Skip to main content

BPI-MF-LogoI live in rural Rio Arriba County in the mountains of northern New Mexico. While my community covers a geographic area the size of Massachusetts, there are only 40,000 residents. Seventy percent are Hispanics who arrived in New Mexico in the 17th century. Eighteen percent are Native Americans: two pueblos and an Apache Reservation.

It is important for rural minorities to be able to tell and control their own stories. The self-told story is a first step in healing the wounds of oppression. Mastery and control of the medium, be it printing press, teevee or web, is an important first step.

 title=Rural minorities are badly underrepresented among the Netroots, and, for good reason. The tools of the trade (high speed internet access, connectivity, computers, servers, fiber optic, etc.) are often unavailable in the communities where they live.

Try owning an iPhone in Rio Arriba County! The phone might be cool but it doesn't do you any good if it doesn't connect to anything.

But besides the issue of not-so-handy gadgets, it is difficult to attract Native Americans and Hispanics in my community to the web because the tools, which might seem difficult to acquire initially, don't appear to be immediately useful. Why bother to learn to surf the web when there is no dialogue on it about issues that are meaningful to you?

Why learn to use twitter if you don't want to know what Madonna ate for lunch, which word Sarah Palin is going to misspell today, or who Snooki is doing ? A chat room allowing me to partner with my neighbor to buy and divide up a cow from a local rancher might have more application.

I am lucky. Several years ago, my bosses decided that my nocturnal internet habit is a useful way to educate policy makers and the public at large about issues that matter in Rio Arriba, and they have encouraged me to pursue my eccentric habit. For a few years, I have been sending links to a listserve of my New Mexico friends who otherwise wouldn't follow blogs.

Recently, I've been trying a new tactic. Our Rio Arriba Community Health Council created a website with multiple functions that I hope will prove useful enough to prompt people to try them out. But just in case that doesn't work, I am resorting to annoying tricks.

Barry Geller, who created the site, has included an online resource directory for our member organizations, a community calendar and a blog. So far, all the blog entries are my own. I have been showing people how to read and comment. Soon, the council will find a volunteer to post their own diary.

We live in a one newspaper town. Most of the non-profits and local residents complain that the newspaper won't write about anything positive that they do. I see blogs as a way to change that.

 title=I posted a photo-diary on the blog about a health council event and sent out links so people could see their photos. I walked into the office of our county commission chairman, showed him how to set up an account, and refused to leave until he posted a comment.

Now I am trying another strategy. Barry partnered with the Greater Espanola Valley Community Development Corporation (GEVCDC) to create a wonderful app, enabling council and CDC members to work on collaborative writing projects such as positions statements and funding proposals. If somebody wants to participate in a collaborative health council grant, they have to do it through the CDC forum (which is open only to council and CDC members).

I tried to use video-conferencing equipment to demonstrate use of the forum at our last health council meeting. That didn't work out very well since we couldn't get the equipment to function. I felt pretty dumb. I am hoping that my own ineptitude with some of our tools and equipment makes it less intimidating for others to try. But I don't know. Maybe it just wastes their time.

Whatever. We're trying it again this month.

Initially, it was a migraine and a half to get anyone to use the forum! Some people had difficulty signing in. The staff member assigned to assist council members to use the CDC forum seemed to be devoting a great deal of energy to arguing with their IT guy over spreadsheets. After one especially heated argument involving multiple extensive fact-finding emails regarding the difficulties a particular member encountered while trying to sign in, it turned out that the member had used the password for some other account. Once project staff stopped bickering and we got the forum running and used it to write a proposal, it worked pretty well.

Now we are trying to craft a consensus-based position statement on a controversial issue. Last week, I was delighted to see that the director of a local clinic had actually posted a draft!

Crossposted from Blogistan Polytechnic Institute

Originally posted to TheFatLadySings on Wed Nov 10, 2010 at 04:03 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

claude, Tookish, JekyllnHyde, davej, Ed in Montana, ponderer, Mimikatz, jec, Odysseus, teacherken, elfling, Carnacki, Doctor Who, sardonyx, Gustogirl, busternjake, missLotus, mint julep, Loquatrix, bluesteel, jonah in nyc, mkfarkus, roses, navajo, Cedwyn, wader, Oke, psnyder, danthrax, TexDem, Dallasdoc, missliberties, 2laneIA, TXsharon, chriscol, Hawksana, texasmom, flatford39, Sychotic1, betson08, hazzcon, emobile, Sophie Amrain, Kitsap River, mungley, tomjones, lyvwyr101, AaronBa, avahome, Sybil Liberty, bloomer 101, marina, radarlady, blueyedace2, Chinton, BCO gal, kefauver, YucatanMan, Laurence Lewis, Frank Palmer, Dem Beans, blue jersey mom, optimusprime, Floja Roja, Dunvegan, JanF, terjeanderson, lgmcp, RiaD, Orinoco, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Keone Michaels, Kingsmeg, sherlyle, BlueInARedState, kestrel9000, abe57, arlene, birdbrain64, bubbanomics, myrealname, soccergrandmom, CA Nana, kkbDIA, Nulwee, One Pissed Off Liberal, aravir, yoduuuh do or do not, FishOutofWater, LillithMc, la urracca, operculum, greenchiledem, DWG, joyful, puzzled, millwood, JML9999, TomP, rontun, ScottyUrb, Involuntary Exile, LI Mike, CDH in Brooklyn, pamelabrown, bluesheep, MsWings, PMA, glendaw271, In her own Voice, LaFeminista, DontTaseMeBro, DeepLooker, aufklaerer, Magick Maven, Matisyahu, cantelow, velvet blasphemy, Daily Activist, MKSinSA, Denise Oliver Velez, Shelley99, conlakappa, Kiku, sfarkash, DaNang65, swaminathan, littlezen, princss6, secret38b, angelajean, JupiterIslandGirl, Benintn, Mariken, sharonsz, addisnana, Betty Pinson, Otteray Scribe, Oh Mary Oh, bicycle Hussein paladin, theKgirls, gobears2000, ban nock, nicethugbert, Sand Hill Crane, kevin k, deeproots, Ebby, Lorikeet, Muskegon Critic, KVoimakas, poliwrangler, JayinPortland, Vatexia, SoCalSal, pcl07, jaebone, lightshine, OHknighty, The Lone Apple, AnnieR, congenitalefty, Elphaba Please, carolanne, radical simplicity, Justice Hildebrand, MartyM

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site