Tag Archives: Social Justice

Scenes from the Resistance: Rally for the Dreamers in NYC, September 9, 2017

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In repealing DACA and throwing the lives of 800,000 undocumented young people into uncertainty and fear, the cruelty of this vile and vicious administration continues. But so does the determination of those who stand against it.

Below (and above) are scenes of last weekend’s rally in front of the Trump International Hotel in New York City, organized by the volunteer movement Movimiento Cosecha. I found it extraordinarily moving to be a part of it: to witness the outpouring of support for the Dreamers, to sit for eleven minutes in tribute to the 11 million undocumented residents of the country, to stand and march, and especially to hear young DACA recipients share their heartfelt and heartbreaking stories.

One man asked us to scream, as loud as we could, then to press our fists against our stomachs as hard as we could; “That’s how I feel every day,” he said. And then he asked us to hold hands — a crowd of hand-holding strangers, a thousand-strong, momentarily reaching past our personal boundaries to realize the power of being connected, of being ONE community of Americans… if we choose to be. “My voice, your voice,” we chanted. “My family, your family. My children, your children.”

Movimiento Cosecha is continuing to organize rallies and larger actions nationwide. Please visit their website and follow them on Twitter or Facebook to see how you can help.

The fight continues.

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Please 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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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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