Tag Archives: protests

Prioritizing the Trivial

Priority. keyboardSome people say you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs. I know that’s not true because I make my omelets with tofu. But I might say that you can’t break systems of oppression without stepping on a few toes, and you can’t always eliminate cruelty in a way that the people who rely on cruelty will like.

There are a few different stories that I’m thinking of. The first is the story of Laquan McDonald and the protests/riots that happened once the video of his death was released. Then there is a story about forcefully weaning dairy cows, and another story about corporate reaction to an anti-dairy ad. The stories are all different but share one thing in common: they tell me that our priorities are all messed up. Continue reading

Be Careful Out There

My personal and professional life went a bit topsy-turvy on me this week and, despite many reminders relating to this post, it never materialized.  Instead of putting something together at the last minute, I thought I’d take the opportunity to say a few words and invite everyone to do a little magic this summer.

I’m not the only one with a lot going on at the moment.  From the Fearless Summer campaign, to the Moral Monday protests in North Carolina, and to the work of activists opposing restricting a woman’s right to choose in Texas, there’s a lot of work being done out there.

It’s arguable, that the pace of our activist lives quickened not recently but rather a few years ago during the 2011 Wisconsin protests regarding unionizing rights in that state.  Or, maybe it was similar protests at similar times dealing with similar issues in Ohio.

And it’s not just the United States.  The last few years have seen Iran’s Green Revolution, the Arab Spring, and, more recently, protests in Turkey and Brazil as those countries come to grips with the constraints we’re all feeling on our day-to-day lives.

And, most recently, Egypt.  Again.  You may recall that at the same time we were seeking to protect union rights here, Egyptians were working to oust the Mubarak government.  They did so.  But, the changes they sought were not to be found in the Morsi administration and so the people returned to the streets, and to Tahrir Square, to protest again.  These latest Egyptian protests, in the end, resulted in violence as the Egyptian military and the supporters of the Morsi administration skirmished resulting in the deaths of (at least) 51 civilians.  And whether you liked or disliked Morsi or his government or his religious beliefs and ideology, violence and death is never a good thing.

Thankfully, things have not gone that far here in the US.

Sometimes it all seems a little too big, a little too insurmountable, and we just don’t know where to begin.  A teacher of mine once said:  “We’re witches; we do witchy things” and perhaps this, at least, is something that we can all of us do.  Whether you call it prayer or magic, whether it’s the intentions you carry in your heart or those that you share with others, whether you believe in gods or not, one thing we’ve learned is that we’re all connected.

No one, not one of us, is an island remote, cut-off, and separated from everyone else.  When violence erupts in Egypt, you can be sure that the American government is watching and wondering what we’ll need to do and whether we’ll need to get involved.  But, not all of us can stand up in the same ways.  Not all of us can afford to be on the front lines risking our freedom and our bodies the way that others can.  And these limitations exist for a variety of reasons that cross every social boundary from race to religion, from class to gender.

Take the time this summer to do some magic, offer some prayers, or do whatever your tradition, your beliefs, or your conscience asks you to do to help protect those who are on the front lines.  And, to those of you out their risking yourselves, be careful and know that we’ve got your back.