General Information

What Is the National Guard?

In the past week, I have learned a lot more about the National Guard. “Bring in the National Guard to bring peace to the streets” or “Allow the local police to handle the unrest” is the argument that is being spread across America. As a researcher, I know it is important not only to research both sides of an argument, but also to explore background information that will help better understand the topic.

According to the National Guard website, “The National Guard is a unique element of the U.S. military that serves both community and country. The Guard responds to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more.” The National Police Foundation describes four main functions of local police: enforcing laws, preventing crimes, responding to emergencies, and providing support services. It may also be helpful to investigate how the National Guard has been used in the past.

Where does a researcher go next? I think most people may want to understand why some groups prefer keeping local police in charge instead of deploying the military to keep the peace. TwitterFacebook, and other websites can be informative, but a researcher has to make sure the information is correct. The MVCC databases, especially the NEWS database, are good sources of reliable information.

Actions for Creating Safe Communities

If you’ve been paying attention to the protests calling for an end to police violence towards the Black community, you may have seen “Defund Police” or “Abolish Police” on posters and hashtags. These ideas might sound new or even outrageous–the police and the criminal justice system are one component of our social structure that seems fundamental–but questions about the role of policing to keep communities safe have been asked by communities of color for a long time. 

The current movement to shift government funds from police to communities grew out of the prison abolition movement that began in the 70’s. The concern with both prisons and policing stem from the deep racial inequities that are revealed in who is imprisoned and policed. Are Prisons Obsolete by Angela Davis is a good and short place to start. Davis introduces and explains the term Prison Industrial Complex which is used “to describe the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing, and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems” (Critical Resistance). Activists have charted the way this collusion of interests has led to over-policing and the criminalization of minority communities

Abolitionists, like Mariam Kaba, see alternatives to the Prison Industrial Complex and policing in transformative justice and community accountability. One example of how this might look is presented by Chain Reaction: Alternatives to Calling the Police a project from Project Nia

Below you’ll find readings that explain both the concern with prisons and policing as status quo as well as the potential for creating real systemic change.  

“Abolition is not about destruction and anarchy—it’s about building alternatives…”You can’t just focus on what you don’t want, you have to focus also on what you do want”

Abolish the police? Organizers say it’s less crazy than it sounds

The War on Neighborhoods : Policing, Prison, and Punishment in a Divided City by Ryan Lugalia-Hollon and Daniel Cooper–When the main investment in a community is policing and incarceration, rather than human and community development, that amounts to a “war on neighborhoods,” which ultimately furthers poverty and disadvantage. Longtime Chicago scholars Ryan Lugalia-Hollon and Daniel Cooper tell the story of one of those communities, a neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side that is emblematic of many majority-black neighborhoods in US cities.


Invisible No More : Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea J. Ritchie–A timely examination of how Black women, Indigenous women, and women of color experience racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration enforcement…it documents the evolution of movements centering women’s experiences of policing and demands a radical rethinking of our visions of safety—and the means we devote to achieving it.

Freedom is a Constant Struggle : Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis (Audiobook)–Reflecting on the importance of black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, Davis discusses the legacies of previous liberation struggles-from the black freedom movement to the South African antiapartheid movement. Facing a world of outrageous injustice, Davis challenges us to imagine and build the movement for human liberation. 

Additional research options include the library’s databases:

A Reading List for Learning How to be Antiracist

No one becomes “not racist,” despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be “antiracist” on a daily basis, to continually rededicate ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage.

Ibram X. Kendi, author of Stamped from the Beginning and How to be an Antiracist, created this Antiracist Reading List in the summer of 2019. It was useful then and feels especially necessary right now. Kendi describes the reasons why he recommends each book rather than just summarizing each title. He chooses books that may be difficult or challenging because they force us to encounter the world from a different perspective. Read through his Reading List and come back to this post to see what the library has available either in print or online. You can access print books from the library through our new curbside service (use the request it button in the catalog and you’ll be contacted to schedule a pick up time), and if you need help accessing the online versions, please ask a librarian.

The Condemnation of Blackness : Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, also available as an Ebook or Audiobook

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, also available as an Ebook or Audiobook

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

Dying of Whiteness : How the Politics of Racial Resentment is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl, also available as an Ebook

Black Marxism : The Making of the Black Radical Tradition by Cedric J. Robinson available as an Ebook

How We Get Free : Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective edited and introduced by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor available as an Ebook

Well-read black girl : finding our stories, discovering ourselves : an anthology edited by Glory Edim available as an Ebook

Redefining Realness : My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock, also available as an Audiobook

Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, also available as an Ebook or an Audiobook

Technology to the Rescue

The role of technology in the 2020 pandemic will be dissected and discussed for decades. The part that technology has played to combat the COVID-19 is amazing. “Tools such as supercomputers, software apps, virtual reality, big data and algorithms are now in play.” This technology is on a seek and destroy mission to eradicate the virus as quickly as possible.

“Today we want everything yesterday, and technology has complied.” Unfortunately, that is not happening with this virus. The medical field is learning quickly that the old ways of handling epidemics or pandemics do not work. There may not be a cure yet, but the scientific community has been able to quickly use some older technology and adapt it to control the virus. The “new” containment tools are proving extremely effective. Telemedicine, for example, is able to keep patients in their homes, enables doctors to communicate with their patients, and keeps the virus from spreading in medical offices or hospitals. “The COVID-19 pandemic may be the trial by fire that telemedicine finally needs to prove its worth, especially in the U.S. Despite the fact that apps and technology for virtual health visits have existed for several decades, uptake in the country has been slow.”

Silcon Valley has also joined in to help stem the spread of the virus. Apple and Google are working to help track the advance of Covid-19. Some people are concerned on how “this may impact user privacy.” For now, most people would probably agree that surveillance may be a necessary evil.


Hopefully, the combination of technology, scientists, and governments will work together and find a vaccine.

Memorial Day – No librarians available to help.

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On Sunday, May 24, and Monday, May 25, (Memorial Day) there will be no librarians on duty for reference services, that is, virtual reference services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

So what, you say, is Decoration Day? That is the name formerly used for Memorial Day, an observance for those soldiers who died during the U. S. Civil War, a day, variously observed mainly in April or May, which was reserved for this purpose way back in 1865-1866. It was, however, only in 1971 that this day became a federal holiday, that it be celebrated on the last Monday of May, and that those who died in any U. S. conflict are now honored. Get more details about this important day, you history buffs. The History Channel provides quite a comprehensive explanation of this remembrance, which heralds the beginning of summer for us. Click here to get there!

Online Trivia Night

Trivia Night is our video interactive game that can be viewed by phone, TV, or computer. It can be played by friends, family, students, and teachers alike. Play versus friends or form teams, and show off your knowledge on trivia in a variety of categories! Each round lasts between 5 minutes with questions coming from categories like sports, news, gaming, music, movies, etc. It’s a video game show.

Share this video and play with friends and family. Trivia Night courtesy of the Moraine Valley Library

De-stress with Nature

Spring is my favorite time of year. I love all the flowers, ornamental trees, and seeing everything turn green. I find spending time in nature definitely helps lower my stress level. This year, because of the pandemic, many natural areas are closed or restricted, but there are still many open.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the following state parks in Northeastern Illinois remain open for limited day use: “Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park / North Point Marina, Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Goose Lake Prairie State Natural AreaIllinois and Michigan Canal State Trail (includes Buffalo Rock, Channahon, Gebhard Woods, and William G Stratton), Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park, Silver Springs State Fish & Wildlife Area, Volo Bog State Natural Area.” “Parks will be open from sun-up to sundown. Guests will be allowed to engage in activities such as wildlife observation, hiking, biking, equestrian use and fishing (both from the bank and boats with a limit of two persons per boat. For additional information on recreational boating, please see guidance issued by DCEO) and mushroom hunting. All visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, shelter reservations, interpretive educational programs, beaches, special events and concessions will remain closed; turkey hunting will remain suspended at state parks.” Remember to social distance and to only gather with members of your household.

Some of the Forest Preserves of Cook County are also open for day use, with restrictions that are currently in place until May 31st. “We urge you to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when in the forest preserves.” They also ask that you only visit with members of your household, do not use the picnic tables, and if you need to, step off the trails to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. For more information on their restrictions and for a list of closures, please refer to the Forest Preserves of Cook County’s Covid-19 news page. You should also know that other counties may be restricting usage to residents only.

I wish I had a spring photo of the geese at Saganashkee Slough, but this one from March will have to do.


Biometrics: Automated Unobtrusive Measures

Bush et al. (2020) described qualitative researchers as primary instruments who investigate real-life events or problems. In addition, reflexivity is defined as the possibility of the occurrence of researcher bias at any time during a study. It is suggested that researchers incorporate methods to address researcher bias and remain neutral, as well as objective throughout the investigation to ensure the quality and credibility of the study. For example, direct observation requires informed consent for all voluntary participants. In addition, the investigator should inform the participants of their right to opt out of the study at any time.

In contrast, Connelly (2017) described unobtrusive measures as indirect observations that take place in real-life situations without the permission of the individuals who are under surveillance (possibly violating individual rights to privacy). Further, unobtrusive measures permit investigators to gather data while individuals are unaware and nonreactive. The use of unobtrusive measures combined with technology is becoming more prevalent in various aspects of everyday life in the form of biometrics.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement, the National Institute of Standards and Technology discuss how biometrics has evolved. Biometrics is also used in e-commerce and airports. However, there are risks involved with using biometrics.


References

Bloomberg. (2014, October 31). Killing the need for passwords with biometrics. https://youtu.be/88Rjg8gM_DI

Bush, A. A., Amechi, M., & Persky, A. (2020). Qualitative research in pharmacy education: An exploration of pharmacy education researchers’ perceptions and experiences conducting qualitative research. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 84(3), 334–344.
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=a9h&AN=142856738&site=ehost-live&custid=s8876422

Connelly, L. M. (2017). Understanding research. Unobtrusive Measures. MEDSURG Nursing, 26(1), 59–61. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&AuthType=ip,sso&db=a9h&AN=121353517&site=ehost-live&custid=s8876422

Financial Times. (2016, November 4). Banking biometrics: Hacking risk: Personal finance. https://youtu.be/MgWNmWRBaVk

Homeland Security. (2019). Biometrics. United States Department of Homeland Security. https://www.dhs.gov/biometrics

National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2010, March 2). Key to security: Biometric Standards. https://youtu.be/I2LCofq-Bts

Wall Street Journal. (2019, August 15). How facial recognition will get you to your gate faster.
https://youtu.be/RAHzT68l6tM

Washington Post. (2019, April 30). Police are using Amazon’s facial recognition technology: Privacy experts are worried. https://youtu.be/tUFmXfKeSGM

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