Wednesday, January 22, 2014

LARGECOMM x RR: January 2014

2014 is off to a great start!

Quick MLK March recap:
  • Organizers estimated 175,000 at the MLK March on Monday, January 20th. I've attended consecutively since 2012 and this year I brought my father out for the first time.

Now onto the two articles published on the Rivard Report this month..

The first article touches on the disconcerting subject of  poverty in San Antonio, published as a response to the original: San Antonio, Let's Have a Conversation About Poverty. Rivard hits the nail on the head in sending the message that as a city on the rise, "we should be secure enough to have that conversation, even as we measure progress on so many long-term fronts."

My response comes as a reflection; reflecting on the "war on poverty", the community conversation on the issue, and steps taken by local officials in combating poverty:

A Deeper Definition of Poverty in San Antonio

Here’s A Closer Look

In 1967 President Lyndon Baines Johnson commissioned an 11-member committee, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders a/k/a the Kerner Commission, to investigate the causes of turbulent social protests of the 1960s. Origins of social unrest, the committee concluded, were in part due to the “concentration on ‘national’ and international problems at the expense of ‘local’ and domestic concerns,” leaving the U.S. with an “enormous deficit of unmet social needs and deeply felt social injustices.” The findings of the report were ultimately disregarded, a great disappointment to the future of American communities, with Johnson instead shifting focus to the Vietnam War. Such neglect of determinant hardships is still felt in our nation’s communities today.
The pernicious stereotype of “welfare queens” abusing the system, propaganda perpetuated by the Reagan Administration in order to gain popular support to dismantle the welfare state, deviously misconstrues our view of working class communities, depicting those in poverty as “lazy” or reluctant to work hard in achieving the American Dream.
Researching economics and public policy in San Antonio. Photo by Rene Jaime Gonzalez.
Researching economics and public policy in San Antonio. Photo by Rene Jaime Gonzalez.
Anyone who has seen “The American Ruling Class” (2005) or read “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich can understand the difficulty in maintaining a family – let alone going back to night school at a local community college – on a minimum wage salary. Many of these jobs are service industry entry-level positions, which may or may not provide full-time hours, health benefits, and the right to organize/collectively bargain.

The next article is a recollection of personal nostalgia - my experience at the Blue Star Art Silos. The Silos were an extension of the Blue Star Arts Complex, old grain silos converted into mini-galleries where striving artists were able to showcase their work in a unique setting. Though the site has since been closed and slated for redevelopment, the spirit of the underground arts scene in San Antonio is alive and well at the corner of South Flores and Lone Star:

First Friday to Second Saturday: Remembering Silos, Discovering Lone Star

At the front of the complex, a tall, chain-link fence served as the gateway to a cultural hub for young adults, newcomers, and long-time residents alike. And though the Mission Reach was not yet a part of the scenery, the night breeze from the river provided relief on sweltering summer nights.
To the left stood the silos, stacked neatly side by side along the barricade, 17 in all. Standing erect at nearly 15 ft. tall, the cool, grey steel seemed uninviting upon first glance. But a passing entry into these artist-run galleries and you were instantly amazed.
Once maintaining grains for the Big Tex Grain Co. production site, these vessels now held a different kind of potential. An artistic capital was on display for all to take in.
Present-day state of the silos. Photo taken by Rene Jaime Gonzalez

Since 2012 The Report continues to engage the community in conversation and dialogue. Feel free to drop them a line. San Antonio would love to read your story.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Updates for LARGECOMM

Happy New Year to all! 2014 looks to be another promising breakthrough year for San Antonio. Here are some quick updates:
  • New segments coming in early 2014: - The Stage Speaks, highlighting San Antonio's theatre community - More interviews scheduled for The New Vanguard and Gastronomy:Revisited
  • LARGECOMM x Rivard Report - featured articles hosted on The Rivard Report

Spread the word and stay tuned!

Featured photos:

  •  Featured artwork of the Serie x Gravelmouth Collaboration on Second Saturday, showcased at 1906 South Flores in the South Flores Arts District