Huge Success–the Building Bridges Community Forum

On May 13, 202 people attended a Community Forum to learn about Collective Impact processes creating big successes in various communities, and possible “big results” we might want to work on in Tompkins County.

Here is a link to the presentation slides:

Building Bridges Forum CI presentation

Highlights from the feedback include:

Of the 119 evaluations we received:
41 organizations asked to be added to the Building Bridges Coalition list *
100+ new people have joined the Building Bridges Network listserve
96% of you said you learned more about Collective Impact
96% of you said that CI is a direction that we should pursue as a community
97% of you said the time was worthwhile
89% of you said you would do your work differently as a result of the time we spent together.

Once again, a big THANK-YOU to
  • GreenStar staff support, use of The Space and coffee, tea, fruit salad, yogurt and  pastries
  • MRC for the mini-bagels
  • GIAC for the cheese, crackers and cookies
  • Ithaca Bakery for the pastries
  • Moosewood Restaurant for the Brownies and Vegan Chocolate Cake
  • CCE staff for stuffing packets
  • Park Foundation for supporting this intro to Collective Impact

*If you would like your organization added, please contact Kirby Edmonds at 607/277-3401

DCI’s Celebration of International Human Rights Day

On Tuesday, Dec. 10, the Dorothy Cotton Institute held our first DCI Gala and Dinner in honor of International Human Rights Day, and featured the presentation of the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s 2013 Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Award to our distinguished guests, Dr. Vincent G. Harding and Ms. Dorothy F. Cotton, with inspiring remarks by the award recipients and Ambassador Andrew Young.

Over 200 people attended the event at the Trip Hotel, enjoying good food, great live jazz by Fe Nunn and friends, and Harry Aceto and friends, and a remarkable performance by the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers. Our Master of Ceremonies was Cal Walker.

Our celebration began with a visit to the Greater Ithaca Activities Center by DCI National Advisor Dr. Harding and Ms. Aljosie Aldrich Knight, both of whom participated in the DCI’s 2012 delegation to the Israel and the West Bank. They graciously spent the afternoon at GIAC, speaking first with local activists, educators, and organizers, and then another two and a half hours with teens from New Roots Charter School and GIAC’s Conservation Corps. Their conversation with young people was truly remarkable.

All three of our speakers exhorted the audience not to wait for someone else, some celebrity or high-placed official, to lead the change we want to see in the world, but rather to rely on ourselves and take action to create the kind of world we need. Being in the presence of people whose courage, commitment to non-violence, and willingness to stay on the journey toward the realization of full human rights reminded us that we have progressed a long way toward freedom, but we still have a way to go.

At GIAC, Dr. Harding was asked by a student whether he and others in the Freedom Struggle were ever scared of the violence and danger down south. He shared that sometimes he and his colleagues were very scared, but that they never attempted to do things alone; when he was afraid, someone else would remind him that “You can do this.” They always had friends with them, and what kept them going when they felt like running away was both knowing that people had come before them in the struggle and sacrificed for his next generation, but more importantly, they knew that they had to keep going so that “you could be here today”–i.e., together, in an integrated gathering of students, sharing where we came from, what we want to be doing 20 years from now, and why, with pathways open to them that couldn’t be imagined back in the 60s.

Dr. Harding emphasized the great importance of knowing one’s background, learning our history, and becoming strongly grounded and nurtured in our own cultures and who we are, so that we can go forth into diverse, integrated settings and take leadership, sharing and exchanging our stories with people who are different from ourselves without trying to just be like them and losing ourselves.

Dr. Harding answered a question about the first time he met Martin Luther King, Jr. He described traveling to Montgomery, Alabama in a racially mixed group of 5 young ministers from his an integrated Mennonite church he founded in Chicago. They set out to test themselves as to whether they could prevail on this journey with their integrated group, meet Dr. King, and explore the possibility of establishing such a church in the south.

They looked up Dr. King in the phone book, called and spoke with Mrs. Coretta Scott King, and asked if they could meet her husband. She explained that he had just been hospitalized after being stabbed, and was now recuperating at home. She wasn’t sure he would be up to it, but that they could stop by and see. When they arrived at the door, they were invited to visit with MLK, Jr. in his bedroom. He was sitting up in bed in his bathrobe, and kept laughing and remarking that they had made it  through Mississippi.

Dr. Harding explained to the young people at GIAC that at the time, he was 27 years old, and Dr. King was only 29.  The image of these very young people who were doing extraordinary things in such violent and intolerable circumstances really made quite an impression, and challenged all of us to never do anything with our lives without knowing why.

Thanks to all of you who attended, who sponsored others to be able to attend, and who support the Dorothy Cotton Institute!

Please check out this piece from Fellowship of Reconciliation, posted before the Gala.

http://forusa.org/blogs/linda-kelly/we-shall-not-be-moved-two-civil-rights-heroes-receive-peace-award/12714

Reimagining a Fair & Local Economy

Freeing Ourselves From Systems that Weaken & Divide Us

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this…We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality …whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Delivered by Martin Luther King Jr. over 45 years ago as an impassioned call for “Remaining Awake through a Great Revolution”, these words seem more relevant than ever to the linked economic, environmental and social calamities we face today. Our global economy and its effects on nearly every facet of our lives is increasingly seen as a root of these problems. With a warming climate and epic failures like the BP oil disaster and financial crisis, this system and its structures are looking catastrophically flawed and outdated. The “economic genius” of Frankensteinian creations like derivatives has turned our world economy into a shell game, with perhaps the worse yet to come.

Communities have become ground zero for a resource extraction model seeking to maximize short-term profits for distant stock holders while externalizing as many costs as possible. Those “externalities” include many of our own who are left behind as the divide between the haves and multiplying have-nots grows. Making matters worse, the reach and influence of the too-big-to-fail juggernauts responsible for these crises extends deep into our systems of governance, playing no small part in the recent government shut-down.

At the same time, a growing number of communities like our own are grappling with how to sustain basic civic infrastructure, including water, transportation, health, social services and educational systems. Put into place decades or centuries ago, many are now crumbling and we find ourselves without adequate means to maintain or replace them. Extreme events like Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, expected to increase in frequency, are also revealing a lack of resilience in our support systems and compromised landscapes.

We seem to be caught in a destructive feedback loop, unable to break free from a system that is continually reinforcing itself (with the help of bailouts and subsidies) while weakening our communities and endangering the planet. Some are wondering what alternatives might exist – how can we reinvent a new economy that serves, not consumes us?

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.  -Buckminster Fuller

Unseen by some, another great revolution, or “reimagining” is already occurring. It is rising from communities like our own, leveraging the power of We to solve intractable problems collectively.  Here are some signs of and guideposts for this emergent and hopeful movement. Continue reading

A Big Thank-You!

8.24.13 DC Carrying Banner

On Saturday, August 24, two big bus-loads of people traveled from Ithaca to the 50th Anniversary Realize the Dream march and rally in Washington, DC. We were among the thousands and thousands of positive, truly kind and powerful people there, and it renews our faith in who the American people really are to connect with so many kindred spirits speaking out for Jobs, Freedom and Justice and the civil and human rights of all people.

The organizers of the trip were Elizabeth Field, Laura Branca, Kirby Edmonds, Audrey Cooper from the Multicultural Resource Center, Marcia Fort, Director of GIAC and Lana Milton from GIAC.We were able to cover 53  free tickets to many of our riders through the generous donations of the following organizations and individuals, to whom we offer our heartfelt thanks:
Greater Ithaca Activities Center
Building Bridges
An anonymous donor (who attended the 1963 March donated 10 seats so that young people could go.)
Moosewood Restaurant
Social Ventures
Center for Transformative Action
Cornell Cooperative Extension
Multicultural Resource Center
Congregation Tikkun V’Or
Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton
Lynne Jackier
Ann Martin
Beverly Baker
Joan Swenson
Sue Kittel
Dick Franke and Barbara Chasin
John Suter
Sandy Pollack
Karen Friedeborn

Thank you to all who made this happen!

Shifting to Equity as a Preferred Driver of Economic Development

Shifting-to-Equity-structure-have-now

Here is a PowerPoint show, Shifting to Equity as a Preferred Driver of Economic Development, created and narrated by Kirby Edmonds. 

NOTE: The audio volume is low, so please turn up your speakers in order to follow along.

This presentation is also available on the left-hand menu, by clicking on the page  “Shifting Structural Barriers to Eliminate Poverty”.

TOMPKINS COUNTY JUDGE CANDIDATES FORUM

Wednesday, August 14 @ 6 pm

GIAC, 301 W. Court Street, Ithaca

“District Attorneys decide who to prosecute.  Judges decide the sentencing. You can decide who looks out fairly and justly for our community!”CLOC candidates poster

Sponsored by: Community Leaders Of Color, Latino Civic Association, Ithaca Asian American Association, and Shawn Greenwood Working Group

Black Farmers and Urban Growers

Please check out Black Farmers and Urban Growers and like them on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/BlackUrbanGrowers . They have one of the greatest logos ever for their conference.

 About

Our mission is to engage people of African descent in critical food and farm-related issues that directly impact our health, communities, and economic security.
Mission

Our mission is to build networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. Through education and advocacy around food and farm issues, we nurture collective black leadership to ensure we have a seat at the table. Find our more today at http://www.blackfarmersconf.org/ 

Company Overview
The Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference is presented by Black Urban Growers (BUGS), an organization of volunteers committed to building networks and community support for growers in both urban and rural settings. Through education and advocacy around food and farm issues, we nurture collective black leadership to ensure we have a seat at the table.
Based in the New York City Metropolitan area, Black Urban Growers’ founding members include representatives from the following grassroots groups, non-profit organizations as well as individuals from our communities:
Grassroots Groups
Brooklyn Rescue Mission – Brooklyn, NY
Community Vision Council – Brooklyn, NY
Garden of Happiness – Bronx, NY
La Familia Verde – Bronx, NY
La Finca Del Sur – Bronx, NY
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, New York Chapter
Taqwa Community Farm – Bronx, NYNon-Profit OrganizationsCitizens Committee for New York City – Manhattan, NY
Green City Force – Brooklyn, NY
GreenThumb – Manhattan, NY
Heritage Radio – Online Radio Network
Isles, Inc. – Trenton, NJ
Just Food – Manhattan, NY
NYFood Museum – Manhattan, NY
Weeksville Heritage Center – Brooklyn, NY
West Harlem Initiative Neighborhood Garden Sustainability (WHINGS) – Manhattan, NY
WhyHunger – Manhattan, NY

Description
In November of 2009, Black Urban Growers began organizing and hosting a series of community events with the purpose of starting a conversation around food: Where does it come from? Who is providing it? Why don’t we see more black farmers at the farmers markets? What is the relationship between our individual health and the health of our communities, and why does it matter?Beginning with a fundraiser event in February of 2010, followed by a Community Forum that April, we’ve been inviting more and more people from our communities to engage in the conversation and together connect the dots between the health of our farmers and our collective health as a community.At the first annual Black Farmers and Urban Gardeners Conference in November 2010, more than 500 attendees began building a national network that includes producers, consumers, and everyone in between in creating sustainable solutions. This vital project continued at the second annual conference in October 2011.