The Austin Chronicle

Naked City

March 27, 2009, News

POST-RACIAL OR POST-TRAUMATIC? Pretty much since Barack Obama hit the ground running all those primaries ago, we've had the privilege of witnessing pundits bloviate about our now presumably "post-racial" society. While realities on the ground have hardly had time to catch up with the ennobling act of electing our first African-American president, some questions around race and ethnicity do seem to have taken on a new urgency. What, for instance, will folks too young to remember Do the Right Thing make of the ideas of Portland State Univer­sity professor Joy DeGruy (pictured), author of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America's Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing? A onetime social worker, DeGruy applies theories of individual traumas and adaptive behaviors to the social trauma of slavery and its legacy. Meanwhile, Austin Bahá'í has challenged local college students in an essay contest with the theme Establish­ing Race Unity: Personal Steps to Move the World. DeGruy and contest finalists will meet up at the third annual Louis Gregory Symposium on Race Unity on Thursday, April 2, at Huston-Tillotson University (11:30am-5pm, King-Seabrook Chapel, 900 Chicon). And while the theme is unity, don't expect a singular vision: "Each essayist tends to have a pretty unique perspective," says Simonetta Rodriguez, who serves on the symposium's planning committee. – Cindy Widner

WHAT TO DO ABOUT TECOLOTE? Travis Co. commis­sioners remain deadlocked for another week on what to do about the water-starved Tecolote Farm, a popular family-run organic grower east of Austin. Katie and David Pitre have been rallying their many fans and supporters for months and appear on the verge of getting the county to help them with a severe water shortage that's crippling the farm. Judge Sam Biscoe on Tuesday introduced a resolution that would have the county "sharing" water with the farm and laying pipes from the county wells in East Metropolitan Park to the farm. In exchange, the Pitres would provide produce for the Travis Co. Jail in Del Valle and no longer hold the county responsible for their dry wells. For nearly a year the Pitres have been assembling data and hydrology reports that cite the two massive county wells in the nearby park as the proverbial straw that broke the local aquifer's back. Commis­sioners had questions about the cost to the county and the value of the produce, as well as the precedent such action would set. Informed of the delayed decision, Katie Pitre said, "I'm just sorry that Judge Biscoe worked so hard on a very simple solution and that we're drawing it out more, but I'm also hopeful that they'll come around." The item is expected to return to next week's agenda. – Jacob Cottingham

NEW PLACE TO PLAY The Trust for Public Land presented a deed to the city of Austin on Wednesday for 14 acres of new parkland in the Barton Creek Greenbelt. TPL recently acquired the land in the Gaines Ranch area to protect it from development and preserve it as open space. (To hike, bike, or jog on nearby trails, use the Gaines Ranch Greenbelt entrance, located on the MoPac Expressway South access road at the Capital of Texas Highway North exit.) The gift is one of a series made by TPL to create the Barton Creek Wilderness Park and expand the greenbelt for public use. – Katherine Gregor

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