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December 2007
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February 2008

AOC Broadcast

Continuing the Dialogue: Untold Stories of the Civil Rights Movement

Periodically the AOC will show these satellite broadcasts that have educational information regarding the California courts system. With a few exceptions (the broadcast on preventing sexual (Ha! I just made three x’s on that word!) harassment which must be seen by everyone, for instance) the broadcasts are voluntary, but I try to go see as many as possible because most of the time they’re interesting (and you get MCLE credit for them!).

I figured today’s broadcast about the civil rights movement, coming just a week after Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, would be all about his speeches and marches and the like, but it was more than that. It started with Rosa Parks, went back even further to two other women Claudette Colvin and Aurelia Browder - whom I’d never even heard of, but both refused to give up their bus seats long before Rosa Parks. (A new thing I learned about Parks was that she’d attended the Highlander Folk School, which taught people protest skills, among other things. In the class she attended, many of her classmates said they were inspired to start literacy classes and organize protests. Parks was asked what she would do to further the civil rights movement, and she replied she didn’t know, but she would do something. So, the whole not-moving-from-her-seat-for-a-white-guy wasn’t as spontaneous as our history classes would have us believe. Not that it changes my admiration for Parks, but I thought it was interesting that what I’d always been taught was her sudden decision to stay put, was very likely an idea brewing in her mind for some time.) Little Claudette was only 15 at the time she was arrested for not giving up her seat to a white person, and the only reason she’s not as famous as Parks (imho) is that it was discovered she was pregnant.

Blacks weren’t the only ones fighting for equal rights, although it was this one group we learn, read and hear most about; Asian-Americans and Latinos were struggling for equality as well. In 1942 Fred Koermatsu believed sending Japanese Americans to what were essentially a prison camps after the bombing of Pearl Harbour was wrong, and refused to go. He had plastic surgery on his face, and changed his surname to a Latino name to hide from authorities. It worked for a while, but he was eventually captured and successfully Korematsu vs. US prosecuted. He appealed his conviction, but the court found the order to remove the Japanese-Americans from the general population to protect the western seaboard from “espionage and sabotage” was valid.

In 1980, President Carter created a committee to investigate the imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. This committee decided that the internment of American citizens of Japanese decent occurred because of poor leadership, racism and war hysteria, rather than out of necessity, and in 1988, the government compensated surviving Japanese-Americans who were interned in camps to the tune of $20,000 apiece.

Also in the early 80s, it was discovered that documents stating Japanese-Americans should not be considered a threat to the nation – reports from the FBI and other governmental agencies - had been suppressed by the prosecutor during Korematsu vs. US. The case was returned to the Supreme Court of California, and in 1983, the Korematsu conviction was overturned.

Another case that came about in the mid-1940s was Mendez vs. Westminster. This case concerned a Latino farm worker who took over running a farm (which was owned by a Japanese American who was interned in prison camp), but could not send his daughter to the local all-white school; he was told to send her back to the “Mexican School” she had been previously attending. Mendez and four other Latino fathers sued various school districts for discrimination. They won, primarily because the school districts claimed that the segregation was necessary because of the “language issue”, but it was soon discovered that many Mexican-American children (including Mendez’s daughter) spoke English as well as most white children. The school districts appealed the ruling, but the Mexican families won appeal, and Mendez’s daughter, along with other Mexican-American children, were able to attend white schools. (It is interesting to note, however, that this case applied only to Latinos. It was apparently still alright to segregate Asian- and Native-Americans from white schools.) Although rarely heard about or discussed (at least in the educational circles I have travelled in), Mendez is considered by many to be a significant stepping stone towards Brown vs. Board of Education, which ended segregation in schools once and for all.

So, generally it was a very well-done and informative 50 minute programme and I’m so glad I decided to attend this broadcast! I learned a lot about not only my country’s history and the civil rights movement before Martin Luther King, Jr. said “I have a dream …”, but of the court system in California. And, I’m glad to live in a country that allows such history to be shared openly. Apparently (and this is according to a friend I was talking to), Pearl Harbour isn’t really taught in Japanese schools or even discussed much in Japan. (Whether this is from embarrassment of their actions or the shame of losing the war, I don’t know.) Also, I’ve been told Americans are “strongly discouraged” (emphasis mine) from visiting Nagasaki or Hiroshima where the atomic bombs were dropped (thus ending the war) because they don’t want to see Americans around there (Again: shame, fear, hatred? Don’t know.), but Pearl Harbour is usually swarming with Japanese tourists taking pictures, and swooping their hands through the air imitating planes saying, “… and we came from this direction …”

A Few Weekend Accomplishments

While I didn't manage to accomplish everything I had planned for the weekend, I did manage to make a dent in the list:

1. The Task: Watch a few episodes of Torchwood (My season one DVD arrived in the mail yesterday! Squee!).

The Result: Accomplished, sort of: we watched episode one last night. It was really good, and I think I'm going to enjoy this series. Since there's nothing much on for the foreseeable future, mom and I thought we'd watch one episode per week in the hopes that this series can get us through the worst of the writer's strike.

2. The Task: Stamp Valentine's Day cards.

The Result: Not accomplished. I was looking through my latest copy of Stamper's Sampler on Saturday, and became discouraged by the elaborateness of so many cards being made today. I cannot possibly compete.

3. The Task: Make chili or stew for dinner on Saturday.

The Result: Not exactly accomplished, only because I changed my mind and went with the Italian turkey burgers instead. I still cooked, however, so that should count for something.

4. The Task: Make turkey lasagna or turkey meatloaf for dinner on Sunday.

The Result: Not exactly accomplished; I made a beef and barley soup instead. Yum!

5. The Task: Revamp my blog/website.

The Result: Not accomplished. Not sure I really want to bother after all. I guess it's fine the way it is.

6. The Task: Watch the 2nd Pirates of the Caribbean movie. (I borrowed it from a friend/coworker months ago!)

The Result: Not accomplished; mom and I watched recorded episodes of Project Runway, Chuck, Monk and Psych instead.

7. The Task: Put stuff on eBay.

The Result: Accomplished, and not only did I get stuff on eBay (three Torrid outfits I should have returned but never got around to it, the Victorian-style dress I never got to wear for Halloween because it didn't arrive on time, and my three Four Seasons carousel horses), I already sold two things (the Torrid outfits and the Victorian dress)!

8. The Task: Measure living room windows for new faux wood blinds.

The Result: Not accomplished.

9. The Task: Measure space for new TV stand.

The Result: Not accomplished.

10. The Task: Measure space for accent chair to replace the old Victorian-style ottoman.

The Result: Not accomplished.

11. The Task: Go through box of knick knacks in the garage.

The Result: Not accomplished, however, I did find a box on top of the craft armoire which contained two musical carousel horses I didn't remember I had, so I have some new stuff to display and enjoy.

12. The Task: Take some pictures.

The Result: Not accomplished. I guess I wasn't that inspired this weekend.

13. The Task: Write some letters. (I owe my friend Jeni a letter, and I might try writing to a couple other friends I didn't hear from over the holidays.)

The Result: Accomplished: I wrote one letter, to Jeni, and got it in the mail!

So, really it was a pretty good weekend despite the fact that it was windy and rainy pretty much the whole time, and I wasn't in Green Bay.

Keep Your Panties On!

This article was the funniest thing I've read in a long time. You've GOT to read it. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Mom spotted the little blurb in the bottom left corner of the inside of the first page of the Tribune, of all places, and showed it to me when I got home. We laughed SO hard! I had to find an online version to share! Why is this so funny, you ask? Well, aside from the fact that this guy stole a crapload of women's undergarments, we used to live in Colfax, Washington! It's a small unassuming agriculteral town who's only claim to fame is the fact that it's near Washington State University, and it's a major speed trap. One would never think a panty theif lived there! Ha!

Wintery Weekend To-Do List

For this week's Thursday 13, I decided to make a list of all the things I plan to do over this weekend, since it's supposed to be really nasty around here and we probaby won't want to go outside.

1.  Watch a few episodes of Torchwood (My season one DVD arrived in the mail yesterday! Squee!).

2.  Stamp Valentine's Day cards.

3.  Make chili or stew for dinner on Saturday.

4.  Make turkey lasagna or turkey meatloaf for dinner on Sunday.

5.  Revamp my blog/website.

6.  Watch the 2nd Pirates of the Carribean movie. (I borrowed it from a friend/coworker months ago!)

7.  Put stuff on eBay.

8.  Meaure living room windows for new faux wood blinds.

9.  Measure space for new TV stand.

10.  Measure space for accent chair to replace the old Victorian-style ottoman.

11.  Go through box of knick knacks in the garage.

12.  Take some pictures. (Lately I've been insprired by this blog, this blog, and this one, too.)

13.  Write some letters. (I owe my friend Jeni a letter, and I might try writing to a couple other friends I didn't hear from over the holidays.)