culture

Pay to Play and Goodnight Moon Time

This book talk by Putnam demonstrates how much work is to be done in the community development realm. Many of the issues he discusses are extremely relevant to the communities in which I have lived. My interest really piqued when he mentioned a few issues that I work with on a daily basis. Those are “Goodnight Moon” time (the time spent reading with your children) and pay to play in schools. There was so much more in this talk.

Check it out:

 

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Premise Four

Random thought. . .

The best thing that Derrick Jensen ever wrote was Premise Four in his book Endgame:

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Four provides a great starting point if we want to understand what is happening in Ferguson, Missouri.

Leadership Lawrence Interview or Internet Killed the Radio Star

This year I am taking part in Leadership Lawrence, a leadership program based on the Kansas Leadership Center‘s Four Competencies – Diagnose Situation, Manage Self, Facilitate Intervention and Energize Others. I was drawn to this program after hearing how amazing, awful, and stressful it was. The neat thing is that the same people shared both positve and negative experiences with the program. This made the recommendations more real. . .more sincere.

On Monday, March 10 I had a blast speaking to Kim Murphree of Lawrence Hits about my experience (so far!) with the program. My interview starts at the 32:00 minute mark. Please ignore my cold and click here to listen: http://lawrencehits.com/wp/blog/podcast/leadership-lawrence-radio-hour-031014/

Walkin’. . .yes indeed I’m walkin’!

Defeat ALS! Join Team Lempa

On December 12, 2013 I received a phone call from my mom while my co-workers were wishing me a happy 33rd birthday. My Dad had lost a 2.5 year battle with ALS (aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Lou Gehrig’s Disease). While his passing wasn’t unexpected, we didn’t think it would happen on my birthday. Needless to say I hopped in my car and started driving. And driving.

This trip was nothing new -hell I once road a 125cc scooter from Lawrence, KS to Chicago – but it was different. It was both longer and quicker. Further and shorter. Multiple text messages from my brother reminded me to be safe while at the same time telling me that I needed to get home sooner. Rachel checked in to make sure that I was OK as did a few of my closest friends. Gaslight Anthem’s ’59 Sound was on repeat.

The drive itself was mostly a blur. I do remember laughing and crying as long lost memories formed a mental collage. When I arrived in Berwyn I was greeted by my Mom and brother. We hugged, laughed, and cried.

Three months later it is still hard to believe that our family of five is now a family of four. This experience has both weakened and strengthened us as a family. I am grateful for my friends and family that supported me throughout this ordeal and have checked in on me afterwards. I might not always say it, but I love and appreciate you.

I am also extremely thankful for the ALS Association Greater Chicago Chapter. Without them I don’t know how we would have made it through this ordeal. They provided equipment, guidance, and emotional support. Additionally the ALS Association also supports research to fight ALS and discover a cure.

Last year I captained the top fundraising team in the Walk to Defeat ALS. This year we have reformed Team Lempa and are again raising money to find a cure to this horrific disease. You can support us by clicking here: http://webchicago.alsa.org/goto/ChrisLempa2014

PS – I will be participating in a number of runs throughout the year. I will use these runs to raise money for the ALSA and to raise awareness of this horrific disease.

How to Join Team Lempa

There are two ways to join Team Lempa as we Walk to Defeat ALS. One is as a Virtual Walker and the other is as a Fundraising Walker.

Step 1 – Go to http://webchicago.alsa.org/goto/TeamLempa

Step 2 – Click on Join Team

Step 3 – Choose either Virtual Walker or Fundraising Walker.

Choose Virtual Walker if you will not be able to attend the actual walk but would like to help us fundraise.

Choose Fundraising Walker if you will be able to walk.

Step 4 – Fill out the rest of the information.

Step 5 – DONE!

It’s that simple. Once you have joined Team Lempa we ask that you help us raise money for the ALS Association. As some of you know, this organization has been extremely helpful for my entire family.

Please contact me if you have any questions. My email is 8 lempa 8 (at) gmail . com (remove the spaces and use the @ symbol).

Introducing Team Lempa!

As some of you know my Dad has been diagnosed with ALS. On May 18th my family will be participating in the Greater Chicago Walk to Defeat ALS. I am hoping to raise $1,000 to support the ALS Association and the work they do for individuals and their families that are living with ALS. Please click on this link to make a donation.

My Mom and I also invite you to join Team Lempa. If you are interested, please contact one of us.

More details will be posted on the attached link and as well as on this website. If you are on Facebook, please consider joining Team Lempa on Facebook.

About the ALS Association:

Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front.  By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and fostering government partnerships, The Association builds hope and enhances quality of life while aggressively searching for new treatments and a cure.

As the preeminent ALS organization, The Association leads the way in research, care services, public education, and public policy — giving help and hope to those facing the disease.  The Association’s nationwide network of chapters provides comprehensive patient services and support to the ALS community. The mission of The ALS Association is to lead the fight to treat and cure ALS through global research and nationwide advocacy, while also empowering people with Lou Gehrig’s Disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.

Schools & Bikes

I’m not exactly sure why it played out this way, but I have been busy. I went to a meeting to discuss an upcoming school bond issue. I am very interested in this due to my being a part of the Central and East Lawrence Elementary School Consolidation Working Group. I was part of the group that wrote “Uniting Lawrence in Support of Our Elementary Schools.” The process was long and ultimately rewarding, but it will all be for naught if the bond doesn’t pass.

I have a lot to say on this issue, but this isn’t the proper venue for it. I’d like to say that I will write an essay on it, but my track record isn’t the best on that. Someday, maybe.

Another exciting meeting to was much more informal, but in a lot of ways more exciting. A group of folks interested in making Lawrence a more walkalble/bike friendly city met over a delicious meal to discuss how we can make that happen. We took our cue from LiveWell Lawrence’s Physical Activity Work Group which was, I believe, and outgrowth of the Douglas County Community Health Assessment.

Both of these meetings remind me why I like Lawrence. It is very easy to get involved and have an impact in the community. Grassroots community development is alive, although it isn’t always easy.

On the MOOC front, I decided to “unenroll” from my course on Game Theory. The course itself was great, I just couldn’t keep up. My basic knowledge of the topic is a little rusty and was making it difficult to successfully participate. I am now following the Game Theory 101 program and reading the eBook. My goal is to retake the Coursera class the next time it is offered.

Sustainability, Mutual Aid, and Liberation Redux

In the Winter 2009 issue of Black Oak Presents I wrote

With natural disasters turning cities into ruins, now is a good time to think about the rebuilding process. Initially I agreed with [former] Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert that rebuilding the disaster prone area didn’t make much sense, but I have changed my mind. Done correctly, New Orleans, Louisiana; Greensburg, Kansas; and other devastated cities can become models of sustainable development and Mutual Aid. This article will focus, loosely, on New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina.

The earthquakes that hit Haiti along with the worldwide economic downturn present a good time to revisit the ideas in that article. I don’t want to focus on Haiti’s specific political and economic problems, rather I would like to look at voluntary, community based responses to the issues that have effected Haiti, southeast Asia, Greensburg, KS, New Orleans, etc.
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