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Tag Archives: justice

Respect to our Indigenous Brothers & Sisters

My first foray into blogging was at Blogger, where I posted as The Cranky Curmudgeon (https://crankycur.blogspot.com/). My very first post was on Thursday, February 23, 2006, and you can read it here. I posted reasonably frequently for a while, but I’ve always been somewhat sporadic in my writing, mostly because I get deeply involved in my work and just haven’t been comfortable spending time coming up with subjects, then researching and writing about them. Now that I’m semi-retired and, more importantly, my girls are growing up (my oldest just graduated High School last week) I have more free time. I also would like to see if I can make a little money writing and posting to my blog is great practice. I’m contemplating a book about the Peace & Justice movement in Los Angeles during the late sixties and early seventies, when I was extremely active. That’s another story.

My last post to The Cranky Curmudgeon was on February 1, 2014, which seems a bit weird as it was long after I started Systems Savvy (where you are now) and over two years since my previous post at the end of 2011. I suppose I could do a little archaeology and figure out what I did back then, but I’ll leave that for some other time. What’s important now is I just want to share this video. I believe it was created to run during Super Bowl XLVIII. Unfortunately, it didn’t (as far as I know) and it really should have, IMO. It makes a very important point, which I don’t think has been satisfactorily settled yet. So I’m offering it here, where a few people may view it and it will remain until the Sun goes red giant and swells to engulf our planet. Which means it will be viewable for at least another billion or so years. Hope you enjoy it!

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Damn The Contradictions! Giving Feels Good.

Last night my Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise led a community effort to assemble the bicycles we had raised money for and purchased to distribute to children in our community whose families could not otherwise afford to get them one this year. We planned on buying, assembling, and distributing 300 bikes, but were only able to get 272, because there just weren’t any more available.

Bikes

A sample of the 272 bicycles assembled for community gifting.

Above is a pic showing some of these bikes. They were all assembled, put through a final quality check to ensure everything was done correctly, and loaded into trucks for distribution to the various groups and agencies who were participating in this event in approximately 2.5 hours. Kudos to everyone involved. It really was an amazing event, topped off by free pizza from The Junkyard, which was delicious.


PS – The title I used for this post reflects my knowledge that things like philanthropy and volunteerism (especially the former) can be indications of a failure in our society to meet the basic needs of many of our citizens. While I recognize there is, indeed, a problem of economic justice inherent in the ways we distribute goods and services, I also recognize there remains a real need regardless of the theories and concepts we can develop to describe and explain them. I therefore wish to opt for doing what I can (and Rotary seems an excellent avenue with which to do it) to alleviate some of the discomfort caused by the imbalance. 


Helping to Create a Virtuous Cycle

CJAs in Liberia

Community Justice Associates Working in Liberia

In a previous post I mentioned some work I had done for Quantellia involving the Carter Center’s efforts in Liberia to strengthen the country’s legal system. I have not been at liberty to discuss the effort until a couple of weeks ago, when Quantellia announced the work and their findings. Of their work, the Carter Center says:

Since 2006, building on its long history of engagement in Liberia, The Carter Center has been implementing an access to justice project in Liberia in response to these critical needs and invitations by the government.  Governed by a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Justice, and in partnership with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Traditional Council, and other stakeholders, the Center works in four areas with the aim of helping to create a working and responsive justice system consistent with local needs and human rights, paying special attention to rural areas and the needs of marginalized populations. ¹

One of those four areas mentioned is “Improving Access to Justice”, and Quantellia was tasked with building a decision model showing the efficacy of sending Community Legal Advisers (CLA), now called Community Justice Advisers (CJA) out into remote, underserved communities by providing them training, support, and motorscooters. These CJA are paralegals and they are tasked with helping both plaintiffs and defendants gain access to the formal justice system which, in many locales, lags behind the people’s use of customary justice.

I want to share the results of that work here. I’m very pleased and proud with the role I was able to play in the final document. The agreement was that I would do research and write a first and second draft, at the least. Also part of the agreement was that I would not receive credit, which I was quite happy to accept. I am, therefore, grateful the authors saw fit to acknowledge my efforts in a footnote. It’s far more than I expected; a lagniappe.

Here’s a link to the World Modeler Blog, where you can read Quantellia’s announcement regarding the project. Although both the paper and the video are available there, I’m also including a link directly to the paper (here) and embedding the video below.

I have often said I thought I would find it hard to find something to do that would be as exciting and fulfilling as working on the manned spaceflight program — specifically the Space Shuttle Main Engine — which I did for over two decades before my (somewhat early) retirement. After all, working with many of the world’s best rocket scientists does have its perks (or perqs), especially intellectually, and being a part of humanity’s effort to venture out into space is something I feel borders on the sacred. Working on this project provided me with those feelings as well and was both challenging and fulfilling. The video and the paper are, in my opinion, very well done and beautifully presented. I am proud to have been a small part of it.


I am, of course, very supportive of Quantellia’s vision and the products and services they have to offer. In fact, in case I haven’t mentioned it elsewhere, I began an association with them as a referral partner at the beginning of this year. If you’re dealing with complexity and would like to hear how we can help you realize your goals more effectively, drop me a line. I’m easy to find.


Superbowl Commercial You Won’t See

Beautiful, well-done video with a powerful message.

I’m preparing a couple of posts on Decision Science, but they take a little bit of research and more careful writing than I can muster in one sitting at this point.

In the meantime, I really think this video needs to be seen. Changing the name of a football team is not much to ask, considering how much has been – and continues to be – taken from the peoples native to this land. We have a long way to go to make up for the almost successful genocide. This seems a small thing to ask, even though it involves a Sunday activity that’s surely more popular than Church.

Isn’t it time?


Can Men Be Feminists?

What a Feminist Looks Like

Hint: It Doesn’t Mean You’re Feminine 🙂

I hope this is a question many men have asked themselves. It’s important to understand and come to a useful resolution about this, as I think there are many men who support women’s equality but are somehow intimidated by the thought of being seen as a feminist. Let me say it right up front. I am not only a feminist; I have been one since the early 1970s. It’s important for men to understand what being a feminist means, because it has nothing to do with being feminine, which I think is why many men might cringe somewhat at the thought.

The Oxford English Dictionary, online edition, defines a feminist as “a person who supports feminism”, and Wikipedia defines feminism as follows: “. . . [A] collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. In addition, feminism seeks to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment”. As a movement, feminism is complex and – for the most part – understanding its history isn’t important to the issue of whether or not men can (or should) be feminists. On the other hand, one of the reasons for this post is to share a short video that addresses one of the more egregious historical responses to the struggle of women for suffrage, i.e. to gain the right to vote.

One of the main reasons I have been so supportive of women’s rights almost as long as I’ve been able to vote is my belief, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Then there’s also this little thing called the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. I like to think the meaning of these two maxims – and so many like them – is that inequality is not a good thing. Since the very essence of feminism is, as stated above, the goal of establishing “equal political, economic, and social rights for women”, it seems to logically follow it is something anyone – even men – of good conscience must support. Let’s take it a little further, though. Let’s ask ourselves who these women are who wish equality. We don’t have to look very far for they are our mothers and grandmothers; our sisters, nieces, and cousins; our girl friends and wives. In short, they are all women, everywhere. Why would we not support feminism and thereby be feminists?

This November 6th we are going to make a choice in the trajectory our nation will follow for the succeeding four years, almost certainly a lot longer since one or more Supreme Court Justices is likely to retire. The Republican Party, through its most important representatives and through its actions, has made it clear they wish to return to a level of patriarchy that makes women second-class citizens and, in some respects, returns them to the status of chattel. Although the party has tried to move the national conversation away from the highly-charged term “War on Women”, the reality is a victory for Mitt Romney would be a “Disaster for Women“. It is imperative for not only women to understand what’s at stake but, perhaps, even more important for men to understand because they have a tendency to be somewhat timid when it comes to supporting these basic rights of women (should read merely “people”).

Today I came across a wonderful short video that recounts the struggle of a group of women who protested for the simple right so many of us take for granted – the right to vote – and were severely punished for their temerity. This was less than a hundred years ago, when Woodrow Wilson was President. Less than 100 years ago! There are far too many of us who either haven’t registered to vote or, in our apathy or despair, won’t take the time to vote. This is not a good thing. As Plato said, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” The struggle for the right of women has come too far to now go backward. Here is the video I want you to see. I hope you’ll share it as well. It’s very powerful.

And get out there this November and VOTE! 

Photo from Douche, Bag and Shoes


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