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Practically Idealistic blog
 
The title for this blog originated with use of the term “practical idealist” in this 1996 opinion piece, which asked: “To what kind of work should a practical idealist aspire?” A century and a half earlier, Emerson, in his 1841 essay Circles, wrote: “There are degrees in idealism.  We learn first to play with it academically. . . .  Then we see in the heyday of youth and poetry that it may be true, that it is true in gleams and fragments.  Then, its countenance waxes stern and grand, and we see that it must be true.  It now shows itself ethical and practical.”  John Dewey and Mahatma Gandhi embraced practical idealism in the 20th century, as did UN Secretary General U Thant.  Al Gore invoked it in a 1998 speech. In the context of this blog, the term is meant to convey idealism tempered but not overwhelmed by realism: a search for the ideal on a path guided by common sense.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

"Generations after the Movement, Civil Rights Imperatives Remain"

Appalled by the extent of continuing race-based injustices, I wrote an opinion piece interweaving historical and personal observations, including mention of the boys whose basketball team I coached this year with fellow volunteer James Forman Jr.  The piece appeared in the Connecticut MirrorGood Men Project, and a Medium publication, Noteworthy.
7:10 pm edt 

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Toward Justice and Peace

Amid understandable fury, grief, and protests after more in a long history of racially motivated, unjust killings, the National CASA Association issued a related statement.
6:47 pm edt 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Foster Care Month (May), Reunification Month (June)

For Foster Care Month (May) and Reunification Month (June), I  wrote versions of a related op-ed in the Connecticut Mirror and New Haven Register, as well as in  a Medium publication, Noteworthy.
8:46 pm edt 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

CASA in the News

Recently, the CASA movement received coverage from outlets including the New York Times (Ginia Bellafante) and Trevor Noah's Daily (Social Distancing) Show.  Kerry Moles, executive director of CASA-NYC, was featured along with two young women--Destiny Moura and Brieanna Hayes.

In Connecticut, the occasions of Foster Care Month (in May) and Reunification Month (in June) prompted my related opinion piece: "May is Foster Care Month--while Child Abuse and Neglect Are Likely Underreported."
 
There, I quoted from National CASA CEO Tara Perry's statement, which included the following: 

"Many children in the foster care system demonstrate incredible resilience, adaptability and flexibility throughout their life journey. This pandemic has presented challenges to adults that children face as a normal course of life. Those of us who serve, support and encourage children have an opportunity to show them that same ingenuity, flexibility and resilience.... If you or anyone you know has ever considered foster parenting, now is the time. [Alternatively, be a CASA volunteer].... According to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, 'The single most common factor for children who develop resilience is at least one stable and committed relationship with a parent, caregiver, or other adult.' CASA ... volunteers are often that person for a child in the foster care system.
8:34 pm edt 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Eclectic Reading, from Lizabeth Cohen and Samantha Power to Michelle Obama and Mindi Englart

Books I've read in recent months include Lizabeth Cohen's Saving America's Cities and Samantha Power's The Education of an Idealist.  

Lizabeth Cohen's book considers Ed Logue's work as a leading urban development administrator in New Haven, Boston, and New York, from the 1950s to 1980s, and the lessons learned.

Like Cohen, Samantha Power, an acquaintance and classmate from undergraduate days, is an author of multiple prior books, one of which--on genocide--won a Pulitzer Prize.  Her new book combines personal recollections and reflections with policy discussion.  The Education of an Idealist resonates, and includes many of her own compelling insights, along with quotations of others.  For example, she cites Barack Obama--in whose Senate office she served, as well as his presidential administration--advising (on page 148): "I have learned ... that if you are truthful, people respond, even if they don't agree with you.  We have to find our truth and not be afraid to be straight with people."

Recently I started Stretch, a novel by friend Mindi Rose Englart, while my daughter and I are together reading Michelle Obama's Becoming.
12:12 pm edt 

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