TLC #47: 1st Berkshire Primary Forum, Perpetual Foreigners, a Creative Consultation
We begin our show with Alexander Davis, who talks about the meetup with candidates for 1st Berkshires district state representative organized by Greylock Together. Julia Dixon discusses the state of the area’s creative economy and her new endeavor as a consultant who can help both artists and organizations with her experience and insights. We talked at length with Setsuko Winchester about the discussion, “Asian-Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners,” as well the Yellow Bowl Project—her photo/ceramic response to the forced incarceration of Japanese-Americans in concentration camps during World War II.
Greylock Together gives the public a chance to hear from the four Democratic candidates vying for the chance to face off against C
Meet Your 1st Berkshire Candidates
Sunday, September 10; 3:00–4:30 p.m.
Williamstown Youth Center
66 School Street, Williamstown, Mass.
Activist group Greylock Together has invited the candidates for the vacant 1st Berkshire seat in the Massachusetts House to come and speak about their candidacy. Everyone is invited to join us and hear each candidate make a brief pitch about how they would be the best to serve. As of right now, we will hear from all four of the declared candidates: John Barrett III, Lisa Blackmer, Stephanie Bosley, and Kevin Towle.
The event will be broadcast on Willinet. We will have three babysitters available if you need someone to watch your mini-activists, too!
You can come prepared! Over the course of the past couple of months, Greylock Together has assembled a list of goals we wish to achieve on the local, state, and national level. Each goal is supported by a supermajority of our members. While some are not immediately actionable for a state representative, we still think it’s important that our representative shares our goals and values. We have sent out a survey based on these goals to each candidate. Read their responses now.
Alexander Davis is an English teacher and a political activist with Greylock Together. While he’s been a political obsessive for many years, he only really got involved after attending the Women’s March on Washington. Since then, he’s been trying to do what he can. Alexander lives in Williamstown, MA with his wife and baby daughter.
Julia Dixon — Creative Economy Specialist
We were really excited to speak with Julia again, especially upon learning that, as a consultant, she’ll be filling a key need in the region. Now, individuals and organizations can tap into all that she has learned about the cultural landscape in a direct, highly personalized fashion. Visit her website to learn more.
Julia Dixon is an artist, writer, arts administrator, community convener, and creative economy consultant. She is working as a freelance project manager as well as an economic and business consultant based at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts in North Adams, Massachusetts, where she lives. Her previous full time positions include Managing Director of Berkshire Creative and Creative Economy Specialist at 1Berkshire. She is the founder and owner of BerkshireFlirt LLC, founder and host of “Creative City” on WMNB-LP 107.1FM, appointed co-founding member and chair of the North Adams Public Arts Commission, and volunteers as a student mentor. She received her BFA from Purchase College in 2005 and MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2014.
Julia sits on numerous community development and cultural committees. She is an appointed founding member and chair of the North Adams Public Arts Commission, member of the North Adams Exchange (NAX) steering group, member of MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center advisory board, and was a founding board member of the Makers’ Mill in North Adams. In addition, she is passionate about mentoring high school and college students. She co-taught MCLA’s fall 2016 design thinking capstone class Community Engagement in the Arts with department chair Lisa Donovan, Ph.D., and mentored students participating in MCLA’s inaugural Entrepreneurship & Innovation Challenge in 2017.
Julia is a 2017 honoree of Berkshire Community College’s 40 Under Forty awards, recipient of Americans for the Arts’ 2016 Annual Convention scholarship, and 2014 graduate of the Berkshire Leadership Program and former member of its steering committee.
Asian-Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners
The first humans in North American came from the Asian land-mass. Yet somehow Asian-Americans can still be perceived as ‘foreign’. How many years, how many generations must pass before immigrants become ‘American’? Is there a double-standard? Do immigrants from European countries become accepted – and acceptable – sooner than immigrants from other parts of the globe? More laws have been passed in the United States attempting to restrict immigration from Asian countries than from any other part of the world. Japanese-Americans were the only US citizens collectively interned during World War II. And yet Asian-Americans are also paradoxically stereotyped as being a ‘model minority’. What does all this mean?
Join Helen Haerhan Moon, Deepika Shukla, Setsuko Winchester, and K. Scott Wong as they discuss what it means to be Asian-American in the USA and here in the Berkshires.
During the Second World War, the US Government opened ten concentration camps to incarcerate 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry who had been forcibly removed from the West Coast.
Asian-Americans: No More Perpetual Foreigners
Presented by the City of Pittsfield’s Human Rights Commission
Sunday, September 10, 2017, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
39 South Street, Pittsfield, Mass.
(excerpted from submitted info and her project’s website.)
Setsuko Sato Winchester is a former NPR journalist and ceramicist. Photographs of her Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project are currently on exhibit at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, New York, through December 31, 2017.
In 2015, I — an American-Japanese, former NPR journalist, ceramicist — began a journey to visit all the remains of these camps, most of them now desolate and lonely ruins. In my studio in Massachusetts I had hand-pinched and glazed 120 bright yellow tea bowls: yellow, to represent the “Yellow Peril,” as Asians were euphemistically referred to at the time, and tea bowls, to represent man’s humanity. My plan was to photograph arrangements of these bowls in each camp, to create a conceptual art project which I called the “Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project.” The intent of this project is to inform and educate. The hope is to diffuse fear, not spread it.
It was FDR who created the camps — the same FDR who had famously made the iconic Four Freedoms speech. My belief, after much research, is that “Japanese-Americans,” imprisoned in these ten camps wrongly and unjustly, were about as frightening as the tea bowls I planned to display. It is widely agreed today that there was absolutely nothing to fear from them. And it turns out — the irony at the center of my art project — that they had much to fear from the US Government.
Hence my project.
Helen Moon is a critical care nurse at Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. While studying at UMass Boston, she worked and volunteered her time to community programing and advocacy groups affecting Black, Korean and Vietnamese Americans in the greater Boston region. Moon has lead summer camps for Somalian refugee children in Ethiopia, taught English to children in Mexico, served food to homeless veterans in Boston, and has had tea with Muslim women in Egypt. It is because of her love of people from all walks of life, and her continued pursuit of human rights, equal representation, and diversity that Moon is honored to engage in conversations that enrich our understanding of race relations here in Berkshire County.
Deepika Bains Shukla
Deepika Bains Shukla is an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts in Springfield. She prosecutes federal criminal cases involving fraud, public corruption, gun and drug crimes, terrorism, and civil rights crimes. Before coming to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Deepika was a Staff Attorney at the Connecticut Fair Housing Center, a litigator at a small civil rights firm, and an associate at a large law firm in New York.
Setsuko Winchester, born in New York City of Japanese immigrant parents, worked as a journalist, editor and producer at NPR’s Morning Edition and Talk of the Nation before moving to Western Massachusetts in 2006 to pursue a life-long interest in ceramics and the visual arts. In 2015 those interests of art and journalism converged in an online project called the Freedom From Fear/Yellow Bowl Project. Using her ceramics and photography, her work explores the concept of freedom and what it could mean to different groups at different times in American history through the lens of the mass incarceration of people of Japanese ethnicity in the United States during WWII. The actual tea bowls used in this project were selected by SculptureNow and are installed on the grounds of the Mount, the home of Edith Wharton in Lenox, MA (from June 1- Oct.31, 2017). You can find her website at: http://www.yellowbowlproject.com
K. Scott Wong
K. Scott Wong is the Charles R. Keller Professor of History at Williams College where he teaches a variety of courses in Asian American history, comparative immigration history, history and memory, and the history of race and ethnicity in American culture. He has written numerous articles in journals and anthologies. His most recent monograph is “Americans First”: Chinese Americans and the Second World War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005.) He is also a former series editor for the Asian American History and Culture series published by Temple University Press.
Densho’s mission is to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy, and promote equal justice for all.