Monthly Archives: May 2017

RIGHT TO THE CITY – CURTIS BAY: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH A MOBILE APP EXPLORATORY SESSION BY BUS

RIGHT TO THE CITY – CURTIS BAY: COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT THROUGH A MOBILE APP EXPLORATORY SESSION BY BUS

 

Right to the City – Curtis Bay: Community Engagement through a Mobile App Exploratory Session by Bus | Sponsored by Towson University

Anthropology students and faculty at Towson University along with the United Workers-Free Your Voice have been working on a participatory action research project with high-school students in environmental science classes to qualitatively study the environmental hazards in South Baltimore. Curtis Bay, Maryland is located in the southern portion of the City of Baltimore, Maryland. The neighborhood is located in a highly industrialized waterfront area in the southern part of the city and receives its name from the body (cove) of water to the east in which it sits. The area has had a toxic history.

Historic Sediments of Global Trade

During the 19th century, guano fertilizer from Peru was a prized commodity, particularly around the Chesapeake bay where both cotton and tobacco had drained the soil of its nutrients. Guano imports which migrated through and often remained in Curtis Bay initiated a long period of uneven disposal of hazardous and/or toxic materials in the soils, air, and bodies of residents.

Global Oil 

Prudential Oil Corporations in 1914 established a refinery in the middle of the Peninsula. Texas Oil Company of Delaware was established before the end of WWI. By the end of 1918, the Fairfield Peninsula was home to at least three petroleum product refineries and several fertilizer plants. Oil refining exposes the surrounding community to the risk of intense explosions while coal dust exacerbates lung and cardiovascular diseases.

Shipbuilding, Ship Breakdown in a Postindustrial wasteland

The Wartime efforts in the 1940s to manufacture materials needed to fortify American troops affected Curtis Bay. During this period, thousands of workers from WVA and elsewhere in Appalachia and African Americans migrated to Fairfield Peninsula for jobs in the shipbuilding and other emergent wartime industries. White workers received decent government subsidized housing while Blacks continued to be exiled to Old Fairfield only having access to substandard housing. The memories of expansive capitalism, exploitative laboring relations, race/class based discrimination, and toxicity do not simply linger as a historic artifact but rather continue to define how this landscape is viewed in Baltimore.

The Next Step in Curtis Bay’s Steady Decline into Toxicity

In 2009, Energy Answers announced it would build the nation’s largest trash-to-energy incinerator in Fairfield and presented the project as a solution to two crises: the waste crisis and the energy crisis. Energy Answers International promoted the project as a power plant providing schools and other facilities with “green energy.” The incinerator was originally slated to be sited less than a mile from Benjamin Franklin High School and Curtis Bay Elementary, which state environmental regulations wouldn’t have typically allowed (no incinerator can be built that close to a school). However, when the Public Service Commission approved the incinerator as an energy plant.*

Seize this opportunity to explore the Curtis Bay Area and the social justice work with Nicole Fabricant, Matthew Durington, and Samuel Collins, Ph.D.s, Associate Professors, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Towson University along with the students and community agencies.

*For more on the Campaign to bring to an end the Trash to Energy Incinerator, See https://stoptheincinerator.wordpress.com/

#CLDE17 Quick Links

·         Meeting Info

·         Register Now

·         Book Your Hotel

Hotel Deadline is Today 5/16 for #CLDE17

Hotel Deadline is Today 5/16 for #CLDE17

2017 Civic Leadership and Democratic Engagement Meeting | June 7-10 | Baltimore, MD

The deadline to book hotel rooms for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement (CLDE17) meeting is Tuesday, May 16. Book now to guarantee our low rates!

If you have already booked rooms at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel, thank you for supporting #CLDE17 with your accommodations. By filling the hotel block, we can provide meeting space and conference amenities without needing to increase the meeting rate, and fulfilling that obligation helps us offset some of the costs of organizing and holding this annual meeting. Furthermore, filling our room block consistently helps us secure favorable contracts for future meetings.

Click HERE to book your room(s). 

#CLDE17 Quick Links

Meeting Info
Register Now
Book Your Hotel

#CLDE17: RSVP Now for TurboVote’s Voter Engagement Symposium & Lunch

#CLDE17: RSVP Now for TurboVote’s Voter Engagement Symposium & Lunch

Thursday, June 8th
11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

2017 Voter Engagement Symposium: Engaging Locally & Strategizing Digitally

Lunch provided; RSVP now via registration as event is capped at 70 participants

Please join TurboVote, our partner colleges and universities, and other nonprofit organizations for an interactive symposium on what it takes to engage student voters in not one, but all of their elections. Together, we will learn about specific nonpartisan tactics for institutionalizing voter registration on campus and making voting a default student experience. While a presidential election year provides additional resources for and an increased focus on voting, we’ll discuss action items that can be implemented in a non-presidential year to create a more democratically engaged campus and community. All interested parties are welcome to attend. Lunch will be provided, as saving democracy tends to work up quite the appetite!

Lunch will be provided, as saving democracy tends to work up quite the appetite! RSVP today as event is capped at 70 participants. Space is filling fast!

Already registered for the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting? Email durhamf@aascu.org to add this free lunch session! Not registered yet? Be sure to select the option when you register! Register HERE.

Q & A with the #CLDE17 Student Interns

Q & A with the #CLDE17 Student Interns

By Amber Austin, Christina Melecio and Tyler Ferrari, #CLDE17 Student Interns

Hello readers! We are the 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting student interns, and we are happy to be working with the planning committee this year to create the wonderful #CLDE17 conference. In addition to helping with the ideas for the conference as a whole, we are also tasked with planning a student symposium where we will be discussing important and relevant topics with the student attendees. Before this happens, however, we would like all attendees to get to know us better, so we created a Q&A between the three of us where you get to learn more about our views on civic and community engagement. We hope you enjoy it!

Amber Austin, Sophomore, Tarrant County College (Texas)
Christina Melecio, Sophomore, Winona State University (Minn.)
Tyler Ferrari, Sophomore, Chapman University (Calif.)


2017.04.28 CLDE Student Intern Blog Photo 2

Amber Austin

What do you do for campus involvement?

Amber: For campus involvement, I am a member of eight clubs, for which I am the president of two and an officer in several others.

Tyler: I plan and moderate deliberative dialogues on important issues ranging from homelessness to gun control.

Christina: I am fairly involved with my campus. I hold a position in Student Senate where I sit on several committees that make decisions that affect the university. I am also the president of Political Science Association, and the treasurer of College Democrats.

How did you get involved in TDC/ADP/NASPA?

Amber: I became involved in The Democracy Commitment because of two of my professors during my freshman year. My professors asked me to help them with a “Know Your Candidate” project and it blossomed from there.

Tyler: My supervisor had me apply for this position, and many of our programs are modeled after NASPA programs!

Christina: One of my friends was the intern for ADP on my campus and often needed volunteers at events he organized. I was able to volunteer and then got to know the professor who runs ADP on my campus.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s conference?

Amber: At this year’s CLDE conference, I am looking forward to our student symposium the most. That is our chance, as student interns, to hear the other students’ voices on universal issues, as well as to get to know the students that are attending the conference.

Tyler: Meeting other students and gaining their knowledge on civic engagement along with their experience.

Christina: I am so excited to get a diverse perspective from students that attend the conference. I am also excited for the moderating that will take place.

2017.04.28 CLDE Student Intern Blog Photo 4

Christina Melecio

What has been your most enjoyable moment in the planning process for the 2017 CLDE conference?

Amber: The most enjoyable moments I have had during the planning process of this year’s conference are the conference calls with the other two interns. Being an intern for this event is very enjoyable especially since I can share it with two other people.

Tyler: Working with the rest of the committee, especially my fellow interns! They have been great and easy to work with.

Christina: Meeting other people who have a passion who being involved, and getting others involved. I have especially enjoyed the time with the other two interns, and the topics we have been able to discuss.

In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of civic engagement involvement? What is your experience in this type of engagement?

Amber: I believe the most important aspect of civic engagement involvement is the impact working in the community makes. Working to make a difference in civic life is important in itself, but the impact is what counts. My experience includes, know your candidate campaigns, student voter registration programs, and campus/community trash clean-ups.

Tyler: Getting people interested in local issues is the most important. I’ve worked on campaigns before and I really enjoyed telling people about the issues our campaign focuses on. It was always rewarding to have people involved in the community.

Christina: I think that the most important aspect of civic engagement has to deal with education. Educating people on the issues, so they do not blindly support one way or the other without much thought or background knowledge.

What is your favorite thing about engaging in your community politically, socially, etc?

Amber: My favorite thing about engaging in my community is meeting and communicating with new people to understand their situations, as well as, their thought process regarding social and political issues.

Tyler: Meeting the different people and talking about their experiences. Especially in a state like California, there are so many diverse viewpoints and learning about as many as I can is very rewarding and helps me shape my view of the world.

Christina: My favorite part of becoming engaged in my community, whichever way, is the people who I connect with. Each person has a different perspective, or background, and being able to hear and understand them is what makes me excited.

What is one thing you wish you could change about our political climate?

Amber: Due to the previous presidential election, our political climate is scattered. Many are angry and many have given up. If I could change anything with the political climate, I would bring the divided back together, so we can make a change as a unit.

Tyler: Discourse must me more civil, without the civility that politics normally provides, nothing useful and good for society will get accomplished. Politics has centered too much around tribalism and I think breaking that mindset is something that is important to do.

Christina: I think currently the political climate could use a few adjustments, mostly having to deal with the divided nature of society.

2017.04.28 CLDE Student Intern Blog Photo 5

Tyler Ferrari

Tell us about an experience of when you tried to engage students?

Amber: I tried to engage students in the biggest way during our last presidential election. My main focus was getting students to care about their community and realize that their vote does matter.

Tyler: Registering people to vote before the election. We worked at our school’s freshman orientation and we were able to register so many new voters!

Christina: I have done different democratic deliberations, and it is a challenge in order to get students engaged in the conversation. There are many students who don’t want to participate in the conversation, and it is a struggle to have them bring their opinions to the deliberation. More often than not, putting effort into someone they will return it.

How did you become an engaged student?

Amber: I became an engaged student because of The Democracy Commitment. Before I joined TDC, I would go to class and go straight home. They helped me realize how much of a difference one person can make in a community.

Tyler: My mom was always politically engaged and really got me involved in local politics.

Christina: I have always naturally been someone who enjoys being active in clubs, and the next step was to become engaged in other activities. Ranging from student government, or local politics, I have always wanted to participate in the life that is happening around me.

What do you think the number one issue is facing the society today?

Amber: I think the number one issue facing society today is inequality.

Tyler: The loss of social capital. People are simply not involved in their communities anymore and I think that is harming society as a whole.

Christina: I would have to say that the biggest issue facing society today is racial tensions. Most problems today seem to concentrate around this particular issue.


Thank you for reading our Q&A! We appreciate you getting to know us and we hope to see you around the conference and at our student symposium. The student symposium is a free event where students will be able to discuss many relevant political and community issues. To register for this session, click HERE, and bring an open mind and a willingness to have a dialogue with other students. The symposium is a great opportunity to relax and get to the other students at the conference, and to learn valuable insights and skills from students across the country. This is an opportunity that should not be passed up!

2017 Street Law Community College  Faculty Development Seminar

2017 Street Law Community College Faculty Development Seminar

 

Street Law, Inc.—in collaboration with the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the ABA Division for Public Education, and The Democracy Commitment—is offering a faculty development seminar for community college professors who are interested in developing a law-based civics program at their colleges. The program involves innovative classroom instruction and community-based learning.

Are you a community college faculty member or administrator? Are you (or would you like to be!) implementing a law and democracy course at your college?

Join us Sept. 22 to learn about the elements of Street Law’s Community College Program, the course curriculum, best practices in civic education instruction, and the positive impact the course can have on college students.

The seminar will be facilitated by Lee Arbetman, executive director of Street Law, Inc. and author of Street Law’s community college textbook, Street Law: Understanding Law and Legal Issues (McGraw-Hill Education, 2012).

Schedule:

8:30-9: Breakfast and check-in; 

9-3: Seminar (lunch will be served)

Cost:

$40 registration fee* to cover materials and meals

Register by clicking HERE.

For additional information about this Seminar, please contact Christine Lucianek at christine.lucianek@americanbar.org or 312-988-5737.

* Thanks to the generosity of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, this registration fee is waived for professors from Chicagoland community colleges. A modest transportation stipend is also available for these professors.