We are once again hosting a Speakers’ Series discussion tomorrow, Tuesday, 3/1/2022 (yes, March is upon us!). I hope everyone can join us as we host a mini panel discussion about all things food security with Amy O’Neill Houck and Robbi Mixon.
It should be a lively discussion in light of the fact that the Alaska Food Policy Council’s 2022 Festival and Conference is a little over two weeks away (virtually, March 17-19th).
I am looking forward to this session, so I hope you will be able to join us either in person or virtually via Zoom!
There is always much to view and read during any Black History Month. However, I seem to have had more than my fair share of relevant articles and programming come across my various devices, so I thought I would share a portion of it with you, dedicated readers.
Initially, let me tease out and share a portion of reading lists that should take any reader the next 11 months to complete, compliments of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. :
1. “The Conjure Woman,” by Charles W. Chesnutt
2. “The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man,” by James Weldon Johnson
3. “Cane,” by Jean Toomer
4. “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” by Zora Neale Hurston
5. “Native Son,” by Richard Wright
6. “Invisible Man,” by Ralph Ellison
7. “Mumbo Jumbo,” by Ishmael Reed
8. “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
9. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison (or “Sula,” “Song of Solomon,” or “Jazz”)
10. “At the Bottom of the River,” by Jamaica Kincaid
As you will undoubtedly note, this is a list of fiction; for non-fiction and other reading materials, as well as an in-depth interview with Gates, Jr., do check out David Remnick's interview in this special digital edition of The New Yorker.
Of course, one cannot mention Gates, Jr. without giving a hat tip to the excellent PBS series Finding Your Roots. This season is once again filled with amazing personal stories, unexpected twists, and history that is backed by rock solid receipts.
Since our Speakers' Series hosted Ann E. DeLong, a currently serving U.S. Department of State Special Assistant, I found this American Experience episode about three African-American diplomats completely eye opening.
Finally, for one of the most fascinating cultural history pieces ever to come down the celluloid pike, absolutely check out Riveted: The History of Jeans (also an American Experience episode). It weaves together African American history, the working class, and an iconic piece of clothing into an hour you should (if you are like me) not want to see end.
Finally, here in Alaska, 2021 service participants earned in excess of $1 million in Segal education awards. Putting aside the community-building and other soft skill aspects of service toward which so many volunteers gravitate, this is one of the biggest tangible benefits of national service. I would be equally interested to see data on those members who took advantage of the federal competitive hiring exemption upon service completion, as it is yet another measure of service commitment.
As we come out of this year's early recruitment for full-year positions (we will commence another one in late spring in anticipation of a mid-August start date), it is clear that no matter how sluggish national service recruitment may be across the country, Alaska, and specifically Fairbanks, remains a strong place to flex community service muscle and learn about a corner of the country where the food scene is great, and weather conditions (it currently is 5 degrees Farenheit!) serve as their own extreme sport.