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Posted on October 31 at 2:43 p.m.
This is definitely a wake-up call for our country. I certainly hope that the media and the rest of us do not lose interest in this topic until our schools and communities are safe for all youth. Due to the stigma society continues to place on non-traditional gender identity and sexual orientation, this is a very real problem for sexual minority youth and an ongoing public health issue. Violence against any part of our community threatens our common humanity and makes our community less safe for everyone. Whether as a gay person or an ally, use this chance to speak out and take action.
Yes, small steps do matter. One place to start might be to make a commitment to not using slurs such as "That's so gay" in everyday conversation (and reminding others to do the same). This is far more hurtful than it might seem at first glance, and we need to find more original ways of expressing that we don't like something.
Furthermore, a combined serious ongoing prevention effort from families, communities, and schools is what's needed. In addition to staff training at schools, bullying prevention curricula and activities, especially at the upper elementary and junior high grades, could go a long way. This must be done in spite of severe cutbacks in funding and personnel.
The local high schools have established and newly forming Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs and possibly a chance to volunteer. Students in schools with a GSA club report less anti-LGBT bullying than students at schools with no GSA.
Join the S.B. County Walk to Prevent Suicide on Saturday, November 13th from 9:00-11:00 at Leadbetter Beach (Shoreline Dr. & Loma Alta Dr.) Register the day of or ahead at:
Pacific Pride Foundation is a great local resource and has youth meetings for LGBTQ youth on Wednesdays from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. at 126 East Haley Street, Suite A-11, Santa Barbara.
Hold your elected officials accountable for creating and enforcing inclusive policies that reflect the diversity of our community and provide for its safety. Use the power of your vote to promote civil rights and social justice.
Get out the message that there definitely are people that care and do support everyone in our community. Working together tirelessly and consistently, it will get better.
On Gay Girl Takes on Gay Bullying
Posted on November 15 at 5:42 p.m.
The Office for Civil Rights' findings and corrective actions are a validation of what many in our community have been observing for some time: that the Carpinteria Unified School District has taken very little effective action until now in response to reported incidents of bullying, intolerance, cruelty, or intimidation for this or other issues. Many parents have not trusted the school district to handle such incidents appropriately.
It is unfortunate that there is not yet official legislation in California banning the imagery statewide; we must continue to lobby until such legislation is passed (as it has been already in other states) so that other communities will not have to experience the divisiveness and hostility that this issue has prompted.
It is also very ironic that the student was motivated to file the complaint following participation in the first annual District-sponsored Challenge Day program many in our community are not aware of this. The stated goals of this program that were outlined in a letter that went home to parents prior to continuing the program a second year included shifting ":dangerous peer pressure to positive peer support and to eliminate the acceptability of:all forms of oppression, racism, [and] harassment..." The intention was to have the "youth leave feeling bonded, empowered and committed to making a positive difference." It also noted that "at times, youth may need additional support." Numerous staff members and students pledged to support the complainant both at and immediately following the first Challenge Day event in the Winter of 2008. When it came time to back him, however, staff support quickly vanished. He as well as other students have been the victims of ongoing peer harassment and hate speech for their stance on the issue. When asked to meet with school staff to address parents' concerns last February, both administration and the main facilitator declined to do so. There is more constructive action that the district could voluntarily undertake. For instance, it could still do its job to educate/ open up discussion on the topic rather than shut it down. Staff apparently were directed not to discuss the topic with their students out of concern for upsetting them. In addition, other districts have adopted district-wide positive behavioral support/ discipline systems. Finally, there was talk by administration of a Native American Studies course that has yet to materialize.
On Communication Breakdown
Posted on January 10 at 4:54 p.m.
Whoa, let's not jump to extremes here. Look back at her letter; did the author imply anyone needs to leave or doesn't belong? Is she conveying entitlement? I didn't read it that way. Did she ask for monetary compensation? No; just the removal of offensive imagery in a school district. These are indeed sensitive issues, but I suggest we try to not take things so personally, while at the same time increasing our sensitivity to Natives' legitimate concerns and perspectives.
Did Little Black Sambo and black lawn jockeys honor African Americans? Did the "Frito Bandito" honor Hispanic Americans? Appropriately, those images are now virtually extinct in the popular culture and media. As of the 2000 census, African Americans were 12.9% and Hispanic Americans were 12.5% of the U.S. population. It's time we applied the same sensitivity regarding racial stereotyping to the remaining 1.5% of our population who are American Indians. American Indians are a very diverse group of real, contemporary people, not mascots. Demonstrating "true regard for others" and teaching "children how to live:gently" would include showing respect for these people, would it not?
When public institutions and sports teams display stereotypical images, they are essentially condoning their use in the eyes of society at large hence, it becomes tacitly permissible to continue to stereotype and make jokes about ethnic sub-groups. Schools and universities, in particular, must be held to the highest community standards those from which the rest of us take our lead. When they display and flaunt these images, they allow stereotyping and subsequently promote institutionalized racism. Are these really lessons we want our children to learn? Apparently, we have a long way to go in teaching understanding and acceptance of diversity in our local schools.
Have we learned from past ethnic cleansings and holocausts? If so, then we need to stand up to current injustices and non-violently promote positive social change, wherever and whenever we encounter injustices, large or small, in the local as well as international communities. There is a huge difference between "living in constant fear" and maintaining sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others in our lives while actively working together to correct injustices. If ethnic jokes make me uncomfortable, I don't repeat them. If I am opposed to war, I speak out against it and model peaceful resolution of conflict in my own life.
Regardless of heritage and beliefs, I think we can all agree that we need to behave decently and stop intentionally insulting and harming one another, period.
Posted on August 7 at 4:09 p.m.
I loved Morninglory and will really miss their large used CD and DVD sections!
This marks the end of an era. My father, Bill Hess, started the Magic Lantern Theater (now used by UCSB to show films) and Red Lion Bookstore mentioned in the article. He passed away in 2002. I recall being sent home from 1st grade at I.V. School when the riots started.
If you were there then and are looking to dredge up some memories or perhaps motivate yourself to renewed activism, Brooks Institute of Photography is hosting an excellent photography exhibit: "Year of Rebellion, the 1970 Isla Vista Riots" with award-winning photographs by Joe Melchione and accompanying commentary from July 15 September 12, 2008 at Brooks' Cota Street Gallery located at 27 East Cota Street in Santa Barbara.
On Morninglory Music Closes after 38 Years in Santa Barbara
Posted on May 4 at 9:49 p.m.
You asked, "What does the Chief have to say about any of this?" This is an example of how when a culture perpetuates stereotypes, it can lead one to believe that one knows everything one needs to know about an ethnic group such as Native Americans. It shows the tragic lack of knowledge and compassion most of us have regarding contemporary Natives or the issues they are currently facing, even those in our own community.
As far as I know, there is no "chief" of the local Chumash nation. But for the record, the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation Tribal Council did submit a letter to the Carpinteria School Board on March 11, 2008, stating the following: "We, the Tribal Council of the Chumash Nation, support Elias Matisz-Cordero in his efforts to prevent the stereotyping of native peoples at Carpinteria [Middle School] and High Schools through the use of native mascots and imagery. We support our youth in their efforts to bring awareness regarding stereotypes and respect for native culture. These issues are important to our tribes and native communities. We urge the school board to take action on this matter. Respectfully,Janet D. GarciaTribal Chairwom[a]n"
Speaking of tolerance, I encourage us to educate ourselves about what this means as it is commonly used and understood.
One of the definitions provided by Webster's online dictionary is: "sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one's own."
In its Declaration on the Principles of Tolerance, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines Tolerance as:"respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference."
I suggest that we practice Tolerance as we explore the Native mascot issue together. There is no place for name-calling in any decent or rational discussion.
Defender of Compassionate Communication and Respect for All People
On A Warrior by Any Other Icon