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Two memorial celebrations in 3 days

Posted in Uncategorized by sndybeech on October 26, 2011

Not my favorite kind of week but both the people celebrated were so remarkable I cannot help but remark

Rudi Nussbaum and Joan Shipley–one a holocaust survivor, nuclear physicist and anti-nuclear activist, the other a Portland native and incredible advocate for the arts. Both terrible losses for Portland

Their celebrations were entirely different. Rudi’s the kind where a mic is passed around for anyone to speak–and I heard wonderful stories from the Handford downwinders he went bat for, his academic colleagues, fellow musicians (yes, he played piano very well) and more. A weeping young woman came from Saskatuwan; she had seen Rudi only once for a week but chauffeured him and treasured the experience. Joan’s was a well choreographed performance, just what she would have loved.

Rudi’s story as a survivor is fascinating–check out the column by Steve Duin in the Oregonian:

Joan deserved a like tribute for different reasons. I’m not sure why the Oregonian hasn’t given her one yet (she did get a decent obituary but yesterday the Arts Community offered up theirs at a celebration of her life at PNCA (Pacific NW College of Art) with Thomas Lauderdale on the piano,  Linda K Johnson & Minh Tran dancing, China Forbes and Rebecca Gates singing, PICA founding director Kristy Edmunds, long departed from Portland, speaking, Ginny Cooper reading Wm Stafford and more (I lost my program so I can’t give the complete rundown–and so many people came I couldn’t get another).  She was the only one missing.

Losing people is the hardest part of growing older and losing ones like these is the worst.

Discharge The Debt Rally

Posted in Uncategorized by sndybeech on October 18, 2011

Student Loan Justice Portland held a rally yesterday across the street from where the bankruptcy court meets. I learned the harsh and shocking situation our current student loan system puts people in today. (By chance I later talked to an older student loan holder who told me she was able to get in a program that allows your loan to be forgiven after 30 years–thirty years!!–if you have been paying faithfully BUT THAT IS NO LONGER AN OPTION for the younger students who were demonstrating yesterday)

I heard stories to break your heart–young people whose lives are forever hobbled by their debt. A woman who owes $100,000 told by the bank that the way she can cancel the debt is to die. A woman told by the school she’d get a job paying $100,000 and has only been able to get $15 an hour, no benefit jobs. People paying $450 a month, $500. One paying for ten years and still owing as much as she did at the beginning. Others whose debt has increased while they pay.

The worse part is that these loans cannot be cancelled by bankruptcy–NOT ALLOWED FOR STUDENT LOANS ONLY

When I was a student, tuition and living expenses were reasonable enough that it was possible to work your way thru school. No more. We need to do something to change this or most of our young people will not able to get higher education. Talk about the economic divide!