Thursday, October 25, 2007

Getting a Grip on Democracy

I've been away from blogging for a couple of weeks now. The last week has been tough because of the flu which I've had since Saturday. Feeling tonight like I'm finally getting over it.

I just read Getting A Grip by Frances Moore Lappe of Small Planet Institute. It's a short work in reading but powerful and lasting in ideas. She encourages us to move from our thin democracy to a living democracy where instead of seeing issues, we see entry points. There are so many issues or problems in the world and it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Frances suggests finding entry points which can be any way for you to address one of the issues. One of her examples involves a community in Texas that was upset that local businesses were not hiring local Hispanic workers. Rather than simply protest that, the community got to the root cause and discovered that people needed training. So they started a locally-funded program to train and educate citizens for better jobs. There are so many entry points. You just have to look for them. I realized that I wanted to do more as part of my job and in reviewing an internal web site, I discovered that there is a representative from each company location on my employer's charitable giving committee. But not one from the Portland area as we were just acquired this past year. So I volunteered, was accepted onto the committee and am contributing by identifying local organizations that will be recipients of the company's charitable contributions, both in the form of direct contributions and through gift drives.

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