Focus Post – June 22, 2020

The past 2 weeks have been a testament to the power of the People through collective action! Throughout the nation and our state, the resounding cry, “Black Lives Matter” has reverberated in cities and small towns and one-kid-protests alike. It makes me so proud to be a Progressive! And it reinforces that we must NEVER give up. “Enough is enough!” And “Together there is nothing that we cannot accomplish!

I’m going to share a few articles and posts here today. The first is a history of Juneteenth. Whether Juneteenth or Vanport or the Tulsa Massacre or police executing Black and Brown men, women, and children (one of 1000s of articles here and another here), no one has an excuse any longer to be ignorant. Google is your friend. Start with Wikipedia and continue your education, especially utilizing Black-sourced materials.

The second is a post shared on facebook by Sharon Mitchell, journalist. When I read Sharon’s account of racism in her former workplace, it caused me to think. People often question, “Why did they wait so long to tell their story?” – indicting the teller rather than questioning the actions of the perpetrator.
Many of us minimize or rationalize others’ bad actions. “Maybe I’m over reacting.” “Did they really just say/do that?” I know with my own painful stories, I may or may not share with a close friend or my mom or my counselor but to go public often requires a trigger – seeing something similar, someone taking action you wish you would have done, something happening to another that hits close to home, the ascension of the perpetrator to a position of power, etc.
I read this story and it resonated with me that way, not because I know what it would be like to face this exact situation (or any of hundreds of daily microaggressions) as a Black woman, but because I’m human and capable of empathy.

From the article: ““Well, you’re a pretty girl but blacks are hard to light.” … I felt the hairs go up on the back of my neck. I was shocked. Did I really just hear what I thought I heard? I didn’t know what to say. He sat there behind his desk looking at me as if what he said was no big deal. I was so shocked by what I heard that I don’t remember anything that was said after that. I only remember being stunned, …”

Read and share Sharon’s complete story here.

iPA recently posted our public support of Black Live Matter and I want to share that post here again:
independents for Progressive Action (iPA) – Our Revolution allies with #BlackLivesMatter. We stand in solidarity with the communities of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) against police brutality and racism – individual, collective, and institutional – and in support of dismantling structures of oppression through community action such as protests and meaningful policy reforms.
We support the exercise of our rights guaranteed in the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This stance aligns with our mission and commitment to Racial, Social, Economic, and Environmental Justice.

Why the repetition, you might ask? We need to remind ourselves daily that until Black Lives Matter, all lives do not matter. And that goes for Indigenous lives and Trans lives and Queer lives, and and and. All forms of marginalization are methods of oppression and as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “No one is free until we are ALL free.” It’s not just about “equality” or even “equity.” It’s about JUSTICE and it’s our DUTY to do everything we can to change/fix/dismantle/defund the systems of oppression and make its victims whole. It means facing the hard truth that many of us have historically benefited from these systems and continue to do so – on the backs of others.

I love this illustration below, in part because of my deep loathing of the book, “The Giving Tree” (Shel Silverstein, 1964). Quick summary: give and give and give and let someone take from you until it kills you. Awful advice! In this graphic at least there is some reciprocation! And yes, I know some of you love that book and get a different message. Carry on! NOTE: An arborist on a thread I was reading said this is NOT how you would right a full-grown tree. And P.S. Never stand on the top step of a ladder!

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There’s also this graphic which I use frequently. There’s another version which includes a 4th box labeled “freedom” which has no fence at all.

I’m going to end here. Future blogs will feature thoughts about AntiFa (gist: ANTIFAscim = good), the Democratic National Convention and our Bernie Delegates – How to support them as they enter the tiger’s den, White Supremacy (I just ordered White Fragility (Robin DiAngelo, 2018) and am compiling a list of other books about racism and White supremacy to read/suggest as well.

Goings on around our area related to Racial, Social, Economic, and/or Environmental Justice:

SAVE THE DATE!!! Return of iPA’s Progressive Film Series: FRIDAY, JULY 10, 7-9:30 p.m. (PST) with a showing of the powerful and timely documentary, “Do Not Resist” about the militarization of our police. I am lining up awesome speakers for an after film discussion as well! The trailer for the film can be found here. We will be sharing a link shortly, so PLEASE invite all your friends! Stay tuned for more information.

DAILY at 6pm: March Against Police Brutality and Demand Racial Justice

Join thousands of people from the greater Portland area every evening at Revolution Hall to protest police brutality, white supremacy, and the brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others. Show your support for racial justice and demand that our elected officials take action. Wear a mask and bring a sign if you can. March routes vary. #BlackLivesMatter

BerniePDX is working THROUGH JUNE 29TH to Make Calls or Gather Signatures for Universal Preschool Now! We only have 1.5 weeks left! There are tons of signature gathering events for the Universal Preschool ballot measure this weekend. Click Here for the full list of opportunities, and please wear a mask.

You can also sign up to make calls from home by visiting upnow2020.org/getinvolved. Please get involved, spread the word, and SIGN THE PETITION – the children of Multnomah County are counting on us!

DSA Events here. Some highlights: Subcommittee meetings almost every night of the week (virtual, of course); Washington County Branch meeting: Sun, June 28, 2:00pm – 3:30pm. Email [email protected] for Zoom meeting info.