Stories

Safety: A Play about Community-Police Relations by @CivicEnsemble #Twithaca

civic engagementI feel so, so honored to have been able to help local theatre group Civic Ensemble develop their new graphic identity and website.

And now, I’m really excited to tell you all about their upcoming, long-awaited community-based play, Safety: A Play about Community-Police Relations.

These folks are seriously awesome and I’m so happy to be in any way able to contribute to their impact here in the community. Check out this show and I think you’ll see what I mean.

Civic Ensemble presents 2nd Annual Community-Based play:

Safety: A Play About Community-Police Relations

Touring Ithaca September 19-28th

All performances are “Pay What You Can” At The Door 
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Confession: These are some ways I have been racist

I’ve been wanting to get this said and am sorry it’s taken me so long.

For a short period I was influenced by writings and statements from multiracial people who seemed to look very white, who had more complicated identities and didn’t identify as white. I’m 1/64 Cherokee and have some rumors of Iroquois heritage on my mother’s side, but am mostly Scotch-Irish and Swedish. My grandmother and uncles and cousins in North Carolina have all lived on Cherokee land for generations now. I briefly thought I should honor the small part of me which is Native by trying to reconnect with my tribe, but realized that to be adopted as a Cherokee I’d have to give up my vegan ideals. I then read a lot of stuff about postmodern Native identities and for about a month started publicly calling myself multiracial and two-spirit, since these terms seemed to best describe my blended, trans identity. Since then, I’ve realized that my skin is way too white for me to identify in this way, and I’ve seen that my using these terms was racist and a form of cooptation. I’m very sorry and very aware of my error and wanted to say this publicly in case anyone saw me identifying in these ways; that phase needed an explanation.

There are lots of other ways I’ve been (however unintentionally) racist. Maybe I’ll write more confessions like this one, I don’t know. I don’t mean to draw attention to myself; there are probably better ways of fighting racism and even of addressing this particular wrong. Anyhow, here it is. Sorry.

Animal rights vs. Animal welfare

animal rights vs animal welfare
Evolve Campaigns made this great viral graphic comparing animal rights and animal welfare. I’ve seen it around for a while, and have always thought it did a good job of making the distinction clear. So when I saw it on Pinterest I gave it a heart!

Then I read the comments. I don’t usually engage like this, anymore! But I couldn’t help it, I had to dive in.

It’s interesting to me that folks see veganism and animal rights as some kind of choice of animals over humans, when humans are animals, and so many vegans are also human rights advocates for this reason (and also because they’re, you know, generally decent people who are working on becoming less oppressive). I don’t think that was ever an issue for me. My issue was that animals were tasty. But in any case, I don’t think any of these issues are good reasons for eating someone.

Humans, you are bigger and stronger than cats.

The headlines read, with a snicker, 22-Pound Cat Takes Family Hostage; Family Calls 911 For Help. The cat, it turns out, is in a family with a new 7-month-old baby. Lux scratched the baby and was kicked. He began hissing and growling and cornered the family including the dog in a bedroom for a short period before presumably making friends again. In this comment thread, someone says, “Don’t kick cats!” and a lot of people are all like, “Why not? He scratched the baby!”

facepalm

My thoughts:

  1. This story is not funny, it’s sad.
  2. Humanity’s amusement about this story says a lot about our collective lack of compassion for beings of other species.
  3. Cats and dogs and children all depend on us and all love us. We don’t have to place them in some kind of hierarchy of importance.
  4. Cats get jealous. They are often very disrupted by the arrival of children. Since we first made a commitment to the cat, we should continue to honor that commitment.
  5. Cats scratch when they’re threatened or upset. Kicking them doesn’t make them feel any less threatened or upset.
  6. Kicking those who are less powerful than you are does nothing but show how cruel and ignorant you are, and sets a terrible example for children.
  7. Next time maybe try apologizing to the cat, protecting him from the baby, and NOT KICKING ANYONE.

As an aside, because I happen to be jumping through the hoops needed to become the second adoptive parent of my own baby son: I can’t believe that people are allowed to just go buy cats and make babies, when adopting them is so difficult (and is done with so much positive intention). Our species will take a great leap forward the day we realize that caring for children and non-human animals is a great privilege as well as a right.

Links: Native landscaping, listening, governments, fracking

Hear from Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance Activists, March 5-6 in Ithaca

DCI-nonviolence-speakers
This just in from Dorothy Cotton Institute:

Irene Nasser and Fadi Quran, two Palestinian nonviolent resistance activists that our delegation met with when we visited the West Bank are coming to the US for a DCI sponsored Speaking Tour.
They will be speaking at several events in Ithaca:

Wednesday, March 5th

7-9pm, Ithaca College – Klingenstein Lounge

Thursday, March 6th

12-1:30-GIAC [please RSVP to this event; here’s a flier]

7-9pm – Cornell University – Kaufmann Auditorium

Calling all crew

Why is everybody so quiet? by Ari Evergreen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Creative Commons License
Why is everybody so quiet? by Ari Evergreen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

we think we’re the smartest species on the planet
and yet we’re the only species that has to pay to live

what does an animal need to live?
food, water, shelter
every other species can meet its needs for free.
we have to pay for all of our needs.
to pay for things we have to allow someone to exploit our labor – that is, to make a profit off of it.

the problem here is capitalism
instead of humans joining together to ask ourselves,
what are our needs and how can we best meet them?
we are stuck playing a game, capitalism

the point of capitalism is not to meet people’s needs
it’s to generate profit
so the primary goal of industrialized, capitalist society hasn’t been to meet people’s needs,
but rather, to make money.
the result is that some people (the ones with the most money) make more money,
while others make so little money they can barely afford their needs
and many more just don’t get their needs met at all.

by way of example let’s pretend some folks are shipwrecked on a tiny island
there are two builders who could make shelter
there’s someone who knows how to make sandals and raincoats
there’s someone who knows how to find and prepare food
there’s someone who knows how to make fire
there’s someone who knows how to collect and store rainwater for drinking
there’s someone who knows how to keep people healthy

logically it would make sense for everyone to work together to meet their needs
each would contribute and each would benefit

but imagine that someone on the island says,
i own all the land, and you all have to pay rent to me to live on it

imagine that the doctor says,
you have to pay me for the care i give you

imagine that the person who makes fire says,
i’ll only make fire if you pay me

imagine the two builders each have insufficient tools
but they keep their tools to themselves, rather than pooling them together, because they’re competing
they save up the best materials to try to attract the business of the doctor and the landowner
they can only offer sub-par houses to the rest of the people
but the people will take what they can get

now no one’s needs are met.
or rather, they’re only met if people are making a profit.

there’s no money on an island, so they’d have to come up with some other way to pay
humans are creative, and can be cruel
we make each other pay in all sorts of ways when we don’t have money, don’t we?
maybe they’d make each other pay with their bodies, as so many men have made women and other men pay with their bodies
or maybe they’d make each other “work off” their debt
maybe the landowner would end up with a big, fancy house while others sleep on the beach
maybe the doctor would have all the best food
maybe the person who makes fire would sometimes withhold their power, just to make others realize how needed he is, so he could raise his prices

imagine someone on the island doesn’t have any special skills or tools
do they get to live in a house?
do they get sandals, or healthcare, or food, or water?
what do they have to do to be allowed near the fire?

could it be better to just give and take
for each to give their gifts freely to others
and to expect to receive others’ gifts in return,
regardless of their contribution?

then the people’s needs would be met
they might even have free time
maybe they could join together to build a lookout tower, or keep a signal fire
maybe they’d use their free time teaching each other everything they know
maybe they’d use it dancing and singing
or maybe they’d learn how to climb trees and harvest coconuts
maybe they’d have a good time on the island

we’re not on an island
we’ve got a whole world
we’ve got so many skills
and so many resources
but so many of our needs are not met

it might be hard to imagine changing our ways
but it’s hard to live in this way
so maybe it would be worth it to do the hard work of imagining
and maybe we could learn how to meet all of our needs
instead of just making some people richer and richer.

Buckminster Fuller saw this
he said our planet is our spaceship.
Marshall McLuhan pointed out,
“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.”

our ship looks pretty dysfunctional
we’re pretty much destroying it and its ability to sustain us
and how is our crew doing?
is it okay with us that some crew members can have everything they could ever desire, even the lives and bodies of other crew members?
is it okay with us that so many crew members’ needs are not met?
is it okay that so many crew members are treated as expendable?
if this was a ship, what would we do?
would we have a mutiny?
would we call a crew meeting and change up what we’re doing?
would we just say, “this is the way things are”?
would we just continue to allow some folks to destroy the lives of other folks?

i think we need a crew meeting
i think we need to ask big questions
and look for big answers
or our spaceship won’t continue to function
and our crew will be unable to live, let alone work for the common good

if we’re truly such a smart species,
we need to ask ourselves,
what are our needs?
what is the most equitable and efficient and healthy and joyous way for us to meet them?

Occupy activist assaulted by police, being charged with assaulting the police

Oh this is just too much. Really, NYPD?

Today – Thurs. February 13 – Jury Selection
Part 31, Room 1333 @ 100 Centre St., Manhattan

Tentative trial schedule:
Friday, February 14th – Opening Arguments & Prosecution case
Wednesday, February 19th – Defense begins
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