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.”

 

 

Stuck

I got stuck in the elevator last week.

stuck in elevatorI got in, pressed 7 and rode up. The doors opened, maybe 4-5 inches, slammed shut, then everything froze.  I pressed every button on the panel, including the alarm. Nothing.

I’ve never been stuck in an elevator before. I know a lot of people say this is their worst nightmare but for me it really wasn’t that bad. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely experienced a little adrenaline rush. I was all by myself so I gave the door one last pound with my fist, sat down on the floor, looked around and thought “Wow, I’m stuck in an elevator.” It really does wake a person up.

(Spoiler alert, I got out.)

All week, I’ve been enjoying the quirkiness of the experience and playing with it. I’ve  been watching various things unfold from that wide-awake stuck-in-an elevator point of view. Like, I’ve been thinking about our national healthcare debacle, the mistrial of Bill Cosby, the happenings at my beloved alma mater The Evergreen State College; all of these as embodiments of the cosmic elevator in which our entire nation seems to be stuck.

How are we ever going to get out?

Today I’m thinking it has to be about everyday conversations where we learn to navigate the world with more finesse and not so much stuck-ness.

Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I watched two people end a heated debate with “let’s just agree to disagree.” Ever said that? Or had it said to you? That expression means so many captive things, including:

  1. My eyes are seeing that your mouth is moving and sound is coming out. But I am too busy in my mind thinking about how to represent and defend my point of view. When I see your mouth stop moving, I’ll tell you all about it.
  2. I am the one with power here (said both parties) and when this godforsaken conversation is over and we agree to disagree, each of us will return to our corners and shore up our power where we have it.
  3. You’re wrong.

Allow me to indulge you in a story someone told me once about “you’re wrong.”

There was a monastery in Thailand where people from the U.S. occasionally went to join the Buddhist monks to study and meditate. A woman traveled there and for several months practiced rigorously, Returning to the U.S., she found herself attracted to an evangelical church and eventually pledged herself to Christ. She vowed to return to Thailand to convert the monks. Her return to the monastery was greeted with great warmth. But as the days went on, they became increasingly confused and then annoyed by her preaching to them as they tried to study. Finally the monks went to the abbot to seek his wisdom about what to do. The abbot listened intently to their account of events, considered for a time, looked at his wide-eyed followers, shrugged and said “She could be right.”

Which is just to say, “agreeing to disagree” is to be loyal to a story that may be right. It may be wrong. Who knows?

Or may not even be the only possibility. What if there were a third, fourth, or  fifth story; one we can’t even imagine because we get too stuck on the only one we know?

Or maybe all the possibilities are not mutually exclusive? What if two things that appear to be at odds, are actually not and can both be true at the same time?

What would happen if we flipped the script and committed to “Let’s agree to work to agree”? Getting unstuck. There are solutions to every problem we have created for ourselves.

Including getting out of an elevator. Half an hour after I rang the alarm, two guys from the Olympia Fire Department pried open the doors and let me out. Ultimately, I’m left with only one question. Is it possible to be stuck in an elevator and be both annoyed and dazzled at the same time?

Show your love

We bring you this post from Karen Rosenberg, a Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence consultant.

Did you read about the guy who made threats against Jewish organizations as a way to hurt his ex-girlfriend? The Federal complaint reads in part:

“…the defendant appears to have made some of the JCC [Jewish Community Center] threats as part of a sustained campaign to harass and intimate Victim-1…harassment of Victim-1 appears to have begun shortly after their romantic relationship ended and to have included…JCC Threats in Victim-1’s name…”

Jewish Community CenterAt first the whole thing just seemed bizarre: making bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers to get back at an ex? How random. But then I realized with a sinking heart: if we understand how domestic violence works, there is nothing random here. This is textbook harassment. People don’t choose their tactics in a vacuum. They draw on what’s going on around them. We’re swimming in a sea of hate crimes. This guy used anti-Semitism—and fears of anti-Semitism—to punish his ex-girlfriend.

The spike in hate crimes stresses our most intimate relationships. The separation between the public and the private is an illusion. Those who choose to abuse their partners have newly prominent cultural scripts of hate at their fingertips. From this perspective, signs proclaiming love for our neighbors, support of our immigrants, and solidarity with Muslims take on real importance. They displace the rhetoric of hate. They remind us that we all deserve to feel safe, loved, and respected. So show your love in public. Our relationships depend on it.

I SAID I was SORRY

There are not many things that are awkward per se about being a gardener. But there is one. Sometimes I overhear things happening in my neighbor’s yard that I maybe should not.

Like one fine spring day when my neighbor’s front door SLAMMED and their really quite adorable teenager turned round on the front stoop and screamed back at the closed door “I SAID I was SORRY!” Car tires squealed. Calm settled back.

I know it’s not funny, but I said I was sorry – big emphasis on SAID and SORRY – has since become part of the vernacular in our house. When we do something stupid and apologize but the other won’t let it go I SAID I was SORRY can sometimes break the spell of an argument that is going nowhere.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.

I’ve been thinking about apologizing and making amends more than usual lately. I mean, I’ve thought about it a lot over the years related to my work. How batterers and sex offenders can apologize and make amends for the terrible things they have done to their loved ones and others.

And is that even possible?

And yes it is.

But now, every day, I’m watching the much bigger picture of our nation coming to terms. Watching as the scabs and scars covering our many national shames split open and bleed.

For instance, this New York Times article: A public apology for the inconceivably wicked crime of the lynching of 16-year-old Austin Callaway, taken from a jail cell and murdered on September 4, 1940 in LaGrange, Georgia.

Ernest Ward, right, the N.A.A.C.P. president in Troup County, Ga., said he had “a newfound respect” for Louis M. Dekmar, the police chief in LaGrange. I am in awe of the people in LaGrange. Those with the courage to stand up. To face the past and to face the present. To be together. To struggle even as it gets messier and messier.

It is incumbent on me, on all of us to be together. In person. To lean in toward one another and whisper in each others ears “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” To bust wide open and tell one another our stories and see where that takes us.

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

Social justice non-profits are feeling dread and despair about the next four years, so Nonprofit With Balls has written The Nonprofit Serenity Prayer to use when we need to calm ourselves down and carry on.

Here’s an amazing call for people with white privilege to embrace their fragility instead of becoming defensive in the face of critique: “I hear the argument that this kind of targeting doesn’t ‘make the tent larger’ because it alienates white women who would potentially be allies. I say that making the tent larger is more readily and fully achieved by making equal space for women of color and the issues that disproportionately affect them — not pandering to the white fragility of so-called ‘allies.’ ”

We are big fans of Roxane Gay, and we broke out in big smiles when we heard that she is pulling her next book from Simon & Schuster in response to their intention to publish white nationalist and hate-monger Milo Yiannopoulos.

News you can relate to

114 million Americans have no paid family leave “I went back to work 4 weeks after I had my baby because I couldn’t afford to stay home any longer. Even though my baby was in the NICU for a week and needed me, I had no choice but to go back to work.”

Gwen Ifill, Host Of ‘Washington Week’ And ‘PBS NewsHour,’ Dies “When I was a little girl watching programs like this — because that’s the kind of nerdy family we were — I would look up and not see anyone who looked like me in any way. No women. No people of color,”

Transgender Americans Organize to Update IDs before January “By Friday, TransLawHelp.org had become a significant database of trans-positive legal resources for lawyers, notaries, and paralegals who are up for pitching in to help trans people update their documents. There’s also a link to an official fund so people can donate to cover the costs of document updates for trans people.”

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

I’m a Minister and a Mother—and I Had an Abortion Decisions about whether and when to grow one’s family carry the deepest meaning, and religious women make this decision in conversation with God, just as we do every decision.

When our (white) feminist heroes fail us: on “notorious RBG” and Colin Kaepernick “Let’s reevaluate the pedestal we put our feminist heroes on and demand that they do the constant work of allying their version of feminism with the fight against racial injustice.”

After FIFA lifts hijab ban, Muslim women soccer players hit the field “The optics of Muslim women charging out onto the pitch to the sounds of adoring crowds filled with Arab girls and women was striking.”

Life Advice From the Girl in Bomba Estéreo’s “Soy Yo” Music Video

 

Back to school

school-backpacks

This week kids across Washington State headed back to school.

According to our state constitution, educating our children is the paramount duty of government. It is the greatest collective responsibility we share as a community.

Of course, there is no lack of debate or dispute over what that duty requires.

Washington State has been ordered into court on Sept 7th by the WA Supreme Court to answer questions about the ongoing impact of the McCleary Decision, which has been fining WA State $100,000 a day for over a year for not making significant progress on special education, teachers’ salaries and a host of school basics.

Arguments over “teaching to the test” continue to brew. School bathrooms have taken center stage in the growing conversations and controversies over gender. The Department of Justice has pointed out the dangers of the “preschool to prison pipeline” where African American children, poor children and foster children disproportionately find public education not a path to stability and achievement, but a process of escalating surveillance and criminalized discipline that results in imprisonment rather than empowerment.

And a recent study by the NW Network and the National Domestic Violence Hotline demonstrates that fear of mandatory reporting to police or CPS by reporters such as school teachers and counselors results in young people delaying or avoiding seeking help when they are experiencing harm.

It can be easy to become overwhelmed by the storms that surround education. But, instead of turning away from the challenges that face our schools, let’s get educated about these challenges and the positions on education held by every candidate seeking office this fall. Let’s make sure we have all our kids’ backs as they head back to school.

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

What Can You Do to Broaden Your Worldview? Have Dinner with Your Muslim Neighbor “One participant at the dinner suggested that it shouldn’t be the duty of the oppressed to educate the oppressors, but Saab dismissed that, explaining that it is one of the pillars of Islam to stand up for all people and to advocate for any marginalized people.”

The hotly contested Olympic medal table of sexism “Detailed commentary setting female gymnasts up against one another and reducing them entirely to their leotards, including references to how “dainty” or “ultra-feminine” they were and even comparing them to Disney fairies.”

Leslie Jones, we’ve got your back! “Racism is not new, but it’s happening in new and different ways. Hateful people have a huge platform to spew their racist hate, and they have no remorse.”

And finally, a little musical parody to entertain you:

News you can relate to

Some stories that caught our eye this week:

New Allegations of Sexual Abuse at Fordham Prep Remind Us That Men Can Be Victims, Too “Movements for rape survivors have a history of forgetting that men can suffer sexual violence as well as perpetrate it.”

Simone Biles on Her Legacy: ‘I’m Not the Next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the 1st Simone Biles’ “Don’t compare her to Michael Phelps, or any other gold medal winner, because she’s not them. And during her post-win interview, she made it a point to make sure people knew that.”

A South Carolina Student Was Arrested for ‘Disturbing a School’ When She Challenged Police Abuse, So We Sued “Every year, more than a thousand students in South Carolina — some as young as 7 years old — face criminal charges for not following directions, loitering, cursing, or the vague allegation of acting “obnoxiously.”