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Looking at Radical Municipalism

I found inspiration in this article: How radical municipalism can go beyond the local. I recommend reading the whole piece, some clips below.

“In Seattle, the city council passed a law that would tax big companies like Amazon—money which would then go into subsidies for affordable housing. In Barcelona, the city is turning AirBnB apartments into social housing. Only local, democratic, and people-based movements can force politicians to bring transnational corporations to task. What we need to do now is learn from each other’s victories and work together to scale them up.

….we can grow our movement through struggle for important expansions of the public sphere (social spending, halting carbon emissions, public transit) and drawdowns on the most socially and ecologically destructive features of the state (the police, the military, prisons, border security, surveillance).

… Non-reformist reforms like nationalized healthcare, job guarantee programs, and public childcare can enable more working-class people to participate in neighborhood organizing and movement work. Putting public funds into cooperative development, social housing, public banking, and participatory budgeting can speed along our transition to a democratic economy.

… The mass organization of community councils, assemblies, tenant unions, labor unions, and cooperatives is what can (through its own growth) force governing elites to make the reforms we need right now, while creating the conditions for a more revolutionary restructuring of society.”

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Honoring the Homeless Community Leaders

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Every single person has gifts to offer. So many people in so many different life circumstances, dedicate their days and nights to giving their gifts and serving a greater good. My heart purrs deeply reading about these folks being honored and recognized for their service and fierce compassion.

“The awards centered on who in the BeLoved group (people who are living on the streets) has really shown leadership qualities and has been working on behalf of the whole community to create change.”

So much love and gratitude for BeLoved Asheville and the gracious souls ofAmy CantrellAdrienne Sigmon, and Ponkho Bermejo.

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Restorative Justice with Juvenile Cases


“Our system has proven woefully inadequate, so we can’t just keep doing what we’ve been doing.” Said Jimmy Hung Chief Prosecutor for Juvenile courts in King County (Seattle, Washington). He doesn’t see evidence that jailing them changes anything. He’s most concerned about a system that funnels teenagers through detention and sees most leave no better than when they arrived — sometimes far worse.”

Last week I got to catch up with an old friend and someone whom I deeply respect and am honored to learn from and with, Saroeum Phoung. Honestly, he blew my mind as he shared about the incredible work they are doing in King county… on a systemic level and impacting the lives of thousands of people. Below is more from the articles:

Prosecutor Hung and his colleagues in King County took a risk and began implementing Peacemaking Circles, a form of restorative justice, for both misdemeanor and felony juvenile cases, working with lead consultant (and phenomenal human being) Saroeum Phoung from Pointonenorth Consulting LLC.

“The peacemaking process promises a clean start in return for hard conversations, intensive self-reflection, empathy-building and public amends.

“What people don’t realize is that this restorative justice work is harder than going to jail!” – Saroeum Phoung.

Getting the teen to connect his victim’s experience with his own feelings for family had been an essential goal for peace-circle leader Saroeum Phoung.

“There’s a solid amount of kids that this won’t work for — kids who think ‘I’m a gangbanger, and that’s all,’ ” said Vincente, now 18, who was a senior at Ingraham High School when he threatened another student, over social media, with a semi-automatic weapon.

Vincente met with the mother of his victim.

“I saw a lot of my mom in her, and I really began to understand what my actions had done to their whole family,” he said. “I thought it was just going to be why I’m a bad kid, but it turned out to be about fixing my family, too, getting at the root of why I was struggling. That’s really what it’s about.”

“If we can see kids enter the system and actually come out better on the other end,” Hung said. “That’s what we should be striving for.”

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Homework Diner in Asheville


Feed your brain: Homework Diner program offers families dinner and academic support.

Such a beautiful offering and community collaboration. Yes!!

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Fund Grassroots Organizations Lead by People of Color

“We need to shift funding decisions from which orgs write the best proposal and have the best “capacity” and start considering factors such as do at least half their board members and the majority of their senior staff come from the communities they’re serving.”

Important article about Funders’ Role in Protecting Marginalized Communities During the Next Four Years.

Some recommendations gathered from speaking to leaders from marginalized communities, especially communities of color:

  • Assess how much you’re investing in organizations led by communities of color and other marginalized communities
  • Increase your payout
  • Change your priorities around how you select which orgs get funding
  • Stop listening to the siren song of “strategic philanthropy”
  • Take risks and accept failure. And do it faster
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Kids Have REALLY Good Ideas

This word art was created by the feedback that organizers and presenters gave regarding their experience participating in TEDxNextGenerationAsheville. It will be clear to you why I dedicated a huge part of 2010 to launching this initiative when you read their thoughts. The following are all responses from youth under 18 years-old except for the last one, which is from an adult.

What do you want people to know about TEDxNextGenerationAsheville?

  • I want people to know that sometimes, kids have really good ideas. Ideas that everyone can learn from, ideas MEANT for adults to listen to. And I want for the adults to listen. To be proactive, and help our generation (the next generation, that is) feel like we can make a difference in the world. I feel like that was the whole reason behind TEDxNGA in the first place, and I feel like it’s slowly becoming more and more noticed, respected, and listened to throughout the country. ~Xandy, Production Team
  • It’s a great thing for young people and something adults should encourage their kids to get involved with. I had a very transformative experience and I think other people could benefit just as much. ~Nate, Presenter
  • TEDxNGA is an expierience that is not so common in today’s busy world. We become so involved and focused with our own thoughts that is can be difficult to hear the voices of those who are below us- kids. Minors do not necessarily have a chance to always express their views in the world, but at the same time, they are not bound by the confines of the the larger world. They are able to think ‘outside the box’ and communicate the importance of many issues. TEDxNGA is an oppurtunity for that communication to take place, and is a forum for adults to hear youthful voices. It is truly an incredible expierience- one that I feel honored to have been a part of. Not solely because of TED’s name recognition, but because of the design. The guiding principle which has incredible value in our system of Government is exhibited on a local scale. The “Sharing of Ideas” is what makes TEDxNGA unique and an awesome expierience for all involved. ~Wyatt, Production Team

What part of your TEDxNextGenerationAsheville experience means the most to you?

  • The fact that kids controlled or at least had a great deal of input in what went on. ~Ceante, Production Team
  • The most important part to me for the experience was helping other peers my age get heard, and working with adults side-by-side. It was really awesome making the connections also. Oh, and brainstorming powers are like +1Billion for me now! ~Julien, Technical Director
  • For me the best part of the experience was the process of working with the NGA design team and the youth that were involved. The positive and fun supportive environment you created to offer all of us to imagine with our minds, heart and spirit wide open was one of the best processes for group collaboration I have participiated in for many years. Working with the young people in our community and watching them soar was very rewarding. EVERYONE on the team was included and felt part of the process. ~Eileen, Core Organizer

So I welcome 2011 with open arms and with a twinkle in my eye, ever more curious about how the precious seeds that we each harbor filled with passion, compassion, talent and inspiration will sprout in our communities and the gardens we can grow together when we are genuinely connecting with one another and working together towards our shared future.

My intro at TEDxNextGenerationAsheville 2010.

To learn more about TEDxNextGenerationAsheville, visit the website and read our recent newsletter.

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Risk-taking and Creativity

“Fostering risk-taking and creativity in children can ensure that they learn the basics of economics and independence—and develop a mentality of innovation.”

How do you foster risk-taking and creativity in your own life and/or in the lives of children or other adults? Please share.

A couple of organizations focusing on entrepreneurship with youth referenced in this article:

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