Archive for the ‘Diversity’ Category

>A call for violence?

August 10, 2009

>Are these looney people who are disrupting the town hall meetings unknowingly (or knowingly) calling for violence?

Sarah Palin is right in there with them, with her completely made up “death panels” comments.

Here, Frank Schaeffer, son of evangelist Francis Schaeffer, says there is a coded message, “leaving a loaded gun on the table, the first person who wants to come along and use this, be our guest…”

And when it happens, as he says, it will be too late.

A sign at one Town Hall meeting said this: (h/t to Left in Alabama )

African American President
Latina Supreme Court Justice
Get Over It!
One thing I realized over the last few days is that there are rednecks all over the country. These particular rednecks are angry because their white world has been rocked. They have always been about violence to get their way, remember the KKK, so why would we not think they are advocating violence now?
However, we just have to wait and see how this plays out. In the meantime, the foolish racist republicans are making a laughing stock of themselves. A little therapy or medication could help to control some this immature acting out we are seeing. And their party continues to shrink…I mean, would you want to join a group that has no self control, and is angry all the time?
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>Diversity Education for Kids

July 6, 2009

>An article in Sunday’s Birmingham News described a new video that will be used in Birmingham Schools. The video was produced by Leadership Birmingham and features kids from area schools including Epic School and Alabama School of Fine Arts and Shades Valley High School.

The video will be used in a character education program to help teach values and morals.

Diversity is about more than just race, according to these children, who included sexual orientation and social standing and language differences as some of the issues that should be included when considering diversity.

“Diversity, I think, is too often confined to the limits of race and class,” said Anna Turkett, a student at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and member of Birmingham’s Youth Leadership Forum. “Racial differences these days don’t mean as much anymore.”

“We wanted a tool for teachers to have classroom conversation about diversity,” said Howard Bayless, a member of the leadership team who is corporate director of development for Bradford Health Services as well as a member of the Birmingham Board of Education. “Children typically listen to other children before they listen to adults.”

Diversity video to be used in character ed project for schools

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The group donated enough copies of the video for every school in Birmingham and plans to distribute copies to all surrounding school systems in Jefferson County.

“We hope they will choose to use it in their character education program as well,” Bayless said. “It can be the start of a great classroom conversation.”

Let’s hope that Bessemer uses the video in their school system, where it seems from anecdotal reports that homophobia is common among the students. Well actually, the student’s parents, but everybody could use some education and diversity training it seems.

>Town Hall Meeting: Western Tribune column June 3, 2009

June 3, 2009

>

A series of Town Hall meetings is underway in Bessemer in which the Mayor is informing the public about what is right with Bessemer as the residents try to point out what is wrong with the city.

Somewhat predictably, at the first Town Hall the mayor spoke of decreased rates of crime and increased new businesses in town and how blessed we are as a city.

But when we compare our neighborhoods to how they appeared five or ten years ago, we have to wonder.

Burned-out buildings and vacant houses dot the community. Sidewalks are empty, as fear keeps adults inside and adults keep their kids inside. Even with crime rates decreased in certain categories, with the types of crimes that are occurring, some are wondering about their safety inside their homes.

Some crimes may be related to the economy, but there is an underlying condition that contributes to crime and that is hatred.

People can like or dislike whoever they want and hatred itself is not a crime. When I was campaigning for city council I was amazed at the level of hatred that some voters of both races displayed as they told who they may or may not vote for and why.

Our president said during his campaign that “race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now,” and “that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice if we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.” He called for a national discourse on race. Let’s start now, in Bessemer.

When hatred is based on underlying characteristics, such as race or sexuality, and crimes are committed where that as part of the basis, whole communities are affected and the result is fear which leads to stagnation. People won’t invest if they don’t feel secure.

A loose knit group named Bessemer Equality on the social networking site Facebook has a vision of a community that values all of its residents. Those who are not Facebook members can become part of this movement as well.

One way would be to show up at the Town Hall meetings and let the mayor know that public safety and the image that Bessemer projects are much more important than ribbon cuttings and the never ending debate over pot holes in our roads.

End of column.

The Town Hall meeting will take place at Visionary Ministries at the corner of Dartmouth Avenue and 19th Street, at 6:30, on Thursday.