Category Archives: Revolution

Out of Poverty, Family-Style

by David Bornstein

Shortly after Candace Keshwar immigrated from Trinidad to Boston in 2002, her life took a difficult turn. Her dream had been to go to college and have a career where she could help others. But her first daughter was born with cerebral palsy and Keshwar spent the next seven years caring for her at home. She grew isolated. Her husband worked in construction, but jobs were sporadic, and the family relied on government assistance. “It was a real dark space for me,” Keshwar said. “I kept thinking, ‘This cannot be my life. I know I have the potential to do so much more.’”

A program that motivates poor families to help themselves, and each other.

A turning point came when Keshwar was asked to join a group of families who had self-organized as part of an initiative that helps people in low-income communities achieve their goals. Called the Family Independence Initiative (FII), its approach is radically different from the American social service model. Although it is still quite small — working with a few hundred families — its results are so striking that the White House has taken notice. What FII does is create a structure for families that encourages the sense of control, desire for self-determination, and mutual support that have characterized the collective rise out of poverty for countless communities in American history.

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Double yoke of oppression

Taken from modernghana.com

As the ‘Day of Solidarity’ commemorating the death of Martin Luther King Jr. came to a close earlier this week, I was reminded of one of his quotes;

“An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.”

Lately there has been a considerable amount of attention towards the numerous struggles for freedom and justice throughout the Middle East and North Africa (yes Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya are indeed in Africa) and rightfully so. We are witnessing an era of seemingly unprecedented events involving the grassroots mobilization and asserting of their human and civil rights.

The events that have unfolded throughout Libya have gripped the world’s attention. We are all on the edge of our seats tuning in and praying for our brothers and sisters dying every day fighting for freedom under the oppressive regime of Ghadafi. Every day we tune in and sympathize with the suffering of rebels throughout Libya fighting for justice and self-determination. Anti-Ghadafi rebels have become heroes and freedom fighters, and in their struggle the world (NATO) has taken notice and come to their aid.

It’s equally amusing and disturbing which humanitarian efforts the West decides to intervene in on the behalf of human rights, to be clear: NATO intervention in Libya is about economics (oil), not protecting human rights. If it was about human rights violations we’d be addressing atrocities by both sides; rebels and Ghadafi. Continue reading

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Revolution For Dummies $19.99

Lately there has been a considerable amount of attention towards the numerous struggles for freedom and justice throughout the Middle East and North Africa (yes Egypt and Tunisia are indeed in North Africa) and rightfully so. We are witnessing an era of seemingly unprecedented events involving the grassroots mobilization and asserting of their human and civil rights.

Wrapped up in the plethora of media coverage, lies the debate concerning the role social media played in revolutionary protests and struggles for freedom. Casually glancing through CNN or any other major news outlet’s web page one would be hard pressed not to come across a number of articles and stories arguing how much credit, if at all, social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter) can be given to the success of anti-oppression forces, mainly the ousting of Mubarak.

The problem with many of these conversations is that so much focus is put on the power of social media (and the role Obama and U.S. should have played, but that is another blog). Far too often these conversations lost sight of the actual people. They fail to contextualize the depth of the struggles for freedom, justice, and equality and their spirit. W.E.B. Du Bois once said,

“There is in this world no such force as the force of a person determined to rise. The human soul cannot be permanently chained.”

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