Archive for the ‘Facing Racism’ Category

Tavis’s show at PBS is now begining and it’s talking about the “Covenant with Black America.” The G21 team here, Allaina and I are Blogging on the event. It turns our that Yours Unruly is a celeb because I’m the only working journalist at the event. I was interviewed by a reporter from the University of Texas newspaper, The Daily Texan, therefore and a couple of people wanted to know about my writing at Slashdot.org.

So now we get into Tavis’s night, the All-America Forum.

The candidates are talking and Hillary gets first crack. Very prepared, as usual, after all she has the best teacher in politics around living with her in New York. Joe Biden comes up next but we all know nobody is taking him seriously. (Hate to be snarky but I know this game, as I said earlier.) Man, I hate to feel like a writer from Wonkette, but I’d love to have a shot right now. I’d like to make a shot game: have a shot when any candidate brings up the word “race.” Let’s face it, since Smiley is running this show, you could have one heck of a party. Snored through Bill Richardson and now I’m listening to “Smiling John” Edwards. In one ear. Now Barack is talking. This should be his shining hour.

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28 June 2007: This evening I’m reporting from the LBJ Library at the University of Texas (UT) on Tavis Smiley’s Public Broadcasting System (PBS) forum with the candidates for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. Like many other Bloggers here tonight, I’m suppose to be an ear to what our community thinks about the pols and their policies. The difference, at least for me, from some of the other Bloggers is that I’m a working journalist and a former political hack. I know this game. So I’ll try to share with you what is meant by what is being said, instead of being a parrot.

In the process, I’ve brought along a few friends, included my Gen Y Personal Assistant, to look over my shoulder, take some digital photos of this crowd, and correct my impressions when I tend to act like an old curmudgeon.

The citizens at the each table were asked to have a Blogger like me write write about what they think. Live blogging is an interesting exercise in that we, the bloggers, should act as the ears of the people.

What I find interesting is that people at my particular table are talking about Dick Cheney, global corporations and corporate greed – compared to personal sacrifice – and nothing NOTHING about Tavis Smiley’s “Covenant for African-Americans” which is about what this forum was set up to look at. This Reporter walks around to a few of the tables at this meeting to ask if anyone had heard about Smiley’s initiative. Even the few Black people here have ever heard about it.

My Personal Assistant, Bonnie, is snapping people in the crowd right now. We’ll upload them later.

The issue is being brought up that most people didn’t know, in the pre-forum discussion that most of the attendants were ignorant to the fact there was a “Convenant to Black America.” So we have an audience who doesn’t know why they came here. They are learning that during this discussion.

7:47 p.m.: It’s gettting touchy-feely now. People are talking about how the even here in Austin we are becoming a *very* segregated community, all acknowledged. Now we’re going to hear from the Democratic Presidential candidates and Tavis Smiley.

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We are looking for a few good geeks with wireless laptops who can join us at the LBJ Library on June 28 from 6:30 – 9:00 and write their reaction to the public discussion and Presidential Forum Watch Party – and post on behalf of others who want to publish their thoughts, but don’t have access to technology. We need at least three more bloggers and may need volunteers for the Carver Library as well. (checking on that and will post if we do.)

If you can participate in this experiment, respond to this blog or send me an e-mail to Taylor!

If you are not in Austin, but plan to watch the Tavis Smiley forum on PBS (8:00 – 9:30 p.m. central time) feel free to watch this blog and post your own responses. Of course Tavis will have a very public threaded discussion on his web site, too.

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Next Thursday June 28, Texas Forums and the Carver Library (along with a long list of partners noted below) will host a Tavis Smiley Presidential Forum Watch party at the LBJ Library (map to LBJ Library) and the Carver Library (map to Carver Library).

The first forum with the Democrats will take place on June 28 from 7-9:30 (although we are encouraging people to come at 6:30 to network). During the first hour, we will hold a public discussion about the issues raised by Tavis Smiley’s Covenant with Black America, then from 8-9:30 we will watch the televised presidential forum. The details are in this flyer that you can download and forward to your network!

carver and lbj libraries

Moderated by Tavis Smiley the candidates will address issues of special concern to African-Americans as well as domestic issues that affect all Americans. The 10 issues (with links to more information from Covenant) are: Health Care and Well-being, Education, Criminal Justice, Police Accountability, Affordable Neighborhoods, Voting, Rural Development, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Justice, Digital Divide.

What would you ask the ’08 Democratic Presidential Candidates?

Post your questions for the candidates at the Tavis Smiley website

The “All-American Presidential Forums” on PBS marks the first time that a panel exclusively comprised of color and broadcast from Historically Black Colleges and Universities in primetime.

Quote from Tavis Smiley:

We are encouraged by the enthusiasm of all parties for the historic event. From the title to the format, the ‘All-American Presidential Forums’ was created to provide fresh perspectives and an unprecedented level of inclusion for all Americans in general, and people of color in particular, in these critical discussions about our country’s future.”

Immediate public feedback on the performance of the candidates will be conducted by noted pollster Frank Luntz, who will also appear on “Tavis Smiley” on PBS the following evening to discuss his findings. This program and the PBS Democratic Forum will be available for download and viewing on the Tavis Smiley web site. Visitors will be able to submit their own questions for the candidates, read commentary and share their own opinions.
If you can’t make it to the LBJ Library or the Carver Branch, watch from home and then tune in to this blog to add your comments.

The Planning Partners for our events in Austin are:

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Last Wednesday (February 21) 32 people gathered at the LBJ Presidential library to learn about Study Circles Resource Center’s Fighting Racism in a Diverse Nation organizing materials. They represented a wide variety of organizations including United Way Capital Area, YWCA, Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, the University of Texas, Power to the Youth, The Freedom and Justice Foundation, and No Place for Hate. Led by two capable Study Circles staff, Carolyne Abdullah and Sue McCormick, the day consisted of a practice study circle facilitated by volunteers recruited on the spot, time to talk about the current efforts to address racism in Austin, and time to plan for next steps.

I’ve added Facing Racism as a new project on our web site and I’ve added a section to our Resources page where I will upload documents (power point presentations, minutes of planning meetings, announcements about events) to our web site. You’ll notice that I’ve also added Facing Racism as a category of this blog to make it easy to sort information related to this project. Based on the energy of the group at the end of the day, and the connections people were making as they made their way to the parking lot, there will be next steps. You can keep apprised of this project by subscribing to the Texas Forums Newsletter.

I invite participants from the organizing clinic to share their reflections!

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We are wrapping up our Organizing Clinic with the Study Circles Resource Center looking at the issue, Facing Racism in a Diverse Country. I’m setting up a new category under the main category so that new developments can be captured here. More later…break is over and I have to get back to work!

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