Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR, The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city government, and local businesses from a
cross the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders' insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.
#ONEROUGE Week #94
Veterans in the Community
Meeting Notes Prepared by Samantha Morgan (Walls Project)
Dylan Tête (Executive Director, Bastion Community of Resilience)
It’s been a 10 year journey for me since I created Bastion. It’s an intentional community for returning warriors in families. This model for community as intervention is working. People can transform and heal optimally in a community. Going through this journey I’ve learned a lot about trauma. I’ve learned about our innate ability to self-heal. The keys and the answers to unlock a lot of our own problems lie within ourselves. That is a lesson I take from Toni and the Center for Mind Body medicine. It’s interesting in my space to see how much we’ve learned about trauma and post traumatic growth. We’re in a space now to share what we’ve learned.
Everything is trending in the right direction. I’m talking specifically about our residents. 99% of our residents are reporting positive growth. It’s amazing to see folks who have encountered significant trauma, when you add hope, the growth that happens. The big takeaway for me is that we don’t think in terms of community so often. It’s not in our frontal lobe. When we think about interventions it’s more on the one on one. When you’re able to heal in community you’re doing so much more. I think there’s a way moving forward in this country that we can begin to restructure our neighborhoods around health and healing. That’s going to be the next experiment for me. There is such a sense of repetitive loss over the last 15 years. We have to stick together now more than ever.
I have been healing in community, too. Part of why I created Bastion was to heal myself. Having returned to Iraq three months before Katrina, I struggled. I felt completely alone, isolated and cut off from even my closest family. I struggled with suicidiation, major bouts of depression. I tried everything. I went to the VA and got the help I needed and it did help for a while, but it eventually came back. It wasn’t until I learned about the Mind body connection that I became whole. Since I have been practicing this lifestyle of intentional living, everything I do has a purpose and an intention that brings another intention into my life. This practice of intentional living, I feel like a new person.
Delores Hurst (Director of Community Impact/Income Stability, Capital Area United Way)
I’m not a veteran but we have a program called United 4 Vets. Our program was structured so that we can meet a need for active military personnel. We, along with DOW and BASF, collaborated a few years ago on how we can bridge that gap. We wanted to create employee readiness workshops. We finally had a face to face event last year. We had mock interviews. We collaborated with our industry partners.
For 2022, in our programming we want to provide wrap-around services. What is the barrier, what is the issue of getting to full employment? They get resume building skills. They get those little things they need to get from those skills they learned in the military to an industry. They never know what they are coming home to. They need strong employment, strong resources, so they will not fall behind. A lot of the barriers we’ve seen is that these veterans do not see that their skills are transferable. For 2022 we want to figure out how we can pay for TWIC cards, opportunities, housing, anything that would keep them from getting to that next level of success.
My dad is a navy veteran. He was dishonorably discharged his last year so he got no benefits. He was discharged because he wanted to come home to help my mom with my brother. We want to bridge that gap. We want to put dollars towards getting those services.
David Beach (President/CEO, Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation)
I am a veteran and my experience has been largely positive. I want young people in our community to consider this as a possible career. I do feel the armed services is a way to change your circumstances to a large extent. I strongly believe that the armed services is a way for an 8 year old to completely change their path. These are very large organizations and they don’t always get things right, but largely it is a place where you are being promoted and evaluated regardless of color or sex. There are many educational opportunities that come with it. The GI bill is really lucrative to paying for your education. I was gladly willing to serve after I finished college. After I returned home after serving, when I left the army there was a void of service and that’s why I started getting involved with nonprofits and community service. That’s how I got involved with the Wilson Foundation.
When people have bad paper, meaning they don’t qualify for benefits, how receptive has the business community been to working with people who have that circumstance?
Delores Hurst - They’ve been receptive and very open. When you have that stamp of veteran or service, they look at it as if you still served. They are open to working with any veteran we bring to the table. I can’t speak to companies we haven’t worked with or those out of state. DOW and BASF have veteran services and veteran coalitions within their companies.
Dylan Tete - Delores mentioned Ben Armstrong at NextOp and they are doing a fantastic job. I don’t think bad paper would prevent anyone from moving forward if they want to. There is another Combined Arms - coming to Louisiana from Texas. There’s a no wrong door, multipronged approach, and that’s getting started in Louisiana and it’s a game changer. It will make Louisiana a much more friendly state. Soldiers with bad paper often have good reasons. There are ways now of amending that, so it’s a little more friendly with employers.
How do we look at this as far as being veterans and how does that affect the next generation?
Dylan Tete - my son is 18 and just got his selective service letter in the mail. The world is a lot different than the world was when I was 18. I went to Ukraine before the pandemic with a battle buddy of mine who is a photojournalist and we did some reporting. We taped a lot of interviews, mostly from the right sector movement, which came out of the
These are citizen soldiers, mostly young, who took up arms, hitchhiked their way to the frontline, raised money online, and stopped Russian aggression in their homeland. Standing in the frontline I recall looking across the battlefield and seeing the Russian positions on the front line. I could smell the gunpowder. Across the globe, there’s a commonality among soldiers. I felt connected to them. It was probably my most Zen state I’ve ever experienced. I attribute that to knowing the rules in that world. I did not expect when I came home from war, to applying those same skills in my hometown that had experienced loss in hurricane Katrina. I’m using that sense of connection now with all of humanity. Bastion is predominantly African-American. I work at the intersection of the veteran and black experience, and I never expected to see the corner so often. What I’m sensing now is the historical effect of exclusion, of negligence, of discrimination. 5 of the 7 people who have died at Bastion are African-American. What am I to do with that? How am I supposed to balance what is going on with the world and what is happening in my community? I feel as though I’m living day by day right now. I think if we can figure out how to work together, how to heal together and how to grow together, that might be our best shot. That might be the best way out of what we’re in. I am lucky. I really believe we are all connected in some way and I’m only doing my best as a citizen of the world to help my friends who share in these common values like liberation. There are folks here who want another kind of liberation and I support them and I will fight with them, too.
Toni Bankston - I wanted to say that I am so moved with Dylan. I’ve heard your experience before and I’ve seen your authenticity before, but it’s like I’m hearing it for the first time. I’m so grateful I made it here to hear you again. I want to thank you for the work you’ve done in Baton Rouge. Dylan brings his experience as a veteran and his entry to a population of veterans that are often hard to capture. That is often those that are hard to diagnose. There are many veterans out there who are hurting but do not get the attention they need. Dylan, you embody the courage to take off the armor and really own what has happened to you. How can we take that to another level? And not wait until suicidation to work with our first responders and do more with that population that is almost undercover.
Can you speak a little bit about one of the main drivers of poverty, food insecurity?
Dylan Tete - This is another revelation for me thanks to the pandemic. I did not know how many veterans were food insecure. The number is like 1 in 4 veterans is food insecure. We were lucky to pilot the food revolution. We are walking in this understanding that food is medicine. Getting nutritious food in bellies. Folks who don’t know where their next meal is coming from are not making these next level gains. 17 tons of food in 6 months in partnership with Culture Aid NOLA. It’s a combination of the food pantry and then using our own assets, our own people, to impart and teach and coach with their friends and neighbors things we couldn’t do as a professional staff. This system is resident driven. That was a consideration from the beginning. We are taking our chef to New York God's Love We Deliver. They are going to live in the kitchen and absorb as much as they can. It has been proven that it’s cheaper to feed someone the right nutritious food than have them come back again and again. It’s an economically sound argument. In our next iteration we’re going to build out a bigger pantry. We’re going to continue to train our chefs in creative ways. We are only 9 months into this program but it has enormous legs. When food is readily available they’re engaging more.
How do you resolve blind allegiance and how does that work when you’re done with service?
Dylan Tete - Talking about blind allegiance, armies around the world recruit young people who are idealistic and naïve. I joined the infantry because that’s what it is, young people. They are taking very young people to be the fodder for their wars. That hasn’t changed over the arc of our history. We depend on young people to fight. When you do experience combat, things drastically change. You are no longer naïve. The blinders are off and you are operating in a very different space. I think we live in a very aggressive country. It’s in our culture. I’ll bet if I look into the eyes of a Russian solider, I’ll see someone who has been misinformed. Someone who has been lied to. They excel at that in Russia. I remember a story my buddy told me regarding Russian POWs. Russia was telling them outrageous things, that mothers were eating their children. This Russian soldier is telling this as he is dying and he’s begging my buddy to write a letter to his mother. That’s just the reality of war.
David Beach - they equip us to make moral convictions, but at the crux of it all, we all raise our right hand to support and defend our constitution. Young people can be naïve and there is an indoctrination process to retrain brains in your earliest days to do what you’re told. It’s complicated. There’s no easy answer to these situations. There’s misinformation. I’m altruistic as anybody and I believe we make the best decisions as possible.
Flitcher Bell - I too was part of the Louisiana Army National Guard and I want to agree with what David said, it’s a great opportunity. Even though I was on a path to Southern with a scholarship in Engineering at the time, the extra money was great. But it taught me more than that. Growing up without a father, it taught me discipline, it taught me teamwork, it taught me to see more outside Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My first time on a flight was for basic training. The group I went with, we all came back with a sense of leadership and a sense of community. There’s no room for prejudice and bias when you’re in a team. The only thing that matters is to complete the mission. The good thing about being in units like that is it’s no man left behind. You did what you could to make sure the entire unit got through. Until we as a city, a country get to that mentality, we will not change our situation.
Rinaldi Jacobs Sr. - I have two brothers that both served in the United States Navy. I did not serve. My father served. My grandfather served. And I have a bit of a conscience problem with that. My older brother really straightened me up with that really quick. He said look, you are serving in the community and your service is equally as important as ours. That helped me lift that off my shoulders. All service is important, whether you’re serving in the military or back home. I had a family member who as a young man, we didn’t know if he had mental illness or not, but he was really military bent. He was going to go, but he didn’t go, and thank god he didn’t because he was later diagnosed with being bipolar and manic. I can only imagine what would have happened had he gone and what he would have come back as. I think the definition of soldier can be many different things.
David Beach - I feel like everyone should serve but you don't have to carry a rifle to serve our country. For everyone to volunteer a portion of their life it would help us get out of ourselves as we walk through the world.
From Lynn Daigle to Everyone 08:30 AM
Morning great people
From Stacie, Chandra D to Everyone 08:30 AM
Good Morning Everyone!
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:33 AM
Yes indeed. Timing is everything.
From Esperanza Zenon to Everyone 08:34 AM
6th ID Light Ft. Richardson AK here!
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:42 AM
Powerful testimony of what can happen when it becomes the goal to heal.
From Sherreta Harrison to Everyone 08:45 AM
This concept of healing centered communities is critical.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:50 AM
This is so important to know. When we don't share we can't heal. Cheers to my friend Delores! We don't discuss what happens when people have bad paper.
From Ann Zanders to Everyone 08:51 AM
Delores can you out your contact information in the chat
From Casey Phillips to Everyone 08:53 AM
Delores Hurst email@example.com
If any veterans are on the call today and would like to share your story or challenges on accessing affordable housing, workforce development programs and social services we will be opening up the conversation at 9:15.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:53 AM
Delores, Will the Fair Chance ordinance currently being discussed help veterans?
From Ann Zanders to Everyone 08:54 AM
I am working with a veterans group called the GROVE to link resources for active military and their families as well as veterans. It is a national group but their are contacts in New Orleans.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:55 AM
There are so many people now that have never served that just getting them to recognize the value is a challenge.
From Regina Anderson she | her to Everyone 08:58 AM
Thank you for that peaceful moment for our loved ones in Ukraine
From Manny Patole (he|his, CCBR) to Everyone 08:58 AM
All, Sorry I cannot stay longer as this is a conversation close to me. Looking forward to the report out.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 08:59 AM
The Air Force was life changing for me.
From Ann Zanders to Everyone 09:00 AM
There is also the veterans Court system which seems to be getting traction in Louisiana I think there is one in Orleans Parish and one in Lake Charles. Does anyone know if there is a veterans court in BR? These can help veterans who are challenged with adjustment to civilian life and become justice involved.
From Delores Hurst to Everyone 09:04 AM
I didn’t mention, but Ben and I are collaborating with Larry Williams of the VA to build a coalition specific to workforce development for Veterans and the resources they would need for sustainability after service. We’re currently building out a contact list, so if there are current agencies services vets and would love to collaborate, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be apart of the call!
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:04 AM
They are talking about starting a Veteran's Court at the 19th JDC. Judge Tiffany Foxworth-Roberts is leading the effort. However I remind everyone that courts in Louisiana are user funded and that is a problem. The state's legislators must change how courts are funded.
From Casey Phillips to Everyone 09:07 AM
Can you talk about Food Insecurity and the lack of access to fresh/healthy food and do you see this as reflective/on par to the greater community or are the disparities even larger with Veterans? Dylan, can you please Talk about your Food Revolution.
From Omar Minhas to Everyone 09:09 AM
Thank you for your service! 🙏🏽
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:10 AM
Does anyone know why we don't have Veterans Preference in governmental hiring?
From Kim Mosby to Everyone 09:14 AM
Thanks for the great information and things to think about. Have a great weekend.
From Monica Yoo (she/her) to Everyone 09:14 AM
Thank you for sharing today, Dylan. Need to run to my next meeting.
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 09:15 AM
@Rev. Anderson, this is well outside of my lane, but I thought there was Vet Preference in govt. hiring. I just ran a quick search and see several places where vet preference is mentioned https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/5881
From Regina Anderson she | her to Everyone 09:15 AM
and a WARM meal goes so far to show that dignity and respect our veterans deserve
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 09:15 AM
From Regina Anderson she | her to Everyone 09:16 AM
I also have to hop off today. THANK YOU ALL for this amazing time together. Manny, thank you for inviting me to this group. Peace and love to everyone.
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:18 AM
Don't play with Louisiana about the taste of food!
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 09:18 AM
Yeah, you right!
From Toni Quinn Bankston (she,her) to Everyone 09:18 AM
yeah. we don't play down here about the topic of food.
From Aimee Moles to Everyone 09:20 AM
On to next meeting. Great topic
From Jan Ross - Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation to Everyone 09:23 AM
Hoping off for another meeting. Thanks Dylan and David for your service and for sharing your experiences with us. It was enlightening.
From Sherreta Harrison to Everyone 09:25 AM
Thank you for the honesty in these responses
From Nicole Scott, MSN, RN, CCM to Everyone 09:27 AM
I met my husband in the Army National Guard. :)
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:29 AM
Pepper, thank you. I hadn't heard much about Veterans Preference in local government.
From Casey Phillips to Everyone 09:29 AM
Everyone, we are going to hit the record button at 9:30am to grab video for b-roll on the upcoming OneRouge coalition commercial. Please throw on your video if you can (no audio will be used).
From SK Groll to Everyone 09:30 AM
I have to leave a moment early but I’m grateful for the conversation today! Thanks all
From Omar Minhas to Everyone 09:30 AM
Thank you for your service, Dr. Bell! 🙏🏽
From Casey Phillips to Everyone 09:31 AM
Can David or Dylan speak on how Selective Service works? My son is about to turn 18, saw the news yesterday and is now terrified he might get drafted instead of following his dreams.
From Ann Zanders to Everyone 09:31 AM
My dad was in the Navy (WWII) Uncle (Airforce in Vietnam) I do appreciate your service because it protected my freedoms. Many do not understand what "service" means so thank you for explaining what it meant to you!
From Casey Phillips to Everyone 09:33 AM
- David, can you speak about the disparities in healthcare for Veterans in So. Louisiana re: race, gender, and access/poverty.
- Dylan, can you talk about 'helping a veteran' vs. 'healing with a veteran's mental health?
- Dylan, it's been many years since I read The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell. If he were here with us today, what do you think he would say about how we are all interconnected?
Listen to ‘Maggot Brain’ daily
From Shanelle Staten to Everyone 09:33 AM
From Ann Zanders to Everyone 09:36 AM
REAL Help Reentry Symposium is April 19th
https://www.reentryalliancela.com/ for more information
From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone 09:37 AM
What wonderful news Rev Anderson!
From Sherreta Harrison to Everyone 09:38 AM
MetroMorphosis is collecting stories around Black Life in Baton Rouge to create a "future history" story archive and a quilt to serve as a visual representation if the connectedness in our community.
From Ann Zanders to Everyone 09:39 AM
From Sherreta Harrison to Everyone 09:42 AM
Tomorrow at Goodwood Library at 2pm, we will collect stories and fabric. All are welcome as long as you are willing to share stories. Don't forget your piece of cloth (old t-shirts, rags, etc.) For more information visit www.metromorphosis.net
We are particularly interested in stories around how people are experiencing voting rights, food challenges, education, and business.
From Ann Zanders to Everyone 09:48 AM
I think you cannot apply for financial aid for college unless you fill in your SS card. IT actually ask for this either on your FAFSA or college application. I cannot remember which one. I don't think this has changed in recent years. My sons all had to do it:-)
From Me to Everyone 09:50 AM
Oh wow! So I just looked up the stats and it's about 0.4% of Americans have served in the armed services. Did you know that 0.6% of the population identifies as transgender?
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:51 AM
Wow, Sam! That's an amazing stat!
From Pepper Roussel to Everyone 09:52 AM
@Samantha, I did not!
From David Beach l Wilson Foundation to Everyone 09:52 AM
Thank you for that fact check, Samantha. It is quite amazing that so much is expected of so few.
From Karla King - concerned citizen to Everyone 09:54 AM
Sherreta, the sewing circle stories will be amazing!
From Nicole Scott, MSN, RN, CCM to Everyone 09:54 AM
I'll be there!
From Me to Everyone 09:55 AM
I never really thought of how small the population really is. I always assumed it was much larger.
From Sherreta Harrison to Everyone 09:55 AM
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:56 AM
10th anniversary of the Trayvon Martin murder. He would be 27.
From Sherreta Harrison to Everyone 09:57 AM
From Rev Anderson to Everyone 09:57 AM
Thank you for your service.
From Me to Everyone 09:58 AM
Oh, I should note that the 0.4% is ACTIVE personnel.
First Appearance Family Support Center
The 19th JDC First Appearance Family Support Center will begin operating on the 1st floor from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. effective March 8, 2022 to help assist families. The Center will operate one day a week (Tuesdays) from 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
The Family Support Center will be located in the Baton Rouge Bar Association Room and will be serviced by volunteers from a coalition of community organizations including PREACH, East Baton Rouge Prison Reform Coalition, Capital Area Reentry Coalition, YWCA of Greater Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Public Defender's Office, Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana, Southeast Legal Services, Family Roads of Greater Baton Rouge.
We are so excited to continue our partnership with the court to build bridges to help the community understand how to navigate the process. Everything from figuring out who the duty judge is to locating the correct courtroom to resources to assist with the collateral damage that occurs when a loved one is incarcerated.
Special Election/Candidates Forum
On March 6, there will be a special candidates forum featuring candidates for State Rep, District 101; EBR Metro Council, District 5; and the 19th JDC judgeship.
Upcoming Election - Important Dates
Register to Vote!
Deadline to register online: March 5
Deadline to request absentee ballot: March 22
Deadline to return absentee ballot: March 25 @ 4:30 PM
Early voting: March 12-19, excluding Sunday
Election Day: March 26
ThreeSixtyEight featured in Webflow documentary series
ThreeSixtyEight was featured in the debut episode of Webflow’s new documentary series: Generation No-Code. “The story highlights our journey through the pandemic as a technology-driven creative team + showcases some of our favorite recent work. We discuss how the no-code movement has moved the creative conversation from ‘how’ to ‘what if’ and transformed the way companies can share their stories and engage their audiences.
CLICK HERE to watch the episode.
Virtual Teacher Career Fair with Teach 225
Our free, annual virtual career fair makes it easy for you to attend from any location! Interact with potential employers from the comfort of your couch, office, or ... wherever you are! Explore charter, private, and traditional schools while engaging in text or video chats. You can also learn more about teacher certification and educator preparation programs!
CLICK HERE for more information.
Capital Area United Way Opens Nomination Process for 2022 Brotherhood Sisterhood Awards
Capital Area United Way’s Brotherhood Sisterhood Committee has opened the nomination process for its Brotherhood Sisterhood awards.
The Brotherhood Sisterhood Awards – generously sponsored by Baton Rouge General and ExxonMobil – aim to honor individuals in our community who have, throughout their lives, worked toward the elimination of bias, bigotry and racism across ethnic, gender and religious lines.
The recipients of the Brotherhood Sisterhood Award reflect their support of this mission through their individual work to help break down the barriers that divide the community and prevent its citizens from working and living together in harmony. Over the last 60 years, 98 individuals have been recognized through this event for their efforts related to the mission of Brotherhood Sisterhood.
This year’s Brotherhood Sisterhood Award winners will be honored at a breakfast on Friday, April 29th at 7:30 a.m. at the Executive Center. Tickets can be purchased at www.cauw.org/bhshawards.
The community is invited to nominate individuals between now and Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at www.cauw.org/livingunited. Winners will be announced shortly following the nomination deadline.