I was washing dishes just now when the postman honked twice. (Yes, he really does always honk twice when he has a package to deliver). I was surprised and delighted to see it was for me, and even more surprised and delighted to open it and find Si Kahn's new book. First, a bit about Si, and then why it is so timely right now. A big thank you to Jane/Gigi for thinking of me, and bringing back great memories.
Jane and I met Si at a NASW conference in Dallas, Texas. We wanted to bring him to Abilene, and asked him how much it would cost. He said, "You have to have a rich uncle." Not daunted, we countered, "How rich does that uncle have to be?" Turns out, not all that much. We fundraised, collected sponsors, wrote a small grant, and voila! A few months later, picked him up at the Abilene airport.
Though the primary part of his weekend was spent at HSU doing workshops for students and area social workers, he took time to visit the newly created Abilene Peace & Justice Center, Jane and my recent venture. He also joined us with some other friends for a pot luck, and was such a gracious guest.
Si even good-naturedly put his handprint on the wall and signed it for us, after first asking, "Will the paint wash off?" His handprint was the first, and many would follow during all the activities we held at the center.
We held our first Peace Camp that summer. Somehow, the local newspaper got wind of it and wrote an article, which was followed by an editorial about "two local social workers quietly creating anti-violence training."
In the photo above, Jane's daughters Susan (back row, 3rd from left) and Bonnie (center, 3rd from left), and my son, J (front row, left) were part of our first crew. You can also see how many more handprints were on the wall following Si's initiation of what became a tradition for every activity we held there.
As I was over in the Delta last Wednesday, I was setting up a meeting for January, for us to at long last get started on the community work there. I don't know where we will end up--perhaps a little rabble-rousing, a little activism, or maybe just some quiet love of justice, but we will definitely be focusing on some creative community organizing. I'll be doing my homework before next Monday, thanks to Jane.