The T-shirt was in good shape; however, old it was. The slogan remains a relevant call and response. The interchange between members of the Archives Sojourn and current staff was very timely as ICA-USA looks to the future based on our past.
My initial reflection is that while hard capital is a necessity for community development, human capital is the essential soul for community development. One blessing of my new job as CEO of the Institute of Cultural Affairs is the wealth of human spirit and wisdom of our Living Archives. Their aim is to share the experiences and tools from an energetic 20th century “peoples’ movement” for social justice and human development with today’s citizen activists, civic leaders, thinkers, and students.
This past week was their Spring Sojourn as out-of-town colleagues returned to HQ and joined their Chicago-based colleagues in continuing to organize, catalog, and digitize several of the numerous collections from ICA’s history. Last week, the focus was on ICA’s work in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, where our GreenRise building is located.
Other collections include:
• Bicentennial Town Hall Meetings launched by ICA in 1976, which includes original documents from one of the most comprehensive data sets of community challenges, aspirations, and project proposals created by workshops in 5,000 communities across the US; and
• Band of 24 Human Development Projects of participatory community-building projects, grassroots leadership schools, and coordinated regional development in strategic locations in every time zone across the globe.
With the help of Jean Long, “Guardian of the Spirit,” here’s a tribute to last week’s sojourners, starting with Jean herself who moved back to the GreenRise Building, after retirement, to work with the archives to pass this knowledge on to the future. She spent 12 years working with the Village Movement in India and with the Turkish Guestworkers in Europe.
Sally Fenton, “Guardian of the Practical,” and her husband Jim spent many years in Hong Kong managing the financial affairs for the ICA staff centres in Southeast Asia. They settled in Chicago where Sally keeps the archives organized.
Marge Philbrook, “Mistress of the Archives,” joined the Order in Chicago with her husband, Phil, and their four kids, who all grew up to take assignments as adults. In 1984 she and Phil moved back to HQ to work with the Archives, which she has done ever since. When a document is needed, everyone knows that “Marge will know where it is”.
Jack Gilles, “The Spirit Guru,” after working with the ICA in India for 17 years, now lives in Litibu, an intentional compound north of Puerto Vallerto in Mexico. He is currently writing a book on the Order: Ecumenical.
Beret Griffith, “Guardian of the Archives,” brings amazing passion, energy and ability to lead many archive volunteers joining in the ongoing task of making the archives available to the future. She spent her years helping to start programs such as Training, Inc. in Newark, NJ; Louisada Training Program in New York; and ToP Training in California. She now lives in Northfield, MN.
Paul Noah, “Guardian of the Symbols,” has recovered over 500 symbols from the basement. Paul became “Artist in Resident” as he created massive art pieces for Millenium 2000 in Denver and the representation of Uptown on the building bordering the GreenRise parking lot. He continues creating symbols that hold the meaning of the turns that the Archives has taken in the last 6 years.
Gordon Harper, “Master of Humor & the Spoken Word,” his wife Roxanna, three children, two power cars and a wall full of books left Western Michigan University to join the Order in Chicago. He worked 16 years in Asia, including as the Dean of the Human Development Training School in Maliwada India and many years in Taiwan. He now lives in Seattle, WA where he facilitates ToP Training courses.
Steve Ediger, “Master of International Technology,” is the latest volunteer for the Archives Team when he moved into the GreenRise’s intentional community. He taught for 12 years at the Woodstock School in Missoorie, India. His amazing knowledge of technology has filled a critical role for which the Team is grateful.
It was a productive week for the Archives Spring Sojourn and wonderful to have their spirit enrich the GreenRise. When asked to recommend a song that captured the Archives, they also nailed how we all feel about them and provided this week’s lyrics.
These are still the Times… We still are the People… U2Cando!
I don’t know why I love ya like I do
I don’t know why, I just do
Well, I don’t know why you thrill me like you do
I don’t know why you, just do
I Don’t Know Why (I Just Do)
Songwriters: Fred Ahlert / Roy Turk