Too often, we try to help a community by bringing in outside solutions. Experience shows that it rarely works.
Talking About Violence and Relationships
Too often, we try to help a community by bringing in outside solutions. Experience shows that it rarely works.
How to take action this week
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.
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.”
Novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Today, let’s remember all who are fighting to make this country safe for everyone.
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.
This morning, I woke up thinking of lines from Marge Piercy’s poem, The Art of Blessing the Day.
This is the blessing for a political victory:
Although I shall not forget that things
work in increments and epicycles and sometime
leaps that half the time fall back down,
let’s not relinquish dancing while the music
fits into our hips and bounces our heels.
We must never forget, pleasure is real as pain.
Last Friday, I drafted a blog post about how to support the water protectors at Standing Rock. I tried to keep up with the most urgent calls to action, as the situation on the ground shifted by the hour.
Thousands of people from around the world have gathered to support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s peaceful opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The proposed route for the pipeline threatens the Tribe’s water and sacred land. Police action against the water protectors has recently erupted into violence. Hundreds of unarmed people have been injured by water cannons, tear gas, rubber bullets and percussive grenades. The threat to the water protectors escalated as the Army Corps of Engineers set a December 5th deadline to leave the area, and the North Dakota governor ordered immediate evacuation.
So much is at stake. The waters of the Missouri River and the well-being of tens of thousands who depend on it. The right of sovereign tribal nations to protect its citizens. Native women and children who are the targets when oil industry “man camps” bring a massive influx of sexual violence. The fate of the planet, as oil consumption fuels environmental devastation.
Then Sunday night, a surprising victory. The Army Corps announced it would deny the pipeline project permission to tunnel under the river.
The celebration reminded me of another sweet moment, nearly four years ago, when Congress reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act. That victory came after a long standoff, 500 days of negotiation. It was a triumph of unprecedented solidarity among advocates, and the courageous leadership of Native women.
The victory was not complete, but it was real. After the win, it took another kind of grit to insist on celebrating it. The next threat loomed. The inevitable strategic failures immediately came into focus with 20/20 hindsight.
But the discipline of blessings is to taste
each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet
and the salty, and be glad for what does not hurt.
By yesterday morning, the oil companies made it clear they would continue construction of the pipeline despite the government’s decision. It is hard to imagine the little relief that has come from the Obama administration will last once Donald Trump is in the White House. For the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the fight is not over. Meanwhile, the next battles are already happening.
What we want to change we curse and then
pick up a tool. Bless whatever you can
with eyes and hands and tongue. If you
can’t bless it, get ready to make it new.
Here is what you can do right now:
Celebrate. Get ready. Fight. Repeat.
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.
For 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.
OMG―it’s Election Day y’all! Thank goodness! I know I’m not alone in being officially OVER it. Now it’s time to vote, panic, and act―whatever the outcome.
No matter what ends up happening today, we are all responsible for creating the world we want for each other. I want a world that is kind and just so tonight, like most other nights, I’ll be reading to my children. I’ll choose books that broaden their horizons, challenge them to think differently, and encourage them to be the bright shiny stars that they are.
I recently found this list: Books to read to your kids if you want them to be kind and brave (yes please!). And I was excited to see one of my family’s treasured stories included! I have read Miss Rumphius to my kids many times because I love its central charge: “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”
In this book, Alice grows up hearing stories from her beloved grandfather and longs to travel the world, live in a house by the sea, and live up to her grandfather’s request to do something to make the world more beautiful. And she does. She travels the world (I love an independent woman!), lives in a house by the sea, and after much thought (and a little luck) finds her way to making the world more beautiful. She plants lupines all around her and makes her mark. Lupines are a beautiful metaphor for all of us trying to figure out how to make a lasting impression.
I find this book comforting and stirring. It allows for us to be who we are and also challenges us to do something for the greater good. It is a helpful reminder that each of us can resist. Each of us can stand up and do something; we just have to find out what our something is. For me, working to end violence and create justice makes the world more beautiful and I am doing my darndest to make it happen. For Miss Rumphius, it was planting lupines. I am curious to see what it will be for my children. What will it be for you?
So go home tonight and watch the returns. Then snuggle up with your favorite little person and read a book. Together we can read, resist, and love a little harder, no matter what tomorrow brings.
You know those days (or years — I’m looking at you, 2016) when you have a hard time being positive and remembering that there is good in the world? Well, I am having one of those days. I was supposed to be writing about October (right around the corner!) being Domestic Violence Action Month and instead I found myself reading article after article about how messed up the world is. I couldn’t stop!
But then I took a breath, called my beloved coworker for a reality check, and was reminded that all my ruminating and ranting and despair are not for nothing. Because it only takes a minute to understand that all of this violence is connected. And it takes just another minute to realize that all of our liberation is connected too. So when it feels like we can’t do anything to make a change, know that we actually can. And the opportunity is right around the corner. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Action Month (DVAM). And action is a good thing. Action will propel us forward. Action will make us feel better. Action is what it will take to end the violence.
So next month, let’s work for justice. Let’s take a stand when we can and kneel when we must. And let’s also take action to end domestic violence. Let’s work for relationships that are loving and safe. Let’s do it together.
Here are some ideas to get you started…
Get down to business
Whatever you do, know that you are making a difference. Together we can end domestic violence and create a better world!
I wrote last time about anxiety and I’m writing about it again. Because it’s just not going away.
This presidential race is deadly to my mental health. Let me be crystal clear so nobody gets in trouble, I don’t care which party you belong to, or which revolution you are firing up your torch for. This post is an equal opportunity slam on the whole shebang.
Anyone else out there losing sleep? The anxiety is spreading out like an oil slick. I am not kidding you, I was lying in bed at 3am last night boiling over with hate about the protesters outside of Planned Parenthood in Olympia and fantasizing about revenge. My friends, this is bad. Very bad. In point of fact, it’s very, very, very bad.
I always wish I was wiser. Like so many people around me, my response to watching people dig into extreme positions is to dig into my own. It’s like I’m standing in a graveyard digging deeper and deeper. And next to me is someone doing the same. Maybe they’re digging because they agree with me (which is reassuring―like maybe this is a winning strategy) or maybe they’re digging because they hold the opposite view.
Friends. It seems like, as reasoning animals, we could behave differently. I mean, we can stop.
For the love of god, could we just stop?
Imagine, I lean up against the side of my hole I’m chest high in, look at you. Wonder out loud, what the hell are we doing? You stop and wonder the same thing. We climb out and go for coffee.
The other day, a sliver of light cut through the haze. My friends at the local SURJ group were schooling us in the practice of calling in rather than calling out. On my good days, I think I’m kind of hard wired to ‘call in’―to be curious, kind and patient and find out what is motivating other folks to think and act the way they do―particularly those with whom I disagree. One of the worst things about the anxiety I feel so deeply these days is that it makes me impulsive. More likely to overreact and call people out rather than in.
So many people are doing positive and affirming things to counter the hate and fear. I just need to get out of the hole I’ve dug and hang out with them. Care to join me?