Zer Netmouse — LiveJournal
Below are 10 entries, after skipping 10 most recent ones in the "Anne" journal:
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Shortly after we moved to York, I learned that there had been race riots and rebellions here in the summer of 1969. "So," I thought in 2015, "the 50th anniversary is coming up, and there's almost enough time to plan something appropriate to do!"
Fast forward 4 years, and the 50th anniversary of the race riots/revolts/rebellions is fast approaching. I have been pushing behind the scenes to get people to actually engage with the question of how to appropriately commemorate the event(s).
York XL is helping establish plantings around the two benches that were erected to honor the two people who died one fateful weekend in July, 1969, on a hill in a city park overlooking the places where they were each shot, on different days. (One a young white cop in a supposedly armored car, the other a young black mother, in a car that was unfortunately similar to a car that had previously threatened a heavily armed white gang.) We also hope to erect an historical plaque on the site near the benches, which currently only bear their names and none of their history.
York College is running a series of events highlighting Hidden Figures in York's history, which includes a talk by Dr. Peter Levy next month
A huge Community project called 10,000 Acts of Kindness
is hoping to set a World Record for largest community dinner on June 30th, 2019. ... and I'm sure more will be done.
A few of us are also collecting Oral histories, and applying for grants to better record and preserve this history.
A couple years ago, when we were discussing names for this project, I settled on York Reflections, and established a domain name, YorkReflections.org
. I just updated the page for the first time in years.
Trying to get to know the local community well enough to give the right nudges to a project like this in just 4 years has been a (probably hopeless) push. Some of the proposed events have gotten a firm thumbs-down from the community and been canceled. Different organizations are taking different approaches, and though they have come together to discuss ideas and issues, the collaborative I was hoping to build hasn't actually coalesced. Still, things are happening, so I thought I would at least post a public record of things I think are related on the website.
So, that's a thing.This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/814579.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
How de do to dos|
So... How'd I do on my to do list yesterday? well... I got plenty of rest. I did not catch up on mail, though I did do the dishes and I got started unpacking From Rosie's and my trip to Michigan.
I haven't gotten caught up on photos yet from that trip. I may post some to Flickr. I've been maintaining my Flickr pro account and I remembered the other day it was partly because it was pretty easy to share photos from there to here/LJ.
since I was still coughing and sometimes so badly I got lightheaded, I promised B that I'd go to the doctor today, which I did. he's putting me on another round of antibiotics.
I also got my monthly shot of Octreotide today, and blood pulled for some chromatin labs.
Did not get far on the hair scrunchies yesterday. :( am going to try a different kind of needle but in the meantime I ordered a backup plan from Amazon.com that should be here tomorrow. Rosie's Synchro meet is Saturday.
But first, I go mentor fifth grade journalists and pick up my antibiotics and new sewing needles.This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/814306.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
What I am doing today:
A. making Hair Scrunchies for R and her two partners to go with their suits for the Trio routine for their Synchro meet on Saturday
B. catching up on the Mail (both snail and email)
C. Resting -- The Bronchitis got actively worse on my trip to MI, possibly due to shoveling snow for an hour Saturday morning to make it to Janet Chin's funeral, plus having to walk to and from our gate (A76) twice at DTW because the express tram is out of service until April for some reason.
D. if there's time, working on a Wikipedia article.
But first, the breakfast dishes.This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/814022.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Current Mood: optimistic
* continue to catch up on email and online tasks
* rest (still getting over bad bronchitis)
* play hookie and go see Aquaman at the cheap theater with Brian
* take spider plants and bags and some books to Hannah Penn for students End the era of baby spider plants taking over my life. Except there are still some at YCDS. hmm. But not in my house!
* rest some more
* stop in at the Goodridge Freedom Center event tonight.
* fold laundry and watch a movie with Rosie
(recommendations for movie?)This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/813556.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I have a cat who wants to be on my lap *and* washing my arms.
Scratchy cat tongue. Otherwise soft warm cat.
Sweet cat. How can you drive me so nuts?This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/813171.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Noting continued "Westernisms" in American education.|
I was frustrated today to be reminded of how much the Eurocentric/"Western" viewpoint still dominates American education. I subbed for a social studies teacher last week, and again today, and as she laid out the plan for the class for me we were commiserating over how her students didn't know or care about why the History of the middle East and Israel is important, and then she said something I thought about for the rest of the day. Speaking of Egypt, Jerusalem, and the events she was having them study between 3000 and 200 B.C., in three different parts of the Mediterranean, she described it as "The beginning of religion." The religions of the Book, I clarified, and she agreed, but I didn't contradict her overall thesis. Meanwhile, at another point in the conversation she had indicated that she would love to just teach European History, like especially World War I, that era.
And I think, honestly, that she has probably never deeply thought about the fact that people had spread out across India and Asia, and even to the Americas, thousands of years before 3000 BC. And that those people developed their own religions and beliefs without having any connection to the culture of what Western history calls "The cradle of civilization." She might not even know that many world scholars would consider Hinduism to be the world's "oldest" major living religion of which we have historical record.
Or that, written history or not, as Jill Lepore puts it in These Truths, "People order their worlds with tales of their dead and of their gods and of the origins of their laws."
People populated the Americas about 20,000 years ago across the land bridge, and then the water rose again, cutting Asia and North America apart from one another. This was about 18,000 BC. By 1000 A.D, the great city Cahokia, on the Mississippi floodplains, had been built, housed over ten thousand people, and been abandoned. The Aztec city of Tenochtítlan, with a population of over a quarter million people, was founded in 1325. By 1492 when Columbus landed in Haiti, there were an estimated 75 million people living in the Americas--15 million more than in Europe. And even the fairly simple Taíno villagers of Haiti had their own religion. which did not begin, in any way shape or form, in the Mediterranean post 3,000 BC.
(in case you're wondering, in 1500 AD there were approximately 125 million people in China, in the Ming Dynasty, many of whom were Taoist, Buddhist, etc, but some of whom were also Christian or Islamic. There was trade between China and Europe overland, which is how the Europeans came to possess gunpowder and the Compass, both first established in China during the Song Dynasty, before the Mongol-led regimes took over around 1271.)
I believe religion begins in the natural tendencies of human being to a) wonder about the nature of the universe and b) create stories that explain our world. this is also, in fact the origin of science. Both science and religion arose in various forms around the world. They did not "begin" in the Mediterranean any more than did music or dance or other elements of culture, and I hope that future course materials will make that more clear to teachers and students alike.
(as a side note, if you are interested in this sort of thing, look up the recent discussion between Stephen Colbert and Neil Degrasse Tyson.)This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/812548.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Put a Little Sunshine in Their Art - a fundraiser|
I have been substitute teaching in the same school one day a week this Fall in a long term assignment. This is an urban school where 100 % of the kids get free breakfast and lunch and those might be their only meals that day. Where 56% of the students who start the school year there will be someplace else by the end of the year, because the lives of many of the poor are not stable. There are lots of challenges these kids face. Multi-generational patterns of trauma, discrimination, and displacement. Can't fix it all.
But I was thinking maybe some of you who do not have children in elementary school right now might help make up for one of the key things these kids are lacking: parents with the time and connections to raise money for their school supplies. I talked to their art teacher about making up a list of supplies, and doing some crowd-funding. That same week, Facebook suggested I do a fundraiser for my birthday. Huh, I thought. Well, I could just do that. This article on Medium
has the text of that fundraiser, as well as info on how to just paypal me money in case you are FB averse.
If we raise enough money, I will arrange for the 7th and 8th graders at the school to get an extra workshop to make durable 3D art they can put in their school garden. I hope we get that far. I know a terrific artist named Tomak who is ready and willing to do that workshop with them. I just spoke to him today. :)
If you can, please help. Even a little bit would be great. Thank you!This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/812381.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: art, education
A letter I wrote in 2011 on engaging students in community work and practical problems|
Written to the Then-President of Grinnell College on the subject of alumni volunteering:
Feb 20, 2011
I have in the past done a couple of things for GRASP but have otherwise not volunteered as a Grinnell Alum. I wanted to write to say that one thing I would love to do would be to coordinate with students on projects that would benefit the community. Whether that's an ongoing research project I could advise or consult on from a distance, or a spring break or similar short-term project in my local area that students came to participate in, I think it would be great to get alumni and students together to help make a difference in serving society.
While I was a master's student at the University of Waterloo, I saw how their partnerships between industry and students in the engineering program inspired students to tackle real, practical problems in school projects. I can only imagine that all kinds of alumni are in a good position to help Grinnell students identify and understand interesting questions and challenges in their fields of study, even as students are looking for topics to tackle for papers and projects.
For me, for instance, I would love to work with students who are interested in better understanding the history of the country's prison situation, and how many people have lost years of their freedom and in many cases their right to vote and their ability to pursue work in a career field based on convictions early in their lives, often related to the so-called War on Drugs. Alternatively, if any journalism or pre-law students are interested in documenting current conditions or cases, that would also be something I'd be interested in encouraging and being involved with. Similarly it would be good to document and understand conditions in our inner city communities and schools, for instance, and there might be ways we could set up spring or fall break projects to help address those by canvassing suburb library sales to build inner city school libraries or get books to kids a la the RIF program.
I would find collaborations like that really inspiring. If there's anything like that coming to Michigan, I haven't heard of it, but with Flint and Detroit being some of the poorest cities in the country, if I can bring attention and energy here I will.
Thank you for inviting ideas, and I hope you are enjoying your presidency.
Anne (Gay) Gray, '96This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/812179.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Substitute teaching the other day, I had a moment with a couple 7th graders looking at a political globe of the earth. I went over to share with them how I'd recently learned there's a stripe of desert from Africa all the way to the mongolian Steppes in Asia.
We turned the globe to Africa to find the left side of the stripe. Student 1, on my left, said he didn't know how to find things on a globe. He pointed to Niger and asked how you pronounce that. "Nigh-jer," I told him. "Oh," he said. "But where's Africa?" He asked.
I gestured at the continent with my hand while the other student chimed in, "It's right there! That's Africa."
Pause. Student 1 studied what was before him.
"But where's Africa?" He asked again.
"Africa is a continent, not a country," I explained further. "It has many countries, and over 300 languages are spoken there."
"Oooooh." Was his response.
"What's the largest desert in the world?" I asked. Student 2 had it. "The Sahara!"
"Where is it?" He pointed to Niger.
World geography is clearly lacking. It's throughout. Rosie recently came home from a second grade segment of learning to make and paint clay beads, "Like they do in Africa, because they are very poor there and all they have is mud."
(I made sure to share her takeaway with her teacher later. She was clearly embarrassed.)
I reminded her Africa is a continent, not a country, and that they have a wide range of rich and poor people there, like we do here.
Stereotypes are so easily formed.This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/811615.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: parenting, teaching
So... this past week while I was watching my Facebook fill with posts of "Me too" and "I believe you," I was also reading The Round House, by Louise Erdrich. It's not an easy novel to read, but it is an important one. Told from the point of view of an adolescent boy in North Dakota, the novel chronicles the impact on him and his family of the rape of his mom by someone who calculatedly did it in a location that makes it hard to prosecute, because they live on Tribal land, but the attack might have happened within state or even Federal jurisdiction. Because of that and other circumstances, this story has the basis for powerfully expressing the difference between the relief felt when an abuser is locked up and the paralysing fear and powerlessness of trying to continue living while they are free and around in the same town. Erdrich is exposing the continuing barriers to justice in reservation life while also bring us along on a coming of age journey for the narrator. I highly recommend this book to everyone 14 or older.
Note: while there is a rape in this book and some details of the attack come to light, there are no graphic details of sexual violence. However, there are other scenes and conversations that have to do with sex, sexuality, body parts, and violence. In fact the intergenerational dialogue (both spoken and acted out) about sexuality, drinking, violence, and how to treat each other is one of the most fascinating aspects of the book.This entry was originally posted at https://netmouse.dreamwidth.org/811104.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
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