Living on a Prayer (and a Good Meal)
You might not like Jon Bon Jovi’s music, but it’s hard to find fault with his newest venture: The Soul Kitchen, a pay-as-you-can restaurant offering first class meals in New Jersey. The Soul Kitchen offers a fine dining, linen and silverware experience for anyone who’s hungry. Patrons can leave a donation (Bon Jovi suggests $20), or work for their meal by washing dishes, waiting tables, or volunteering at a soup kitchen like Lunch Break. "If you come in and say, 'I'm hungry,' we'll feed you, but we're going to need you to do something. It's very important to what we're trying to achieve," says Bon Jovi. What is he trying to achieve, exactly? A sense of community and cooperation. Giving dignity to the disempowered. Allowing people to both reap the benefits and contribute to the success of an establishment.
And the food? It at least sounds darn good: cornmeal crusted catfish, grilled chicken breast with basil mayo, and sweet potato mash are some of the dishes you’ll find on the menu. This is far from typical soup kitchen fare, and the reciprocity of working for a good meal allows impoverished people a sense of self-respect you just can’t get from accepting hand-outs. Not to disparage soup kitchens, which certainly do great work, but The Soul Kitchen’s approach to feeding the hungry is invigorating. People feel more attached to communities that they feel they play an active part in. They are more likely to fight for those communities and invest in them. By making its patrons feel that they are integral parts of its success, The Soul Kitchen creates an environment of pride and mutual support.
The Soul Kitchen also allows families and individuals impacted by the economic downturn to participate in a luxury that is often the first to go when cutting back on expenses. The experience of going to a restaurant can be very special for a family: it’s a chance to relax, enjoy delicious food of your choice, and let someone else worry about preparation and clean-up. In the modern family, where both parents probably work and where cooking dinner can be a source of stress, the act of going to a restaurant can be a true blessing. The Soul Kitchen’s donation-based system allows families to indulge in that blessing without worrying about how much it will set them back at the end of the month. Of course, patrons should give as much as they can to help support the restaurant as a valuable part of the community, but by taking away the pressure of fixed price meals, The Soul Kitchen gives families and individuals under economic strain a much-needed break.
This is not Jon Bon Jovi’s first foray into community building; his Soul Foundation has built over 200 homes for low-income residents since 2006. The rocker might have overshot his estimate when he sang that “we’re halfway there,” but if more people adopt his altruistic spirit, we might very well “make it.” After all, “we’ve got each other, and that’s a lot.”
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Article Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/20/soul-kitchen-jon-bon-jovi_n_1021600.html
Why Do So Many Members of the 99% oppose the 99% Movement?
The events which have taken place in the past month on the doorstep of our nation's financial capital have been nothing less than extraordinary. Everyday, more and more people turn up at Zuccotti Park in full support of the “Occupy Wall Street” protesters. Even with the vast amount of support for the protesters pouring in from all over the country and all around the world, there are still many (particularly members of academic institutions) who either have no comprehension of what is going on, or those who do and simply do not support it. In understanding the genuine causes for the “occupy Wall Street” movement (not the young crowd looking for a place to hang out, or political rhetoricians peddling their own brands of jaded theory) it becomes difficult to come to grips with the fact that a large part of the 99% do not support the “99%” movement. Attempting to grapple with this idea, The Assailed Teacher, on his blog (entitled the same) explains these baffling statistics through the notion of 'group think' and our unquestioning acceptance of it.
The Assailed Teacher begins by asking in a straight-forward manner, “why do so many members of the 99% oppose the 99% movement? He believes that the answer lies in how American history is taught to students. Of this, the Assailed Teacher notes that American history textbooks are fact-heavy “throughout most their march through time” but fail to do the same for relative history. Topics on things such as the internet get “vaporous descriptions” and are accompanied by glossy pictures. What you will not read about, laments the Assailed Teacher, is how “corporations control our political system, how the media has fallen into the grasp of 4 or 5 large corporations, how globalization is built on union building and slave labor, or how Wall Street has managed to take control of 35% of our total economy” (just to list a few). It seems that textbooks on American history promote our current state of affairs as being natural--- there is no question being asked on how we got here or why; no connection being made between the internet and the domination of Wall Street. Textbooks, purports the Assailed Teacher, portray our modern age in dry language. It is a progressive age that “cares not for your admiration or derision. It will march on, indifferent o your desires.” It is not only a problem of what is being taught but also how it is being taught.
Group work in the classroom and the resulting group think become scripture for an academic environment that deludes its students into thinking about a future in the corporate world. Group think, asserts the Assailed Teacher, is the real impact of group work. “Individuals question too much and too many extraordinary individuals have change the course of history. Group think puts a stop to all of that.” Group think is training the next set of consumers, not the next set of executives. The Assailed Teacher concludes by asking, “Is it any wonder that so many members of the 99% still do mot support the 99% movement? Our textbooks train us to think of our corporate age as natural. So when.. Occupy Wall Street call for a reduction of corporate power, it is like calling for the sky to be less blue... [and] While the media, politicians, and Republican sympathizers have all done their parts to bamboozle people about what is really going on around Occupy Wall Street... our education system has also ahd a part in getting the 99% to oppose their own movement.
The Assailed teacher highlights three key things: the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, the lax education system, and the role the latter has played (or has not played) in the former. The notion of group think and its effects are important to comprehend and becomes extremely relevant when dealing with consumerism, corporation, and “Occupy Wall Street”. In the end, I think that the Assailed Teacher's inclinations towards the education system playing its role in having many of 99% oppose their own movement, is accurate. But you, the reader, don't have to take my word (nor the word of the Assailed Teacher) for it, all you have to do is become observant. Something as grand and with such vast implications as Occupy Wall Street is occurring, yet here we sit, in history and political science classes, discussing our assigned readings in groups.
Article Sources: http://theassailedteacher.com/2011/10/12/why-do-so-many-members-of-the-99-oppose-the-99-movement-teacher’s-edition/
Image Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bnUjf7pc7G4/TprhNIL0_fI/AAAAAAAAAFE/CGfQTYwjyuI/s1600/Occupy-wall-street-story-_99_%255B1%255D.jpg
This is what democracy looks like
Rome. Tokyo. Australia. London. New York. Chicago. Cincinnati- Just some of the places where the Occupy protests have spread like forest fire. Protesters have been met with criticism largely because of their apparent lack of a unified message, but their message couldn’t be clearer: the government is not working.
In Chicago, 130 arrests were made after protesters remained in Grant Park after its closing time. Talks between the police and the demonstrator camp had been reportedly going on since ten o’clock Saturday and ended around one am Sunday. With the mandatory closing at eleven pm, Mayor Rahm Emanuel decided he was done talking. CPD carted off whoever had remained in the park, but managed to do so in a peaceful manner. No violence was reported.
In Cincinnati, 11 arrests were made after protesters remained in the city’s Fountain Square after Sunday’s three pm closing time. They were charged with criminal trespass, but again without violence. Participants described several ‘paddy wagons’ and jail buses on standby, but the atmosphere was calm and up-beat. The spirit of rebellion echoed as people shouted, “This is what democracy looks like.”
Is this what our country has become? Politicians don’t like what the Protesters are saying, so they sick the Police on them? Criminal Trespass on city property? Really? Who ‘owns’ the city? The Mayor? The Governor? I thought we left feudalism behind in the Dark Ages.
Article Source: www.washingtonpost.com/national
Image Source: http://wewantinformation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/OccupyChicago.jpg