Sí se puede

Sí se puede

It’s been now about a month that the former meeting place of Cesar Chavez and his followers was honored as a Historic National Landmark. Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission Chapel in San Jose, before it became know as McDonnell Hall, was essential for the San Jose United Farm Workers movement during the 1950s and 1960s. It supported local migrant workers with basic services and a space for organisational meetings.

McDonnell Hall, San JoseCesar Chavez was introduced to Father McDonnell in 1952. McDonnell was a big influence on Chavez and started educating him on nonviolence and social justice teaching using the examples of Gandhi and St. Francis.

When McDonnell opened his parish in East San Jose it was still known as Sal Si Puedes [or “Get Out If You Can”]. In 1972 Chavez and Dolores Huerta came up with the revised phrase: Sí se puede, which Obama used in his campaign as ‘Yes, we can!”

The city of San Jose’s memorial walk for Cesar Chavez from 2009 lists the McDonnell Hall, but also Chavez Family Home, 53 Scharff Ave., San Joseincludes other places such as Chavez house and school.

http://www.sanjoseca.gov/documentcenter/view/6813

 

Who is your favourite non-violent leader?

 

Related links:

Mercury News:

San Jose: Cesar Chavez meeting house now national landmark

United Farm Workers:

Father McDonnell introduced a young Cesar Chavez to social justice teachings

 

Commemorate black history

Commemorate black history

February is black history month. A good way to educate yourself on an aspect of black history is the current exhibit of the Oakland Museum of California: All power to the people: Black Panthers at 50.

Unity is the solution poster from the Black Panthers at 50 exhibit at the Oakland Museum of CaliforniaUntil February 26th this will show original documents of the panthers, never seen photos, and the cultural component of the movement. 

It was surprising to me that the movement was composed by 2/3 of woman, who also held leadership positions.  In an early draft of their program it showed that they thought about a basic income, which is a much discussed topic all around the world right now.

When I visited on Super Bowl Sunday I hoped to be there pretty much by myself. Due to this highly popular exhibit and the fact that on every first Sunday of the month the entry is free (they ask for donations), I had to wait for about half an hour in line.

Besides the Black Panther exhibit I also saw: Out of the box: The rise of sneaker culture. I never thought that sneakers could be so interesting! The story of Carl Lewis’s shoes or a sole making Obama prints is very cool.

Sign to warn drivers that immigrants might cross, at the Oakland Museum of CaliforniaTo complete my visit I went to see the Gallery of California history exhibit. Very well organized time periods of Californian history. What struck me was the timeliness of their showing of the Mexican border and the last piece of the exhibit some food for thought about the Dakota Native Americans.

There are also the art and science exhibits that I did not have time to visit.

Opening hours:

Mon – Tue: closed, Wed – Thur: 11am – 5pm, Fri: 11am – 9pm, Sat – Sun: 10am – 6pm

How do you celebrate black history?

Learn from Executive Order history

Learn from Executive Order history

February 19th, also known as the Day of Remembrance, marks the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066 which led to the forced incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, two-thirds of whom were American citizens.

Shoes and bed of the living quarters in the Japanese American Museum in San JoseTo learn about the incarceration, the Japanese American Museum of San Jose put together an extensive exhibit, not only detailing the different camps, but also showing a rebuild of a living quarter of Tule Lake.

This museum presents the history of Japanese Americans from the gold rush to the resettlement. I was led through the exhibit by Abe, who was an excellent tour guide and very knowledgeable. For only $5 (seniors and students pay $3) this interesting museum about Japanese American history should be on everyone’s must-see-in-San-Jose list.

Will you remember?

Japanese American Museum of San Jose

535 N 5th St, San Jose, CA 95112
Opening hours are: Thursday through Sunday, 12 – 4 pm

February 19th, Day of Remembrance

5:30 p.m – 7:30 p.m
This year under the theme: Stand up to Hate
San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin
640 North Fifth Street
San Jose, CA  95112

Ask what you can do

Ask what you can do

Last Saturday way more than 1.5 Million all around the world took to the streets to show unity against the new government that threatens so many of our American rights.

Whether this was your first march or, like one sign read: “I can’t believe I’m still marching for this!”, this marked a new beginning.

Now the question arises: What’s next?

Get involved

I think the first step to keep the momentum going is to organize a group of like-minded, get to know your neighbors and/or volunteer in your community. The greatest strength comes from compassion.organize

10 different actions for the next 100 days – form the official women’s march team
The indivisible guide
– lets you search by zip code for groups in your area

Next steps salon –  a web site to help on community building

100daysaction.net/ Bay Area artists response to Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office

Find your cause and volunteer

Volunteermatch.org

Idealst.org

Handson Network

 

Contact your representatives, get virtual active and vote

www.house.gov/representatives/find/ – find out who your representative is and contact them with concerns

Call the halls – a guide to citizen advocacy

There are a lot of campaigning communities, here are few:

Avaaz

Sum of us

Move on

Change.org

Stay angry. Care. Be compassionate.

Or like  Aziz Ansari put it in last weeks SNL Monologue: “[…]if you look at our country’s history, change doesn’t come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if Day 1 is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen.

 

What is your next step?

Get some old recipes

Get some old recipes

The new exhibit at the Los Altos History Museum is called: Seaweed, Salmon and Manzanita Cider. Until April 16, 2017 you can learn how the Native Americans prepared their food and valued their relationship with nature.

Recipe collection from the exhibit 'Seaweed, Salmon, and Manzanita Cider' at the Los Alto History Museum, Los AltosRight at the beginning they offer some recipes to take home. I came back with inspirations on  Rose Hip or Elderberry Syrup and how to cook Salmon on Redwood Sticks.

Thanks to a wonderful volunteer, I was also shown around the J. Gilbert Smith House.

The upstairs is currently home of the Raggedy Ann and Andy exhibit. Raggedy Ann and Andy collection at the J. Gilbert Smith House, Los AltosThe whole home has been outfitted with things from the early 1900s. The cupboards are stuffed with the packaging of this time. The sleeping quarters are upstairs, with toys and cloth to imagine the life of the former inhabitants.

You can find  the permanent exhibit: Crown of the Peninsula back in the museum on the second floor. This shows the usage of the land from the Ohlone Indians, to the Mexicans, to the early American settlers and orchard growers. What makes this collection most appealing for little children is the First St. model railroad or the signs that invite ‘Try us on’ or ‘Open me’.

Admission is free (donations are appreciated)

Opening hours are: Thursday – Sunday noon to 4

What is your favorite time period in history?

Walk the trails between Bay and posts

Walk the trails between Bay and posts

The BYXBEE Park in Palo Alto is named after John Fletcher Byxbee, a local engineer, who first recommended developing the Baylands as a public park.

The park lies behind the Palo Alto airport and is part of the Baylands Nature Preserve, one of the largest areas of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay.

People here appreciate the long, flat trails for a nice walking, running or biking workout. The unique mixture of tidal and freshwater habitats makes this a welcoming terrain for birds of all kinds.

Art installation in Byxbee Park, Palo AltoThe art that is displayed might make some people wonder: Posts that start small but grow in height, lining a small path up a hill.

These 72 posts made from concrete highway barriers symbolize the mesh between former landfill and new nature sanctuary.  Art installation in Byxbee Park, Palo Alto

 

The artists Peter Richards and Michael Oppenheimer in a collaboration with the landscape architects Hargreaves Associates, developed this 29 acre park and won the national ASAL Honer Award in 1993.

Have you ever pondered about the posts at Byxbee Park?

See petrified in wine country

See petrified in wine country

We went to Calistoga as kind of a pre-Christmas treat. One thing I know is that I have to come back! First, I did not get to try out the famous mud bath, (maybe I wasn’t ready for it?), the wine tasting rooms looked cosy and the lunch we had at the Culinary Institute was divine!

What we did do was go and see the Petrified Forest.

Over 3 million years ago a volcano erupted and covered the nearby redwoods in ash. Mineral rich water seeped down and the silica replaced the cells and made huge trees into fossils.

Petrified tree with concentric splits (parallel beaks along the trunk) at the Petrified Forest in Calistoga.We did the self-guided tour that showed us not only the petrified woods, but also some other current trees, like the beautiful red barked manzanita.

This was a fun excursion, and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the wine country. Admission was a bit pricy, adults $12, Juniors $8, but we did have fun outdoors.

If you are looking for an interesting stay they also offer a vacation rental.

Have you ever seen petrified wood?

Welcome the long-distance travelers

Welcome the long-distance travelers

The migration path of the monarch butterflies is quite amazing. They are the only insects that migrate to places that are 3,000 miles away. From October to January the monarchs visit the Bay Area. Last week I named Ardenwood, the historic farm in Fremont, as one of the places you can see monarchs.

 

Boardwalk at the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa CruzAnother special place to see them is the Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz. They created a boardwalk for people to observe and learn about the butterflies. For some reason the clusters are at Lighthouse Field State Beach, two miles away from the Natural Bridge State Beach.

 

In an eucalyptus tree hundreds of them bundle together and warm each other. Cluster of monarch butterflies at the Lighthouse Field State BeachThey look like brown leaves, but when it gets warmer they start flying off. The monarchs need a temperature of over 55F to be able to fly.

 

Graphic illustrating the flight path of four generations of monarch butterfliesSome monarchs live for only four to six weeks, while others live six to eight months and have to fly really far to escape the cold weather. What is amazing is that the fourth generation returns to the places the first generation came from.

 

 

Have you seen a cluster of monarchs before?

See a historic farm

See a historic farm

Sometimes I feel it’s worth to remember that we have an easy life. We can go to the store and buy whatever we feel like – even fruit and vegetables that are not in season.

If we just step back in time about 150 years, we can see that it was actually hard work to get food on the table.

The Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont is a great exhibit of early farm life, livestock and local history.

"Mary had a little _ and her _ was white as snow" sign in front of a stall at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontThey have cute signs in front of the coops and stalls to teach and engage the little "What came first the chicken or the egg" sign in front of a stall in Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremontones about the animals inhabiting them. There are a few varieties of chicken, little piggies and some unusual birds. This is a great place to bird watch, over 99 different species have been recorded.  A Guide to the Birds of Ardenwood Historic Farm

 

Monarch butterfly at Ardenwood Historic Farm, FremontDuring the winter month, from December to mid-February monarch butterflies overwinter here. In the summer they offer tractor rides and the train operates between the Ardenwood station and the Deer Park station. You can also see an original Victorian garden and visit the Patterson Victorian house.

There is a lot to see and to do, especially for little kids.

 

Entry fee is between $3 and $6, for special events $8.

 

What is your favorite time period?

 

You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

You decide: Rodin vs. Papua New Guinea

Stanford is famous for their large Rodin collection. In fact the bronze collection with over 200 pieces is amongst the largest in the world. Two of the best known sculptures are  ‘The Gates of Hell’ and ‘The Thinker’. You can admire them inside and outside the Cantor Arts Center. They also offer docent lead tours Wednesdays at 2 pm, Saturdays at 11:30 am, and Sundays at 3 pm, rain or shine. Meet in the main lobby. Learn more

https://museum.stanford.edu/view/rodin.html

The two gates of hell at Stanford University

A different display of art is the New Guinea Sculpture Garden. As a modern / tribal collaboration project they mixed traditional stories with modern ideas. When they learned about the famous Rodin sculptures one of the artist proclaimed: ‘”I can do this – even better!’ Their versions of ‘The Gates of Hell” and ‘The Thinker’ can be found among a multitude of other sculptures.

Which is the better version will be in the eye of the beholder.  If you are willing to judge or explore you can find the garden on the corner of Lomita and Santa Teresa.  They also do a tour every third Sunday at 2 pm.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papua_New_Guinea_Sculpture_Garden
Which artist do you prefer?