Activism Roundup

How to take action this week

Arbitrary enforcement of immigration laws prevents many immigrants from speaking up about injustice and unfair treatment. Recently, an immigrant justice advocate fighting against inhumane treatment and racial profiling in deportation processes was served a Notice to Appear by ICE. It is important to protect every voice and every person in our fight for immigrant rights. What can you do? Sign the petition to rescind the deportation order against Maru Mora Villapando today.

On Tuesday, January 30th, the President will deliver the State of the Union address. Women from across the country will be gathering in Washington, D.C. for The State of OUR Union to “understand the state of our nation through the eyes and experiences of women, and chart a path together, towards real solutions in the culture, policies and politics that shape our lives.” Speakers will include Ai-jen Poo, Alicia Garza, Tarana Burke, and Mónica Ramirez, along with domestic workers, farmworkers, and immigrant women sharing their stories. The event will be livestreamed. Sign up here to get a reminder to watch. (Spanish interpretation available.)

Activism Roundup

How to take action this week

Take action against Hate & white supremacy

Saturday, August 19th,   Tacoma is Charlottesville “An anti-hate rally in solidarity with Charlottesville.”

Sunday, August 20th, Everett Rally Against Hate “The Snohomish County NAACP invites you to be ALLIED in this Rally Against Hate. This rally will be a safe place to unite under the common causes of justice, equality and standing up against hate.”

Sunday, August 20th  Seattle Emergency Rally: Say No to The Nazis! “The flagrant display of violence, misogyny, anti-Semitism, and racism in Charlottesville needs a coherent, outraged response. We will not be silenced by bigots, nor cowed by their violence.”

Learn Ten Ways to Fight Hate with this newly updated Community Response Guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Take action for immigrant justice

Saturday, August 19th, Solidarity Day at the Northwest Detention Center  “We will be holding this space to show our solidarity with those in detention, our support for the families visiting their loved ones, and our resistance to the oppressive immigration/prison system.”

Monday, August 21st, Bellingham, Dignity Vigils “Stand in solidarity to support undocumented and immigrant families to live in safety and dignity in our community.” 11:30 AM and 5 PM.

Wednesday, August 23rd, Tacoma Speaks Up Planning Session  “We are convening a planning session to discuss strategies in moving forward with a Legal Defense Fund for Tacoma immigrant families. This is a community effort and we need your help!”

Tell Congress to Defend DACA “For immigrant youth, DACA means safety, it means being able to earn a paycheck to buy medicine for your mom, it means peace of mind, it means opportunity. In a sea of bad news, DACA is a shining light of good news and we have an opportunity to save it.”

 

 

Silent no more

It is 3:00pm on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. In a few minutes I will go home for a solitary (and introvert nerd) evening of channel surfing through the election returns. I must confess that I will be relieved when it is over, although we cannot be certain of when, exactly, it will be over.

audre lordeFor the past several weeks, I have been pondering and, sometimes haunted by, the words of the late great writer activist, Audre Lorde: “your silence will not protect you.” In the early days of our movement, this was a mantra among survivors―survivors of gender-based violence, racial injustice, and myriad forms of oppression and hate. The phrase continues to surface during times of struggle, protest, and bold creativity. And lately, I have been practically choking on them.

How could it be that I―as someone who craves a better path forward and wants desperately to practice the beloved community we whisper/speak/shout about―have been so silent about the vitriolic atmosphere that enveloped all of us during this election season? I have been anxious and agitated, painfully aware of my leadership of a 501(c)3 that is prohibited from endorsing (or rejecting) or seeming to endorse (or reject) candidates for elected office. There have been daily cautions about what we can and cannot say, and fear about appearing to be partisan. Through it all, I have felt that I compromised my own commitment to speak the truth, to confront misogyny and racism, and to stand with immigrants, people with disabilities, and communities of all faiths. My silence does not protect them. It does not protect you. And it does not protect me.

The presidential campaign brought me to the edge of tolerance. The spin, the analysis, the polling. The recordings, debates, interviews, videos. And all the while, Audre’s voice in my head: “your silence will not protect you.”

Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 9, 2016, I will go to the office. I hope (read that as BIG HOPE) that we can put the election fatigue behind us. I hope we can celebrate a historic moment for what it is. Silent no more. Forward we go.

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Seattle councilwomen’s vote against NBA plan inspires sexist rage “The five female council members have not commented on the gender insults. But their four male counterparts, along with Mayor Ed Murray, have supported them. The mayor called the hate talk “misogynistic sexist vitriol.””

Listen to Every Word Janet Mock Has to Say about Trans Black Women “When folks say that they’re fighting on behalf or advocating for the protection of girls and women, they’re usually speaking about a very specific girl,” says Mock. “She’s usually not trans. She’s usually perceived to be straight. She is usually the epitome of respectability. She hasn’t engaged in sex work. She is white and/or as close to whiteness as possible.”

Make It Work: Organizing with a gender frame toolkit “Intersectional gender analysis.” Great concept, jargon-y term. It sounds like something out of an academic textbook. (Oh wait, it definitely is.) But, underneath those eleven syllables is a profoundly powerful framework: a framework that is worth your attention…. This toolkit is a playbook for how to win big.”

And finally, a joyous celebration of women from Laura Mvula. She wrote it after being inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman”.

Teen activists in action

We’re excited to bring you a guest blog post from Quinn Angelou-Lysaker of Franklin High School’s Feminist Union, an energetic student-led group that has been tackling teen domestic violence along with other feminist issues.
On January 13th, Franklin High School’s own Feminist Union lead a class we called “Intersectional Feminism 101.” Five members of our leadership team created an activity based on WSCADV’s game In Their Shoes. In Their Shoes takes participants through a story about an abusive relationship, where they’re asked to make decisions as the story progresses. We used this idea and wrote our own stories in which sexism and other forms of oppression intersect. One story was about a black girl who was forced to resign from a theater program because she wouldn’t straighten her natural hair. Another followed the story of a boy with two gay mothers who makes some homophobic friends in school. We also used one of the original stories from In Their Shoes about a Mexican girl whose relationship with a boy becomes abusive.

franklin-feminist-union-teensThere was a healthy turn out of both boys and girls, which we were glad to see. As I spoke to groups participating, I found that it was easier for them to detect the racism, classism or homophobia in the stories than the sexism. But as groups went through more and more stories, it became more clear to them how multiple kinds of discrimination could exist in the same situation. It was interesting to hear how people identified with the characters, like to “Cassandra,” the gay daughter of conservative Chinese immigrants. They had insightful comments about how if she were straight, she would have more resources (like her parents) to get her out of her abusive relationship. Overall, people seemed to enjoy the activity and learn a lot.

Five greetings of holiday cheer

‘Tis the season. I close out my blog writing for 2015 with a string of holiday-themed confessions and advice. Please, grab an eggnog and pull up a chair.

Peace on Earth

Make peace with the earth.

I grew up outside. The outdoors is where I go when I need to experience renewal, re-creation. My first political activism involved working as a student intern in the 1970’s under the guidance of chain-smoking, tough-as-nails environmental bulldogs Flo Brodie and Jack Davis. Sadly, they are both long gone, but all of us owe a huge debt of gratitude to them for stopping an industrial logging export facility from being built right next to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge.

Blessings to Flo and Jack and to those young and very much alive activists who point out that earth and climate justice are the same thing as racial and social justice.

Home for the Holidays

Re-friend your people on Facebook. Make peace with your uncles, cousins, and former classmates who have posted hateful things that resulted in you tossing them off your friend list.

My cousin Bill posts pictures of guns and voices wildly different perspectives from my own. I once came close to unfriending him—but I resisted because I love him so much. I’ve discovered that arguing back in a clear, kind way actually results in him moderating his position a bit. I should ask him if he ever stops himself from posting something because he thinks of me. Probably not. But I know I think about what he’s going to say when I post certain things—and part of me can hardly wait.

I know you don’t want to re-friend your “cousin Bill.” Do it anyway because if you don’t argue back then we will all end up living in thicker bubbles among the dwindling pool of people who agree with us on everything. This trend toward isolation and intolerance of any view different from our own cannot end well.

Merry Christmas

Dig a little deeper into the story of Christmas and reflect on refugees past and present. Find ways to make it clear refugees are welcome here. Capitol_protest_Tyra

A small crowd gathered at the capitol the other day to express the opposite. They howled “Refugees are NOT welcome here.” I went to the counter-protest to see if I could persuade the people holding “Vets Before Refugees” signs to reconsider this us vs. them thing. I told them that I agreed that we have done a terrible job caring for returning vets. In the above photo captured by the Tacoma News Tribune, I was pointing to a vet’s Union Gospel Mission patch. He said he worked there. “Then you have experience working with folks who are caught in the crossfire of life circumstances. That’s gotta give you some sympathy for the Syrian war refugees, right?” We might have continued that conversation, but the rally organizer came over to hiss “Terrorists are embedded with those refugees.” She was not budging on that point. There was nothing more I could say.

The Syrian refugees are not terrorists. They need a home. I was taught that Mary and Joseph were refugees too. If we cannot learn some lessons from 2,015 years ago, what’s the point of celebrating the birth of that famous baby?

Joy to the World

Be happy for the liberation of yourself and others.

As difficult as these times are, I find joy in movements organizing for justice. Black Lives Matter to me as a white person because I want to live in a world where African Americans and have equal access to the same things that have brought me comfort, happiness, and peace. It is not asking too much because it can be done.

I recently joined Olympia SURJ and follow the leadership of Full Circle United as they direct me to take action. Find the group that is organizing in your town. Bring joy to your life and to the lives of everyone around you.

Silent Night

Rest and be well.

At times, I am shaken awake long past midnight by fear and worry. When that happens, I take a deep breath. And listen to the silence. Some nights I get up and creep outside to be in the stillness—the quiet darkness. We are all loved by the silent night. Be at peace. All is well.

News you can relate to

Some news stories that caught our eye this week:

Give the Gift of Peace this holiday season! Participate in Jacksons Food Stores’ Doves for Peace campaign. Over $170,000 has been raised so far.

Athlete, actor, and author Terry Crews had some great stuff to say about feminism this week: “I kind of relate it to slavery…the people who were silent at the lunch counters, when it was the black lunch counter and the white one…and you were quiet. You were accepting it. Same thing with men right now. If you don’t say anything, you are, by your silence—it’s acceptance. I’m not going to be silent.”

Feministing asks: How can anyone push survivors to report to the police this week?

And Chescaleigh kills it, as usual, with some quick tips on how to support people fighting for justice.