Category Archives: opinion

Marking the days…

As I had hoped in my last post, I did complete Grad School. I submitted all my papers and finished all projects assigned. It was a significant marker in my life, but not as big as the one that is about to unfold.

My mother-in-law has been the closest (geographic) relative, aside from my husband, since I moved to NYC. In fact, the act of moving to NY nearly a decade ago placed me roughly three thousand miles away from my entire immediate family.

In a few short weeks, I will start living just a short drive up the road from my mother-in-law. This act marks a significant shift in my adult experience of familial proximity and relational intentionality.

I don’t know what the future holds for me without a school year cycle to order the days, with this new experience of community, and an open ended moment of my career. What I do know is that I’m trying to carve out a space where things move slower, where my impact is deeper, and my dreams can shape reality.

Is it asking too much of life to hope for something different, more than what I’ve found so far? I hope not. Still, my nerves are on alert.

In this new space I will be taking risks, but betting on myself; I will be focusing on small things, but hoping for many ripples; and I will be a part of a team, rather than an individual.

Here’s to it.

#TBT

62_505407912017_6061_n

I should be working on my thesis.

I should be working on any number of things, but I paused for a moment of reflection and suddenly I can not get over the fact that soon I will graduate from NYU with a Masters degree in Visual Art Administration. This has been coming for a while but the sudden significance is perhaps due to my 10-year anniversary of graduating as an undergraduate.

It was 10 years ago that I graduated from Biola University with a BFA in Art and Design,
and I don’t feel that I have changed significantly from who I was at that moment. I have a very different living situation, a different amount of experience, and a different dress size (unfortunately,) I even feel differently about the event of graduation; but are these just finer points? How has time changed me or not changed me? 

62_505407897047_5219_nOne measure of this time span that feels weighty enough to express my feelings is accounting for who I’ve lost, and who I’ve gained in my life. Here, pictured, is my Grandfather with me in May of 2004. I hope to pose for a similar photo with my husband, in May 2014.

My professional agenda has not changed, only refined. This Masters degree came later than I anticipated, but I don’t mind too much. It came at the right time – as did my husband. Perhaps the delay in higher ed kept me local in order to meet him.

It is the personal, per usual, that I’m reminded of as having true gravity in the span of our lives. I say this, knowing full well the cliché. But we all know that when these things hit you, they hit you.

gpf_images01In 2004 I had a thesis exhibit with two friends in the university gallery. My work was an immersive installation inspired by a coloring book series I’d created, but also inspired my a mural painting professor from several years earlier. I’m now working on a thesis around working with artists, with a case study in mural collaborations. The impression that professor had made was more indelible than I had thought back then, but people and ideas have stuck with me.

If ideas and people are truly this significant, how might this inform my next ten years? At 30, these questions might seem common place, but I think it’s worth noticing how our presence, absence, and expression might also impact those around us. I certainly do not expect for anyone to cite me as their inspiration 10 years down the line, but we do have impact on one another.

Now that I have expressed these thoughts to an ephemeral digital void, perhaps I can get back to the work of research and writing. Perhaps taking stock in where I’ve come from – to this point, will help me focus my energy on finishing well, which is what I have always intended, and what would have made my Grandfather proud.

Hero-ine Space

Gravity-2013-Movie-Title

If you only see one movie this year that stars Sandra Bullock, make it GRAVITY, (but I admit that I enjoyed ‘The Heat‘ as well.) This subtle, yet complex, story line is paired with outstanding effects and manages to explore a range of primal notions of humanity – birth, death, faith, rebirth, reincarnation, evolution, weakness, (and the polar north that is George Clooney.)

Still from 'Gravity'
Still of Bullock, from ‘Gravity’

This film may not make many young girls want to go out and be astronauts. In fact, there were moments where it made me question why we dare to leave the atmosphere at all! However, it was a very well told story that I’d encourage you to see played out – the first chance you get. Bullock delivers believable moments of terror, and gives (what I thought to be) a remarkably unsentimental performance of a character so tragic as ‘Ryan Stone’.

I recommend this 3D movie not just for the glasses, but also for the interesting take on a silver screen heroine, and another look at a group of unusually specialized civilians that many of us idolized as children.

Astronaut Catherine 'Cady' Coleman
Astronaut Catherine ‘Cady’ Coleman

Guess Who!

Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 4.53.20 PM

 

I recently took a trip to Washington DC. While there, I had a renewed sense of civic duty and statesmanship. Local and Federal politics has actually been an interest of mine over the last year (or four) and so when I returned to my neighborhood I began to look again at the structures that are in place in my district.

While in D.C. I kept thinking, did I miss this day of school, or just not comprehend how the network of public offices works to represent the United States public? Those pictured above all have some kind of influence in my life, whether I am aware of it or not. I thought it would be best to take a bit more interest in what they do and how they think. (Perhaps, just in time. There is a community board meeting coming up soon that will discuss a massive construction plan near to where I live.)

It may not be a perfect system, but what I am learning is that if citizens don’t engage in the process of local and federal politics, there is no hope for it to work. It is both my optimism for my fellow-man and my values in administrative structures that supports this view, but hopefully those who think and feel differently will still participate!

“You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.” – Eldridge Cleaver, 1968

Oh, wait. Was there something I was supposed to do today?

So, I do hope that you all get to the voter polls today. I realize that many of you may be tired of the whole electoral process. I know many of my facebook friends must be tired of my PSA announcements, but I’ve tried to keep it to the important ones.

Since I live in New York, as you might imagine, this week has been FULL of watching and listening to more “news” than normal. Today all the political and weather related headlines blended together into the perfect storm of reporters, authorities, and elected officials troubleshooting transportation needs for citizen voters who sustained the brunt of Hurricane Sandy. Although I am worn out – I realize that keeping apprised of how those folks are doing in Staten Island, and who will be on my ballot in district 12, no wait 7, no 53, no 50… matters!

(Full disclosure regarding the above photo: They didn’t have stickers at my voting site, so I printed my own. Even though I just sat at my desk and didn’t interact with anyone for the rest of the day.)

A couple months ago I started listening to some less mainstream media voices, and paying attention to so-called third party candidate platforms. Let’s just say that I don’t think this is the year where the binary system will be broken, but I have hope for more of a just system in elections to come. I just have to start my campagne for 2016 now! (j/k)

 

I’ll spare you any fiery ranting. I just wanted to say that it’s been an intense election season, but don’t let it instil apathy for the process. Soon we will have an answer, but even that is fleeting, AND only PART of the story. If you have the energy to keep up with politics post-decision, (that pot-banging, four-more-beers moment) take some time to learn about the other people who showed up on your ballot, remember? There weren’t just 2 names on that ballot, were there? Which reminds me of one of my aforementioned PSAs:

bk: “POTUS aside, PLEASE be ready for your district’s vote for congress + senate!”
sb: “(& state senate & assembly & judges! get a summary of who is on your ballot down to the local level athttps://www.google.com/elections/ed/us/vote)”

Here is an interesting little time-travel moment for you. Just sit back, relax, and gain some distancing perspective…

And, for fun, here is what Twitter-sourcing predicts:

Related Links:
Get the actual results here.

Update to “I <3 ING": Concerned in WBurg

Since my last post, the ING Marathon was canceled, but I think that is ok. It was a disappointment, but seeing the rate of recovery – the city can’t handle a big event like that one just yet. Although many out-of-town-ers already flew in for the event, it was determined to be too taxing of a venture to pull off. As many frenzied Facebook-ers suggested was an ideal answer – large numbers of runners spent their energy volunteering instead.

Sadly, several more deaths have been reported around the NE and on Staten Island shores, specifically. Desperate for resources, many are complaining that resources are not being appropriately allocated to the Staten Island community that was hard hit, instances of looting have been reported. They are not alone, with other neighborhoods remaining offline and wondering about the effects on the future livelihood local business.

For locals that were left un scathed the response is various – relaxing at home with Netflix, (as was joked about last night on SNL,) eating and drinking to excess at home, but even more numerous others have jumped at the opportunity to volunteer en mass to help their fellow NYers.

Some big Questions that remain:

Neighborhoods like Red Hook that were devastated have received overwhelming support, troves of volunteers, and resource drives from fellow Brooklynites; but with fewer resources immediately available on Staten Island – they are more reliant on official emergency programs like FEMA… So, are they getting what they need to recover?

For all the small businesses that exist along the shores – will they be able to recover or replaced by larger chains that have the capital to “weather the storm”?

Also fuel shortages throughout the city still require drivers to wait in extended lines, blocking traffic along stretches of several city blocks. Many gas stations now simply are closed for service having run out of fuel. This effects not only drivers from getting back to work, but also hinders volunteers from bringing resources into crippled communities. When will this begin to turn around?

I <3 ING

I am back online, for a timely post:

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NYC civil servants have been regularly issuing updates, while “Authorities” and other service providers are attempting to get back online in whatever ways they can. It has been made clear that we, in Brooklyn, are lucky when we hear of the severity of damage sustained by NJ, particularly the water-front areas, and in Queens as we mourn the incredible loss at Breezy Point, (one hundred homes burned down while flooded, which compounded the issue for fire fighters). Thankfully the death toll has been shockingly low across the NE.

Thousands of people have been displaced (some even moved from one temporary location to another) or (at best) rendered immobile due to outages of services and access to basic resources.  Also some of our most prized cultural objects in Manhattan were flooded out in Chelsea, and there also, we will begin to assess what our next steps may be to rebuild and restore.

Incase you haven’t been watching or listening to the news – some of the biggest highlights in the last couple days have been:

The “storm surge” of waves from the ocean flooded into tunnels (an unprecedented incident with record-breaking tide hight in some zones, nearly 14 feet). Electricity has blown out below 34th street in Manhattan, and scattered locations throughout the city. Almost everything is consequently on a cash-basis, so you’d need to go uptown to receive cash from an ATM.

Residents who were not evacuated from Lower Manhattan neighborhoods have either hunkered down – making due, but some have been unaware of the existing power uptown and word-of-mouth is becoming key. Generators have been set up in various locations to offer cell phone power, and small organizations, such as the Hester Street Settlement, are supplementing the work of the Red Cross and city officials by checking on neighbors and offering food to those in need.

Cell phone towers were doing fine until their battery power/generators began to run out, so we are waiting to see what can be done by those companies (some sending workers from branches across the country) to fix the current issues and see how we can improve for inevitable weather challenges in our future.

As pieces of information and infrastructure begin to come back together, many have begun to anticipate a boost in spirits from the ING NY Marathon, which is still scheduled to occur this Sunday, according to the mayor.

The percentage of runners who can still make it to the starting line (some who have flown in, and others who have been sitting on their couches in the dark all week) begin to stretch their limbs, adjust their diet, check for updates to the ING schedule, and note the easily forgotten daylight savings shift that is scheduled for the same morning. While many other North-Eastern residents are hanging on only by the hope of better things to come: Can the sheer force of human bodies displaying their individual and collective power give life to an otherwise crippled city? I believe it can, and I hope that it will.

PSA: Here is the updated Subway map if you need to travel within the city, but note that no power to the gray areas means that there are no stop lights, or electronic power of any kind.

Some thoughts to end the day with: Power to the Powerless

Today I saw the Forbes list of POWERFUL WOMEN who “run the world” (speaking of which, happy b-day Hil!). So, that’s cool, but… you may have also noticed their list of Richest People is still made primarily of white men, and women who inherited money and/or are in the Walton (that’s Wal-Mart) family.

Yesterday I saw Hyperallergenic’s list of the most POWERLESS people in the “Art World”. I would like to point out that this list is talking about the “commercial Art World”, whose perspective represents a few high-roller/internationally franchised galleries and fairs. And yes, I could be lumped into more than one of their top 20, corroborated by that ELF Audit I mentioned in the previous post.

While I agree with their statement about the unfortunate state of affairs for real Gallery Girls, due to the  “reality show of the same name [that] set [us] and feminism back at least 30 years.” Clearly, Bravo is the one with real power, at least when it comes to one’s 15 minutes of fame. (Note: this concept of your ‘moment in the sun’ came from Andy Warhol, btw, so – there’s that.)

However slighted, I was intrigued by this list, so I looked into their archive… Most of it is tongue-in-cheek, and funny-because-it’s-true, but then I came across their list from 2009 (I know, I know, people don’t even care about stuff that happened online an HOUR ago, but…) hear me out:

“#19 – Rosalind Krauss – we included her on this list because we couldn’t remember who she was and we were too lazy to Google her.”

WHAT?

So, first of all – a profound thank you to whomever programed that, oh, so cheeky site, Let Me Google That For You.

Secondly, these lists just re-affirmed that ALTHOUGH some of us want to live in a world that treats women, in fact all people, with the respect they deserve, the fact of the matter is we need to keep an eye out for traces of inequality all around us, and name it! #CTSummit

Maybe we have tried to WILL this into reality by practicing the power of positive thinking, to avoid seeming like bitter old maids or irrelevant hippies, but we’ve gotta be willing to sound an alarm and speak honestly when we see incidences of injustice. In a sense, that is exactly what this “powerless” article did. They just didn’t provide any solutions.

If we neglect to defend ourselves, and each other we can wind up in a backslide, nay, a reverse avalanche real quick. And who will we have to blame? No one, but ourselves, for the naiveté that tells us that women, men, and people of all races and creeds are treated the same. All we have to do is ride on any form of public transportation to see  that inequities are all around us.

However, we do have tools to advocate for the powerless, and opportunities to name our own power.

It is JUST as important to be honest about the inequalities that are pitted against us, as it is to look into the faces of those who have it worse.

I just have to say a quick shout out to Pat Mitchell, who certainly has more power than I do, but is such a rock-star in her keynote address, below, where she urges women to acknowledge their own power, and open their eyes to the powerless around them.

Do you feel like a strong, empowered woman who wont be stopped by negative stories told in media, or even propagated by other women? Well, if that is the case, I’d say: Put your money where your mouth is, and HELP a sister out. There are women all around us who need more power imbued upon them…


…And that is also why we should support PBS.

A party, not for reform, but for the over throw of Capitalism

The Peace and Freedom Party of California, founded in 1967, is committed to socialism, democracy, ecology, feminism and racial equality. We organize toward a world where cooperation replaces competition, a world where all people are well fed, clothed and housed; where all women and men have equal status; where all individuals may freely endeavor to fulfill their own talents and desires; a world of freedom and peace where every community retains its cultural integrity and lives with all others in harmony.

  • Double the minimum wage, and index it to the cost of living.
  • Guarantee the right of all workers to organize and to strike; forbid striker replacement.
  • Socially useful jobs for all at union pay levels.
  • Equal pay for equal work, and for work of comparable worth.
  • A 30-hour workweek with no cut in weekly pay; longer paid vacations.
  • Guaranteed dignified income for those who cannot work.
  • A Universal Basic Income to alleviate poverty and homelessness.
  • Tax the income and assets of the rich to meet human needs.
  • International trade agreements must guarantee the protection of workers and the environment in all participating countries; abolish NAFTA, GATT and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • End homelessness; abolish vagrancy laws; provide decent affordable housing for all.
  • Social ownership and democratic control of industry, financial institutions, and natural resources.
  • The United States should take the initiative toward global disarmament by eliminating nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.
  • Withdraw U. S. troops and weapons from other countries, and reallocate the resulting “peace dividend” for social benefit.
  • Abolish the CIA, NSA, AID and other agencies for interference in other countries’ internal affairs.
  • Convert from a military to a peace-oriented economy, with jobs for displaced workers.
  • Self-determination for all nations and peoples of the world, including Puerto Rico and all U. S. territories.
  • Defend and extend liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.
  • End discrimination based on race, sex, age, sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Restore affirmative action, guarantee full education and employment rights for all.
  • Abolish the death penalty.
  • No prison labor for private profit.
  • Support the right of working people to keep and bear arms.
  • Democratic elections through proportional representation; full political, social and economic rights for resident non-citizens.
  • Honor treaties with Native American nations; recognize California’s Native American nations. Defend and extend Native American rights and sovereignty.
  • Provide full free quality public education through university level. Teach the history of workers’ struggles and labor’s creation of society’s wealth and progress.
  • Full rights for all immigrant workers.  No human is illegal.  Stop ICE raids.  Stop jailing and deporting immigrants.
  • Restore and strengthen bilingual education.
  • Uncensored government funding for ordinary people to create and enjoy art.
  • Scientific and technological research to benefit ordinary people, not the capitalists.
  • Free high-quality health care for everyone, including birth control, abortion, pre-natal and childhood health care. No forced sterilizations.
  • Legalize marijuana, decriminalize drug use, and make substance abuse treatment freely available.
  • Give special attention to preventing epidemics of communicable diseases such as AIDS. Guarantee the rights of people living with AIDS.
  • Restore and protect air, water, land and ecosystems.
  • Promote conservation and develop solar and other renewable energy to replace nuclear power and fossil fuels.
  • End environmental racism: no toxic dumping in anyone’s back yard.
  • Massive development of public transportation available free or at nominal fares.
  • Outlaw clear cutting and protect remaining old-growth forests.
  • Promote an environmentally sound agricultural system which meets human needs and protects farm workers’ labor rights and standard of living.

*From http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/

Hey look at #7!

Originally ratified at the Green Party Convention
in Denver, Colorado, June 2000

 

1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process.

2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
All persons should have the rights and opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.

3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM
Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of nature, not separate from nature.  We must maintain an ecological balance and live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our planet. We support a sustainable society which utilizes resources in such a way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways that respect the integrity of natural systems.

4. NON-VIOLENCE
It is essential that we develop effective alternatives to society’s current patterns of violence. We will work to demilitarize, and eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments.  We recognize the need for self-defense and the defense of others who are in helpless situations. We promote non-violent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and will guide our actions toward lasting personal, community and global peace.

5. DECENTRALIZATION
Centralization of wealth and power contributes to social and economic injustice, environmental destruction, and militarization. Therefore, we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level, while assuring that civil rights are protected for all citizens.

6. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
We recognize it is essential to create a vibrant and sustainable economic system, one that can create jobs and provide a decent standard of living for all people while maintaining a healthy ecological balance. A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a “living wage” which reflects the real value of a person’s work.

Local communities must look to economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights; broad citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our “quality of life.” We support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation.

7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITY
We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as equity between the sexes, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We should remember that the process that determines our decisions and actions is just as important as achieving the outcome we want.

8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY
We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across these lines.

We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We acknowledge and encourage respect for other life forms than our own and the preservation of biodiversity.

9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to enhance ecological balance and social harmony. We seek to join with people and organizations around the world to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.

10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY
Our actions and policies should be motivated by long-term goals. We seek to protect valuable natural resources, safely disposing of or “unmaking” all waste we create, while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival. We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations who will inherit the results of our actions.

 

Ten Key Values of state and local Greens
There is no authoritative version of the Ten Key Values of the Greens.  The Ten Key Values are guiding principles that are adapted and defined to fit each state and local chapter.