Thursday, December 9, 2010

The good, the bad, the ugly-- and the shining moments

 I like being busy but I must say that the last two weeks have really been over the top. Just to get caught up with my readers, I'm tossing out a mix of personal and political in this post, then I can be back on track..

First, it is quite likely that some time within the week, I''ll be posting an apology to Springfield Technical Community College for any information that I incorrectly portrayed in my post about their Rosa Parks Day event.  That post is no longer on my blog, but I'll probably be putting it back up so there is some context to my apology.  I am waiting for a response to my request for a meeting before I apologize, so that I can be sure of just what I got wrong.  Meanwhile, one STCCer called me up to yell at me, and I've received emails from two different STCCers, one challenging my political integrity and the other blasting me for my lack of professionalism.  Well, I've never said I don't make mistakes, so I'll keep you updated on this one.

Second, I'm pretty sure the feral cat I've been feeding is dead.  I was on my way out of town on Sunday and saw a gray cat dead by the side of the road only about a block from the abandoned house where it hangs out.  I was telling my older daughter about this, and she took that opportunity to reiterate her belief that it's bad to feed ferals, that instead, I should have captured the cat and taken it to some place where it could be humanely euthanized.  Once again, I could be wrong and she could be right, but that wasn't the choice that I made.

So that's the bad stuff.

Good stuff: we had an Open House/Holiday Party at Arise this evening, and I give it a 9.5 on a scale of 1 to 10.  Lots of folks came, we had plenty of food, Bill brought a guitar and led kids in a sing-a-long, and we had enough prizes from the dollar store to make just about everyone happy.  One sad thing: almost everyone I talked to tonight had recently lost a job or was looking desperately to find one.  There won't be much under the Christmas tree for most of these kids.  But tonight we were family.

More good stuff: while we were getting ready for the party, Springfield City Councilors Mike Fenton, John Lysak and Melvin Edwards  were holding a press conference with representatives from various neighborhood councils, saying that on Monday, they plan to reconsider Palmer Renewable Energy's permit to build a biomass incinerator in Springfield.  Eighteen months of community organizing may be starting to pay off!  You can read Peter Goonan's story on MassLive.  My favorite quote is Ward Two Mike Fenton saying,
“This is an issue second to none on my agenda.”  I don't know yet if the work of Stop Toxic Incineration in Springfield is finished, but I know we're giving it our all.  If you don't want to live in a city with air even more polluted than it already is, get yourself down to City Council Monday night and help get some of these councilors off the fence.

To add to the opposition, the presidents of Springfield, American International and Western New England Colleges have come out against the plant and have let Mayor Sarno and Council President Jose Tosado know so in a letter!

I've been a community organizer for a long time, and my main interest has always been the rights-- and the empowerment-- of poor people. I suppose being poor myself  hasn't hurt my allegiance to the cause.  But the most successful campaigns Arise has been involved in are those that affect everybody-- poor people most of all, but ultinately all of us.  Ward representation is the best example.  The poorest areas of Springfield were never successful in electing a city councilor under the at large system.  And yet, no neighborhood was represented under the old system.  Only ward representation could change that, and everyone in the city has benefited.  And now, it's the ward councilors who are leading the way in protecting this community's health.  Win or lose, I'm proud of them .

The ugly: Four doors down from Arise's storefront is a Christian coffeehouse called Holy Grounds.  A church bought the entire building about a year and a half ago, and they've done a wonderful job turning the ground floor into a coffee house with a little stage, books on the wall, a serving bar, round tables and some comfortable chairs. I've stopped in a few times because we like to know our neighbors, and the minister has been down to our office once or twice. Our conversations have been innocuous because we haven't appeared to have much in common, but nothing in our exchanges have rung any warning bells, either.

This weekend, WMA Jobs with Justice posted the following information on the AriseAction listserve.  Check out the links.

In the latest edition of Intelligence Report, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that Scott Lively lives in Springfield.  Here’s an intro to him:  Abiding Truth Ministries is at 455 State St, Springfield MA 01105; PO Box 2373.Springfield MA 01101; (413) 301-0918; and

Lively claims Hitler and his inner circle were gay and that homosexuals helped mastermind the Holocaust. He’s also linked to the murderous Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill.  

“In 2008, Lively started the Redemption Gate Mission Society, a church that seeks to ‘re-Christianize’ the city of Springfield, Mass., where he lives.” The specific target is mapped at Redemption Gate Mission Society:  Redemption Gate and its Holy Grounds Coffee House are at 455 State Street too, and (413) 250-0984 and
Take a look at who they have speak:

Shiny moments: my younger daughter and her husband are less than a month away from having a baby.  I'll be a grandmother for the second time in twenty-two years!  They decided not to know the sex of the baby beforehand-- the way it used to be-- so I'm eagerly waiting to know if I have another granddaughter or my first grandson.

My first granddaughter is from my oldest daughter, and I want to take a moment  to say how proud of her.  She does closed captioning for the hearing-impaired, reads non-stop, and is one of the most well-informed and solidly progressive people I know.  This fall, she's given it her best shot to qualify for the Boston women's roller derby team!  She's always loved to skate and had a childhood dream of being on a team that apparently persisted somewhere in the back of her mind.  So when she heard the team was recruiting, she became "fresh meat" and practiced twice a week with other fresh meat and with the "dames."  She made the first cut but not the second, which is almost OK, because she says she's never been so sore and bruised in her life.  (She got a black eye the first week of practice.)  But she's made lots of new friends and will stay involved with the team.  

Talk about going for your dream!  She's inspired me.

1 comment:

peacesojourner said...

Hi Michaelann -
so much to think about in today's blog but I will focus on your neighbor. We have to be so vigilant on who is around us - Scott Lively is dangerous - he wrote 'Seven Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child: A Parent's Guide to Protecting Children from Homosexuality and the "Gay" Movement' - I think that you should consider writing 'Seven Steps to Recruit-Proof Your Child from Unstable Bigoted People who Pretend to be Christians' and have them as handouts at your Arise office.
People who truly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ are accepting of all people and do not preach hated.
Also enjoyed the updates on your family.Thanks for the post.