Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Office damage downtown Napa at ArtistWorks

Office damage downtown Napa at ArtistWorks

Office damage downtown Napa at ArtistWorks

Posted: 25 Aug 2014 01:01 PM PDT

Inside our offices at the Napa Sawyer (Tannery) building shows white boards ripped from the wall, video recording sound panels thrashed from their fastenings and damaged computers and plants at ArtistWorks.

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Napa based elearning company quake damage

Posted: 25 Aug 2014 12:26 PM PDT

After stabilizing the mess and damage in our homes in Brown's Valley Napa, we turned our attention to the office/studio of ArtistWorks near downtown Napa. We had been here at 4AM yesterday because the alarm had gone off at 3:20 but we were too involved at home to get here sooner. It was dark when we arrived but we weren't overly concerned about structural damage because our office/studio was built in 1862! Our first concern was video recording equipment and employee computers, so we checked them all, illuminating the damage with flashlights. Luckily very little was lost. But didn't look at the teaching artist's photos on the wall until this morning! Their new positions speak volumes about the way we feel inside.

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Black Mother-itus

Posted: 21 Aug 2014 02:12 PM PDT

I think I'm coming down with a case of Black Mother-itus. I felt it as an inkling the moment I found out I was having a boy. Now, as a first time mommy to a perfect, precious, curious little black genius (no bias) I am starting to feel the dread that comes from knowing that no matter how many high priced schools I put him in, how often I breastfed him, how many wooden toys and bpa-free teethers he had, how many "I love you's" I say or kisses I give, it may not matter.

Because I live in a nation where the mere fact that he is a black man makes him so frightening, so threatening to others that they feel empowered to shoot first and ask questions later. I live in a nation where the color of his skin is considered a weapon -- regardless if he's armed or unarmed, guilty or innocent. Where he may be made to feel less than by officers "stopping and frisking" him on the corner and women that see him walking may move swiftly to the other side of the street because he "fits the description" …when the problem is in the description. I live in a nation where I will be afraid to send him out looking like his peers because a hoodie, or sagging pants, or a hat, or some kicks may just be enough for someone to decide he's "black enough" to deserve to die without a trial. Where I'm going to have to sit him down and explain that he can't do the same things as his white peers, because young boys of color even get suspended from preschools (!) at an alarming rate for the same infractions. And while little Billy can get away with swiping something from the corner store, knocking on a door unexpectedly, or even running around at night – my little Langston could be killed.

And I have to have these conversations at the same time as I teach him that he's a fantastic person, filled with endless possibilities, that he's bright and capable and a valued member of society. That he has an obligation to help humanity and that he's blessed and highly favored. That he comes from a long line of strong black men, men who were brave enough to fight for civil rights, strong enough to survive slavery, powerful enough to run nations. How do you do that at the same time as telling him he has to acknowledge that he's something to be feared?

I wanted to take my son to the march in LA on Sunday, to instill in him (even now) an activist heart, and show him how to have his voice heard in a democracy. But then reports of how to "best deal with the tear gas" made me decide to stay home. On TV we've seen cops armed like they are heading into Fallujah -- not Midwestern America -- using tear gas and flash grenades against citizens. Citizens. Citizens! I'm not saying all cops are bad (they definitely aren't) but calling people "fucking animals" and pointing loaded weapons in their faces isn't deescalating. It's demoralizing. It makes people feel that "if they are going to treat me like an animal, why don't I act like one?"

It's nobody's fault.

It's everybody's fault.

Check your privilege.

Acknowledge your lack thereof.

It's not an issue that started in Ferguson, or in Queens, or in Sanford or even on the BART in Oakland. The question becomes what do we do next, to change perceptions, to value lives equally, put fear to bed? And if there is something to be done, would we even care enough to do it?

I think I'm coming down with a case of Black Mother-itus.

And I'm scared to death there is no cure.

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Support for Ferguson

Posted: 20 Aug 2014 09:55 PM PDT

About 50 people gathered Wednesday evening in Port Townsend, Washington for a Mike Brown Protest. The protest was to show support for the people of Ferguson and get justice for Michael Brown. It was also to help raise awareness about police brutality in the United States. It is important for Ferguson and Mike Brown's family to know that people on the other side of the country support them and want justice to be served.

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