Tag Archives: Social Justice

Scenes from the Resistance: LGBTQ Solidarity March at Stonewall Inn, NYC

It’s only been two weeks into this abomination of an administration, and already there’s so much to protest. But we’re still raising our voices, making calls, and putting our bodies in the streets. May we have the strength to do so for as long as it takes.

Here are photos I took at yesterday’s LGBTQ Solidarity March at Stonewall Inn (my family and I could only be at the edge of it, as the crowd of thousands spilled over into the adjacent streets).

The Resistance continues.

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Scenes from the Resistance: the Women’s March in NYC

I’m so incredibly awed, inspired, and humbled to have been a tiny part of this upwelling of decency, defiance, righteous anger, kindness, and courage — not just here in New York but all around the world. Humanity at its best. Dark forces are abroad, and who knows if they’ll prevail; but let today make it absolutely clear that we who stand against the darkness are many. The future is not yet written, and we have many hands with which to write it.

Here are a few photos I took in the march today. (Feel free to contact me if you want to reuse an image. If you or your sign are in a photo, I’m happy to include more information, or take it down at your request.)

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Yoko Ono in the house!

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The next generation, doing us proud:

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The spirit of Carrie Fisher presided over the march, through many signs like this one:

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Love the message on the pink sign below. The other, of course, is a lyric from Hamilton, a show that inspired many signs — including Hercules Mulligan’s “You knock me down, I get the fuck back up again” and, my favorite, “My dog speaks more eloquently than thee.”

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So many people.

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I absolutely love the detail and craftsmanship on this sign. And the message.

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And this, a moving quote from the Captain America comic (later reused for the movie Civil War):  “This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world: No, YOU move.”

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Lots of encouragement from the crowd on the overpass at Grand Central.

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And here’s the flip side of the “Queers Without Borders” sign:

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Excellent advice for everyone, as we brace ourselves for the long struggle ahead.

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On this day, and all the days to come

Some images, sounds, and words to lift darkened spirits and bolster the courage we’ll all need in the days and years ahead. There may be occasional updates. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments.

“We the People” Protest Art
By Shepard Fairey, Jessica Sabogal, and Ernesto Yerena, for the Amplifier Foundation. Download hi-res versions and find out more here.

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Thea Gilmore, “Start As We Mean to Go On”
A song of joyful resistance.

Beyoncé, “Superpower”

Staceyann Chin, “Racism”
The spoken-word artist delivers a blistering call to arms.

Ursula K. Le Guin, always necessary, offers a meditation:

A Meditation

The river that runs in the valley

makes the valley that holds it.

This is the doorway:

the valley of the river.

~

What wears away the hard stone,

the high mountain?

The wind. The dust on the wind.

The rain. The rain on the wind.

What wears the hardness of hate away?

Breath, tears.

~

Courage, compassion, patience

holding to their way:

the path to the doorway.

And from her famed National Book Awards speech:

Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom – poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality.

We live in capitalism, its power seems inescapable — but then, so did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.

Rebecca Solnit, from “Hope in the Dark”

Anything could happen, and whether we act or not has everything to do with it. Though there is no lottery ticket for the lazy and the detached, for the engaged there is a tremendous gamble for the highest stakes right now. I say this to you not because I haven’t noticed that this country has strayed close to destroying itself and everything it once stood for in pursuit of empire in the world and the eradication of democracy at home, that our civilization is close to destroying the very nature on which we depend — the oceans, the atmosphere, the uncounted species of plant and insect and bird. I say it because I have noticed: wars will break out, the planet will heat up, species will die out, but how many, how hot, and what survives depends on whether we act. The future is dark, with a darkness as much of the womb as of the grave.

Turn your head. Learn to see in the dark. Pay attention to the inventive arenas that exert political power outside that stage or change the contents of the drama onstage. From the places that you have been instructed to ignore or rendered unable to see come the stories that change the world, and it is here that culture has the power to change the world. Often it appears as theater, and you can see the baffled, upset faces of the actors onstage when the streets become a stage or the unofficial appear among them to disrupt the planned program.

Stories move from the shadows to the limelight. And though the stage too often presents the drama of our powerlessness, the shadows offer the secret of our power.

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“People wake up”: Watch the trailer for “99%,” the Occupy Wall Street film

As of this writing, the documentary is being shown in exactly two theaters in the United States — in New York and LA. This seems like preaching to the choir, and a real shame. Is this the last gasp of a fleeting movement, or a valiant attempt to keep the conversation going? The message of the Occupy movement resonates (or should resonate) with more people than just the liberal moviegoers of Manhattan and Hollywood, and deserves to be spread more widely.

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“Let us all unite!”

John Boswell, of Symphony of Science fame, offers an autotuned remix of Charlie Chaplin’s rousing speech from The Great Dictator:

A previous remix (and my thoughts on it) here.

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Why libraries matter, cont’d: “A satisfying reversal, a balancing of the power”

Caitlin Moran, author of the very excellent How to Be A Woman, defends and celebrates the endangered small libraries of England — including the one that nurtured her:

Everything I am is based on this ugly building on its lonely lawn — lit up during winter darkness; open in the slashing rain — which allowed a girl so poor she didn’t even own a purse to come in twice a day and experience actual magic: traveling through time, making contact with the dead — Dorothy Parker, Stella Gibbons, Charlotte Brontë, Spike Milligan.

A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival. They are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination. On a cold, rainy island, they are the only sheltered public spaces where you are not a consumer, but a citizen, instead. A human with a brain and a heart and a desire to be uplifted, rather than a customer with a credit card and an inchoate “need” for “stuff.” A mall — the shops — are places where your money makes the wealthy wealthier. But a library is where the wealthy’s taxes pay for you to become a little more extraordinary, instead. A satisfying reversal. A balancing of the power. […]

A library is such a potent symbol of a town’s values: each one closed down might as well be six thousand stickers plastered over every available surface, reading “WE CHOSE TO BECOME MORE STUPID AND DULL.”

The danger:

While I have read a million words on the necessity for the cuts, I have not seen a single letter on what the exit plan is: what happens in four years’ time, when the cuts will have succeeded, and the economy gets back to “normal” again. Do we then — prosperous once more — go round and re-open all these centers, clinics and libraries, which have sat, dark and unused, for nearly half a decade? […] Unless the government has developed an exit strategy for the cuts, and insisted councils not sell closed properties, by the time we get back to “normal” again, our Victorian and post-war and 1960s red-brick boxy libraries will be coffee shops and pubs. No new libraries will be built to replace them. These libraries will be lost forever.

And, in their place, we will have thousands more public spaces where you are simply the money in your pocket, rather than the hunger in your heart. Kids — poor kids — will never know the fabulous, benign quirk of self-esteem of walking into “their” library and thinking, “I have read 60 percent of the books in here. I am awesome.” Libraries that stayed open during the Blitz will be closed by budgets.

Read the rest here.

(h/t Tor.com; image via Cerebration)

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The stakes, cont’d

Another must-read from Bob Cesca:

This is the marquee election for the anti-choice movement. Anyone who can count and anyone who can look up the status of the Supreme Court justices knows full well that the next president will decide the fate of abortion rights and an entire array of issues.

Justice Scalia is 76 years old, Justice Breyer is 74 and Justice Ginsburg, well, she’s a 79-year-old cancer survivor. It’s almost a foregone conclusion that the next president will appoint a justice to replace at least Ginsburg, if not both Ginsburg and Scalia. Reasonably speaking, Ginsburg is almost certain. If she retires or passes, and Mitt Romney appoints her successor, the ideological balance of the Bench will shift to five conservatives, one swing vote (Kennedy) and three liberals — more than enough to decide conservatively on a variety of critical issues. Even if Kennedy were to magically swing left on every decision, it still wouldn’t matter. Conservatives would win the day for an entire generation.

However, if President Obama is re-elected and he appoints Ginsburg’s successor, the balance remains the same as it is now: four conservatives, one swing vote and four liberals (presumably, Obama would appoint a justice with a liberal record). Better yet, if the president is re-elected and replaces both Ginsburg and Scalia, the Bench would be tipped to five liberals, one swing and three conservatives — for a generation.

So this isn’t just about replacing a justice or two. This is about replacing a justice or two and defining the ideological composition of the Court for the next 10-20 years.

[…] I sometimes wonder if everyone else, including many of us who follow these issues closely, is aware of the potential human cost amid the ongoing horserace drama of the political campaign. These are our daughters, mothers, wives, sweethearts, partners and business associates, and I worry that too many voters are unaware that more than half of all Americans are being slowly and deliberately suffocated of their rights and physically targeted by their leadership simply because they have two X chromosomes. This election is the hinge upon which those rights hang in the balance. It might be the most important election of our lives so far, and not because of some relatively disassociated issue thousands of miles away, but because it will determine whether women — American women — will retain purview over their own bodies.

Cesca makes many more salient points and the whole piece is worth reading here.

(Photo via Associated Press)

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