The Common Good
January-February 2000

Resources for Study and Action

by Ryan Beiler | January-February 2000

50 Years of Good News (on the Radio)

50 Years of Good News (on the Radio)

In the current climate of media conglomeration, independent voices like Pacifica Radio are more vital than ever as alternative sources of news and programming. Despite recent internal conflicts at its flagship station, KPFA Berkeley, broadcasts such as Pacifica Network News and the daily analysis of Democracy Now! continue Pacifica’s 50-year history of covering issues and stories that you can’t find anywhere else. From airing protests of the Korean War during the McCarthy era to broadcasting Mumia Abu Jamal’s commentaries from prison (which NPR had originally commissioned and then cancelled because of political pressure), Pacifica has remained noncommercial and listener-supported. For those living out of range of Pacifica affiliates, broadcasts are available on the Web, along with archives of past programs. Call (818) 506-1077 to find the affiliate nearest you or visit www.pacifica.org.

Conflict Resolution for Dummies

With chapter headings like "What if the Other Person is a Complete Idiot?" Let’s Talk: Communication Skills and Conflict Transformation is a very practical, down-to-earth study guide by Barry C. Bartel designed for adult and youth Sunday school classes—or any group in need of conflict resolution skills (you know who you are). This new edition of the 1983 title combines Bible-based concepts with individual and group exercises to create better habits of communication and ways of responding to interpersonal conflict. Available for $8.95 from Faith and Life Press, P.O. Box 347, Newton, KS 67114-0347; 1-800-743-2484; www2.southwind.net/~gcmc/flp.

And for the kids, Questions of Balance Film and Video offers training videos featuring actual, unstaged situations of conflict mediation. Titles range from Saying I’m Sorry to Threat of a Gang Fight. Though somewhat expensive—most tapes are $69 (discounts on sets are available)—these tapes have earned endorsements from professional educators as a great way of building valuable skills in young mediators. Intended for ages 9-14. Call (888) 972-3456 for a free 30-day preview.

Click Here to End Hunger

Although it seems too easy to be true, a click of a mouse on The Hunger Site makes possible a donation of food to hungry people around the world at no cost to you. The food is paid for by sponsors displayed on the site, which give according to the number of hits recorded (you can make one per day). Donations are then distributed through the United Nations World Food Program. Aside from this innovative relief effort, the site also provides links to other hunger organizations, and for the skeptical, a thorough "Frequent Questions" page details the process by which your click feeds the poor. Though charity is never a substitute for justice, a few seconds at www.thehungersite.com can make a small but significant difference—make it one of your bookmarks.

Refugee Resource

As of the end of 1998, nearly 13.5 million people worldwide have been driven from their homes either as refugees or asylum seekers, according to the World Refugee Survey 1999 put out by the U.S. Committee for Refugees. An invaluable resource for those concerned with the issue of displaced persons, the survey contains nearly 300 pages of facts and figures, including individual country reports and articles highlighting specific issues and policies. Cost is $19. Contact USCR, 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20036-2003; 1-800-307-4712; www.refugees.org. —Compiled by Ryan Beiler

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