Sunday, March 30, 2008

Conversation Recap for March 16, 2008

Emma and Abigail’s Stories

We watched “When the Levees Broke”

Katrina exposed problems.

Some struck by contrast between news coverage and reality. Overtly racist news coverage.

Frustration about inability of Americans to see how economic and political interests have no trouble sacrificing people.

One person who has participated in disaster planning is not surprised in some ways about how things went because disaster planning starts with a presumption of on your own-ness. You must survive on your own for at least a few days to a week and also, there are no disaster plans for beyond 90 days. There is no disaster planning that conforms to the expectations we have in our minds about help.

One member wondered about a comparison between the flood in Chehalis and New Orleans and the response.

Another wondered, when will we ever see achieve what we say about ourselves as being “one people?” Why didn’t we see more stories on the news about the heroism of everyday people?

Dexter’s closing thoughts:

The most significant question is what does it mean to live in what we call a society? What’s the role of gov’t, neighbors, elected officials, military? When you see commercials about the military, they can put up a city in a matter of days, they can land and put up a hospital in a matter of hours.

Successive administrations have reduced the role of gov’t. People always talk about how generous Americans are, our churches and charitable organizations give so much. But in Europe, they say “We don’t organize our society that way.” There is not the abject poverty there. We allow the poverty and then praise ourselves about how charitable we are.

In thinking about the expectation that individuals are on their own, the militia types have the argument that you are foolish if you don’t have a gun because you are on your own and you have to take care of yourself.

The way our society is structured creates situations like Katrina. We have to think about restructuring society and there are examples. A first step is divesting ourselves of the notion that our society is the best structured in the world. It’s not just because George Bush is incompetent that this happened but there is a structural problem.

We are not hapless victims. We can choose to think differently, act differently and challenge the news that leaves out stories that they don’t want to tell us.


School Board will have some public presentations of 7 finalists for TPS Superintendent. They will publish their schedule on Tuesday.

The School Board meeting format has changed. Now devote 2 meetings per month for study sessions. For these they do not have comment cards and do not take public comment. This means the opportunity for public participation at meetings has been cut in half.

March 20th WA History Museum “War Made Easy - How Presidents and Pundits Spin

March 22nd Harry Todd Park GI Rights Rally Speakers, music, family friendly

Mar. 28th UWT Carwein Auditorium - Health Equity Summit begins with a PBS video called Unnatural Causes-Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

Shiloh Baptist Community Forum at 7:30 parents speaking out about how they and their children are treated in schools

Dates for MLK 09 planning have been booked first Wed. of each month, the first meeting will be in April.

Dexter brought up that we have talked repeatedly in the past about getting back to reading a book. He has several copies of “Hope in the Unseen.” Race & Pedagogy used it and agreed to pass it on to another group. We may decide to pass it along to the Maxine Mimms Academy when we finish.

Next 3 weeks continue watching “When the Levees Broke”

April 13- we will meet Temple Beth El. Special guest Rabbi who will talk about issues related to the multiracial coalition for civil rights.

April 20th finish Conversation document and V-Team assignments

April 26th Ebony Fashion Fair at Mt. Tahoma 8pm

April 27th discuss the book “A Hope in the Unseen”. It’s very inspirational about one individual’s grit in overcoming odds. Let’s not overlook the inspiration but let’s look at the structure that makes this kind of heroism necessary.

We now have the MLK event keynote posted on the Conversation blog and we also have copies on DVD.

We need a volunteer to take the lead on looking into a 501c3 study group. It was suggested that some of us meet with someone from the Non-Profit Center to get some preliminary info.

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