29 August 2009
Please consider emailing or calling today to express your support of a
public art piece that fosters community dialogue and highlights the
thoughts and opinions of marginalized voices. Below you will find a sample
Yesterday I received a call from the Chief Operating Officer of the DC
Dept of Parks and Recreation (DPR) and the DC Commission on Arts and
Humanities requesting that I remove the temporary art installation I
installed 3 weeks ago, with written permission from DPR and paid for with
funding awarded by the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities and a MICA
Community Service Fund grant. The work is installed in the park at 14th,
Oak and Ogden Streets NW Washington, DC.
For this piece I interviewed 60 community members who live by the park
about their feelings and thoughts on their relationship to the park and
community safety. I worked with a team of volunteers to paint and
transcribe selected text from the diverse answers found in the interviews
onto the slats of seven wooden benches.
The artwork critically examines the use of public space in an urban
setting. Through the physical manifestation of the text painted on the
benches privately expressed opinions are launched into the public realm.
The differing views and experiences expressed lay side by side to confront
and co-exist with the assumptions, stereotypes, and lived realities of the
people who choose to spend time in the park, who steer clear of it, or
those who have felt pushed out.
I was told that one neighbor of the North Columbia Heights Civic
Association has been very vocal to Council member, Jim Graham, about her
displeasure with the installation of the piece. Don't let the voice of one
drown out the many represented in the artwork. I have a petition signed by
58 neighbors and DC residents endorsing the installation of the work in
Please call or email Adrian Belinne, Chief Operating Officer of Dept of Parks and Recs, and CC Council member Jim Graham, and Lamont Harrell, Director of Partnerships and Development at DCCAH:
Adrian Belinne (202) 341-8367 email@example.com
Jim Graham (202) 724-8181 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lamont Harrell (202) 724-5613 email@example.com
Dear Adrian Belinne,
I am writing to express my support of the public art installation located
at 14th, Oak, and Ogden Streets NW. I do not want it removed. Public art
that encourages dialogue and uplifts marginalized voices plays an
important part in democracy and civic engagement.
If the issue around this temporary public art installation continues to be
a problem I would like to recommend community mediation or community
conferencing be utilized to bring neighbors together to seek a solution
amenable to all parties. Thank you.
Sample phone message:
I am calling to express my support of the public art installation located
in the park at 14th, Oak, and Ogden Streets NW. I do not want it removed.
Thanks for your help!!
I have been to several Asian supermarkets, but none quite like this one. It was very small and super-friendly. Goods were piled floor to ceiling! Prices were half what I pay at the larger American grocery stores. It was absolutely amazing! I bought dumplings, vegetable buns, ginger candy, and sesame crackers. Katti bought several items, including a large pumpkin and a whole fish (eyes still attached).
When we got back to her house, she made the most wonderfully delicious meal! It's called, ginataang kalabasa at sitaw ,or pumpkin and vegetable curry in coconut milk over rice. (Best when eaten while listening to Filipino music!)
The ingredients included, in cooking order:
kakang gata (coconut milk)
sitaw (string beans)
Kalabasa and sitaw get soaked and cleaned, while Katti cuts up sibuyas.
I helped cut up the pumpkin. I chopped it up like one would chop up a cantelope: large 1 inch cubes, off comes the rind and out come the seeds. The kitchen smells of Halloween and toasted pumpkin seeds!
The pumpkin gets tender while swimming in kakang gata with kamatis, bawang, and sibuyas.
A sprinkle of sili. It begins to bubble and thicken!
Katti adds the sitaw and stirs it up.
Jasmine rice completes the dish.
The pumpkin is so tender, it melts in your mouth!
Thank you, Katti, for introducing me to this fabulous Filipino cuisine!
I can't wait to come and visit you again, soon!
22 August 2009
Here is our reading list for June - August:
Savage Inequalities, Jonathan Kozol
Amazing Grace, Jonathan Kozol
The Careless Society: Community and Its Counterfeits, John McNight
A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education, Ira Shor & Paulo Freire
Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals, Saul Alinsky
Classroom Discipline 101: How to Get Control of ANY Classroom, Craig Seganti
You Can Handle Them All: A Discipline Model for Handling 124 Student Behaviors at School and at Home, Robert L. DeBruyn & Jack L.Larson
Activists Speak Out, Marie Cieri & Claire Peeps
Mixed Blessings, Lucy R. Lippard
You Should Have Been Here Yesterday, Elaine Eff
Make the Impossible Possible, Bill Strickland
Doing Oral History, Donald A. Ritchie
Radio: An Illustrated Guide, Jessica Abel and Ira Glass
17 August 2009
Medford is where Doug was born and raised, and where I spent a year living and working before going back to school. It's also where some of my best--and most creative--friends live: Emma, Sandy, and Ivy Klingbeil.
One of my jobs while living in Medford was working at The Flower Gallery with Emma and Ivy's uncle (Sandy's brother-in-law), Steve. It would be Steve and I in the store from 8am until 4pm daily: rain, snow, sleet, or hail. And, we had a blast--I don't think I have laughed so hard for so long with another person. I would change out the shop's window displays and he would deliver flower orders. He taught me everything I needed to know about flower arranging. People from town would stop in to chat. Working with Steve was engaging and challenging, but always fun!
Steve passed away one year ago--almost to this date--in August of 2008. Steve and I had this running joke about this ballerina snow globe that he always placed out in the shop during the holidays, but it would never sell. Steve always wondered if she ever got too dizzy, as she was spinning all the time. After I moved away from Medford, he sent it to me for Christmas. Then I sent it back to him on his birthday, and he sent it to me on my birthday, and so-forth-and-so-on . . . When he passed away, it was found in his shop. So, Sandy sent it to me.
I took the snow globe with me to Medford, last week. I decorated it with some fabric embellishments and wrote a note to Steve with gold paint pen on the glass. I placed it on his tombstone. There it sits, and there it stays.
Rest in peace, friend.
08 August 2009
How does flying around in the air help control crime? What could they possibly see better from the sky? Why do they target certain areas of the city more than others? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have more policemen on the ground than in the air? Does shining a bright light into people’s windows as they are trying to sleep really help to solve crime? On average, how many people are actually caught using these helicopters, compared with the people caught by policemen working on the ground?
WISEGEEK.com: The slang term “ghetto bird” is used to describe police aircraft which patrol low income and minority neighborhoods in urban regions. Ghetto birds may be used in active policing to track suspects and assist officers on the ground, or they may be used as a form of deterrent, to remind citizens on the ground that they are being watched. Some people object to the extensive use of the ghetto bird in urban environments, arguing that they are used to target racial, ethnic, and political minorities, rather than being a legitimate law enforcement device.
A ghetto is any region where minorities are forced to live due to economic, legal, and social pressure. Predominantly black neighborhoods in the United States are often used as an example of a ghetto, with a population which feels pressured to live in the neighborhood by anything from restrictive covenants to the disapproval of residents in wealthier areas. Ghettos are often characterized by very limited upward mobility, poor living conditions, increased crime rates, and limited access to education, health care, fresh food, social services, and other things which may be widely available in other neighborhoods.
This slang term is a play on words, refering to helicopters as birds, and the idea that the only bird which can thrive in the ghetto is an artificial one. Helicopters are ideally suited to urban policing because they are very easy to maneuver, and they can be utilized in a variety of ways. A ghetto bird may casually sweep back and forth looking for signs of trouble, or it may track suspects, often with the use of spotlights. Ghetto birds can also hover very low, which can cause noise pollution.
For residents of neighborhoods that are widely considered to be ghettos, ghetto birds are sometimes viewed as oppressive and obnoxious. The noise pollution caused by low-flying aircraft is especially irritating; with citizens arguing that noise pollution of the level produced by a ghetto bird would not be considered acceptable in wealthier neighborhoods. The routine use of a ghetto bird for patrolling may also be perceived as racial or economic profiling, with the helicopter flying under the assumption that the neighborhood is crime-riddled because of the minority population, and therefore in need of intensive police patrols.
For police, helicopters can be very useful law enforcement tools. Officers on the ground value the use of a police helicopter for backup, as the helicopter can quickly track suspects and provide assessments of the surrounding area. In routine patrolling, a helicopter can patrol a much wider area than a police officer on the ground, increasing police coverage of neighborhoods where the crime rate is higher. However, the use of helicopters undermine community-policing initiatives by rankling the residents.
Ice Cube's song "Ghetto Bird" clearly displays the sentiments felt by targeted neighborhoods.
"Why, oh why must you swoop through the hood
like everybody from the hood is up to no good.
You think all the girls around here are trickin
up there lookin like Super chicken
At night I see your light through my bedroom window
But I ain't got shit but the pad and pencil
I can't wait till I hear you say
"I'm going down, mayday, mayday."
I'm gonna clown, cause every time that the pigs have got me
y'all rub it in with the flying Nazi
military force, but we don't want ya
Standin' on my roof with the rocket launcher
"So fly like an eagle."
But don't follow us wherever we go
The shit that I'm saying, make it heard
Motherfuck you and your punk-ass ghetto bird"
06 August 2009
Doug turned 35, and it was the first time I have missed his birthday. No one was there to make his day festive, boo-hoo . . . And, on top of that, he had to work.
So, I sent him a cake. A beautiful cake made by my friend, Brantley.
And what a lovely green goodness it was . . . Enjoy!
03 August 2009
I will be the new Festival Instructor for Wide Angle Youth Media, beginning in September. The students at this site are awesome: always working towards the betterment of their community!
Wide Angle Youth Media is a 501c3 non-profit that provides Baltimore youth with opportunities to tell their own stories using video technology, public speaking, and critical thinking skills. Through after school programs, community events, an annual Who Are You? Youth Media Festival, and a youth-run television show, Wide Angle strives to make media make a difference.Wide Angle Youth Media serves more than 500 youth and 10,000 audience members each year. They offer workshops, presentations, and community events for youth in grades 5-12, and their communities of educators, families, and supporters.
Make media. Make a difference!!