Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Gap day

Gap day

On Thursday, I spent much of the day thinking about food–not so unusual, perhaps, for someone who eats. The course of my day, however, offered chances to really think about how food circulates in our community. I was left pondering gaps: gaps in access to nutritious meals, gaps in information and understanding, but also new opportunities to support our local food economy. First, I “helped” (rode along with) a volunteer with Chapel Hill-Carrboro Meals on Wheels

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Rendering accountability

Rendering accountability

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send

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Meet Thein Oo, and #MeetDowntown.

Meet Thein Oo, and #MeetDowntown.

Like thousands of others, Thein Oo fled Burma to the safety of a refugee camp in Thailand. There he met the woman he would marry, Lweh Eh Paw, and, like so many others, they found a warm welcome here. Thein has been working at UNC-Chapel Hill as a housekeeper for four years, recently promoted to a team leader. They have two children, a five-year-old and a one-year old. The rent on their Carrboro

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New Mexico solstice as a way to see time

New Mexico solstice as a way to see time

The first thing that occurred to me, driving my family toward Santa Fe across a vast landscape, rocky and rose-colored and inhospitable to vegetation, was that living out here must make you consider, at least periodically, the smallness of your own life, as measured against geological time. Perhaps you get inured to it. I would hope not. No place more sharply evokes this sense of smallness amidst vastness than the Rio

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The art of empathy

The art of empathy

In The Faraway Nearby, Rebecca Solnit offers a brilliant discussion of empathy in the course of a discussion of leprosy, of the peculiar nature of the disease. Leprosy is a disease of the nerves. It strangles nerves, kills off feeling, and what you cannot feel you cannot take care of: not the disease but the patient does the damage. You begin nicking, burning, bruising, abrading, and otherwise wearing out your fingers, toes, feet, hands,

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Falling into the Arts in Chapel Hill

Falling into the Arts in Chapel Hill

Looks like it’s going to be great weather for this Sunday’s Festifall on West Franklin Street–Chapel Hill’s 44th annual arts festival. More than 100 juried artists will be there, along with live performances and interactive offerings, as well as musicians, comedy, dance, and magic. For the first time, too, music presented on an outdoor stage by Local 506, emceed by local recording artist/actor/improviser Josh Rowsey. And for the hungry, food

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Our brother’s keeper, and our sister’s: an ethic of care

Our brother’s keeper, and our sister’s: an ethic of care

In the fall of 2004, several hundred people came together to participate in a roundtable discussion on homelessness in Orange County, and out of this discussion the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness was born. In a video portrait of homelessness in Orange County commissioned for that meeting, one young man’s comments stood out, and they’ve stayed with me. He pronounced himself “homeless by choice”: he had opted out of

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“Everything is melting into shopping.”

“Everything is melting into shopping.”

Nothing says “Fourth of July Weekend” like curling up indoors with a good book. Two years ago I was captivated by Danielle Allen’s tour de force Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence In Defense of Democracy, a brilliant reading that demonstrates that the concept of equality is as essential to its claims as the concept of freedom. I found it inspired and inspiring. (OK, last year I was

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Freedom House’s many rooms

Freedom House’s many rooms

Freedom House Recovery Center, based in Chapel Hill, is the only residential detox facility in Orange County and this side of the Triangle. If you’ve heard of Freedom House, chances are that’s why. But since its founding in 1974 the world has changed, and so has Freedom House. Serving eight counties now, it offers comprehensive mental health services for children, adolescents, adults, and families suffering from a broad range of behavioral issues, as well as

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Bonds and bridges

Bonds and bridges

Last week I had the pleasure of attending lectures at UNC by two of my intellectual heroes: Danielle Allen (previously, and previously) and Mindy Thompson Fullilove (ditto). For an audience of UNC professors, Professor Allen took up the daunting subject of “reconciling free speech and social equality on college campuses.” A democratic theorist and a classicist by training, Allen draws from deep wells to support her advocacy for democracy as both a

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