I can only offer what I know, what I have learned, slowly and at the cost of many dear relationships. Diversity matters. The differences among us are more important than the similarities, because they enable creativity. Here we are, thrown into consciousness and connection. What shall we make of this precious chance?
(Not) rushing into the urgency of now (while still arriving)
Every day I face the irony of needing to hurry up to slow down, or perhaps it is the other way around, of slowing down in order to speed up my alignment with lifeforce—call it chi or God or Gaia or maybe it is just with other humans in society, thinking of society as a verb—the actions of living together through culture, work and art. Continue reading “Slow Learning vs Fast Living”
One of the challenges of inspiring people to care about transforming land to better grow food is making the lifestyle appealing. So far, no go! The aesthetic is monotone: white people playing folk music. This is seriously problematic! Forging alliances is not easy work, but it is meaningful labor.
Life Affirming & Life Enhancing
It is the stuff of Douglas Adams-style science fiction, but what if it were true? That cows could save the planet? Not by themselves, but with a little help from their biped friends–especially everyone who has ever harbored a herding fantasy or wants their children and grandchildren to enjoy special elements of the natural world.
The challenge of making the invisible visible, of bringing those aspects of relationships and identities that have been silenced into awareness and open conversation, was a common problem across seven international research projects explored at a workshop on “intersectionality” hosted by the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons College School of Management.
Q: How many intersectionality scholars does it take to count who’s at the dinner table?
A: One Japanese waiter. (Male.)
Charlotta’s request came toward the end of the 2nd meeting of our Working Group on Research Methods at the “Interrogating Intersectionality” conference sponsored by the Center for Gender in Organizations at the Simmons College School of Management. Charlotta was the last member of our group to present. At this point we had been engaging with each other for about 2 & 1/2 hours, and I was glad that everyone was reminded about our interaction being blogged. We had negotiated authorization during my presentation on the first day, and clarified the boundaries (of who & what might potentially be bloggable) at the start of this (2nd) session while welcoming Lisa to the group.
One of the legacies of persistent discrimination is pent-up emotion. Lack of services and humane consideration adds up and seeks outlets. Get a group of sign language interpreters and Deaf people together to work on solutions to bad or absent communication and inevitably a flood of frustration will arise. Continue reading “Growing Pains: Emergency Management Interpreting”
Identifying the behaviors that indicate depression or other responses to trauma are crucial to maintaining emotional and cognitive balance before, during, and after interpreting in emergency management contexts.
What’s the real difference between CDIs (Certified Deaf Interpreters) and ‘regular’ hearing interpreters? It’s not only language and internalized culture….Something else that could be described simply and taught to interpreters to help them realize one thing to do differently.
This transcript is offered instead of captions for a 14 minute videotaped conversation in American Sign Language with Deaf elders Winchell and Ruth Moore.
The capacity of people with disabilities (or, as FEMA says, “functional needs”) to contribute to emergency response and emergency recovery begins with listening. Participants in a focus group outline a sequence of creative interaction stemming from high quality and careful listening.
A few weeks ago a dozen people who self-identify as disabled gathered at UMass Amherst to begin a conversation on emergency preparedness and accessible emergency response. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, defines those individuals who will most likely require help during a disaster as having “functional needs.”
“We are great listeners”
The most common skill named by participants with established functional needs is listening. We aim to prove that the capacity of people with disabilities to contribute to emergency response and emergency recovery begins here. Continue reading “Listening for Action and Engagement”
I know I am connected because I understand the volatility of this spring is evidence…because my life’s work is relevant…when someone mistakes me for a nurse…birdsong wakes me…patience permeates my senses and expands my pores…when I tell people what I do and they continue to talk…I am connected even when I am unable to discern the connection. I am connected.
Putting words out there is how I learn – the learning comes by the way people respond (or react), if they do at all. I rarely put words out in a devil’s advocate kind of way; that seems insincere. I write what I believe during the moment of writing. I express myself with conviction but am open, eager even, for responses that help me change and grow.
I know I am connected because I understand the volatility of this spring is evidence of climate change, of the planet’s pain, of the illness of the human species’ addiction to speed and power, which are really only symptoms of the deeper addiction to the illusion of control. Continue reading “I know I am Connected”
Practicing how we’ll play means identifying gaps and weaknesses and moving to fill them. Washington DC Fire Chief John Sollers’ message is “We need to practice how we’ll play.” His message is aimed at fellow firefighters and professional first responders who have not yet been in a situation of needing to communicate with and understand a Deaf person who uses American Sign Language. Practicing how we’ll play means learning how to work with ASL interpreters to recognize differences in meaning and co-construct mutual understanding without erasing those differences or artificially forcing a meaning that is not actually understood. Learning how to communicate with the involvement of a third party is a skill that transfers to all kinds of communication situations, including cross-discipline communication in English as well as intercultural communication with non-English speakers of all kinds.
One reason that I have become so interested in the work of emergency management professionals is because Emergency Planners and First Responders are feeling a sense of urgency, on a large system-scale, that suggests the kind of intensity motivating the space program’s original mission to reach the moon. Emergency management professionals care about their work because they understand the relationship of what they do to achieving a larger vision: public safety and the capacity to recover quickly from disasters. This caring was in constant evidence at yesterday’s Whole Community Preparedness Summit sponsored by the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council at UMass Amherst. It was also evident in a pilot training that the DC Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism, Serve DC, provided last year at Gallaudet University. One of the instructors for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) team training, shared with the group how important the experience had been for him, saying that he had learned a lot and that direct interaction with Deaf people using interpreters should be a part of routine training.