Roll Up Your Sleeves

The International Women’s Day has come and gone. Symbolic commemorations were held. Some aligned with patriarchy and capitalism, while others took to social media with memes of respect and women’s victories worldwide.

It all seemed curious at this particular moment in time. With much of the media warning us of socialism, it is forgotten that the first International Women’s Day was born on the heels of a socialist workers uprising. It was an eleven-week strike led by 20,000 women during the brutal winter of 1909. Young strikers, many of whom were immigrants, faced opposition from manufacturers, police and the courts. Their struggle continued for five years, inspired movements around the world and gave birth to the day we honor, March 8, 1910.

Today, women cry “misogyny” over Elizabeth Warren’s presidential withdrawal yet remain unaware that Tulsi Gabbard is still in the race.  They act oblivious to the Democratic National Committee’s exclusion of Tulsi. It is even more telling that women of color, who are taking the lead to educate and rally people towards justice and inclusion, are ignored or chastised for their strength. And yes I am thinking of Nina Turner, AOC, Omar, Pressley and Tlaib to name a few.

And in the patriarchal and whitewashed commemorations of women’s day, how many remembered or taught about the murdered and missing indigenous women or highlighted the efforts of those trying to end human trafficking?

How many acknowledged or are aware of the efforts of Mexican women trying to end the rise of femicide in their country? Or recognized the 80,000 who marched in MexicoCity on that day?

Perhaps it is time we leave the ivory towers of patriarchy and the comforts of capitalism to be more inclusive, to be more human, and to be more effective.

Roll up your sleeves, there is work to do.

 

photo of some of the women who participated in the 1909 shirtwaist strike, compliments of wikipedia

 

Rethinking Genocide

Dominant cultures share common threads. They forcibly and systematically destroy cultures and peoples who are different. They do this by killing and torturing, separating children from families, forcing indoctrination on the young, and by the rape and murder of women and girls. They do it with swift first strikes and then gradually through police tactics, court injustice, social crimes and environmental destruction. The governments of these dominant cultures carry on the atrocities for generations. Education and religion are used to maintain the status quo and to create an illusion that “all is as it should be.”

Since WWII we have termed this cultural and human destruction as genocide. In 1948, the Untied Nations created the legal definition of what was then coined the “crime of crimes”.

Ideas take time to take hold. This week dominant culture took a blow with the release of Canada’s National Inquiry into the epidemic of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls.  Exhaustive studies and final conclusions prepared by professional Indigenous women were presented to the Canadian government.

Within the findings is the declaration that the Canadian government by omission and commission engaged in the genocide of Indigenous people.

As one survivor put it, “You can’t un-hear the truth.”

Here are a few words from the final damning report: “These violations amount to nothing less than the deliberate, often covert campaign of genocide against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA [two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual] people.”

Humankind must find a way to end the perpetuation of violence on Indigenous peoples.  Dominant cultures everywhere must grapple with the racist and sexist attitudes that are upheld throughout their systems and policies. The United States has developed an institutionalized apathy that needs to be challenged.

Kudos to all who are fighting this inhuman disease however you are called to do so.

 

For more on the report and its findings and to give credit for the photo used visit Eagle Feather News.

On Soundcloud. Thanks to WDRT for airing “Consider This.”

Seeking Asylum

I would like to clarify some misunderstandings regarding asylum seekers. An asylum seeker is not an illegal immigrant. An asylum seeker is one who because of the very real fear of violence, displacement, hunger or other persecution is forced to leave their home country in search of shelter in a foreign country.

Adopted in 1948, Article 14(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees all people the right to seek asylum. These people are known as refugees. This is international law, yet each individual country creates unique pathways for asylum seekers. Today we are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis on our southern border. Thousands of people, families and children are seeking asylum in the United States due to the inhuman conditions of life in their home countries. How we treat these people is within our domain.

When an asylum seeker enters our country at a legal port of entry and proves through documentation the facts of their case, they begin a process, which may take months to complete. During that time they have two options. If they can find a sponsor, they are allowed to live with that sponsor. They are not allowed to work and must strictly adhere to all court dates, check ins and other policies set forth by ICE. If they do not have a sponsor they are forced to reside in a detention center.

I am sponsoring a young family who were granted the possibility to seek asylum in the United States. Their journey has been ongoing for the past three months. They speak very little English and are at the mercy of strangers and a very complicated system.

Kindness and compassion must not slip away as bureaucracy steps in. Respect is imperative. At the end of the day we are all human.

 

 

The photo shown is of the ankle bracelets that must be worn at all times by asylum seekers.

Ethical Hunting

By the time you are reading this, the proposed ban on wildlife hunting contests may likely be silenced. Senator Fred Risser, a Wisconsin Democrat is the sponsor of the bill and as of this writing there is little support to move it forward.

Let’s be clear, this is not a bill restricting hunting. It is a bill that would ban the gratuitous killing of coyotes, rabbits, squirrels and other wildlife. Most of you have never heard of these contests. They are generally organized by bars, gun enthusiasts and venues looking to capitalize on the revenue of the sport. Prizes are given to the highest number of kills.

According to a news release from Risser “These contests use various tactics to attract, manipulate, confuse, and even temporarily blind wildlife in order to kill as many animals as possible.”

Dogs, semi-automatic weapons, ATVs, traps, snares, and snowmobiles may be used.

Rizzer’s bill prohibits the following: participation in a wildlife hunting contest; organizing, conducting, or sponsoring a contest; and providing a venue for a contest. The bill does not include fishing tournaments.

A few states have been successful in banning these contests. The Humane Society, as well as many hunters, welcomes Wisconsin to follow suit.

Numerous studies dispel the need to hunt predators in this way. Studies also point to the importance of coyotes in reducing the mice and deer populations that host disease carrying ticks.

This bill will not stop the hunting of nuisance predators. But it is widely recognized that preventive measures, from fencing to guard dogs, are the most effective remedies in stopping predatory kills of farm animals.

This bill is a stopgap measure, offered in the hopes that gratuitous killing will end and unnecessary violence will no longer be welcomed here.

You can contact Senator Rizzer at 608-261-6931.

 

Another perspective on ethical hunting.

Above logo of the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests.

You can listen to it here.

The Fight for Public Education

If we want to enjoy an equitable and functioning democracy, it would seem that the education of future generations would be a top priority.

So thought Thomas Jefferson who argued for a formal education system supported by tax dollars and charged with educating all citizens. But it wasn’t until a century later that Horace Mann established public education in this country.

Within the last few decades, as economic and racial divides continue to haunt us, another turn had begun. It was the privatization of education.

The rise of charter schools and other private school systems began to take critical funds from public schools. Now it seems the tide may be turning again. In Los Angeles the first teacher’s strike in over 30 years has ended with strong victories for the public schools.

This community driven agenda to revamp public education had been in the making for the past four years. Recognizing the need for social justice as well as educational justice this strike was more a celebration of what people wanted, not what they were against.

Better resources, smaller class size, less testing, a nurse on staff every day of the week; the community was fighting for their children. And with the demand that every student should have a quality education, they won.

Los Angeles is the second largest school district in the United States. 82% of the children receive the free lunch program.

The public school system provides an important bridge into community life for the students – and it ensures an educated and informed populace as our forbearers hoped. The systems of education will certainly continue to evolve as they should, but we would do well to ensure an equitable means for all of our children to learn and to grow and to find happiness.

Let us help one another toward that end.

 

The photo is of the recent Los Angeles teachers strike  We Are Public Schools.

 

At War With Ourselves

It seems these days we are at war with ourselves.

It is hard to live in prosperity and know that there are people who are hungry and homeless and so we have decided those we deem “poor” are lazy and undeserving.

It is incomprehensible that our government has been at war for all but 20 years since its inception and so we believe the lies that lead us there.

It is horrifying that murdered and missing women are ignored and that domestic violence is off the charts and so we prefer not to look.

It is unthinkable that white men with guns and a grudge could be considered terrorists and so we continue to believe the narrative that men of color should be feared.

It is too painful to admit that we have all been complicit in creating the current political divide and so we revel in our anger at the “other”.

It is overwhelming to believe that we are destroying the earth and cutting the legacy of life to our children’s children and so we blame science and its ignorance for frightening us.

We are at war with ourselves and out of that flows the war on crime, the war on poverty, the war on drugs. Out of that we refuse the wisdom of gun control. Out of that we celebrate this season in materialistic splendor while we allow human beings to beg at our border for a chance to live in peace.

It is time we stop believing the rhetoric of a “kinder gentler nation” and embody one. It is time we make peace with ourselves. Who we are and who we have been must be rectified.  There are many people cutting paths out of this nightmare. It is not too late to help. We cannot let it be too late.

Thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving. A good day.

Too bad it has been shackled in stories of kind Pilgrims, turkeys and God’s gift to mankind. At a time when murdered and missing indigenous women are all but forgotten and treaties are broken for extraction of resources, perhaps we need to begin again. Perhaps we can add a little truth to our thanks.

It is a very rude awakening to realize the victor shaped the stories taught and memorized.

The people who arrived on the shores of this “new world” were determined to usurp valued resources and willing to wipe out the Native population. They were certain this land was a gift from their “God”. They believed that the indigenous living here were godless and unworthy. They left England certain that the prophesized “End” was coming soon and they were here to create a new world at any cost.

These beliefs and fragments of them have lived on in our culture; driving agendas and allowing hate to continue. Reconciliation and peace are possible, but we must be willing to rectify what has been so terribly wrong.

Today is Thanksgiving. We have the choice to perpetuate lies or to promote the true and lasting thanks Native peoples celebrated long before the advent of the Pilgrims. The giving of thanks to the Creator for the harvest has always come naturally to those living in harmony with the land.

We are all sickened by lies. When we understand these tales are causing harm, we will end the telling of them.

There is no need to perpetuate division among us. Our mutual history is of stolen lands, slavery and slaughtered people. It is also a story of kindness, friendship and giving Thanks. Let these victors tell new stories.

 

 

You can listen to it here.