Tag Archives: tools

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

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/

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)

 

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 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

Walking: It’s not just about carbon…

Walking, for me, stirs something. I think better, I feel better both physically and emotionally, and I may even get somewhere at the same time. Walking gives me a sense of calm, a sense of health, even a sense of quiet strength (especially after a man on the bus I’d thought I missed saw me running to catch it after it passed me and then waited at the next bus stop; his exclamation of “I saw you walking back two blocks ago: a strong woman! made my day!).

These are feelings, compliments and insights that I never got when I drove my little car. More importantly, when I walk, I have a sense of solidarity. I feel not only that I am reducing my carbon impact, but also that I am sharing in a very Human activity that has moved us, literally, from out of Africa to almost every continent on the planet. With our feet. And that feels good. It feels like making progress, every time I stand up, flex those muscles, and move forward. That feels like I can go somewhere under my own power, and so can every other human being blessed with the health and strength to be ambulatory.

Of course low-impact living is important to me, but walking goes so much farther than that. I feel myself healing, even when I rush to a job running late, literally jogging in my good middle-class work clothes. I feel safer under my own foot-power, and I feel like I am in solidarity with those who cannot or simply, like myself, wish not, to drive a motor vehicle rather than get there under my own steam. And walking is a harmonious tool for keeping both the body and the mind sound, or making it sound if it is not. We have always known this, but now we add walking as a tool for both environmental justice, and for social and economic justice:

Walking makes us Equal.   As Time Banking was invented to help do: walk the talk, equally.

That’s why I walk.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest

October 1st, 12017 HE

The Bright side of PTSD: become a Body Guard?

Smells, noises or lights can suddenly awaken some of us, and refuse to let us sleep until identified. Long-lasting childhood traumas can leave your Inner Child reluctant to come out from under the coffee table. Some ideas, illustrated by examples from historical and fictional sages, may help your Inner Parent to teach safety and trust to that Frightened Inner Child so that your Inner Adult, your competent and ambitious self who’d rather ignore both Child and Parent, can get on with succeeding in life.

First, one possible intrepretation of Hillel’s famous pair of questions:
A. אם אין אני לי, מי לי (Im ein ani li, mi li: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me,”) is that each of us must parent and protect his or her own inner child, and

B. ? וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני ; (Vekesh’ani le’atzmi, mah ani ? “And if I am only for myself, what am I?”), also stand with others who have been wounded.

Second, if, like Harry Potter, you’ve sustained significant losses in your life, even very early on, is there someone you can recall, or as Harry uses to conjure his first #Patronus, even some imaginary memory, showing love or kindness, even if from or to a stranger just for a moment? Your Inner Parent can use that image to show your Inner Child that there is hope for this world, and that is worth holding on to and fighting for, to motivate your ambitious Inner Adult to keep going. This is being for yourself in the most crucial way: parenting yourself through the panic and soothing those constantly jangled nerves until you learn to trust life. Then your ambitious and centered Inner Adult can take it from there to build the life you want to live.

Third, if, like Amelia, you see that it would be safer to give up than to fight, perhaps your Inner Adult can take the lead, having learned by watching your Inner Parent defend your own Inner Child, that sometimes an adult must sacrifice to create a better world for all Human Children. And like Feruze Hatun, healing all those around you may come at a high personal cost, but honesty and love, even shown to our enemies, as Gandhi and Dr. King proved, can indeed defeat hate, and bring you greater self-confidence and feelings of security.

So, warrior like Amelia or Intergenerational Community Parent to all, like Feruze Hatun, or just competent, capable, and knitting lots of hats for House Elves like Hermione, parenting yourself can lead to parenting others , for the good of All Humankind. Or you could still become a Body Guard.

Some more of my thoughts on how local government Policy such as accepting part of local taxes in local currencies/Time Dollars can help stimulate local community employment and inclusion for PTSD survivors are found in my related paper on Building Community and the crucial role of Intergenerational Participation in Community : Shavuot (Pentacost) as one of four Biblical pillars of building community.

Read, Write, Dream, Walk !
ShiraDest
My books on Economic and Social Policy: Shared Monetary Governance, and Stayed on Freedom’s Call…

September 10th, 12017 HE
Community4BiblicalPillarsShavuot

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

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

1.1.12018 update:  and scans of my long-term project (The Adulthood Challenge project) to build a movement in 4 parts toward Roosevelts Four Freedoms…)

MyMissionPlanGrid1

MyMissionPlanGrid2