Saturday, September 14, 2013

AFSC Fundraiser


I returned to the Metanoia Peace House on 18th Street this evening.  Eddy Crouch and John Munson organized this check-writing ceremony on behalf of the local office, i.e. checks were to be coded a certain way so the money wouldn't be dispersed as general funds.  Call it earmarking.

I lured Lindsey into coming on the chance some Quaker Voluntary Service people were there, and there were, but I didn't know they were there, nor who they were, silly me.

Plus I'd made the mistake of describing them as "professional revolutionaries" to Lindsey which she interpreted a specific way.  I guess I was being somewhat tongue in cheek about anyone using that label, but then Linsdey had a plastic ID tag that touted strong credentials along those lines.

Her plan to publicly thank the Peace House for past support (food provisions) and to discuss a new serving site nearby, that might make use of the kitchen, did not come off.  At least she got to see the place and meet some of the people.  She came by bicycle of course, while Carol and I took her car (originally hers).

Our focus theme this evening was empowering young people to grow into leadership roles, and that in part meant making television.  Portland Community Media had a sign next to AFSC's and some of the thank you speeches included expressions of gratitude from AFSC to PCM. 


Because the focus was showing videos, the Door Project was not specifically mentioned, nor was Opt Out (Truth in Recruiting) nor some of the other youth-focused things we've been doing.  Instead, the "if I had a trillions dollars" program was featured.

Whereas that program was certainly apropos given the focus, from my own personal viewpoint, the "If I Had a Trillion Dollars" campaign / contest does not represent AFSC at it's most brilliant.  Portland isn't to blame.  It's a national program, and not one I personally have much love for.

But that's OK, it's not my role to automatically give a thumbs up everything the AFSC does.  I'm not a robot, or at least not that mindless a one.

The movie by and about migrant "Global U" students, on the other hand, had much more serious content.  It featured high school and college aged individuals without social security numbers (SSNs) and therefore with very limited prospects.

Refugees around the world are stuck in limbo, as the nation state system was never about serving everyone.  In theory maybe it was, but in practice it never worked out that way.  Millions of people are stateless as well as homeless.  There's no reason to hope that nation states will ever fix this problem.  They have proved themselves incapable, on many levels.

A paid signatures collector came to our door today, asking us to petition Oregon State to rescind the governor's decision to issue watered down driver's licenses to people without social security cards, (presuming they pass a driving test) and to let people vote on the issue instead.

As Pedro explained later, these licenses make the roads safer, as those without SSNs don't feel obligated to dodge the DMV.

But as I explained to the signatures collector, these are less powerful IDs than real Oregon State drivers licenses as they can't be used with the TSA to verify identity when boarding an airplane.  It's a watered-down ID.

The signatures collector had no idea about any of that, as those responsible for his training had done a cursory job.  We didn't sign in any case.