politics

Are you marching?

Hundreds of marches are going on next Saturday. Check the website mentioned below if you are interested in finding one near you…

is March For Our Lives! Join the movement for change in Washington or your local community (or internationally). I will be joining in from Brussels. Follow the link to find out what your community has planned. https://marchforourlives.com/

via MARCH 24th! — ellisnelson

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Nonfiction, podcasts, politics

Highway of Tears

I’m listening to another CBC podcast: “Missing and Murdered: Who Killed Alberta Williams?” Reporter Connie Walker investigates the 1989 unsolved murder of a young indigenous woman. Alberta Williams was found along Highway 16 in British Columbia, now known as the Highway of Tears because of the number of women (mainly indigenous) who have been murdered or went missing along the highway.

As she interviews people who knew Alberta, Connie Walker peels back the layers of a terrible past that may be unknown to many non-Canadians.

From the 1880s until as late as 1996 (!!!), the Canadian government operated “residential schools,” or boarding schools for indigenous people. Children as young as 6 were forcibly removed from their homes and taken from their families to spend years in cruel institutions where they faced sexual abuse, forced starvation, and even death. Their hair was cut, and they were not allowed to speak their ancestral languages.

The legacy of residential schools continues today, passed down by grandparents and parents who were treated less than human. Alcoholism, PTSD, poverty, domestic violence, and feelings of worthlessness are remnants of the residential school system.

I just finished listening to Episode 3, where Connie Walkers begins to connect the past with the present — why are indigenous women  3 to 4 times more likely to be murdered than non-Indigenous Canadian women? Unlike all the other podcasts I’ve listened to, Walkers draws from her own childhood experiences and links the culture to the crime.

Walker’s approach underlines how no crime stands by itself. We are all products of our upbringing, history, and society. And it reminds me how every country has its shameful past — the U.S. being no different — that affects its citizens for generations.

Book Reviews, Nonfiction, politics

Born a Crime…

This is a re-post of a re-post! Looks very interesting!

Originally posted on What’s Nonfiction?: Book review: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah Where most children are proof of their parents’ love, I was the proof of their criminality. Apartheid is one of those subjects that I know embarrassingly little about beyond the basics. If you’re in the same position, I highly recommend comedian…

via South African Roots and Apartheid’s Influence, with a Sense of Humor — Memoir Notes

politics

Show your love

If you follow U.S. elections, you know that Democrat Doug Jones won the Senate seat in Alabama yesterday, largely due to the turnout of Black voters. CNN reported that 98% of Black women and more than 90% of Black men voted for Jones.

Kamala Harris (right) at a rally for the Affordable Care Act, June 2017.

So, why did college-educated white women (and men!) mostly vote for Republican candidate Roy Moore? Moore has been accused of sexual encounters with teenage girls and has romanticized the times before slavery was abolished.

If you are a women, know a woman, or have any female members of your family, it does not make sense to support Moore. If you are in favor of Black people having equal rights, it does not make sense to support Moore. What is the explanation for his popularity among the majority of white Alabama voters?

  1. Many educated white women and men still believe it is okay for men to sexually assault girls and women.
  2. Many educated white women and men still believe it is okay to discriminate against Black people.

As a friend on Twitter said last night, while the election results were being reported,  “Privilege is a powerful drug.”

If you are reading this and you are a white person, thinking, “But I’m not like that!” then take concrete steps to disprove the statistics. Support organizations, businesses, and political candidates who stand for values that support all people, regardless of race or gender.

Sign that reads, "Green jobs not jails."
Photo courtesy of Brooke Anderson at https://www.flickr.com/photos/brooke_anderson/773438823

Here’s a list to get you started:

 

 

 

Embracing Creativity, Uncategorized

Unique gifts for Christmas (or whatever you celebrate)!

If you’re like me, buying gifts can be great or torturous. Great if it’s for my mum — she likes everything from earrings to bath salts to wacky dishtowels. Torturous if it’s for my husband — he likes expensive watches that I can’t afford! So, I decided to put together a list of unconventional gift ideas. Feel free to add your own in the comments section!

For parents of young children

  • membership to the local children’s museum, zoo, or science center (check to see if they have reciprocal agreements, where one membership can get you in for free or half price to other museums)
  • yoga classes to exercise and de-stress!
  • for new dads, a subscription to The Rad Dad Box (started about two years ago by my friend Michelle and her husband after they had a baby) RadDad
  • specialty magazine subscription about something they love but wouldn’t spend money on (exotic cars, cottage living, teapot collecting, dollhouse furniture, miniature railroads, model planes, book reviews…)

For all grown-ups

  • creative writing lessons (a very good online course for beginners is www.writingclasses.co.uk)  ourdogbluexmaswhite2017jpg
  • membership to a local museum, especially if membership includes free tickets to events at the museum (such as movies, music shows, and special exhibitions)
  • beer or wine or spirits made locally
  • concert tickets for a group they love but haven’t seen for years (one year, I got my dad tickets to The Moody Blues, one of his all-time favorite groups)
  • car wash/detailing coupons (okay, kind of boring, but my husband likes this)
  • gifts from stores that support good causes, such as Kiva’s store, Ten Thousand Villages, and more listed on this site
  • something handmade and unique on etsy.com

For kids

  • a tent for camping in the back yard or in the living room (I’ve heard that Ace Hardware has affordable, easy-to-put-up ones!)
  • magazine subscription (some good ones are Ranger Rick, Highlights, Muse, OWL, Dig, chickaDee, and Upfront)
  • subscription to pixton.com, where they can make their own comic strips

Gift suggestions from my kids  Barbie with hand-made clothes

  • unlimited amounts of toys and candy
  • a toy train
  • a “secret box with a password to get in”
  • a “kit to make Barbie doll clothes”
  • kits to make monster trucks and race cars
  • a science kit “to make potions” and “experiments” and volcanos
  • a pretend dentist kit for kids “to fix someone’s teeth”
Uncategorized

A Southern Writer’s Network

A quick update… I received a comment the other day on my old blog, A Southern Writer’s Network, which made me want to go back and update it! On that blog, I listed writing events in the South and wrote posts about Southern authors. I limited it to the Southeastern United States, mainly because it was easier for me to keep track of just one area! Anyway, stay posted for more updates…

FYI, I’ve also been listening to some great podcasts by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Company). Someone Knows Something is a series concerning cold cases. It’s really well done and worth a listen! Season 1 investigates the disappearance of 5-year-old Adrien McNaughton in 1972 (see his photo below and an artist’s rendering of what he might look like today).

Education

What history?

education-1959551_960_720What a difference a few sentences can make. I just finished listening to one of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcasts for his series “Revisionist History.” In this episode, “Miss Buchanan’s Period of Adjustment,” Gladwell explores the fallout from the 1954 Supreme Court Case Brown v. Board of Education.

The Supreme Court found that “separate but equal” was unhealthy for Black children, that being segregated was fundamentally “bad” for their psyche and self-esteem. But that was not what the NAACP had been fighting for.

From the mouths of two Black parents who took part in the court case, Leola and Oliver Brown, they had no complaints with their daughter’s school (Monroe School, shown below). They loved the teachers, thought the education was “fantastic.” They just wanted all Black parents to have a choice of where to send their children to school.

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From Gladwell’s podcast:

So what does the US Supreme Court do in 1954 in the Brown decision? It buys into the southern way of thinking about race. Leola Brown and the other plaintiffs say, “We have a structural problem. We don’t have the power to send Linda to the school down the street.” The court says, “No, no, no, it’s a psychological problem. Little Linda has been damaged in her heart.” That may seem like a small distinction, believe me it’s not. We’re still dealing with the consequences.

Those few sentences by the Supreme Court made a huge difference to children across the segregated South. What do you think happens when Black schools and Black teachers are ruled to be inferior? What happens to teachers and students deemed “deficient”? The fallout is huge. Listen to Gladwell’s podcast, or you can find a transcript of it here.

The New York Times published an excellent, related article earlier this year: “Where Did All the Black Teachers Go?”