Tag Archives: social justice

March For Our Lives – Bend, Oregon

Sometimes, images speak more powerfully than words. I found this to be the case among a few thousand participants in the #MarchForOurLives event today – in Bend, Oregon. So proud of ALL the people who turned out! Now, the real work to change must take place.

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There are two photo albums you can view for this event today. Click on one of the two links below – then use SLIDE SHOW to view the images. These are high quality images  – NOT – intended to be viewed on a cell phone. Use a tablet or a monitor display for best viewing:

  1. Google Photo Album – #MarchForOurLives – Bend, Oregon
  2. Flickr Photo Album – #MarchForOurLives – Bend, Oregon

# March For Our Lives Bend Oregon - 111

Enjoy...

Bill Dahl


 

School Safety and Gun Control NOW

My opinion column to the Bend Bulletin and Redmond Spokesman was selected for publication on 2-20-2018:

Click HERE or HERE to read.

I have posted it BELOW as well:

It’s time…

It’s time – to recall the past when pencil, paper, and eraser were all a student required to be adequately equipped for school. It’s time to recall the days of practicing cursive and penmanship. It’s time to remember using actual textbooks in class – and taking those home for reference…one’s face in a book completing homework.

It’s time – to remember when the internet began to transform the teaching and learning experience. It’s time to consider when digital devices began to populate our classrooms – and appeared as appendages in our hands. It’s time to recognize that face-in-a-book has become Facebook.

It’s time – to revisit those memories when schools were adequately staffed with trained guidance counselors and staff – when students who displayed emotional and behavioral instability did not fall obliviously through the cracks of our educational system. It’s time to recognize that those who do suffer from mental health impairments, including students, require identification and treatment from qualified mental health professionals – whose caseloads are currently vastly overburdened primarily due to inadequate funding and staffing shortfalls.

It’s time to confront the reality that times change; requiring the deployment of new resources, technologies and robust strategies to protect and preserve the safety, health and welfare of students, staff and families throughout Central Oregon public school districts.

It’s time to get real.

It’s time to rally support for the Redmond School District’s upcoming bond measure for the essential financial resources designed to improve public school safety and complete fundamental maintenance improvements in the antiquated school facilities in our community.

It’s time for the U.S. government to provide the essential financial resources to deploy metal detection devices/intruder prevention technologies at all points of ingress and egress in our public schools.

It’s time to ban the manufacture, sale, transfer, modification and possession of assault rifles and high capacity magazines in Deschutes County.

It’s time to bolster the processes and personnel designed to identify, treat and monitor those who display mental health impairments who may tangibly pose threats to self or others. It’s time to confront the reality that living in Central Oregon is cohabitation with abject poverty, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, overburdened behavioral healthcare evaluation and delivery system(s), a population of at-risk individuals and families – and a per capita unbridled fetish with firearms – of all kinds.

It’s time to insure that the systems designed to identify those not legally allowed to possess a firearm are integrity tested on an ongoing basis and that they are suitably integrated to defend the public health, safety and welfare.

It’s time for elected officials to worry less about re-election and embalming the past and display actions demonstrating their commitment to  “what must we do now” to provide the fundamental safety protections for our children, students and staff who inhabit our public schools on a daily basis. Investment in this “infrastructure” must become priority number one.

It’s time for Oregon’s U.S. congressional delegation to derive the funding essential for adequately staffing the behavioral healthcare assessment and delivery organizations in Central Oregon.

It’s time – time to speak the unspoken. It’s time for uncommon courage in Central Oregon. It’s time to recognize that the times have changed and now demand we enact measures to more adequately protect our children, students and staff in our schools.  It’s time for Deschutes County Commissioners and the City Council’s in this region to lead by enacting measures now required to enhance public safety – and bolster, preserve and protect the welfare of all stakeholders in our public education and behavioral healthcare systems.

It’s time for an S.O.S. – Summit On Safety – in the public schools of Central Oregon.

It’s time to change.

It’s time to enact change.

Our children, students, families, teachers, staff and communities require it.

Now.

Get Rid of This Dude

Get Rid of This Dude – A Poem by Bill Dahl

Trump Caricature – from Indivisible Redmond Oregon Facebook Site

 

“Locked and Loaded”
​the ​North Korean ​mess​.
​Spewing hubris
will tame unrest​?​

Healthcare for all!
A cruel joke.
Special interests triumph
mirrors and smoke.

Global warming
threatening all.
Trump proclaims:
“Build the wall”!

Disconnected
Out of touch.
Deliver nothing.
Promise much.

We’re the one’s
who wrote the song
Stop the madness
In Viet Nam!

We’re the one’s
who learned to sing
Supporting the mission
of Dr. King.

When corruption
required a fixin’​ -​
Our chorus led
To dismantling Nixon

We’re the one’s
who led the fights
finally realizing
women’s rights.

We’re connected
We care so much.
Resilient, united.
We remain in touch.

We’re the one’s
Elected reps must hear.
Not a right wing agenda
spouting fear.

Reality television
brought him fame.
His every tweet
Rains down shame.

Self righteous, pompous
egotistical and rude.
Time to banish
This disgusting dude.

 


 

 

Racism in High School – A Film – Students Speaking The Unspoken

Speaking the Unspoken

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the final day of the school year in 2007, our local high school nearly had an outbreak of race-based violence. Our son witnessed this. He was very disturbed it. — so was I.

During the summer, I contacted our local school district officials – the outcome of which is this film….the frank testimonies of our students – for students in other high schools – who may face a similar reality.

You can watch the film here on YouTube:

It’s purpose is to be educational, contain uncensored, gritty student expression, cause dialog about race, ethnicity, prejudice, sexual orientation, attitudes and racism — and provide a tool – map — to a bridge — a creative pathway – high school students may use to explore these critical issues in their own lives – in their own school – their own community.

In every sense, this film is intended to be constructive and instructive. It’s when we cower from confronting the tough issues together – that learning becomes diminished.

Please use this tool constructively – and admire the courage of high school students “Speaking the Unspoken” among themselves – for the benefit of all concerned.

Your feedback is appreciated.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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The following is a letter I sent to our Mayor and City Councilors today, after attending a public hearing on an ordinance to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in our City (Redmond, Oregon USA) for a year. We currently have none.

Here’s the letter:

March 26, 2014

Dear Mayor and City Councilors:

Re: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing in Redmond, Oregon

I brought my 17 year old “son” (international exchange student from Cologne Germany) to the City Council meeting last night – Tuesday March 25th. He had never experienced attending any meeting of elected officials in the U.S. before.

After the meeting, I asked him, “so what did you think?” “It’s a wonderful thing witnessing democracy in action,” he said, bubbling with obvious excitement. “When I return to Germany this summer, I am going to get involved in my local community.” I smiled with pride.

He was also impressed by the dignity that is shared by the Council members when confronted with those who have opinions contrary to those you may hold individually. Finally, he was moved by those clearly less fortunate – who mustered the courage to speak publicly at the forum. “I hope Redmond will provide those who suffer with the ability to buy their medically approved cannabis in Redmond,” he said…staring out the window of the car…

As a resident, voter, parent and father – I would like to thank you all for your comportment – and the impact the same has on a student from another culture and country – who has been positively impacted by your public service. Thank you VERY much.

To Councilor Onimus – your remarks, dissent, informed judgment and compassion  must influence the ongoing deliberations of your fellow councilors on this issue of licensing a regulated medical marijuana dispensary in Redmond.

Please note:

1. There is nothing written in stone that says the proposed “moratorium” MUST be for one year. Why not 6 months, nine or ten months?

2. A publicly declared framework for “educating’ the Council and the Community” may also be a consideration – one that itemizes a timeline along with specific activities, questions and objectives the Council will explore together – toward this fundamentally important end.

3. The ordinance, as currently written, omits the prohibition of “production” of cannabis within the City limits. However, patients with a State approved OMMP card are authorized to do so and/or designate a caregiver or grower to do the same for them – in Redmond. This appears to be somewhat of a conundrum that deserves further  research.

The OMMA clearly states (and I quote): “The Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OMMA) protects medical marijuana users who comply with its requirements from Oregon criminal prosecution for production, possession or delivery of marijuana.” (end quote).

4. I can only hope that Mayor Endicott’s position that “allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in Redmond is a violation of Federal law, and our oath to uphold the Constitution.” As pointed out by a Mr. Matlock during the meeting – Oregon has had legislatively approved/operative “right to die” laws operative for many years – in clear contradiction to existing federal law. In fact, Matlock pointed out, the “right to die” choices have been – and are being made – by Redmond residents, their physicians, caregivers, families, the staff of St. Charles Medical Center in Redmond, and Redmond based convalescent and hospice facilities. “What’s next? Are you going to take this right away from us too?”

There are a myriad of other examples whereby current Oregon law conflicts with the proscriptions of Federal statutes. Again, I can only hope the Mayor will engage in behavior to further illuminate the porosity of his stated position. Yet, I honor his right to his stated position.

Finally, science continues to make advances that disrupt norms, mores, traditions – what we thought we knew – is being replaced by what we now know – it’s a fundamental part of human existence.

My hope is that you will use the moratorium period you decide upon to act in the best interests of those who suffer – whereby new advances in alternative, state approved and regulated medicinal approaches – may provide these sufferers with access to this medicine in Redmond, Oregon.

Remember the testimony of Lois Sweet:

I’m now a participant in life. I want to spend my money in Redmond – NOT Bend.”

Again, I am proud of all you – and City Staff – as the superb public servants – and people – you continue to be.

You represent us well. Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

William S. Dahl

 

 

 

At Canaan’s Edge by Taylor Branch

Encouraged by author and acquaintance Andrew Himes new book, The Sword of the Lord – The Roots of Fundamentalism in an American Family, I began reading Taylor Branch’s At Canaan’s Edge – America in the King Years 1965-1968.

This 771 page epic is the final in a trilogy from Taylor Branch ( Pilliar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 and Parting The Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963 (Pulitzer Prize Winner for Non-fiction).

I find that a reading of history is incredibly informative regarding the issues and challenges currently faced by one’s country and our world.

This book truly captures the essence of an ongoing struggle in each and every society. As stated by President Lyndon Johnson (p.230): “But wantin’ to do what’s right and doing’s what’s right’s two different things – and sometimes, it’s a long hill to climb in between.”

In reading this book, you re-live this era. Your heart breaks. Your soul is shattered. You’re shocked and appalled. You become baptized in the depth of the sacrifices made and lives that were lost. You see the faces and voices of hate, bigotry and prejudice – deeply ingrained in the human equation. Yet, you see what progress can and must be made when the immorality within the day-to-day of human existence is confronted with a movement of moral determination.

Consider the following excerpt from President Johnson(pp.112-113):

“Rarely are we met with a challenge, not to our growth and abundance, or our welfare or our security, but rather to the values and purpose and the meaning of our beloved nation….we have already waited a hundred years and more and the time for waiting is gone.”

As I read the book, I couldn’t help but contemplate ongoing, unresolved issues of social inequity and injustice where America has “waited over 200 years and the time for waiting is gone.

In what Robert Kennedy called “a moral issue — as old as the Scriptures…as clear as the constitution.” (p. 474) – segregation, in it’s many forms, remains an ongoing, unresolved challenge in America today. As I read Taylor Branch’s book, I could hear current day voices and the faces and places of the immorality of prejudice, bigotry and segregation the continue to inhabit the heart of this great nation. Essential U.S. immigration reform kept coming to mind. The most segregated social institution in America remains the church.

That’s why books like Andrew Himes The Sword of the Lord are so darn important. They remind us that the life’s work of Dr. King, Taylor Branch — and all those who have preceded us as citizens of this great country — that we have much more to do where the time for waiting is gone.