ya pasado la fecha limite segûn el tipo de deuda. Mientras tanto, a largo plazo, reconstruimos nuestra estructura economica para crear la igualdad en vez de crear la pobreza. Los dos puntos de vista, corto y largo plazo, nos urge.

“ -An official car and choffeur are waiting for you outside
-Thank you.
I prefer to take the Metro.”

Would that more of our public officials, like subsecretary Salvador Marti of The Ministry of Time, set the example of using public transportation. Lack of transportation often leads to default judgement on an expired debt which could have been avoided, had the debtor been able to defend in court.

Over the short-term, states could follow the example of Maryland, and prohibit lawsuits on all expired debts, while also rebuilding our economic structures to create equity rather than poverty, over the long-term. Both short-term and long-term approaches are needed, urgently.

Let’s start to #EndPoverty by improving these four parts of our Public Domain Social Infrastructure, the #PublicDomainInfrastructure 4: (1. #libraries, 2. #ProBono legal aid and Education, 3. #UniversalHealthCare , and 4. good #publictransport )
Read, Write, Dream, Walk !

Shira

May 7th, 12018 HE

Connâitre ses Droits et éviter les Proces… Free Legal Education and Pre-Trial Diversion…

Click here for English…

“ -C’est quoi ça?
-Votre côte sur le marché de l’art: 11.000 euros”

Mais si Driss n’avait-t-il pas d’argent ? Et s’ils lui avaient arrêtaient dans la misère ? Aux États-Unis il y à une moyen d’éviter les procès mais qui coute cher, selon l’état dans on aura le procès. C’est mon espoir qu’on peut avoir des changements de cette politique, avec l’aide des citoyens Américains, et aussi ce de nos amis.

“ -What’s this?
-That’s what you’re worth on the art market: 11,000 Euros.”

But what about before Driss had that money? What if he’d been arrested utterly poor?

In many states, programs exist to help first time offenders avoid trial and charges. But, Pre-trial Diversion or Intervention programs, as they are known, are often unfair to the poor, as in MD and many other states: perpetrating the cruelty of charging money that some people simply do not have in order to avoid jail. My emphatic immediate-term policy recommendation is that all States emulate “Cook County … in Chicago, where defendants are not charged a fee ” for Pre-Trial service programs. And my long-term policy recommendation is that we strengthen our freely available legal services and Pro-Bono Legal Aide availability drastically, perhaps requiring ALL lawyers and law firms to offer 20% of their time or services free to lower income people, and that states and counties offer free continuing education in financial and consumer education, including the all too rarely taught rights in each state regarding debt, housing, health care and also criminal law. Both short-term and long-term approaches are needed, immediately.

Toward “…justice for all.”

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

11 April, 12018 HE

Whose Justice? Kimin Adalet?

Click here for English…

“-Sultan Süleyman’ın Adalet ”

Kanûnî Sultan Süleyman’ın Adaleti budır…

Adaleti fikirlerimizi 500 yıl Sultan Süleyman’dan sonra değiştirdiler. Çok sevdiği şov Muhteşem Yüzyıl 600 Mısır’daki aileleri Mısır’ya dömeyi izin verdiğini ve kötü Pashahının başı kestirdi gösterdi. Bizim göremizi böyle bir adalet çok sert ama şu Sultan kütüphaneleri hamamlar ve çok altyapı halklar için yaptıldı. Dr. Maulana Karenga, şimdiki düşüncüler gibi adalet insanlık gibi derler yani hem aynı saygı her kez için hem aynı şeref için. Diğerleri, John Rawls gibi, adaleti kontrolu için derler, her kez herhangi yerleri koyarlar. Tüm üçüncü bir şey derler ki her kes ileri geçmesi lazım. O yüzdan adalet için tüm insanları hem kütüphane hem Temel Gelir şart.

(Türkcemi düzetleri için çok teşekkür edericektim… Corrections to my Turkish gratefully accepted…)

“-Sultan Suleiman’s Justice…”

This was Suleiman the Magnificent’s Justice…

Our notions of what justice is have changed over the five hundred years since Sultan Suleiman dispensed judgments and consequences. The popular series Magnificent Century depicts him freeing 600 Egyptian families to return to Egypt and executing the cruel official who had enslaved them. His justice may have seemed harsh to modern eyes, yet this Sultan also built schools with libraries, public baths, hostels and hospitals, providing a high level of public infrastructure to his subjects. Modern thinkers, such as Dr. Maulana Karenga, have defined justice in part as being fundamentally defined by treatment of each human being with equal respect and dignity. Others, like John Rawls, have proposed tests of justice in which societal roles could be interchangeable. All three agree in the essential: that each human being must be given the opportunity to grow. Each agrees that justice requires certain access and resources for all people, including: Free access to learning, and the time to use it. #PublicDomainInfrastructure (1.Free and full access Public Libraries
2.Pro-Bono Legal and Free Consumer Education
3.Universal Health Care on a Single Payer System
and
4. Good Public Transportation) can help accomplish that.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !


#PublicDomainInfrastructure
ShiraDest

March 6th, 12018 HE

My 45 Year Mission: 4FreedomsMovementPlan

Quand t’es amené au cour pour rien avoir fait… When you are brought to court for no crime…

Click here for English…

“-Architecte Numérobis !

-Oh !
C’est pas la peine de me pousser !”

… ça s’appelle (aux états unis) un “Body Attachment” -ce qui permet de t’envoyer au tribunal sans avoir commis un délit. Et le problème avec ça c’est que il y à plein des procès contre le démunies mais pas contre les riches. Souvent, les jugements par défaut sont obtenus sur les dettes qui sont bien au-delà de leurs statuts de limitations, mais les accusés ne pouvaient pas se défendre par un manque de savoir ou un manque de capacité à se défendre, et donc perdu soit par défaut, malgré la poursuite étant techniquement illégal. En suite ça mène à encore plus des soucies d’argent et même en prison, sûr tout quand on à des diversions pour ce qui peuvent payer, mais des procès et aux prison pour ce qui n’ont pas les moyens de payer pour éviter les procès. Après ça, le système de justice criminel a son propre montage des dettes, encore pire.

Des solutions possibles: Qu’on fait pas amené au tribunal pour des dettes, qu’après un temps limite, il n’y aura pas des procès pour des dettes, et sûr tout pas de paiements pour éviter les procès légaux. Et comment se fait-t-on pour éviter tous ces maux ? On incite les gouvernements de donner un Revenu de Base a tout le monde, augmenté par des Monnaies Locales. Et ça, c’est fait par la coopération humain. Même la Reine ne le peut pas nier.


“-Architecte Numérobis !

-Hey!
You don’t need to push me!”

… that is called (in the United States) a “Body Attachment” -which lets you be taken into custody without having committed a crime. The problem with that is that there is a greatly disproportionate rate of civil justice system debt collection litigation against the poor, rather than against wealthier debtors. Often default judgments are obtained on debts which are well past their Statutes of Limitations, but defendants were unable, due to lack of knowledge or lack of ability (illness, fear, no time off from work, lack of transportation, etc…) to defend, and thus lost by default, despite the lawsuit being technically illegal to begin with. This can lead to further financial problems, and even to jail time for those who end up in the Criminal Justice system. Particularly unjust is Pre-Trial Diversion, also known as Pre-Trial Intervention. Those who can afford to pay for Pre-Trial Diversions get all charges dropped, while those who cannot afford to pay go to trial and even to prison. To make matters worse, the criminal justice system has its own structure of debts on top of civil debts.

Some possible solutions to this arbitrary abuse of our justice system are: abolishing “Body Attachment” in the case of civil debt judgments, prohibiting lawsuit filings on time-barred debts, and above all, eliminating payment for Pre-Trial Diversion/Intervention. But how can we potentially prevent all of these problems at their source? We could encourage governments to provide a universal Basic Income, even if only in a Local Currency, potentially backed by partial acceptance for payment of local taxes, as many municipalities have done. This provides a floor on poverty, a floor on desperation, and a chance at avoiding the civil debts that often presage criminal justice system involvement, in our uneven set of systems. Even the Queen could not deny that.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !

ShiraDest

February 20th, 12018 HE

Humanity’s Last Gasp? Let’s make it a good one for ALL of us: Local Currencies can help!

If Stephen Hawking is right, and this is Humanity’s last century, then let us “make such an end as to be worthy of remembrance. ”

Let us feed, clothe, care for and help release the creative potential of every human being on this earth until such time as we are no more. When others look back on this time, they can say of us, either that we died foolishly, mired in our own inhumanity, or that we died well, making the best life that could be had for each and every one of our fellow human beings.

We have the means easily at hand to allow a Basic Income as called for by Dr. King, Participatory Budgeting, Universal Health Care and Local Currencies, starting with multiple Time Banks and scrip currencies at every level.

Every person should have the help needed to write his or her own story, unlike in Orwell’s 1984 where writing was banned, and the Star Wars films, where writing is neglected, to the delight of a dictator who has that many fewer journalists/poets/novelists to round up and shoot or make disappear.

All we lack is the will.

In Service to Humanity,

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 24th, 12017 HE

(caption: Image from Walter Swan and his ‘One Book Bookstore’ in Bisbee, AZ -fr. Wikimedia Commons)

 

How the Arts/Media and Public Policy influence one another, and how Time Banks can help!

When I lived in Izmir, a Turkish TV spot shocked me: it showed an image of an elderly Black man, evidently homeless, sleeping in a stairwell directly beneath a sign that pointed up the stairs and read “White House” followed by the caption “Yorum Yok” or “No Comment.” This was about the same time that a major Turkish newspaper criticized the Erdoğan government over the death by hypothermia of an elderly homeless man up in Istanbul, sparking outrage among my Turkish coworkers. These two media pieces, taken together, led me to wonder about the links between the media and public policy.

When I was a kid, PBS School House Rock spots taught me things like the Preamble to the US Constitution, and how bills become law.  These and other PBS shows like Sesame Street demonstrated the concept of cooperation and taught a generation of kids ideas of fairness, social justice, and may have helped pave the way for later laws passed once we became adults on issues ranging from birth control and same-sex marriage to the Affordable Care Act.

In like manner, shows like El Ministerio del Tiempo, in Spain, provide social commentary and critique, while framing various often opposing views on social justice, cooperation, and the policy elements that can encourage those values. Similarly, the Turkish family show Sihirli Annem also showed a generation of kids in Turkey respect for women, social justice and cooperation. That generation is now part of the push-back against radicalism in Turkey today.

All of these shows are examples of how the Arts and Media can influence Public Policy, and vice-versa. Time Banks, when encouraged by local government and community-based organizations, can help in facilitating access to the arts through Open Access Cable, local arts organizations, and extending Time Bank credit to local artists through mural projects and other local culture projects, for the benefit of both local and extended communities.

Join or start one in your community now!

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 18th, 12017 HE