Category Archives: Love not Hate

Hate will not win. We cannot allow it.

Alabama Election Results

I am the first to admit that I have a lot to learn still when it comes to politics, race issues, culture issues, etc. And this is a half-formed, spur of the moment post…

But one thing I do know is that it makes me SICK to see how many white women voted for Moore in this election.  Honestly, even if their beliefs on matters such as abortion hadn’t made it so they could feel comfortable voting for Jones, I would have liked to see a larger number of write-ins. That was an option, you know, to not vote for either of them. But yet again I see an election that SHOULD NOT have been so close be very close.

And yet again I see that Black Women have stepped up, have voted in numbers and in a way that really made a difference.  And, as someone pointed out somewhere – a great many of those Black Women are church-going faithful people (just a side note).

And it’s yet one more time that Black Women have carried the best interests of the country on their shoulders.  And we need to do better.  We need to do far better.

This post, Black Women Do Not Exist to Save You, I thought, was really good – I’m still figuring out how to say what I think and what I can actually do… but I know boosting this is one thing that I can do.

It’s WELL PAST time we listen. And it’s WELL PAST time we, white folks, DO SOMETHING.

“Black women will no longer play wet nurse to White America.”

via Black Women Do Not Exist To Save You

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Monday Update: Week of February 6th

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News

I took a different approach this week, trying to track the stories that crossed my desk throughout the week in a Google Doc – which makes this much easier.

Sally Yates, who was the acting Attorney General spoke out against 45’s Immigration Ban – stating that she was not convinced that it was lawful. She spoke out Monday morning, by Monday evening she had been fired, for “betraying the Department of Justice.

The Supreme Court Nominee was announced, and there have been some commentary from Trump that is troubling.

Some of the hearings for appointments took place.  The Democrats tried to boycott a few of them, but the republican’s changed the rules and pushed a few through committee.

Tillerson was confirmed as Secretary of State and DeVos was moved out of committee.  Jerry Falwell Jr. was asked to lead Trump’s education Task Force… which is troubling as well.

Trump’s Black History Month talk was… something. And his talk at the National Prayer Breakfast also was eye-brow-raise worthy.

He also had conversations with world leaders that did not seem to present the United States in a terrible good light. His conversations with Mexico and Australia were not stellar.

There has been talk about restructuring the Counter-Terrorism program to be exclusively focused on “Radical Islamic Terrorists.”

Easing sanctions with Russia, removing Coal Regulations, loosening financial regulations on corporations because his friends can’t get loans… there’s a lot happening.

NPR has put together a recap of what’s happened in the first two weeks, and there is a great site that is doing daily summaries of the news.

Good News

A Federal Judge suspended the Immigration Ban, which is allowing travel back into the country as it had existed before the sudden ban went into place.  Trump’s administration is battling this ruling – through the courts, but Trump has also tweeted some worrisome statements.

However, there are many people who are being allowed back into the country, including an infant who is heading to life-saving surgery in Oregon.

The ban has also produced ongoing protests, which had brought people together in some spectacularly beautiful ways.  It’s sad that this is coming in response to such a horrible event, but seeing the Yemeni bodega owners come together in protest (and prayer), and watching the live-stream of an interfaith prayer protest at JFK airport were both amazingly powerful things to see.

The world has taken to having some fun at Trump’s expense – which is somewhat heartwarming. At least, it helps me to feel like we’re not alone in this.

Action

Keep up the work you are doing.  The phone calls to Senators encouraging them to vote no on DeVos and Sessions are important.

Trump has also been trying to re-structure the National Security Council, and appointing Bannon to it. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security needs to hear from you about this! Call them at 202-224-4751.  You can also email.

Additionally there’s been a list floating around of “things to keep in mind.”  I’ve altered it somewhat.

  1. Use the name you feel appropriate.  Some avoid using his name to limit his mentions, to not give him status, etc. Others feel that not using his name will give him undue power (like not using Voldemort’s name – being the example I have heard put to use).
  2. Remember that this is a regime and he is not acting alone.  Often we use “Trump” to stand for an entire group of people – there are a lot of people who have a hand in what is happening. We need to watch them all.
  3. Do not argue with those who support him – they will not change their minds.  This is a hard one. I know some who will engage in conversations with them to try and understand where they’re coming from – but if you are approaching with an attempt to change their minds your chances aren’t great. Too often they are trying to “argue” using a complete lack of any actual reasoning, and unwillingness to actually listen to facts.
  4. Focus on his policies, not his mental state.  Don’t armchair diagnose him.  Don’t equate his behavior to any sort of mental health. Comments about personal appearance, sartorial choices, and family are mean and unnecessary.
  5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow. Be angry, certainly, but try to find ways to channel it into something productive, into something you can do to work towards change and to keep up the fight.
  6. Be careful with your helpless/hopeless talk. If you are feeling these things reach out, vent them to friends (or professionals). Don’t sit with it, but try to also not keep putting out hopeless messages.  Again, that is something that helps the regime win.
  7. Support artists and the arts. The arts are important, and all the artists I know right now are struggling. It can be hard to justify doing your art in times like this, and yet – it’s very important that we do so. Art is power.
  8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it twice. Check it multiple times. Get to know your surfaces.
  9. Take Care of yourselves. Be there for others. And,
  10. Resist.

 

Monday Updates – Week of January 30, 2017

News

I have a hard time believing it’s just been just over one week since inauguration day. So much has happened, it’s felt like fires being started all over the place, faster than we can find ways to deal with them.  But, we’ve been doing what we can.

Trump has been signing executive orders at a steady rate, including:

He also signed memorandums that included:

In addition to these there was:

Trump made claims of massive voter fraud (which pretty much no-one sees any evidence of).

The White House has begun to use the phrase “Alternate Facts” to refer to flat-out lies, as though they are somehow as valid as actual facts.

A group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics  in Washington have filed a federal lawsuit against Trump claiming that his business interests have put him in violation of the constitution.

The entire senior administrative staff of the State Department were removed from their post .

Trump did an interview that was… interesting.

But perhaps the most hard-hitting things have happened this weekend.

First came the Immigration Ban. Trump signed an order that went into effect immediately which bars the entry of citizens from seven (predominantly Muslim) nations from entering the US for three months. This includes people from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. And it includes people who have lived and worked in the US for years, and may have just been out of the country on when this ban went into place. This also includes refugees who have been in an already long process to get to the United States. There are heartbreaking stories everywhere at this point, and a number of people were detained at US airports (some illegally deported) as this went into place.

And, while that was happening, Steve Bannon was places onto the National Security Council, while the roles of the Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence have been minimized.

Good News

Badlands National Park tweeted some scientific information following the Twitter-ban. These tweets got deleted, but it ended up launching a great series of “alt” and “rogue” NPS accounts that continued to share scientific information, particularly relating to Climate Change.

Full-out gag orders seem to have been at least somewhat lifted (such as with the USDA) following a severe amount of public outcry from citizens and scientists.

In response to the Muslim Ban (though Trump claims it is not about religion no one is really buying that) protests spontaneously appeared at airports around the country. Lawyers jumped into action to do what they could, and the ACLU went right to court and were able to get a federal judge to grant a stay for those who were already in the US and being detained.  Airbnb stepped up to offer free housing overseas for those stranded by this ban, and the New York City taxi’s went on a temporary strike, refusing to transport to and from JFK airport.  It has been a powerful show of support, and is ongoing.

 

There was a victory in the fight against Gerrymandering in Wisconsin.

Action:

Of course, take care of yourself. It is becoming clear that we’re in a marathon that acts like a sprint… so much happening with, it seems, no end in sight. So it’s vital to take care of ourselves!

With a new issue coming up daily, it can be easy to let some of them fall by the wayside – and we can’t do that.

This week will see the confirmation hearings for Jeff Sessions and Betty DeVos – both which really need to be stopped.

DeVos hearing is on Tuesday (January 31st) and we need to get three of these senators to vote against her appointment.  So, if you live in any of the states listed below OR KNOW ANYONE WHO DOES, PLEASE call your Senators (or get them to call their senators), and if it’s busy, keep trying:
Susan Collins (ME) 207.622.8414..&..202.224.2523
Lamar Alexander (TN) 615.736.5129..&..202.224.4944
Lisa Murkowski (AK) 907.586.7277..&..202.224.6665
Johnny Isakson (GA) 770.661.0999..&..202.224.3643
Orrin Hatch (UT) 801.524.4380..&..202.224.5251
Richard Burr (NC) 336.631.5125..&..202.224.3154..&.. 910.251.1058..&..828.350.2437
Michael Enzi (WY) 202.224.3424
Dr. Bill Cassidy (LA) 202.224.5824
Pat Roberts (KS) 202.224.4774
Tim Scott (SC) 202.224.6121
Rand Paul (KY) 202.224.4343

Jeff Sessions vote is also on Tuesday.  The NAACP has put together a good document with the phone numbers of the representatives on this committee… check it out and give them a call.

Finally, pay attention. If you can do anything to help in the fight against the Muslim Ban please do. Donations to the ACLU or other organizations that help immigrants and refugees are very welcome, if you are able.

If you are on Twitter or Facebook you can always search for the hashtag #Resist to get a start in finding more information, action items, and connections.

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Monday Updates: Week of January 23, 2017

I am still pretty worn out from Saturday, so today’s updates are pretty light.

News:

The Inauguration Happened.

You know how they talk about “start as you mean to go on”?  Well, the Trump regime seems to be doing this and we should all be paying attention.  From the immediate signing of executive orders that will start undermining the ACA, to lashing out at the press.

The first press conference with the new Press Secretary also provided some insight into those things we need to keep paying attention to.  Close attention. To lie about the size of the crowd at the inauguration – both a petty thing to be concerned about and worrisome – to lie about something that people can see clearly, to lie about facts and refer to it as “Alternative Facts” as Conway does… it is painful and frightening.

Amy Siskind keeps a good, ongoing list of things that are happening here, and covers far more of the important things to be paying attention to.

Good News:

The Women’s March was powerful for many of us. Certainly, there were issues, and there is so much more work that needs to be done. But it was a powerful march, none-the-less, as people came together all around the world to stand up and protest against the new regime.

I attended the one in Portland Oregon, where the number of attendee’s far exceeded what organizers had expected — as was the case with most of the marches. They were, also, 100% peaceful. A powerful moment in a much larger movement.

Take Action

There is a lot of action that needs to happen. We need to continue to speak up. The appointment of individuals like Sessions and De Vous are still on the table, so call your representatives, call the committee members, and make your voices heard!

The Women’s March is also now hosting “10 actions in the first 100 days” Check it out for the first action, and to sign up for future actions. There is so much still to be done.

The Power of Art: Allegiance

George Takei has not been quiet about his experience, helping to raise up the experiences of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during the Second World War. The United States labeled these citizens as enemies, and imprisoning them into “internment camps.”

logo-squareAllegiance is the story of a Japanese American family living through this time. It’s a powerful musical performance, following the experience of the (fictional) Kimura family who are sent from their home in Salinas, California to Heart Mountain Camp in Wyoming.

Sam Kimura seeks to prove his patriotism by fighting for his country in the war, but his sister, Kei, fiercely protests the government’s treatment of her people. An uplifting testament to the power of the human spirit, Allegiance follows the Kimuras as they fight between duty and defiance, custom and change, family bonds and forbidden loves. (Summary from the Allegiance, The Musical, website).

It’s billed as a story about the “redemptive power of love,” and it truly is. This musical is powerful art. While it was being preformed on stage the show was filmed, and limited screenings are being held in order to let more people be able to see and hear this show. I was lucky enough to go to the first of these screenings (another round is scheduled for February 19th – to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066, some places have already started selling tickets).

I attended with two friends, both familiar with this terrible piece of our history. But even knowing the history it was based on, this story struck us into tears and silence. It felt like I had been smacked in the heart.

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It raises questions about how to react, how to resist, when and how to take a stand. There are parallels and messages that can be drawn which might not resonate so heavily in other times.  It follows the family as their rights are pulled away from them, framed as “patriotic sacrifice” and “contribution to the war effort.” There is a struggle with how to not make themselves a target “do not fight the storm,” keep your head down. But as their rights, their homes and their belongings are taken away, the sense of how to react changes.

There’s a word we will say, to help get through each day. We will bear any nightmare with a simple refrain. Gaman. Sturdy and sure, keep faith and endure…. Hold your head high, carry on. – Allegiance, the Musical.

How do you fight injustice? The members of the Kimura family pick different approaches, all trying to do what is right. This show is beautifully done, with powerful symbolism woven throughout, humor sprinkled at just the right moments, and some amazing talent.  Allegiance plays across many levels and is well worth the effort to go and see.

 

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Art is such a beautiful expression, it can evoke emotions and speak to truths that can be hard to articulate.  It also can often serve as a powerful tool for change, for revolution, to spark people to stand up and make changes.

This series is going to explore the power of art, by looking at actual art.  Sometimes it may be written, or it may be visual (who knows, maybe I’ll convince someone to share auditory art with us as well).  This will run the third Wednesday of every month, for as long as I can keep it going! (Interested in contributing?  Let me know!)

Monday Updates: Week of January 16th

News

The Trump Cabinet nominee’s Senate Hearings have begun. A number of them were rescheduled for later, but some have begun, including Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State,  andJeff Sessions for Attorney General.

Donald Trump held his first press conference this week. It was… challenging… to watch. If you want the highlights, but don’t have the ability to actually read through, or watch the real press conference, you can get some of the highlights from this months SNL cold opening.

(Trump, of course, found it important to tweet about this and how horrible SNL is).

There is a lot to pick through in this news conference, but one of the particularly worrisome ones is his refusal to take a question from CNN. The history of this is that CNN (along with Buzzfeed) released information to claims that there were document alleging that Russia held compromising financial and personal information about the president-elect. As Trump often takes to Twitter when he has been slighted (or perhaps when he feels threatened), such as in response to Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech. When a news source says something he dislikes, he begins to call them “fake news.” It is difficult to not see this as troubling – it is an early step in the limiting of free press.

Trump has also been continuing his pattern of breaking traditions, while it is generally the case that incoming presidents will leave certain key individuals in their positions until a proper replacement can take charge, Trump has ordered that Major General Errol R. Schwartz, who is the commanding officer of the Washington, D.C. National Guard, resign his post in the middle of the Inauguration ceremony.

And a final piece of news, the Senate is taking steps towards their promise of dismantling the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), despite having nothing to replace it with.  There is a rising number of republican voices against the repeal without something to replace it, but it may not be enough to make the difference.

Good News

There are a number of counter-inauguration events in the works, including a Love-A-Thon is occurring, streaming live on Facebook starting at 12:30 pm (ET) on January 20th, Inauguration Day. A number of celebrities will be participating, and money raised will be going to the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, Planned Parenthood, and Earthjustice. In addition to protests and counter-performances, a number of individuals are boycotting the inaugural ceremony in protest, including over two dozen members of Congress.

On Saturday the 21st there will be a large Women’s March in D.C., as well as 370 “Sister Marches” around the world. It’s entertaining to note that there have only been 200 bus-parking applications for the Inauguration, but 1200 for the Women’s March! Though not without its challenges, the Women’s Marches have the potential to be powerful, meaningful events and I have personally seen a lot of education and learning happening in some of the groups surrounding them.

Action Items

There are so many things that need to be done – there is no way any one of us can do them all, so find the ones that most call to you, that you hold most important, and take action on those.

Figure out your Inauguration Day plan. Self-care is highly recommended. Even though the TV ratings won’t directly translate, a lot of people are going to boycott watching it in any form, some by being vocal about it, some by attending or watching counter-shows.  Some will be going offline entirely and taking the day outside or with friends.  Figure out what is going to work for you, that day and through the weekend.

If it is possible for you, look at attending one of the Women’s Marches on the 21st. Stand in solidarity with others who are fighting the same fight. Take this time to also learn more about the reason and purpose behind the march, and to start learning (if you haven’t already) about some of the issues that are a part of the reality of activism in this day and age. Look into what “Privelege” means, and what “Intersectional Feminism” is.

This is Martin Luther King Jr Day (observed). Take time today to do something to celebrate – participate in a service project, write a letter-to-the-editor for your local paper on one of the issues that matters to you, read some of MLK’s writings, and take action.

Call your representatives and urge them to act to fully restore the Voting Rights Act.

Continue to call the appropriate senators to oppose the innapropriate caibnet nominations, such as contacting members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee about Betsy DeVos lack of qualifications to be Secretary of Education.

Continue to press the Oversight Committee about the need for Trump to truly divest of his conflicts of interest. Rep. Chaffetz’s office number is 202-225-7751.

Contact the Republican Senators who have broken from the GOP in terms of a fast repeal of the ACA. Share with them your appreciation: Senator Bob Corker (202)224-3344; Senator Lisa Murkowski (202)224-6665; Senator Rob Portman (202)224-3353; Senator Susan Collins (202)224-2523; Senator Bill Cassidy (202)224-5824.

 

Monday Update – Week of January 9th.

News:

Trying to figure out where to even start…. The week started out with a mad rush to try to voice concern and stop the gutting of the House Ethics Committee.  Social Media WORKED to spread the word quickly, and phone calls were made to register displeasure and the effort to demolish the ethics committee was dropped.

Unfortunately, this was just a piece of what was on the docket for the week, and a few other things got through – such as expanding “the power of committee staff to haul private citizens and government officials to Capitol Hill to be questioned under oath — without any lawmakers present, in some cases.” And making it easier to sell off federal land.  At the very least this week started with a strong reminder that we’re going to have a lot thrown at us quickly and it’s important to be paying attention and ready to take action quickly.

There is fast movement happening around de-funding Planned Parenthood, and repealing the Affordable Care Act – without having something else to put in its place. The return of the Holman rule, which “allows lawmakers to lower the salary or eliminate the job of individual federal employees,” and the passing of a provision that will fine members of the House “for the use of an electronic device for still photography or for audio or visual recording or broadcasting….”

And then there is the fact that the confirmation hearings of Trump’s Cabinet picks is being pushed through before they can be subject to a proper evaluation by the Ethics Committee and have been scheduled in a very rushed time frame.

Oh, and Trump has been disparaging the Intelligence offices, and talking about revamping them.

And then there was the “blanket edict requiring politically appointed ambassadors to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day,” a break from tradition…. And I’m sure there is more that I’ve missed.  Like I said, a LOT is being thrown at us at once.

Good News

That small victory at the start of the week, where there was clear change based on the actions we all took, was a powerful one.

And there was the attempt of delivering 87,000 petitions to Paul Ryan by volunteers for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. There were security guards called in and were unable to deliver the petitions — but we did get the fun #PaulRyanSoScared hashtag out of it.

And, it seems, more Republicans are standing against the party-line. It’s a small step, but promising, that there are more and more who are expressing concern at repealing the ACA without a replacement plan in place, for instance.

Call to Action:

Call the Senators about the Cabinet appointments. The hearings are THIS WEEK (January 9th at 12:30 EST), so it’s important to get these calls in as soon as you can. This spreadsheet lays out a lot of information for you – the hearing date, the cabinet appointment, the name of the nominee, their background, why they are a concerning choice, which committee they will be appearing before, the committee members and a script option. Also, the twitter handles and tweet-scripts to be used.  Do this if you AT ALL CAN! (This is another form to use if you’d like – more basic for mobile-viewing) These both focus on some key nominations – the Democrats have indicated that they are planning on targeting the eight worst nominations.

One other action of importance, if you can.

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From Indigenous Rising Media:

#StandingRock still needs your commitment and solidarity.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has neglected to log their intent to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement. This crucial step will make it more challenging for the Trump administration to restart DAPL construction.

Continue to Stand with Standing Rock and make the call today.
ARMY CORPS COMMENT LINE: (202) 761-8700
http://standwithstandingrock.net/armycorps/