Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Healing for Democracy 2012, New Orleans

[Editor's Note: A chronological list of AICL's coverage of the shut-down of the Mexican American Studies classes at Tucson Unified School District is here.]

Yesterday, I wrote that I'll be in New Orleans this week at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation's Healing for Democracy 2012.  I spent some time on their website. The foundation is doing a lot for a lot of communities, including American Indians. Here's an excerpt from the press release for the event:
The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.
Two things in that excerpt stand out to me: "sovereign tribes" and "New Mexico." Recently, there was a gathering of Kellogg grantees at Santa Ana Pueblo. Watch the video and read about the work being done in my homelands.

This morning, I walked around the French Quarter. If you pay attention to racism and bias, you see it everywhere. Some of it is blatant, and some of the racism isn't obvious. In a bookstore, I flipped through a board book meant to introduce toddlers to the city of New Orleans:

In Hello, New Orleans! there's a page about plantations where "old fashioned" folks used to live.  I read the page several times. Is "old fashioned" code for racist?!

The book isn't meant for all children.... I think its audience is families who prefer not to talk about America's racist history with their children. Those of us who have children who must contend with racism every day... well, that book isn't meant for us. 

I wonder what Harry Bellafonte would say about it? Or, Lisa Delpit? Or Peggy Macintosh? They're three of the many people who will be speaking at Healing for Democracy 2012. I look forward to the next few days. Being amongst people committed to social justice and racial equity is very affirming and empowering.

More later.

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