*Peaches Lacey hosts the last Wednesday of every month.
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On Tuesday October 30, our host Aaron Perry spoke with Professor of Transborder Studies and History at Arizona State University Matt Garcia, author of From the Jaws of History: The Triumph and Tragedy of Cesar Chavez and the Farm Worker Movement. He speaks about Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. With his family’s background in farming, he grew up very interested in farming and the history of farm workers specifically. He explains that the conditions of farm workers today could be described as “close to slavery”. Matt affirmed that Cesar Chavez’s efforts were indeed the most successful farm worker movement in the history of the United States, ending the Bracero program, achieving the first farm worker contracts, and bringing about a law that recognized collective bargaining rights for farm workers. However, the book continues into an account of the decline of the farm worker efforts, exploring both the rise and fall of Chavez. Matt provides the disclaimer that this book is not meant to erode the efforts of collective bargaining and union efforts. Instead, he hopes that his book addresses the issue of learning from mistakes in history. He questions, “how do we learn from the mistakes of a single individual in an autocratic leadership so we can build stronger unions and build stronger leadership when arguing for collective bargaining rights.” Matt explains, “…Chavez tried to get access to the farms where he could campaign for elections…and the voters rejected it. Instead of learning from that, he began to question the law, and question the people who had been loyal to him, and started looking for conspirators. That’s why he went towards an intentional community and started to purge people from the union for what he had alleged is their disunity and disloyalty.” Matt explains the response to his book so far, “Cesar Chavez is an icon to Mexican Americans…the reality is that this story has not been told because people have not dared to look at the historical records. Yes there have been some people upset with me challenging Chavez’s legend and his legacy, but there are others who have known this history for a long time and been afraid to talk about it and share their perspectives. This book is opening up an important conversation that will allow us to move forward towards that elusive goal of farm worker justice.” His message to readers is this, “This is a good study in leadership. ….read article »
On Friday October 26, our host Jonathan Zarov speaks about the upcoming Driftless Film Festival with Nicholas Langholff and Darren Burrows, co-founders of the film festival, and actor Mark Metcalf. The Driftless Film Festival takes place in the “driftless area,” of Mineral Point, referring to the south west part of Wisconsin, emphasizes the regional nature of the film festival. Apart from Mineral Point, in which a large focus of the festival will be situated in, other towns that are included in the festival include Richland Center, Spring Green, and Platteville. Nicholas speaks particularly about the experience of film watching, in which the theater itself plays an important role, “there’s a special charm to the area, and that’s why I think for people to come out and see a movie at the Mineral Point Opera house, or at the Guard Theater in Spring green, and to visit the restaurants, the brewery…you have these things that are beyond the film festival, and that’s the charm of the community. That’s what drives us, and we like being part of it.” Says Darren, “a lot of the films we do are… lower-budget films, films that are done for the love rather than paying the rent… Its more about providing the opportunity for artists to show their films the way they were meant to be seen.” Among the movies that will be played at the festival include Beasts of the Southern Wild (the opening film for the festival), environmental films such as Chasing Ice and Bidder 70, political films such as Janeane from Des Moines and As Goes Janesville, and several local Wisconsin films. Click here for a full list of the films. Actor Mark Metcalf, who has acted in films and shows such as Seinfeld and Animal House, will be at the festival and will be doing Q and A sessions after the showing of the two films he acted in, The Wheel as well as Little Red, in which he plays the Big Bad Wolf. He speaks of the festival, “I think small festivals like Driftwood are really great. It gives people a chance to see films that they wouldn’t ordinarily get the chance to see, so that they know there’s more to filmmaking than [mainstream Hollywood films]… they’re only one part of what cinema can do. You get to see how flexible, powerful, and interesting an art form cinema can be. Besides, it’s a beautiful part of the ….read article »
On Friday October 26, Adam “Vampire Slayer’ Weisse, from Project Home, spoke with our host Jonathan Zarov about energy conservation. He provided several suggestions and tips on how to make our homes more energy efficient. Says Adam,“Some of the biggest energy vampires in your home would be home entertainment systems…such as flat screen TVs. They are continually using a trickle charge of electricity to keep them warmed up. You can install power strips on these devices, hook multiple devices to one power strip and turn that off – that kills the power to a couple of devices at once. If you are lucky enough to have switch outlets, you can plug those devices into a switch outlet and switch it off when you walk out of the room.” There are also ‘smart power strips’, which automatically shuts outlets off if the device is not being actively used. Items that are plugged in, even though they are not in use, do continue to use energy, although the amount does vary depending on the device itself. “Phone chargers are pretty low energy devices, but they’re still going to be using 3-4 watts of energy as it just sits there, ready for you to plug your phone into. Something like a television, or computer monitor, would be using closer to 30-40 watts, just sitting there. Translating that into cost…you are paying about 12.5 cents per kilowatt in Madison, and if that’s something used 365 days a year, it’s going to add up over the year.” Adam explains Project Home, a grantee of the Wisconsin low income Weatherization Assistance Program, “this year we are going to be in about 620 households in Madison areas and down in Green County. We make a lot of visits to people’s homes. Project Homes in particular addresses a lot of things that most homeowners would not address…[such as]air sealing and insulation in homes, mechanical system upgrades and efficiency, and ventilation issues for air safety.” For more information about Project Homes, visit their website at www.projecthomewi.org You can also learn more about Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy at focusonenergy.com Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Friday October 26, our host Jonathan Zarov talked about The Earth Wood and Fire Artist Tour with local arts and crafts style furniture maker, Bill Bale. The tour will be taking place this weekend, October 27 and 28, from 10 -5 p.m. in Cambridge, Wisconsin. Says Bill, “All the artwork represents the elements of the earth. The jewelers, which take fire, furniture, which takes wood, and the painters are doing things with nature and of the world… We highlight 13 studios and a gallery in Jefferson, and we have other guests in the area that come in that are just a little bit outside our map region.” Bill will also be hosting a jeweler, painter and potter at his studio. Other artists include “the fiberholics”, a group of women who weave baskets and other items using elements from nature, as well as another fiber artist who raises her own sheep, from which she makes the felt that she uses for her work. For a list of all of the artists featured in the tour, click here. Visit earthwoodandfiretour.com for a full map of the tour and further details. Listen to the clip here:read article »
On Thursday Oct 25, Tony Castaneda interviewed Israeli-American author and peace activist, Miko Peled. He is the author of The General’s Son: The Journey of an Israeli in Palestine. Miko was born in Jerusalem into a well known Zionist family; his grandfather was a Zionist leader and signer of the Israeli declaration of independence, and his father was a war hero in the Israeli army. He is currently on tour to talk about his book. Divided into two sections, the book is about both the author’s background, growing up as the son of a general in a patriotic family, and about the author’s journey through Palestine, and what he discovered from it, “the first part, the General’s Son part, is what seems to give credibility to the second part when I talk about my journey and what I’ve seen of the Palestinian communities.” Miko explains that, growing up in Jerusalem, because it is a very segregated city, he never actually got to know Palestinians until he came to the United States, when he was forty years old. Nevertheless, growing up, the attitudes and values imparted to Miko by his family made him sensitive to and aware of Palestinians and their situation. Miko’s father, after serving in the Israeli military, dedicated his efforts towards peace-keeping and fighting for Palestinian rights. In 1948, when Israel offered Miko’s family a house to move into, Miko’s mother refused, knowing that Palestinians would need to be removed from the house in order for them to move in. Explains Miko, “this was during the war of 1948, my father was a young officer fighting for the Zionist cause… its interesting because there are neighborhoods in Western Jerusalem that were Palestinian. In 1948, Israeli forces came and kicked everyone out, and these are beautiful homes, well to-do families…and these neighborhoods were ‘cleansed’ by kicking [the Palestinians] out, and these beautiful homes were offered to Israeli families.” His mother refused to displace Palestinian families on principle. Miko talks about the single-state plan, which calls for a democratic state which would treat both Israelis and Palestinians equally under one state, “As soon as the war was over, [Israel] began ethnically cleansing the West Bank, displacing hundreds of thousands of people…building homes, towns, roads for Israelis, only on Palestinian land. By that, the purpose of this was to make the conquest of the West Bank irreversible, so it becomes a part of Israel. So Israel in fact created one state: ….read article »
On Thursday, October 25, Jeff Dowd, the inspiration for ‘the dude’ or ‘duderino’ character in The Big Lebowski speaks with Tony Castaneda. Jeff is both a film producer and a community and peace activist, and was a member of the Seattle Seven. He is traveling the country, and is currently visiting Wisconsin. He admires the strong alliance that Wisconsin has put together, and believes that Wisconsin is now in a historical crossroads. Jeff discusses his economic and political opinions and speculates on the upcoming presidential term. He voices his opinion, “what you have a chance to do in Wisconsin, is take the high road, and become the job creator state… We need to show that [the workers] in Oshkosh, who are worried about losing their jobs, and rightfully so, to the 10,000 jobs that George Bush moved to Texas… Germany is now 50% solar…There is no reason why Wisconsin can’t be doing that. There is no reason the [workers] at Oshkosh trucks can not be working on trains, electric batteries, solar, wind …it doesn’t even have to be transportation. That’s the historic opportunity: Wisconsin is in an historic situation where they can start making systemic change, and we can show that we are the job creators. The reason Obama can not answer the question Romney is asking is because government does not create jobs systemically. It has to come from a combination of things…using the phenomenal Wisconsin human resources, and between the universities of Wisconsin…The human resources we have today is unbelievable.” Jeff will be speaking at The Big Laborski Fest at the Labor Temple on Thursday October 25, from 6-9PM. Listen to the entire interview here:read article »
On Wednesday October 24, in honor of the 67th anniversary of United Nations Day, Jan Miyasaki spoke with Barbara Nichols, president of the United Nations, USA Dane County Chapter. Barbara is also the first African American woman to head the American Nurses Association and the Wisconsin Nurses Association, and has recently retired as the Chief Executive Officer on the Commission of Graduates on Foreign Nursing Schools. Also joining the discussion was Melissa Hilbrenner in New York with the UNA USA National Office with the Girl Up campaign. Barbara explains, “The UN Day Celebration is on the day that the UN received its charter, and the day reaffirms the mission and values of the UN, which are to stop war, work for justice, and address the silent crises of hunger, disease and poverty. The significance of this day is for all individuals to pledge as one human family to create a better world for all.” The UN, says Barbara, “provides food for 90 million people in 73 countries; vaccinates 2.5 million children a year; assists 36 million refugees and people fleeing from famine, war, or persecution; keeps the peace with 120,000 peacekeepers in operations in 16 countries across four continents; promotes mental health; saves the lives of over 30 million women a year; and has over 80 treaties that deal with human rights and social justice; assists 30 countries in elections, and has worked to fight poverty in over 370 million areas.” Melissa Hilbrenner, with UNA USA, explains the mission of the Girl Up campaign, “it engages teen girls [in the US] to learn about the issues… and it ensures future opportunities for women and girls worldwide. We are building future UN supporters and future global leaders by engaging a teen girl audience. We are trying to impact the lives of girls in developing countries through UN programs.” Focusing on five aspects of the girls’ lives: education, health services, safety and leadership, the campaign is currently working with several UN agencies to fund programs in four countries, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, and Guatemala. Apart from the Girl Up campaign, the UNA USA also focuses on malaria, vaccination campaigns, maternal health, and energy sustainability, among many others. Learn more about the Girl Up Campaign here. For information about upcoming UNA-USA Dane County Events, click here. Listen to the full interview here:read article »
On Wednesday October 24, Jan Miyasaki spoke with Cindy Hooper, author of Conflict, African American Women, and the New Dilemma of Race and Gender Politics. In her book, Cindy surveys the history of black women in American politics in both women’s suffrage and in the civil rights movement. She looks specifically at the 2008 presidential election, examining how race and gender politics have shaped their political decisions. Cindy cites the lack of adequate research about the African American women subgroup and their influential role in the presidential elections as the reason that prompted her to explore the topic further and write her book, “there was one statistic that kept coming through the wires…that African American women had the highest turnout rate percentage of all racial and gender demographics in the 2008 presidential election. So I began to look for more books and more research about this specific subgroup, and I couldn’t find too much, so at this point… I felt someone had to examine this, and I wanted to be the one to do that.” Cindy explains how this particular voting bloc has been largely overlooked and passed over to focus more on others, “Given the fact that we are President Obama’s most loyal voting base, in a traditionally loyal voting base of the Democratic Party, it is disappointing when we feel we are not in the forefront of the candidates, in terms of their focus and making us a priority in their presidential campaign.” African American women participated in two struggles: the women’s suffrage movement and the civil right’s movement. This dual struggle, which was unique to African American women, created internal struggles in which they were often torn as to which direction to focus their attention upon. In her book, Cindy discusses the issue that many of the women faced regarding the “prioritization of race over gender.” She explains how, during the civil rights movement, the issue of women’s rights had to take a step back, noting how during the 1963 march in Washington, black women were not asked to speak, the focus being instead on the black male leaders of the movement, “we were strong workers in the background of the civil rights movement, and a lot of it was by choice, because we felt that the black men should be in the forefront, and they, in effect, became the leaders who were the most visible within that movement.” The book also talks about women of color in politics ….read article »
On Tuesday October 23, our host Aaron Perry spoke with Will Green, the founder of Mentoring Positives. Will has a background in working with children in the juvenile justice system, and he and his wife work primarily with the youth in the Darbo-Worthington neighborhood. “It is essential that the city supports a program like this. We give them a place where [the youth] can come and feel like a family” They work with many mentors in the community, and involve a variety of activities, including family events, to foster a strong sense of community within the children. There will be a banquet celebrating the 8th anniversary of the program at the Discovery Institute on November 10. Two community leaders will be honored with the Muriel Pipkins Award, in honor of Will Green’s mother, who passed away from breast cancer. Listen to the interview here:read article »
On Tuesday October 23, our host Aaron Perry interviewed Hedi Rudd, of the Urban League. Hedi speaks about the South Madison Promise Zone Initiative, which was inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone. They are working in collaboration with the Urban League of Greater Madison, community and nonprofit leaders. They have spent time canvassing the community for feedback on the changes that are desired in the zone. They have spoken with the residents and the service providers of the zone. “The zone itself is the area from the Beltline to Wingra, and then from Fish Hatchery to where the Hookah Lounge area is,” Hedi explains. They are trying to get a sense of what changes the people of the community would like to see. The feedback that they collected will be presented to the community on Wednesday October 24. The presentation will be an opportunity to determine if this is indeed what the community would like. Says Hedi, “There are a lot of people with a lot of skills and talents to offer in South Madison. We interviewed about 20% of the adult population. We used about 486 surveys that were complete. And of those, 308 people indicated that they had a skill and they were interested in working and collaborating with the promise zone.” The issues that have been raised in the zone include education, employment, health and community. Safety was the largest issue that was raised, and for each of the communities that live within this zone, safety means different things. Hedi explains the goal for the initiative, “our motto is achievement for all. We are looking at a cradle to career program. We want to be a voice for the community and help them to achieve. ” Visit www.ulgm.org for more information. The meeting will be held Wednesday October 24 at 6:00 PM at Lincoln Elementary School. Listen to the interview here:read article »