What could we be?

Amidst the many reasons for grief and anger I am grateful for wildness and nature. I’m grateful for humans who are steadily moving towards being in right relationship with each other and the more than human world. That phrase – right relationship – is woven throughout adrienne maree brown‘s work and I muse on it’s possibilities often. A life of generative reciprocity. If we lived into those possibilities, what could we be?

From Banks and Tanks to Cooperation and Caring

From Banks and Tanks to Cooperation and Caring

As we exercise our radical imagination (adrienne again), Movement Generation’s extremely inspirational zine, From Banks and Tanks to Cooperation and Caring: A Strategic Framework for a Just Transition is highly recommended.

“A Just Transition requires us to build a visionary economy for life in a way that is very different than the economy we are in now. Constructing this visionary economy calls for strategies that democratize, decentralize and diversify economic activity while we damper down consumption, and (re)distribute resources and power. This zine is our offering towards that end – it is a humble point of departure for folks interested in building collective vision and action towards Ecological Justice that does not separate humans from nature, or social equity from ecological integrity.”

I’m here for it.

Capitalism, creatives, craft beer

In the meantime, this Joey & Sean video, People from “Up & Coming” Art Cities, really hit a sore spot:

Clearly much to discuss here, Asheville!

To inform our discussion, I share Katherine Cutshall’s 2019 thesis, Pack(ed) Place: Cultural Heritage Tourism in Buncombe County, NC Past, Present, and Future. In it, she describes how, “After the latest major economic recession, Asheville turned its gaze away from preservation and heritage tourism toward hospitality industry development. Focus on hotels, and general neglect for the state of heritage tourism infrastructure and the robusticity of heritage tourism programs have, over the past nearly two decades, been detrimental to the participation of working-class residents in heritage tourism programs.” 

Yet, as always, we can change our trajectory. What could we be?

Cartoon by Brent Brown for Mountain Xpress, April 2021

Abolish the TDA

The recent TDA retreat, which was covered by Mountain Xpress in “TDA projects roaring year for Buncombe visitation” (worth reading), reminds us why we need to Abolish the TDA.

Excerpt: “The final pillar of the board’s discussion involved Asheville’s ‘creative spirit’ and how tourism authorities might support area artists and makers. Before settling on specific programs to bolster creatives, said consultant Rodney Payne, Asheville should hold a community discussion regarding its ‘place DNA.’…

While Payne stressed the need to involve residents in the articulation of Asheville’s DNA, TDA board Chair Himanshu Karvir expressed skepticism that such a discussion would be productive. ‘If we start that conversation with locals, it would start by saying, ‘We’re already maxed out. Let’s pull back,’ Karvir said. ‘That’s not what we want to do; that’s not where our goal is. Our goal is to get more visitors here, to get more overnight stays.’..

A good starting point, Payne suggested, might be conducting a carrying capacity study to objectively establish Buncombe County’s current limits for accommodating visitors. ‘It’s great to want to increase prosperity, but how much is enough?’ he asked. ‘How many people is too many for our place? I think until you can answer that question, you can’t really build a plan.’

After Payne left the virtual meeting, [CEO Vic] Isley told the board that she had asked him to speak because he was ‘a bit provocative.’ Although she acknowledged that the TDA needed to do more research on visitor impacts, she assured members that their job was not to limit tourism.’

ACK. And there’s more troubling, problematic stuff from the retreat outlined in that article. I was going to write a letter to the editor, but then I saw that Brent Brown expressed some of what I was thinking in his latest cartoon.

Reading about the retreat can inform the talking points you’ll use when you contact the Buncombe County commissioners soon to call for the county to stop collecting the occupancy tax until our community can direct how it’s spent (instead of an unaccountable body of corporate interests).

Anything less is not enough.

Stella Stellar Network

From their GoFundMe: “Pearl and Sapphire are the founders of Stella Stellar Network, LLC. Located in Western North Carolina, we provide youth engagement and development services for our community in need. Currently we are providing private care. However due to uncertainties of COVID-19 the need of Stella Stellar services are greater, therefore we have recently invested in a building. Our start goal is to raise $10,000 dollars to support the building bills, furniture, school supplies and food. Thus far we have saved $3,500 dollars. We are asking for $6,500 dollars to help us meet our goal and continue providing services for our community. Our deadline to reach this goal is April 26th, 2021.”

Click here to donate!

adrienne maree brown

Social Justice as Science Fiction: The Queerness of Liberation

While it’s online so it’s not like she’s actually gonna be right down the road and in person, I do still want to share this announcement: “UNC Asheville will host author and science fiction scholar adrienne maree brown for a keynote lecture, “Social Justice as Science Fiction: The Queerness of Liberation,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 22. The virtual event is free and open to the public, and will stream via Zoom and Facebook live here. Brown’s lecture will explore organizing in the context of science fiction and radical imagination, centering the contributions of queer and trans activists, thought leaders, and artists of color as central parts of liberation movements past and present.”

As always, I hope something here is of use to you and your part in the Just Transition. Much love.

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2 thoughts on “What could we be?

  1. Thanks for these resources as always Ami. I also sink into the words right relationship and reciprocity every time I read them. I emailed myself a link to the zine to print at the Hot Springs Library later this week.


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