Sunday, September 23, 2012

Full house


The day begins with Kimberley, our new Union intern. It’s our fist intern since before we left for SPSA back in 2008. She’s an experienced arts management person, but wants the opportunity to learn some new things as well. She’ll be helping us with the Center. Steven joins us to work on the website and other social media initiatives. 

Gregory is maintaining his watch on the steps day in and day out.

The conversation with Tracy continues. We pick up on the theme I was exploring with Sarah, as to the difference between organizers and leaders. Tracy had been trained where they talked about advocates and people  in need. I reject the idea of advocates in organizing, insisting that instead of speaking for people, we need to work with people to develop the capacity to speak for themselves. In her training, they wanted to break down the distinction between the two. That advocates or organizers need to understand their own exploitation, their own oppression and feel connected with those they organize. I feel there’s an advantage in being one step removed to better see objectively what needs to be done and to discern who are emerging as leaders. 

Above all, I continue to reject the idea that you cannot allow personal feelings into movement work. I understand that to a point, but again, in work that depends in relationships, the value of the person always has to be respected. And also the person’s right to question. I recall that in the classic model, what is needed is action, reflection, revision. When reflection is set aside in the interest of moving forward, serious errors can happen. When moving ahead takes the highest precedence, damage can be done to people, which in turn damages the movement. In the long run, more important than any individual campaign is creating peoples’ organizations that are built to last through long struggle, not just campaigns.

She shares with me her struggle having come from a Korean Christian tradition that essentially embraces the status quo as sacred and adds immigrant ambition for an ever advancing family on top. I remembered my study partner in my doctoral program, A Korean woman pastor. And how contemporary Korean Christian culture is built upon a Confucian base built upon indigenous religion which enshrines patriarchy. And a  strong emphasis not only on hard work and learning but also the importance of saving face. She knows why she turned away from that expression of Christianity but still feels a spiritual void. Our conversations, the community of West-Park, are opening up some new ideas.

Tracy sticks around to catch up with Teddy. 

My neighbor Gary Greengrass has called with a sense of urgency. His annual Jewish High Holy Day crush is turning into an avalanche and he desperately needs to borrow 5 or 6 tables. I tell him no problem and his crew comes over to pick them up with Teddy’s help.

RL comes in just to stop by and finds Danielle and I sitting in each others’ places and pretends to be startled and we pretend that we did it on purpose to throw him off.

Someone has come to wait for a meeting with Mim. She’s come from the daylong meeting at Union for field supervisors which somehow missed my radar. She filled in for me and we’ll have to catch up. Somehow Kimberley hadn't thought of  it either. 

Jeremy G stops in to continue to  work on details of his upcoming play. And now things are starting to get crazy. The house is completely full and the door to the Session room where Noche has been rehearsing is locked and we don’t have the key. 

We’ve got Jane’s course in miracles, a rehearsal by the Marvell Theatre (they’re doing a season of Burned and Banned...)of their production of God of Vengeance, a 1921 play by Sholem Asch ( There’s a board meeting of the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing and then the next performance of  Zeal of the Zealot. Only Marvell is having an unscheduled (IE, for us) fundraiser and wants to be on the first floor. Danielle and Teddy are trying to work out the puzzle as the IAHH board arrives and I take them into the Sanctuary.

Our IAHH board struggles  with our never ending cash shortfall, worse now in this economy. It can’t just be sustained, we need to keep reorganizing from the ground up. And now we have to find new office space. The church where the current office is being sold to a conservative Korean congregation. They want their building  empty of programs. Our new programs with homeless veterans and formerly incarcerated people, need to go forward as does advocacy to restore the city’s rent subsidy program. The meeting needs to end as the Festival of Fools players enter the balcony theatre for their pre-play warm-ups full of grunts, growls. vocalizations and clashing swords.

I stop by Marvell’s fundraiser in Mc Alpin. A clearly crazy woman has approached Teddy to ask for a place to stay and is now talkig to Jane who with all the activity feels she’s running a gauntlet. Me too.

Rachelle has come in and tracked me down, she too, wants something.

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