14 January 2011

Today Quinn Dilkes will be presenting to us in the classroom for most of the period.  This means I may not have the chance to give you your vocabulary words (again!) …so here they are:

  • ten, tent – hold – as in tentative, someone who doesn’t have a firm hold on certainty
  • theo – god, diety – as in theology, the study of God
  • trophy – nutrition, food – as in atrophy – a state where muscles lack nutrition and begin to consume themselves
  • vac – empty – as in vacuum, a space empty of air

We’ll be back in the lab on Tuesday.  By the beginning of class, you want to have ALL your sources chosen and ready to go  (see timeline posted on Wednesday Jan 12).

Some things that stood out to me from the time with Quinn today:

  • Her description of the generations of her family who have been conscientious objectors to war–her great grandfather imprisoned during the Civil War for not fighting in the Confederate Army, her extended family, including a cousin who was imprisoned and tortured as well as other parts of her family who emigrated to Costa Rica and founded a peaceful commune.
  • She talked about the puppets they used as colorful and symbolic leaders in their different marches.  At one point she said they had a puppet for each phase of the march, and commented, “We were big into puppets then.”
  • She talked about some of the women who were doing these colorful weavings around the other women surrounding the pentagon, and the way the police had to “snip through all these multicolored threads” to get to the women.  “We thought there was some symbolism in that, maybe,” she said.
  • She talked about singing “God Bless America” together with the mob that came to stop their peace walk.
  • She talked about calling her mother the first time she was imprisoned.  Her mom was terrified and upset until Quinn held up the phone so that her mother could hear the other women singing.
  • When we asked her about how she was able to do the direct action–how her partners or children felt, she replied “I was footloose and fancy free in those days.  My children had grown up.  I would work a temp job until I had a wad of cash, and then I’d go off and participate in some action.  When my money ran out, I’d find another temp job and do it all again.”
  • She described the situation at the Seneca Falls march, that because there was no prison big enough, they were imprisoned in an elementary school gymnasium.  She said the local Mennonites brought them home made food and gifts while they were there as a sign of solidarity, and she expressed being impressed by that action.  She said it must have taken a lot for them to see past all the “crazy hair, wild women, lots of lesbians,” and to see the common ground they shared as conscientious objectors to war.
  • When I asked her how she learned how to respond appropriately in direct action situations (for example, when the mob attacked, the women chose to sit down to express their peaceful, non-violent intentions) she said that prior to every demonstration, there was a training.
  • Her insistence that we cannot learn what we need to know from the news alone.  “Read, read, read,” she said.  “Read from lots of different sources, and draw your own conclusions about what’s actually going on in the world.  You can’t learn all you need to know from NBC and CNN.”

What stood out to you?  Be specific in your comments, please.  I’d love to have a record of our thoughts in response to this remarkable story.

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