Sunday, October 23, 2011

so sad :(

AHHHH SOME HOW I JUST CAME ACROSS THIS!!!!
I MISS SLICE SOOOOO MUCH!!! :(

Friday, March 13, 2009

You must look within for value, but must look beyond for perspective

Honestly, I forgot that we had to do a post this week. Better late then never.. maybe?

Bringing together a wide variety of different perspectives for the sake of a common goal helps keep people from separating those perspectives as being something in the way of said goal. Hearing the same information from people whose knowledge and ideals match yours doesn't result in much forward progress, but involving many types of people can expand a person's on how they view an issue.

The first example I thought of with people who seem to have nothing in common, but still work for a common goal was the ex-Klan member who works with a "a black lady [he] hated with a purple passion." They held a mutual mistrust but that gave way once their children were harassed for working with someone white/of colour, and ended up becoming close friends and bringing about change.

I don't think I put myself in situations with persons of very different idea or lives very often. More often than not, I think I end up driven into the situations rather than me being the driver so-to-speak. Though it isn't much, I've been trying to talk to people more often so that I may strike up a good relationship with those who aren't so much of a mirror of myself.


"The longer we listen to one another - with real attention - the more commonality we will find in all our lives. That is, if we are careful to exchange with one another life stories and not simply opinions.
-Barbara Deming

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ubuntu

The story of the athiest woman reminded me of the Ubuntu movement throughout Africa. The word Ubuntu is a Zulu word which means all people are connected. I love that word because it is promoted heavily by Nelson Mandela of South Africa, he is part of the Xhosa tribe. South Africa is a country consisting of 11 official languages and tribes/races. South Africa has some of the bloodiest history ever known and some of the strongest racial discrimination, not only between whites and blacks but throughout tribes as well. What I love so much about Ubuntu is South Africa is despite all the differences they face, Nelson Mandela and Ubuntu are widely accepted.

Come Together.....


Throughout this book it is obvious that as a society it is vital that we take the first step and stand up for what we believe in, to better our world. In Chapter 9, Loeb emphasis the importance to stand together, especially with those whose opinions differ from our own, in order to accomplish our tasks. When Loeb states, "The more we listen to those whose experiences and perspectives are unfamilir, the more we realize what draws us together," I believe he is saying that instead of viewing others opposing opinions as a threat we need to realize the similarities we share. Most people may become defensive when others opinions and perspectives differ from our own, but the reality is that we all share the passion and drive to stand up for our beliefs and take action to change. This passion is our most prized possession and if we take that and combined it with others we will create a strong force that can not be reckoned with. By combining our differences and banning together we could move mountains.


The story in the book that really inspired me of how people who generally might seem to have nothing in common worked together to make a positive change was about the Ku Klux Klan member C.P. Ellis. By joining the AFL-CIO labor organization to first voice his opinions of the blacks in the community. When he was nominated to cochair the group with a black lady, Ann Atwater, he was both mystified and filled with hatred. To his surprise the two developed commonality and became close friends as they worked together for a common goal. This is proof that even the most different of people can come together and that "we should never lose hope that a particular person can change.


I would have to say that in my own life I do not put myself in situations where I am exposed to people who may have very different ideas or lead very different lives than my own. Just like most we are attracted to those who we have commonality with, it makes it easier on us to complete tasks. But after reading this Chapter I see the importance of working with those who differ from us in order to expand our minds and experiences. I will try now to put myself into challenging and different experiences.

Obiettivo Comune

Working with different groups that might not share your ideas in order to work on a social action could be difficult but not impossible. I think it is crucial to talk and listen to others so we can expose our ideas. Otherwise, these ideas or beliefs will just remain with the ones who support us and not with others that have different than ours.

An example that I really liked was of C. P. Ellis, a man who joined the Ku Klux Klan because even though he had worked hard, he was not able to go nowhere. For a long time, he organized angry groups and fought against school integration. During this time, he noticed that the city council members of the Klan called him up when they needed someone to shout down blacks but ignored him when they passed on the street. He felt he was being used by these people and something inside of him changed.

Ellis was invited to participate in the AFL-CIO labor organization and after some time, he became the co chair the group. Ellis worked along a black lady named Ann Atwater whom he “hated with a purple passion” in order to lead civil rights boycotts and protests. One day, both of their children came home crying because their parents were collaborating with the enemy. That is when Ellis understood that along with Anna they were sharing a commonality. Ever since then, they became good friends bringing young whites and blacks together against employers who had oppressed their common distrust.

Ellis changed his life and finally he worked for the benefit of those African American that were oppressed by members of the Klan. He had to work along people who did not share the same ideas as him but, at the end, he understood their point and started to work for their cause. I really do like his journey because he became the protector after being the aggressor and that is something really remarkable to recognize.

During my short life, I have seen people who lead very different lives than mine. From people who live in remote areas and in poor conditions to people who live in abundance. As a person that comes from another country, I been exposed to different lifestyles and customs. In addition, I have encountered people who have very different points of view in a certain subject than mine. I find that very interesting because once I listen to their views I am able not only to understand them better but also, I am able to compare my ideas and beliefs to theirs. This world is very diverse and if we could only be open minded we could be able to understand one another better.

Understanding Makes Your Point Of View BETTER!

We all have our own view of the world as we grow up. When we are young we think that our parents are the smartest all knowing beings in this universe. We copy everything they say share the same thoughts and are even put into the same religion. As we grow older we start seeing that they are not perfect and that we are not always wrong and we reach the point where we think everything we do or say is right because our own little stupid rationalizations.
Then we reach the present where we start to question our own believes. I have personally chosen to be atheis for example because of my own reasons. I came to have my own reasons only because I understood where other people are coming from and used all these point of views to make what i believe to be the most educated decision. We all have to widen our horizons and in order to do this we have to see other point of views which is one of the things that makes this class and experience so special.

Embrace each other's differences

Dang it. I just realized that, once again, my post did not go through. So here it is for the second time:
"The more we listen to those whose experiences ane perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together." I think that what Loeb ment by this statement was that we all need to embrace each other's differences and accept each other for who we are, and, in return, we will learn so much. This quote reminds me of the very common phrase of: "opposites attract."
Because when we meet new people, they may be the complete opposites of us, however, for some reason or another, we become closer to each other. We need to enjoy other's differences and learn from them. If all we did every day was hang out with people who were EXACTLY like us, it would be so boring and we would never learn anything new. Instead, we need to talk to those who have different perspectives than us and who have gone through different experiences and we will learn so much from them!

YOU DIFFERENT, I DIFFERENT TOO BUT WE SPEAK SAME LANGUAGE

I love the way the chapter was introduced. It stated that encountering people with different point and taking on issues that we are not familiar with makes "issues once at margin of our vision become the focus of our live. it brings to perspective issues that we might not have really understood to become more clear and give us a sense of direction. This is particularly exemplified in the Hazel Wolf story and how she became involved with the environmental movement. Loeb said that "upon accepting the challenge of trying to shape a different future, we feel a sense of larger purpose". This is I think is the reason for taking on issue that are different from yours. Because you learn from them. You get to widen your horizon and gain new understanding of people and issues surrounding you. I have come to experience and understand other groups apart from the one's I am involved in by taking on their ideas and interacting with them. We are all different and like it says in the book, groups that exclude others are not communities but are cliques. That is a road block to the sense of community and so we cannot move forward if we don't pass that barrier.. I especially love the story about C.P. Ellis and how he changed from being a Ku Klux Klan Exalted Cyclops to fighting community issues with a black woman he despised at first. This was because he learnt to take the idea about others and that which we do not understand through working with them and not through separation. We all have our individualistic ideas and point of view but when we focus on just those, we get to miss the greater blessing we might experience by interacting with those different from us. Through a Global leadership retreat, i got to experience and understand the Vietnamese Culture and way of life. We all have our own different languages(views) but we can not let ourselves be restricted by it. Learning a new languages(way of life) exposes us to better opportunities in life.

Yunus

"We cannot break through with new concepts if we are still stuck with old mindsets. That is why the youth have to think big, think ambitiously and think with courage,"
unknown
There are couple stories that grabbed my attention. One was being Julia Devin story, in which her joining an effort brought threat to her actions and jeopardized relationships in order to meet her vision in El Salvador. Her actions inspired people in to not losing hope in the human spirit. As well, as Klansmen C.P. Ellis, by giving him an opportunity he eventually altered his life perception. People that are interested in progressive social change need to explor different issues, ideas, solutions, organizing, methods, challenges and opportunities.

Couple months ago I read a book by Muhammad Yunus a
Nobel Peace Prize winner, Bangladesh banker and economist. He is the innovator of micro credit, a program that is responsible for improving poverty of millions of individuals. He talks about overcoming others’ initial pessimism about microcredit. He challenges corporations and individuals to become agents of change for a better global economy. He describes strategies for building bridges between business success and social change. One of his accomplishments was partnering up with food processor Danone creating a healthy yogurt that helped malnutrition kids in Bangladesh. Grameen has also launched a number of joint ventures with major corporations one being with Intel in creating information technology for the poor. Lastly he has overcome huge obstacles in his efforts to alleviate poverty in his country. When banks refused to grant loans to the poor for lack of reliable security, Mr Yunus came forward and offered himself as a reliable sponsor. Very soon, he was able to change the pattern of loan grants in his country by introducing quick and easy methods to obtain loans. I believe collaboration between people is essential to the success for resolving social issues in our society. One cannot do with out the other.

Shut up!

If you just listen to someone you don't particularly seem to agree with, you might find that not everything they say is just about trying to appose you. You might find some common ground if you listen. When you listen to them, they are more likely to listen to you and it'll be easier to compromise. I went to a few student government meetings at school last semester to represent the Spanish club on campus and felt a lot of tension between certain people. Someone at the table told us(the Spanish club reps) to appose everything that one of the other members had proposed just because they didn't listen to them in the past when they proposed something. The 2 members of the meeting seemed to be at each others throats just because of dislike. They didn't listen to each others concerns, just the parts they could argue about. On the flip side, our club listened and brought up concerns from both sides. Even though we just reiterated what was already said, it made them less hostile and the conflicts were resolved. Though the author seems to be anti conservative, he found that not every issue they present is against his own views. He was able to find some common ground. So, just listen every once and a while.

It's just terrible what they did to Pluto...it is still a planet to me!

What a fascinating concept in this chapter! I love what Loeb said as well as the way he says it.


"The more we listen to those who's experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together."


This is just such a great idea, in my opinion. It sort of touches on the importance of stories in a previous chapter as well. What this statement says to me is that we can find common ground between us all when we take the time to learn to understand one another. It is a matter of perspective. I see it sort of like this: we are all looking at this strange sculpture at the same time, but from different angles, and in these different angles we see something that is unlike what we can see from any other point of view.



In this metaphor, I suppose the sculpture would be Life and we come to these different angles through the experiences that make us who we are. We are all unique creatures that have lived unique lives granting us our own unique view point, seeing something different in the same sculpture! I know this is a considerably abstract thought here (and Enrique, I'm just certain you've already rolled your eyes more times than I can count) but try to follow me on this. If we learn to understand each other, learn how it is that they have come to look at the sculpture from their angle, then we just might become able to see from their point of view and then we realize that they are seeing the same sculpture that we
are! This similarity brings us together and bridges a bond to create a sense of togetherness. To me, this is such an important aspect of life. I feel as though Leob is saying when we learn to appreciate and understand each other's perspectives in life, we grow closer together.


In this chapter, this concept is well exemplified in the story of Ms. Hazel Wolf. I really liked her story; she just seemed so fiery and passionate and lively through the illustrations in her youth or older days! One particular portion of her story talks about how she had brought together environmental groups, church associations and Native American tribes for a conference. (She was 81 at the time, a great reminder that age does
not stop us from doing something to make a difference.) After teasing one of the Native Americans a bit, he and Hazel end up becoming close friends and continue to work very well together in the years that followed. This illustrates how these two undoubtedly different people were able to come together in spite of their differences because their shared a common desire, which in this story was to block an oil port off the Washington coast. Very cool.


Having said that Loeb's above concept was so important to me personally, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I place myself in situations where I am around those of different view points on a regular basis. Whether it is in a class, on the light rail or in Hayden library, I tend to at least attempt to strike up conversations with interesting
people to try and get a glimpse of the sculpture from their vantage point.


For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I began talking with a gentleman who called himself John on the light rail. He had just said good bye to two men after a conversation about decent homeless shelters that the two men could possibly get to that evening. John told me all about how he was homeless for awhile and learned the insides and outs of living on the streets, knowing where to go for food, water, shelter, drugs and booze as well as other forms of...entertainment. He went on and on until finally I said the most obvious thing I could think of, commenting on how he now looked anything
but homeless, let alone a user or a drunk. He then told me about a brief, maybe 5 minute talk with some stranger that smiled in a kind way at him one day, regardless of John's physical state of being that hot summer afternoon; John said he looked "about as nasty as a cracked out, starving swine that was baking under the Phoenix sun, but this fool still shot me a smile. And he meant it." It was incredible hearing about the emotions John felt in the instant that the stranger looked John's way; he told me he felt embarrassed, depressed, selfish, suprised but most of all, he felt angry that any man could be so joyful in life while John, who was going day after day pretending he was happy with his life style that was being lived "in servitude to the almighty powders that be." John told me that he asked the guy how he could be so full of happiness and the man spoke with him, genuinely and straight foward without any fear or lying in him about his life and the decisions he had made. John said that from that day on, his life was changed, because that man had opened John's eyes and taught him how to see life from his perspective. I really cannot describe what an incredible event that conversation with John was to me. I met this kind, well dressed, $200 watch wearing man on the light rail who had lived such a different live than I have lived so far, yet still I found a common grounds, a beginning of camaraderie between myself and John within our twenty minute conversation. It is amazing to me how learning to see the sculpture from other's angles and learning why they see it from that angle really does bring us together.





Oh, and about the title. Totally random, I know. Couldn't really come up with something that encompassed all that I said here. And the following sentence is for those who didn't read my blog, since you'll never know I am talking about you: "How long is it going to take in our society to see a person with an eye patch and not assume that they are a pirate? I just saw a guy with a suit and a breif case, but he had an eye patch so all I saw was 'YARRR!' "





Tyler :]

Put aside your differences!!

One example I read from the book where people who have nothing in common still work together for the greater good, was with atheist, Hazel Wolf, who spoke about being atheist. She also worked to get people of different backgrounds, wether it be religion, race, genger, or sexual orientation, she managed to get them to work together. One example of when I've had this experience was while I was in Mexico with my school building houses for the poor. Not all of us liked each other, some of the girls and guys had major drama between them, but as soon as they stepped foot onto the site to work, they put all differences aside and worked as a team to better the lives of others.
Sorry this was so short and sweet...but I'm really in a hurry....but I hope you still enjoy!!

"Our similarities bring us to a common ground; our differences allows us to be fascinated by each other." -Tom Robbins

We all view the world through our own windows. Our age, background, culture, experiences, race, sex, religion, etc. make us all unique from each other. We are naturally drawn to those who share similar interests, affiliations, and experiences; while, unfortunately, naturally repelled by those who disagree. We are all bias and often fall captive to judging and stereotyping. Much of the time, we lose sight of what we're actually fighting for. Controversy is no longer over what is right or wrong; it is over who wins and who loses. We all, at one point, have had that, "I'm right, whether I'm right or wrong" or the "I'm right because I say so" mentality. We're stubborn, and sometimes we won't "pull back the curtains on our own windows" to better view the world.

Someone is always going to disagree, but at the same time there is no one that disagrees with everyone. Finding smaller commonalities may ease more popular differences.
If nothing else, we must agree that:
  • We're not always right.
  • There may not be one "right" solution to every problem.
  • In general, we think/act the way we do because we hope it will help someone (whether it be selfish or not).
C.P. Ellis and Ann Artwater proved the strength of even the slightest of unities. Even one of the greatest and most controversial differences between the two could not break the hidden bond they shared as parents. It took their children being persecuted on the same basis, for Ellis and Artwater to finally look past their backgrounds and work together. Unbelievably, the high ranked KKK member, Ellis, learned to work harmoniously with the black woman activist, Artwater. Their friendship and Ellis's later work with poor whites and blacks displayed an encouraging example to all of society. We all share some common ground; if we can find it, we can grow on it, and the possibilities for positive change are endless.

-Morgan

there's always a spark that's redeemable

I particularly found the story of Julia Devin very interesting and inspiring. The story talks about Julia’s struggle alongside a physician and an activist to obtain medical neutrality in El Salvador during the turmoil years of civil war. She and her comrades decided to talk with the US military commanders whose actions were endangering the innocent lives. They had the courage to speak with such intimidating authorities about the complex issue. Her efforts helped to reach a medical neutrality agreement which was a step towards peace. I agree with Julia when she says that, “everyone has a spark inside them that’s redeemable, even if they’ve never done a single decent act in their lives.” This belief helped her overcome the challenging task of dealing and reaching an agreement with the “enemy.” This means that even if a person might seem unchangeable, there’s still a chance for change inside them.
I think life is full of situations where one meets somebody whose ideas and beliefs are the complete opposite. Situations like during physics class where you debate about what formula to use, you think you’re right, your classmate thinks they are right. Who’s wrong, who’s right? The only way is to interact with each other, learn and understand the problem and find the solution. Taking the step forward to deal with people who have a completely different ideal than you might sometimes become overwhelming. However, a simple gesture of understanding and willingness to both share and listen can be the small step taken towards reaching an agreement.

Un Voz

Many meanings could be gleaned from the statement "The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together." One that jumps out at me: In the context of social activism and possible conflict between participant groups, while different parties will always hold different values and views, the connecting fiber is the desire to create positive change and the passion to pursue that end. This for me is the commonality that all social activists must remain aware of.

Another possible interpretation: Through listening to unfamiliar perspectives and experiences we find that the people sharing them are not themselves unfamiliar or strange. The common truth of the human experience exists in every story. It is this central element, this basic connection between us, which is a stand-alone benefit of confronting and evaluating the experiences of others. Loeb alluded to this same fact earlier in his book when he discussed the call of stories.

And yet one third thing that occurs to me about this quote: Again something I feel Loeb touched on earlier is the idea that the direct experience described is both the means and the end. That is to say, the very courage, open-mindedness, and common respect that is needed to listen to something aversive or unfamiliar is what draws us together. In being open and willing to listen, we are both learning and learned, accomplishing and accomplished.

A specific story from this chapter comes to mind when looking for an example of “opposites” coming together for positive change. The story was that of the UJO and El Puente activist groups who had a long history of conflict and misunderstanding. However, when a towering incinerator was to be built near their community, they were able to put aside differences and work together in opposing it. Although the book does not elucidate on this fact, I would bet that after the work the two groups had a much better relationship and a better understanding of each other. To get conspiracy-theory for a moment: It is important that those who choose to become socially active and create a positive change in this world remember who the “enemy” is. The “powers that be” would love nothing more than for socially-minded people to get bogged down in battling each other. This leaves much less energy to be directed at “them.” So, while addressing social injustice is a passionate endeavor that inspires us to raise a strong voice, we must be careful not to drown eachother in the din of ever-rising argument. This is why I talk earlier in this post about finding that commonality, of understanding that beneath incidental differences in opinion there is much more that makes us the same than that makes us different.

Being a fairly confident, open-minded person, I put special effort into approaching those who seem to hold radically different views, values, or opinions from my own. I love knowledge, and I firmly believe that for mankind as a species to move forward we must do away with misinformation, assumptions, and false judgment. The best way to do this, as Loeb argues, is by exposure! Get out there, mix it up, speak your mind, listen fully, and never ever be afraid of being wrong! One of my absolute favorite experiences these days is to find out I am really, really wrong about something! It opens up new possibilities, enriches me as a person, and helps eliminate my own misinformation.

Common Ground

I liked the story of Hazel, the athiest humanitarian who was once involved in supporting communism. Her story tells us we can be from different religious and socio/polictical backgrounds, but our underlying desires and responsibilities to help each other and take care of the world are the same. As far as putting myself in unfamiliar situations with people I consider very different from myself, I've only just begun experiencing that. I think it takes a certain amount of self confidence to become curious enough to break down those barriers that keep up from experiencing something new. Our service sites in Phoenix have been experiences outside anything I've ever done. I've never worked with "at risk" kids before, but they act like any other middle school kid I've met. They were a really inspiring group of kids, though, because they were at their community center voluntarily. Not many suburban middle school kids would make a weekly or biweekly commitment to work on life skills.

A strangley isolated place

"The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together" I think he means that when we listen to the stories of other's experiences we can relate them to our own stories and can realize how similar our journeys are.
For putting myself into a place where I have to participate with people with views and lives very different than my own, the most recent would be this SLICE class. I myself live a very different and somewhat nontraditional life, but I am very fortunate of my upbringing by my parents. I was raised having very independent and very open-minded views. I was also raised in very educational environment. So being who I am and what I think from what I have experienced and what I enjoy in life seems to be, by no understatement, tremendously different from anyone else in the class. I feel sort of out of place, in a way. I like the people in the class and all, but I still feel misunderstood. I always do in public crowds as so. I see reactions of people when I'm just casually talking and making a joke, but it seems like (to me) that my views and humor are a bit unique compared to most. At times I feel like people need to chill out and lighten up. I get uncomfortable when I am relaxed and other people seem tense or uneasy. I try to make others comfortable by showing them that I am relaxed and at ease, but it does not always seem to work out, but whose to expect it to work on everyone?
My father told me one of his fears is being in a room full of people he does not know; but to me I like being anonymous in a room, blending in with the crowd to observe all the others. But when it's crowds like these where there's group interaction, it's pleasing to meet new people and hear and see their views and ideas. I like to hear how others have lived and managed through their lives so far and compare that to my own story.

Educating Ourselves Is A Step Towards Change

I think that change comes to the sole fact of education. Many people judge the world without truly knowing the issues that are occurring in our society. We judge people based on how the media portrays them, instead of learning about their culture first hand or by people that study different cultures. The things I have learned from the stories and experiences of interaction with different people has truly opened my eyes and allowed me to see how diverse our world truly is. Between the Global Leadership Retreat I attended and the Equiss Retreat the education that I got from everyone showed me all the positives of our diversity. We as society always talk about how boring our world would be if it was just one gray blob, so then why do we just someone because of their color and culture? We all have something too give to this world, some might be good others maybe bad, but why prejudge someone, off of this I think that there are many positives then to allowing different cultures to work together allowing the education process to occur, but not by the biased media, but by someone who lives the culture every day.. The culture in American is always changing and people continue to carry their traditions from generation to generation, so I believe if we take more positive steps to understanding each other we will be able to conquer so much more. So be a positive change and educate yourself, because that is the first step to creating a better world.

"Common Air, Common Ground"

When Leob states, "The more we listen to those whos experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together," I think he means we must speak to other people who share different views in order to understand the "common ground" we share.

In the story of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, three grougs came together because they realized their families not only shared litteraly the air and the ground, but they shared other similar opinions on various issues as well. Because the members of the UJO, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans all came together, they not only were good role models to their children, but they were protecting the earth they had to share as well. From there, they were able to work together on other issues they shared, all by finding their common ground.

Personally, I love this story and wish I could do it more often. Although I do listen to people who may have different perspectives or views than I do, I sometimes find my self automatically thinking of all the negatives (in my opinion) of their side of the story. It's something I'm working on and I'm sure something many people struggle with. As I'm finding and growing my spiritual self, this struggle is slowing disappearing. Yet, reading this chapter I have found how important it is to have this spiritual self, because without it, "we're left disconnected and mistrusting" (pg. 227). Putting yourself in situations where you may not share similar ideas is often refreshing and hopefully something our society can work towards. By understanding other people, we are likely to solve many problems, but the first step is putting ourselves in an awkward situation. Working towards a goal that is all for the common good.

working together

I hardly ever put myself in positions where I don’t agree with people, mainly because who likes to deal with drama and the stubbornness of others when they already deal with themselves? I do, however, see what Loeb is saying. You can get a lot out of learning your “opponents” beliefs. In Emerging Leaders I learned a lot about controversy with civility. By working with other people’s points of views you can broaden your knowledge of the topic and work together towards that one goal, “change”. I don’t necessarily think that I will become best friends with those who go against my beliefs but I do admire them for their passion and their knowledge. In the book, there are several stories of unlikely allies. One example is that of the Friends of Earth working with the National Taxpayers Union. Both don’t work hand in hand, but the Green Scissors Coalition brought them together and they ended up targeting ecologically damaging corporate welfare projects. They took two companies who would never go together and made change. I believe it is possible to do a lot more when EVERYONE works together. I know this sounds cliché but it’s true. Setting aside differences to work for a common goal would bring about change in so many ways.

REACH OUT........

"The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together"? If we are unable to branch out of our own security, we may never discover the new and exciting relationships that we can develop with people who can teach us new things. Many, if not all of us tend to make a pre-judgements about others before we even have a chance to talk with them. We might take a few nervous steps back because someone looks unique or presents themselves in a different manner. If we are not able to take those steps towards getting to know new pepople then we may never have the chance to see how similar we may actually be. I believe that knowing a variety of people really does make a difference about how you looks at life and its situations. This SLICE program is the perfect opportunity to step out of your comfort and get to know those whom you may never have taken a second look at because we sometimes fear the unfamiliar. My favorite example from this chapter would have to be Hazel Wolf's story. Although someone views religion differently than I do, there is no harm is being defensive and making assumptions. Tall or short, young or old, black or white, we all have a right to be who we are, but we are all still people that deserve to be treated with kindness. I challenge you all to step outside of that comfort zone on this trip and make a new friend in California, friendships can travel across the states just as easily as we can! Game on!

Nothing risked; Nothing gained!

I have never been a person who is comfortable putting myself in situations where I don't know the people around me. Especially when we don't share the same interests. The older I get the more I realize, I will not know what I have in common with people or how one person can change your life unless I take myself out of my comfort zone and talk with new people. One example of taking myself out of my comfort zone and surrounding myself with people I don't know is this class trip we will be taking during spring break. I am extremely excited and nervous at the same time. I look forward to getting to know new people and seeing the impacts this has on my life.

Falling into Things

I frequently put myself out there, and exposing myself to different people. I tend to be fairly spontaneous and will decide things at the last minute. In high school, me joining drama was a moment of spontaneity for me and I practically fell into it. It was just before my junior year of high school and I was picking out my classes, most of my classes were AP and Honors classes and I had one elective credit left. I knew by looking at my schedule that signing up for another academic would have driven me insane, but there weren’t any electives that I really wanted to take that year. I had seen how completely wild the drama students were, but I remembered how much I enjoyed acting as a child, so at the last minute, I threw drama onto my preliminary schedule and turned it in. I figured it wouldn’t even fit into my schedule. I got to school on the first day, and it had some how fit into my schedule. When I get to class there are a bunch of freshman running around and one guy talking in a Scottish accent and everything else. I didn’t know anyone. For most of the semester, I was considered the shy, quiet honors student, but none of them even cared. I got to the point where as nervous as I was about performing (especially not having the proper amount of time to memorize it, due to insane amounts of other homework) I grew to enjoy the class.

My second semester schedule didn’t work out and had one opening in it, so literally while sitting in the counselor’s office discussing my schedule, I decided to sign up for Technical Theatre. I loved it! I was building set pieces, painting, playing games, working in teams, working with lighting and sound – everything that I couldn’t do in any of academic classes. It wasn’t long until I joined the stage crew for the musical – once again last minute – and the girl who was supposed to be in charge, ended up passing that job to me, so my first show I was in charge of half the stage. The experience was stressful and chaotic and absolutely amazing. My senior year I practically lived in the theatre and worked on seven shows.

I met so many people with so many backgrounds, yet we were all drawn to the same exact thing. I grew to understand people that I originally thought were strange. It’s one of those things that I will always remember.

WALK IN MY SHOES

"The more we listen to those whose experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together."

This is a very strong statement. It brings me back to the saying, "before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes." Other individuals experiences and perspectives are important to hear out in order to stay true and committed to your own beliefs. They can even help us to grow stronger in what we believe in or help us to see it from a different angel that c
an change our thoughts completely. "Don't judge a book by it's cover," is also a good example. In my experience, people are all different and unique in their own special ways. However, if you take the time to look deep enough, you are most likely guaranteed to find something the two of you have in common. Even if it's the smallest little thing, there is something to be found.

The first sentence of chapter nine says, "Even when we build on the foundation of our existing values and knowledge, social involvement helps us enter new worlds." This is completely true because taking t
he time to get involved teaches us life lessons that we could never find somewhere else. We discover new ideas that are so far outside of our comfort zone just because we took the time to see what else is out there. We cannot expand our vision without taking necessary action. The book states that this only happens when we place ourselves in circumstances that require us to view our efforts and ourselves with new eyes. It is important to silence our own voice in order to find those similarities that connect us with others. We have to listen with an open mind and be willing to change. Yes, this is true. You might not always be right! Strive to understand the world outside of your own.

The story that stood out to me was not the Atheist story, but the Common Air, Common Ground sto
ry. People of all different cultures, who hadn't agreed in the past, came together for a common cause. The United Jewish Organization and the Puerto Ricans and Dominicans were all very different people. However, they found a passion and even added to their diversity, in order to take a stand for what they believe in. The health of their children was a top priority for each and every one of them. I also really enjoyed the fishermen story incorporated into it. God is good!

School is a perfect place where I am surrounded by people who hold different beliefs than I do. Even though I jump at any chance to share my faith with people (under permitting circumstances) sometimes you have to put your own opinions aside for the good of everyone. There are plenty of occasions when I spend time with people that have very different ideas, however, I have a solid foundation. Therefore, I know right from wrong. I know what I believe in and what goes against my beliefs.

Ray LaMontagne is a great singer...and Toy Story 2 is okay!

I too am going to use Hazel Wolf's story as an example. "The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together". I see it because although I do not agree with Hazel's view on salvation I can really respect what she stands for. Throughout her life she fought for unemployment support and lived as a person who actively keeps her world in order. I especially liked the part where she and the Native American first met, two people who in most cases have nothing in common then turned out to fight for the common cause of stopping an oil port from being brought to Washington's coast.

Well, in my life, I usually try not to put myself in situations where everyone has different viewpoints. After I read this chapter, however, I see the importance of mixing views and beliefs to be able to reach more people on a common ground, thereby expanding your cause.

Finding Commonality in Difference

They idea of bringing people together with different points of view of things is a really good idea. However, when it is applied people tend to get lost. They no longer focus on the issue but instead, they bring things from their past of they make faulty generalizations. When everyone is has a common enemy they can put their differences aside and focus on the issue at hand. For example, Hazel Wolf was Atheist and against religion however, she put her differences aside in to work for a common goal.

As I was growing up I never liked to stay in one spot. I had to constantly be on the move. I did not like just staying in one group because I was always curious about what the other group of people were doing. I would travel from one group to the next. This occurred mostly in elementary school when I had super confidence and athletic ability. At school, it seemed like everyone got along through me. I showed people their commonalities rather than their differences and people got along. I did not ignore the differences instead it was more of knowing and looking past.

I think what Paul Loeb was trying to say with his quote is that communication of experiences promotes understanding when you have an audience that is willing to listen. You kind of have to force people to be open with each other otherwise people will become distant. However, you cannot just throw people with radically different ideas together because some one could get hurt. The environment has to be controlled or in a social level that is non-threatening. The art of rhetoric is very powerful and if by telling your story you cannot effect the world in a good way. Then I suggest that you tell your story, while listening to people that are on the other side. If you do not have a full understanding on an issue than you will be quick to make generalized assumptions and not look at how your decision will effect everyone.

I like how President Lincoln and Obama both tried to surround themselves with people of different view on issues so they can make informed decisions.

Great Change

Working with others to make a positive change can sometimes be difficult, but if you feel that the change that needs to be made is the only priority in your life, then you should be willing to drop all of your differences with others to create a positive impact or outcome. In the book a navy yard proposed to have a 55 story incinerator for 15 years. The purpose of the incinerator was to convert garbage to electrical energy, but the major drawback was the devastating amount of emissions it put off. This would have saturated the already damaged town of Williamsburg. There were many different groups in the community that did not like each other and were always yelling at one or the other. Some of the groups were the Hasidic, United Jewish Organization, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans. All of them fought on all levels of issues in their community, but when they all heard about the emissions put off by the incinerator, they all dropped their differences to come together to ban the incinerator for the health of their kids. No matter how different everyone is there will always be a common cause or force that brings them all together, and the health of their children is a great force that most people cannot ignore. All of these groups came together and did many protests, and in the end in 1996 they worked out an agreement with the state legislature that ended the incinerator project. All of the groups contributed to a positive change, which held a lot of impact. Not only did they shut down the incinerator, but they created bonds between their groups.

As for my own life, I am put in similar, but less important, situations everyday at college. In every class there is always someone who has a different view from my own, however, I do not let it bother me or tell them that they are wrong. Everyone has their own opinion, it is theirs not yours. You cannot force people to have the same opinion as you. All you can do is show them the multiple sides of the situation so they can become more educated about the subject, so they are not just biased. Maybe, sometime in the future their opinion might change due to yours side of the situation, and it also may not change. Everyday you will always meet or see people with different opinions and viewpoints than your own, you cannot change them, but you can open them up to all sides.

Pulled Together

"The more we listen to those whose experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together." I think Loeb means exactly what he says. By listening to to others' experiences we find something about ourselves in their story. This creates a common ground between the person and ourself drawing us close to each other. Not only that but we also gain a new outlook on an topic just by listening to that person, which can helps us understand another person that we might meet in the future. =]

I think a great example from the book would be the story called "Common Air, Common Ground." A story in which two groups of people, United Jewish Organization (UJO) and the El Puente, hated each other due to past conflics, came together for the sake of their children's health.

I think I expose myself to people with very different idea and lead different lives from me all the time. Just by going to school, getting a job, and even taking this class exposes me to people of different backgrounds and ideas. I would even say just being in my family exposes me to very different people. Usually people that are related are somewhat alike, that does not seem to the the case when it comes to my family. Each of us has our own perspective in life and on the world but, we have all lived completely differently lives and shared few experiences with each other.

STOP!

SERIOUSLY< I dont know if I have any leadership authority or awesome cool abilities, but only one or two more Hazel Wolf's then its to picking another story. Sorry to lay down the law, but that just burns my hide and makes me sound like a cowboy. Shoot.
I appreciate it =P
-Jeremy

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A strangley isolated place

"The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together" I think he means that when we listen to the stories of other's experiences we can relate them to our own stories and can realize how similar our journeys are.
For putting myself into a place where I have to participate with people with views and lives very different than my own, the most recent would be this SLICE class. I myself live a very different and somewhat nontraditional life, but I am very fortunate of my upbringing by my parents. I was raised having very independent and very open-minded views. I was also raised in very educational environment. So being who I am and what I think from what I have experienced and what I enjoy in life seems to be, by no understatement, tremendously different from anyone else in the class. I feel sort of out of place, in a way. I like the people in the class and all, but I still feel misunderstood. I always do in public crowds as so. I see reactions of people when I'm just casually talking and making a joke, but it seems like (to me) that my views and humor are a bit unique compared to most. At times I feel like people need to chill out and lighten up. I get uncomfortable when I am relaxed and other people seem tense or uneasy. I try to make others comfortable by showing them that I am relaxed and at ease, but it does not always seem to work out, but whose to expect it to work on everyone?
My father told me one of his fears is being in a room full of people he does not know; but to me I like being anonymous in a room, blending in with the crowd to observe all the others. But when it's crowds like these where there's group interaction, it's pleasing to meet new people and hear and see their views and ideas. I like to hear how others have lived and managed through their lives so far and compare that to my own story.

Our Learning Never Stops!

"The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together"

I think what Loeb is saying is that each of us come into a situation looking at it through a different perspective, but that we need to be open to learning from someone that views a situation differently. For example, we might all be coming together to fight toward ending homelessness, but the reasons that each of us are here are all different and all have to do with our own personal experiences and perspectives. That means that one person's personal experiences are unfamiliar to another person, and vice versa. However, this is a good thing because each of us brings different ideas and solutions toward this one common effort, and when we all listen to each other and pull our ideas together great things happen.

I think the example from the book that best fits this is the story about Hazel Wolf, an atheist. She holds a conference of environmental groups, church associations, and Native American tribes. When she first meets one of the Indian leaders, it would seem that they have nothing in common because both of their personal experiences with religion is different, but they instantly become friends. They worked together to block a dangerously sited oil port on the Washington coast, and continued to work together even after that issue.

One particular example I can think of when I put myself in an unfamiliar situation was just today at school. I went to listen to a speaker by the name of Azra Hussein talk about the Islamic culture. This is something that I was very unfamiliar with. She is a Muslim living in America and she was talking about her culture of Islam and her faith of being a Muslim and how they influence her American life. It was a great message, and I learned a lot. She used personal experiences to show the audience her own perspective on the topic, and she also demonstrated the similarities all Americans share by having the unique cultural experience that we do.

"MY WAY" OR "NO WAY"

"The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together." This quote went right along with the story Loeb talks about with the Atheist. This 100 year old environmentalist named Hazel Wolf was able to connect with a Christian audience.  The more the audience listened to her the more they feel in love with her. Despite the differences the audience and Wolf had similarities.

I believe in our culture we are tought to disinclude and shut down what we hear from those with different beliefs or different behaviors.

I know this was true in my own life. Ironically, I would always not want to hear from people that were not Christians. If I was friends with a person and found out later in my friendship that they where of a different religion then I would try to avoid that person. I would do this because I thought that it was either going to be "my way" or "no way." Then I came to a realization that God would really not be proud of me. He wants all his children to be saved and come to him with repentance so he can forgive them. He really doesn't want me to ignore people, he wants me to minister and bring the lost to him. God is good. He opened my eyes to see that I should not disclose myself but open myself up so I can recieve a chance to become closer with others.

Last post before San Diego!

I think the one about the students at the university of Nebraska is a good example. The students banded together in order to address the problem of family farms. As they recruited new people, their became a rift in the group of students. Those who had more knowledge of farming issues found it hard to work with those who were not as well educated on the topic. The problem can be solved if those students who are more experienced guide those students who are not.

This story in particular reminds me of my first year in SLICE. Last year when I first signed up, I had no real experience with community service, and I had no clue of the problems in the world. This made me feel like I was far dumber and less experienced in the class, and because of it I had a hard time getting to know people. Luckily, during the trip, those who were more experienced stood by my side and helped me learn what they knew. Because of this we were able to have an amazing trip, help people in San Diego, and better ourselves.

Laugh

I believe that what Loeb means is that not everyone is the same and everyone has a different story or opinion on things. If we don’t all listen to everyone else’s perspectives how will we ever know what it is that other people think. He states that an individual may know everything about one way of looking at an issue, but that there is always that new person who has no idea about it, and never would have thought about it in the first place. When we are those “new” people we listen to the different experiences and perspectives and start to base our own opinions on them. That is how everyone being drawn together begins. You start educating each other on your own personal views.
In the story I don’t necessarily want to refer to a specific story where people who didn’t have things in common worked together, but more want to state how they did. Hazel was the sweet little old lady that was known for her humor. She would create situations where she could put in her humorous statement, and could even get people from legislation to laugh. People may have been arguing on an issue, or were showing their different points of views on things but when Hazel stepped in with her jokes it caused everyone to laugh, become less tense, and started to help them work together to make that positive change. People have to go into things not just trying to be so serious where they are going to be stubborn about things, but remember that they are doing something or standing up for something that they love so it’s sometimes ok to laugh in those awkward but serious situations.

Critical Cranium Conundrum's

Life is about compromise
You can give everything you have, and receive nothing in return. The implications of a “just society,” entail that there is a constant flow of give and take. What happens when people get together is the general conflict that ensues. There is almost no way on Earth that two people could share exactly the same accounts and life ideologies of one another. A major step in seeking better alternatives is through these very diverse upbringings. One thing I just commented on recently in my own life however was how alike we all are.
No matter where you grew up, how you chose to live your life, there is a simple commonality to one another. It may be hard to see them at first, but through such a complicated web of choices we, as individuals, make on a daily basis, there is a simple truth to how much alike we all are in the end. I have a friend at work that is 32 years old. He was fourteen years old when I was born, yet we still have stories of our “earlier” years we can share. He grew up in various cities back east, with a strong sense of self and heritage, yet we have little quirks that allow us to communicate effectively. I know that’s a different way to look at it, but even little things like getting along at work depend on this issue.
An example I took from the book is also a little obtuse in its representation, but I felt this excerpt really reached out and commented on this blog question.
“Restorative justice. That’s an extraordinary notion, don’t you think? Fairness plus forgiveness. Moral courage plus mercy. How can we Americans practice restorative justice, reuniting our own profoundly divided nation? Perhaps by letting go of some of our long-drawn-out resentments. By focusing less on the evils of our enemies and more on the works we would like to build—with their cooperation if possible; without it, if necessary. And by remembering that even those whom we mistrust most profoundly are capable of good- perhaps even of radical shifts of heart.”(p240)
Although this isn’t exactly what was asked, I feel it confronts the bigger issue of our close-minded attitudes. We choose to see the bad before the good in people. How can we as a populace flourish with so much malice hiding in the shadows. It is an impossible truth to face and regardless if we fight it, one that will take the willpower of billions to turn it around. No more small scale plans. What can be done to make stuff like this happen?

-Jeremy

Words Can't Compete With Actions

The story of the good atheist talks about a woman named Hazel Wolf. She is an atheist and says the only reason she has the beliefs she does is because it was passed down from generation to generation just like all other religions. What she is trying to get across here is that it doesn’t matter what you believe but rather who you are and what you do. She tells how there are those who are Christians but are still bad people. Hazel still contributed many years of her life to bettering the world even though she didn’t have the religious beliefs that pulled her into it. She helped with kid’s welfare, Medicaid, and many environmental organizations throughout her life. Religion is only what people claim to be, but it’s their actions that show who they truly are. I liked this story because it is very true. I have never liked those who go to church just for the public appearance they want to uphold. Going to church and calling yourself a Christian doesn’t work if you can’t back it up by your actions.

The rest of this question nearly sums up my life. I have never once been able to consider myself part of one group. I have been friends with every type of person and have always been open to new situations. I have learned to never turn down a new experience no matter how strange or crazy it may sound. I have done things that most would never imagine doing and I have no trouble relating to any type of person. I have always loved getting involved in things that will allow me to open up and see the world in a different light. This world is too big to not expand and allow yourself to grow through these types of experiences. Don’t let diversity scare you away but rather use it to challenge yourself with a new way of living and understanding.

Differences form bonds

The lesson of finding common ground among varied ideals is portrayed in the story of Hazel Wolf. She has worked multiple odd jobs throughout her life and fought for her right to lead a decent and fullfilling life in America. Whenever she found a cuase that helped her to support what she believed in, she became heavily involved. One organization that she joined, but did not completely understand, was the Audubon Society. A close friend of hers urged her to gain some insight about the group and what they worked for so she expanded her mind to embrace their cuase. Hazel had joined an environmental group. She learned by watching the wildlife the society preserved she had goals common to those of the Audubon Society.

Just recently, I have begun to partake in social groups and activities, and that is helping me to expose myself to a larger scale of diversity among peoples' views. Other than that I see every class or social interaction as a way of learning from others. In a small way, these settings help people to discuss their views, ideals, and perceptions freely. They can become as involved as they want to be or choose not to participate.

Every person that I speak to, no matter where I am, expresses their individualism; they live a certain way that fits their needs to accomodate their ideals. Thus, to answer if there are people that live differently than me or have seperate ideals than thos of my own, yes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Difference

What Loeb means when he states "The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together" is that the more perspectives you can get on a topic the more you will completely understand what it is you are so passionate about. Also unfamiliar perspectives will help you find new ways of helping your cause because you will no longer be thinking inside the box of ideas you have but outside the box. The example that I like was when a garbage incinerator was proposed to be built in a Brooklyn navy yard. This incinerator would spew toxic emissions over the city. Leaders of two very different ethnic groups in the nearby communities who were always feuding over housing and the control of local public schools joined forces to fight the building of the incinerator. With their teamwork they were able to overcome the proposal and the incinerator was never built. This shows that even people of different backgrounds and beliefs can work together to make a difference. In my own life i never really expose myself to people that have very different ideas than I do. I really do not stray from family and friends but, I probably should I like the idea Loeb uses that you will only grow if you step out of your comfort zone. I think I need to take that first step.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We must work together to create a just world

From this book I have learned that we must find our passion on our lives. We must figure out who we are and what we hold as important within our lives. It is important to take that first step, but you will get much farther when you stand behind a group of people who are just as inspired as you are. In chapter nine, now Loeb is saying that we should widen our circles and allow others to work side-by-side with us even if they don't have the same views as us. For example, the old woman named Hazel Wolf grew up as an atheist. She worked with many different groups through out her life and often got asked why she was an atheist. She simply would remind people that we all must work together for the greater result. Loeb states,"The more we listen to those who experiences and perspectives are unfamiliar, the more we realize what draws us together".

What is drawing us together is our dedication and our passion in life. Behind all controversy, we all have the same idea of helping change the world to a way that we see is correct. Even if we do not want to listen to others that have different views than us (sometimes its almost painful to sit and hear) it is important to be exposed to others views in life. To understand why you feel fully passionate for something, I feel you should know the opposing thoughts. This has been hard for me lately because I am finally concluding on my own passions in life and my own opinions (I'm still developing many of them, but some are concrete). It is hard to sometimes listen to others opposing you because I feel like I'm being rejected for my beliefs. But I have to understand that it is important to hear these thoughts of others because maybe I will change my view once more or feel more strongly about mine own. Its important to work with people who you don't agree with because we are all there for a greater result. As Loeb states" we can't create a just world unless we're willing to work at listening to each other"