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Tuesday, September 9

  1. page Grace Schierberl edited When I was younger my parents instilled in me a sense of pacifism. Before the start of every scho…
    When I was younger my parents instilled in me a sense of pacifism. Before the start of every school year my dad would tuck me in, a ritual born in the innocence of childhood, and tell me to “fight with my words” rather than my fists. It wasn’t until last year that I learned he was bullied ruthlessly in grammar school for wearing thick correctional glasses.
    We are our surroundings. If our parent’s instill in us pride and respect at a young age, we develop that mentality as well. My parents aren’t perfect and by no means am I, but what I do admire them for is teaching me how to recognize an authoritative figure without feeling inferior to them. They delivered this concept by never grounding my sisters and I growing up; they felt it was an abuse of power. Rather, there was open communication for what happened, why, etc. And believe me, there were times when I deserved to be grounded. They weren’t easy parents and they still aren’t today, but I’d like to think I value communication more because of their parenting style.
    I consider myself an activist because I actively try to strengthen communication between people of different backgrounds and power dynamics. I found that the most challenging part of tutoring at Dexter Manor last semester was finding a common ground to relate to the students on. Then, I realized, we are all just people. We’ve all been hurt; we’ve all be jealous, excited, scared and nervous. Too often people forget that we are all related through basic emotions and once you tap into that you’ve tapped into something compelling and real.
    We are our experiences. This summer I worked as a waitress and on Tuesday and Wednesday nights the restaurant would host live music. The other day I found myself talking to Isaac, the thirty-or-some-odd year old keyboardist with jet-black hair and an eccentric persona. We starting talking about my tentative study abroad in South Africa and he told me about his friend’s experience there working on a neuroscience research grant with children who have AIDS. He was so envious of his friend’s experience because he knew she was doing something to directly save lives. He then followed with, “yeah, and what do I do? Play the damn keyboard”. He wasn’t looking for sympathy or compliments but I wanted to jump in his face and tell him that music saves lives too. It reminded me that the most basic gestures and the subtlest innuendos have the power to change someone’s day. It sounds cliché, but building solidarity and communities starts with a simple act.
    I decided to take this course on Global Activism because I admire the audacity Tom, Jenn and Nick have on creating a new course. I also want to be apart of its development. Last semester I fell in love with Justice Across Borders, a small class I took with several classmates who are taking Global Activism. Co-taught by Jim Tull and Nick it integrated community service with the curriculum and offered us the opportunity to bring our experiences back into the classroom to fuel discussion. The class delved into the most simple of questions with the most complex answers, relating to global solidarity, global homogenization, language, culture, the paradigms of power and more. I hope several of those discussion points are brought up in this class as well, as I'm sure they will be.
    We are what we eat. (Physically and psychologically). This doesn’t have much to do with activism, but I love to eat. I’m not the best cook, but I think our society takes for granted the importance of eating. I never did sit-down dinners growing up because one of us always had a sports practice or a music lesson but now I truly value the conversation and the bonding that associates with eating. I also am a sucker for reality-TV and game shows. Especially 'The Price is Right'--I find it addicting and exciting to watch; it's my guilty-pleasure.
    I feel inspired to get involved when I truly feel passionate about something. The root of ‘activism’ is to act, and as a procrastinator and pretty lazy, I have to be inspired and passionate about what I am getting myself to act upon. I agree with Klein from the Killer Coke Campaign article that emotions drive activism; personal experiences with the cause, family members who have endured something inhumane, etc. I have lived a comfortable life but I do feel strongly about fighting for gay marriage, as my sister is openly gay. I also feel strongly about public education. My town is adjacent to Connecticut’s capitol, Hartford, which as you may know already has a horrible public school system. West Hartford, where I live, has some of the best. When the concept of busing students from inner city Hartford to attend elementary school in West Hartford came up, parents protested and fought the idea down immediately. It disgusted me. We should be growing in solidarity with our neighbors, not waging a war against them.
    Finally, we are what we read. My biggest passion, even more so than watching trash-TV, is reading. The experience of reading transcends you to a place beyond your house, your town or your world. You are immersed in the lives of the characters and it teaches you how to identify with people and reminds you of basic human emotions. I mostly love reading because I love words. When I was younger my dad would walk me to my piano lessons and he would say long words and I’d have to tell him how many syllables were in it. I always got stuck on “Super-Cala-Fraga-Listic-Expi-Ala-Doshis”. Language is a powerful thing and learning about someone’s culture through the language they speak is extremely rewarding.
    I consider myself an activist because I am actively trying to experience more, eat more, read more, and most of all: do more. I'm excited about this class because I know it will offer the opportunity to act upon something we feel passionate about and it’ll remind us that to educate is to inspire.

    (view changes)
    8:40 am

Wednesday, January 11

  1. page Books & Articles edited ... Structuring Meetings Kessler, Council Fair Trade Trade-Off: interesting article highlightin…
    ...
    Structuring Meetings
    Kessler, Council
    Fair Trade Trade-Off: interesting article highlighting many of the issues we talked about throughout the semester
    (view changes)
    8:24 pm

Thursday, January 5

  1. msg Fundraising Ideas message posted Fundraising Ideas 1. I just realized i spelled Kristin's name wrong... who am I? 2. We had briefly discussed first …
    Fundraising Ideas
    1. I just realized i spelled Kristin's name wrong... who am I?
    2. We had briefly discussed first week back too and i think it's purrrfect. The sooner we get the McFadden's event organized, the faster we can get the word out and start advertising.

    I'll call tomorrow to see how they run these type of events and whether or not we can get that first Thursday night back.
    2:52 pm
  2. msg Fundraising Ideas message posted Fundraising Ideas So my post above was referencing the McFadden's night, but I'd be on board with something in Canton…
    Fundraising Ideas
    So my post above was referencing the McFadden's night, but I'd be on board with something in Canton too. Let's use that Irish network of yours Sig, and raise some money!
    12:45 pm
  3. msg Fundraising Ideas message posted Fundraising Ideas I think that sounds like a great idea, and a good place to start. It could be especially successful…
    Fundraising Ideas
    I think that sounds like a great idea, and a good place to start. It could be especially successful if we could get it together in time for the first week of classes--everyone will be pumped to go out and won't have work to worry about yet. Classes don't start for a couple of weeks, so it could be organized by then, right?

    The sooner we have a fundraising event/activity/something, the better. This could provide momentum and kick off the new semester in a fun way.

    FYI: I live about 30 minutes from Providence, so I'm available to help with fundraising stuff until the first week of February. I'm literally not doing anything that requires any kind of commitment, so I'm pretty free until I leave, and would be willing to do so more work with you guys until then.
    12:42 pm
  4. msg Fundraising Ideas message posted Fundraising Ideas Another idea that i discussed with my dad was to hold an event at the Irish Cultural Center in Cant…
    Fundraising Ideas
    Another idea that i discussed with my dad was to hold an event at the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, MA where we live. They usually have traditional music and bands on Friday's and Saturday's at their function hall. My dad was thinking we could ask to organize a music night for our trip.

    I still have to figure out the details of how the bookings and music works, but if we could do half of a set and share it with the usual band, i think it could work. I know Maria sings- you'll just have to learn some real Irish songs ;]

    The actual fundraising would work through donations, at the door or throughout the night. Again, i'd have to discuss that with the ICC. But if this is a direction we'd like to go in, all of the details can be worked out.

    Im not going to lie to you guys, this has the potential to be a HUGE success. My parents know a lot family and friends that are frequenters of the ICC, as well as people in the area that would be willing to come out and support a great cause. The good thing is, you do not have to be a member of the Cultural Center to go to weekend events, so anyone's parents, friends, and family could attend.

    I never realized how useful big old Irish connections could be... let me know what y'all think.
    12:34 pm

Wednesday, January 4

  1. msg Fundraising Ideas message posted Fundraising Ideas Kristen and I had been talking about the possibility of having a Thursday night at McFadden's fundr…
    Fundraising Ideas
    Kristen and I had been talking about the possibility of having a Thursday night at McFadden's fundraiser. We could work out a deal where we get a percentage of the cover charges or drink sales from that night. This would be a 21+ event so we'll need to think of other fundraisers that could be more inclusive/geared towards underclassmen.
    9:51 am
  2. page Fundraising edited I thought it might be a good idea to start getting the ball rolling with fundraising ideas to ensu…
    I thought it might be a good idea to start getting the ball rolling with fundraising ideas to ensure that we're on the right track upon our return.
    Here are three steps to help our planning process. Obviously this is not a very extensive plan, it's just something to get our creative juices flowing. Once we decide on more definite plans of action, the process will be more specific to that particular event.
    Step 1. Fundraising Ideas
    Step 2. Process necessary for the event to take place
    Step 3. Delegating tasks within the event processes
    Fundraising can be an exciting and rewarding experience, and above all, a great way for us to raise awareness. So lets get started!

    (view changes)
    9:16 am

Tuesday, December 27

  1. page Semester Reflections edited ... In the meantime, enjoy Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, and the Christmas season! Here in Casa C…
    ...
    In the meantime, enjoy Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, and the Christmas season! Here in Casa Ciplet, we celebrate all three... it's a big week!
    -Jenn
    Hi again everyone,
    I hope you are all having a nice holiday break. I wanted to check in again briefly about the class grade.
    After much shredding of garments and gnashing of teeth, you are all going to get an "A" for Global Activism this semester. Let me be clear that I am surprised with myself: I do not fancy myself a "let's give everyone A's!" kind of teacher. My favorite professor when I was in college had only given 3 "A's" in his 13 years of teaching. For him, an A was the mark of something truly extraordinary and exceptional, not what you get for minimally fulfilling requirements. I took 4 classes from him. The best I ever did was an A-.
    Also, tom asked that I make it clear that giving an A grade was my idea, not his. But he agreed to go along with me on it (thanks, tom).
    I was inspired this semester by your willingness to open up to the strangers in the class, to take leaps outside of your comfort zones with the personal material we asked you to grapple with (such as articulating your "political selves" and examining white privilege), the risks many of you took with the "invisible person" assignment, and with creating an authentic learning and activist community amongst yourselves. I think you learned how to work as a team, how to challenge each other and push each other to think of things more creatively and bigger and more structural than you might have done in a more traditional class. I noticed some of you really showed up for each other when it mattered. I noticed some of you allowing for the vulnerability that comes with speaking passionately, and from the heart, about issues you really care about in the world. Having heard your reflections, I think most of you learned some valuable things during our time together that will stick with you; that is, I think some of you--most of you, in fact--achieved some *real* learning. And for that I congratulate you and feel honored to have been part of it.
    However, it wasn't all rosy. Some of you drafted off your classmates all semester, and, frankly, you have them to thank for your "A." At different times, we collectively fell short of holding each other accountable, of checking in about where things were *really* at with one another and our responsibilities to the group, of speaking up when someone wasn't pulling her or his weight, of respecting our project and ourselves more than "being nice" in a surface "don't make waves" kind of way. Sometimes we didn't show up for each other. Or sometimes (okay, many times) we showed up late. Or ill-prepared. Or too tired to stay awake during a presentation. And we took advantage of the structure of the class and of the niceness of our classmates to the benefit of our own laziness and indulgence. For these reasons I agonized about whether to give the class an "A".
    At the end of the day, I felt that some of you had done an A's worth of work this semester, judging by our own criteria that we've discussed on this wiki and in person. I believe (and expect) these same folks will be doing an A's worth of work going forward, next semester and beyond, as volunteers who care about our project and want it to succeed.
    I would love to see some of you who fell short of solidly earning your "A" this semester step up for the project in the future. If you feel like you got an A and didn't earn it, there's still time to earn it. As with most things in life, there's no use in feeling "guilty" or "bad" about the coulda-shoulda-wouldas; rather, there *is* usefulness in changing behaviors starting right now that don't serve us in being who we wish to be.
    I know that you are capable of this: everyone in this class is 100% capable of doing the routine, thoughtful, collective work that needs to be done for our project to bear fruit. For me, the "A" grade is as much about giving a vote of confidence for our work together going forward as it is a reflection of what we've done together this past semester. We've chosen to do a 3-year project. All of us are owners of that decision. At the beginning of this endeavor, when the work is still hard and cloudy-seeming and the reward of achieving something concrete feels far away, I want us to have this vote of support and acknowledgement, to give us some momentum to lay the groundwork that is still needed to get our Equal Trade ideas to take real flight.
    I know we can do it.
    See you in 2012!

    (view changes)
    8:22 pm

Wednesday, December 21

  1. page Semester Reflections edited ... So, my self-assessment. I was talking with Tom a few days before break, and told him I was emb…
    ...
    So, my self-assessment. I was talking with Tom a few days before break, and told him I was embarrassed with my performance in the class. Though I knew somewhere in the back of my head that through my own passivity (which feels weird because I feel as though I was so active this semester, but just certainly not in this class), I was undermining the rest of the class's work, it stung a little to hear that self-evaluation firmly confirmed by him. And I really appreciated Tom's honesty. I should've done loads better. And I've really come to care for the people in this class (those of you I didn't already love simply because I didn't know you!), and (my words, not Tom's), I think it was incredibly disrespectful to you all that I didn't put forth more effort. Magali and Kristin were tireless. And also some of the busiest people I know. But they did it. Tom and Jenn (real people with lives outside of the PC bubble) came in each week with fresh ideas and invigorating, inspiring guidance. Everyone contributed in his or her own way. So why didn't I take better advantage of that momentum?
    I could say I was super busy, but that's a little pathetic. A lot, actually. Because everyone in our class was. And I think that ties into an evaluation of the class as a whole. It was comprised of students who by nature are passionate and possess a variety of interests and commitments. In other words, some of the busiest through their involvement in classes and activities. These were the people who felt drawn to this class. But I think such a class could really benefit from students who have more time and energy to dedicate to the themes, research, communication, and projects that a successful edition of this class entails. Bringing it back to me, I don't think I have a good excuse for my poor performance. My mom has this line she says when I don't do something I really should have done: If it were important enough to me, I would have made time for it. Which breaks my heart to say, because the implication this argument has on my participation in the class is awful. You all were important enough to me. You were! But why didn't I do this class better and treat it, and you all, with more respect?! Could it be that it wasn't that important to me?! I'm just not going to think that, because there's no way that's true. But my actions speak otherwise. So I'm stuck.
    ...
    it is.
    Thank you, guys. For your patience, for your concern, for your higher standards because you know I'm capable of doing better. I learned from each of you, and I'm grateful for all that I learned through our project, our discussions, and our time spent together. Have a great break!
    Thanks for this last push, everyone. The grades are in. I want to share some reflecting on that with you, but need to write that up here when I have some child-free moments to think and type. So, it might be a few days.
    In the meantime, enjoy Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, and the Christmas season! Here in Casa Ciplet, we celebrate all three... it's a big week!
    -Jenn

    (view changes)
    12:10 pm

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