Tuesday, November 21, 2017

#4C18 Update - Acceptances, Wait List, Cs Rally, Soundtracks, Yoga, and Sparkle-Whaaaat?


This week there is a lot packed into this post. I hope it's helpful.

In the last few weeks, we've had a several additions to the SJAC, and I've tried to include their names in the work groups listed. Take note that we have several additional members helping us in some significant ways (in red text), and I thank them for their volunteer efforts, as I also thank the SJAC members who have been working since the beginning.
  1. Collaboration with local activists (Ersula Ore, Victor Del Hierro, Romeo Garcia, David Green). We are still waiting to hear from the local chapter of the NAACP, Gillian Helm at Literacy KC, and the ACLU MO, and the Employee Rights Law Firm. I am in discussions with the education office of the major of KC, Sly James. I'm still hoping to have him participate in some way, perhaps in the all-convention event (see priority #8 below). 
  2. Technology and Access (F2F and OL) (Stephanie Kerschbaum, Aja Y. Martinez, Bump Halbritter, Casie Moreland, Zan Goncalves, Brenda Brueggeman, Chad Iwertz, Ruth Osorio, and Kristen Ruccio). This work group has been hard at work, discussing and doing some research on options. I should have more to report in the coming month when options become clearer. I'll also send out notices to all members who have accepted their convention roles to see who may wish to take advantage of this option. While this will be a small pilot, I've instructed the work group to assess the effectiveness and usefulness of remote access options at the convention. My goal is not to turn 4Cs into an online convention, since I strongly feel that meeting face to face is important and having embodied engagements with colleagues and others is important for all of us. I also know this option is extremely expensive to do and Cs cannot afford to expand in this direction at this time, at least not in a large way. However, it is worth looking into how a small, focused part of the convention can be conducted remotely, especially for those members who do not feel it is safe for them to attend in person at a particular site. 
  3. Safety and Security (Al Harahap, Brent Chappelow, Dana Driscoll, Brian Hendrickson, Amy Meckenburg-Faenger, and Alisa Russell). Expect to get an email from CCCC/NCTE that asks you to complete a short, online survey about your participation or use of the buddy system. We are hoping to have that distributed by Dec 15. This will tell us if this option is worth moving forward on or if we should work in other ways. There will also be a table in or around the Expo area for folks to drop by during the convention. Additionally, the table will hold some short, workshop-type information sessions throughout the convention, which we're currently calling "mindfulness/preparedness" workshops and demos. This will be like volunteer training on safety in the convention Expo. There will also be for those interested some online training (videos and other stuff) that Cs members can do to help themselves be fully prepared for travelling and attending Cs as safely as possible. 
  4. Donation to Local Movements (Casie Moreland). Casie is still working with work group #1 to coordinate with the group in contacting local organizations in KC to find out what local donation options there will be for her to organize at the Expo table where this will be primarily located. Casie welcomes suggestions or questions from members. She still needs volunteers to run the table, so please contact her directly to volunteer or offer ideas
  5. Letter Writing Campaign (Holly Hassel). There will be a table in the Expo for folks to write and sign letters. There will also be more info at the table on the NAACP travel advisory and local history. 
  6. Work with Local Committee and Activists on Press Release and Press Coverage (Jessie Moore). There is no new news on this, and will not be until much closer to the convention. 
  7. Preconvention Statement on Actions, Activities (Michael Pemberton and Romeo Garcia). This work has been collapsed into priority #9 below, but I leave it here so there is a clear record of it and our work on it. 
  8. All-Convention Activity (Holly Hassel, Jessie Moore, David Green). This group is finalizing their recommendation to me, but currently they have three options that all are good. Two of the most attractive to me revolve around a rally and speakers. I suggested a slightly altered version of them, which they are now getting feedback from the rest of the SJAC. The option we are currently considering is to hold a rally sponsored or co-organized by a local speaker and/or organization around a mutually agreeable theme/topic that match both parties missions and goals, followed by a peaceful march to a symbolic site in KC. There is a chance that we could also have the major be a part of this rally, and/or another speaker. The important thing is that the rally must agree with Cs mission and goals. It must forward those things, and we do not want to do something like a rally or march without the permission and guidance of local groups and folks. We are the visitors. I think, our job is to support, not lead, in KC. If you have ideas or feelings on the rally option, or local speakers or organizations/causes that match Cs mission and values, then please let me know by email or reply to this blog.   
  9. Program Statement and Cover Art (Al Harahap, Michael Pemberton, and Romeo Garcia). We continue to develop this statement, but much of it concerns matters we have not yet hammered out, so we continue on. It will be posted on the KC 4C18 Web site as soon as we can, likely after Jan 1. It will also go into the program. This will help folks know the scope of what we are doing at 4C18. As to the cover art, I'm working with a local group of students to create it. I've had difficulty communicating with them while at NCTE this past week, so I should have more news on the artwork for the program soon. 
  10. Pre- and Post-Workshops Dedicated to Activism and Organizing (Michael Pemberton, Romeo Garcia). There will likely be two rooms dedicated to pre- and post-convention workshop dedicated to activism and organizing. These likely will be a number of facilitators and workshop leaders, each doing smaller, workshops, but all bundled together in each room. I'm trying to be careful with how many workshops compete with each other. 
Other news and developments concerning 4C18 planning. We've firmed up the KC Cultural event, which I reported on in my last update. And Jennifer Gray (not the actress from Dirty Dancing) from the College of Coastal Georgia has graciously offered her services as a Level 3 Certified Sommelier to help us pick the appropriate wine pairings for the evening's dinner. Thank you, Jennifer! On other fronts, we'll have two social justice oriented escape rooms, with time built in to do some reflective activities with participants about their experiences. The sound track for 4C18, being developed by Matt Gomes, is moving along, as well as his work around organizing a podcast that will cover the convention  and offer additional remote access to sessions, events, and other items of interest. There will be morning yoga run by Sarah Mosely of the University of Virginia, as well as schedule of embodied and mindful classroom demonstrations by folks like Barry Kroll and Christy Wenger (that schedule has not yet been firmed up). And I'm working with the good folks who run Cs the Day to help us integrate more fully their ideas of gamefying the convention. I've even suggested in addition to those cool sparkle ponies that maybe there are a few sparkle unicorns (if you know me, you know that the unicorn is my spirit animal!). The Teacher 2 Teacher (T2T), organized by Christine Cucciarre, is fully underway. You can propose and attend this Saturday event (very similar to the RNF, only centered on teaching) now. Check out their really nice logo! What they need is a twitter account (wink).

Finally, I'd like to offer some information on convention role acceptances and the wait list. As of late last week, of the 3,290 total roles offered on the program only about 51% of acceptances have been confirmed by members following the process of accepting. Here's the numbers:
  • Roles Accepted: 1,566 (51%)
  • Roles Declined: 46 (1.4%)
  • No Response: 1,678 (47.6%)
On the wait list, we have 333 speaking roles. These are folks waiting to hear if they can be on the program. So if you have not yet confirmed or declined your invitation to be on the program for 4C18, or if you are not sure, please do so ASAP.

Unlike past years, we need to make some decisions about the program, given our 10 priority items above very soon. Most of them by Dec 15, and those on the waiting list need a chance to accept, and I need a chance to re-adjust the program, sessions, and the like. Whether you accept or decline, doing so as quickly as you can is a professional courtesy to your colleagues who are waiting to hear.

Peace to you all.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

#4C18 Update - SJAC Work Kicks into High Gear


The work toward 4C18 in Kansas City is continuing to move forward with the good work by Jane Greer and her local arrangements committee, and Duku and the SJAC. As usual, I'll offer some updates on each of the ten priorities that the SJAC is working on with me. And a special thanks to Jesse Moore, who is my transparency officer on the SJAC. She collects much of the information I share each week. Her careful work is helping them and me stay organized and know what is being done. Thanks, Jesse.
  1. Collaboration with local activists (Ersula Ore, Victor Del Hierro, Romeo Garcia, David Green). Both the work group and I have reached out to Dr. Williams at the local chapter of the NAACP, Jason Hale at Community Engagement and Education at the Center for American Indian Community Health, and Gillian Helm at Literacy KC. The work group contacted ACLU MO, Kansas Human Rights Commission (turns out they are not a good fit with us), and Employee Rights Law Firm. I am also trying to get a hold of the major of KC, Sly James, to participate in some way (see priority #8 below). 
  2. Technology and Access (F2F and OL) (Stephanie Kerschbaum, Aja Y. Martinez, Bump Halbritter, Casie Moreland, Zan Goncalves). No new updates on this work group yet. 
  3. Safety and Security (Al Harahap). Al has begun work on this work group's charge, and has asked for help. We are looking to see if anyone might volunteer -- you may contact Al directly. I've also asked Jane Greer to help find anyone who might help from the local arrangements committee. Meanwhile, Al has created a "Buddy System" for volunteers to be available as travel buddies, perhaps also ready to be deployed to the airport in case travelers need them there. A schedule of times will likely correspond with the conference schedule. Al requested a table or booth in our Expo area, so that Cs members can expect a table or booth centrally located there during the convention. Expect to get more info on this work group's actions, as they will be surveying members on their potential usage of the buddy system. I've also asked that the work group consider ways during the convention to help keep our members safe and secure (although CCCC cannot assure safety at local sites, especially away from the convention site). One idea Al is working on is a brainstorming workshop, and an online "training workshop" for the buddy system volunteers, as well as a more general preconvention workshop for volunteers to the buddy system. I'm not sure about this option, but it's not off the table. This group is also contacting work group #1 on potential local groups that could conduct workshops in this area and work group #9 for shared scheduling/space/time. Finally, we are working on ways to let the local police or other authorities know about these activities and what our concerns are for our members. My hope is that involving the local authorities in matters of making our convention safer might help them be aware of us and our concerns.
  4. Donation to Local Movements (Casie Moreland). Casie is working with work group #1 to coordinate with the group in contacting local organizations in KC. Once Casie knows where funds should go, she will develop ways to generate funds for these organizations. She will have a table in the Expo area at the convention dedicated to collecting donations for these organizations and also to contact publishers in advance to ask for donations. Casie welcomes suggestions or questions from members. I think, she'll also need volunteers to run the table. So please contact her directly to volunteer or offer ideas
  5. Letter Writing Campaign (Holly Hassel). No updates here. 
  6. Work with Local Committee and Activists on Press Release and Press Coverage (Jessie Moore) Jesse, Jane, and I will work on the press releases that will come much closer to the convention date. Likely we'll have one at about a month out, then one the week before. Any ideas about this priority can be sent to me directly
  7. Preconvention Statement on Actions, Activities (Michael Pemberton and Romeo Garcia).  This work group is working with me to put together this statement that will likely go into the program and convention app, as well as the 4C18 convention's hospitality site, which is still under some construction. This priority is combined with priority #10. Some of this group's work must wait for other groups to complete their work. 
  8. All-Convention Activity (Holly Hassel, Jessie Moore, David Green). This group is still working on all the options but making some headway. There is some talk of a speaker and rally that we might all participate in. I'm also thinking that this would be a good event to have the major of KC join us. More updates in the near future. 
  9. Program Statement and Cover Art (Al Harahap, Michael Pemberton). The group and I have been discussing options (see priority #7 above). I'm committed to have local student art used in cover, and have reached out to a local group that likely can offer us something. Jane Greer has helped me find and work with this group. I'm still waiting on a response from them. 
  10. Pre- and Post-Workshops Dedicated to Activism and Organizing (Michael Pemberton, Romeo Garcia). This group is brainstorming and sharing ideas with me, and once workshop plans are confirmed and approved, we will move to organize. I've suggested that we be mindful of having too many pre- and post-workshop options since that will spread the attendance very thin. Additionally, we have limited space and workshops proposed by members have already been assigned places. 
Finally, I want to say that the KC Cultural event is firming up nicely. It will be an evening event that includes a catered dinner with wine served as part of the meal. Additionally, I'm working on having local breweries to come and be available at a cash bar. The event currently will have a local expert, Chuck Haddix, offer us a lecture on local jazz and (hopefully) its connections to social justice issues and history in the KC area. The Vine Street Rumble Jazz Orchestra will accompany the lecture and offer some musical entertainment as well. This will be an event that members must register for and will cost about $42 for early registration. The event will be at the beautiful and historic Union Station.

Peace