Monday, December 11, 2006

Conversation Recap for December 10, 2006

OK, folks here it is--be aware that text in color represents hotlinks to websites with more info. Enjoy!

We heard another fabulous story this week This time it was John. Once again we are reminded how wonderfully fascinating our lives truly are.

We were introduced to a couple of new folks—a student from Dexter’s class who first got introduced to the Conversation through his orientation as a new student at UPS and a colleague of Pam’s who’s joining us for the first time. We hope both of them will become regular members of our group.

We talked a bit about the horrendous injustice behind the incredibly high incarceration rates in the U.S., especially of Black males. Dexter shred just a bit of the data (more here):
· US is leader in the world --737/100k are incarcerated- 100/100k av’g in world
· 7 million people 1 in 32 adults behind bars, or subject to justice system.
· 2.2 million in jail
· 1998 1 in 3 Af Am men 19-29 tied up in US justice system.
· Over 50% jail population is black and brown.
· 1 in 50 adults currently or permanently lost voting rights

Pam and Addie both spoke of the stress and pain of raising their Black sons in a culture that targets them and of what this paranoia often does to the ways in which they treat their sons.

Dexter raised the question for us all to think about-- Can this democracy continue? In 1980’s white America went into a moral panic—“world is going to hell in a handbasket” What’s solution? Get tough on crime—lock them up. No one could get elected without repeating tough on crime—most locking up is for drugs.

MLK Event

Next we discussed the proposal some of us in the Conversation are working on for an MLK event. Conversation is lead entity along with Associated Ministries and Urban Grace Church.

Dexter shared a document outlining the vision and lots of discussion and brainstorming followed. We asked Conversation members to participate in planning, fundraising and event itself. Dexter thinks we can raise the 8-10k and really make it a premier event. Funds will pay for printing, publicity and stipends for people in program.

Tom and Sue S. will head up fundraising piece- Sue: the thing that can make this possible, use our contacts—who do we know who would like to get involved, such as corporate. We should all ask ourselves who we know in marketing at any companies. They often have marketing dollars they need to spend, especially at this time of year—have to spend their $. They also have Federal Community Reinvestment rules at banks. Lots of other ideas ere floated that have been passed on to the planning committee.

Keith volunteered to head up the food committee.

We got a short update from Dexter relayed from Tom on the Shakabra incident. Tom and others met with the ownership and apparently there is movement in a positive direction on resolving the issue. More from Tom et. al. when they return to the Conversation next week.

There was some more discussion of group and meeting structure following a sharing of the Conversation Document—a description of the history and current structure with some tweaking based on input from the discussion of the previous week. We agreed to post the document on the blog so as to continue the dialogue there. There was some discussion about the 1 or 2 story each week issue with no firm decision reached. Again, folks should continue the dialogue on the blog. Dexter we need to honor that a hand raised will be honored first and those who have not spoken will be honored before those who have a second chance. Luke suggested that the same etiquette be honored in the small groups as well.

We also talked about the idea of a “Paint & Grout” element to our group in which those that need to move, paint their house, etc. could have a pool of helpers from which to draw. Dorothy volunteered to coordinate the P&G efforts and Allegra volunteered to assist. Folks who need help—get the info with particulars of where and when, and Dorothy will get the word out to the group so folks can step up.

We also discussed kids in the group as Amy and Tully bring their 2 young daughters and wondered if anyone felt at all as if they were a distraction. We gave a resounding NO—we honor their presence. Then there was some discussion about programming for the young among us while also acknowledging that just hanging with the grown-ups teaches a lot.


Dorothy-YWCA Adopt-a-Family. While out shopping, bring a gift and Dorothy will bring. Unwrapped and non-violent please.

Tacoma Art Museum Event around Aminah Robinson’s art this Tues.

Latino Group at Lincoln H.S. performance of Pasada- a Xmas celebration Next Fri at 7pm at Lincoln where old Mt. T is Cafeteria Cultural Congress (arts orgs across state)

Luke recommended a panel be convened at the Broadway Center to talk about race and the arts that could include Conversation members, i.e., Dexter, Magda and Diane - Late April, possisbly.

Focus group probable by Broadway Center on programming in future, Djembe Soul—He’d like Conversation to be a part.

Sat. Dec. 15 anniversary of Bill of rights ACLU has celebration. 7pm WA History Museum.

Jan 6th Steve and Kristi Nebel benefit concert for citizens hearing on the war and the case of Eren Watada Antique at 7:30 fundraiser for TESC event, CITIZENS’ HEARING ON THE LEGALITY OF U.S. ACTIONS IN IRAQ on January 20-21, 2007.

Mighty Times: The Children’s March film. Jan 11th WA History Museum Reception at 5pm; program at 5:30. Slam poetry by Josh Reisberg.
Sallie—paint seniors homes, maybe conversation could get involved. Also think about neighbors who might be eligible.

We were treated to a hip hop piece by Noah to end our time together.

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