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Category Archives: Intentional Communities

Storefronts at buddy’s place: These windows in OTR offer a voice to the community – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Posted: August 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm

Left to Right: Janet Albright-Captain, Jacquie Eaton, Tony Drummond, Ann Driscoll, Sarah Corlett, June Alexander, Dionna DeeDee Flowers, Jeremy Neff and Key Beck as part of a series at Storefronts at buddy's place.(Photo: Joe Walsh and MC Rietz/Provided)

In the middle of Over-The-Rhine's entertainment district is an art collective made for and by community members.

Some are artists, others are educators andstudents,and some are longtime residents.

The work featured as part of the "Storefronts at buddy's place" series varies from cutoutsto live performances andlight installations.

And it's all housed on buddy's place, a building with 20 units of permanent affordable housing for former homeless residents. The building itselfis recognizable by a giant mural on its side that features sunflowers, people and a sign that says "Over-the-RhinePeoples Movement."

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buddy's place was named after buddy gray, a homeless advocate andfounderof Cincinnati's Drop Inn Center. buddy did not capitalize the "b" or "g" in his name and buddy's place has continued the tradition.

Storefronts was formed in 2017with the goal to allow residents to produce art shows that address issues that impact their lives, such as development and gentrification in the community.

"For many of us, even folks who weren't here since the beginning, we've always wanted something to do," said Key Beck, an organizer, collaboratorand board member of the OTR community council. Becksaid that Storefronts feels like something theycan do.

On various projects, Beck has served several roles from community member to participant. "It shows you what intentional community work looks like. The voice of the community is always being heard."

Dorothy Darden as part of a series called "Vigils" at Storefronts at buddy's place.(Photo: Storefront at buddy's place.)

The first exhibit at Storefronts was called Vigil. Community members dressed in black stood in the windows with signs that said things like, "We need to support affordable housing," and "Neighborhoods are nothing without neighbors."

The process has evolved over the years at Storefronts.

Mary Clare Rietz, the facilitating artist for Storefronts' art series at Miami University's Center forCommunity Engagement, first would bring the concepts to the community. Since then, OTR residents now work together to flesh out ideas for the Storefronts presentations.

Tony Drummond says he'slived in OTR for 12 years and has met more than 50 people since joining Storefronts. He currently lives at buddy's place and was part of Storefronts' Blink presentation called "Time for an UPdate?"

"I wore a big hat on with lights, and I'm a big man, so I guess I drew a lot of attention," Drummond said. "But we had a lot of educational stuff there, people looked at that and read that. It wasn't just a big light show. People were stopping. People were learning. People were seeing things they didn't know nothing about."

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June Alexander has lived in OTR for more than 20 years and saidStorefronts reminds her of the Harlem Renaissance.

"Without that expression that ability to say, in a healthy way, what's going on with us and have that support there would be other things going on," Alexander said. "This is what people need to see. Grassroots people, people in your own community, must have supporters."

Student involvement differs for each project. Sometimes they help with facilitating conversations or gathering props. Other students design posters and artwork or create costumes for exhibits.

Students from Miami University as well as the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning have also assisted with projects.

"The good thing about working with the students is that they're often involved in different portions of the project," Beck said.

"It's kind of a good partnership between students who are working in this kind of environment from an academic perspective and communities coming from the experiential perspective and together we have a unified goal of representing something," Beck said. "It's more like we're doing work with the students and working together."

End Times exhibit by Dionna "DeeDee" Flowers at Storefronts at buddy's place in Over-the-Rhine.(Photo: Storefronts at buddy's place)

The summer art project was bolstered by Black Lives Matter protests happening in Cincinnati and across the nation.

"With the powerful emergence of this most recent movement for Black lives and all of the other storefronts being covered with wood and then art," Rietz said. "Some of us decided it might be a good idea to have art in our windows."

This current series will feature several single-artist shows for the windows, rather than the usual collective approach.

Dionna DeeDee Flowers created the art for the first installation of BLACKLIBERATION. The second part of the series will premiere on Aug. 28as part of OTR's Final Friday art programming.

"It has been a very moving experience for me to be a part of this movement," Flowers said. "Whether they be rich, poor, professional, street person or whatever, what have you, Over-the-Rhine community folks, new ones and nostalgic, this is getting us together and getting us to communicate with one another."

"Wonderland" exhibit at Storefront at buddy's place.(Photo: Storefront at buddy's place)

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Growing entrepreneurs is a way to grow the Mon Valley – Observer-Reporter

Posted: at 3:56 pm

A wave laps up on the beach, the surge pushing waters against the wet sand. It is a rhythm that is quite predictable. Even little children find it easy to distinguish the areas where their feet will get wet from places where the effort of building a sandcastle will not be wasted.

Like a child on the beach, I can recognize areas in our communities where we need to build and our efforts will not be wasted. Meaningful change happens one person at a time, neighbor to neighbor. The solutions to many of our most entrenched problems are likely to come from the bottom up, not the top down.

When communities choose to recognize things that reinforce their values and beliefs, the results can be powerful.

Recognition, appreciation, encouragement, praise. These are all simply business words for love. It not only changes how others perceive us; it changes how we perceive ourselves.

The Mon Valley has long been representative of the working class and its aspirations. We must stand proud in our culture and history to create our own intentional positive energy. Recognition strengthens communities and attracts resources.

Our merchants and consumers can plant the seeds together for a sustainable economic future for our communities. While we can create sustainable economies, the reality is we must work for a larger social change if we are really going to solve our problems.

Like any good local resident, I love my place. I spend a lot of time thinking about what the Mon Valley could look like in 10 years. I know it must include a commitment to sustainability, and address equity, diversity and creativity to ensure our long-term resilience.

We need to nurture a vibrant and diverse sector of locally owned retail shops and restaurants, while planting seeds for manufacturing and production businesses. These businesses are key to keeping and growing family-wage jobs, and to preserving our cultural identity and community vitality.

We have the opportunity to be a leader in reimagining what the American small town of the future looks like. If our local businesses, entrepreneurs, communities, counties, and other public and private institutions work together, in 10 years we could have multiple, thriving business districts from Elizabeth to California.

It is imperative that we create opportunities for local ownership and meaningful employment, especially for our low- to moderate-income individuals with less typical skill sets. We must build our regions long-term resilience, and celebrate the Mon Valleys unique cultural identity.

One way to fill our empty storefronts is to grow our own entrepreneurs. I can envision seed, a technology, arts and culture business incubator that would offer affordable space and technical support to aspiring local entrepreneurs. This program would help new businesses thrive in those difficult first few years after launching, and cultivate economic growth and community development at the local level.

Our empty storefronts are simply opportunities to build sandcastles.

Jamie Protin is founder and principal of The Protin Group in Belle Vernon.

To submit business-related columns, email Rick Shrum at rshrum@observer-reporter.com.

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Re-Centering the Margins: LGBTQ Humanist Alliance to Hold Second Annual Summit – The Humanist

Posted: at 3:56 pm

The inaugural Centering the Margins summit, hosted by the American Humanist Association (AHA) and the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance in March of 2019 brought together BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) LGBTQ humanists, atheists, and freethinkers.The mission of the LGBTQ Humanist Alliance is to cultivate safe and affirming communities, promote humanist values, and achieve full equality and social liberation of LGBTQ persons. In pursuit of this mission, the alliance works at the national level to build a thriving network of LGBTQ humanists and partners devoted to compassionate activism. Through grassroots activism and events such as Centering the Margins, members of the alliance work to raise awareness, advance social progress of queer communities, and build relationships with other corresponding and allied communities.

In 2009 the LGBT Humanist Council formed as a project of the AHA in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Atheists and Humanists (GALAH). They got their start when local leaders gathered at the World Humanist Congress in Washington, DC, that June to discuss how the humanist community could reach out to the LGBT community and recognize the growing number of LGBT humanists. Their first priorities were to provide LGBT humanists across the country with a forum to exchange ideas on local organizing, find support in coming out as LGBT and as a humanist, and to speak out with one voice on issues of concern to the LGBT humanist community. In this capacity they organized for same-sex marriage and equal benefits for same-sex partners in the State Department, and they protested both the anti-gay papal agenda and the Boy Scouts discriminatory policies against gays and atheists.

Although the name has changed to reflect an expanded constituency, the alliance continues to fight for the rights of LGBTQ humanists and nontheists. We recognize that we should celebrate our wins in marriage equality but also understand that the fight for marriage equality asks members of our community to participate in a potentially harmful assimilation that stretches the marginalization gap. There are numerous LGBTQ rights issues that disproportionately impact queer communities and demand attention in our ever-changing political climate. These include healthcare deprivations, homelessness, and violence targeting queer and trans people. The LGBTQ Humanist Alliance is dedicated to realizing a more inclusive humanism that confronts these issues head on through education and advocacy.

The creation of the Centering the Margins summit reflects the LGBTQHAs commitment, internally and externally, to advance much needed anti-racism efforts in our country. The alliance believes that many progressive movements, including, at times, our humanist movement, demand that people work in silos, that people choose either the room where racial justice work happens, or the room where LGBTQ equality work happens, or the room where secularist work happens.Centering the Margins is committed to creating and maintaining a safe, productive, and welcoming experience for everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, neuroatypicality, physical appearance, body size, race, nationality, ethnicity, or religion. As a movement, we can only succeed if we work as a cooperative, proactive, and supportive community.

The inaugural summit was held at the Washington Ethical Society in Washington, DC. The event featured a musical performance by Danile Rogirs, plenary addresses by Black Humanist Alliance Leadership Council Chair Ashton Woods and the Vice President of Programs at American Atheists Debbie Goddard, caucuses, and more.In addition, LGBTQ Humanist Alliance member Tris Mamone and social justice activist Danna Pope facilitated a White Folk against Racism caucus for White-identifying attendees, while Lucky Garcia and Diane Burkholder facilitated a caucus for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

The day brought together folx who were engaging in humanism for the first time, longtime activists, and everyone in between while centering the identities too often marginalized in the secular community. Attendees discussed anti-racism, making intentional spaces, secular organizing, and shared stories about what it means to show up as our full selves.

All of the sessions from last year were recorded and are available on YouTube. The LGBTQHA is now in the process of planning their second annual Centering the Margins, but this year the conference will be virtual. Speaker applications are still open. If you would like to apply to be a speaker, you can so by clicking the link here. If you have any questions before applying, send those to CTMproposals@americanhumanist.org.

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Amy Long: Community in the age of COVID – The Hutchinson News

Posted: at 3:56 pm

As the weeks and months pass and I grow increasingly weary of social distancing, masks, and endless hand washing, I find myself wondering whether there is anything to gain from life in a pandemic. Dont get me wrong. I yearn for a return to "normal." But I am also an eternal optimist, and I cannot help but count the glimmers of goodness whenever I am faced with an obstacle.

I appreciate seeing businesses that were once open 24 hours a day closed at night and on holidays. I am grateful for employees able to be home with their families, and a step back from the instant gratification mindset that has become so prevalent in our lives.

I take greater pleasure in the limited social interactions that are now a part of my days. Running into a friend in the aisles of the grocery store has become a joyous opportunity to catch up. "How are you?" is a genuine question once again, rather than a distracted greeting that leaves no time for a reply.

I am touched by the politeness and courtesy that has reentered my encounters with strangers and friends alike. We wear masks to protect others. We ask before touching or approaching, in order to respect the boundaries of those we meet.

I love the ways in which communication has become more intentional. We no longer take contact with others for granted. We put more effort into reaching out. Just last week, my teenager sat down and drafted a hand-written letter to her aunt.

All around me, people are figuring out how to "do" community in the age of COVID. And these are lessons worth considering in our faith communities as well.

Maybe we need to stop planning twenty different services in a week to accommodate every preference or schedule. We need to be less concerned about meeting wants and more concerned about meeting needs, less focused on entertaining and more on worshiping.

Maybe we need to take more time to value our connections with one another. I have realized just how much I depend on my church community to support me in my life of faith. When we are again able to meet for fellowship hour after worship, we can focus more on conversations than on cookies.

Maybe we can do more to recognize and respect individual needs. Some people really do not want a hug pandemic or not. Others really do need us to stay home or practice better hygiene when we are not well. Showing up sick demonstrates carelessness, not dedication.

And maybe we can continue to be intentional in our communication with others. I am suddenly aware of how isolating it must be for church members who do not email now that this is the primary form of communication from my community of faith. I know I can do better to meet them where they are.

Of course, there are many more layers to these musings than I can fit in a single column, so please forgive my necessary oversimplifications. But I pray you will join me in seeking out the good where it can be found and yearning to come out on the other side of this with greater kindness, compassion, and understanding for the communities we are privileged to call our own.

Amy Long is an assistant priest at Grace Episcopal Church.

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Hurricane Laura the latest blow to residents of one HUD-subsidized community in Galveston – HousingWire

Posted: at 3:56 pm

As fires and a hurricane threaten communities across the U.S. this week, residents of low-income housing are at an especially high risk of financial and other loss resulting from the natural disasters, the Urban Institute has shown.

For one community in Galveston, Texas, Hurricane Laura expected to make landfall in Texas and Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane is just the latest in a long series of disasters that they say have been made worse by the way the Department of Housing and Urban Development has managed the situation.

Built in 1971 with 192 units, Sandpiper Cove is a privately owned apartment complex under HUD contract that allows tenants to pay 30% of their income after deductions, or a minimum of $25 per month, with HUD paying the difference. The property also sits directly in a high-risk flood area, according to FEMAs flood maps.

John Henneberger, co-director of Texas Housers, a Texas low-income housing information service, said their organization has been following Sandpiper Cove for nearly a decade. Because of its location relative to the seawall and lack of any sort of elevation, Henneberger said the 200-family complex floods in every hurricane.

When they flood, the tenants who suffer water damage lose their personal possessions, their furniture and their household belongings among other things. Theyre all low-income so most of them dont have renters insurance, Henneberger said. Then HUD comes in, gets the owner to basically patch up the apartment, which then leaves the tenants suffering a recouped financial loss that they cant bear.

When Galveston residents were issued a mandatory evacuation order on Monday ahead of Hurricane Lauras approach, Sand Piper Cove tenants were given a location for a bus that would evacuate them to Austin, but were not told where they would be going upon arrival. The uncertainty of where they are going is matched by what they will find when they return.

Because of repeated water damage, Sandpiper Cove has experienced a myriad of other problems including mold, sewage back-ups, broken air conditioners, buckling ceilings, rats and cockroaches, residents told the Houston Chronicle.

At the end of June, the non-profit law firm Lone Star Legal Aids Fair Housing team and housing civil right lawyers filed a lawsuit for Sandpiper Cove against HUD for intentional discrimination and its failure to relocate tenants after the property failed inspections and received a Notice of Default.

In a release, LSLA cited Rule-24 CFR 886.323 of the Code of Federal Regulations, which states that when a property participates in the project-based rental assistance program and it receives a Notice of Default, HUD shall provide a remedy for those tenants.

In the case of Sandpiper Cove residents, HUD wont let them move without a tenant choice voucher, despite the fact that these vouchers help families rent houses and apartments throughout Galveston. HUDs failure to provide assistance to these tenants violates its habitability regulations and its obligation to affirmatively further fair housing under the Fair Housing Act, the release said.

In Houston, LSLA filed claims against HUD and two other Section 8 project-based apartment complexes Coppertree and Arbor Court for similar complaints of inadequate living conditions in 2018, according to the National Housing Law Project.

Henneberger said Texas Housers has been working with residents of Sandpiper Cove to seek a meeting with HUD officials in Houston, as tenants pursue a more permanent and systemic solution to the problem. Currently, residents are seeking the option to receive Housing Choice Vouchers so they can leave their existing units for alternative housing.

Bottom line, the tenants are basically locked into these developments, by virtue of the fact that this is a project-based development and the tenant has no choice. If they want the rent subsidy, they have to live at Sandpiper Cove they cant take a voucher and go find a place that doesnt flood or a place that doesnt have mold or sewage problems or electrical problems, Henneberger said.

On Aug. 10, HUD announced it plans to allocate $472 million of CARES Act funding for low-income households. According to HUD secretary Ben Carson, Public Housing Authorities will use the money to make sure people have a decent, safe, and affordable place to call home.

For now, Henneberger, along with Texas Housers community outreach coordinator Ericka Bowman, are attempting to stay in contact with the residents of Sandpiper Cove as they make their way to Austin.

According to a report from CoreLogic, 431,810 single-family and multifamily homes along the Texas and Louisiana coast are at risk of storm surge damage from projected Category 4 Hurricane Laura, representing approximately $88.3 billion at potential risk for reconstruction cost value.

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Public Health asked Chamber of Commerce to weigh in on reopening plan, angering some elected officials – madison365.com

Posted: at 3:56 pm

While it was crafting the Forward Dane reopening plan in May, Public Health Madison Dane County (PHMDC) sought advice and took suggestions from the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce (GMCC), provided the GMCC with a near-final draft of the plan a day before it was released publicly, and allowed GMCC staff to make edits to documents associated with the plan, documents obtained by Madison365 show.

PHMDC briefed other organizations including the University of Wisconsin, Madison Metropolitan School District and the United Way of Dane County on the details of the plan before it was announced, but did not solicit feedback from those organizations.

They also did not brief or seek input from elected County Board or Common Council members.

Not only were other organizations such as MMSD, United Way and UW Health not included in the drafting process, the Common Council and County Board of Supervisors and by extension the public were excluded from it as well. We were notified by press release, Alder Rebecca Kemble said in an email to Madison365.

Some elected officials said the involvement of GMCC in the crafting of the plan shows a deference to business interests on the part of PHMDC staff.

I think it shows a completely unfair influence of business and wealthy interests on policy making in Dane County, said County Supervisor Heidi Wegleitner, a member of the Health and Human Needs Committee. The stakes couldnt be higher when were talking about the health implications of peoples lives. Its very concerning.

The Forward Dane plan was essentially a business plan, lacking many elements of what a comprehensive public health plan should have contained, Kemble wrote.

Wegleitner also expressed concern that PHMDC did not consult the citys two ethnic business organizations the Latino Chamber of Commerce and Madison Black Chamber of Commerce.

Leaders of both organizations confirmed they were not briefed or consulted by PHMDC staff.

It just shows how narrow, and the lack of diversity actually involved in the decision making process, Wegleitner said. Its particularly disappointing when public health states that racial equity and social justice is a part of every aspect of their work, and theyre supposed to be a resource for the rest of the city and county when it comes to racial equity and social justice and this is the opposite, the exact opposite.

Unfortunately I dont think the county really is intentional and how they do their outreach to communities of color, said Jessica Cavazos, president of the Latino Chamber of Commerce. As an organization we constantly are trying to figure out ways to help with information in dual language and culturally appropriate outreach to reach those continually challenged by the system. Guidelines have to be made easy. And community outreach workers should go directly to those communities affected and share information on how to best operate their businesses or to give the proper resources in order to continue (to) help our hotspots how to stay safe.

Both PHMDC and GMCC staff say the GMCCs feedback did not significantly alter the core tenets of the plan, such as the metrics used to determine when the County could move to each phase of the plan or the proportion of capacity that restaurants and other businesses would be allowed to operate with under each phase of the plan.

Still, the fact that the GMCC was invited to give feedback when no other group was offered the same opportunity bothers Wegleitner.

I think top down policymaking that gives an unfair influence to moneyed interests whose first priority is not public health, but their bottom line, is going to result in bad policies because you dont have a diverse perspective in terms of setting the policies. Youre not being inclusive about who is able to give input on those policies, she said. I cant say how exactly the numbers would have been different if we were provided a more transparent, equitable and inclusive process, but certainly I think there would have had a much more input and it would have been much more fair and I expect the policies would look different.

The editing process

Multiple sources indicate that PHMDC staff briefed several groups about the details of the Forward Dane plan in early and mid-May. The briefings were given in the form of PowerPoint presentations in remote, online meetings. At that time, none of the groups were given drafts of the plan or documents associated with it.

Emails between GMCC staff and PHMDC Business Liaison Bonnie Koenig indicate that GMCC staff were briefed on the plan on Friday, May 15. GMCC President Zach Brandon told Koenig in an email that he would prefer to have been provided with a document, but that GMCC staff would provide feedback on what was presented.

The next day, Koenig emailed Brandon and GMCC Public Policy Manager Adam Barr to recap the suggestions they had made, which included, according to the email from Koenig, define capacity, expand capacity by using outdoor spaces, no more essential and non-essential, and several others.

The ideas you shared will be presented today as PHMDC continues to work towards finalizing this plan, Koenig wrote. I appreciate your willingness to partner now and into the future for getting the public health guidance to our business community. And I am grateful for all of your commitment to a safe, phased-in reopening, and agree that this needs to be balanced with supporting our economy and community confidence.

Later that day, Brandon emailed Koenig with additional suggestions, including Recommend using the ability to maintain social distancing as the metric for closed-to-the-public offices instead of capacity a piece of feedback PHMDC did not take and recommend clarifying indoor vs outdoor gathering limits and others. In that email, Brandon also wrote that it is exceedingly difficult to consider potential issues and conflicts without the actual document and access to the evolving decisions being made.

Koenig responded later that day, saying Brandons email with further suggestions arrived at the perfect time this morning during our discussions and was shared to all present. And, as you will see, many of these great insights have been incorporated to the extent possible My hope is that the final plan shares the balance of public health and our business communitys voice.

On Wednesday, May 20, Barr emailed Koenig to provide feedback on several documents intended to serve as template policies and guidelines to help businesses reopen.

Suggested edits included changing the word checklist to suggestions and removing all references to training.

In an interview, Brandon said the word training was removed because it could imply that a business was required to hire an outside trainer, rather than simply share new policies with staff.

PHMDC staff repeatedly told Madison365 that these documents are not part of the Forward Dane plan, but they are posted on the Forward Dane section of the PHMDC website. In an email to Madison365, PHMDC staff said the documents were meant to serve as template policies for businesses to safely reopen, but that businesses were welcome to create their own policy documents.

Given that we expect all businesses and workplaces in Dane County to use these documents, we were of course interested in piloting them with actual business owners and operators, PHMDC communications staff wrote.

On the evening of May 17, Koenig sent Brandon and Barr what she called an almost final draft of the Forward Dane plan. Records indicate that GMCC staff did not make any suggestions to change that document.

I think we felt like we had taken our shot, Brandon said in an interview. They didnt ask us to give inputs on the data and we (didnt).

The plan was released May 18 and Dane County began Phase One on May 26.

A United Way representative told Madison365 that United Way of Dane County was briefed on the plan but did not provide suggestions. A Madison Metropolitan School District spokesman said PHMDC and MMSD were in constant contact but he was unaware of any specific feedback given on the reopening plan. A University of Wisconsin representative told Madison365 that Chancellor Becky Blank was briefed on the plan, but was unable to say whether Blank or other university officials had offered feedback.

Its purpose is to reopen the economy

On May 28, Brandon appeared in a video conference hosted by Downtown Madison, Inc, where he said, The (Forward Dane) plan is thoughtful, and its also infinitely better than it was when it was in draft form, adding that business groups put a lot of time and effort into helping craft the plan.

He also acknowledged Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and County Executive Joe Parisi, along with PHMDC staff, who he said had the confidence to share early documents and early thinking with the business community.

I know that some elected officials have tried to twist those words and turn them into something that they certainly were not intended to (mean), Brandon said in an interview. So what I was acknowledging was that, as I would hope, the business liaison officer for public health (reached out) to us to have a conversation about the specific items that were about business reopening and how they would work and were they clear. We never changed, never had access to, the thinking or gave any input to, or made any changes, in the percentages, meaning the capacities at which businesses would be allowed to operate under the plan.

I think an important thing that not everybody grasped in the beginning and maybe dont grasp today is that Forward Dane is a reopening plan. Its purpose is to reopen the economy, he said. Thats what its designed to do. The inverse of focusing solely on public health is the lockdown. And so this is the easing of the lockdown. This is the finding that equilibrium between public health, the economy, and that confidence that I was talking about. Those three things have to stay in check in order for us to rebuild the economy and accelerate into and out of a recovery.

Brandon said GMCC was just doing its job to represent its members and the wider business community.

Our job is to represent business and, when appropriate, influence government. And even though thats our role, weve tried to do that in a way that acknowledges the importance of this moment in the role Public Health plays in keeping us safe, he said. Even when things arent clear, weve tried not to vilify them or to highlight that. Weve tried to work with them privately to say, Can we get clarification on this so that we can better help our members?

Brandon did acknowledge that the plan could have been shared more widely during the drafting process, and other groups could have been offered the chance to provide feedback, but also acknowledged that things were happening very quickly.

I think you should always be able to overshare, he said. Could it have been shared broader? I think the answer is yes, but we didnt have the mechanisms in place.I dont believe that anybody was trying to leave people out. I truly believe that there were better angels in this situation. I certainly am proud of the work that we did, but I do think that it was all done with good intentions. And I think its easy to go back and look at film and tape from the event and say, Hey, that didnt go the way it should have or could have, but we learned from it and can do better. And Im sure we can always do better. But I do believe in the better angels, its as if people are just trying to do as much as possible, as fast as possible, knowing the constraints that we all have.

Rhodes-Conway and Parisi both issued statements in response to a request for comment from Madison365.

Public Health of Madison and Dane County has done a great job under difficult circumstances building the states first public health orders on rapidly evolving science in the absence of guidance from federal and state levels, Rhodes-Conway wrote. The metrics guiding the Forward Madison plan are conservative meaning more protective of public health than others in the state. I urge other local governments in our state to adopt similar orders and make greater progress in curtailing this dangerous disease.

Parisi reiterated that PHMDC did not modify metrics or capacity requirements at the request of GMCC.

I think its worth noting that Public Health Madison/Dane County has the strictest public health guidelines in the state, he wrote. Public Health created a metrics oriented, data-driven plan in the absence of a cohesive state or frankly even federal blueprint that has left local units of government to make the choice to draft their own set of guidelines, or as we have seen in nearly every other Wisconsin County, have no restrictions at all.

After PDMDC allowed businesses to reopen under Phase One of the Forward Dane plan, and then move into Phase Two, it was forced to roll back to pre-Phase One levels on July 2 when cases in Dane County shot up in late June.

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The People Of Belarus Are Rising Up Against ‘Europe’s Last Dictator’. But Is The Tide Turning Against Them? – The Organization for World Peace

Posted: at 3:56 pm

On August 25th, 1991, Belarus declared its independence from the Soviet Union and Alexander Lukashenko a man not particularly well known to most people outside of the country until recently became its first president. This was a time of hope and promise for the people of Belarus, a move towards democracy and liberalism after years of repression. However, Mr. Lukashenko would not serve his term and pass the baton to a successor; instead, he remains in power to this day and has earned the label of Europes Last Dictator. Lukashenkos regime is currently facing the biggest protests in the history of the country, rocking the very foundations of his almost 3-decade old regime. The world looks on wondering if Lukashenkos time is up or whether he will be able to hold his dictatorship in place.

Just 10 days after the August 9th presidential election, Lukashenko has found himself on the ropes. The protests initially began as a backlash against what many claim to be a rigged election in which he claimed to have won 80% of the vote, while opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya who was widely regarded as very popular received only 10% and then had to flee the country. The movement soon morphed into something much bigger than just a reactionary spate of anger, with estimates ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 people demonstrating in Minsk last Sunday, the largest in the independent history of Belarus.

The protests took the Lukashenko regime by surprise and spread across the country even drawing factory workers to join the protests. Nick Kaeshko, an accredited independent election observer during the election, who witnessed the voter fraud first-hand described the protests as decentralized functioning as a grassroots movement led by individuals and small communities. The atmosphere in Minsk was one of hope for the future as Lukashenko was seemingly at the mercy of those whom he had oppressed for almost 3 decades.

The Lukashenko administration reacted violently claiming to have imprisoned over 7000 protestors whilst attempting to discredit the demonstrators as foreign agents. Reports of torture and abuse by the authorities spread quickly and many protesters have simply disappeared at the hands of the national guard. The violent clampdown initially failed to have the desired effect, and more people were driven into the streets by the horrific images of beaten and abused protestors that flooded social media and the international press. Despite the initial success of the demonstrators, there appears to be a shifting of the tide in favour of Lukashenko and his allies.

The government has successfully forced many of the factory workers back into line by threatening them with criminal punishments. As a result, they are more or less back to business as usual. The general population has suffered some morale loss as protestors have been relentlessly attacked by the national guard, loved ones have gone missing and the government has introduced martial law in all but name. The uprising now appears to be at a crossroads, as momentum slows and the government regains an element of control over the situation. Lukashenko hopes that the local population can be demoralized enough to stop major marches whilst the international community and press lose interest, thus preventing further international backlash against him and his government.

The European Union and the international community as a whole must use the powers they have at their disposal to support the people calling for their basic human rights: to freely elect those who decide the fate of their country. The EU has already responded to the situation by sanctioning members of the regime and refusing to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election. Thierry Breton, the EU Industry Commissioner, stated that It is clear that (the outcome of the Belarus presidential election) is not in line with the wish of the people, there has been unacceptable violence, and the rule of law is not respected. This pressure must be maintained by Europe in order to remind Lukashenko that what has happened will not be forgotten and that democratic world stands behind the demonstrators.

Furthermore, the inevitable role that Russian President Vladimir Putin plays and will continue to play in Belarusian politics must be recognized. Lukashenko pleaded for help from Putin as the gravity of his situation began to set in. Artysom Shraybman, a Minks-based political analyst, explained that Russia has agreed to intervene only if there is clear foreign aggression. Furthermore, Aleksandr Baunov of the Carnegie Moscow Centre has pointed out that Putin intervening without support from the local population would be potentially disastrous for the Kremlin. As a result, Lukashenko is alone, condemned in the west by the EU and put on hold by his only powerful friend in the East. The European Union must maintain a dialogue with the Kremlin and make it abundantly clear that any intervention like what was seen in Ukraine will be punished severely. Lukashenko must be kept in isolation both from his allies and his foes.

The August 9th election bought members from all across Belarusian society together to fight for their freedom and justice in the face of a brutal leader, and now the fate of Lukashenko hangs in the balance. The intentional community and every person that believes in the basic human right to freedom must not let Lukashenko believe that he can continue to abuse his powers without reprisal. Ultimately, his fate will be decided by the people of Belarus and their will to fight for their freedom. This historic moment in Belaruss history will either be looked back on as the moment a dictator was almost removed or as the moment that the calls for freedom and progress were too loud even for a dictator as brutal and well established as Alexander Lukashenko.

Graduate in Politics and History interested primarily in the European Union, East Asian development, and the connection between conflict in the MENA region and the refugee crisis in Europe.

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The People Of Belarus Are Rising Up Against 'Europe's Last Dictator'. But Is The Tide Turning Against Them? - The Organization for World Peace

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‘We have so much trauma in our history’: The need for diversity in mental health services – KETV Omaha

Posted: at 3:56 pm

In the midst of Omaha's predominantly Black community, sits the Center for Holistic Development. Inside the mental health care service you'll find Doris Moore, founder and certified professional counselor. Doris said opening her doors specifically in North Omaha was intentional. "I recognized that there were behavioral health services being provided but none that really addressed the needs of the African-American community," said Moore.Moore has offered mental healing for nearly 20 years, her nonprofit organization serves everyone, but especially her nearby neighbors who are mainly people of color. "As an African-American, we have so much trauma in our history," said Moore. "We have racism that is a trauma within itself that has gone so unrecognized by everybody for the most part."With painful images of police brutality flooding social media, protests erupting across the nation and people of color facing COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate; some would think the Black community would be seeking out mental health resources, but the numbers show they are not. According to the American Psychological Association, only 1 in 3 African-Americans who need mental healthcare will actually receive it. The most recent numbers show that of more than 32,000 Nebraskans seeking community based services, just 8% were Black and 72% were white. One reason behind the lack of Black people seeking out mental health services could relate to the minuscule of Black people in the mental health workforce.According to the American Psychological Association, Black people make up 4% of the US psychological workforce. This lack of diversity leads many individuals in the Black community turning to church for assistance. Donna Stewart, a licensed psychological for Boystown Behavior Health is included in the 4%. "Pastors are called to preach," said Stewart. "I feel like being a psychologist was actually on a calling on my life from God."Stewart works in Boystown's South and North Omaha offices, mainly serving the Black and brown communities in each neighborhood. The psychologist says her goal is to destroy the stigma of therapy and relate to her clients.When asked what is the "stigma" associated with therapy, Stewart responded saying, "There's the stigma of, lack of a better word, appearing as if you're 'crazy'," said Stewart. "A stigma as if there's something seriously wrong with you."Both Stewart and Moore say representation in mental services is imperative, and it reminds clients that their counselor can relate to them and opens the door for healing."I can move much faster in a therapeutic situation, knowing that, that person working with me has some level of understanding of what background I come from, and what my environment is like," said Moore. "I have people that say if they had known therapy was this easy from the standpoint of engaging, then they would've come a long time ago."

In the midst of Omaha's predominantly Black community, sits the Center for Holistic Development. Inside the mental health care service you'll find Doris Moore, founder and certified professional counselor. Doris said opening her doors specifically in North Omaha was intentional.

"I recognized that there were behavioral health services being provided but none that really addressed the needs of the African-American community," said Moore.

Moore has offered mental healing for nearly 20 years, her nonprofit organization serves everyone, but especially her nearby neighbors who are mainly people of color.

"As an African-American, we have so much trauma in our history," said Moore. "We have racism that is a trauma within itself that has gone so unrecognized by everybody for the most part."

With painful images of police brutality flooding social media, protests erupting across the nation and people of color facing COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate; some would think the Black community would be seeking out mental health resources, but the numbers show they are not.

According to the American Psychological Association, only 1 in 3 African-Americans who need mental healthcare will actually receive it. The most recent numbers show that of more than 32,000 Nebraskans seeking community based services, just 8% were Black and 72% were white.

One reason behind the lack of Black people seeking out mental health services could relate to the minuscule of Black people in the mental health workforce.

According to the American Psychological Association, Black people make up 4% of the US psychological workforce.

This lack of diversity leads many individuals in the Black community turning to church for assistance. Donna Stewart, a licensed psychological for Boystown Behavior Health is included in the 4%.

"Pastors are called to preach," said Stewart. "I feel like being a psychologist was actually on a calling on my life from God."

Stewart works in Boystown's South and North Omaha offices, mainly serving the Black and brown communities in each neighborhood. The psychologist says her goal is to destroy the stigma of therapy and relate to her clients.

When asked what is the "stigma" associated with therapy, Stewart responded saying, "There's the stigma of, lack of a better word, appearing as if you're 'crazy'," said Stewart. "A stigma as if there's something seriously wrong with you."

Both Stewart and Moore say representation in mental services is imperative, and it reminds clients that their counselor can relate to them and opens the door for healing.

"I can move much faster in a therapeutic situation, knowing that, that person working with me has some level of understanding of what background I come from, and what my environment is like," said Moore. "I have people that say if they had known therapy was this easy from the standpoint of engaging, then they would've come a long time ago."

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Meet the Editors: Visuals and Layout – University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News

Posted: at 3:56 pm

Weve all seen an image that says more to us than words could. Images and videos can invite you to read more when theyre bright, fun and interesting, but they can also be humbling, powerful and moving. They can add humanity and intimacy to a story when words allow comfortable distance. Intentional visuals and layout add movement, depth and intrigue to a story that words cant always capture, and the visual and layout desks want to help you see the full picture.

The visual staff consists of photographers, videographers and illustrators of all experience levels and interests, and its our responsibility to document all types of events around campus and provide a visual for every story. Weve been dedicated to covering sports, protests, cultural events, everyday life and political candidates in Oakland and the wider City area. None of us know exactly what this year is going to look like but we do know that we will continue to show you an up-close view of whatever goes on in and around Pitt.

Sarah Cutshall, Visual Editor

Im Sarah Cutshall, a senior environmental science major aiming to complete both the sustainability and public communication of science and technology certificates, and this will be my third year as the visual editor. Ive been with The Pitt News since my first semester, when I joined as a photographer.

I am thankful that The Pitt News has given me a reason to get out into the community and experience local issues firsthand. After I graduate, I hope to be involved in science communication and sustainability to broaden public understanding of our planet to somehow make the world a better place. I have a deep appreciation for the Pitt and Pittsburgh communities, for our environment, for my friends and for my houseplants.

Kaycee Orwig, Assistant Visual Editor

My name is Kaycee Orwig, and Im a junior film and media studies major with a minor in studio arts. I am so excited to be the new assistant visuals editor this year. I fell in love with photography in sixth grade, so when I got to Pitt I knew I had to put my passion to use somewhere. That place ended up being The Pitt News. I look back on those two years and realize how much my visuals editors taught me and how working for The Pitt News has helped me to realize my dreams of taking photojournalism into my career. I hope to do the same for the artists that are now on my staff, as they start where I was two years ago. Upon graduation in two years, I hope to do media production work for college and professional athletics or to continue working as a photojournalist.

Nathaniel Kohler, Assistant Visual Editor for multimedia

Im Nathaniel Kohler, a junior film and media studies major and the new multimedia editor. Ive been creating film and video for about a decade and have always had an interest in current events and how they impact my community. I couldnt be more excited to put my time and effort into informing the community through such an accessible medium like video. This is especially critical during a time in which being informed has never been more important. With The Pitt News putting more emphasis on our digital content, I hope to add yet another layer to the fantastic journalism this vital organization produces on a daily basis.

Maria Doku, Layout Editor

Im Maria Doku, a senior architecture major and the new layout editor. Ive been a part of The Pitt News since my sophomore year as a staff graphic artist. I have always been interested in news production, and it has been a great experience watching and working alongside other roles within The Pitt News. As an architecture major, I enjoyed applying design skills in my work as a staff graphic artist, and I am looking forward to continuing this process as layout editor.

Upon graduation, I will attend graduate school for architectural computation. As a grad student, I hope to join a student-led news organization such as The Pitt News, as the organization has provided me with such a great learning experience through both community engagement and insight on the operations of a news organization.

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Creating campus cultures that welcome, even virtually, during the pandemic – National Catholic Reporter

Posted: at 3:56 pm

"I'm so bored."

"I hate feeling so alone."

"I'm just a burden."

My students shared how hard it was to persevere through this spring semester, nearly derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart grew heavy hearing their stories, especially as mental illness took its toll on my students' well-being.

Now, as we begin a new school year, we face the challenges of coping with and preventing the spread of the virus as well as how to effectively engage young people if we're not cultivating rapport, respect and co-responsibility together in the classroom.

While matters of public health and academic quality are undoubtedly critical, I wonder if we're spending enough time improving our response to the mental health needs of our students. Competing for our attention amid concerns about student retention, revenue loss and pedagogical efficiency is a mental health crisis that has been simmering for years and is now threatening to boil over.

In her book iGen, psychologist Jean Twenge describes a "sudden, cataclysmic shift downward in life satisfaction" among young people. She warns this is "only the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to a mental health crisis made worse by screens that leave many young adults feeling more anxious, depressed and lonely.

As studies continue to show causative links between time spent using social media and higher rates of mental distress and social isolation, we have to find a way to interrupt the cycle of dependence on digital tools, which is especially challenging during stay-at-home orders and remote learning.

Reports like this one from the Council on Foreign Relations show that COVID-19 lockdowns have resulted in increased incidents of domestic violence and child abuse in many homes. There is preliminary evidence to suggest mental health is also worsening. Being sent home from school and work, displaced from places that give us a sense of meaning and purpose, disconnected from friends and colleagues, and wrestling with demoralizing questions about employment, risks of illness and death, access to health care and looming financial uncertainty have produced immense pressure, fatigue and fear.

This heightened level of stress burdens the mind and body with an extra "allostatic load" putting us on high alert, making it harder to get restful sleep, training us to be overly sensitive to external stimuli, imposing intrusive thoughts, and increasing feelings of numbness, detachment, depression, reluctance to contemplate the future and a higher likelihood of abusing alcohol and drugs.

Because people of color and those with lower economic security face discrimination and deprivation in access to healthcare, their allostatic load is even higher, causing even poorer mental health and compounding comorbidities, one reason for the disproportionately high numbers of illness and death in communities of color due to COVID-19.

The need to access safe and supportive spaces, consistent and nutritious meals, as well as resources to cope with physical, emotional and sexual abuse are some reasons why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that school-age-children return to classrooms this fall.

I am not arguing for in-person education in the fall. In the absence of a vaccine and without guarantees about universal compliance to wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing and other safety measures, students, staff, faculty, administrators and our friends and family will be at risk not only of contracting the virus, but also long-term health effects including damage to the lungs, heart, brain and immune system.

The essential question we need to ask ourselves as educators and members of Catholic institutions is how can we best encounter, accompany and empower our students in the midst of this crisis?

While it is true that lockdown and physical distancing have given us more time for solitude and silence, and some people have used this time for spiritual growth, self-care and being more intentional about their attachments in and beyond the home, others have been harried by trying to balance the demands of work and family at the same time and in the same space.

For many, extra family time has been a boon and blessing. For others, it has exposed old wounds and inflicted new ones. Our task is to tend to these wounds and seek new strategies for healing and prevention. This requires a collective effort spanning individuals and institutions oriented toward mercy, generosity and solidarity.

This requires much more than getting students to "mask up" or stay a safe distance apart; it also means being more attentive and responsive to our mental and emotional needs. We respond to and are shaped by our environments so if we teach in person, the extra spacing and layers of protection will make it harder to build a shared sense of rapport, respect and co-responsibility.

It is no small task to get to know people and build a sense of trust when half our faces are covered. If some students are present and others are tuning in through a screen, it will be even more difficult to cultivate the vulnerability and authenticity necessary for sharing honest reflections, tentative claims, clarifying questions, bold analysis and creative ideas for application.

If our only connection is through a screen, it is impossible see each other as whole persons, read body language (since a good deal of communication is nonverbal), respond spontaneously, and feel enough safety and trust to push the boundaries of our insights, inquiry and imagination.

Even while we rely on digital technologies to connect us, they are in many cases an impoverished if not exhausting experience of what it means to be human. And too many of us remain inattentive to the moral impact of spending so much time with our screens.

True, there are apps that can help us create consistent habits for self-care and mental health. FaceTime and Zoom can be helpful for connecting with others across distance, also serving as tools to facilitate regular check-ins with trained experts and peer mentoring programs. Surely many schools have created lists of available resources for students to access, but this assumes students will take the initiative to seek out assistance.

When we leave matters to individual choice to opt in or opt out, too many people get left out. If a student feels embarrassed or like an odd outlier or even worse, a burden or a failure he or she may suffer alone rather than reach out.

Formation happens more through relationships than individual dispositions or actions; we are what we repeatedly do together. For this reason, we have to be intentional about integrating self-care and mental health into our relationships as families, friends and communities for work, school or worship.

By leveraging existing networks as communities of practice, we can show that mental health is a priority by how we talk about mental health (as essential to everyone's health and wellbeing, not just an issue for those with a mental health condition), how we order our day (making time for prayer, reflection or meditation) and how we check in with each other (beyond "How are you?" and the trite "busy" or "fine" responses).

These are first steps toward building a culture of holistic health and well-being.

Beyond the personal and interpersonal levels, our institutions have to help us balance the demands of work and family life. Our government issued half a trillion dollars in aid to U.S. corporations but has yet to provide enough financial support to high schools and colleges trying to recover lost revenue from the spring, much less deal with whatever happens this fall.

Education is less about accessing knowledge than a process of reflection, analysis and application of learning in self-actualization. This happens through encountering texts and other learners, being in conversation together and developing relationships that make us more fully human.

Regardless of if or for how long we can open schools for in-person education, we will have to find new ways to relate through a screen so that our time together communicates not just support or accountability but an unceasing reminder to each and all: You matter, you belong and you are never a burden.

More than providing access to resources, we will have to be partners in creating campus cultures that welcome, affirm and empower.

[Marcus Mescher is associate professor of Christian ethics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He specializes in Catholic social teaching and moral formation. His first book, The Ethics of Encounter: Christian Neighbor Love as a Practice of Solidarity, was published earlier this year by Orbis.]

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