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Standing Rock Update

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 6.29.56 PMA good overview of this historical moment, the situation at Standing Rock, getting into the specifics about the use of the pipeline itself, finances behind it, and other details about the Army Corps of Engineers and timelines. I hadn’t heard the phrase “deep north” yet… to parallel the “deep south” and the racism that is congruent in both places.

Article: The Beginning is Near: The Deep North, Evictions & Pipeline Deadlines

Pretty good reporting from CNN.

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The Truth About Thanksgiving

This week many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. The truth is that this country was colonized by European men who killed the native people living here, raping the land and the women, murdering all in their path, including children. The European (white) men were greedy for resources and land and willing to cause any harm to get what they wanted. As Americans in 2016, it is our responsibility to accept that this is part of our history. If we want this country to be exceptional in any way, we must also accept that this very same history is replaying itself right now. A greedy-for-resources-and-profit corporation, controlled by people of European descent (mostly white men) is raping the Earth, threatening the safety of water, claiming ownership of land inhabited by Native peoples, and inflicting excessive violence on men, women and children.

Indigenous people have for centuries been examples for humanity of how to live in the world, how to be in respectful relationship with the Earth and that which is sacred. We have the opportunity to support them right now and to learn from their wisdom — perhaps supporting the indigenous struggle is key to saving this planet that is in serious chaos.

If you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week, will you make a commitment to talk about both the history and the present conditions regarding relationships between native peoples of this land and those who feel empowered to exploit and abuse them? If you need help on how to talk about this, you have 2 more days to research and ask for help. The video is a good start. THANK YOU. <3

“We don’t have any place else to go. These are our only remaining homelands. We have to protect them. Enough’s enough.”
Jodi Gilette, President Barack Obama’s special assistant for Native American affairs and a Standing Rock tribal member

 

The video features water protectors from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and allies trying to stop the 1,100-mile Dakota Access Pipeline – DAPL. Interviews in the film include Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Chairman Dave Archambault II; Jodi Gillette, former White House advisor for Native American Affairs; Ladonna Allard, founder of Sacred Stone Camp; Winona LaDuke, founder of Honor the Earth; and Cody Hall, Red Warrior Camp spokesperson. Created by Divided Films with support from the WK Kellogg Foundation.

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Solidarity Looks Like…

Article: Allies Form a Circle of Protection Around Muslim Students Praying in Michigan

“Events of solidarity like this give us hope.”

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Let People with Power Know We’re Paying Attention

One of my almost daily practices lately has been making calls to local, state and federal government officials, law enforcement, and companies. I’m asking those that I’ve elected to have power in this country and others that just have power, to use their power for good. I’ve been calling to voice my opinions regarding Standing Rock, police brutality, the release of the SBI report in the murder of Jerry Williams, to try and stop the appointment of Steve Bannon. I have politically been asleep for much of my adult life. I’ve lost hope in our government and thus did not engage in aspects of being a democracy. I feel like right now, one small thing I can do regularly is make calls to let these people with power know that we are here, we are paying attention, we are calling for just action.

Article: How to make your congressman listen to you from a congressional staffer.

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Houses Not Handcuffs

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BeLoved Asheville is an intentional community of people on the streets and margins of our city, working to end homelessness, poverty, and prejudice. BeLoved’s Homeless Voice Project is about amplifying the voice of people who are living on the streets and in shelters on issues concerning homelessness and the housing crisis in Asheville.

In a procession and press conference today, the Homeless Voice Project presented public data concerning the arrests and citations of people who are homeless. The data reveals that over the past 10 years, there’s been an increase in arrests and citations for trespassing for individuals who are homeless. These citations and arrests levy fines on the poorest of the poor, give people an arrest record which creates further obstacles to finding a job or housing, and costs taxpayers a great deal of money.
BeLoved Asheville is calling on the city for a simple solution — “Stop charging people with trespass when they’re homeless. Just ask people to move.” Rev. Amy Cantrell of BeLoved Asheville.

The data was collected from 2005-2016 to correspond with the City’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. This plan was built on the fact that housing people is cheaper than jailing them. The data reveals that in these 10 years homelessness has not ended and the City is criminalizing the homeless through the increase in trespassing charges.

Homelessness is a public health emergency, not a public safety issue.

BeLoved Asheville hopes to work with leaders to reduce these numbers. They believe that taxpayer money ?could be better utilized ?by diverting those funds to support people moving from the streets and shelters into housing and to stop contributing towards people who are homeless having a criminal record that only makes it more difficult for them to obtain jobs and housing.

Today’s press conference was part of the national campaign, “Houses Not Handcuffs” launched by the National Coalition of the Homeless.

BeLoved Asheville partnered with Code for Asheville to obtain public records — citation and arrest data from the Asheville Police Department. Code For Asheville’s goal is to use this data as the start of a larger initiative to empower the community to access and analyze public information and data. In October 2015, Asheville passed an Open Data Ordinance to improve the availability of government data sets to the public.

What to do:

  • Call City Council and the Asheville Police Department and let them know that you would like to see a decrease in the number of arrests and citations for trespassing for people who are homeless. “Please just ask them to move.” Let City Council know that you would like to see that money diverted towards programs like BeLoved Asheville and others that support people who are homeless moving from the streets and shelters into housing. Contact BeLoved Asheville to learn more.
  • Encourage City of Asheville to advocate for the release of a regularly updated, complete public data feed of all citations issued in Asheville. An improved data feed would allow the community to engage with our local government in an informed, data-driven manner. Contact Code for Asheville to learn more.

See the data:

Media

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Facing Race 2016

Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 2.41.52 PMFacing Race Conference 2016
Largest multi-racial, multi-issue, intergenerational national gathering dedicated to racial justice
2300 people in Atlanta, GA
My notes from the conference

A cohesive multiracial movement is our best hope.
Rinku Sen, ED of Race Froward and Publisher of Colorlines

We gotta show folks what it looks like when we love and protect each other. Within our movements, we have to give each other the benefit of the doubt more often… And understand our different roles.”
-Linda Sarsour, ED of Arab American Association of New York

We’re stronger if we are not only united, but coordinated.
-Alicia Garcia, Co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter

Here are the top things that I left feeling clear that these need our attention.

  1. Fierce Urgency — A fascist moment is coming. The only thing that will stop it is us. A cohesive multiracial movement is our best hope. Rinku Sen
  2. Organize and Be Community — Invest in each other. Our fates are intertwined. We need to unlock the humanity of this country. Alicia Garza. Organize. Find each other. Bring forth a system that works for the good of all life on mother Earth. This is our responsibility. This is why we are here. Live the power of the people.
  3. Top priority is Protection of the Most Vulnerable — undocumented immigrants, Muslims, queer and trans, Blacks, women. Designate sanctuaries. Find ways to let people know who they can call, where they can go. Create local first response teams that can take the place of government institutions. Teams include roles such as witnesses, copwatchers, medical and mental health people, legal people.
  4. Radical Imagination is needed right now. Keep imagining radically different potentials for this next stage of our existence.
  5. Our Issues Are All Interconnected. Various movements and efforts must unite. We have to double down on what deep solidarity in practice looks like. We’re stronger if we are not only united, but coordinated. Alicia Garcia This includes all the suffering people.
  6. Whiteness — We must talk about, understand and address Whiteness — Whiteness is an identity formed out of violence and trauma. We must address it head on to move beyond its grips.
  7. History holds so many keys to what has already happened that we can learn from and not replicate. I am listening to the audio of the book the People’s History of the US and it is so valuable to understand the institutional and systemic racism this country was built upon
  8. Media. Who is telling it and what the narrative being told is, is key. Pay attention to who you get your media from. Create media.
  9. Ancestors & Future generations – The ancestors are with us. And we act in service to future generations. Avenging the suffering of our ancestors and earning the respect of future generations.
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Learning from Indigenous Leadership

I am humbled to be baring witness to how Native people are demonstrating leadership for change. (Their) land is being violated and sacred sites destroyed. Treaty crimes are being perpetrated against them. The great Sioux Nation is demanding that they be dealt with honorably, as the sovereign nation that they are. They are holding the United States accountable to its treaties.

Their front line resistance actions are prayer, ceremony, and song. Nearby they’ve set up camps with others who are devoted to protecting the water. They care for one another and provide school for the learners.

Meanwhile…

United States law enforcement are responding with violence, force, intimidation, harassment and erroneous charges.

There is a pattern to the ways that law enforcement are treating people who are standing up for human rights right now, people on the front lines in the United States. There are similar tactics of intimidation and violent force being used. Journalists covering these stories are being arrested, receiving severe legal charges, and their equipment and footage confiscated and destroyed. Legal observers are even being arrested. This is happening at Standing Rock, in Charlotte with the Charlotte Uprising, and we even saw versions of it here in Asheville in response to calls for accountability when a police officer killed Jai “Jerry” Williams.

These are important times that we are living in. The video below is an interview with a Madison, Wisconsin Alder Council member who was delivering the City of Madison’s solidarity resolution to Standing Rock in person. She shares her experience at the camp, of being arrested while serving as a legal observer, the treatment she and others received by law enforcement, and how she’s used her network of relationships to influence what she can.

Please keep watching. Please keep praying. Please do what you can.

From one of my warrior sisters who is at Standing Rock… “Please pray, gather, light a fire, stop and call forth good intentions for this front line. Tell all of your friends and relatives.  Each day until you hear that the pipeline has been stopped.  Let us all get behind the great Sioux Nation at this time.  Our ancestors are with us. Gracias!”

 

Contribute to Sacred Stone Camp

Contribute to the Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense Fund

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