Category Archives: Social Justice

Holocaust Remembrance Day-Remember, Honor, Learn

“Remember the Holocaust didn’t start in the gas chambers, it began with the rhetoric of hate.” Rabina Khan

Possibly the best way to honor International Holocaust Remembrance Day (today, January 27) is simply to reflect on this profound thought.

Since 2005 the United Nations and its member states have held commemoration ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Berkenau and to honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Clearly, the main purpose of the day is to honor the victims; a secondary and related goal is to support the development of educational programs to remember the Holocaust and to prevent further genocide. Equally important is the commitment to reject any form of Holocaust denial, in part by preserving historic sites related to the Holocaust.

Drawing from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the UN Resolution 60/7 condemns all forms of “religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities based on ethnic origin or religious belief throughout the world.”

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”   Elie Wiesel

Read more about International Holocaust Remembrance Day here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/27/holocuast-memorial-day-eternal-vigilance-can-prevent-return/

https://www.yivo.org/cimages/richardbreitman-ottofrank-whitepaper.pdf?c=

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/27/trump-fails-mention-jews-holocaust-remembrance-statement/97150252/

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/27/us/holocaust-survivor-poverty/

 

 

Information and media – Not weapons, but tools

Informational Power is where a person possesses needed or wanted information. This is a short-term power that doesn’t necessarily influence or build credibility. Vivian Giang

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses. Malcolm X

The fact is, information and media are unique and powerful tools, to be wielded by sentient creatures for good or for evil. When the American Library Association was promoting the “information power” theme years ago I worried at the value-free assumption that the information would be put to good purposes. And when we hyped the potential of the communications media, from cable to the web, I wondered more….

My skepticism is affirmed today as we experience the reality of information and communications expertise brilliantly coupled to disrupt our democracy.

This should not be news. It was either Mark Twain or H.L Mencken who advised his readers to “Never pick a fight with a man who buys ink by the barrel and paper by the ton.”   The technology, but not the meaning, has been updated here. http://www.adweek.com/fishbowlny/ink-by-the-barrel-on-the-internet/252889

But that’s a diversion from the real fact – that the administration has effectively wed the power of information with the power of the media to shape reality.   Those in power wield information as a sword to silence, to pervert, to foment, to shape, to craft alliances and to conceptualize, then propagate, alternative truth.   We who are but “subjects” are ill-prepared to meet the challenge; we lack, or fail to unsheathe, the information/communications skills and attitudes to withstand the onslaught.

And still it is a real fact that we are not a passive people. The Women’s March and forthcoming March for Science clearly reflect our power to harness the human power to resist.

The first line of resistance to alternative facts is well-meant but knee-jerk –- placing blame and responsibility on the communications channels, or even the sources, of misinformation and disinformation is short-term and futile.

We are challenged to fully accept that information and communications technology have been “weaponized” – and that it is incumbent upon us to “arm” ourselves. We need to assume the responsibility to become critical thinkers – and to shape a learning environment that enhances the critical thinking of future voters, including both youth and future voters.

We can’t fall for the press-bashing and post-truthiness cleverly designed to divert our focus and our energy. Instead, we need to embrace the challenge to seek the truth and to stand firm when it is information is thwarted, perverted, suppressed, hidden from public view – or is not collected in the first place!

Thomas Jefferson, a man who dealt in truth, had this to say on the subject

Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with their own government.” –  Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789

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Related posts – Selected:

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/marchers-will-support-research-science-real-facts/#respond

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/discovering-truth-starts-with-independent-thinking/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/creating-a-culture-of-encounter-some-info-tools/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/12/23/relax-learn-then-resolve-to-resist-post-truth-thinking/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/information-literacy-universal-challenge-of-the-digital-era/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/information-literacy-curriculum/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/tag/national-information-literacy-awareness-month-2016/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/facing-the-facts-about-facts/

https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/scrubbing-history-scrapping-the-facts/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marchers will support research, science, real facts

It’s hard to specify the “tipping point.” It could have been the fact that the President considers climate change “a hoax”; or it could have been the gag orders issued to federal agencies; or maybe it was funding cuts for scientific research; or the team of researchers, archivists and librarians rushing to preserve essential scientific records. For many non-scientists it was simply the challenge to comprehend the concept of “alternative facts.”

Whatever the efficient cause, the effect is a planned March for Science – a march similar to the Women’s March, to be held in Washington, DC, in Europe, and in communities throughout the nation.

This is not to be a march of scientists but rather a March for Science. Planners describe a non-partisan march that “reaches far beyond people in the STEM fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science. “ Focus is on policy, including communication of findings from tax-funded research as well as funding for and nature of tax-funded research initiatives.   A fundamental premise of the initiative is that facts matter.

Details – including date – are in the works and should be out in the next few days. Meanwhile, stay informed – or get involved – through these channels:

Twitter: @ScienceMarchDC

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1862739727343189/

Reddit: /r/scientistsmarch

Get Email Updates

To help: https://goo.gl/forms/zAdY02dBEz3Ykii42

Contact: scientistsmarchonwashington@gmail.com

Who can participate? Anyone who values empirical science. That’s it. That’s the only requirement.

As a concerned non-scientist I’m eager to get instructions for gear that will appropriately represent the cause! Knitting needles are poised for action!

UPDATE:  http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/25/war-facts-sparks-momentum-scientists-march-washington

 

 

 

Disability March on Saturday, January 21, enables inclusivity

UPDATE:

Activism isn’t always access – and the Women’s March on Washington is no exception. 

And this is why some marchers and march planner have created the Disability March. (http://mashable.com/2017/01/18/disability-march-womens-march-on-washington/#FxqT7IdFrmqt)

My personal suggestion is that anyone who is unable – or even hesitant – to participate in the march think about clicking in to participate. This applies to anyone who may have problems walking, or who simply doesn’t have the time to participate in either the state or national march

The Disability March is an all-volunteer effort, made for the disability, by the disability community. It’s also an official co-sponsor of the national Women’s March in Washington.

Understand that this is not simply streaming the DC March so people with disabilities can view! As of last week over 50 online “marchers had signed up to participate in the virtual march. They and countless others will participate by sharing their opinions and stories and statements online. All will be uploaded Friday and Saturday to coincide with the DC March;

Sonya Huber,  one of the organizers of the Disability March, is quoted as saying:

I began to wonder about other ways to be visible, especially for our community, besides marching – even though the march will of course include many disabled people…Since the disabled community is going to be so impacted by the Republican agenda, it seemed that giving people a platform to tell their individual series was most appropriate.

This is also a good example of the ways in which resources created by and for people with disabilities serve the needs of a much broader community.

Submissions due by January 20.  To participate online, click here:

https://disabilitymarch.com/join-the-march/

Note: I had some difficulty with this link – just keep trying or go to the facebook Women’s March on Washington – Disability Caucus, twitter #disabilitymarch or email disability@gmail.com

 

 

 

Women’s March on Washington – Minnesota Style

Though some of us may know a politico or campaign contributor who is headed to DC for the inauguration later this month, most of us know (and envy) a friend or family who will be visiting Our Nation’s Capitol the following day to join the Women’s March on Washington. (https://www.womensmarch.com) on Saturday, January 21, not coincidentally the day after the Inauguration. These are the Minnesota marchers who will be hopping on the bus – or more convenient transport — to venture 1100 miles, don a fuchsia pussy hat and join hundreds of colleagues at the Capitol, then march from the Capitol  down the Mall to share a determined message to the new regime.

What some Minnesotans may not yet know is that the Women’s March on Washington has spawned a nation of state and local “sister” marches throughout the nation. None will be more energetic, committed, informed — probably cold – than the Minnesota marchers. Here are the basics as found on the very lively FB site for the Minnesota march: (https://www.facebook.com/events/1798874673734173/)

Starting at 10am we will meet on the John Ireland Blvd Bridge in front of Minnesota History Center (near the corner of John Ireland Blvd and Kellogg Blvd). From 10-11am we plan to get pumped up, meet one another, form new friendships and likely hear from a motivational speaker (who is yet to be determined). Please plan to arrive no later than 10:30am. At 11am we will start our march heading northeast on John Ireland Blvd toward the Capitol. We plan to arrive at the Capitol around 11:30/12pm. From 12pm until 2pm we will have a rally including entertainment, speakers, etc. If you are unable to participate in the march itself but wish to participate in this event, please feel free to join us at the Capitol around noon. The rally will end at 2pm.

These days both the national and, even more, the Minnesota sites are bursting with updates, anecdotes, calls to action and more! Anyone with a device and a comfy chair can keep up with the latest, share ideas, express an opinion and support the marchers in Minnesota and in DC.

There will be a post event gathering at sites around the state, including at the East Side Freedom Library which is opening its doors, providing hot beverages and encouraging marchers, including virtual marchers, to share their experiences, opinions, commitments and hopes. (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/womens-march-open-house/)

UPDATE: Emily’s List announcement:  http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/emily-s-list-to-sponsor-women-s-march-on-washington-847831619542

UPDATE 1/6 – The Minnesota to Washington Women’s March has joined the blogosphere:     http://www.eramn.org/national-march-blog

Fake news – The post-truth needle has moved – Now what?

Post-election public awareness of the depth and breadth of fake news is growing by the hour. The recent BuzzFeed blast (https://www.buzzfeed.com/craigsilverman/the-strangest-fake-news-empire?utm_term=.gmdrXdGXg#.oc7BJQpJw) brings the pernicious practice into the daily lives of masses of the general public are just now feeling the pain.

If there is any hope it lies in the fact that the explosion sparks a flicker of hope that the current torrent of public awareness may lead to action – including a heightened level of “perceptive paranoia” among news consumers. For now, the communities bamboozled by the false claims of high profile neighbors-to-be are injured, insulted and enraged.

Meanwhile, in the journalistic background action steps are underway: For starts, there is increased respect — not to mention expanding career opportunities — for fact checkers such as the truth-seekers at Ballotpedia (http:ballotpedia.org), Annenberg’s (http://www.factcheck.org), Politifact (http://www.politifact.com), the Poynter Institute (http://www.poynter.org) to name just a few. Fact checkers can’t change the original but they can inform perceptive individuals to the incipient dangers of the misinformation and disinformation.

Understandably, serious journalists are seriously exorcised.   Members of the press, appropriately outraged, have spoken out in multiple ways. These are but a few of the published critiques based on the fake news story:

In the parlance of the media mavens, the “needle has moved” on fake news. We are well in the Post-Truth Era.   In our own good time the American public has heard the poet’s message – today, fake news IS the news.

We have a public disinformation epidemic that is spreading like a vicious virus through the communications channels – formal and informal – of this democracy.  The true fact is that we have a preliminary, if not universal, diagnosis.

With all due respect for The Bard: The fault, dear Readers, lies not in the stars but in ourselves.”

Another good read:  http://www.cjr.org/tow_center/mobile_notifications_changing_new_york_times.php?utm_source=Pew

 

Facing the Post-Truth Era – Dylan’s warning, today’s tools

Back in the day, decades before the advent of FB, the prophets among us predicted the Post-Truth era. Consider Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan’s thoughts about the threat of lies and news fakery, shared in a 1963 interview with Studs Terkel. What did you think Dylan meant by when he warned that hard rain that was gonna fall? http://www.poynter.org/2016/bob-dylan-on-lies-and-news-fakery-way-back-in-1963/443058/

In the Post-Truth age countless Minnesotans have joined the chorus of fake news critics. Here are just a few samples of what the people and the media have to say:

MOST IMPORTANT: In the spirit of Dylan – and Keillor — librarians at the University of Minnesota have had what it takes to get up and do what needs to be done to counter the scourge of fake news. How do we become better citizens of information is an excellent tool for any independent learner hoping to survive in the Post-Truth Era. http://www.continuum.umn.edu/2016/11/become-better-citizens-information/#.WFb7xGVfKJU.   Check it out!!!