Intersection for the Arts
September 11 – November 11, 2006 FREE

446 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
Gallery Hours: Tues by appointment, Wed – Sat, 12-5pm

From Intersection:

“Terror? is an international interdisciplinary project investigating how each one of us experiences fear and how it affects our lives.

Opening on the 5th Anniversary of 9/11, this ambitious exhibition will include hundreds of works on paper from around the world – creating a cacophony of personal and collective response to some of the most immediate questions and issues of our times. What is terror? Who perpetrates it? How does fear control us, and the world around us? Who are we taught to be afraid of, why? What does fear cost? Where does personal fear intersect with larger societal and political messages of terror? It is our hope and intention to engage with and share voices and perspectives from a diversity of cultures, political situations, and artistic practices, and to counter the continuing trend towards defining and understanding notions of terror and fear as a monolithic paradigm framed by the ongoing “war on terror.” In addition to an exhibition in our gallery, Terror? includes a film screening, readings, public discussions and performance.”

I was excited to see that so many artists from Yogyakarta, Indonesia sent work for the show!!

The Haram – Arie Dyanto, Uji Handoko, Eko Nugroho, Riono Tanggul Nusantara, Wedhar Riyadi, Eko Didik Sukowati, Gde Krisna Widiatama (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Agus Purnomo (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Dadi Setiyadi (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Januri (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Suryadi (Yogyakarta, Indonesia)

Here’s a full list of the artists:
Melba Abela (San Francisco, CA), Ana Adarve (Bogota, Colombia), Adeel Ahmad (San Francisco, CA), Brett Amory (San Francisco, CA), Marisa Aragona (San Francisco, CA), Inaki Garcia Arambarri (Ondarroa, Spain), Kristoffer Ardena (Madrid, Spain), Christopher Arnold (St. Louis, MO), Michelle Arrieta (San Francisco, CA), John Ashburne (Kyoto, Japan), Glenn Caley Bachmann (San Francisco, CA), Joseph Junior Badio (Jacmel, Haiti), Eduardo Gomez Ballesteros (Madrid, Spain), Yee Jan Bao (Alameda, CA), David Benzler (San Francisco, CA), Charles Beronio (Oakland, CA), Mikho Bertlani (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), Emily Bezaire (Smyrna, TN), Doris Bittar (San Diego, CA), Daniel Blomquist (San Francisco, CA), Aaron Bowles (Denver, CO), Alex Braubach (San Francisco, CA), Jennifer Braverman (Dresher, PA), Ellie Brown (Philadelphia, PA), Timothy Byars (Concord, CA), Sandra Jean Ceas (Littleton, CO), Vazha Chachkhiani (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), Peikwen Cheng (San Francisco, CA), Nikoloz Chkhaidze (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), Antonis Christodoulou (Athens, Greece), Marcus Civin (Marina del Rey, CA), C.G. Clarke (Manchester, United Kingdom), MB Condon (Goldendale, WA), J. Crabb (Olympia, WA), Lisa Rybovich Cralle (San Francisco, CA), John Darwell (Carlisle, United Kingdom), Gabriel Delgado (San Francisco, CA), Theresa DeMyers (Bromma, Sweden), Lauren DiCioccio (Woodside, CA), Sara Dierck (Brooklyn, NY), Vladimir Dikarev (St. Paul, MN), Francesco D’Isa (Florence, Italy), Alan Disparte (San Francisco, CA), Destin Domond (Jacmel, Haiti), Andre Eamiello (San Francisco, CA), Adrienne Eberhardt (San Francisco, CA), Christian Ebert (San Francisco, CA), Minna Eloranta (Tampere, Finland), Allan Espiritu (Philadelphia, PA), Jordan Essoe (Pittsburg, CA), S. Blake Farrington (San Francisco, CA), Haakon Faste (San Francisco, CA), Ashlee Nicolle Ferlito (San Francisco, CA), Dieuny Fils-Aime (Jacmel, Haiti), Linda M. Ford & Pam Martin (San Francisco, CA), Matt Fulmer (San Antonio, TX), Anne Garden (Greenbrae, CA), Ani Garrick (Cambria, CA), Ben Gavin & Oliva Dimtrije Mitevski (London, United Kingdom, Sydney, Australia & Berlin, Germany), Kate Geddes (Mill Valley, CA), Iranshid Ghadimi (Oakland, CA), Michael Godwin (Santa Barbara, CA), Colin Goldberg (Bowling Green, OH), Xico Gonzalez (Sacramento, CA), Jules Greenberg (Tiburon, CA), Carlo Grunfeld (San Francisco, CA), The Haram – Arie Dyanto, Uji Handoko, Eko Nugroho, Riono Tanggul Nusantara, Wedhar Riyadi, Eko Didik Sukowati, Gde Krisna Widiatama (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Mondo Jud Hart (San Francisco, CA), Dana Hemenway (San Francisco, CA), Albert Herter (San Francisco, CA), Susan Sims Hillbrand (San Francisco, CA), Klara Hobza (Brooklyn, NY), Warren Holt (Brooklyn, NY), Peter Honig (Berkeley, CA), Andy Diaz Hope (San Francisco, CA), horea (Oakland, CA), Julia Robertson Hyde (Monterey, CA), Januri (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Jessica Jenkins (Livermore, CA), Andrew Johnson (Pittsburgh, PA), Joann Jovinelly (New York, NY), Sandra Kelch & Designpool with participating collaborators Maria Jose Banos, Patrick Kelleher, Mary Lee McLaughlin, Peter Jacques, Angela Pesta, Sia Banihashemi, Kenji Oshima, Turtle and Hare, Julian, Feinberg, Gary Chen (San Francisco and Oakland, CA), Michael Kerbow (San Francisco, CA), Davida Kidd (Vancouver, Canada), Hyeonjin Kim (Brightwaters, NY), Shama Ko (Austin, TX), Jeffrey Kohler (San Francisco, CA), Antonios Kosmadakis (Heraklion, Crete), Andrew Kozlowski (Richmond, VA), La Linea Interdisciplinario (Tijuana, Mexico), Jander F. Lacerda (New York, NY), Richard Lang (Forest Knolls, CA), Samantha Lautman (Berkeley, CA), Tiery Le… (Osaka, Japan), Kelly Gabriel Lee (San Francisco, CA), Laren Leland (San Francisco, CA), Jennifer Lemper (Oakland, CA), Andrew Lipson (Burlingame, CA), Anthony Lister (Mitchelton, Australia), Michael Bernard Loggins (San Francisco, CA), Mildred Joyner Long (Hillsborough, NC), Frederick Loomis (San Francisco, CA), Carolina Loyola-Garcia (Pittsburgh, PA), Kija Lucas (San Francisco, CA), Whitney Lynn (San Francisco, CA), Andrew Macfarlane (Vancouver, Canada), Ilham Badreddine Mahfouz (West Bloomfield, MI), Stela Mandel (Greenbrae, CA), Ginny Mangrum (Walnut Creek, CA), Giorgi Marr (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), Oz McGuire (San Francisco, CA), Sierra Melcher (San Francisco, CA), Aurora Meneghello (San Francisco, CA), Brian Merkel (Chelsea, MI), Michael Mersereau (San Francisco, CA), Gwendolyn Meyer (Point Reyes, CA), Eriko Mikami (Tokyo, Japan), Emilio Morandi (Bergamo, Italy), Alejandro “Alanis” Moreno (Campbell, CA), Nining Muir (San Francisco, CA), Kim Munson (Pacifica, CA), Susan Montana Murdoch (San Francisco, CA), Tim Murley (Brookline, MA), Ryan Sarah Murphy (New York, NY), Emmanuelle Namont & Aurora Meneghello (San Francisco, CA), Gabriel Navar (Orcutt, CA), Louie Navarro (Rosarito, Mexico), Jeffrey Obser (Oakland, CA), Kari Orvik (San Francisco, CA), Russ Osterweil (Oakland, CA), Clemente Padin (Montevideo, Uruguay), Mark Pearsall (San Francisco, CA), Jeff Petersen (San Francisco, CA), Johanna Poethig (Oakland, CA), Nancy Popp & Serena Wellen (San Francisco & Los Angeles, CA), Ben Pranger (Roanoke, VA), Yuri Psinakis (San Francisco, CA), Lucy Puls (Berkeley, CA), Agus Purnomo (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Ana Riaboshenko, Lado Darakhvelidze & group TRAM (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), Manuel Fernando Rios (Sacramento, CA), Guadalupe Rodriguez (Canyon Country, CA), John Gilberto Rodriguez (San Jose, CA), Sandy Rodriguez (Los Angeles, CA), Sylvaince Romaine (Jacmel, Haiti), Blake Sanders (New Orleans, LA), Slamet Santoso (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Fabio Sassi (Bologna, Italy), Matthew Savage (Tiburon, CA), Zachary Royer Scholz (San Francisco, CA), Jessica Alicia Schramm (Newbury Park, CA), Katie Sehr (Buffalo, NY), Dadi Setiyadi (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Ellen Shershow (San Francisco, CA), Gene Shih (San Francisco, CA), Sharon Siskin (Berkeley, CA), Elin o’Hara Slavick (Chapel Hill, NC), Andrew Stalder (Haslet, TX), Kate Stewart (Philadelphia, PA), Suryadi (Yogyakarta, Indonesia), Charlene Tan (San Bruno, CA), Sandra Ortiz Taylor (San Francisco, CA), Karen C. Thomas (Austin, TX), Ehren Tool (Berkeley, CA), Fausto Vargas (Tijuana, Mexico), Jerad Walker (Oakland, CA), John Webster (Glasgow, Scotland), Joseph Blaine Whisenhunt (Springfield, MO), Brian White (Seattle, WA), Ann D. Williams (Mill Valley, CA), Zac Willis (Rogersville, MO), Gordon Winiemko (Long Beach, CA), Danny Wolohan (San Francisco, CA), Bijan Yashar (Berkeley, CA), Nili Yosha (San Francisco, CA), Kelly Yount (San Francisco, CA), Alexander Tin-Han Yu (San Francisco, CA), Iliko Zautashvili (Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia), Efrat Zehavi (Rotterdam, Netherlands), Tricia Zigmund (Edinboro, PA), Rosa Mendez Zurutuza (Madrid, Spain)

I Love Oprah!

Those close to me know that I’m a huge Oprah fan. I love that (like my childhood hero Phil Donahue) Oprah brings subjects to the mainstream public that are often very controversial (ie. transexuals, economic reform, the war in Iraq, political strife in countries around the world and the effects on civilians, traditional cultural practices that regard women as disposable etc.); however, she presents these topics in a way that makes them accessible to people would not generally be open to learning about or exposed to such things. She also honors and brings visibility to many people who are doing amazingly inspiring work that often brings me to tears for their commitment and selflessness.

I also love that one of the most powerful people in the world is a black woman who comes from a background of many obstacles — poverty, child abuse, drug addiction, and low self-esteem, yet she’s risen to this unbelievable position of power and influence throughout the world. I’ve had a number of conversations with friends about the possiblity and hope of Oprah running for President (as have many others). She’s adamant that she has no political aspirations. I also believe now that it would be a mistake — I think she has much greater influence, in such a subversive way, doing exactly what she does now by reaching people daily through her personal approach and programming than she ever would as a political figure.

Often when I mention Oprah to those in the art world the response is that of disbelief that I’m a committed Oprah viewer — as though that’s soooo mainstream and frivolous. It reminds me of the Jonathan Franzen debacle in 2001 in which Franzen presented himself as being too cool for Oprah. The controversy began when Franzen’s “The Corrections” was selected for one of Oprah’s book club awards. On an NPR interview with Terry Gross, Franzen repeatedly asserted that he had never stooped so low as to actually watch the show and noted that he had already done some preliminary filming for his segment — “the sort of bogus thing where they follow you around with the camera and you try to look natural.” He had yet to film a dinner where he met with readers — the “coffee klatsch,” he called it. In the end the invitation was withdrawn by Oprah. I read Franzen’s “The Corrections” and like Oprah, thought it was a great book. However, it was disappointing that Franzen believed he couldn’t lower himself to such recognition by someone who has done so much to get folks to read quality works of literature.

Yesterday’s show featured Elizabeth Edwards and Senator John Edwards sharing the loss of their son and Elizabeth’s fight with breast cancer. It was refreshing to see political figures in such a personal and vulnerable light. She then had on two 9/11 widows — Susan Retik and Patti Quigley created “Beyond the 11th,” a charitable organization devoted to supporting widows in Afghanistan who have been affected by the horrors of war and terrorism.

“The terrorists may have killed our husbands on September 11th, but we can create our own future and destiny,” says Susan. “The cycle of poverty and lack of education and all of those things that we take for granted here in the United States, if we can end that whole cycle, or help to in some small way, this isn’t going to happen again.” Over the past four years they’ve raised half a million dollars that they’ve taken over to Afghanistan to help the widows there. Their story was so inspiring and you could tell at several points that Oprah had to go to break because her eyes kept welling up with tears.

Yogyakarta Indonesia

I received an email from Aisyah Hilal of the Cemeti Foundation in Yogyakarta with images of their project AkuOke! Some of the money that we raised in San Francisco for the earthquake relief went to support the project. AkuOke! was organized by the Cemeti Foundation to help kids from the earthquake sites help overcome their post earthquake trauma.

The Cemeti Art Foundation (CAF) is a non profit organization, which empowers visual arts infrastructure in Indonesia. Its core activities are documentation, research, and education. In implementing its programs and projects, CAF also builds networks with equal partner, in the scope of local, regional, as well as international | Yayasan Seni Cemeti (YSC) adalah sebuah lembaga nirlaba, yang mendorong pemberdayaan infrastruktur seni visual di Indonesia. Bidang utamanya adalah dokumentasi, riset, dan pendidikan. Dalam kerjanya, YSC juga membangun jaringan kerja dengan mitra sejajar, baik dalam lingkup lokal, regional, maupun internasional.

These images are from the Tegal, Kebongagung, and Sampangan villages.

I feel blessed to be connected to people who are doing such amazing work!!! I really miss all of you!


Been vey busy, but here are two more highlights of the orgs I work with:

Family Connections

For the past thirteen years, thousands of children and their parents /caregivers have benefited from the variety of services and educational/ literacy programs offered by Portola Family Connections (Family Connections). The center provides an array of children’s and adult services: early childhood development programs, pre-kindergarten classes, educational and recreational support for elementary school children, parent education programs, including child development, nutrition and ESL classes, counseling services, resource and referral assistance, and community building activities.

Family Connections operates programs at two sites. Their original San Bruno Avenue location (the Portola-FC Site) serves as the headquarters and continues to be the only multi-service family support agency in the Portola neighborhood, serving a total of 1,376 participants last year. Since they purchased the 7,000 square‑foot Portola‑FC Site in 2000, they have completed extensive renovations to improve and expand their program space.

In response to community requests in the Excelsior neighborhood, Family Connections opened a family resource center called Excelsior Family Connections (the Excelsior-FC Site) in January 2004. Housed in the centrally located Coleman Advocates building on Vienna Street, the Excelsior-FC Site is the only multicultural family support center in this underserved community, benefiting over 500 participants annualy.

Creative Growth Art Center

Over the past 32 years, Creative Growth has grown from the first independent art center for people with disabilities to an internationally recognized center whose artists are exhibited and collected in contemporary art and outsider art contexts around the world. Today CGAC is the largest arts center of its kind and engages over 150 adults from the San Francisco Bay Area in 69 ongoing workshops. Classes are led by professional artists in a range of media, including painting, drawing, ceramics, woodworking, printmaking, rugs, and sculpture. In 1982, Creative Growth purchased our 13,000 sq. ft. home. The space includes studio/workshop areas, a gallery and adjoining gallery store, a kitchen, bathrooms, offices, and storage space.

Creative Growth is a vital model of artistic and economic empowerment. CGAC’s free exhibitions provide an important and sometimes sole source of income for its artists, and act as a powerful means of demystifying an often-invisible community. CGAC has ten annual in-house exhibitions and an extensive schedule of outside exhibitions. CGAC’s instructors are themselves distinguished artists in their field, with a long list of public commissions and artistic recognitions. Since Creative Growth’s founding the organization has:

Provided 1,000 artists with disabilities with a supportive multi-media art studio and gallery program

  • Conducted 50,000 classes in the arts and independent living for adults with disabilities

  • Produced more than 500,000 pieces of art

  • Welcomed more than 160,000 visitors from all over the world

  • Established the world’s first gallery for adults with disabilities with support from the NEA

  • Mounted 1,700 gallery exhibitions in our Oakland gallery, in the Bay Area, across the country and around the world including at art museums and galleries in Switzerland, England, France, Japan, Ireland and Slovakia

  • Hosted 2,520 educational tours for school children, college classes, foreign visitors, and tour groups

  • Provided in-kind mentoring and consulting services for the start-up of more than 30 arts and disabilities organizations across the country and around the world.


Before I move on to giving a Shout Out to the other orgs that I work with, I have to give a big Shout Out to Gordon Winiemko’s Manifesto Karaoke that he performed last Thursday at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The performance was part of Artists InSight: Sampling Oakland and included presentations by Sean Fletcher & Isabel Reichert (Death and Taxes, Inc.), Packard Jennings, Sue Mark & Bruce Douglas (WE Riders), Luther Thie, and Gordon Winiemko “for an evening of short performances and presentations of conceptual-based art. Part salon, part cabaret, this event features investigations of urban and cranial space, corporate and pop cultural constructions by Oakland-based artists curated by Sarah Lockhart and Darren Jenkins of 21 Grand. “

Gordon, who lives in Long Beach, blew the event away! Following several long conceptual presentations on pseudo corporate projects that included Fletcher and Reichert’s discussion on how they’ve turned their lives into a corporate venture (I can’t even begin to comment on this) and Luther Thie’s brain drain corporation (I can’t even remember the name of it), Gordon stepped up to the mic and truly performed and entertained, while giving us all food for thought. It also didn’t hurt that Gordon actually has a great voice.

From Gordon:
I used 16 of the top 20 from this list:

It starts out like this:
Sing it like you’re dissafected, from seattle, and like you are actually dumb enough to buy into neil young lyrics, among other things:

Utopia’s something
That’s hard to produce

But I’d rather try
And possibly lose

So here’s my list
Give it a whirl

Of things I’d like
To see in the world

About midway through:
Sing this part like you’re a pretty boy pop star who is trying to hold his apathetic band together at the end of a tumultuous decade:

And one kind of person that
Alienates me especially

Is the one that doesn’t want change

They say they value art but for them
It is just a kind of sport

Oh is it clever
Is it smart

Does it please
To think wanting more is naive

It’s hard to think of a greater enemy

Sing this bit like you’re a hard-living, womanizing, legendary architect of
rock n roll:

And let’s admit that there are some people that we hate
Who make the quality of life disintegrate

What’s at the root of all those things they do we abhor
Well at the base of it all is just wanting more

You say that it is just a matter of degree
But tell me how you draw the line exactly

More more
Gimme gimme

More more

And sing this last part of the song like you’re a guy from minnesota who changed his name, imitated woody guthrie, and then after being embraced as some kind of prophet, got castigated for being “inauthentic”:

The fact remains however much I complain
The perception of a simple problem’s one that’s


And however much one might applaud the bold
Faced demand for change doesn’t mean it will ever get


Now at the risk of sounding trite
I’m reflecting on the dictum of a man who

Abandoned might

Somehow he liberated
a whole nation

All just by following this
simple notion

The one that goes the change that you want in the world

You must be


Okay, I’ve realized that I’m going to have to do this in features of two over the next week because I realize I have so much to say about each org. So stayed clicked in for more.

I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to work with many great organizations as a non-profit development/management consultant. All of these groups and the people in them are amazing and some of the hardest working people I’ve ever known. And they do it all because they believe so strongly in social justice, youth development, empowerment for girls, presenting innovative and inspiring artists and creative projects, and community. Many of them have also become close friends and are at the heart of my community. I also want to give a shout out to a couple of folks who I owe much of this great connection to: my friends Dwayne Marsh (an economic and social justic policy analyst and AMAZING photographer) at PolicyLink, who I’ve met many, many people through over the past ten years (sometimes it feels like — who doesn’t know Dwayne :) — thank you Dwayne!! And also Lisa Russ at Movement Strategy Center, who I initially met through Oasis for Girls and subsequently have worked in tandem with for many orgs — thank you Lisa!!

So here are the first two highlights (I’m going to feature them in the order of who I’ve been working with the longest):

Oasis for Girls

The vision of Oasis for Girls is to cultivate generations of strong and creative women who realize their potential, live healthy lives and make a positive impact in their communities.

The mission of Oasis for Girls is to provide a safe space where girls and young women are inspired and empowered to become strong and creative women in their communities.

The young women and girls that Oasis serves, reflect the rich diversity of the SoMa district and other neighborhoods throughout San Francisco. They range in age from 10 years to 20 years. Oasis girls are Filipino, Latina, African American, Asian, and Caucasian. The majority are first generation Americans, however, many of them are also recent immigrants. Most speak languages other than English in their homes. They are all unique and often times face hardships of acculturation while striving to maintain pride within their own heritages.

The goal of Oasis is to fulfill the life cycle of a girl – from elementary school, to middle school, through high school and slightly beyond – through interdisciplinary programming that builds on each step of the way through a girl’s development. Oasis has prioritized their programming and services to reflect this; some of the programs are offered to specific age groups, while others are open to all girls to build on our mentorship model. Opportunities for growth exist through arts, leadership development and life skills programs.

I met co-founders Jill Pfeiffer and Ly Nguyen in 2000 while Ly and I were both giving presentations for the Faiths Initiative youth program. They ended up hiring me to do development and that was the start of what has become a long, close relationship with both of them. I consider both Jill and Ly to be two of my closest friends. Jill has since moved to Wisconsin with her hubby Jacob (amazing artist) and their baby Aviva to work on art and community projects (prior to this she had been the Director of the Excelsior Family Connections and a Board member at Oasis). Ly has just started her new business Entice Boutique and is a Board member of Oasis for Girls. Priort to this, she was the Executive Director of Kearny Street Workshop.

Oasis for Girls now has an amazing team that includes executive director Rachel Parras, program manager, Ly Hoang, arts and arts education coordinator, Tina Bartolome. We also have a very committed Board of strong women: Nicole Lambrou, Purvi Patel, Carrie Robertson, Lupe C. Garcia, Elizabeth Misner, Ly Nguyen, and Danielle Tomkiel.

South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN)

The mission of SOMCAN is to build and support a strong, organized community that takes collective action to achieve equity for the low-income, people of color, immigrant and working class communities in the South of Market through organizing, leadership development and community planning.

SOMCAN’s Core Values and Principles:

  • Creating political, economic and social equity.
  • Preserving community and diversity.
  • Ensuring political voice and taking collective team action.
  • Commitment to building the leadership and grassroots organizing of people of color, youth, women, low-income and immigrant people.
  • Creating a culture of accountability.

SOMCAN was founded in 2001 by a group of grassroots organizations committed to serving the needs of youth, seniors, veterans, the Filipino community, low-income residents, and the homeless in the South of Market neighborhood. Initially they came together informally in response to the unprecedented and unrestricted level of gentrification and displacement that they were seeing in the SoMa community, which included individual residents, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. Their goal was to support community members in immediate threat of eviction in the form of offering space for meetings, assisting with needed resources, and providing a collective voice. They found that this form of community organizing was very successful at leveraging the power needed for residents to be heard and achieve their goals.

Since then they have gone on to use their community organizing strength to ensure that community members have a strong voice in the planning and development of THEIR community.

Because SOMCAN’s community is largely low-income, immigrants of color, our engagement strategies encourage the civic participation of newcomers. It is our intention to build the human, social, and institutional and community capital of residents through leadership development, organizing and networking and bridge building. SOMCAN has a three pronged approach to building residents’ capacity to participate in these processes thereby strengthening and legitimizing the public discourse that shapes the future of our community. Our first strategy is to provide education and training to develop resident leadership on issues such as housing, health and land use, gentrification and displacement and education and safety. Our second strategy is to provide organizing support to tenant and youth organizations that empower residents and contribute to the social cohesion of the community such as the Trinity Plaza Tenants Association (TPTA) and the United SoMa Resident Organizers (USRO) and Street Hustlin’ Youth and Empowerment (SHYNE). Our third strategy is to network and connect residents to other community based organizations and public officials.

When I first started working with SOMCAN in 2001, the only staff person was Jeanne Batallones. Fortunately Jeanne was extremely saavy at both community organizing and non-profit management. She was the Organizational Director until 2004 and is now on the Board.

The current team has been doing an amazing job of organizing residents in SoMa and making sure that the voices of the low-income residents of color in the neighborhood are heard. The current staff includes:
April Veneracion, Organizational Director, Chris Durazo, Community Planning Program Director, and Angelica Cabande, Resident Leadership and Organizing Program Coordinator


FYI — I have a new section on my Website of links to sites/artist/orgs that I think are great. Check it out!


When I was home in Montana this past summer, I found an old National Geographic from July 1991 that had a story in it entitled “China’s Youth Wait for Tommorrow.” The lead-in stated:
“Two forces pull today’s young Chinese: the Maoist legacy and the path to reform. The student-led democracy movement of 1989 gave hope for a free future, but government gunfire at Tiananmen Square in Beijing killed hundreds of people and untold dreams. An opera singer puts on a face of tradition, but rock star Cui Jian, masked in protest, sings another song: “The future I’d been seeing sure isn’t here today.”

Tommorrow is here, and what are yesterday’s youth doing now? They’re rewriting history (see article below). In new school textbooks Mao has been reduced to one mention in a chapter on etiquette.

But why even include him there? Why not just say that Mao was a mascot for a cat food company, emphasizing the country’s marketing brilliance. Then again, why bother with the textbooks? How about just streaming in the Chinese equivaltent of Fox News to all classrooms?

Yet, why even bother with that — how about just handing out Abercrombie & Fitch catalogues, highlighting the pride that most of the clothes were made in China, and give them a pile of credit card applications.

Where’s Mao? Chinese Revise History Books
By JOSEPH KAHN, The New York Times

BEIJING, Aug. 31 — When high school students in Shanghai crack their
history textbooks this fall they may be in for a surprise. The new
standard world history text drops wars, dynasties and Communist
revolutions in favor of colorful tutorials on economics, technology,
social customs and globalization.

Socialism has been reduced to a single, short chapter in the senior high
school history course. Chinese Communism before the economic reform
that began in 1979 is covered in a sentence. The text mentions Mao only
once — in a chapter on etiquette.

Nearly overnight the country’s most prosperous schools have shelved the
Marxist template that had dominated standard history texts since the
1950′s. The changes passed high-level scrutiny, the authors say, and
are part of a broader effort to promote a more stable, less violent
view of Chinese history that serves today’s economic and political

Supporters say the overhaul enlivens mandatory history courses for
junior and senior high school students and better prepares them for
life in the real world. The old textbooks, not unlike the ruling
Communist Party, changed relatively little in the last quarter-century
of market-oriented economic reforms. They were glaringly out of sync
with realities students face outside the classroom. But critics say the
textbooks trade one political agenda for another.

They do not so much rewrite history as diminish it. The one-party
state, having largely abandoned its official ideology, prefers people
to think more about the future than the past.

The new text focuses on ideas and buzzwords that dominate the state-run
media and official discourse: economic growth, innovation, foreign
trade, political stability, respect for diverse cultures and social

J. P. Morgan, Bill Gates, the New York Stock Exchange, the space
shuttle and Japan’s bullet train are all highlighted. There is a lesson
on how neckties became fashionable.

The French and Bolshevik Revolutions, once seen as turning points in
world history, now get far less attention. Mao, the Long March,
colonial oppression of China and the Rape of Nanjing are taught only in
a compressed history curriculum in junior high.

“Our traditional version of history was focused on ideology and
national identity,” said Zhu Xueqin, a historian at Shanghai
University. “The new history is less ideological, and that suits the
political goals of today.”

The changes are at least initially limited to Shanghai. That elite
urban region has leeway to alter its curriculum and textbooks, and in
the past it has introduced advances that the central government has
instructed the rest of the country to follow.

But the textbooks have provoked a lively debate among historians ahead
of their full-scale introduction in Shanghai in the fall term. Several
Shanghai schools began using the texts experimentally in the last
school year.

Many scholars said they did not regret leaving behind the Marxist
perspective in history courses. It is still taught in required classes
on politics. But some criticized what they saw as an effort to minimize
history altogether. Chinese and world history in junior high have been
compressed into two years from three, while the single year in senior
high devoted to history now focuses on cultures, ideas and

“The junior high textbook castrates history, while the senior high
school textbook eliminates it entirely,” one Shanghai history teacher
wrote in an online discussion. The teacher asked to remain anonymous
because he was criticizing the education authorities.

Zhou Chunsheng, a professor at Shanghai Normal University and one of
the lead authors of the new textbook series, said his purpose was to
rescue history from its traditional emphasis on leaders and wars and to
make people and societies the central theme.

“History does not belong to emperors or generals,” Mr. Zhou said in an
interview. “It belongs to the people. It may take some time for others
to accept this, naturally, but a similar process has long been under
way in Europe and the United States.”

Mr. Zhou said the new textbooks followed the ideas of the French
historian Fernand Braudel. Mr. Braudel advocated including culture,
religion, social customs, economics and ideology into a new “total
history.” That approach has been popular in many Western countries for
more than half a century.

Mr. Braudel elevated history above the ideology of any nation. China
has steadily moved away from its ruling ideology of Communism, but the
Shanghai textbooks are the first to try examining it as a phenomenon
rather than preaching it as the truth.

Socialism is still referred to as having a “glorious future.” But the
concept is reduced to one of 52 chapters in the senior high school
text. Revolutionary socialism gets less emphasis than the Industrial
Revolution and the information revolution.

Students now study Mao — still officially revered as the founding
father of modern China but no longer regularly promoted as an influence
on policy — only in junior high. In the senior high school text, he is
mentioned fleetingly as part of a lesson on the custom of lowering
flags to half-staff at state funerals, like Mao’s in 1976.

Deng Xiaoping, who began China’s market-oriented reforms, appears in
the junior and senior high school versions, with emphasis on his
economic vision.

Gerald A. Postiglione, an associate professor of education at the
University of Hong Kong, said mainland Chinese education authorities
had searched for ways to make the school curriculum more relevant.

“The emphasis is on producing innovative thinking and preparing
students for a global discourse,” he said. “It is natural that they
would ask whether a history textbook that talks so much about Chinese
suffering during the colonial era is really creating the kind of
sophisticated talent they want for today’s Shanghai.”

That does not mean history and politics have been disentangled. Early
this year a prominent Chinese historian, Yuan Weishi, wrote an essay
that criticized Chinese textbooks for whitewashing the savagery of the
Boxer Rebellion, the violent movement against foreigners in China at
the beginning of the 20th century. He called for a more balanced
analysis of what provoked foreign interventions at the time.

In response, the popular newspaper supplement Freezing Point, which
carried his essay, was temporarily shut down and its editors were
fired. When it reopened, Freezing Point ran an essay that rebuked Mr.
Yuan, a warning that many historical topics remained too delicate to
discuss in the popular media.

The Shanghai textbook revisions do not address many domestic and
foreign concerns about the biased way Chinese schools teach recent
history. Like the old textbooks, for example, the new ones play down
historic errors or atrocities like the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural
Revolution and the army crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy
demonstrators in 1989.

The junior high school textbook still uses boilerplate idioms to
condemn Japan’s invasion of China in the 1930′s and includes little
about Tokyo’s peaceful, democratic postwar development. It will do
little to assuage Japanese concerns that Chinese imbibe hatred of Japan
from a young age.

Yet over all, the reduction in time spent studying history and the
inclusion of new topics, like culture and technology, mean that the
content of the core Chinese history course has contracted sharply.

The new textbook leaves out some milestones of ancient history.
Shanghai students will no longer learn that Qin Shihuang, who unified
the country and became China’s first emperor, ordered a campaign to
burn books and kill scholars, to wipe out intellectual resistance to
his rule. The text bypasses well-known rebellions and coups that shook
or toppled the Zhou, Sui, Tang and Ming dynasties.

It does not mention the resistance by Han Chinese, the country’s
dominant ethnic group, to Kublai Khan’s invasion and the founding of
the Mongol-controlled Yuan dynasty. Wen Tianxiang, a Han Chinese prime
minister who became the country’s most transcendent symbol of loyalty
and patriotism when he refused to serve the Mongol invaders, is also
left out.

Some of those historic facts and personalities have been replaced with
references to old customs and fashions, prompting some critics to say
that history teaching has lost focus.

“Would you rather students remember the design of ancient robes, or
that the Qin dynasty unified China in 221 B.C.?” one high school
teacher quipped in an online forum for history experts.

Others speculated that the Shanghai textbooks reflected the political
viewpoints of China’s top leaders, including Jiang Zemin, the former
president and Communist Party chief, and his successor, Hu Jintao.

Mr. Jiang’s “Three Represents” slogan aimed to broaden the Communist
Party’s mandate and dilute its traditional emphasis on class struggle.
Mr. Hu coined the phrase “harmonious society,” which analysts say aims
to persuade people to build a stable, prosperous, unified China under
one-party rule.

The new textbooks de-emphasize dynastic change, peasant struggle,
ethnic rivalry and war, some critics say, because the leadership does
not want people thinking that such things matter a great deal.
Officials prefer to create the impression that Chinese through the ages
cared more about innovation, technology and trade relationships with
the outside world.

Mr. Zhou, the Shanghai scholar who helped write the textbooks, says the
new history does present a more harmonious image of China’s past. But
he says the alterations “do not come from someone’s political slogan,”
but rather reflect a sea change in thinking about what students need to

“The government has a big role in approving textbooks,” he said. “But
the goal of our work is not politics. It is to make the study of
history more mainstream and prepare our students for a new era.”