9/30/11

Presenting Artists Featured in the War Voices Art Show October 7th in D.C.

Presenting Artists Featured in the War Voices

Art Show October 7th in D.C.

As a part of our forum on October 7th in Washington D.C., War Voices will be bringing together a collection of film and artwork from the U.S. and Afghanistan that addresses the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan, Afghan women’s thoughts on the issues that affect them, the relationship of the current occupation to previous wars there, ideas for reconciliation between veterans and those whose land they occupied, and the stories of war resisters in both countries.

St. Margaret's Episcopal Church1830 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC

Featured artists include:


Basir Seerat
Seerat is an Afghan photographer and member of 3rd Eye, a film and photojournalismcenter based out of Kabul. Seerat graduated from Kabul University in 2005 with a Fine Arts degree from the Department of Theater and Cinema. In 2005, he was kidnapped by the Taliban in the Nuristan province while making a documentary film about the lives of women in that region. He escaped from the Taliban after 10 days. See his website here.

Farzana Wahidy
Wahidy is a photojournalist from Kandahar, Afghanistan. In 2004, she began working for Agence-France Presse, making her the first Afghan photojournalist to work for an international wire service. Her photographs document daily life in Afghanistan. A graduate of the photojournalism program of Loyalist College in Ontario, Canada, Wahidy later joined the Associated Press news agency and has won several awards and recognitions, including from the All Roads Film Project and Photography Program sponsored by the National Geographic Society in 2008.Another of Wahidy’s projects, Life for Women in Afghanistan, allowed her to create a film about women in Afghanistan intended for Afghan, rather than Western, audiences.

Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative
Justseeds is a decentralized network of 26 artists working from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico and committed to making print and design work that reflects a radical social, environmental, and political stance. The War Voices art show will feature highlights from thesoon-to-be-released portfolio that Justseeds has created with Iraq Veterans Against the War for their Operation Recovery campaign. The portfolio includes pieces on PTSD and profiles of current war resisters, including Travis Bishop.

Laimah Osman
Osman is a New York City based artist. In her work, Osman appropriates pictures from newspapers, primarily depicting The War On Terror that followed 9/11/2001. Ten yearslater she continues to archive and manipulate pictures from the ongoing wars in Central Asia. She uses this imagery as a starting point…drawing, and using collage to erase the existing picture and reframe the image to form new narratives. She states: “…On a basic level, pictures are a way for me to connect to Afghanistan, my country of birth. They are a way for me to bridge the great physical distance between my current home and my past. I search the picture and look for clues that trigger memories and my imagination. Physical distance is hard, an absolute, but psychological distance is soft and can travel great distances and time.”

9/21/11

Good Morning and How ARE you?

I crossed the street yesterday and saw my favorite crossing guard and smiled and said, "You are the only person that ever says hello to me and smiles at me!", I was so flattered!! It made my whole week to hear him say that. All along I had thought it was me benefiting from his warm greeting every morning. Acknowledging others is truly a healing experience for all involved.

Living in the city and right across that same street from where this crossing guard works, I get the privilege of hearing this guy whistling that whistle all morning long as I get ready for work. I'm scrambling eggs for Nora's French toast and I hear him whistling, I juice my veggies for the day, I hear him whistling, I get out of the shower, whistling, whistling, whistling. When I pass him on the way to work I always make sure to smile at him and say good morning just to see his bright smile.

Smiling and saying good morning is not just polite, but it's a way of coming back to this moment, right now, to the person standing right before me. We must not take things for granted, for that is what often happens when all is right in our own worlds and we go about our day only addressing the people closest to us. Yet, there are plenty of people who exist amongst us who may be dealing with some very real and serious issues at that moment and it's important to be present and aware when around people. Too often, we walk right past people we may not have direct connection with and never think to engage them.

When I was younger and without children I remember living in a very closed world. Although I was a Kindergarten teacher, I could not relate to any parents at all. I could not figure out why the parents I was working with were always late to events, why they came across so irresponsible, they always had all kinds of excuses, they were always talking about their kids nonstop. Oh, I knew parents. I had my idea of 'parents' in my head and any and all my interactions with them were filtered though these preconceived and very ill conceived notions of what a parent was all about. When we first became pregnant 7 years ago, my husband realized HE had been ignoring a whole segment of the population too. I remember him admitting to me in a surprised tone that he never noticed pregnant women until WE ourselves got pregnant. Imagine that!

I have found that, by default, I often ignore whole population of people whom I THINK I don't have anything in common with. Unfortunately, this behavior is not uncommon. For example, I grew up around a mom with a very heavy accent. Although she speaks and understands English beautifully, I noticed how, all through my life, the minute strangers heard her broken Spanish accent, some people tended to be immediately rude or disrespectful to her. It was appalling to see people treat my mom as if she were stupid just because she had a thick Spanish accent.

Part of my daily Buddhist practice is to work at being in the moment with people and working to see people as they present themselves to me at the time. I consciously work to avoid judging people and situations based on external or disconnected factors such as gossip or other's experiences of them. The larger aim of this daily practice is to genuinely experience life and not react to merely our disconnected thoughts about life, people and situations. It sounds awfully simple and elementary, but I've been working on it for a while and it's a daily practice.

It has always been my lifelong belief that if we all knew what each other has been through in our lives, what each has experienced and lived, we would have deeper understanding in all our relationships. Seeking true understanding of people and their intentions has been a very healing path for me. Even in dealing with negative people, I find the practice of understanding helps me grow beyond this need to change the external. The way I have figured is that people are perfectly allowed to have their own misunderstandings of me; life goes on. To not have to ponder, worry and try to change other's understandings and to only worry about my own understanding has been quite liberating.

What whole segments of people do we walk by each day and not see, not notice, not acknowledge? What whole sections of the population do we think we already know all about, yet have not spoken to?

9/14/11

DC Parent Power Meeting September 29 6-8pm



DC Parent Power Meeting

If you’re an education advocate living in and around DC, you are invited to join DC Parent Power or to come to one of our meetings. DC Parent Power looks for common ground for civic engagement around public education in the District.

Meeting Information:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

6:00-8:00pm

Thurgood Marshall Center (directions below)


Directions:

Thurgood Marshall Center (the historic YMCA building)

1816 12th St. NW

Conference Room 1/ first floor

2 short blocks south of the U/Street Cardozo yellow/green metro

(Street parking available, but scarce as it gets later)

This is the third gathering of a group of DCPS parents, educators, State Board of Education Representatives and education advocates coming together to improve public education by re-engaging DCPS, District government education agencies and elected officials with the major constituency who use the schools.

City families, teachers & all interested community members

are welcome and encouraged to participate

We initially came together inspired by the National Save Our Schools event on the Mall and Save Our Schools conference this summer. The initial gathering indicated strong sentiment for bringing together various pre-existing DC education advocate groups and voices throughout the city as well as:

· Authentic public engagement

· Transparency at all stages of policy development

· Less emphasis on standardized testing

· Richer/ well rounded curriculum

· Strong backing for public education, as opposed to increasing privatization

· Decreasing racial and economic school segregation

· Use of proven methods in all levels of school reform

· Equitable funding for all Wards

If interested in attending, RSVP Miriam Cutelis at Miriam.Cutelis@yahoo.com.

**Feel free to forward this invitation to other individuals or groups who might be interested.

9/13/11

9/8/11

We need heroes to help us figure out who we want to be....

In trying to teach my 6-year-old son about flexibility, a philosophy very much at the heart of Buddhist teachings, my husband and I often talk to him about 'the kind of person you'd like to be' and how that is inextricably connected to your actions, your words, your thoughts. 

This week I find myself bracing these very simple advice as I attempt to navigate lots of intense personal decisions. My decisions are made easier by weighing each decision against the ideals of who I aim to be. But where do these ideals become come from? I find that only in experiencing our own personal heroes are we then able to firmly know what we aim to become. Who are your children's heroes, who are yours?

My heroes: (not in order of importance)
Monique: Monique was a woman I worked for as a teenager. I cleaned her house and helped her with her garden. But she was much more than an employer. At a time when there was amazing turmoil in my home her house was a sanctuary from all that. Personally, she also saw something in me that I did not think existed in me at the time; beauty. I aim to be every child's Monique every day. I want to show every child their own beauty and worth and treat them with that same level of respect I received from this friend who has long passed. 

My mommy: My mom has to be the most creative and inventive woman I know. There is nothing this woman cannot do or learn to do. I also greatly admire her ability to envision what she wants and to make it happen. Every time I have moved into a new place I have been able to use those same skills to envision my future space and not rest until my vision and the space matches. I have seen my sister do this as well, so I know we both have this gift from her. 

My husband: In trying to respect my hubby's privacy, I'll just say that he's never given me bad advice. He's a great example of how if you surround yourself with wise people, with pure and loving intentions only great things can happen. 

My Friends: I have amazing friends from all walks of life, all ages, whom I deeply respect. Each have such strong, varied and positive qualities, I love each one dearly. From each I take away what I admire and emulate some of their ways and ideas into my life. 

Some others: I have tons of other heroes in my life....Naomi Wolfe, author of The Beauty Myth, a life changing book. Katie Byron, another author of life changing books. Howard Zinn, the historian who recently passed away, he is such an inspiration.  

All that I like about these people live within me for the qualities I admire in them come together to create an image of who I aim to be.....who do you admire?




9/6/11

Tonight's juicing adventure

....I used 1/5th red cabbage, 15 carrots, 2 garlic cloves, 1 whole lemon, 1 whole broccoli head/bunch, 2 thum-sized ginger, 3 apples, 2 peaches. It made 5-6 cups of juice....it was amazing!
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