read this: race and education in kansas city

I met Joe Miller at the last KC Bloggers Meetup.. He used to write for The Pitch, Kansas City’s alternative news weekly, but now he’s working on his first book, “about the Kansas City Central High School debate team.” His blog, Kansas City Soil, is one of the best around in part because of entries like this one.

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I’ve got to start seeking out the places where KC’s creative people present their work. A friend sends along a link to Andrea Flamini:

Andrea creates generative video installations. At the core of his research is the development of random and generative methods of sequencing video and sounds, a process often called ‘Computational Cinema’ or ‘Process Cinema.’ His generative videos are designed to play endlessly, in an unlimited number of random variations.

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a good day

The UMKC September Project events yesterday went very well. Not as many people showed up as I thought were going to, but the conversations that took place were fantastic, probably the most satisfying exchanges I have yet had at this school. Unfortunately, none of the conservative groups or individuals to whom we extended invitations attended. One of my colleagues suggested that this is because the concept of dialogue with a diverse set of opinions is inherent to a liberal ideology but not to a conservative one. I hope this is not true.

Many valuable exchanges took place, but a few have stuck in my head. I’ll start with one and perhaps add more if I have time.

On the subject of freedom, when Zell Miller spoke at the Republican National Convention, he said this:

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.

As my colleague Steve Dilks pointed out, however, this simple-minded statement ignores completely the work of many people who are not soldiers and who play an active and essential role in articulating, advocating, and preserving freedoms. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, and their followers, come to mind. No war was fought to earn women the right to vote in America: suffragettes did the work. Legislators write into law the official recognition of freedoms, and judicial bodies consider the constitutionality of those laws. Someone has to negotiate and put into writing the peace treaties that mark the end of war and that represent the beginning of freedom. Writers and speakers have historically created the framework by which a people decide whether they will believe in and support certain freedoms. Soldiers clearly have sacrificed a great deal, but Miller’s statment is, in a word, ignorant.

At the start and finish of the two events I attended, I reminded everyone that we were taking part in a very large project. A recent email from the national September Project organizers read as follows:

September Project events [took] place on Saturday, September 11 in
all 50 states. In total, there [were] 460 US libraries, schools, colleges,
community colleges, universities, jails, community centers, and parks
holding events.

With the recent addition of September Project events in Venezuela
and Singapore, there are now 8
countries participating: Australia, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain,
Switzerland, the US, and Venezuela.

Thousands of people gathered on this day to exchange ideas about important issues, and we owe the original concept to the work of just two people: David Silver and Sarah Washburn.

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documentary film series

I just received an announcement via email for an impressive series of films to be shown here in KC:

Documentary Film Series
All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (Directions and Map)
All films begin at 7:00 p.m. and are followed by a discussion.
There is no charge for the series, however donations are always appreciated.
Tuesday – August 31 UNPRECEDENTED – The 2000 Presidential Election
The battle for the Presidency in Florida and the Undermining of democracy in America.
Filmmakers Richard Ray Perez and Loan Sekler examine modern America’s most controversial political contest the Election of George W. Bush. What emerges is a disturbing picture of an election marred by suspicious irregularities, electoral injustices and sinister voter purges in a state governed by the winning candidate’s brother.
Tuesday – September 14 UNCOVERED: the whole truth about the Iraq war.
The story of how truth became the first American casualty in Iraq. This is the second film in a series by Outfoxed producer, Robert Greenbaum.
Tuesday – September 21 THE FOG OF WAR
Robert S. McNamara sits down one on one with award-winning director Errol Morris to offer a candid and intimate journey through some of the most seminal events in contemporary American history. 2003 WINNER – Best Documentary Feature
Tuesday – September 28 OUTFOXED – Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism
We will replay the film that brought the largest crowd to our documentary series – ever! This documentary provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public’s right to know.
Tuesday – October 5 BONHOFFER
This poignant documentary traces the life of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was one of the first to speak up against Adolph Hitler throughout Hitler’s rise to power. Bonhoeffer organized the Confessing Church, the only structured revolt against Hitler, and turned to his roots as a devout Christian for the strength to take a political stand for Jews everywhere.
Tuesday – October 12 BE GOOD, SMILE PRETTY
In March 2001, when Tracy Droz Tragos happened upon a first-hand account of her father’s death on a U.S. Naval swift boat in Vietnam, she decided she needed to know exactly who that 25-year-old stranger was. Be Good, Smile Pretty documents Tragos’s journey of discovery and the powerfully moving, personal exploration of her grief for the father she never knew, a grief shared by the estimated 20,000 Americans whose fathers were killed in Vietnam.
     We showed this film earlier in the year. It has since been awarded two Emmy’s. The father of Tracy Droz Tragos is from Rich Hill, Missouri. Mike Murphy, program director, of KCPT Public Television, helped her, in part to complete this film. On her trip to Washington, she is met by none other than John Kerry, who served with her father.
Tuesday – October 19 FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (if available)
Tuesday – October 26 CONTROL ROOM
This documentary peers into the controversial and often dangerous operations of the 7-year-old Al Jazeera news network. Although it often enrages its own people, the news outlet has become the most accepted informational resource in the Arab community. Filmmaker Jehane Noujaim gains extraordinary access to Al Jazeera journalists and the risks they confront on a daily basis.
Tuesday – November 2 LIVE ELECTION RESULTS – to be shown on the large screen at All Souls.
Come, bring a friend and a covered dish and join us for an evening of election results.
Your host is Mike McKelley, E-mail: mmckelley[at]kc[dot]rr[dot]com
(816) 531-2551

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what’s umkc doing on september 11?

Tomorrow, people from across the Kansas City region will come together to share and discuss ideas about democracy, citizenship, and patriotism through public talks, roundtables, and performances.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City
Call 816-235-2559 for more information.
Download an event flyer by clicking here.

  • Open forum & Bring-your-own-picnic
    University Playhouse (51st & Holmes: Map)
    Come have your say, listen to speakers, singers, poets. Bring a picnic lunch and have a conversation on the grass.
  • Roundtable Discussion
    Oak Street Residence Hall (51st & Oak: Map)
    Professors, students, and community members will discuss “Civic Responsibility in Light of September 11.”
  • Voter Registration
    Miller Nichols Library (51st & Rockhill: Map)
    Exercise your right: register to vote.

The September Project is a collection of people, groups, and organizations working to create a day of engagement, a day of conversation, a day of democracy.

The September Project is for all people.

To learn more about other KC events:

To learn more about the national project:

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