Today as many people around the country are gathering and sharing food, many more are also talking about the origins and mythology of thanksgiving, a feel-good story of settler benevolence designed to obscure the real history of land theft and genocide. More than any other time, except perhaps during the 1970’s and the height of the American Indian Movement, people are talking about and showing up for Indigenous struggles. Imagine we all did the work today so that future generations look back on this time as the moment when non-native people changed our understanding about our history and started to take Indigenous sovereignty seriously.
This time last year so many of us were in deep support of Standing Rock, a struggle that at its foundation was a movement for Indigenous Sovereignty. Indigenous sovereignty would mean that the U.S. government would honor its treaties and recognize the Lakota nation as a sovereign nation like France or Brazil.… Read more
Please see below for several actions and support requests this coming week:
1) Monday, June 19 at 6 pm – TURN OUT to Oakland’s City Council Meeting to support the #DefundOPD Campaign.
2) Support Black Land Liberation on Juneteenth (Monday)
3) Tuesday 6/20: All Out to Berkeley to Stop Urban Shield
1) From APTP: First off, thank you to EVERYONE for participating in the #DefundOPD Campaign. Your actions have clearly influenced the City’s decisionmaking process when it comes to allocating money to the Oakland Police Department. That fight is not over! City Council plans to announce and vote on its proposed budget, and we want to be there in full force to hold them accountable!
On Monday, June 19 at 6 pm, we need folks to TURN OUT to Oakland’s City Council Meeting. Please bring your DefundOPD signs, share this on social media, and participate in the #DefundOPD social media campaign (instructions below!):
1) Print your “Less cops, more _______” or “Menos policías, más _______” from www.defundopd.org or make your own 2) Use your imagination.
As we discussed not too long ago in our January dialogue:
Here we are at the start of unpresidented 2017, after the largest inaugural protest in US history, joined by marches around the world. Community organizing and outreach is happening in every state as people prepare for the worst, brace for scary realities on the horizon and work to keep them at bay. This is also a time when many are humbly realizing how much we have to learn from communities around the world about what it means to live resisting fascism.
These are a few readings that we used to fuel our January dialogue:
And included below is an a very thorough reading list compiled by our friend, Lindley Mease, as part of a reading group with the goals of “collectively 1) learning the what, where, when of fascism to ground the current context in global and historical trends, 2) distilling guidelines and values we wish to uphold for ourselves under our new fascist government, and 3) cultivating community with non-U.S.… Read more
Trump called himself the ‘law and order candidate’. He’s vocally supported “stop & frisk” policies that target Black and brown communities. His ‘first 100 days’ plan includes expanding federal funding for local police, federal law enforcement, and federal prosecutors. And he’s promised to have the Attorney General investigate Black Lives Matter protestors for criminal charges.
Policing under any president is violent and racist, and Trump has little to no control over local police policies. But we also expect that he’ll use whatever power he has to criminalize dissent, expand policing in communities of color, and detain and deport migrant communities. It’s an important time for us to be building resistance to policing, and one way to do that is to build our willingness and skills to copwatch.
Below is my story of how these things show up in everyday lives and what we can do to fight back at multiple levels.… Read more
Yesterday morning I checked the news groggy-eyed and learned of the massacre in Orlando at ‘Latin Night’ at the Pulse gay club. The grief is overwhelming. I find myself unexpectedly in and out of tears.
Queer space is sacred. We owe the fact that there is space for us to go seek community, joy, pleasure, desire, family and justice to generations of freedom fighters. To the ACT UP warriors and the dyke caretakers who fought for queer safety and survival while most of the world did not care as a generation died of AIDS. To people like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy and other unsung transgender women of color who fought the police at Stonewall and continued fighting for the right to live with dignity, power and safety. To James Baldwin and Audre Lorde and Bayard Rustin.… Read more
We cannot talk about the violence that Dylann Roof perpetrated at Emanuel AME last Wednesday night without talking about whiteness, and specifically, about white womanhood and its role in racist violence. We have to talk about those things, because Roof himself did. Per a witness account, we know that he said: “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country.” “Our” women, by whom he meant white women.
There is a centuries-old notion that white men must defend, with lethal violence at times, the sexual purity of white women from allegedly predatory black men. And, as we saw yet again after this shooting, it is not merely a relic of America’s hideous racial past. American racism is always gendered; racism and sexism are mutually dependent, and cannot be unstitched.
As Jessie Daniels writes at Racism Review, white womanhood has been and remains essential to the logic of American white supremacy.
While I find all of this interesting, what interests me specifically about this situation is the white shame of Rachel Dolezal’s identification as Black. In her interview with Melissa Harris-Perry earlier this week, Rachel Dolezal clearly self-identified as a Black woman. Her interview revealed a belief that all one needs in order to identify as Black is to “feel” and “live” the “Black experience,” which of course implies that she believes herself to be able to determine and author what is the “Black experience.”
Darnell L Moore, who believes that Rachel’s identification is indeed “cultural theft,” states that there is “a stark difference between racial indeterminacy, or the idea that race is not fixed and individuals may have multiple racial identities, and racial misrepresentation.”, What he points out, more importantly, is that:
The fiasco is a glaring example of white privilege in action.… Read more
Thank you for taking the time to read this. This letter was written by white allies in support of certain Native members of our community who have already put a lot of time and energy into trying to explain why it’s a problem when people without Native/First Nations heritage use the term “Two Spirit” to describe themselves.
We know that you care deeply about this issue because you are still reading this letter. This means you have not yet closed your mind to what we are saying. Let us begin by acknowledging that we live in a world in which we collectively face so many adversities – wars, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and the list goes on. One of the hardest challenges we face is understanding our privileges in the face of our oppressions.
In our culture, trans and gender non-conforming people have very few options with regards to how to identify.… Read more
“This is not just Baltimore’s problem, like it wasn’t just Ferguson. This is racism in America.”
I’m from a majority Black and highly segregated city near Baltimore. Wilmington, Delaware had the longest domestic military occupation since the Civil War when the National Guard occupied the city for 9 months in 1968 after Dr. King was assassinated– the longest occupation until New Orleans post-Katrina, that is.
Old money white wealth stays across town from row homes in impoverished Black neighborhoods cut through with the interstate. Wilmington’s not at the level of destitution that Baltimore has been dealing with, but it’s so easy for me to imagine that what is happening right now is in my hometown. Just as all these same problems of systemic violence, and people resisting it, is happening here in the Bay Area, and in my other home of New Orleans.… Read more
We are excited by the recent post from SONG (Southerners on New Ground):
THERE IS HONOR IN STRUGGLE
THERE IS HONOR IN THE WORK
SONG ON THE ROLE OF WHITE PEOPLE IN THE MOVEMENT AT THIS TIME
It opens with a powerful quote:
“White people are taught that racism is a personal attribute, an attitude, maybe a set of habits. Anti-racist whites invest too much energy worrying about getting it right; about not slipping up and revealing their racial socialization; about saying the right things and knowing when to say nothing. It’s not about that. It’s about putting your shoulder to the wheel of history; about undermining the structural supports of a system of control that grinds us under, that keeps us divided even against ourselves and that extracts wealth, power and life from our communities like an oil company sucks it from the earth. The names of the euro-descended anti-racist warriors we remember – John Brown, Anne Braden, Myles Horton – are not those of people who did it right.… Read more
A galvanizing Black leadership has emerged from Ferguson in the weeks and months since the murder of Mike Brown and non-indictment of Darren Wilson which has stoked the fires of resistance across the nation-state, joining with histories of rebellion on this land and across the globe. This wave of uprising against injustice has shown a powerful strength in its messaging, its demands and its ability to continue to dominate the airwaves with important information about racism, police brutality and white rage against Black progress – an essential movement if we are to have real conversations or effect meaningful change.
(Note: We would prefer the above graphic to read “I won’t see,” not “I can’t see”)
We want to share thoughts and resources regarding the Darren Wilson Indictment released tonight. If you haven’t heard yet, the grand jury concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to indict police officer Darren Wilson of a crime.
While many have us may have been socialized on the merits of staying calm, and while we can feel real fear about the violence of protests, it is important to think about who is being told to stay calm during these moments. … Read more
“The killings became more and more frenzied with days of Thanksgiving feasts being held after each successful massacre. George Washington finally suggested that only one day of Thanksgiving per year be set aside instead of celebrating each and every massacre.” (Susan Bates)
This is an updated repost from last year, to continue our commitment to raise awareness about the actual origins and impact of this holiday that many of us celebrate without a second thought and to confront the mythologies that encourage us to ignore the real history of Thanksgiving:
We often think of Thanksgiving as a time of family, football, giving thanks and gorging. I used to be of this mindset until learning more about some of the actual roots of this holiday. What I learned was that Thanksgiving has little to do with an amicable meal shared between the Pilgrims and Indians. While there is a documented meal shared at one point, and this is often what is referenced, the “National Holiday” was originally a marker of the celebrations of the massive genocide of Indigenous peoples across the Eastern coast of the US. … Read more
Showing up for Racial Justice(SURJ) was formed in 2009 by white people from across the US to respond to the significant increase of targeting and violence against people of color in the aftermath of the election of Barack Obama. The killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO; Eric Garner on Staten Island, NY; Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, CA; and John Crawford in Beavercreek, Ohio are the latest in a long series of extrajudicial (outside the law) killings of people of color in the United States. We mourn the loss of life, see the impact on communities of color and believe that white people must partner across race and other differences to create social change. SURJ is here to provide resources and support for white people to make this happen.… Read more