Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Recap for October 28, 2007

In announcements the education group described recent developments—the question of whether the School Board will go forward with a Superintendent Search is still in the air; links are developing with other Tacoma; and Members are invited to stay tuned into the education group and come to meetings—all are welcome. A reminder: the Education group keeps track of many of its efforts at a website, HERE

This morning we heard BJ’s story. Members mentioned their appreciation of her story telling talents.

We discussed components of identity—groups label individuals in ways that places them as Other, as above and below. Members appreciate examples of drawing strength from the experience. This is no small feat. The entire western philosophical tradition can be seen as a search for autonomy—but some people subjected to the ridicule of their communities figure it out. One example—valuing connections with other women, while at the same time wanting all of them to be independent. And, Conversation members were rapt at an example of a young kid coming up with real wisdom during a difficult exchange.

We are reminded that none of us are perfect—it is good when we do the best we can, and when we can’t do something, we link up with someone who can. As kids we often get told things that are understood to mean we are somehow short of a standard implied in the statement. This is part of life, and we grownups should be aware of how we talk to kids.

Someone asked about Baha’i during our discussions. The Wikipedia entry informs us that it was founded “by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia,” and that “(a)ccording to Bahá'í teachings, religious history has unfolded through a series of God's messengers who brought teachings suited for the capacity of the people at their time, and whose fundamental purpose is the same. Bahá'u'lláh is regarded as the most recent, but not final, in a line of messengers.” See more HERE.

One member appreciated the broad coverage of today’s discussion. We can get at racism, we also want to talk about homophobia, sexism, and other forms of objectification—speaking up against dehumanization is valuable.

A nationally organized antiwar rally occurred yesterday, in Seattle (from Judson park on 1st hill down to Occidental park, just South of downtown). Some Conversation members attended. A few thousand people showed up, and one feature was putting the war on trial. And, the mass media did virtually no coverage.

One member expressed disappointment that more young people are not involved in antiwar efforts. One connection here is that military recruiting is focused more on the urban inner city poor—anyone see the Army commercial about going into the military as how to be the man in the house?

Another member expressed concern that for many young folks, they are in such difficult situations that going to war appears as a reasonable alternative. Several made comments on this on related concerns, and what emerged was a picture of frustration at having too few opportunities to make a difference. And, us being a grassroots group, there were several exchanges on local groups doing things—United for Peace of Pierce County [see their vigil list HERE], Women In Black [the Tacoma group meets 2nd & 4th Wednesdays each month, 5:15-6:15 PM. in front of the federal courthouse (the old Union train station); the Gig Harbor group meets Every Friday, 5:00-6:00 PM, at the corner of Olympic and Fosdick (Safeway corner)] and others are there, people. You can give it an hour a week, if this matters.

One theme we kept coming back to has to do with why we keep coming to The Conversation. We don’t want to lay down and feel like no one can do anything. Pretty much everyone here is involved in something, and wants to keep involved, doing something. More than one shared stories of how years ago their main orientation was anger, and an impulse to destruction reaction to the things we talk about. This is a room full of hopeful people, and a hope that motivates us to action. And one thing we get from coming here is support for action.

One member said: “I know justice is hard work. It does not come just because you want it. Doing the hard work it is sometimes hard to see the change…. It is important to remind ourselves when that happens…. And it is not large numbers that make right, right… I can make this change, and I have the power to influence others to do right and be right. And you really must take courage from the successes that occur….”

One member said: “All of us are going to encounter fear. You must not let it overtake you.”

New Orleans Monologues is in two weeks (the 9th), at the University of Puget Sound. For the matinee at 2 on Saturday the 10th, about 35 kids need rides from Lincoln high schools to the play. Some kind of ride sharing, church buses, university vans, something can be done…..

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