martes, mayo 30, 2006

the transformation of silence into language and action 

"i have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. that the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect … and of course i am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger … we can learn to speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to speak when we are tired. for we have been socialized to respect fear more than our needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence of that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. the fact that we are here and that i speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not differences which immobilizes us, but silence. and there are so many silences to be broken. "

Audre Lorde, 1980

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viernes, mayo 19, 2006

Celebrating Sonia Nieto's legacy... 

Sonia Nieto retires. It came as a surprise... how can she leave UMASS? What will follow her trail in support of multiculturalism?

Seeing Sonia moving on shakes the predictable image of my educational foundation. It was in the 80's when in graduate school she would be presenting a challenging concept of multiculturalism in a forum in which Bilingual education was nurtured. Luis Fuentes was there then patiently supporting her and all of us who are committed to community participation and decentralization. It was him today who told me of the retirement party and symposium taking place early next month. I look forward to the occasion to glance at her legacy and hopefully see old friends.

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viernes, mayo 12, 2006

Reflection about reality and the meaning of it all 

an ongoing review that of reality and meaning. It must be due to my search for work in the physical world, the one that for the time being steers me back into the metaphysical... but that quest for enlightenment is not what I had in mind to start with in this post.

No. I had in mind a "mundane" comment that schooling for the privileged is, as stated by Chomsky an issue of access to "high culture"... which should be available to everyone. He goes as far as to say that:

"(t)here is no reason why working people should be deprived of those opportunities today, and it has nothing to do with whether they should be also given the kind of training which will allow them to enter the economic system. You can do both."*

Unfortunately education does not directly lead to entry into the economic system, and access to knowledge as a "high culture" is unavailable for survival.

The issue about different returns for education according to demographic characteristics remains. Not to say that the aesthetics of high culture are not intrinsically valued by the working class.. of course beauty is desirable... but so is greed for some. And then, how can we value all, including simplicity and protect the right for survival, to start with and nurture growth as a humane act.

*Interview: Noam Chomsky in Thought & Action, Vol. XXI, Fall 2005. 93-102.

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martes, mayo 09, 2006

An awards celebration 

I got the following e-mail a while ago:

The Men’s Resource Center for Change (MRC) will be holding its Tenth Annual Challenge & Change Celebration on Sunday, May 7th. The dinner provides an opportunity for Pioneer Valley community members to come together to recognize a man, woman and young man who are making significant contributions to strengthen the social fabric of our community and society. The dinner also serves as a celebration of the work being done by the Men’s Resource Center itself.

This year, the MRC is honoring Luis-Orlando Isaza of Holyoke Community College for his leadership as a social change educator and activist; Felice Yeskel of Class Action for her commitment to breaking down class barriers; and Raul Matta of the American Friends Service Committee for his efforts as a peace builder and peer educator.
I decided to go celebrate Orlando's and Felice's work. I was glad I did! About 300 people were there to hear each of these amazing social activists reflect on their life. Felice made an interesting analogy between money and energy... and how she is not afraid to speak about class issues... that is actually her expertise. I realized that in the discourse of social justice there must be the oppressed, and if I accept the discourse... I really end up oppressed... so I deny the discourse as a means of liberation. Orlando talked about his story with abuse and his transcending it with love. It was nice to celebrate with these friends whom I've known for many years. Looking at the audience I recognized a handful of people which brought about a bittersweet sense of my being in foreign ground- a usual sense.

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