Charming Central Coast: Aboriginal Organisations and Sights on Darkinjung Land

Sommersby Falls with the blog post title overlaid: Charming Central Coast - Aboriginal Organisations and Sights on Darkinjung Land

I’ve previously mentioned that I’d been away on secondment for six weeks at the end of last year. I was part of a national program that matches professionals from policy and corporate sectors with Aboriginal-controlled community organisations. I worked with Barang Regional Alliance (Barang) on the Central Coast, on their Empower Youth Summit, which was held last weekend, on 23-24 February 2019. Barang looks after the interests of 12,500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on Darkinjung land. It was a pleasure to work on this meaningful project and to learn more about Barang and its partners, whom I touch on below. You can see the Barang team and my fellow secondees below.

Next time, I’ll talk a little on my project, and some photos from the weekend, attended by 120 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.  Today, I’m going to focus more on my broader experience on the Central Coast, especially the Aboriginal-Controlled organisations with whom we collaborated, as well as the cultural walks and sights. I’ll share with you a visual sociology of our visit to Finchley Campground, the beautiful rock art at Baiame Cave and Bulgandry, the Koori Art Exhibition, various national parks and festivals, plus much more!

Continue reading Charming Central Coast: Aboriginal Organisations and Sights on Darkinjung Land

Social scientists are concerned with not just with the trends in medicine to treat bodily ailments, but also how professionals interact with individuals and their communities. We address health knowledge – such as how people understand their bodies, how they experience wellbeing and illness, and the power relationships that disrupt balance.

The Closing the Gap report of 2013 identifies that Indigenous mortality is linked to preventable chronic diseases such as cardiovascular-related issues, circulatory disease, diabetes, cancer, and injuries. Indigenous Australians are seven times more likely to get diabetes than other Australians; they are also three times more likely to be smokers; and they are significantly more likely to have an undiagnosed cancer for much longer. This is due to poor access to medical care as well as nutritional and health education.

Life expectancy can therefore be improved by targeting the quality of life and lifestyle of our Indigenous communities – but these have to include Indigenous community workers, as Government programs are poorly targeted.

Read the social science: http://socialscienceinsights.com/2014/06/30/health-life-expectancy.

Photo: Indigenous performers celebrate culture in Mosman, Sydney. Photo by Mosman Council via Flickr, adapted by @SocialScienceIn on Instagram.

#VisualSociology of the #Western #Suburbs of #Melbourne, #Australia: Caroline Springs is a relatively new area that…

#VisualSociology of the #Western #Suburbs of #Melbourne, #Australia: Caroline Springs is a relatively new area that had a bad reputation about a decade a go. First because the media sensationalised illegal cock fighting as something that was endemic of its residents. It wasn’t; it was a tiny minority of unethical people treating animals illegally. Second, I was struck by the number of people who lived in the longer established outer suburbs in the West who looked down on the families who moved into these new estates. There was both a class & racist undertone as it was predominantly young non-English speaking #migrant background and #WorkingClass people who first flocked to this area. Now this suburb has expanded greatly and it is relatively expensive compared to prices only a few years a go. It will be interesting to see whether this area becomes gentrified in the near future with house prices ever increasing. I’m ever fascinated with the need to construct artificial lakes in these new estates. This #lake is a central feature along the centre of the shopping precinct, compete with #ducks & a “do not swim” warning. #sociology #CALD #community #socialscience #migration #carolinesprings #water http://buff.ly/1EfFYDS

Sociologists please share widely

Sociologists please share widely

Consider adding your voice by signing the open letter by Sociologists for Justice. Use the tag #socforjustice

From my blog: http://goo.gl/qUKNHk

Originally shared by Zuleyka Zevallos

Social Justice in Ferguson

Over 1,400 sociologists have signed an open letter protesting police brutality in Ferguson, USA. The letter includes practical measures to address the killing of Michael Brown and mistreatment of protesters in Ferguson. Coordinated by Sociologists for Justice, the letter shows that systemic racism needs to be addressed as well as wider socio-economic and political issues to ensure effective change is enacted.

The book The New Jim Crow outlines how the criminal justice system in America is affected by systemic racism (http://goo.gl/WUp7mx). Additionally, decades of sociological research shows that police officers’ decision-making is affected by racial stereotypes and that better training can address this bias. Effective change in community policing begins by understanding the effects of the victimisation of people of colour and by addressing the institutional practices that lead to excessive policing of people of colour.

Below are the suggestions outlined in the open letter, but I urge you to read the letter in full as it summarises sociological research on race bias in policing. Links on where sociologists can add their name to the open letter are below. 

Practical Measures to Address Justice in Ferguson – by Sociologists for Justice

There are no short cuts to addressing systemic problems. However, as our nation again confronts the reality of race within the criminal justice system, we urge the following actions to facilitate an appropriate response to the death of Michael Brown, and to begin moving toward addressing the systemic racialised police practices that devalue and threaten Black lives.

1. Immediate assurance from law enforcement authorities in Missouri and the federal government that constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of the press will be protected.

2. A civil rights investigation into the incidents related to the death of Michael Brown and general police practices in Ferguson.

3. The establishment of an independent committee to study and analyse the failures of the policing efforts during the week following Michael Brown’s death. 4. Ferguson residents, including leaders of grassroots organizations, should be included on the committee throughout this process. The committee must provide a clear roadmap for resetting community-police relations in a way that grants oversight power to residents.

5. An independent comprehensive national study of the role of implicit bias and systemic racism in policing. Federal funding should be allocated to support police departments in implementing the recommendations from the study and ongoing monitoring and public reporting of key benchmarks (e.g., use of force, arrests by race) and improvements in police practices.

6. Legislation requiring the use of dash and body-worn cameras to record all police interactions. Data from these devices should be immediately stored in tamper-proof databases, and there should be clear procedures for public access to any such recordings.

7. Increased transparency of public law enforcement, including independent oversight agencies with guaranteed full access to law enforcement policies and on-the-ground operations; and more streamlined, transparent and efficient procedures for the processing of complaints and FOIA requests.

8. Federal legislation, currently being developed by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), to halt the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, and additional legislation to curtail the use of such equipment against domestic civilian populations.

9. Establishment of a ‘Ferguson Fund’ that will support long term strategies grounded in the principles of social justice, systems reform and racial equity to bring about substantial and sustained change in Ferguson and other communities facing similar challenges.

– Sociologists for Justice.

Open letter & where sociologists can sign: http://sociologistsforjustice.wordpress.com/public-statement/

Learn More

#OpenAccess research on racial bias in policing: 

*How racial stereotypes affect police shooting decisions: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-9261006.pdf 

*How better training mediates this bias: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/pdf/ps/racialbias.pdf?origin=publication_detail 

*How policing and stereotype threat affects Black communities: http://indigo.uic.edu/bitstream/handle/10027/8336/Stereotype%20Threat%20in%20Interrogations%20-%20Najdowski%20-%20In%20Press.pdf?sequence=1

*Reflections on Trayvon Martin & how social science interventions can help: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3718570/

Image: by me.

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[Image text] We are troubled by the killing of Michael Brown. We are troubled by the excessive show of force and militarised response to protesters who rightfully seek justice and demand a change in the treatment of people of colour by law enforcement. – Sociologists for Justice.

#socforjustice #sociology #socialscience #michaelbrown #ferguson #police #community #socialjustice #trayvonmartin #racism #peopleofcolor #poc #peopleofcolour   #stereotypes   #stereotypethreat   #psychology  

Social Justice in Ferguson

Over 1,400 sociologists have signed an open letter protesting police brutality in Ferguson, USA. The letter includes practical measures to address the killing of Michael Brown and mistreatment of protesters in Ferguson. Coordinated by Sociologists for Justice, the letter shows that systemic racism needs to be addressed as well as wider socio-economic and political issues to ensure effective change is enacted.

The book The New Jim Crow outlines how the criminal justice system in America is affected by systemic racism. Additionally, decades of sociological research shows that police officers’ decision-making is affected by racial stereotypes and that better training can address this bias (more links below). Effective change in community policing begins by understanding the effects of the victimisation of people of colour and by addressing the institutional practices that lead to excessive policing of people of colour. Below are the suggestions outlined in the open letter, but I urge you to read the letter in full as it summarises sociological research on race bias in policing. You can also add your name to the open letter, as I have done.

Social Justice for Michael Brown and Ferguson
We are troubled by the killing of Michael Brown. We are troubled by the excessive show of force and militarised response to protesters who rightfully seek justice and demand a change in the treatment of people of colour by law enforcement. – Sociologists for Justice.

Continue reading Social Justice in Ferguson

I just finished writing about the benefits of letting employees do volunteering as part of their paid work and to fulfil corporate responsibility. Volunteering improves social good and there are flow on gains for businesses. Employees feel positive, like their work is valued. Plus volunteering improves networks, community ties and demonstrates social commitment beyond simple economic interests. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that the not-for-profit sector represents over $14.6 billion of work to the economy: “Volunteers make a valuable contribution to society in both economic and social terms. Volunteers provide services which would otherwise have to be paid for or left undone, allowing organisations to allocate their often limited finances elsewhere.” #socialscience #sociology #business #corporate #corporateresponsibility #socialgood #notforprofit #nfp #humanresources #volunteering #startups #entrepreneurship #visualsociology #community #communitywork

#Sociology of #community: A group who follow a social structure within a society (culture, norms, values, status). They may work together to organise social life within a particular place,
or they may be bound by a sense of belonging sustained across time and space. We start students thinking about community using the work of Ferdinand Toennies. He used the concept of gemienschaft to study the close social ties in rural and pre-industrial societies, where everyone knows one another and bonds overlap. For example your local grocerer is also your neighbour, you socialise together and you may be their children’s teacher. Gesellschaft is the opposite. Toennies used this to describe urban, post-industrial communities where people don’t necessarily know their neighbours and locals have specialised roles. You may not know your grocerer by name or associate outside their shop. Toennies sees the former as an ideal community and the latter as a problem. Durkheim and other sociologists have argued against the idealism of this typology as close-knit communities are more likely to adhere to traditions that demand strict obedience and reinforce individual oppression. Debates about community continue to this day, affecting the work of applied sociologists who address disadvantage. Some communities are held up as an ideal and so resources are allocated to groups who appear to conform to policy definitions of a “good community.” Other communities are stigmatised so programs either neglect their needs or focus on their deficiencies rather than their strenghts.

I’ve got a couple of posts and videos on community #work soon. Until then, have a think about how definitions of community might affect #AppliedSociology. For example, I took this photo over the weekend at the #Hispanic Street Festival in #Melbourne #Australia. This event is one of the ways that #multiculturalism officially recognises and supports minority communities- by sponsoring community shows revolving around food and music. Social welfare, political recognition and other community issues of difference gain less social attention and funding. #visualsociology #society #socialscience #latin

#VisualSociology of the #Western #Suburbs of #Melbourne, #Australia: Caroline Springs is a relatively new area that had a bad reputation about a decade a go. First because the media sensationalised illegal cock fighting as something that was endemic of its residents. It wasn’t; it was a tiny minority of unethical people treating animals illegally. Second, I was struck by the number of people who lived in the longer established outer suburbs in the West who looked down on the families who moved into these new estates. There was both a class & racist undertone as it was predominantly young non-English speaking #migrant background and #WorkingClass people who first flocked to this area. Now this suburb has expanded greatly and it is relatively expensive compared to prices only a few years a go. It will be interesting to see whether this area becomes gentrified in the near future with house prices ever increasing. I’m ever fascinated with the need to construct artificial lakes in these new estates. This #lake is a central feature along the centre of the shopping precinct, compete with #ducks & a “do not swim” warning. #sociology #CALD #community #socialscience #migration #carolinesprings #water

#SocialPolicy makers need ongoing #research into the social behaviour of #crowds. This is partly about planning, such as management of landscapes, improving infrastructure, decreasing traffic congestion and so on. This is also because local #communities need to improve #SocialService delivery. #Cities often have big influxes of people flowing through daily, presenting cultural challenges, increasing demand for #EmergencyResponse, or requiring information. The #Government also sees a need to increase social control in busy areas. This is why many places have laws about what constitutes loitering, often unfairly targeting #youth or applying #stereotypes of #minorities. #SocialScience can help by providing social insight on how different crowds behave and advising how to improve services so that #LocalCouncil, #SocialPolicy and #LawEnforcement aren’t marginalising vulnerable groups. #sociology #psychology #law #police #community #communitywork #socialwork #culture #society #socialresearch #Melbourne #Australia (at Lonsdale Street)

I learned the phrase ‘bottle episode’ from Abed in Community, the episode Cooperative Calligraphy. He says: ‘I hate bottle episodes. They’re wall-to-wall facial expressions and emotional nuance. I might as well sit in the corner with a bucket on my head’. The awesome site TV Tropes explains that when tv shows have used up all their budget on other major episodes, they contrive a situation where the main characters are kept in a single location to keep costs down. In the case of this community episode, Annie believes someone stole her pen and she keeps the study group locked together while she questions everyone incessantly, as tensions and hilarity rise. Abed delivers this sweet reprieve: 

If I could just take this time to share a few words of sarcasm with whoever took this pen. I want to say thank you for doing this to me. For awhile I thought I would have to suffer through a puppy parade but I much prefer being entombed alive in a mausoleum of feelings that I can neither understand nor reciprocate.