guest post

As a follow-up to the "Me, in the Press" post from the other day:

What follows is a "guest post" from Michael Santos. For this post I edited the opening comments directed specifically at me so as to keep the focus on the issues, but his full text can be found in the comments section of that particular post. (I hope you don't mind, Michael.)

For those who don't know, Michael was of enormous help to me in my thesis work. He was instrumental in helping me put together much of the information that i used in the exhibition, and also in securing use of the westend lot--selflessly giving up plans that he already had for that space so that i could do my thing on it. Thank you so much, Michael.

In addition to all that help, however, Michael also belongs to an elite group of citizens of New Bedford who take time to say things in places where there's a good chance they won't get listened to. That takes a lot of courage. I did it for just a few short months and it was enough to almost suck all the life out of me. Michael, and many others like him, are out there everyday spreading the word and the hope. There are a lot of us who will never find out just how tough that is.

For those of us lucky enough to have a choice, i just wanna say we need to come to know the full of extent of that privilege and blessing if we ever intend to be of greater use on this planet. For everyone else out there doing that work while the rest of us are playing catch-up, i just want to say: Hang in there. Hang in there. Some day maybe we'll all be on the same page.

This is Michael Santos, producer/editer, of the documentary about the sencless violence going on in the city of New Bedford. (13 by 3 mile problem)

While we are throwing a crazy amount of money into anti-gang bills, and locking up our children, we refuse to take off our horse blinders to be able to see whats really going on. Its very simple... We in NewBedford must adopt a value system that puts every life in New Bedford on the same level. When we consistantly refer to our children as "gang bangers" we sub conciously take the value of there lives not only from ourselves, but the very children we are labeling. If you rase a child calling him crazy his/her whole life, that child will probably grow up and think he/she has to live up to this name. When somes child gets murdered WE NEED TO BE OUTRAGED AS IF THAT WAS ALL OF OUR CHILD!!!! You see while were blaming the kids themselves and the parents alone, we are excusing the rest of society of there responsibility to there children. Yes it does start at home, but when our children leave home to go to school they should be our teachers children. When they hang with friends they should be thier children. Where ever they have to go they should be considered all of our children. All this blame must stop shifting to one side, cause we are all guilty. Lets start evenly distributing the responsabilities of lookig after our children. Its so simple,but we as a society can,t figure this out? Or is it that certain people taht own realastate in New Bedford knows that the prices of there property fluctuates with how many minorities are living in our city? Well I say this.. What ever it is, our children are the most valubale resource we have. Worth far greater than your properties will ever be. Walter it was a pleasure to meet someone else who has this great trate. Your message was powerful and I hope you planted that seed of love during your short stay here in New Bedford cause boy do we need some.


Matthew said...

Beautifully said. Our culture would have us throw these kids away, sending them to be 'rehabilitated' in one of the most violent penal systems in the modern world. Mental illness, undiagnosed and untreated, is rampant among incarcerated youth. In August I start work inside Knox County Regional Juvenile Detention Center. We are working here in Knoxville on the development of an Art Cooperative and Community Center. We plan on 'hanging in there'. Thanks for your hard work, and the great post! I'm going to forward that article to my colleagues.

Walter said...

thanks for the comment, matt. but, uhhh...art cooperative? Me dire plus, s'il vous plaît.

Alison said...

What the hell with the French, Biffle?

Michael, it's so good to see you on the blog. I've quoted your, "It's not anti-gang legislation, it's anti-ME legislation" comment more times than I can count.

Walter said...

riffs for "french, biffle"

Have you had the French Biffle here? It's great.

I have a cousin named French Biffle.

Knock Knock.
--who's there?
French Biffle
--French Biffle who?
The only reason i keep this job is for the french biffle.

Matthew said...

I'm sorry about the delay, Walter, but it took me three days to decode your crazy moon language.

We're still in the planning stage, but the ultimate goal is a community arts center, centrally located and accessible, that is open to everyone. Right now we hope to focus in three areas- music and performing arts, visual arts, and independent media. We're shooting for gallery and performance space, open studio space with free materials, easels, and recycled materials to work with, room for free classes and community meetings, a darkroom and digital media lab, and private studio space that can be rented by local artists. In exchange for use of the facility, artists can teach free classes, and engage in free instruction programs for youth. We have big ideas and a strong support base. Right now we're still developing our mission and meeting with local organizers and other cooperative directors. I will now stop typing.

Mein Hund liebt Baseballschlagh├Âlzer.

Walter said...

that's freakin' cool. best of luck on that stuff. makes me wish i were in knoxville.

Your dog loves his baseball sized testicles?

Matthew said...

I'll keep you updated on our progress. And, yes, she does.