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Category Archives: Intentional Communities
Cliffard Whitby: Meet the Macon mayoral candidate who wants to fight causes of crime and blight – 13WMAZ.com
Posted: May 14, 2020 at 4:54 pm
MACON, Ga. For decades, Cliffard Whitby ran businesses and helped bring them to Macon and Bibb County as developer and chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority
In October 2018, Whitby faced 75 years in prison. Instead, he walked out of Macons federal courthouse a free man.
A federal jury acquitted Whitby of federal laundering and bribery charges.
Accompanied by his wife, daughter and several friends, Whitby walked up to a group of reporters.
This community has been split and divided, Whitby said. We want to do everything we can. We love our community. We want to play the part and help the healing process.
RELATED: Cliffard Whitby celebrates after being acquitted on federal bribery charges
Less than a year later, Whitby announced he would be running to be Macon's next mayor.
When 13WMAZ recently asked Whitby about the criminal case and his acquittal, he said the issue has no place in the present-day mayors race.
"We are a system of rules, and the case the U.S. Government presented against me was completely rejected, Whitby said. A jury of my peers, nine whites and three blacks, heard all of the evidence and unanimously rejected what the U.S. Government had brought against me.
RELATED: Less than a year after acquittal, Cliffard Whitby formally announces run for mayor
He added that he doesnt know why this is being brought up now.
If you want to call me, call me about something else, he said.
Whitby is also a longtime civic activist and public official who has been active in community-building and charitable groups.
He was interviewed recently at the WMUB Studio at Mercer University by 13WMAZ and partners the Telegraph, Georgia Public Broadcasting Macon and the Center for Collaborative Journalism.
CRIME: Start by fighting the causes
Some Macon communities, Whitby said, are hit harder by violent crime. He said the communities need to come together to address the causes of crime, which he said is simple. The young people committing the crimes dont have the opportunities they need to further their educations and pursue their dreams.
I think its going to take a significant amount of resources that are devoted to our youth training and retraining and actually being supportive to the families, Whitby said. If we support the families of these young people some of these parents are working two, three jobs, and were dealing with children raising children. This community must get serious about the issues that really impact these young peoples lives and get involved.
RELATED: 'This is a fight for our community': Cliffard Whitby announces six-point plan to reduce crime in Macon
BLIGHT: Its not enough to clean up a lot
Whitby said hed worked with the last five mayors to combat blight while operating a construction company and property management and development business.
Weve made tremendous strides when we were intentional about the work of blight, Whitby said. When I started this work, it was called substandard housing. Substandard housing is just the blight. Its just a new term for substandard housing.
Whitby said he was involved in a first-time home buyer program that built or renovated more than 1,000 homes.
We won two national awards, Whitby said. I dont think any community in the country had ever won two national awards for the work that was done under those administrations."
Blight is a byproduct of poverty, he said.
So, weve got to get intentional about the issues that cause blight. Its not enough just to clean up a lot, Whitby said. We must address the human component that impacts these neighborhoods and these communities.
The people of Macon must come together to fight blight, he said.
Im excited as I talk to our young people. The talent is here. All we need to do is harness the wheel to get out of the silos, to break down the barriers, Whitby said. We all want the same thing. We all want opportunities.
ROADS: Whitby talks about SPLOST success
When we asked about what he could do to improve Bibb Countys roads, Whitby said hed worked with local officials to get the last two Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) proposals approved. SPLOST means an extra one-cent tax on every dollar spent in Macon-Bibb County.
Its going to take far more than just creative ways to persuade a community to be okay with the millage going up, he said. What its going to take is the commitment to support our young people. No community...no community can maintain the level of services when it's losing our number one asset, and thats its young people.
EDUCATION: This is our system
While Whitby didnt address the question about roads, he did discuss what the county government could do to assist the Bibb County Board of Education. Other mayoral candidates said the school board is a separate government entity, and its members are elected by the people. They said county officials should support the board whenever possible, but have no direct role in the schools.
Whitby would have none of that.
With all due respect, it is not a separate system, Whitley said. This is our system, were citizens of this community. We elect school board members from this community. The mayor of the consolidated government is the top elected official in this community. We have a serious problem with education.
State benchmarks say some Bibb County schools are failing.
Its going to take all hands on deck to get our hands around what really plagues our public education. We must get intentional. We cant survive as a community if we dont commit.
Bibb County has some of the most dedicated educators in the nation, Whitby said. But theyre dealing with a community problem that must be resolved through community efforts.
When asked for specific suggestions for improving schools, Whitby said there are many success stories around the nation.
But what its truly going to take is a commitment to families, a commitment to the grandmother whos raising the school-aged child," he said.
That means, he said, a community goal of helping children succeed in school.
COUNTY STAFFING: Appoint an advisory committee
The Bibb County Sheriffs Office has complained for years about being understaffed, primarily because salaries are lower than other counties.
When asked about over and under staffing in the county departments, Whitby said hed put together an advisory committee that would look at every department to determine staffing needs.
RACE RELATIONS: Its about working together
Whitby said the topic of race relations cant be discussed without mentioning privilege.
There are those in this community that benefit from race division, he said.
But Whitby noted that hes served on various boards and authorities where different races worked together to accomplish things, including his service as chairman of the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority.
I will say to you, Whitby said, what I would do as mayor is commit to bringing everybody to the table and leaving race outside the door and making decisions thats in the best interest of the community.
RELATED: Everything you need to know about Central Georgia's upcoming primary election
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Robert S. Cox, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Dies at Age 61 – UMass News and Media Relations
Posted: at 4:54 pm
Robert S. Cox, head of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) at the UMass Amherst Libraries for the past 16 years, died May 11 after an extended illness. He was 61 years old.
After being hired by UMass in 2004, Cox began strategically building on the universitys archival strengths in the history of social activism and organization, anchored by the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois. He recognized and fostered connections with activist communities, engaging individuals and groups in dialogue about the benefits of archiving their materials, from intentional communities and advocacy organizations, to disability and civil rights campaigns.
Robs tireless dedication to building a vast set of unique, connected and coherent collections, particularly those which add to the historical and present-day conversation about social change, have distinguished the UMass Amherst Libraries, says Dean Simon Neame. The collections here are a magnet for scholars and students, and will be for generations to come.
Cox, who referred to himself as a middling kid from the orchards of central California, said he never lived a logical life. By the age of 25, he observed that he had racked up addresses in at least six states and one territory, and by 45, the numbers had grown to four masters degrees and a Ph.D. An author, archivist and historian, Cox viewed himself as a recovering paleontologist, reluctant molecular biologist, former cowboy and would-be New Englander who finally landed in Amherst. Many others remember him as a leader, teacher, mentor and beloved friend.
Many of the important collections that Cox and his team brought to UMass were generously donated as a result of his personal relationships. His tenure is responsible for 75 percent of the materials currently held by SCUA. Notable examples include:
Regularly recognized for the scope and quality of their work, the SCUA team under Cox won a Verizon Foundation grant in 2009 to digitize the Du Bois Papers, setting the stage to found the Du Bois Center. His vision for building a community of scholars was integral in the winning of an Andrew W. Mellon grant in 2016 to expand the fellowship program through the center and further the impact of Du Boiss legacy; most recently, his team has been digitizing disability rights-related collections under a grant from Council on Library and Information Resources.
Cox began his extraordinary array of studies in higher education when he landed at Haverford College outside of Philadelphia, where his Quaker roots were awakened. There, he earned a B.S. in geology and played rugby. Next was Penn State for a masters in paleontology. He spent 1990 through 2003 in Michigan, earning from Michigan State University a masters in Library Science, a masters and Ph.D. in history, and an MFA in poetry. He felt it had been an amazing privilege to work at places where I felt I was fumbling from geology to paleontology to molecular biology, and ultimately elsewhere, in places where it always seemed that a kind word uttered in passing at just the right time could open a door to a new world.
While at Michigan, he was introduced to archival work through an internship at the William L. Clements Library and moved into professional roles including Curator of Manuscripts and Photographs. Using collections largely at the Clements, he wrote a dissertation on American spiritualism in the 19thcentury. It was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2003 asBody and Soul: A Sympathetic History of American Spiritualism.
In 1998, he took a position at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, eventually becoming Keeper of Manuscripts and Director of Scholarship and Technology.
In addition to archival organization and American Spiritualism, Cox published on the Lewis and Clark expedition; Quaker missions to the Seneca Indians; the history of photography, the history of sleep, and several culinary history books: New England Pie: History Under a Crust; A History of Chowder: Four Centuries of a New England Meal;and Massachusetts Cranberry Culture: A History from Bog to Table.
Throughout his career, Cox worked with hundreds of students on independent study and internship projects in history, digital history and archival studies.At UMass, he taught courseson the history of religion in the History Department and in archival management at both UMass and the Simmons College School of Library and Information Science.
He made good on his word when arriving at UMass to reach out to departments and colleagues across campus to engage with SCUA and partake of its materials. In a 2005 interview, Cox observed, We want to spread the word that we are here for all students and faculty to use. We are, essentially, stock boys in an intellectual Kmart.
Among those he leaves are his wife, Danielle, and their daughter, Phoebe, with whom he lived in Easthampton. Donations in his memory may be made to the Robert S. Cox Special Collections Fund. An on-campus celebration of his life is expected to occur at a later date.
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We need to do better to stop COVID-19 from disproportionately affecting minorities – The Daily Cougar
Posted: at 4:54 pm
By Anna Baker May 13, 2020
The phrase we are all in this together has circled around to promote positivity, and while it is an encouraging message, its important to understand that the coronavirus pandemic is affecting some communities more than others.
Factors such as having lower income, living in food deserts, and having less access to health care are putting minority communities at higher risk of contracting the virus.
We need to be educated on how this pandemic is affecting everyone so that when its over, we can work to make sure inequalities like this dont exist in the future.
There is a higher death rate for black and Latino Americans with COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, than their white counterparts. This is due to many reasons.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that black workers are overrepresented in the essential workforce, putting them at higher risk for the virus. Similarly, Latinos also make up a large proportion of the essential workforce.
A lot of these essential jobs are in the service industry and dont provide health insurance and pay relatively low wages. This means that if someone gets sick, they wont be able to go to the hospital, much less afford the bill.
This goes to show that social distancing is certainly a privilege.
One reason black communities have been hit so hard is housing disparities. Black children are more likely to suffer from asthma because they live older buildings, usually near polluting highways.
People with moderate to severe asthma, according to the CDC, are at greater risk if they contract COVID-19.
Banks tend to discriminate by denying minorities loans and mortgages that could help them fix their homes. This redlining prevents minorities from leaving areas that put them in danger.
Many minority communities also dont have access to hospitals.
A 2013 study shows hospitals in black neighborhoods are more likely to close than hospitals in white communities.
Even if the community had access to hospitals, they may not go in fear of burdening their family with medical bills if they dont have insurance.
Similar issues are happening to indigenous communities, which are seeing high rates of COVID-19 cases.
The Navajo Nation has a lot of households without running water, making it difficult to follow preventative measures against COVID-19. And few health care facilities in their region, the Navajo dont have good access to healthcare to treat and test symptoms.
The U.S. government has been unhelpful and slow in sending supplies to indigenous communities. The Seattle Indian Health Board requested medical supplies from federal agencies.
Instead of testing kits, it was sent body bags.
While the Treasury Department recently announced $4.8 billion will go to tribal governments, many consider it to be too late, as the virus picked up over two months ago.
Despite treaties with tribes that stipulate that the United States has an obligation to care for Native Americans, the U.S. has neglected these communities.
The reason that minorities are suffering much more from COVID-19 is because of systems in the U.S. that oppress them. Many may argue that it isnt intentional, but that doesnt matter.
The U.S. has victimized minority communities by pushing them into unsanitary conditions, making it unaffordable to leave and making it difficult to access healthcare. The U.S. is passive to their struggles and that is not OK.
By realizing that this pandemic does not affect everyone equally, we can fight for a system that actually helps minority communities.
When the next crisis comes, they should not be bearing the worst of it.
The U.S. is failing a good portion of its residents. We need to do better.
For more of The Cougars coronavirus coverage, clickhere.
Anna Baker is an English sophomore who can be reached at [emailprotected]
Tags: coronavirus, COVID-19, minorities, minority
Posted: at 4:54 pm
As a result, community building comes second to transitioning curriculum online or managing the logistics surrounding online class facilitation. But even the most successful distance education programmes have drop-out rates that are 10% to 20% higher than traditional education, which is primarily the result of a lack of student engagement and community building platforms, and overarching feelings of isolation.
Instead of just accepting social distancing and self-isolation as a reality of COVID-19, educators have the opportunity to utilise these as tools for engaging in authentic discussions and promoting a more engaged and inclusive student body. As a result, educators not only build student support and community systems in this new, temporary reality, but also build stronger communities in social distancing that can thrive after students return for their classes in person.
From my experience as both an online doctoral student and an educator amidst the COVID-19 shift to online classes, below are some of the strategies that I have found effective in building stronger university communities.
Humanise the classroom experience
Community and socialisation do not only occur outside the classroom and educators can take intentional steps to model their own vulnerability and humanise the classroom experience in order to promote increased student engagement. In doing so, students also demonstrate greater persistence in their education. A few specific actions educators can take to humanise their online classes include:
Check-in first: Begin class with a check-in, where faculty ask students how they are doing. Faculty can use this as an opportunity to model their own uncertainties and vulnerability during this time as well. For larger lecture-style classes, faculty can rotate through the student roster and have a few students share at the beginning of each class.
Publish your faculty profile: Include a personalised faculty profile with a photo on the course learning platform. The profile can be different from a professional biography and include more personalised information about the faculty member. In doing so, this builds more trust and rapport between faculty and students.
Disclose personal information: Throughout class, faculty should make a more intentional effort to share personal anecdotes and experiences within the academic content. When faculty model this behaviour, students are more likely to reciprocate, request support outside of the classroom and maintain trust with their faculty and peers.
One-on-one student follow-ups: Faculty should make a more intentional effort to follow up with students one-on-one. In online settings, students are less likely to seek help from faculty, which means that faculty need to initiate these follow-ups in order to strengthen community and trust.
Ongoing small group activities
While small group activities may be common practice in traditional classroom settings, they are often forgotten in the transition to online learning. However, during times of isolation, these platforms for student engagement need to be overemphasised rather than reduced or eliminated. When larger communities are broken down into smaller groups, the overall community, as well as student learning outcomes and creativity, are strengthened.
Furthermore, not only do small group activities lead to learning communities and give students a platform to discuss questions about course material, but they also help students strengthen peer relationships and build connections within social distancing in an academically productive way.
To facilitate more impactful small group activities, faculty should explore the features on their learning platforms that allow for smaller group engagement and utilise them on a regular basis. For example, Zoom Breakout Rooms allow faculty to either pre-identify or randomly assign small groups and then monitor the discussions within each group.
Following these small group activities, faculty should solicit feedback from students to identify other ways to use small groups as a platform for building community. By engaging in small group activities and soliciting feedback from students, students and faculty become both leaders and active participants within their online academic communities.
Create online coffee shops
As faculty deliver rigorous curriculum and academic content requirements, there likely isnt enough time during the regular class period to engage in more personal discussions with students. However, faculty can still play a role in building a social community among students outside the classroom as a way to further build trust and engagement with students.
Ultimately, building social community and connection improves overall student engagement and persistence in their education. One way this can be done is by hosting virtual coffee shops for students and faculty to engage with one another, celebrate their accomplishments and support each other in their challenges.
By arranging loosely structured, optional platforms for social networking and connectivity, faculty are ultimately promoting their students overall academic engagement and perseverance in their learning despite isolation. Not only does this build trust and outlets for social connectivity for students while in isolation, but it also builds a strong foundation of community that can be further expanded upon after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
While many of these ways of building community are common in traditional classroom settings, they are easy to neglect when conducting classes online. This holds particularly true when the universitys focus is primarily on surviving the shift to online education as a temporary solution, rather than strengthening the existing community in a way that aligns with and outlasts the pandemic.
With the abrupt shift from in-person connection to isolation and online learning, students need more community-building and engagement platforms than ever before. Faculty play a key role in providing this. Once we shift our mindset to seeing this as an opportunity to build healthy foundations for community and engagement, COVID-19 becomes an opportunity to improve learning and student engagement long term, rather than simply managing a temporary bump in the road.
Kara Neil is head of academics and lecturer at Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School Rwanda campus and a Doctor of Education candidate at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.
The Benefits of Cohousing | Local Author Advocates for Innovative Senior Living – The South Pasadenan
Posted: at 4:54 pm
Current studies, according to South Pasadena author Alexandria Levitt, show that isolation and loneliness can lead to adverse health consequences.
So, finding a way to live that promotes happiness, mental health and real autonomy is more important than ever, stressed Levitt, who co-wrote State-Of-The-Art Cohousing: Lessons Learned from Quimper Village with Charles Durrett. Few of todays adults would be satisfied with the limited options that were available for senior living to our parents generation. That is why we must explore better alternatives now, and I think cohousing is one of those alternatives.
The principle behind cohousing, explained Levitt, is the recognition that most people would prefer and are happier to stay in their own homes as long as possible. At the same time, she added, most feel better when they are connected to others. Levitt says cohousing, which may include a common dining area, kitchen laundry, and recreational areas, is the best of both worlds.
Originally created in Denmark, cohousing is an intentional community of private homes whose owners cooperatively own and use outdoor spaces around the homes, and commonly owned indoor spaces, explained Levitt. Cohousing members manage their communities together and actively come together to learn, support each other, and enjoy life, but its important to stress that everyone has their own apartment or cottage. Privacy matters. Groups decide to have dinner together several times a week and take turns cooking for each other and in many other ways collaborate and contribute. It isnt a commune. There is no joint economy. Its really a great independent and active way for people to get older and to not just live in community but engage in it.
Though cohousing, households maintain private lives and independent incomes but take part in community activities, meetings, gather for shared meals, parties, movies and other neighborly events. Forming clubs, organizing child and elder care or carpooling are all made easier.
Cohousing for adults 55-plus has proven to be an innovative and cost-effective model that illustrates how living in a highly functional neighborhood improves health, reduces the need for senior services, enhances individual contributions on a larger scale, and makes life more affordable and fun, said Levitt.
Several years ago, she met the residents of Quimper Village during a weekend conference, in what Levitt described as a remarkable cohousing project in Port Townsend, Washington.
Resident shared the story of their journey and the positives of a cohousing lifestyle.
After it was over, Levitt told Durrett, the architect of Quimper Village, what she heard would make an excellent book. We used their initial narrative, conducted interviews with many residents and used our experience as well to paint a portrait of this project, said the local writer. My favorite part, of course, was interviewing them and visiting Quimper Village, eating meals together and seeing their neighborhood thrive. Id love to live in such a place. It really radiates warmth and a sense of purpose and real caring for each other.
Along with being an architect and author, Durrett is an advocate of affordable and socially responsible design as a major force behind more than 50 cohousing communities in North America. He is also the author of The Senior Cohousing Handbook: A Community Approach to Independent Living, and the co-author of Creating Cohousing: Building Sustainable Communities.
Levitt has an accomplished background herself, as a gerontologist the study of aging. I am most interested in progressive models of housing for older adults, she said. Ultimately, I want to develop housing for people that does not just show off a lifestyle imagined by corporate developers but one that reinforces the qualities that help us most as we get older friendship, community and purpose, as initially created in cohousing in Denmark. Cohousing is an intentionally designed community with tremendous benefits for those who live there.
A South Pasadena resident since 1996, she and her husband moved to the city for its highly regarded schools after they had their first child. She was a Girl Scout leader for 13 years, a PTA president at Marengo Elementary School for two years and for the past six years has been a member of the citys Senior Citizen Commission while serving as both chair and vice-chair in the past.
She hopes the book, available on Amazon, will act as a tool to move others in taking a hard look at cohousing. I am very familiar with the many challenges facing us as we get older and the remarkable connection between health (both mental and physical) and social engagement, Levitt said. I lead workshops on Aging and Thriving with Cohousing and informational presentations on cohousing for adults 55-plus.
This book, added Levitt, is really about the strength we have when we work together, pointing the old saying: If you want togo fast,go alone. If you want togo far,gotogether.
She says State-Of-the-Art Cohousing is a wonderful illustration of that philosophy, insisting, by coming together, pooling their skills, listening and building on strengths, the members of Quimper Village created something amazing. Certainly, in a time of crisis such as we are in now, working with, and helping others is key to not only our survival but to our ability to thrive and flourish.
In a way, noted Levitt, the story of how Quimper Village, the state-of-the-art senior cohousing community in Port Townsend, Washington, was created, designed, and built, isnt much different than college life, for those wanting to make a comparison. You made decisions together, you ate together, you always had someone to do things with, she said. Cohousing isnt so different. This book shows how one group of inspired and determined folks made it happen for them.
Now that State-Of-The-Art Cohousing has been published, Levitts goal is to move the needle in the creation of cost effective, appealing, environmentally friendly housing that can be home for active, engaged older adults. Currently in Southern California, we have no cohousing of any kind, not intergenerational or older adult, she said. Id really like to see that change, and I hope some of you do too.
To learn more about cohousing, go to Cohousing.org or Levittcoho.com
Sound Diplomacy says cities should put music at the heart of the post-COVID-19 recovery – Complete Music Update
Posted: at 4:54 pm
Business News Live Business Top Stories By Chris Cooke | Published on Thursday 14 May 2020
Music consultancy Sound Diplomacy has launched a new globally-focused campaign called #BetterMusicCities which it describes as a call to action to ensure music is at the heart of [post-COVID-19] recovery in cities around the world.
A report published by the company begins with a foreword from the CEO of the UKs Association Of Independent Music Paul Pacifico, who explains: The opportunity to listen to music, practice an instrument, take a dance class or participate in Zoom choirs has been an anchor to many of us in this time of crisis. Music, like almost nothing else, has fostered and perpetuated a sense of community and connection in moments of our most profound isolation.
He goes on: For decades, sport has successfully made the case that it delivers unarguable returns on investment in terms of public health and wellbeing. But music has never quite managed to make its case in that arena. Now, in the most bleak moments of this current crisis, we see clearly the need, the impact and the results of music and culture in delivering positive outcomes in both physical and mental health. Music has demonstrated the power and benefits of social prescribing like never before.
Cities, governments and music communities around the world should embrace this, Sound Diplomacys report argues. The consultancys founder Shain Shapiro says: There are few music offices in cities around the world. Music education is in decline. Many relief programmes to support creatives are challenging for musicians to access. In some countries, there are little intellectual property protections for musicians.
Yet, we all need music, he adds. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates music as a global unifier from balconies in Europe to bedrooms live streaming raves around the world. But music as an ecosystem lacks investment. We can change this and together, build #BetterMusicCities.
The report provides a nine-point plan for cities to embrace, enhance and support music and the music community. It suggests cities:
1. Put artists to work: Incentivise creation from crisis.2. Convert creativity into community investment vehicles.3. Create a city music registry.4. Start a cultural infrastructure plan.5. Create emergency preparedness plans (venue, event, city-wide).6. Ensure music, arts and culture language is included in policy frameworks.7. Commit to genre agnosticism.8. Plan and develop a night time economy policy.9. Set-up city-wide artist compensation policies, music liaison services and fair play schemes.
The company says these things will support cities to better leverage their music economies from artists to education, venues to local scenes to create more inclusive, prosperous music communities as we move towards recovery. To do so, we require intentional policy that includes musicians and music representatives in discussions around recovery and resilience.
You can download the full report at bettermusiccities.com
Posted: at 4:54 pm
The Cavalier Dailys Facebook comment section can be an infuriating hotbed of activity. Many commenters are older alumni or some not even alumni voicing their opinions about events and decisions made at the University, and frequently, these commenters attack The Cavalier Daily and sometimes single out the writers themselves. While media outlets should be critiqued and publicly in some instances (thats why The Cavalier Daily employs a public editor) in order to do their job better, some commenters seem to have never heard the advice against shooting the messenger.
The comments are brutal. For example, in a comment posted under one of the most recent articles, Richard said, Please go to class. Perhaps you will learn why what you said is absurd. When Virginia Athletics adopted its new logos, Allen said, This is probably the most ridiculous thing ever published. On another, Conan said, For a news outlet at an educational institution, it is shocking how uneducated you are in how a business and this economy works. And a particularly sexist comment, Donald said, At least half of the female students are deranged and need immediate help. I didnt even have to go back a month to grab most of these comments from the Facebook page. They are so frequent and aggressive, the opinion section made a video of columnists reading mean comments on their own articles.
When I first started reading these comments at the beginning of my tenure as Editor-in-Chief, I took the comments personally. Then, I found comments such as Johns, which said Get over it. If you dont like UVA, transfer.You have a chip on your shoulder about something. Dont blame the University. Ali agreed with his comment, saying, Oh wow, another Cav Daily article sh*tting on UVA.
I love the University, and in my role as editor, I spent a significant amount of time writing, editing and publishing stories about the University some negative, some positive, some that were just news. I worked some 50 hours a week at The Cavalier Daily because I love the University and along with many students, faculty, staff and administration, I want the University to improve. I want to try to do my part in working to make Grounds a better place more welcoming, inclusive, supportive, informed, intellectual, happy and so on.
Journalists love their communities. Thats why they do their jobs. They actively work to hear and tell peoples stories from the position of genuine truth whatever that may be. And frequently, journalists uncover injustice or pain and suffering because of a flaw in the system, or heartbreak because of something simply unavoidable. These stories may not be what people want to hear. No one finds joy in reading or writing a story about COVID-19, for instance. When the world is overwhelmed in death, unspeakable grief and struggle, someone has to do the job of getting the information out, looking back to see what could have been avoided or how people can protect themselves and move forward.
Journalists do their jobs out of a love for their communities because one of the strongest loves is being able to see the flaws in the community that they love. And then they take the active, intentional step of working to correct that flaw by conveying the news the truth.
Much like the frequent verbal attacks on journalists from political figures, and particularly President Donald Trump, student journalists face these Internet trolls on social media, and I think its important to remember the job student journalists are doing and why they do it.
I love U.Va., and I see its problems but I also see the University working every day to improve. I think we can all agree nothing can be perfect, but I believe it can be better. So John from the comments, this is why I am passionate about The Cavalier Daily and about journalism. This is why I published critical stories about the University and its administration and frequently from the perspective of students to make Grounds better.
Im sad Im not writing my parting shot at a picnic table outside Newcomb, that I wont be wearing my cap and gown to walk the Lawn May 16, 2020, that I never got to say goodbye to the people I love my friends, professors, coworkers, the University goodbye to my community I called home for 3.75 years, and most importantly, goodbye to the wonderful office and staff of The Cavalier Daily in the basement of Newcomb Hall.
I miss my final few weeks at a place that has made me so happy. Charlottesville in the springtime is enchanting, filled with all of my favorite things perfect weather, live music in the outdoors, the Downtown Mall, vineyards, Final Fridays at the Fralin and on and on. Even the grass on the Lawn seems to be extra plush in April as the Rotunda glows pink at sunset.
I loved my experience at the University, and because I loved it, I was a journalist who wrote about its achievements and its failures. Through The Cavalier Daily, I tried to do my part in making the University a better place for everyone.
Gracie Kreth was the Editor-in-Chief for the 130th term of The Cavalier Daily. Prior to this, she served as Assistant Managing Editor for the 129th term and Life Editor for the 128th term.
Here is the original post:
Posted: at 4:54 pm
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey arrives at the "Tech for Good" Summit in Paris, France May 15, 2019.
Charles Platiau | Reuters
Twitter has told employees that they can keep working from home "forever" if they wish.
In a statement, Twitter said it was "one of the first companies to go to a WFH model in the face of COVID-19, but [doesn't] anticipate being one of the first to return to offices."
BuzzFeed Newspreviouslyreported the announcement.
The company said if employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue doing so "forever," then "we will make that happen."
"If not, our offices will be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions, when we feel it's safe to return," the statement reads.
The company said with very few exceptions, offices won't open before September. It added when they do open it will be "careful, intentional, office by office and gradual." It said there will also be no business travel before September "with very few exceptions" and no in-person company events for the rest of 2020.
"We're proud of the early action we took to protect the health of our employees and our communities. That will remain our top priority as we work through the unknowns of the coming months," it said.
The company's acceptance of a mostly remote workforce predates the coronavirus pandemic. On the company's fourth-quarter 2019 earnings call in February, Twitter CEO Jack Dorseyembracedthe idea of remote work while expressing dissatisfaction that so many of Twitter's of employees are based in San Francisco.
"Our concentration in San Francisco is not serving us any longer, and we will strive to be a far more distributed workforce, which we will use to improve our execution," he said at the time.
Other tech giants have updated their employees on work from home measures for the foreseeable future, as experts expect remote work to become much more common after the pandemic, with business travel rarer.
Facebook said last week that most of the company's employees will be allowed to continue to work from home through the end of 2020, while Google parentAlphabet said employees can expect a "staggered" and "incremental" return to the office starting in June, but that some employees would probably be working from home for as long as the rest of the year.
Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in BuzzFeed.
COVID-19 Puts Structural Racism On Full Display Will We Finally Do Something to Correct It? – Next City
Posted: at 4:54 pm
COVID-19 is a dangerous new reality, spreading indiscriminately and without regard for skin color or cultural background. Yet many black and brown Americans are dying at disproportionately high rates. Will this be the time that we stop talking about structural racism and finally do something about it?
By all accounts of science and chance and with equal levels of exposure and risk the rates of infection and death across all communities should be the same. But as we have learned from responsible news reporting, the rates of infection and death are not the same, particularly along racial lines. As our country surpasses 1.3 million infections and more than 80,000 deaths, black people so far represent nearly 30 percent of all infections yet only 13 percent of the national population. In some cities, the number is even higher. However, we should not be surprised.
For communities of color in the United States, COVID-19 has transformed an otherwise protracted assortment of chronic health issues associated with poverty, overcrowding, and uneven access to public space or quality housing among them cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and asthma turning them into abrupt and immediate death sentences. We have a name for the uneven distribution of exposure and risk along racial lines, and its not COVID-19. Its structural racism.
Where this coronavirus is lacking in racial bias, the United States has made up for with a resilient and highly adaptive white supremacist capitalist racial ideology. It is an ideology that is etched into our national DNA, rooted in the exploitation of human beings for economic gain the perverse logic of slavery and which has laid a long and injurious legacy for black and brown communities. It has justified spatial and economic exclusion (segregation and red lining), racial terrorism (Jim Crow laws and community massacres), community theft (block-busting and predatory lending), targeted community removal (urban renewal and federal highway programs), criminalization of blackness and loss of voting rights and citizenship (mass incarceration and deportation), or simply blanket ethnic exclusion (anti-immigration orders against what our President has named shithole countries).
As if all of that was not enough, communities who experience higher levels of exposure and risk to the coronavirus have now become our essential workers, positioned at the front lines of this pandemic. They are the transit workers, doormen, janitors, health care workers, food producers, grocery store staffers, and warehouse and delivery workers those on which every one of us is relying to get us through this crisis. They are underpaid, underinsured, and they are very often black or brown.
Our nations willingness to accept collateral damage in exchange for capital gain is proven; especially during national disasters like the one we are experiencing now. As was the case for Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, and the poisoned water crisis in Flint when black and brown people were disproportionately affected, a national discussion about race is once again underway. But promising as these race-facing (and racism-naming) national discussions can seem while they are taking place, they always turn out to be fleeting. If action is taken at all, it relies on a rising tides lift all boats framing rather than an explicit commitment to racial justice.
Though the COVID crisis has put the lethal legacy of slavery on full display, the CDC only recently started collecting and disaggregating data by race. Their slowness to act decisively is either from political embarrassment, willful ignorance, or ambivalence to the immediate and life-saving significance of this information, and so when the US President and many in his political party push to reopen the economy prematurely, we shouldnt be surprised. Once again, economic concerns in this country are taking priority over public health concerns and human life, as they often do when black and brown people are involved. A more strategic rollout of this information could have allowed Americans to get on board with a strategy, supported by race-disaggregated data, to ensure that resources were directed to the right communities.
Structural racism is insidious. It doesnt rely on decision-makers to themselves be racists. Instead, it is a generations-old system of norms and parameters which provide the framework for almost every decision we make. As history confirms, the roots of American society lie in a slave economy, and our racially-structured political and economic system is reinforced by a legal system that relies on history (which is precedent) for administering justice. In most cases, instead of radical transformation, our system delivers us a watered-down version of what we already are; in other words, when the gavel drops or the bill is passed, we are simply left with white-supremacist capitalist racial ideology-light. So, it should come as no surprise that racial equity transformation is slow, and that it never comes without a fight.
When you water something down, it becomes a diluted version of itself. What we need right now is something altogether different. Instead of passing up yet another opportunity to right a four-century-old wrong, its time to finally ensure that a post-COVID-19 recovery benefits both sides of the color-line and that we as a nation truly begin to address the structural roots of racial inequality. So, what is the organizing work, political work, and accountability work that needs to happen in order to ensure that the public good serves all of us equally? In many cases, tools for advancing racial equity already exist. Some can be hacked while others will need to be completely reimagined. But heres where we can start:
The Public Domain
For communities of color, a cure for the harm caused by COVID-19 needs to go far beyond developing a vaccine. We also need social and economic policies that take on the underlying, longstanding, and persistent problems of structural racism.
Reflecting on this countrys long history of intentional racist planning and policy-making, todays planners, designers, and policy-makers have an ethical obligation to realign our priorities and adopt intentional antiracist agendas that address the legacy pockets of inequity in black and brown communities. The time to act is now! Because if we choose to wait and it will be a choice we will once again miss an opportunity to ensure that the very same people who are keeping our recovery afloat can finally be treated equally.
EDITORS NOTE: Weve clarified some of the numbers around infection rates.
Stephen F. Gray is an Assistant Professor of Urban Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design and founder of Boston-based design firm Grayscale Collaborative. His work acknowledges the intersectionality of race, class, and the production of space, and he is currently co-leading an Equitable Impacts Framework pilot with the High Line Network and Urban Institute aimed at advancing racial equity agendas for industrial reuse projects across North America.
The near future of Colorados restaurants could depend on our biggest asset: the outdoors – Loveland Reporter-Herald
Posted: at 4:54 pm
In cities around the world, restaurants are taking to the streets. Theyre transforming parking lots and plazas, spilling onto sidewalks and coming up with parklets for more patio space. After months of closed dine-in service, these gathering places are counting on fresh air and more room for social distancing to keep employees and customers safe and businesses alive through the summer months.
Denver could be next to adopt the charge. After eight weeks of running on takeout and delivery only, restaurants and their business improvement districts, as well as volunteer planners across the city, are advocating now for further loosened restrictions on alcohol permitting and temporarily closed-off streets and parking lots to serve diners again.
By Memorial Day, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he expects to announce instructions for restaurants that are looking at a late May or early June reopening. A variance given to Mesa County this month allows for restaurants there to reopen at 30% of their usual fire-code capacity, and in a press conference on Wednesday, Polis said that a greatly reduced capacity should be expected indoors as more restaurants start to open around the state, but we also want to find ways that they can expand tables outdoors he said, mentioning sidewalks and parking spaces as potential options.
We know restaurants are eager to reopen in a way that protects the health of their patrons, and (they) see measures like expanded patio space as one way to do that, Denver Mayor Michael Hancocks office announced on Tuesday. (We) have been taking and evaluating requests from various stakeholders on what measures, including expanded patio space, could be implemented to support restaurants once theyre able to reopen.
This week, the Downtown Denver Partnership shared plans of its rapid activation of commercial streets, which was also proposed to Hancock earlier this month. The group gave nine examples of core blocks in various Denver neighborhoods where vehicle through-traffic and car parking could be temporarily blocked, allowing for pedestrian walkways and al fresco dining areas as seen in Europe or elsewhere in the United States during festivals and events.
This concept is not new to Denver, the DDPs president and CEO Tami Door told The Denver Post. We have done this many many times, as have great cities around the world. What is particularly intriguing about it now is its an amalgamation of wins.
Those wins, according to Door, include allowing individuals to gather safely again and letting neighborhoods and many of their retail businesses return to life, all while monitoring the viability of these types of gathering spaces long-term.
We know for the future that this isnt going away anytime soon, so we really need to understand how our public spaces can create safe spaces, Door said. In order to do that, she and the DDP have proposed a five-month pilot period from Memorial Day to Oct. 31 that would take advantage of Colorados sunshine while allowing restaurants to serve diners in more spaces outdoors.
I can make this happen literally yesterday, restaurateur Beth Gruitch said of the time she would need to open up her dining rooms outside. Gruitch co-owns two restaurants in Larimer Square (Rioja and Bistro Vendome) and two more at Union Station (Ultreia and Stoic & Genuine). She and her team closed down a fifth restaurant, Euclid Hall, permanently at the start of the shutdown.
She knows that closing off Larimer Square to cars will take longer to implement and face more opposition, but at Union Station, in my opinion, its a why not? she said. Why wouldnt we? Let us open up our patios, let us space our tables out, let us fill that space with energy and fun.
At Union Station, Gruitch envisions the surrounding plaza dotted with dining tables from each of the halls various restaurants. She pictures it working just as to-go orders have, but with the added bonus of table service and summery alcoholic beverages.
Its an appealing image that recalls tables set on Italian piazzas and in Parisian alleyways. But for other Denverites, the idea of turning not just plazas but also city streets into dining rooms is more romantic than practical.
Look, I couldnt be more heartbroken for what has happened to the restaurant and bar trade, Steve Weil, who owns Rockmount Ranch Wear on Wazee Street, told The Denver Post. Its a perfect storm for them. They have few options, and I dont begrudge supporting them how we can. But giving them the public right-of-way monopolizes public access perhaps in a way thats detrimental to everyone else.
For Weils business to reopen now, he says downtown Denvers streets need to stay open for vehicles, which his customers use more than public transportation or other forms of transport. Downtown has become an insufferable, incoherent puzzle of how to get from A to B, Weil explained. And this will make it worse.
Hes especially concerned about paying property taxes come June. Theres no relief on that. We need to do everything within our power to safely restart this economy, and not just for one segment but for every segment. What we do for one should not hurt the other.
But Door thinks the Downtown Denver Partnership and other stakeholders can use this summer-long outdoor dining trial to answer concerns like Weils, plus other questions that will surely arise: Where do outdoor dining zones fit in? How long can they operate? Who uses them? Are they inclusive and equitable? And what about them doesnt work?
This isnt about closing every street in the city; its about being strategic, being intentional, Door said. And its not one-size-fits-all, so its a good opportunity to explore.
Across Denver, outside business centers on Colorado Boulevard, along neighborhood roads in North Park Hill and just off Federal Boulevard by Jefferson Park, urban designer Matthew Bossler and a small cohort of community organizers are creating templates for outdoor dining areas of all sizes and shapes.
Bossler says hes excited to see grassroots organizations planning their own versions of this effort, but hes most eager to help out the businesses that wouldnt otherwise have resources to dedicate now.
Most communities of color dont have business improvement districts in place, he told The Denver Post. Thats why were being intentional about taking the momentum BIDS have and supporting them, but really dedicating resources to those areas that dont have that staff on hand or the money set aside.
On Thursday morning, hes giving a talk for Downtown Colorado Inc.s 500 statewide members. Bossler will discuss the playbook he and his team are creating basically just to cut out all the guesswork that everybodys trying to figure out on their own in little pieces all across the city right now, he said. Hell go over transportation consideration, design logistics, licensing, permitting and liability.
The organizational work and facilitation thats the majority of the work that weve been doing, Bossler said. And we foresee that that need will persist for at least the next month in order to knock down those barriers.
Meanwhile, at the city and state level, restaurateurs like Gruitch say this is a time to determine what Denver looks like over the summer and then for years to come.
What are we willing to sacrifice in order to grow our city in the direction of a place that we want to live in? she asked. We could be a city where there arent any good restaurants, where the retails not there, and downtown is desolate, and then we wont have to worry about the parking. It wont be an issue. But Id rather have an incredibly vibrant, successful city with some challenges than just kind of placating what we have now.
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