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Flying Focus Video Collective

August 2009 Newsletter

PMB 248     •     3439 NE Sandy Bv     •     Portland, OR 97232

(503) 239-7456     •     (503) 321-5051    •    ffvc@flyingfocus.org

First Year of Flying Focus' Digital Archiving Project Preserves History

Thanks to Flying Focus' grassroots supporters and a grant from the Mt Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, we have been able to make serious headway into archiving all of our programs created since 1991 onto digital tape. In July, exactly one year after we started, we had archived just over 200 episodes of the Video Bus (out of 523 episodes previously stored on 3/4" tape). We expect to have all the Video Bus episodes archived by early 2011 (!) and will then work on our "Speakers and Events" series, including the Z Media Institute shows (featuring Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich and the like), as well as our earliest efforts "Peace Action Network" and "Che's Lounge/P is for Perception." If you would like to support the project, please write "Digital Archiving Project" on your check.

How Gentrification Affects Your Neighbors

[Noni Cause]

Last year, Flying Focus partnered with the Restorative Listening Project on Gentrification (RLP) to bring community discussions about the effects of gentrification on the African American community in N/NE Portland to a wider audience. Many of the European Americans who have recently bought or rented houses in the area are unaware of the long history of involuntary displacement and its negative effects that the black community has endured to make way for "improvements."

In the second of our RLP programs, "Porches and Smiles" (VB #70.11 & 12), Noni Cause, a longtime resident of North Portland, and Charles Ford, a Community Elder, shared some of their experiences of and feelings about gentrification. Co-leaders of the RLP, Celeste Carey, John Canda, and Judith Mowry, and members of the audience added to the discussion. Themes included the importance to community of front porches, smiles, and eye contact, the status and importance of the Miracles social club, and moving from harm to hope. [--Video--]--Clip--

Community Activist Noni Cause

[Charles Ford] The third show from the project, "Real Questions" (VB #71.6 & 7), features an interview with Senior Pastor Don Frazier of the inter-racial Genesis Community Fellowship congregation. He shared his experiences growing up in North Portland and how gentrification affected the community. He called on people moving into a new neighborhood to learn its history and to ask themselves real questions about what they are doing and why. [--Video--]--Clip--

The first RLP program, "Nathan McCall: The Effects of Gentrification" (VB #68.11 & 12), was produced last September. A clip from that show can be seen on our website (via Youtube) at [--Video--] http://www.flyingfocus.org/videoclips.html#Gentrification1. The programs were made possible in part by a grant from the Multnomah County Cultural Commission and the Oregon Cultural Trust. If you would like to order copies of any of these programs to make them available to the community through the RLP, please indicate "for RLP" on your donation form.

Community Elder Charles Ford      

Speakers Celebrate Portland's Intercultural Efforts

The Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO) is a diverse, grassroots organization working to build a multi-racial, multicultural movement for immigrant and refugee rights in Portland. In June, 2008, they held a five year anniversary party featuring Eric Ward of Chicago's Center for New Community and Pramila Jayapal, Executive Director of One America with Justice for All (formerly Hate Free Zone) of Seattle. Each of the two main speakers described their own grassroots efforts to create a just society in the face of institutional issues such as racism and bigotry, particularly in a post-9/11 world. They also took time to praise the CIO, and its director, Kayse Jama, who took the stage himself to say a few words. The two-part program "Immigrants, Refugees and Human Rights: Center for Intercultural Organizing's 5th Anniversary" (VB #70.7&8) features all three of these speakers, as well as some music and dance presented at the event.

[Peruvian protestors]

Peruvians Take to the Streets to Protest US Policies

In November 2008, Flying Focus producer Yvonne Simmons made her 8th trip to Lima, Peru to work with child workers and the elderly. Then-US President George W Bush came for a few days to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings. Two protests against the Bush policies were organized, the first by labor unions and the second by leftist organizations. The shows "Peruvians Workers Say Go Home Bush!" and "Peruvians Say Go Home Bush!" (VB #70.3&4) depict the two protests. There is a minimum of translation as the passion of the speakers and the signs talk for themselves, and music fills the air.


Former International WILPF President Shares Information on Trip to Gaza

Regina Birchem, past international president of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, reported to Portlanders in May about her March, 2009 visit to devastated Gaza. Her talk was presented on the two episodes of the Flying Focus Video Bus titled "Gaza, March 2009: Eyewitness Report" (VB #72.1&2).

Israel has imposed an economic blockade and restrictions of movement using its considerable military force against the 1.5 million Palestinian residents in the tiny Gaza strip. In December 2008, Israel launched a massive campaign of bombardment, killing hundreds of civilians, and destroying houses, schools, hospitals and other buildings essential to daily life.

With slides and discussion, Ms. Birchem relates information that should help those new to the topic as well as long-time activists to educate others about what is happening in the Palestinian territories.

This show was taped by 10-year-old Jordan McDaniel and produced by FFVC associate Yvonne Simmons.

Statewide Peace Rally Focuses on Iraq, National Guard, and Immigrant Rights

On March 15, 2009, 62 organizations supported a march and rally commemorating the 6th anniversary of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The event was held in Salem, OR at the state capitol. "Iraq, 6 Years Later: Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad-- March 15, 2009" (VB #71.10&11) features speakers, music and marching from the spirited event.


Speakers at the rally included Benji Lewis, from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Lewis railed against the system that put him into Haditha and Fallujah, Iraq, and for legislation to keep Oregon's National Guard home. Wael Elasady spoke about the need for a just resolution to the Israel- Palestine conflict. Linda Burgin, head of SEIU local 503, spoke out for spending money on human needs, denouncing the misguided wars. Ramon Ramirez, president of PCUN connected the struggle for immigrants� rights to the military policies of the US and the post-9/11 era.

Music from Mo Mack, the Corvallis Raging Grannies, Mark Iris, and The No War Drum Corps entertained and moved the crowd. The march snaked around the Capitol building, with a stop at the Salem Statesman-Journal office reminding participants that the mainstream media does not cover issues of war and peace on a regular basis.

Activist Legend Ralph Nader Speaks in Portland

In October, 2008, lifelong activist Ralph Nader visited Portland and outlined many of the issues that were facing the various people running for political office at the time. (Note: Nader himself was running, but as a 501-c-3, Flying Focus does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office; that is one reason we waited several months before cablecasting his talk.) Nader's concerns about human rights, foreign wars, the environment, workers and the economy resonated well with the local crowd. See and hear him for yourself in "Ralph Nader Discusses the Election (October 26, 2008)" (VB #71.2&3).

[Powerful ant]

No Rest for the Vigilant

As Flying Focus celebrates 18 years as an organization this summer, we look at our efforts to get the word out on peace and social justice issues through four Presidential administrations: Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and now Obama. It is clear that no matter who is in the White House (and again, we do not support or oppose any candidates) the issues of war and occupation, economic and environmental justice, gender and racial equality, and so many others that we have addressed over the years are not going to go away with the wave of a magic wand. We hope you support the ongoing efforts of Flying Focus to give voice to those who are not otherwise represented on television. Please consider a financial donation, no amount too small, to ensure that we can keep our educational efforts going for years to come. Thank you...ants can move mountains with persistence, so can we!

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