Tag Archives: human rights

Motivation Mondays: The Upside To The Downside

23 Jan

I started off Saturday morning parking five long blocks away from the Metro station and putting my best parallel parking skills to the test — the kind where you have to turn down the music and high-five yourself when you finally turn the engine off.

As I got to the station the sight of the massive crowd made some people turn back, either changing their travel plans or just changing their plans for the day.

train

🙂

 

But I saw an opportunity to move forward. Inch by inch onto the platform, linked arm in arm with women I had just met on my way to meet my Comadres of a lifetime. We started off as strangers on a train and but walked through the sliding doors knowing each other’s names and purpose, and wishing each other luck as we stepped forward into our future.

 

Civic engagement used to come every election, but now the grassroots movement on this side of town continues to be strong, especially around particular issues important to people, whether it be education, women’s rights, health care, or the environment. Everyone was speaking for something that mattered to them.

It  was moving to see so many women come together and peacefully unite for a cause. I was even prouder to be part of a country-wide effort that brought worldwide attention to this cause. Thousands upon thousands of people throughout the country … in New York, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, Miami, Chicago, multiple cities throughout the world engaged. Everyone is watching.

Those that were apathetic  became more vigilant of their future and the potential dangers out there, and those that are passionate find ways to engage more people and continue inspiring others.

Marching with 750,000 people in favor of women’s rights made me feel certain during uncertain times. I left knowing what Gloria Steinem called “The Upside to the Downside,” and this was just step one.

 

 

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I Don’t Need Another Ribbon … Or Challenge

25 Nov

Maybe it will be Turquoise or some kind of dark blue satin strip that tries to copy the blue that the water used to be …  I have no idea, but either way I don’t want it.

This holiday season I don’t want it.

I don’t need another ribbon … There’s the red one for AIDS, the pink one for breast cancer, the multicolored one for autism. I don’t need another one.

I don’t need another water bucket challenge, push-up challenge, or mannequin challenge.

What I need is for people to do the right thing so that ribbons or challenges are not needed. I don’t need awareness challenges after-the-fact, I need justice for people who are fighting for what’s right. I need to Erin Brockovich this situation, because what’s a ribbon gonna do, when you could have stopped it from happening?

 

 

This injustice inspires anger in me, not hope. It inspires frustration, not cooperation. It inspires profanity, not prayer. It breaks my heart, not strengthens it. These feelings may not be the right ones, but they fuel the resolve that I have to use my voice to help stand in solidarity with those who still have peace and hope in their hearts.

And hopefully it helps.

Water is an essential part of life and putting something under it, near it, or around it that could contaminate it, that will probably contaminate it, kills off a source just as important as oxygen.

So why is this Dakota Pipeline still happening?

Big Oil. Big Money. Big Bullies.

When the documentary BULLY came out there was an uproar at the blatant incompetence and neglect of some schools, districts, educators, and bus drivers that escalated these situations. People who were supposed to protect children from bullies were failing and allowing this toxic behavior to emotionally and physically harm their kids.

bully

Big Oil. Big Money. Big Bullies. Same problem.

Everything has two sides I get it. The people near Bismark did not want the pipeline near their water sources, they said it could contaminate their drinking water. So it was moved to Lake Oahe … to potentially contaminate the drinking source of hundreds of Native Americans. It not only could contaminate the water for the nearby reservation, but also endanger the remains of their loved ones, and violate an 1851 treaty.

One community asks for the pipeline not to be built near their water source,  they comply. Native Americans ask they not build near their water source for the same reasons in addition to burial sites and the treaty. No one listens. Bulldozers come. Pipe is laid.

Two sides to every story. I wonder what kind of people lived near the Bismark water source?

People who say it’s complicated aren’t really looking at the simplicity of the matter. It’s wrong. Period. If decision-making people in government can’t find the courage to stand up and do the right thing, then maybe they shouldn’t be standing in a position of power. I told you … I don’t know need another ribbon or another challenge.

I need people to do the right thing. THEY need people to do the right thing. But what happens …

The Army Corps Engineers plan to shut down the Dakota Pipeline Protest Camp by December 5th, and add a “free speech zone” instead in order to “protect the general public from the violent confrontations between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions …”

I. Can’t. Eeeeeeeeeven.

A lot has already been taken away from these people … I can’t imagine why the government would allow anyone to strip them of even more. Freedom of speech. Freedom to assemble peacefully. Freedom period.

It angers me that this young kid, Kendrick Eagle, among hundreds of others who remembers the promises from the campaign of HOPE were met with a militarized police force and National Guard using tear gas, plastic bullets, hoses, tasers, and other “nonlethal” means of keeping protesters “in check,” like keeping them in dog kennels after being arrested  you know for the “safety of everyone.”

The moral compass seems to be broken in North Dakota, especially in the governor’s office. So this week, when I was giving thanks, I also empathized and honored the people who have been victims of the government for over 200 years.  I do my best to spread their word while I still have a voice and time to do it. I Stand With Standing Rock all the way from California and without a ribbon pinned to my shirt. I told you I don’t want one.

Buen Camino.