Tag Archives: activism

Charleston

Worshippers embrace following a group prayer across the street from the scene of a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night. CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID GOLDMAN/AP

Worshippers embrace following a group prayer across the street from the scene of a shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday night.
CREDIT PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID GOLDMAN/AP

Like many of you, I am deeply saddened and angered by the racist murders and crimes being committed against people of color in the US. The massacre in Charleston is an abomination, a grave and obscene moment in our nation’s history, but one that should not be considered out of character, unthinkable, surprising. Our nation’s history is filled with racism and violence and white people need to stand up, wake up, and say, “No more! Not in our names!” I’ve compiled all the articles and actions I can find, and will continue to add to the list as I find new information. Please leave links in the comments.

Many of the links below I have found on FB and Twitter. Ron Berry has generously compiled many on his FB page. I apologize for not linking every single person who has shared these.

Supporting AME Church and thank you Angeliska Polacheck for the links.

• You can make a donation to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund at any Wells Fargo branch across the USA.

• Send a check to Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, c/o City of Charleston, P.O. Box 304, Charleston, S.C. 29402.

• Text ‘prayforcharleston’ to 843-606-5995 or go to www.bidr.co/prayforcharleston to donate by credit card.

• Send a check to Lowcountry Ministries, a South Carolina nonprofit that also has established a fund to help Emanuel and support projects for youth and vulnerable populations, at Lowcountry Ministries — the Rev. Pinckney Fund, c/o The Palmetto Project, 6296 Rivers Ave. #100, North Charleston, S.C. 29406.

• Donate to the Pinckney Fund online at palmettoproject.org via major credit card or PayPal.

• Give directly to Emanuel AME Church. You can donate online via major credit card or PayPal.

Activists/Hashtags On Twitter

Deray McKesson, Matthew Fortner, #charlestonshooting, #standwithcharleston, #takedowntheflag

Reading Lists
Charleston Syllabus is a huge resources of current events, slavery in the US, southern history and more.

A great read-The Half Has Never Been Told Edward E. Baptist and on AutoStraddle #BlackLivesMatter Reading List.

Actions

Ferguson Response includes actions for Charleston around the country. You can add your own, or find one in your city.

Showing Up For Racial Justice is a great way for white allies and accomplices to get involved and learn.

A petition to remove the Confederate Flag from governmental places, Move On.

In Austin, a call to take down the Jefferson Statue.

UT Vigil for Charleston

Also in Austin, Undoing Racism Austin.

Articles and Commentary

Ta-nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic, Take Down The Confederate Flag-Now

Charles P. Pierce and his Esquire piece,
Charleston Shooting-Speaking The Unspeakable, Thinking The Unthinkable

T. Rees Shapiro at Washington Post Washington And Lee University To Remove Confederate Flags Following Protests.

Murders In Charleston Jelani Cobb for The New Yorker

What Is Whiteness by Nell Irvin Painter in the NY Times.

A South African Calls for Accountability, Not Forgiveness in Charleston by Xolela Mangcu in The Root.

The Huffington Post’s Ben Hallman
The Confederate Flag Is a Racist Symbol of a Failed Rebellion. It’s Not a Debate.

A white ally speaks, Marcy Taylor Rizzi at Luckygirl75.

White Terrorism Is As Old As America, by Brit Bennett in the NY Times

Medium’s John E. Price writes, Yes You’re A Racist…And A Traitor.

On Alternet, Dr. Robin Diangelo discusses 11 Ways White America Avoids Taking Responsibility For It’s Racism.

Baynard Woods writes at The Washington Post Only White People Can Save Themselves From Racism and White Supremacism.

Aaron Barksdale at Huffington Post shares 7 Was To Be A White Ally For Charleston And The Black Community.

For parents who need to discuss the shootings with their children, Britni writes at Fiending For Hope, Resources For White Parents On Talking To Kids About White Supremacy and Racism.

6 Ways White Supremacy Takes Its Toll On Black People’s Mental Health by Terrell Jermaine Starr at Salon

Two articles on mental health and illness (and how that’s not the trigger here) from Arthur Chu at Salon It’s Not About Mental Illness: The Big Lie That Always Follows Mass Shootings By White Males and from Julia Craven Racism Is Not A Mental Illness.

David Remnick from The New Yorker Charleston and the Age of Obama.

Joshua Dubois We Need To Talk About White Culture in The Daily Beast.

Reverend Broderick Greer in Philly.Com on Nothing Isolated About The Shooting.

Lydia Polgreen for the NY Times From Ferguson To Charleston And Beyond, Anguish About Race Keeps Building.

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PRIDE

Essygie Creative Commons

Essygie Creative Commons

I’ll be at Pride today at Fiesta Gardens with the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas! Later, for the parade, I’ll be marching with BedPost Confessions!!!!

Get out there and celebrate love, joy, bodies, pleasure, and equity!!!!

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Weekly Round Up 9/13/14

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Where I’ll Be

Saturday, September 13

I’ll be at Fast Food Women and Morristown at the Women’s Community Center:

Thursday, September 18
The BedPost Confessions 4th Anniversary Show!

Saturday, September 20
Pride! I’ll be tabling at the Festival with the Women’s Community Center, and marching with Bedpost Confessions!

Articles of Interest

The Critical Polyamorist does some field work.

How You Know You Hate Women, in the light of Ray Rice. A piece on words and misogyny.

Collective Carry, women helping women after sexual assault.

Jessica Luther writes on racism, Austin, and Charlie Strong.

In gross news, scientists make cheese using bacteria found on a toe.

Actions and Events

Ongoing
The Taco Or Beer Challenge for Reproductive Justice! Join all of us, Dan Savage and Time Magazine in eating a taco, drinking a beer, and supporting abortion rights. Many thanks to Andrea Grimes!

Saturday September 13

A Candidate Forum for the creative sector and district 7.

Love art? Here’s a great show by artist Jason Vines!

Monkeywrench Books is showing Fruitvale Station and hosting a discussion today.

Sunday September 14
The awesome Butch County is playing at Stargayzer Fest!

Want to learn some new skills? Forbidden Fruit is hosting Oralicious.

Wednesday September 17
Amy Jo Goddard is hosting a call series on sexual empowerment. Find out more here.

Thursday September 18
It’s BedPost Confessions 4th anniversary and our monthly show!

Friday September 19
Allgo presents Drum Talk: Between Skin and Frame.

Help support OutYouth at a special event at RAIN.

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Cruelty Free, Fast Food Women, And Morrison

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Come to the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas tonight and tomorrow for two special events.

First, the art opening of Paloma Mayorga’s Cruelty Free:

Join us for the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas’ first art exhibit opening, a project dedicated to highlighting women in art.

“Cruelty Free” by Paloma Mayorga

Opening Reception:
September 12, 2014 @ 6:30pm-8:30pm
Introductory remarks and artist talk at 7:00pm
FREE and open to the public!
There will be snacks and drinks!
**Beer and hard cider will be provided courtesy of Artisanal Imports for those 21+**
Free parking on street after 6pm.

Childcare will be provided just shoot us an email a day in advance: info@womenscommunityctx.org

Paloma Mayorga is an interdisciplinary artist whose work primarily focuses on issues of identity and explores the ways in which the human body relates to its natural and constructed environments. After earning her B.A. in Studio Art from Southwestern University in 2010, she has dedicated her time to working for Latino arts organizations that promote cultural diversity. Mayorga renounces Western lifestyle norms and traditional ideas of beauty in order to illustrate a universal truth that connects all living beings as a means of feminist empowerment.

“Cruelty Free is a series of photographs I’ve created in collaboration with the women depicted in them that reveal disheartening truths about our experiences with and in our own physical bodies. After reading through old diary entries I wrote when I was ten years old, I decided that the negative self image I had created at that age be exposed and turned into a source of self empowerment and connection to other women that may have also felt the same growing up.

For this exhibit, I have asked a close group of friends, colleagues, contemporaries and confidants, who have been incredibly empowering for me in our communal struggle to defeat cultural, emotional and physical issues, to share their own writings. I hope that by exposing the words we use to describe ourselves, we can overcome the cruel ideas that have been predisposed for us about how our bodies should exist, what our minds should think, how we should identify ourselves because of tradition, genetics, or culture that are destructive to our own sense of self. I ask that we all look at ourselves and see our potential, unfiltered from pre-constructed ideas of what we should see, to be powerful, to be influential, to be loving and to be completely and honestly cruelty free.”

The exhibit will be up until November 21st, 2014. Come see it again and bring your friends!

And tomorrow??

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Fast Food Women and Morristown

–from the Facebook Event:

For our monthly Saturday screening, the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas and Resistencia Bookstore, casa de Red Salmon Arts, invite you to a special screening of Fast Food Women and Morristown, two films about labor and working-class communities. A discussion with the director Anne Lewis will follow after the screening!

Fast Food Women (1992)
Women in Kentucky, as across the nation, are increasingly applying for jobs frying chicken, making pizzas and flipping burgers for fast food chains. They are not teenagers or college students on summer break. Indeed, they are struggling to support families in communities ravaged by a failing economy. Award winner Anne Lewis documents the low-wage, no-benefit jobs of the ‘working poor’ in America’s new ‘service economy’.

Morristown (2007)
A working class response to globalization filmed over an 8-year period in the mountains of east Tennessee, interior Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez.

Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 6 pm
Women’s Community Center of Central Texas
1704 San Antonio St.
Austin, TX 78701

-This event is a FREE community screening!
-Snacks provided
-Free childcare available! Just shoot Andrea Zarate an email the day before at andrea@womenscommunityctx.org

Resistencia Bookstore, home of Red Salmon Arts, is a liberated space for independent thinking, community building, and creative & revolutionary vision. For more info and film screenings visit the store at 4926 E Cesar Chavez St, Unit C1, Austin, Texas 78702!

For more info on the Women’s Community Center of Central Texas visit http://womenscommunityctx.org/

This project is funded and supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com

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Weekly Roundup 9/6/14

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Where I’ll Be

I’ll be at the Women’s Community Center on Saturday September 6 at our Volunteer Work Day sprucing up the Center! Have a skill to offer, in kind donations to give? Let us know!

Actions and Events

Ongoing
The Taco Or Beer Challenge for Reproductive Justice! Join all of us, Dan Savage and Time Magazine in eating a taco, drinking a beer, and supporting abortion rights. Many thanks to Andrea Grimes!

Saturday September 6

ATX Feminist Meet Up! Drink, Eat, Feminize!

Monday September 8
Diversity Outreach Meeting with the Travis County Democratic Party.

Tuesday September 9
It’s a Mayoral Candidate Forum for the Austin Arts Community!

Wednesday September 10
Black Women And State Violence at Treasure City Thrift

Friday September 12
Rise Up! Shoulder to Shoulder Equal Rights Amendment

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Volunteer Opportunity!

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The Women’s Community Center of Central Texas will be officially opening its doors on October 4, 2014 with an open house from 11:00am – 3:00pm! We are seeking housewarming donations to help us get the Center spruced up and ready!

We are having a volunteer work day to paint and build some furniture on Saturday, September 6th from 11:00-3:00. Please come on by 1704 San Antonio if you’d like to help!

We want the Center to serve our community as a great place to learn, work, have fun, and be safe, so we want to provide the most welcoming environment possible. If you have or can donate any of the items below, we will be receiving donations on the following days prior to our grand opening.

Taking donations until 9/15/2014!
Monday & Friday: 10:00am – 2:00pm
Tuesday-Thursday: 10:00am – 7:00pm

If none of those dates work, just email julie@womenscommunityctx.org and she’ll set up a time to receive your items!

Kitchen:
A set or two of dishes
Glasses and mugs
Silverware
Serving trays
Dishtowels and cloth napkins
Pots and pans
Soaps and cleaning supplies
Outdoor broom
Laundry supplies

Bathroom:
Hand towels and towel sets
Diapers, wipes, and sanitary supplies
Office and Co-Working Space:
Printer paper (inkjet)
Pens, pencils
Legal pads
File folders
Short extension cords and surge protectors
General office supplies-paper clips, binder clips, post it notes etc.
Art supplies – markers, glue, poster board

Children’s Area:
Books for all ages – inclusive, bilingual and Spanish language, and female protagonists appreciated
Inclusive non-violent toys for all ages
Crayons and drawing paper

Quiet Room:
Books and media – women’s empowerment, gender, sexuality, feminism, health, meditation, yoga, spirituality (inclusive of all kinds), self-help and support
Blankets
Pillows

Thank you so much for your generosity to the Center! We can’t wait to welcome you at our open house!

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Weekly Roundup 8/30/14

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Where I’ll Be

I’ll be at the Women’s Community Center on Saturday September 6 at our Volunteer Work Day sprucing up the Center! Have a skill to offer, in kind donations to give? Let us know!

Do you love tacos? Beer? Supporting reproductive choices? If so, then come on out to the TacoOrBeerChallenge at Mi Madres at 1:00 pm and also make a donation to an abortion fund while you eat and drink with amazing people.

Articles You Might Like

This is a must read on race, reparations, Ferguson, and blackness in America by Ezekiel Kweku.

Distressing tactics used by Ferguson cops here at Mother Jones.

A gorgeous article with art showing what it takes for the privileged to live in luxury.

Coffee? Naps? How about both? This article recommends coffee right before a nap for maximum wake up effect.

When Bisexuals get left out of the marriage conversation by Eliel Cruz.

Are you an introverted extrovert? Or an outgoing introvert? Find out here with this really amazing article about recharging your engines when you appear outgoing and social.

Read this from Jessica Luther about the new laws on abortion facilities and hospital privileges.

Actions and Events

Ongoing
The Taco Or Beer Challenge for Reproductive Justice! Join all of us, Dan Savage and Time Magazine in eating a taco, drinking a beer, and supporting abortion rights. Many thanks to Andrea Grimes!

Saturday August 30

Cine Resistencia presents Sleep Dealer

Sunday August 31
No Pouting In The Dojo by Cathy Chapaty at Bookwoman

Tuesday September 2
A public forum on police accountability. Please join.

Wednesday September 3
Come on down to the Dionysium for the Power Show

Thursday September 4
It is the Day of Bey. Celebrate her birth with a party like no other!

Friday September 5
Bloq Party with QPOCA!

Spirit opens at The Vortex. This looks to be a gorgeous show!

Austin No Shame! Have something to share? You can do it here!

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Amplify

Shaun King has had more information, more quickly and more accurately on Ferguson, than anyone else I’ve followed over the past two weeks. He’s been doggedly pursuing the truth, the facts, and has been tireless in pointing out hypocrisy and media bias throughout the protests, rally, and police brutality. He’s smart and accomplished and social media savvy. Very savvy. You should follow him here on Twitter, right now.

He’s been a light of hope, at least for me personally, because he’s insightful and focused on the goal-ending racism. He’s been attacked viciously for his work, but he’s brought amazing ideas and possibilities to the table and tweeted them all.

Yesterday, he posted 7 new policy ideas to help eliminate and prosecute police brutality. He gave me permission to post them here. All these are his words and I’ll leave you to ponder them and then go to Change.Org to add your voice in on the policies.

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This all seems pretty damn reasonable to me. Human, even. What do you think? Amplify his tweets, share the petition, make some noise.

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Back To School

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For many of us in Austin, today is the first day of school. My eldest is starting high school (which is hard to fathom), and all across the city there are thousands of first day outfits, backpacks, and supply bags ready to go. There are nervous parents poised with a camera and teachers prepared to engage minds, and often hearts, in learning. I am grateful to those teachers who do so much, and often get so little, for so many.

There is so much to learn. Literature, reading, algebra, geography.

History.

I worry we don’t do enough about history. I worry we teach the wrong history, the history of the winners, but not the history that matters. Of how we truly got to be who and how we are, right now in America.

There has been so much pain over the past two weeks. So many hearts broken over and over again, as if they weren’t broken and bruised enough before by racism and an endemic violence of white privilege, like a virus as Andrew O’Hehir put it so powerfully in Salon. It’s Ferguson but it’s so much more, going back monthly, yearly, since our inception.

The history is right in front of us, living still and happening in an endless loop, and yet I don’t think this truly gets taught in our history classes, in our school-day curriculum. Not at least until College, and even then it’s often an elective or selected major.

I think we have to change this. We have to truly teach our history, all of it, to our children now, so that they may change how the future rolls out.

I’m thinking about this, with my children still sleeping tight in their beds, their bags ready to go and their outfits picked out and I wonder how we make that happen. We can go back to school at powerful places here, or here, but we must join in. And we have to teach real history so we know the truth.

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Look To The Rainbow or Chase The Dragon

Follow The Fellow Who Follows A Dream

Follow The Fellow Who Follows A Dream

My eldest son had a theater performance last night. Their classes all did a kind of lip sync’d but originally choreographed take on Broadway musical numbers from Annie to Hairspray. He did well, had a great time, and came home riding on air.

As I was getting him in bed he told me, “That’s the best feeling in the world, being on stage. I just feel so amazing.” And then he paused, his face hidden and shadowed in the dark room. He asked shyly as if he was discovering something of tremendous import, “Does it feel that way for you when you are onstage?”

Yes. Yes it does.

Being onstage, rehearsing, producing (and to some extent writing) feels like nothing else. No where else do I feel quite so competent as in a collective space working on receiving and transmitting emotions in text and movement and then offering that to an audience. There is a very particular skill set that allows for that kind of space creation and holding it just long enough for a show to happen and it’s powerful and feels, well, spiritual in nature-energetic, a force coming from someplace (maybe it’s all just chemical but it feels transformative at its best).

I felt this sharp tug at my heart when he asked, as much for his question as for my own struggles with having this need to perform. I felt almost a kind of sadness that he felt that feeling because I know it means a life of sacrifices, struggles, and really weird hard choices if he’s called by the dream-like power of Art and Theater, not by Business or some other more valued lucrative force.

I know a lot of artists. Nearly all of them have a day job and then their own gig. Austin is filled with people working and then WORKING on what counts for them the most, what calls them and makes them get up and create. Most of them are not paid well, if at all, for that creative work. Musicians, painters, actors, singers. Most have to support themselves with a 40 hour gig, live lean and forego middle class luxuries.

There are a few who have figured out how to live on art. Some of those few have family money, or have made exceptionally wise money choices, or have supportive spouses. Some don’t have any of that but have pretty much lived on the brink of homelessness to just work in the arts because they can’t do anything else, and by “can’t” I don’t mean skill, I mean that’s the thing life gave them to do. That’s it for them. Art.

I also know a few folks who have actual careers in law, engineering, business, higher ed. They don’t seem to have a side gig, but feel really satisfied by their career. I’m not sure what they do at night or on weekends but it doesn’t seem to be additional production work, or writing. Maybe they invest? Build things on their homes? Go out? (I jest a little, but I know people who do not go overboard with the extra projects, either art or activism like my friends and I do and it confounds me.)

Many of those people make a really good solid living in their career. Their avocations are just that; hobbies that please them outside of career. But what of all the artists whose actual vocation is the thing that doesn’t pay (but which is often viewed as a hobby by employers)? Reminds me of this article in the Onion recently.

All those thoughts cartwheeled through my mind as I tried to get to sleep last night.

“Does it feel like that for you when you are onstage?”

God, yes. The best feeling in the world to be in a show. Or to facilitate a group of people through a creative process. Or to brainstorm and come up with ideas. Or to listen to someone who needs coaching. or to get all the pieces together for an event. The interchange of energies, transmitting and receiving is the dream, the sweet spot where I have something to offer.

I’m lucky that my career and weekly work is such that I can (and do) use those skills-event planning and production, speaking and outreach, facilitation and consulting, because those are the only damn things I’m good at. And I’m lucky that I have been able to integrate the arts and activism into my life throughout my life. Heck, I try to integrate my arts and activism into each other so I can get more done! I’m extremely privileged to live in a town like Austin where you can craft out a side gig pretty easily and it’s something that keeps the town “weird.”

But I wonder and ponder for my son. How to explain to him that even if he could be a full time actor? The performance is still only a small percentage of that career. From auditions, to money management, to agents, to rehearsing, to classes, to promotion and marketing, to just paying bills and maintaining a home, getting onstage is still rare.

And if he’s like the thousands of artists that do their thing on evenings and weekends, how to prepare him in ways I was not prepared, and ways I most certainly ignored out of a romantic idealism about art and purity and my own pathological issues with money?

I don’t want that feeling to be something he chases like an addiction, getting it where he can, if he can, because he has to live a life that isn’t his just to get by. Nor do I want him to treat it like a musical theater-like dream and not take it seriously or give it up altogether. The arts are tremendously undervalued in terms of monetary reward (unless you are famous and then it’s extremely overvalued) and that means people either give them up or try to work the system ruthlessly. It can’t be idealized and it shouldn’t be cynical, but it seems to me those are the choices lately.

What kind of stories do I tell him in order to help him value earning potential but also his innate skills? What do I do to help him build his own mythos, his own path, rather than crush him with the one I was raised with, the daughter of a well known talented composer whose legacy…well, was crushing in many ways and left me focused on the right things but the wrong ways?

I don’t have a lot of answers to those questions. I’m only now, at 45, beginning to really look in the mirror and ask them of myself. Which, I can tell you, is a painful thing right now. I can look back over the last 15 years and think, damn. I’ve really bungled a lot of opportunities and I’ve truly missed the boat by dividing myself. Personal work is the hardest work.

Which is why I think that shy question, in the dark, was so powerful. It was a moment of consciousness from a young boy taking the very first steps into adulthood. Him recognizing, perhaps for the first time, that his parent had a connection to him in a way that felt real and visceral. An awareness of something he may not ever have suspected about himself, and that his mother had also traveled that same way.

It was a stunning moment, at least for me. And I am still boggled as to how to move myself through it, but surely there is no better reason than to make things a little easier for him.

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