What is the essence of a small town community? Maybe it’s the hello you get on Main Street, the automatic recognition of teenager and octogenarian alike, the knowing what your order is before you open your mouth at the corner store or diner. This is not just a figment of my imagination, an apple pie American dream of community. It existed for decades in Greensburg, Kansas, in the form of Dick Huckriede. (more…)
Archive for January, 2010
History lesson. Just the mention of those two words can induce sleep. Yet, working on State of the Re:Union’s Black History Month special has been an eye-opening experience for me in more ways than one. I’ve learned the fascinating story of Bayard Rustin, the man who’s the focus of the show and I’ve been re-inspired by the dramatic events and personalities of the civil rights movement…details that had long faded in my memory. But the most important lesson I take away from this episode is an unsettling one. Were it not for this project, Black History Month for me might have come and gone like it has in other years, acknowledged only with a brief mention on the news, followed by that well-worn excerpt from Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. (more…)
A new documentary, The Recess Ends, about people sharing their belief in community, debuts tonight at 8pm EST, 5pm PST on justin.tv, an interactive internet medium.
HuffPo writes about it here…
“It’s our journey, but it is America’s story,” says Austin Chu, the older of two brothers who drove across the country last year to create a video documentary of the recession. Their project may remind us of some of the famous images that grew out of the Great Depression, photographs such as the “Migrant Mother” series by Dorothea Lange in the 1930s.
I just got my first copy of Next American City in the mail. NAC is a, “A national quarterly magazine about making cities better,” and in their most recent edition they interview Rebecca Solnit about her now book, A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster. The book’s about how disaster can actually be a catalyst for civic engagement and participation. Solnit talks about the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, the 1917 explosion that tore up Halifax, Nova Scotia, the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. And what all of these disasters have in common, says Solnit, is that “In all of them you see a similar improvisational, altruistic, brave response on the part of ordinary people that often creates a more vital civil society than they had before, and in that they often find satisfaction and even joy.” What Solnit describes here, I think, can also be applied to Greensburg, Kansas. (more…)
If you’ve heard State of the Re:Union, you’ve heard our Dear City Letters, in which we ask listeners to write a letter to the city or town they call home. We’re working on our Brooklyn episode right now, so if you live in Brooklyn and have something you want to communicate about it, here’s your shot! Whether you want to write from a place of love, anger, humor, to express your likes or dislikes or to break misconceptions, we welcome them all. (more…)