Tag Archives: mlk

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 Landrac

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

 

SafetyPin, IRV, NVC and HE: Suggestions for Immediate/short-term, mid-term, long-term, and Dream-term strategies

We are all working to continue to recover from the shock of this past week.  Still, certain strategies that many of us began putting into place some time ago continue to have value.  One strategy is working to build inclusive cultural structures that can reframe our ways of thinking as a culture (clearly long term work), such as using the Holocene Calendar.

Adapting to the needs of the moment, however, are also clearly important, and more vicerally compelling as well.  To that end, many of us are standing, like the Sargents from Herland, together with the most vulnerable, ready to calmly, even grimly, but non-violently, face down those who would threaten or do harm.  Like those Sargents, we stand with the discipline that Dr. King and Gandhi taught, of non-violent resistance.  Those who wear a #SafetyPin are pledging to stand with all of our fellow human beings under threat.

But we need intermediate strategies, between the short-term reaction of the #SafetyPin movement, and the long-term, evolving toward inclusive cultural change.  I would suggest that one mid-range strategy to work for is Instant Run-off Voting (IRV), also known as Ranked Choice Voting, such as the state of Maine recently adopted.

A second mid-term to long-term strategy is to study and share Non-Violent Communication (NVC) while working toward better jobs (especially via worker’s cooperatives and unions/labor activism) for ALL races and classes.

So, short, medium and long-term: Stand together using NVC to work for IRV, and eventually changing our year designation from Anno Domini/Common Era to Holocene/Human Era (HE).

Finally, my personal Dream-term (very long-term) goal is to see both single payer health care and a Universal Basic Income, such as Dr. King called for over 40 years ago.  These would allow every person, of any creed, color, class, etc, to reach his or her full potential as a human being.  That is, after all, the real American Dream, isn’t it?

Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
November 13th, 12016 HE

Rice, Riots and Basic Income: Teaching math is fun!

 

As I prepared for my second interview recently at a school where I would very much  like to teach math, I was reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s call for a Basic Income, and his comment that “social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.” (Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967), 22.).  I hope I have made this mini-lesson, and all of my teaching, relevant to both the current and future lives of my students.

Here are some of the interesting resources I came across while planning my lesson on Slope, which I called “Rice and Riots” to illustrate that a line can tell you a lot.

“ancient egypt 3-4-5” gives this: Google image search for 345 Right Triangle

and this Rosicrucian paper seems to have been copied with cuter images across several different websites, while quotes from the Rhind Papyrus make me want to spend all of my time just studying ancient works, and this fascinating proposal to rename the Pythagorean Theorem actually cites interesting sources.

 

And from an EduTopia article on “6 Ways to Help Students Understand Math” (too bad the pdf is no longer online): now we can teach the way I wanted to teach back in 2002!!  Ahem:

2. Introduce topics using multiple representations.

The more types of representations that you can present to students addressing their different learning styles, the more likely they will truly understand the concept being presented. Different representations could include using manipulatives, showing a picture, drawing out the problem, and offering a symbolic representation. For example, when presenting linear relationships with one unknown, illustrate to students the same problem as an equation, on a number line, in words, and with pictures. Students who are exposed to and can recognize the same relationship posed in the different representational modes are more likely to have conceptual understanding of the relationship and perform better on assessments (PDF).”

 
Read, Write, Dream, Teach !

ShiraDest
1st of July, 2016