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Indigenous Youth Leaders & Man Camps

These indigenous youth are badass. So much important information here. Their analysis, leadership and journalism is powerful and clear. They have updates about Keystone as well as other significant things to be aware of. Worth listening to all 27 minutes.

Do you know any farmers in Nebraska?

Keystone XL Pipeline Update from the NoKXL Gathering 2017 in Kul Wicasa Territory -Lower Brule, SD.
Youth voices from:
Seeding Sovereignty
Indigenous Environmental Network
International Indigenous Youth Council – Denver Chapter

I did not know about “man camps” until these videos and their correlation with missing Native women. This is disgusting and unfortunately extremely easy to imagine a sex trafficking industry and violence surrounding temporary housing for oil workers. More about Man Camps.


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Largest HBCU in the Nation Loses 50 Year Old Political Science Department


Black folks are needed in politics and the power grabs that are happening in this country continue to be atrocious. Two conclusions that I jump to in reading this news.

NC A&T State University is the largest public HBCU in the nation. Its Political Science Department has existed for about 50 years. They just announced plans to collapse this department into another one. I imagine that move will, in various ways, involve a shift in power and resources. This seems intentionally manipulative to me. Especially in a state that appears to be the testing ground for government to explore how much they can get away with that impacts how society exists… without people noticing.

Derick Smith is a professor of political science and speaks highly of their department, “We’ve produced a lot of great students. We have a reputation for speaking truth to power, for strong advocacy and social justice. We still get students elected to office. A lot of them go on to law school.”

This move by A&T makes me think that those who currently hold power do not want black folks to be educated and wise in areas of political science. They want to disrupt social and educational systems that are addressing poverty, civil rights and civic engagement. It’s easy to jump to this conclusion as it follows the trends of US history, so many efforts to limit black folks from having access to education and participation in government.? And so one of my conclusions, black folks are needed in politics (for so many reasons).
. . .
?May we notice what is happening in institutions that shape society. May we shift the quality of leadership that holds power in these institutions. May we see more and more people stepping into this experiment of democracy and discovering if it’s possible to create a government that is accountable to serving the public interest of the greatest good.

Thank you Derick Smith for allowing the public to see that this is happening.
Thank you Joy Boothe for drawing my attention to this.
Article about this news
Derick Smith

BREAKING NEWS! After a 50 year history of serving the University, the State, Community and Nation as a highly credible, extremely competent, remarkably active academic department; the Department of Political Science and Criminal Justice at NC A&T State University will be COLLAPSED after this semester.

NC A&T State University, the largest public HBCU in the nation, committed to its “Preeminence 2020” goal of cultivating an environment of high civic engagement is dismantling its POLITICAL SCIENCE department.

The Margaret Spellings, Betsy DeVos, UNC Board of Governors trends continue. Long live the dismantling of the Academy; death to the NC A&T Political Science Department…death to the UNC Poverty Center…death to the UNC Center for Civil Rights…death to the NCCU Center for Civic Engagement…death to the ECU Center for Special Education….DEATH to the ACADEMY!

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Getting Involved in Politics

In past elections, I found people I trusted and followed their voting reccomendations. I voted. I “did my part” and that was that. I didn’t vote for Burr or Tillis but I also was not aware of who they were and what they were up to. And then I started waking up to the power grab happening in North Carolina and across the country. I began imagining what life could be like if rather than just voting, moral people were more involved in how our cities, states and country are actually run. Being involved is different than just having an opinion. I’m still discovering the ways to be involved that are right for me. It started with attending Moral Monday rallies. Starting to follow policy decisions and items up for votes. Then attending local city council and boards/commission meetings, making public comments to Council and at local community input opportunities, making calls to state senators and representatives, and having real conversations about these topics with family and friends. I’m learning and growing. I am grateful to all the people, especially our elders, who fought for the rights of our democracy to actually work to serve all people who live in this country… and who have always been engaged and active. I’m curious if more of us will join them and this American experiment in democracy will continue… or if it’s too late and we are too deeply embedded in a political structure run by wealthy individuals, corporations and interest groups that are acting as if this is a democracy.

“Burr topped the list with nearly $7 million in NRA support over his more than 20 years in Congress, according to the report.

Tillis, who has been in Congress for less than three years, ranked third on the center’s list, with more than $4.4 million in total support.”

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Historical Election Results

“The analysis that yesterday’s wins were just wins for the democratic party (dp) are lazy at best (really no analysis at all). We can go deeper. What’s real is a whole bunch of regular people created informed people’s platforms and demands for transformative public policy, and real people ran, and people power won seats (some supported by the dp and many if not most, I’d bet, who weren’t). People power won yesterday.

Y’all also know in many of these places it’s hard if not impossible to get on the ballot if you don’t run on one of the two parties’ tickets right? So don’t let the D fool you. Sometimes it’s simply a tactic and the actual dp don’t show up to support at all-ask just about any Black woman or marginalized person running. For serious.”
~  Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson

This is what allows democracy to actually work, when the government is made up of all different types of people who represent all the different types of people living on this land. This is what it looks like to have publicly elected officials that are not just white men, folks who will ideally be more prepared to look out for the best interests, the humane interests, of a broader spectrum of the public. AND… now that the elections are done for the moment in many of our towns, it’s time for us, THE PEOPLE, to pay attention to what they are doing and keep holding our elected officials accountable for moving towards more fairness, justice, and opportunities for all people to live humane lives.

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New to Being an Informed Voter

I am part of the masses who are JUST STARTING TO WAKE UP in regards to actively participating in the United States experiment in democracy. I believe democracy is a worthy experiment and thus I’m willing to play. I’ve always voted, usually in primaries and definitely in major elections. However I’ve not always been informed about who and what I’m voting for. I’m making a strong effort to change that. I believe if there is any hope in this country surviving in a way that is fair and respectful of all people who live on this land, it is going to take all of us with good hearts to PARTICIPATE (either in this current democratic system or in creating a new experiment).

ASHEVILLE — Early voting until Saturday. Election day November 7th.

What-if we all got involved in both voting and holding the elected officials accountable. What if we actually cared enough about where we live, who our neighbors are, and how those with power are yielding or not yielding their power. Are you willing to be part of this process? Both the voting and the after the vote?

As for who I’m voting for, I’m still not clear. I’m considering what combination of 3 people I think might work best together in ways that I think will be effective in our city. I know I’m voting for Sheneika Smith and most likely Kim Roney. I know I’m not voting for Gwen Wisler. There are aspects of Vijay Kapoor, Rich Lee and Dee Williams that I think our city needs. I’m voting no on the redistricting.

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Staying Engaged in Local Politics

Black_Lives_Matter_And_Occupy_Wall_StreetI’m at fault. For the majority of my 8 years of living in Asheville, I was not involved in government politics. I was absorbed in my own life and work and field of perceptions and not paying attention to the laws and policies being passed, enforced or not enforced locally. I paid my taxes, but paid little attention to how city officials voted or how city staff performed their jobs. I trusted that other people were paying attention while I was paying attention to other things. And here we are.

Now I wake up at 5am imagining how hotels could be transformed into affordable housing and staffed with the healers so prolific in asheville, folks providing services to those living in financial poverty instead of just financial wealth. I think about all these hotels that don’t pay a living wage. I think about the rapidly decreasing numbers of people of color in the city and the rapidly increasing numbers of white folks flooding in. And reading an article like this one, how our city manager and police chief wouldn’t step in to help when their help was requested, I have to reckon with the fact that I, and people like me, are at fault. We who are comfortable enough in our life bubbles rationalize not paying attention. That said, while I will take some of the blame. I won’t stop there. I won’t get stuck in my emotions, feel ashamed of my inaction, overwhelmed by the truth, and thus continue not to act, not pay attention, or not be involved.

I invite you to join me in paying attention and placing our hearts upon these issues in our city, if you aren’t already. We could really be a remarkable, model city for innovative solutions to some of the toughest challenges cities across the country are facing. Or we can be a beer, tourist city for white folks while increasing the numbers of children living in poverty and families living on the streets and move from the #2 most gentrified city into first place. The choice is made in each of our actions and inactions. My vote is for innovative, radical change that is rooted in moral actions that further the wellbeing of all humans, that looks at the nuances of our history and makes decisions about the future that take into consideration that history… and much more to this vision of what could be, but this post is long enough.

Article that inspired some of this sharing and reflection: Mt. Zion says hotel encroaching on church property

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Because we are wiser together…

FullSizeRender (1)Last week, 80 leaders in Chicago opened my heart and inspired me to dream a new dream about how organizing is possible in a city. The majority of these folks use conversation as a tool for invoking the wisdom of the people, and supporting the people in organizing themselves to see the change and action they know is necessary in their communities — creating safer and more just communities, creating opportunities for healing. This group of people included folks using the World Café, Peacemaking Circles, and Art of Hosting practices in school districts, classrooms, with law enforcement and youth, to increase child protective rights and trauma-informed behaviors, to bring about social and emotional learning and restorative justice.

Midway through the day, I offered a woven poem, streaming together quotes that had been said throughout the day into one collective expression. You will hear snippets from these leaders sharing stories of their work, Juanita Brown offering insight into the roots of The World Cafe, and meaningful conversations about what we are all learning and what we hear these times calling for.

Deep gratitude to Lina Cramer and Renee Jackson and all of your mates who have been building the capacity for this inspiring network of leaders over the last 10 years.

The workshop was: We Were Made for These Times: Becoming Wiser Together (invitation here).

Here’s an audio of the woven poem.

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