Sunday, July 16, 2017

If Frances and Lucy Can, You Can, Too

Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of one count of second degree manslaughter, and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm, in the fatal shooting Philandro Castile in July of , 2016, despite the coroner’s report ruling the death a homicide, the victim having sustained multiple gunshot wounds. Prior to the day of his death at the hands of Minnesota police, Philandro Castile had been stopped 52 times for minor traffic violations. Castile was a black man. His death left bereaved the 395 kids at an integrated Montessori school where he served them lunch every  day.

The dashcam footage of the slaying was released June 20, 2017, following the trial.

The weekend after the acquittal, an Oakland demonstration took place. Here is how one activist described it:

Lucy, 16 years old, is the person who organized the Saturday, June 17th action in Oakland. She was able to do what many "organizers and organizations" have not been able to do. No ego and no organizations pure PEOPLE! This was one of the most genuine actions that I've attended in a long time. There were about 400+ people present. Speakers were not the regular known speakers or from organizations (participation was also from folks who attended) - messages were clear and thought provoking. The dots were connected.  I hope that people heard the messages -different from all the [usual] intellectualizing. Thinking about it, I only know one or two other people who have been able to do what she did.

No sound system until after the event was half over when someone come up with a bull horn, but it didn’t matter – those who were present were engaged and seemed to be actively listening. I saw people openly sob. 

These thoughts don’t even capture all that happened. Us oldsters have a lot to learn from our youth.  
Lucy speaking

And Us Youngsters Have Trespass and Disorderly Conduct to Learn from Our Oldsters

When she was asked how often she had been arrested, 98-year old Frances Crowe answered “Not enough.” A resister for the past 72 years, this tribute by Lee Schwartz summarizes her story:

Lucy speaking And here is Lucy speaking:
“I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who attended. Thank you to those of you who supported this event in alternative ways. Thank you to the indigenous folks who took care of and defended the Ohlone land that we gathered upon. And thank you to those of you who spoke.
I also want to say I’m sorry. To the beautiful, black folks reading this, I’m sorry that this didn’t happen sooner. But saying sorry won’t help combat the injustices plaguing your community and other marginalized groups. An apology is not enough. We have to do better. We have to do better. WE HAVE TO DO BETTER.
Maybe I’m naïve. Maybe I’m dramatic. Or maybe I’m pretty damn right when I say that waiting for a change to come only brings more caskets. Silence in the face of injustice only digs more graves. And tolerance for terrorism against black folks in Amerikkka has taken too many lives, already.
And yes — I’m focusing on black folks right now. This fight and the rally was centered entirely around empowering and uniting with black folks. And we joined together, primarily, to stand in solidarity with black folks across the country.
The police officers (*murderers) who shot and killed Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, and Akai Gurley were non-black people of color. Anti-blackness also exists and thrives within non-black communities of color as it does in white, and we have to recognize and check that.
I organized this event — not so that I would get credit. I’m not looking for thank-you’s. And I’m not looking for recognition. I’m looking for a “see you next time.” I’m looking for the white women who showed up to the women’s march to show up to rallies like these. I’m looking for people to step up and defend black folks just like they’ve defended us.
I am sixteen years old. I’m hella brown. I’m young, and I’m Tongan. I don’t have a lot of money. I don’t work with any specific organization — and I don’t have as many resources or experience as some of you do.
I don’t know much, but I know that waiting for change, and silence in response to oppression only contributes to the terrorism on black communities. It’s a major element that plays into the fact that too many black bodies are sitting in graves, currently.
We have to keep going, we have to keep organizing. We have to keep up this momentum because telling black children to “do the right thing,” is not enough anymore to keep them alive. We have to continue because we saw what the products of silence were. We have to continue because Dylann Roof made it to Burger King while Sandra Bland never made it home. We have to continue because too many black women have been bent and broken in order for us to give up on them. We have to continue because black women NEVER gave up on us. We have to continue because black children deserve to grow up without fear. We have to continue because if the people paid to protect and serve our communities choose to do the opposite when it comes to transgender, black womyn — then it is on us to fight for and with them. We have to continue because black folks have been terrorized for centuries and if a broke, 16 year old, brown girl can organize against that — then WE ALL CAN. We have to continue because being black is not a crime and we have to stop acting like it is. We have to continue because saying “Black Lives Matter” isn’t enough. We have to act like it.
We have to act like it.
I have never seen so much community. I have never witnessed such a strong, empowered, and determined group of beautiful people at an arm’s-length distance. And I can testify that I know what the future looks like — I saw it staring back at me in the middle of Oscar Grant Plaza, yesterday.
We all unified together under bizarre conditions — and within an hour, a group of several hundred strangers became a family. And if that isn’t power — if that isn’t the foundation of a revolutionary movement, then I don’t know what is.
I’m in highschool. If you asked me five years ago what I wanted to do with my life — I would have never guessed that this would be it. And if you ask me that same question, now — I can’t picture myself doing anything else.
Black folks are everything and more — you ALL are beautiful and stunning. You have a spirit that continues to radiate endless light. You are capable and full of strength, and each and every one of you are enough. You are worth the fight. You matter.
To the allies who came through: thank you. Our voices and support are needed in this movement; solidarity and unity are stronger than separation. I hope you all got home safely last night — and I hope you left feeling inspired. I hope you left feeling loved and cared for. I hope you left remembering that there is still more healing to do. But most importantly, I hope you left hungry and thirsty for change. I hope you remember that we all are embodiments of this movement, and fear only dwindles our flame.
I’ll see you all soon. Unfortunately, we are gathering together under tragic circumstances. But this work is necessary — and if we won’t do it, then who will?
So please — don’t make excuses. The fight is not over until ever lock and chain has been loosened and freed from the ankles of the suffering.
And thank you, again. Thank you for having faith in a young, angry, brown girl with a lot to say. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, and I hope the same goes for each and every one of you.
The time is now.
And Us Youngsters Have Trespass and Disorderly Conduct to Learn from Our Oldsters
Frances Crowe, 98, arrested for stopping a Kinder Morgan pipeline

Hell on Wheels, a poem by Lee Schwartz

She’s 98, rides a Harley wheelchair,
arrested in Sandisfield for protesting a fracking pipeline,
her third arrest since she turned 90.

His hair stands like a torch holding light up to evil.
Frances Crowe has been at it since she’s 26,
a peace activist, war refuser, now keeping the earth from
being raped by hydro-fracking is her cause célèbre.

His tongue a serpent flickering falsehoods and frenetic tweets.

Frances Crowe protested the bombing in Hiroshima,
now she and twenty-six others wrote protest words,
buried them in a cardboard casket next to the trench.

His mind a money coaster running loops into our soul.
When hauled off in a sheriff’s cruiser for trespassing
she was asked how many times she’s been arrested,
“Not enough” she boomed to the forest and the birds.

A peacock strutting his walk of shame.

There is so much to be done, and I’m not in a wheel chair,
the world is coated with a lethal mist
I must make a stink to survive.

Women are nothing you peck at, devour and vomit up.
In the Summer of love, there were many liars in office,
helpless to transform, the body bags along the trenches,
the only thing to do was to get arrested.

Meet  the amazing Frances in person. Here, she is interviewed along with her companion, Connie Harvard, by anti-nuclear, anti-fossil fuel activist Hattie Nestel. The story of her arrest was picked up by the international press.

You, too, can participate in non-violent civil disobedience. You meet amazing people on the picket line and in jail! Only in the best company, and remember this added bonus:  no presidents, or other war criminals!


You too can participate in non-violent civil disobedience. You meet amazing people on the picket line and in jail! Only in the best company, and remember this added bonus:  no presidents, or other war criminals!

A Few Roses Amidst This Week’s Thorns

In a policy to reduce possession from a felony to a misdemeanor, State of Oregon decriminalizes cocaine meth, heroin etc.

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re shifts the entire $130B investment towards ethical Investments and out of coal, although they still insure coal plans and mines.

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