The promise of a Joe Biden presidency was a return to normalcy, but 62 seconds of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony were quietly revolutionary. Not the soar of Amanda Gorman’s poem, or the thunderous power of Lady Gaga using a golden microphone to belt the national anthem. In a ceremony filled with artistic creations specifically designed to arouse emotions of patriotism and pride, the 62 seconds that did so most effectively were from a bland, scripted oath of office, administered with the same exchange of words for more than a hundred years. But never between two women. CLICK FOR MORE
Organic Growers School is the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food & farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in our region. Our hands-on training, workshops, conferences and partnerships inspire, educate, and support people to farm, garden, and live organically.
(Asheville, NC) – – Two different December rulings by federal and state courts are resulting in life-changing protection – – both to DACA “Dreamers” and also to same-sex domestic violence victims. Nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) provides free, civil legal aid in Western North Carolina, and is working with clients affected by these recent changes in the law.
On December 4, a federal judge ruled that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must fully reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Renewals (DACA) program. Not only will current DACA recipients still be allowed to renew their participation in program, new applications will now be accepted for the first time in three years.
Kamala Harris, in full Kamala Devi Harris, (born October 20, 1964, Oakland, California, U.S.), American politician who was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2016 and began her first term representing California in that body the following year. She was the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman. Harris previously was the state’s attorney general (2011–17). In November 2020 she was elected vice president of the United States on a ticket with Joe Biden.
Given the events of recent days, we asked our friend and teacher John Paul Lederach to offer a reflection for this week’s Pause. He’s spent his life walking with people in many cultures through violent conflict towards transformative change. I’m so grateful for the perspective he opens here, and the fierce/gentle way he invites us into the truth of our time and ourselves.
From John Paul:
The images of this week remain seared in our minds. While painful, they will not and should not be unseen, precisely because they help us look more carefully at what peers back at us from our national mirror.
We are not looking at a fringe few. We are gazing upon ourselves. CLICK FOR MORE
Speaking together differently in order to live together differently. The Civil Conversations Project seeks to renew common life in a fractured and tender world. We are a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference.
We honor the power of asking better questions, model reframed approaches to entrenched debates, and insist that the ruptures above the radar do not tell the whole story of our time. We aspire to amplify and cross-pollinate the generative new realities that are also being woven, one word and one life at a time.
How do we speak the questions we don’t know how to ask each other? How to engage our neighbors who have become strangers? Can we do that even while we continue to hold passionate disagreements on deep convictions? How is technology playing into all this, and how can we shape it to human purposes?
The Civil Conversations Project (CCP) is an open, ongoing conversation offering tools and resources for renewing civic discourse at every level and nourishing common life. It includes audio, video, writing, and guides to help ground and animate new conversation and relationship across the differences of our age.
Look ahead: City of Asheville projects and initiatives for the new year, 2021
Asheville residents can look upon the new year with optimism. Together, we’ve weathered a pandemic and a vaccine will be available this year. Even so, the City of Asheville’s response to COVID-19 will continue in the new year, in coordination with the state of North Carolina and Buncombe County.
Residents can look forward to advances in social change in 2021 as well, as City staff incorporate Advancing Racial Equity in Asheville into the budget, reimagining public safety and all the other work that will go into serving this community in the coming year. CLICK FOR MORE
At Ellevest, we love to celebrate our community’s wins, big and small. We’re definitely here for the big milestones — if you just paid off all your debt, bought a house, started that business, got the promotion, we’re going to be right there celebrating with you, because that’s amazing.
Through a focus on sensible land use, forest health, and water quality, MountainTrue advocates for policies that allow people and the environment to thrive. MountainTrue unleashes the power of people’s voices to protect the natural heritage of our region through knowledge, action and collaboration. We convene key partners — nonprofit and community groups, government, and private industry — to devise the best strategies to improve the quality of development and preserve the unique rural character of our region.
Advocates say changes are here to stay, from greater accessibility to totally new curriculums
Suzannah Weiss in The Lily , an. 16, 2021
Last spring, Mary Jo Podgurski taught her usual sex education course to sixth-graders in Washington, Pa. — usual, except one thing: It was over Zoom. Because the kids took the class from home, many of their parents participated as well, so Podgurski decided to include exercises to help parents and children communicate about sex.
“Mary Jo helped me build trust with my mom and classmates so if I have any questions in the future, I feel safe asking,” says 13-year-old Cicely Sunseri, one of the students. CLICK FOR MORE
How the Smithsonian and Other Museums Are Responding to the U.S. Capital Riot
Leading institutions have started collecting artifacts and working to contextualize last week’s violent attack
Last Wednesday, a mob of far-right insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol, forcing lawmakers to flee for safety and temporarily delaying Congress’ certification of November’s election, which will put Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in the White House.
The culture is ailing. It’s time for a Dr. Fauci for the arts.
by Peter Marks in Washington Post
When a president calls a meeting of the Cabinet, most vital sectors of the economy — from soybean farmers to auto manufacturers — have an appointed government representative in the room, a secretary of agriculture or transportation, to speak for them.
You know what doesn’t get a seat at the table, and never has? The arts. And in this crisis moment, when a pandemic threatens ruination for museums, theaters, concert halls, opera houses, dance studios, cineplexes and amusement parks — and the 5.1 million arts workers who staff them — the time has come to rectify this glaring oversight. CLICK FOR MORE
We’ve previously written about the ways that Hollywood whitewashes film and television to prefer stories represented and made by white people. Also crucial in this conversation is how Hollywood has consequently represented the Middle East throughout its history.
The Southwest Asian/North African (SWANA) community is one example of a group that has faced harmful representations and stereotyping in Hollywood. CLICK FOR MORE
Vaccines are on the way. What does that mean for pregnant people?
By Chelsea Cirruzzo in The Lily
Major trials have typically left out those pregnant and breastfeeding.
Jaely Turner describes herself as “covid-conscious” and pro-vaccine. She and her young son are up-to-date on all of their shots. Turner wants to keep it that way.
But, as the United States inches closer to making a coronavirus vaccine available to the public, Turner says she won’t be rushing out the door to get it for herself. That’s because the Virginia-based doula is 10 weeks pregnant. CLICK FOR MORE
By Amy B Wang and Stephanie Merry in Washington Post, Lifestyles
Yes, we have a new president, but the real news is that America has fallen in love with a poet named Amanda Gorman. The 22-year-old Harvard graduate, who describes herself as “a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” captivated the nation on Wednesday when she stood on the inauguration dais and recited her poem “The Hill We Climb”(watch).
Accolades poured in from millions of new fans, including Barack Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hillary Clinton, who tweeted that she can’t wait for the young poet to run for president in 2036. Gorman was wearing jewelry from Oprah: a pair of earrings and a birdcage ring, an allusion to “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou, who performed at the 1993 inauguration. CLICK FOR MORE
The Poor People’s Campaign witnessed with heavy hearts the events of January 6th, when a mob emboldened by hate, lies, and racism laid siege to the US Capitol and other state capitols across the country in an attempt to subvert our democracy.
Bundle up! With pandemic precaution still critical, winter farmers tailgate markets are mostly staying outdoors (or partially indoors with ample airflow). Though there are fewer of these markets, you can still find a solid mix of seasonal fruits and veggies. Expect to see plenty of storage crops, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, apples, winter squash, turnips, beets, and carrots. Some farms make use of greenhouses or high tunnels to continue producing salad mixes, lettuces, and dark, leafy greens throughout the colder months. Meats, eggs, cheeses, bread, and artisan foods are also widely available.
The Explore Asheville Convention & Visitors Bureau is honored to serve 1,300 local businesses as tourism industry partners. The CVB offers Partner Forums and headliner events that provide partners with promotional, sales, and networking opportunities throughout the year. The CVB also offers tourism partner orientation to help connect local businesses with the free marketing services provided by the BCTDA. A newsletter, Facebook page, and the AshevilleCVB.com website also provide resources to the Buncombe County tourism sector.
We remember those who have made a significant contribution to gender equality and women’s lives and well-being, and thus to human rights and well-being. With honor and respect for their work and effort, we will not forget.
Where does sexism come from? Why do evangelicals ignore the president’s serial mistreatment of women? Why does the U.S. Constitution still not guarantee equality for women? Why do women earn less than men? Why didn’t most conservatives care whether the accusations of sexual assault brought against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh were true?