The Curious Autodidact

October 5, 2017

Life After Incarceration

Filed under: media related,prison reform,social justice — Honilima @ 3:19 pm

It is not often you will get a chance to hear the voices of those who have been incarcerated like those on Christopher Lydon’s Open Source program called Life After Incarceration.

Here you will hear Azan Reid, Unique Ismail, Douglas Benton, and Marselle Felton — in a church basement in Dorchester, MA. They are asked:  what did prison do, or undo, in you? What do you see now that you didn’t see then? And what don’t we know about you?

Mass incarceration is a bill we are all paying and there has to be reform, if we expect people living inside, without technology, to adapt to culture beyond the four walls of prison.

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September 6, 2017

Good Listen: Women After Prison

Filed under: media related,prison reform,social justice — Honilima @ 3:13 pm

The statistics about women and prison are staggering, more than a million women are in the system currently. The female prison population has risen precipitously in the last ten year due to the nature of the plea bargain and the number of mandatory drug sentences.

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Christopher Lydon, on his program Open Source takes a look at Women After Prison and reminds us all that these women are someone’s daughter, likely someone’s sister, and/or mother. 89% of whom will be released and be living in the wider community upon release.

August 27, 2017

A Good Listen: Our Changing Words

Filed under: cool internet stuff,media related,Word Related — Honilima @ 3:00 pm

Image result for google images words

The topic of words and reading rarely bores me and this On Point Program about the changing nature of the English Language and usage is a terrific discussion of our dynamic usage.

If you are looking for a great podcast to tickle your word fancy please visit and support A Way with Words. They know their stuff but are never stuffy or uptight but rather always come across as curious and open to people’s ideas and interpretation of the English Language of today and yesterday.

July 12, 2017

Nature Fix on KUER

Doug Fabrizio out of Salt Lake City’s NPR stations does a great job interviewing authors and his interview with the author of Nature Fix is no exception. Florence Williams discusses the healing power of nature and our lack of connection that is altering the world in profound ways. Listen and learn, or listen outside for an even better experience. This is a program you are

Image result for google images "nature fix"

May 26, 2017

Film to Watch: Trapped

Filed under: helpful hints,media related,social justice,women heroes — Honilima @ 2:07 pm

Image result for movie trapped

Sometimes Radio West with Doug Fabrizio surprises me with an unexpected topic on the NPR station, in Salt Lake City, KUER 90.1.

This program on the movie Trapped is eye-opening and compelled me to find and watch the film Trapped.  It premiered at Sundance and won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact Filmmaking. The film tells the stories of courageous aging doctors,  clinic workers, and lawyers fighting the restrictions that are designed to regulate abortion out of existence.

On the Independent Lens website you can see trailers and read an interview with the director Dawn Porter. Hopefully you can find it streaming and available to view with family and friends.

April 24, 2017

Marketing in 2017

Filed under: book related,cool internet stuff,media related — Honilima @ 2:56 pm

Image result for google images "Seth godin"

 

I heard this short piece on Fresh Air and it was at once spooky and fascinating. Terry Gross interviewed Joseph Turow the author of The Aisles Have Eyes.  Ever wonder when you download a free app where what information is collected and where it goes? Turow explains how the information is used and sold and what you agree to when you mindlessly click okay to the permissions. He also tells of some really clever ways that pricing can be changed, people are lured into buying things, and people outsmart the various companies formulas. It’s a fascinating listen and may make Terry Gross re-think her relationship with her frequent shopper’s card, at her favorite neighborhood drug store.

Seth Godin is also an interesting listen on Debbie Millman’s Design Matters, he is a wizard of marketing and a great story teller. He has many books and is featured in many internet videos for his expertise.

Both these are a look into a world many of us may not think about but these two men certainly are the wizards.

 

March 15, 2017

Homelessness in the Richest Country in the World

Filed under: helpful hints,media related,social justice — Honilima @ 8:43 pm

Image result for google image homeless camp seattle

 

Tom Ashbrook’s radio program, On Point, out of WBUR in Boston is national treasure.

We are all puzzled how to make a difference when it comes to the problem of homelessness, particularly in big cities. There is no one-size-fits-all and it is sometimes difficult to think of what one person can do to make a difference. I began volunteering at a homeless tent city weekly. I hard boil eggs and take down 4-6 dozen every week with other items I collect such as warm clothes, magazines, toiletries, paper goods, crayons for the children, and tampons. Boiled eggs are a good source of protein are easily kept and easily consumed. Most weeks I remember to bring salt and pepper too which is also much appreciated. Delivering them warm just out of the water is appreciated particularly in the colder seasons.

I don’t just drop these items off and drive away, most weeks I take an hour or so, to talk to people I have come to know there, and ask their names, and treat them with the dignity I would anyone in my home. I don’t make my usual hundred suggestions, I just listen actively, and give them an caring ear. I have heard some amazing tales and have also received amazing appreciation that I care and will take time to stop my busy life to regard their struggles.

I have concluded that when you are homeless you want to be treated with dignity but being on the street changes you immensely. It is almost as if you have been living on another planet and everything is topsy turvy in your life. It is terribly stressful just getting the activities of daily living taken care of to stay healthy and clean, never mind find a place to charge a cell phone, or find a safe place to sleep.

Here is a short video featuring a Real Change vendor in Seattle, Shelly Cohen, that is worth a viewing. Real Change started in Seattle over twenty years ago and has over 300 vendors. It has influenced the lives of many with the advocacy in the social justice arena. It has over a million dollar a year impact on the community of homeless and low-income.

Tom Ashbrook hosts an interesting discussion about Tackling Homelessness we could all benefit to listen to and think for a moment how you could lend an ear or a meal for someone who has no permanent housing. It’s not that hard and there are a million ways to make a difference in someone’s life with very little effort on your part.

February 20, 2017

Krista Tippett: A Gem

 

Krista Tippett is a National Treasure. She lived in Germany and was a foreign correspondent for the NYT. She went to divinity school and has become an expert in creating spaces for civil conversations in a time of too little of this.

She hosts a show called “On Being” that books fascinating guests. She was the recipient of the  National Humanities Medal from President Obama in 2014, and has won a Peabody Award. I am surprised more people aren’t aware of her work and her great show.

She most recently is the author of Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living which she has issued a great discussion guide for each chapter to encourage people to share their thoughts about the book.  She explores the materials for a meaningful life:

Words — The language we use to tell stories to ourselves and others;
Body — “The body is where every virtue lives or dies”;
Love — More than something we fall into or out of, love is “the only aspiration big enough for the immensity of the human community.”;
Faith — “Literal reality is not all there is.”;
Hope — Hope has nothing to do with optimism or wishing, rather it reflects reality and reveres truth. Hope is a habit.

She has also written Einstein’s God: Conversations About Science and the Human Spirit and Speaking of Faith: Why Religion Matters—and How to Talk About It. 

Her interview style is intelligent and almost always enlightening. She features guests you are familiar with a some that you will not be. Also interesting is the fact that she releases the one-hour edited show and also the raw version.

Some of my favorites of her podcast include Rep. John Lewis, Pico Iyer, Parker Palmer with Courtney Martin, David Isay, Maria Popova, Ruby Sales, Mary Karr, Gordon Hempton, Isabel Wilkerson, Jimmy Wales, and Pauline Boss.

Here Krista is interviewed by the talented Debbie Millman.

 

June 5, 2016

Updated: One Person Can Make a Difference: Denise “Cookie” Bouldin

Filed under: media related,nonprofit,social justice,women heroes — Honilima @ 10:19 am

Image result for detective cookie seattle

Some posts deserve to be refreshed and reposted. This is one of those that needs a new airing as people making a positive difference in the world around them should be recognized and their good deeds shouted from the mountain tops.

Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin of the Seattle Police Department is just such a woman. She is a role model as a police officer but also as the founder of the “Urban Youth Chess Club” based in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, encouraging kids to get off the streets, channel their energies, and learn to think critically through chess.

I have supported this club for many years and was thrilled to hear of this publicity they received on the local news station about the new art with Cookie in mind, brava!

There was an interview with Eric Lui on the Seattle Channel and a great article that appeared in 2011 urging support of her organization that appeared in The Stranger by Pulitzer Prize winner Eli Sanders.

You can listen to the segment from the local NPR station here.

Those wanting to support this terrific endeavor are encouraged to donate on line thought Seattle Neighborhood Group by clicking here.

Stop for a moment and ask yourself: What have you done this week to make a difference in your community?

May 27, 2016

Point of View: The Return

Filed under: cool internet stuff,media related,prison reform,social justice — Honilima @ 12:15 pm

It’s summer, the time of year to suspend the Netflix account and spend more time outdoors when there is ample daylight. But if you are having an inside night don’t let educational opportunities to learn pass you by when there’s so much quality free content on-line.

Point of View (POV) is a showcase for some stunning documentaries that are shown on your local PBS station. Many people don’t realize that you can watch these marvelous independent films online or stream them onto a larger screen with a  device such as a $30 Chromecast (you can find them on sale for $25). As of this writing there are over 100 selections to choose from and trailers for many of the offerings to access.

The other cool thing is that the website provides interviews with the film makers and other educational resources to learn more on the topic. A major bonus for those thirsty for knowledge.

I watched The Return and Neuland both of which follow the pattern of the POV series by taking you intimately into other worlds. Each give viewers a “you are there” perspective which I find to be helpful to learn new viewpoints.

I have been a prison advocate for decades. Most who are paying attention are unable to grasp how we wound up imprisoning so many people and treating them like animals, instead of encouraging them with education to make the best out of their potential, from a young age. We should educate not incarcerate.

Along comes The Return, a film by Kelly Duane De la Vega and Kelly Galloway, an eye-opening look at what it is to be released from prison after thinking you would be there the rest of your life. Not only that but how your family and community might accept you after thinking you were going to be behind bars for the duration.

California was the first to adopt the three strikes law and their over-crowded prisons and incredible cost caused them to consider releasing those who were given unreasonable sentences if they were convicted of nonviolent crimes. This wise documentary follows several men who are released to see what life is like after being behind bars for years. This is one of those films that you will watch and think about weeks or possibly years later. For me, there weren’t major revelations because I am so familiar with struggles of integrating back into society but it was sobering to see Ken, with so much family support in place, wander about like he was visiting from another planet. This film will inspire you to work for prison reform and possibly to hire one of these former prisoners or provide support for families of the incarcerated, especially the children who are so impacted by this separation.

For me, there weren’t major revelations because I am so familiar with struggles of integrating back into society but it was sobering to see Kent, with so much family support in place, wander about like he was visiting from another planet. This film will inspire you to work for prison reform and possibly to hire one of these former prisoners or provide support for families of the incarcerated, especially the children who are so impacted by this separation.

Neuland, takes viewers into a Swiss classroom to learn what these young new refugees must deal with as foreigners in a new land. The emotion in the room is highly charged. The teacher is passionate about helping young people. It is interesting to see his approach compared to those you might see in America. His students have fled all kinds of tragic situations at home and he is trying to get them integrated into his culture and help them to set their goals realistic whilst understanding the feelings of home-sickness and agita that are in the hearts of his students.

These are films that have staying power and remind you that your burden may be heavy some days but others have different struggles and it is best we understand we all have room to grow and understand one another’s days.

 

 

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