27 June, 2007

U.S. Social Forum - Day 1

It's summer in Atlanta, which means it's often cooler outside than on the MARTA trains. This morning my co-commuters and I, packed into our tin can in hamam-like conditions, rode quietly into our respective days. Wearing my Hijabman Where's the Love shirt I garnered a few wary looks. Maybe it was my messenger bag; large enough that I am more-or-less living out of it during the Forum.

"So, 'Where's the love', what does that mean?" an older man asked pointing at the English translation and then at the Arabic script. "Is that sarcasm?"

Walking from the Civic Center station I saw tiny flocks of co-conspirators on street corners waiting for pedestrian lights to change, USSF badges flapping at their chests.

Set-up is ongoing, especially here in the Ida B. Wells Media Justice Center. If you're attending USSF, or you're registered media, or simply signing up as a MJC volunteer - we truly, greatly need volunteers! - be sure to check out the MJC schedule of events. We'll be hosting some specific trainings to increase your media savvy. Should be WELL worth your time. Also, for those of you with skills, interests, specific media equipment, and/or a project in mind the MJC has a collaboration board to enable you to connect with the people and tools you need to make your vision reality.

11:30AM- Still setting up the MJC and working out kinks. The Poor Magazine group just arrived and I helped orient them. I'm sitting in one of the training/work station rooms listening to the thoughtful, raspy voice of one young woman from Poor dictating the story of their journey to the USSF.

This being a volunteer-run event, things are extremely fluid. There are complaints about many things and those of us who have jumped in are trying our best to sort things out. Some of the complaints are routine - the location of the MJC, coffee stirrers need to be bought, a certain sign needs to be created - and some are not - I hear someone in the hall saying the structure of the MJC smacks of classism and imperialism. Uh, I'll try to work on that when I finish the collaboration board......

I'll be updating as I go today. Just giving you a feel. The workshops begin tomorrow and I hope to share the information, experiences, and connections from the sessions I attend. I am also hope to craft a few specific stories relating to my own interests, which I would post after next week.

Hopefully by tonight I will be able to let you know how to access the video podcasts of the workshops and plenaries via the USSF web site. For now I am off to find passage to the parade.


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