The Week: What Caught Our Eye

June 6, 2020

Photo of a lake with two islands with trees in the background, and a low cover of clouds beyond.No man is an island. To achieve real and lasting peace, we have a responsibility to each other to ensure true justice for all. A reminder in troubled times, beautifully illustrated by this photo on Lake George. (Jeff Killeen)

Dear Colleagues and Friends:

 George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Michael Brown. Freddie Gray. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. Alton Sterling. Delrawn Small. Ezell Ford. Michelle Cusseaux. Tanisha Anderson. Tamir Rice. Sandra Bland. Natasha McKenna. Walter Scott. Bettie Jones. Botham Jean. Atatiana Jefferson. Eric Reason. Dominique Clayton. George Mann. Anthony Hill. Joseph Mann. And countless others.

We are all Americans, but in these United States we are not united in experience. In this nation of laws, forged in the name of justice for all, there is deep, persistent, systemic injustice based on race.

In raw numbers, American police officers shoot and kill roughly equal numbers of black people and white people each year. But there are six times more white people in the U.S., meaning black people die in disproportionate numbers. And each time another black American is shot by police, the words from the Spring and Summer of 1968 return, hauntingly: “Not again.”

This is intolerable.

Until every family is confident that what happened to George Floyd and Eric Garner and Michael Brown and countless others won’t happen to their husband, brother or son, there will be no real peace. Until every American is confident that he has equal and unfettered access to true justice, there will never be enough windows to break nor cars to burn in outraged protest. This is not an endorsement of violence. It is a cry for collective action.

Thus far, we have failed to find true solutions in law, policy and leadership, in part because we struggle to understand each other’s anger, resentment and fear. We believe the narrative in our heads is universal and fail to appreciate the essential, countervailing “truths’’ burned into others’ hearts. 

Rufus Miles is a name long lost to history, but his 1940s observation seems appropriate: “Where you stand depends on where you sit.’’ Why? Because the best many of us can do is to listen with ears tuned to our own narrow frequency. We watch with eyes blinded by our own privilege. We have not truly seen, nor truly heard.

As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote this week: “I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere.’’ 

A deep desire for equality and justice reposes in most hearts. Equality in the broadest sense – legal, economic, educational and social. Though we do not know and can never fully appreciate the experience of others, we can honor it, respect it and validate it, remembering always that the real work, the hardest work, begins in our own hearts. May they always beat for justice.

A PIVOT POINT: The highly respected journalist James Fallows captured our fraught times in a sobering essay under the headline: “Is this the Worst Year in Modern American history?” Rays of light notwithstanding, the news has been relentlessly bad for weeks, and now we confront the specter of continued unrest amid a steady stream of distressing images and reckless rhetoric. It’s an unsettling time, heralding a simmering summer that will test us like none before.

BE THE CHANGE: Peaceful protests last Saturday afternoon turned into violence last Saturday night in Albany. Then, on Sunday, it was Schenectady’s turn. When protesters began gathering at the police station, Police Chief Eric Clifford, on the job since only 2016, knew many in the crowd. He answered questions, then took a knee at the side of a patrol car. The officers in riot gear behind him followed suit. “I will march with you,” Clifford said. https://bit.ly/PoliceChiefKneelsWithProtestors

NO SLEEPING ON THIS: This isn’t the call for help Colonie Police are used to receiving. But when police officers heard that eight-year-old Ocean had no bed, they immediately sprang into  action. https://bit.ly/PoliceProvideBoyWithBed

NEWS THAT MATTERS: The newspaper business is in trouble almost everywhere, but the 17,000 people of Anacortes, Washington, needn’t worry about losing their local paper. The kids on Tenth Street — Luke, Matthew and Amelie Rutz — have started the weekly Quarantinial. Circulation is growing, and a community is learning about water balloon fights, lost dogs, interesting neighbors and the special place they call home. https://bit.ly/KidsStartLocalNewspaper

GOOD IN THE WORLD: We find extra pleasure in the stories that highlight the hope among us, such as the Michigan sheriff who is joining protesters in a show of unity and this telling of an encounter between an airline executive and a flight attendant. (The book he was reading is sold out on Amazon, another promising sign). Understand these moments for what they are – a chance to participate in the making of history as it happens. It’s an opportunity for everyone to make a positive difference.

A LEGEND BIDS ADIEU, AN UPSTART REPOSITIONS: La Serre was old Albany, Peck’s Arcade new Troy. In the shadow of the Capitol, La Serre was a whispery hangout, a power center of mahogany and leather, duck and goose pate, fine wines, haute cuisine, and tables tucked away awaiting their influential regulars. Now, it has poured its last expense-account nightcap. Across the Hudson, Peck’s Arcade was a hangout for a new generation of foodies, a rockin’ proxy for the renewal of Troy, all open kitchen, small plates, vegetable-forward experiential dining,  bustling, loud, always crowded — but , regrettably, now too crowded.  

NO TRAIL, NO TROUBLE: The mere term conjures the pioneering trailblazer, cutting paths through the previously untrodden. For those who embrace the challenge, the Adirondacks are a bushwhacker’s bonanza. Follow along as the talented Tim Rowland leads a detail-rich tour through the thicket. https://bit.ly/BushwhackingTheAdirondacks

A (BAY) FOR INGENUITY: Alexandria Bay in the Thousand Islands region has figured out how to keep weary visitors happy and apart. In this era of takeout and social distancing, the village board suspended the open container law. Now, customers can buy a cocktail from anywhere that sells alcohol and walk to one of several small park-like areas to sup and sip in socially spaced comfort on warm summer evenings. https://bit.ly/SociallyOpenDrinking

THE REAL ESTATE REPORT

A GREAT ESCAPE: Built in 1898 and once owned by a Vanderbilt, Lake Kora in the Adirondacks was constructed with timber and stones from its own land, with original furnishings by local carpenters and stone masons. Once a playground for the country’s aristocrats and politicians, Lake Kora is today considered one of the premiere authentic Adirondack Great Camps. And for a mere 20-grand a night (three-night minimum), you, too, can stay there. https://bit.ly/LakeKoraRetreatAGreatEscape

A LOOK INSIDE: Architectural Digest celebrates the extraordinary in the built world, and has collected quite a few gems in its video series Open Door, in which celebrity homeowners walk through the design techniques and innovations that make each home unique.

ROOSEVELT’S REST: Eleanor Roosevelt was a gifted child born to enormous wealth and profound sadness. After both of her parents died young, she and three siblings were raised by their maternal grandparents and spent summers in a warm and charming 1872 home in Germantown, N.Y. With its gables and dormer windows and French Second Empire style, Oak Terrace is now on the market. https://bit.ly/EleanorRooseveltsHome

Photo of a brilliant red and orange sunset on a lake, with mountains in the background.For the soul, there’s no safer, more welcoming harbor than a lake at dawn, fed by the springs of comfort, hope and possibility.  (Jeff Killeen)

THE 51 PERCENT GAIN: In the first four months of this turbulent year, hedge funds run by women lost less – that is, performed better – than hedge funds run by men. The smart money speculates that women are better at managing risk and less concerned about running with the pack. https://bit.ly/FemaleLedFundsFareBetter

IT’S A WRAP: A 93-year-old resident of a retirement home in Brazil hugs her daughter for the first time in more than seven weeks, thanks to a specially designed curtain. https://bit.ly/CuddleCurtainAllowsHugsInNursingHomes

READ ALL ABOUT IT: Sports Illustrated for decades was known as the go-to place for the rendering of sports personalities and events in flawless prose by legends like Frank Deford, Gary Smith and Rick Reilly. So it is with characteristic brilliance that the Sports Illustrated Twitter feed promoted a story every bit as gripping as its tease: For so many in publishing, Central Park was where writers and editors, ringers and the occasional singer all fought for softball supremacy. This is the story of how the Press League — and a chunk of the press itself — withered and died: https://bit.ly/WitheringOfTheMediaField

A DISORIENTING TIME: Artist and essayist Ai Weiwei examines our upside-down world and sees a place detached from the typical constructs of time and importance. “The imagination soars no longer toward moon landings and driverless vehicles,” he writes. “For the cost of a large commercial airplane, you could buy 10 million masks and 1,000 ventilators. That’s just the way it is.” https://bit.ly/TheMeaningOfTimeDuringAPandemic

LAKE GEORGE’S MR. KILLEEN: Jeff Killeen was once named “most visionary CEO” in the tech industry. He led the formation of barnesandnoble.com, served as founding CEO of Forbes.com and Pacific Bell Interactive Media,  and was Chairman and CEO of GlobalSpec in Albany, the leading provider of digital content to the global engineering marketplace. He’s no longer swept up in corporate responsibilities, but he’s hardly retired. These days, Jeff serves as chairman of The Fund for Lake George, the organization whose collaboration with RPI and IBM brought to life the Jefferson Project, the supercomputing, data-collection behemoth that has made Lake George the smartest lake in the world. In the early mornings, Jeff combines vision and viewfinder, producing  photographs with the same sunny optimism and energy he brings to all of his work. We are proud to feature his photos today.

WE’D LOVE TO FEATURE YOURS, TOO: Thank you to so many readers for sharing stunning photos of their special summer places. We’ll be sharing these spectacular scenes all summer.  Please keep ‘em coming!

ALMOST FINAL WORDS

“There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.”
—Vladimir Lenin

THE SIGNOFF

MR. FIX IT: Rob Kenney has two young adult children who count on him for how-to advice, and figured they couldn’t be the only ones who could benefit from his practical knowledge. His “Dad, How Do I?” series is making him an internet sensation. https://bit.ly/DadHowDoISeries

PLEASE SHARE: Feel free to pass this along to your friends and colleagues.

THANK YOU to our contributors: Bill Callen, Colleen Potter, John Brodt, Lisa Fenwick, Tina Suhocki, Jeff Killeen, Tara Hutchins and Claire P. Tuttle.

FACING OUT is what we do. We help companies, organizations and individuals work effectively with their most important external audiences – their customers, their shareholders, their communities, the government and the news media.  www.behancommunications.com

Facing Out features news and other nuggets that caught our eye, and that we thought might be of value or interest to you, our friends and business associates. Some items are good news about our clients and friends, others are stories that we hope will leave you a bit more informed or entertained than you were five minutes ago. As always, we welcome your ideas and feedback. 

Let’s make it a conversation:   mark.behan@behancom.com

Recent Posts

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 29, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 22, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

February 15, 2020

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 28, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 21, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

December 14, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 30, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 23, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

November 16, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 28, 2019

The Week: What Caught Our Eye

September 21, 2019

The Week: What caught our eye

September 14, 2019

The Week: What caught our eye

September 7, 2019

Old West Adirondacks

July 19, 2019

A Glens Falls Night

November 20, 2018

A moment for our home city

October 9, 2018