Tara's Thoughts

Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

This post is directed to all the writers out there who may have an interest in sharing your vision for a world that has found its way through the Climate Crisis.  AND there is prize money involved here, folks!  Grist is accepting submissions through April 12, 2021  (11:59pm US PST).

What is Grist? Here it is in their own words:

“Our independent, nonprofit newsroom pursues in-depth stories on under-covered topics like clean energysustainable foodlivable citiesenvironmental justice, and a better economy. We elevate solutions, expose inequity, and give our readers the context, knowledge, and tools to make a difference.

Grist was founded in 1999 as one of the nation’s first online-only publications, covering serious topics without taking ourselves too seriously. TIME magazine calls Grist  the Colbert Report of climate change … except with real reporting and analytical journalism.”

And here is their Media byline:

“A non-profit news organization for people who want a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck.”

Well said!!   OKAY, so. Here is what Grist is offering via FIX, their Solutions Lab:

“All 12 final stories will be published in a digital collection on Fix’s website, and the authors will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.”

Here are the rest of the details and submission guidelines:

“Welcome to Imagine 2200 — a new climate-fiction contest by Fix, Grist’s solutions lab. What we’re seeking: short stories that envision the next 180 years of equitable climate progress. What we’re offering: $8,700 in prizes, publication, and a reason to stay hopeful.

The world is crazy right now, and the stakes are high: just, you know, our entire frickin’ future. Our newsfeeds are full of denial, delay, and doom that make us want to scream into our pillows. But that’s just the old story. At Fix, we are telling the new story, of a path to a clean, green, and just future, and the people who are driving it. Our mission is to make the story of a better world so irresistible, you want it right now.

With that goal in mind, we decided to launch our first foray into the world of hopeful, forward-looking fiction — to inspire visions of the future that haven’t even been dreamt up yet, and welcome more voices into the climate conversation. Join this uprising of imagination, and help us turn the page on earth’s next chapter.

Nuts & Bolts

  • Entry is free!
  • The contest is open to writers anywhere in the world.
  • Authors must be 18 years or older at the time of submission.
  • Submissions must be short, fictional stories, between 3,000–5,000 words.
  • No previously published, multiple, or simultaneous submissions accepted.
  • Submissions will only be accepted through Submittable — click the “submit” button at the bottom of this page when you’re ready! If you need accessibility accommodations, please email the team at imaginefiction@grist.org
  • Stories will be judged by a board of literary experts, including authors Adrienne Maree Brown, Morgan Jerkins, and Kiese Laymon.
  • The first-prize story will be awarded $3,000; second prize $2,000; and third prize $1,000. Nine additional finalists will each receive a $300 honorarium.
  • All 12 final stories will be published in a digital collection on Fix’s website, and the authors will be celebrated in a public-facing virtual event.
  • Worldwide copyright and ownership of each story remains with the author.
  • If a story is accepted for publication, Grist retains the first serial rights of the work to publish, produce, reproduce, distribute, and market.
  • All other remaining rights revert to the author upon publication.

Find more information about the contest at Grist.org/fix

And head over to their Submission Portal for complete guidelines: Grist.submittable.com

(When you are ready, click the SUBMIT button at the bottom of the Portal page.)

————————–

Please let me know if you decide to submit your story.  And, by all means, share this opportunity with any other writers you know.

I will end with one more quote from the Grist web site:

“Climate, sustainability, and social justice are the most important stories on the … well, on the planet right now. The stakes are high: just, you know, our entire frickin’ future.”

So write your hearts out and use your vision to inform, educate and enlighten, well, everybody you can so we can create a healthier world that, as they say on the Grist site, doesn’t suck.

Author Bradford R. Kane Supplies The Answer

Pitchfork Populism; the book by author Bradford R. Kane available on Amazon and at pitchforkpopulism.com

In this post I am featuring the work of an author with deep roots in political history, government, and social justice. 

(Full disclosure: Bradford R. Kane is my cousin and I am very proud of him!) 

“Pitchfork Populism; Ten Political Forces That Shaped An Election And Changed America” Prometheus Books; 2019)  connects the dots from where we are now as a country to times, circumstances and players deep within the history of the United States that opened the doors to what we are living through now. Mr. Kane’s book offers a journey through this landscape that reveals the roller coaster of our history and the long tendrils of past events, strategies and divisions of intent that continue to affect our country today.  

This book is a valuable tool for anyone seeking insight and clarity into the political forces that have shaped our country and offers an educated vision of what our future might look like. Kane’s well-crafted writing does a masterful job of explaining the context and history of a potentially confusing and multi-level subject without being dry or professorial. His personal stake in the world of politics and its consequences remains present in his writing giving the reader a human experience and a sense of just how relevant this analysis is to our own lives.

For those wondering whose agenda is being supported here, put your concerns aside. Kane views his subject from a non-partisan standpoint and has, in fact, a long-standing history of encouraging bi-partisan communication. Among many other efforts over a lifetime career in politics and public policy, Mr. Kane is the Founder and Executive Director of The Bi-Partisan Bridge, a resource for information with a mission of encouraging those with differing political views to find common ground.

The Bi-Partisan Bridge

Now, to show you that my admiration for cousin’s work is not just familial affection, here are some of his credentials:

Bradford R. Kane began his career in Congress as legislative counsel to Congresswoman Cardiss Collins (D-IL) and has served as counsel to the Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce & Consumer Protection, and as a member of President Clinton’s Task Force on Health Care Reform. Kane has also served the State of California as Deputy Controller, legislator and subsequently, deputy secretary for information technology.  In the global arena, he was CEO of the International Commission on Workforce Development and a strategy council member of the United Nations Global Alliance on ICT & Development (UN GAID). He received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis, and his law degree from Hastings College of Law.

As further proof of the heights Kane has reached with this book, there are the  reviews (on the book cover and online at Amazon and Pitchforkpopulism.com) from the likes of William S. Cohen, former Secretary of Defense, Henry Cisneros,  former Secretary of Housing and former Mayor of San Antonio, Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst and best-selling author, and Leon Panetta, former White House Chief of Staff, former Secretary of Defense and former Director of the CIA.

To make this an even easier read, the author has constructed his book so that you can start with any chapter that interests you and jump around as the topics catch your eye. This engaging read left me with an appreciation of Kane’s offering of hope looking forward and his conclusion that we are at our strongest as a society and a country when we work together in unity and mutual respect.

Image I lost a friend this week.  His name was John Glass and he was a hero in the very real sense of the word.

John and his wife, Judy Glass, are well-known in the progressive community in Los Angeles. They are, and she will still be, staunch supporters of organizations that work for peace and social justice. John’s central cause for the past handful of years was the single-payer health care movement.  He believed that health care is a right, not a priviledge, and should be available to everyone without the constraints of a particular employer or the limitations of insurance companies dictating what doctors can provide based on their own self-serving priorities.

I have known John for almost 40 years. He was a giver from the word “go” and never stopped focusing on making the world a better place for us all.  Throughout his career John was a sociologist, a professor, a volunteer coordinator for non-profit organizations, a therapist, a published author and a friend to the working man.  Every choice he made was in the service of others and with the true intention of helping and healing the world and the human heart.

Talk to anyone who knew John and practically the first thing they will recall is his enthusiasm about the social causes and political candidates he supported.  He always carried fliers with him for whatever rally or event was coming up and would invariably offer the fliers to whoever was within earshot with a bold statement encouraging his audience to attend. Show up! Make your voice heard! Make a difference!

John died Tuesday night, May 9, 2012, at the age of 76, after a week-long battle with pneumonia and a lifetime battle against the dragons that seek to diminish the individual spirit.  He will be missed by many and our work to regain the dignity of the common man will be made harder for his absence.

Of all the responses we received to our announcement of John’s death this was the one that hit me the hardest and is, I believe, the perfect statement of how John’s life affected the world in which he lived:

The average person lost a friend this week.
The people John Glass helped the most will never 
know who John Glass was. That was John Glass.

Jeff Bornstein

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it begets more violence. With violence, you can murder the hater but you just increase the hate.  Hate cannot drive out hate. Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that; only love can drive out hate.”

                                      – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

With the unprecedented emergence of civil unrest around the world  images of massive, coordinated efforts by diverse populations gathering in the streets to make themselves heard by the powers-that-be have been presented to us by the media as never before.   These efforts have been met by governmental violence and suppression of civilian rights in shocking ways.

I chanced upon the following story this morning and was stunned by the simple beauty and courage of this response to violence and hate.

 

In 1992 an artillery shell killed twenty-two innocent civilians standing in a bread line in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Vedran Smailovic, a former principal cellist for the Sarajevo Opera, responded by donning his tuxedo, bringing his instrument to the bomb site and performing alone for the next twenty-two days as the shelling continued. Twenty two days, amid shrapnel and sniper fire, Smailovic played; one day for each of the twenty-two friends and neighbors who had been killed.

http://myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=vedrans

In 1997, after hearing this story, 10-year-old Jason Crowe, was moved to action. He is working to create a tribute to the spirit of the Bosnian people in the form of the Children’s International Peace & Harmony Statue, to be shipped to Bosnia as a gift from peace-loving people around the world, especially children.

“We will inherit the new millennium and we must voice our desire for peace and show the world we are willing to work for it. The statue itself will be our voice giving us a way to shout, ‘Never again must mean never again’.

The Children’s International Peace and Harmony Statue will depict and honor: 1. The spirit of all Bosnians who have lived through or died in the madness of ethnic cleansing; 2. The spirit of harmony that cries on like a lone cello in a world full of violence which refuses to listen; and 3. The spirit of children around the world who want peace and harmony, not war and genocide, as their legacy in the new millennium.

 For more information or to support Jason’s project go to: 

http://myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=jasoncrowe


Tara Sitser - Leadership Member of Al Gore's Climate Reality Project

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