communities of friends, etc. Feel free to write under any section of your choosing. I don't know how the Blog is going to shake out, but the only way to discover the outcome is to begin. For me, the TRUTH is on the WALLS is wrapped around, at minimum, three themes. The work is an easy to read nonfiction that won't put anyone to sleep with one strangling fact after another because it's people oriented. In fact, it's about archetypal women who refused to play victim roles, and has many layers. I will blog every Friday, beginning March 2, 2012.
So, I'll start at the beginning, assuming you have read a bit about the book on Facebook or the
Website. In fact, I hope you will want to purchase the TRUTH is on the WALLS. When I began the oral history on Naz in 1988, the Cypress Freeway in West Oakland had been connecting commuters for about thirty years. In order to build that freeway a predominantly
African-American community was torn apart and ultimately the neighborhood completely changed. For more information on the West Oakland neighborhood, one may want to begin at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/environmental_justice/case_studies/case5.cfm.
The destruction of West Oakland reminded me of how people were ripped from their neighborhoods in San Francisco's Fillmore District to, seemingly, make way for an upscale neighborhood that many still cannot afford. The similarities I thought I recognized were that the neighborhoods were predominantly people of color; what I remember most about the Fillmore District as a young girl is that it gave us outrageous music and French foreign films with subtitles. I never lived in West Oakland because I grew up in Southern California but, over the years, friends described the kind of atmosphere in which they were raised there.
It reminded me of District Six and I discussed what happened to our East Bay community with Naz.
I didn’t want to compare South Africa with West Oakland as 60,000 people were forcibly removed (bulldozed out, in fact) from District Six in Cape Town over a fifteen-year period compared to less than 1,000 in West Oakland, but thousands had to be affected with what happened to the West Oakland community over the years. The point is forcing people from their homes and communities in one way or another is something I think we need
to memorialize particularly now with the millions of people banks are planning on displacing with absolutely no thought for the metaphorical bulldozing that will take place in the hearts of people who are once again being forced from their homes and communities. When people are uprooted, bulldozed out, forced from communities, ripped away from familiar camaraderie, I cannot help but believe the pain seeps down into mother earth where she waits in silence. It's a thought – open for discussion because we are interconnected on the worldwide level. In truth, as I was copying the website (shown below) for Sound Rivers, a healing organization, a young woman by the name of Sam stopped by my little cottage looking for support for Assembly and Senate Bills to save our forests from destruction. Put it out into the Universe and sometimes it appears right in front of your face when you least expect it. For a group that is (in part) healing the earth, try the website at Sound Rivers: http://soundrivers.net/
The organization is in the states but quite helpful for everyone. (See two photos at end of this entry.)
When I went to South Africa in October 1988, District Six stood out like the monument to greed that it is. Twenty-four years later (August 2011), it doesn't look too much different. It's still pretty empty. In order to view plans for District Six in the heart of Cape Town, go to:
for the District Six Museum -- an in-depth symbol and depository for heartfelt memories; its beauty is unsurpassed in every way. For me, the Museum also reflects the pain with which many have had to live.
I hope we can learn from one another with this Blog, remembering that we are all interconnected. Will write again next Friday.
Elise is also the author of "Strands," a fiction about 70 year-old Emma who uncovers long-lost strands of her identity by confronting a childhood self she spent decades repressing. It is a magical and multi-layered story, principally set in Ireland's rugged beauty, that takes us on a journey of ancestors who come in on the wind and the rain with unexpected answers to questions that Emma never asked when younger.