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Sandwiched between Breasts of Love and Saddness

Sandwiched between Breasts of Love and Sadness
I remember planning my graduation party in April of 2000. I would receive my doctor of philosophy degree in social work from Bryn Mawr College–as quiet as i tried to keep it. I knew I was the shit. Damm! It had only taken me 17 years to figure out that I could really do it–and six months to actually write it. I thought my sisters were uninterested in my success as I had always tried (without too much coaxing), to hide my success for fear that I might fail and be ridiculed. Both my sisters and mother were nonplus-ed about the upcoming graduation. I knew Venetia, my older sister might have feel some jealously and say some ugly shit but Deneen? She seemed off somehow. Unknown to me doctors had found a lump a few weeks earlier and she had to undergo a breast biopsy. In addition, Venetia’s doctors found a lump in her other breast and it was found to be cancerous. Unfortunately, no one told me. Since this was the second occurrence for Venetia, she was real scarred. Supposedly, they decided their misfortune might ruin my happiness. Therefore, they went through the functions of my graduations and the party that I planned for myself at my mother’s home. I love my sisters and I know they love me, however, things just didn’t seem right.

My sisters decided to tell me in a restaurant. I don’t know what psychological shit thinking that was. I think they got the idea from a movie. You know the scene where the handsome man takes his socialite wife to her favorite swank lunch spot–where she can see her friends and be seen by both friends and enemies. She–thinking she can impress her friends and bitch acquaints by putting on the perfect show as a loving couple. “Look how much my husband adores me;” only to learn that the bastard is planning to tell her he is leaving her to marry his “new trophy wife,” and she is 20 years his junior. Damn–husband isn’t even trying to find himself–just get away from her. DAGGG. What were they thinking? Did they really think that I was going to make a scene because I learned that they had breast cancer? Well what kind of shit was that? It just seemed mean and insensitive–couldn’t they let me share their pain. Was I always to be left out. At the same time, I’m thinking what a selfish creep I am for even thinking this. Either way, I was fucked up–for the whole day.

No time to process this stuff, but I sure was hungry. Thank God I could easily forget my confusion and pain and embark on the wonderful escape that food can provide. I heard the waiter ask, “May I take your order.” Thank you–Lord- a brief intermission from this fucking drama. I ordered drinks, appetizer, lunch and dessert. Sooo good. Why is that thin bitches lose their appetite when they are in pain or feel overwhelmed, scared, or distressed? Shit! Go figure.

Entered 10/06

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October 11, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Curriculum conceptual Framework

As I have been researching and writing about the curriculum, I realize that a major problem, in the restorative justice community, is the violent youth who embrace the “cool pose culture.” No one seems to know what to do with them.   We addressed these issues in the training, for example, showing clips from the video “Crash,” playing rap music and discussing hip-hop culture.  These issues also came up in our circle dialogue.  I just want to make them more explicit.  I think it will help with funding and will address the needs of an underserved population from an anti-racism approach (see attached article-below about from the Lifers Group). 
 
Note: I don’t think the “cool pose culture” theory totally explains the problem of youth violence since racism and internalized structural violence are also involved.  See the connection?  Also, a good number of restorative justice and mediation practitioners are not trained to work within the traditions (yea, traditions) of hip hop.  That where we come in.  We train them to work with the youth who embrace the “cool pose culture” and the “culture of street crime” as part of the “Anti-Racism Training: Building Relationships Across, Race, Ethnic and Class Differences.”

I’ll also need to include how youth violence transcends “street culture” and reflects violence in the larger culture on all levels–from a systems perspective (individual, family, and community, society, national and international.)  We live in world where violence and subjugation of the oppressed have lead to a “culture of injustice and incivility.”  We shouldn’t go too deep into this.  However, it will help us to articulate the conceptual framework for the curriculum and worldview of the trainers.  In addition, it highlights our awareness of the complexity of anti-racism work within the restorative justice community and it underscores the urgency of our work, especially in working with at risk youth.
 
 Am I making sense?  I hope so–I’m exhausted. 
 
I believe this approach will attract more support than the current curriculum.  In addition, it has a direct connection to victim-offender models used by VOMA’s membership.  There is also room for partnering with PRASI for facilitating writing clinics/retreats/interventions and NAFCM–well they can keep the traditional interest-based mediation stuff. 
 
Thanks for your support and clear thinking–always.  I am really open to feedback.  Either way let me know your views and I will honor the agreement we made.  I still have the original stuff–in tack.
 
Millie
 
Tue, 10 Oct 2006 09:52:16 -0400
From: “Lori Pompa” <lpompa@JUNO.COM>   Add to Address Book   Add Mobile Alert

Subject: [INSIDEOUT] In yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News
To: INSIDEOUT@LISTSERV.TEMPLE.EDU

Letters | Lifers stand up on violence
WITH THE rising death toll in Philadelphia, the solutions always seem to result in more of the same. And although the problem of crime and violence is an old one, there is a solution never tried before but ripe for a try now.
The Lifers Public Safety Initiative here at Graterford has identified one major reason that crime and violence persists despite society’s best efforts to end it.
It is the “culture of street crime” that is causing large groups of young men to absorb certain values and beliefs because of their attraction to the streets. These values develop distorted attitudes about manhood, respect and instant gratification that cause the disproportionate number of crimes and violence in the community.
Those of us whose realities were once shaped by this culture but have since taken responsibility for our thinking and behavior have taken on the task of addressing these distorted realities by challenging this belief system using our “positive peer-intervention” techniques. To get this problem under control, it’s time for society to recognize the collective experience of former members of the street culture. These men have the street experience, respect and credibility to go places law enforcement and others can’t.
The techniques were developed to generate a movement in prison and out in the community in an effort to empower reformed street hustlers to take a strong stand for the safety of our communities. Because of their former activities, they know who’s who on the streets and can begin to reach out to the young men who are roaming our streets, carrying guns and perpetrating violence.
We want to send a strong message from the penitentiary that we do not condone this violence. The Lifers Public Safety Initiative stands united with the community to demonstrate to those who do the community harm that “The deaths of our children will no longer be tolerated.”
Tyrone A. Werts
The Lifers Public Safety Initiative
Graterford (Pa.) State Prison

October 11, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Curriculum conceptual Framework

As I have been researching and writing about the curriculum, I realize that a major problem, in the restorative justice community, is the violent youth who embrace the “cool pose culture.” No one seems to know what to do with them.   We addressed these issues in the training, for example, showing clips from the video “Crash,” playing rap music and discussing hip-hop culture.  These issues also came up in our circle dialogue.  I just want to make them more explicit.  I think it will help with funding and will address the needs of an underserved population from an anti-racism approach (see attached article-below about from the Lifers Group). 
 
Note: I don’t think the “cool pose culture” theory totally explains the problem of youth violence since racism and internalized structural violence are also involved.  See the connection?  Also, a good number of restorative justice and mediation practitioners are not trained to work within the traditions (yea, traditions) of hip hop.  That where we come in.  We train them to work with the youth who embrace the “cool pose culture” and the “culture of street crime” as part of the “Anti-Racism Training: Building Relationships Across, Race, Ethnic and Class Differences.”

I’ll also need to include how youth violence transcends “street culture” and reflects violence in the larger culture on all levels–from a systems perspective (individual, family, and community, society, national and international.)  We live in world where violence and subjugation of the oppressed have lead to a “culture of injustice and incivility.”  We shouldn’t go too deep into this.  However, it will help us to articulate the conceptual framework for the curriculum and worldview of the trainers.  In addition, it highlights our awareness of the complexity of anti-racism work within the restorative justice community and it underscores the urgency of our work, especially in working with at risk youth.
 
 Am I making sense?  I hope so–I’m exhausted. 
 
I believe this approach will attract more support than the current curriculum.  In addition, it has a direct connection to victim-offender models used by VOMA’s membership.  There is also room for partnering with PRASI for facilitating writing clinics/retreats/interventions and NAFCM–well they can keep the traditional interest-based mediation stuff. 
 
Thanks for your support and clear thinking–always.  I am really open to feedback.  Either way let me know your views and I will honor the agreement we made.  I still have the original stuff–in tack.
 
Millie
 
Tue, 10 Oct 2006 09:52:16 -0400
From: “Lori Pompa” <lpompa@JUNO.COM>   Add to Address Book   Add Mobile Alert

Subject: [INSIDEOUT] In yesterday’s Philadelphia Daily News
To: INSIDEOUT@LISTSERV.TEMPLE.EDU

Letters | Lifers stand up on violence
WITH THE rising death toll in Philadelphia, the solutions always seem to result in more of the same. And although the problem of crime and violence is an old one, there is a solution never tried before but ripe for a try now.
The Lifers Public Safety Initiative here at Graterford has identified one major reason that crime and violence persists despite society’s best efforts to end it.
It is the “culture of street crime” that is causing large groups of young men to absorb certain values and beliefs because of their attraction to the streets. These values develop distorted attitudes about manhood, respect and instant gratification that cause the disproportionate number of crimes and violence in the community.
Those of us whose realities were once shaped by this culture but have since taken responsibility for our thinking and behavior have taken on the task of addressing these distorted realities by challenging this belief system using our “positive peer-intervention” techniques. To get this problem under control, it’s time for society to recognize the collective experience of former members of the street culture. These men have the street experience, respect and credibility to go places law enforcement and others can’t.
The techniques were developed to generate a movement in prison and out in the community in an effort to empower reformed street hustlers to take a strong stand for the safety of our communities. Because of their former activities, they know who’s who on the streets and can begin to reach out to the young men who are roaming our streets, carrying guns and perpetrating violence.
We want to send a strong message from the penitentiary that we do not condone this violence. The Lifers Public Safety Initiative stands united with the community to demonstrate to those who do the community harm that “The deaths of our children will no longer be tolerated.”
Tyrone A. Werts
The Lifers Public Safety Initiative
Graterford (Pa.) State Prison

October 11, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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October 11, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments