Saturday, September 17, 2011

It is a fateful time of year for the latest of the local summits on crime to be happening. Deeper thoughts on the effects of crime locally can be found from Cliff:
In general I support the summit. My only concern is that the message there makes it to the kids that actually seem to be in danger. The people who show up to crime summits are usually not the ones that are going to do any crime in the first place. Maybe with the mayor involved the conversation will lead to a plan that will get the message into the closed in subculture of our city that probably has no idea there’s a crime summit going on because they are too busy focused on doing their own crimes. Those are the kids we have to get into some programs even if we have to force them into them.
...and the G-Bitch Spot's Save Our Sons? Save Our Daughters, Too:
And then maybe we can look at the girls, our daughters. Every year I have taught in NOLA, I have had too many young women not done with high school or starting college with 1-2 children. I know I see the most determined and supported ones, and that for each there are a dozen others I don’t see in a college classroom. I seethem pushing their babies down the street in strollers or holding them by the hand [the other hand usually holding a cell phone], or balancing one on a hip to cross the street. So what about them? Can we actually have a summit on that, on the too many girls with babies? Or is that much harder? When you talk about babies, you must talk about sex and talk about sex gets very politicized and filtered through one religion or several and information gets distorted or left out or falsely discredited. The Girl’s health textbook takes the hard sell scare-’em line to promote abstinence as the only sensible option. Textbook publishers aren’t going to print texts school systems won’t buy; I understand that. So we critiqued the text with her, a conversation she started, and I gave her the link to scarleteen, which covers everything, respectfully. EverythingReally. From squirting to masturbation to vulvas and anal sexand bisexuality to penises and “A Basic Kinktionary.” But she’s my daughter and I can do that. Someone else’s daughter? If she asks me, if she is a student of mine, yes, I will give her honest, appropriate answers. I have to. She needs to know. You can’t make wise choices if you don’t have good information.  
Information, though, is not enough. Like one meeting is not enough. The hardest thing to do is have a group conversation, and we’ve failed before. But one of the few things we can all agree on, across all lines and barriers, is that too many young black men are involved in murders. I hope that common ground makes the difference this time.
I struggle with this prayer below, and I know I'm not the only one:
On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquillity and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.
What the prayer is talking about is the relationship between people and God. What many people miss about the point of the Jewish high holidays is that the forgiveness of the past year's transgressions only applies to matters between people and God - when it comes to matters between ourselves, we are on our own, and it is up to each of us individually to right the wrongs against our neighbors, and it is up to our neighbors to accept our efforts. "Would that repentance, prayer, and charity towards our fellow human beings be the order of the day" is the message the high holidays are supposed to urge the Jewish people to carry into daily life.

It's a message that is still sorely needed in New Orleans in 2011. I, too, hope that not just the "right" people get it, but that all of us continue to get it and act upon it.

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