All Are Welcome At San Francisco Zen Center! (…to join us in resisting Trump)

No Zen in the West

The San Francisco Zen Center Abbots and Abbesses – all of whom I know, love, and deeply respect – are in the unenviable position of threading the needle of a public response to the election.  They reached hard for the High Road, for real love and compassion, and they gave it a good shot.

Compassion can sound like condoning, though, and calls for unity can sound like a blurring of deep and important differences.  And so there has understandably been some pushback from the wider SFZC community on this statement of unity and love.

As someone more free than the Abbots to say what’s on my mind, I’d like to offer an alternative, another approach to unity.  It might sound something like this:

San Francisco Zen Center unequivocally rejects the hateful worldview of President-Elect Donald Trump, and vows together to actively oppose its implementation.  All are welcome to join us…

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Academia, Love Me Back

Racism persists. Please pay attention.

TIFFANY MARTÍNEZ

My name is Tiffany Martínez. As a McNair Fellow and student scholar, I’ve presented at national conferences in San Francisco, San Diego, and Miami. I have crafted a critical reflection piece that was published in a peer-reviewed journal managed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Higher Education and Council for Opportunity in Education. I have consistently juggled at least two jobs and maintained the status of a full-time student and Dean’s list recipient since my first year at Suffolk University. I have used this past summer to supervise a teen girls empower program and craft a thirty page intensive research project funded by the federal government. As a first generation college student, first generation U.S. citizen, and aspiring professor I have confronted a number of obstacles in order to earn every accomplishment and award I have accumulated. In the face of struggle, I have persevered and continuously produced…

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Thank You for Changing My Life

On this day in 1998 Matthew Shepard lost his life. I wrote how his death changed my life.

evoL =

by Ono Kono

FenceTwo decades ago, I was unaware of the struggle of LGBT people. Back then, I was a busy working Mom, juggling career and family. I cared about others, but I was asleep when it came to their plight. In 1998, my life was changed when a young man lost his life, after he was beaten and left to die. The resultant trial of accused murderers of Mathew Shepard was made into a circus by a church leader and his followers of the Westborough Baptist Church.

I thank you Phelps clan for opening my heart to love, in spite of your hatred for my LGBT brothers and sisters. I saw the cruelty in your eyes, echoed by the pain in others who watched you. I don’t know what brought you down your path to hatred. I can only say, I thank you for being so open about it…

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An Open Letter to Progressives Who Can’t Bring Themselves to Vote for Hillary

bush-v-gore

I campaigned for Ralph Nader in 2000. Even in such a close election as that, it is unlikely my efforts turned the tide, plus I lived in a firmly red state at the time. Still, here is what I have slowly come to terms with:

I was mistaken. I backed the wrong horse.

Gore would’ve been a disappointing, uninspiring president. I would have spent 4 to 8 years complaining about what a spineless sellout he was, and I would have been right.

However, he would have responded to 9/11 differently than George W. Bush. The war practices of Bush I, Clinton, and Obama prove this. Yes, Clinton and Obama engaged in war efforts, and that makes me sick, but they did not engage in “Shock and Awe” or “Bomb the Shit Out of Them.” There is an objective difference.

But, I got to enjoy my high horse of having voted my conscience, of having not engaged in the lesser of two evils game. I was PURE.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghanis are now dead; their blood is on my pure hands.

Presidential elections are not about purity, they are about putting someone in who will appoint sane Supreme Court Justices. Who will at least admit that Climate Change exists and will respond to pressure on important issues.

Gay marriage is now the law of the land. That wouldn’t have happened under McCain or Romney.

Obama appointed a Green Energy Czar, and while Solyndra failed spectacularly, he put more energy towards renewables than any president in recent memory.

These things matter. We can take teeny tiny steps forward, or giant leaps backward.

I respect you in your knowledge and your dedication. Whoever wins, make sure that your activism stays strong in the next 4 years, that’s when it is most needed.

And yeah, I’ve probably just made you madder. I know, because I’ve been on your side of this conversation.

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Hey My Fellow White People! Stop talking about black-on-black crime

colored-_drinking_fountain_from_mid-20th_century_with_african-american_drinking

“But what about black-on-black crime?” is a common counter-argument to Black Lives Matter. This argument is simplistic and attempts to cherry-pick a fact. It ignores systemic poverty in the black community, the disproportionate impact of the Vietnam war, and the ongoing legacy of black lives NOT mattering in America.

Slavery is pretty obvious. Black lives were mere chattel; to be bought, sold, moved, beaten, raped, and killed with impunity by whites for about 400 years. When this finally ended, reparations were not made to the freed slaves and their descendants. In fact, while emancipated, these African Americans were codified as second-class citizens for the next one hundred years. Black lives did not matter.

Blacks born in the 1960s were the first in this country to experience full citizenship. Think about that. Plenty of living African Americans did not know the full protection of citizenship until their adulthood. Black lives did not matter.

Black men were grossly over-represented in the ranks of the US Military during the Vietnam War. They experienced racism at home, overseas, and at home again. They returned to communities still mired in poverty and were overly damaged by drug epidemics. Higher poverty leads to higher crime. Black lives did not matter.

Black children are punished more severely than white children for the same infractions, this is what is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Black lives do not matter.

People with “black sounding” names must submit twice as many resumes to get a call back as “white sounding” names with similar qualifications. Black lives do not matter.

Black people convicted of crimes are punished more harshly than their white counterparts. Black people are more than twice as likely to be shot by police than white people. Black lives don’t matter.

The US has been telling black people that their lives don’t matter since before the US was a country, we shouldn’t be surprised if a community treated thusly has an internal violence problem. More importantly, we (white people) must understand that while black on black crime is terrible for the black community, police killings of blacks (wherein the officers nearly always walk) rubs salt in an old and festering wound; that is, in the eyes of the US Justice system, black lives don’t matter, and never have.

As a people, white people do not have the moral standing to criticize the black community. We have a moral and historical obligation to right the wrongs we and our forbears have perpetrated. This is not about feeling guilty, this is about owning the truth. If we start there, we have a chance to re-balance the scales.

#BlackLivesMatter

 

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12 June: a vigil in Astoria

I reblogged this on evol=, to balance my bloody thoughts. Thank you for this beautiful blog tribute.

Tangly Cottage Gardening Journal

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Last night at 1 AM I checked the news as is my habit before bedtime, to learn that something horrific was unfolding at the Pulse dance club in Orlando, Florida.  This morning, I woke to news of 49 of my extended tribe killed and many injured.  All I could do in the afternoon was read the news and share the grieving of friends online and edit and post the photos of yesterday’s beautiful and joyous pride parade.  Back in my 20s and 30s, I frequented gay dance clubs every week. Every single time, my friends and I were well aware that to do so put us in danger from homophobic fanatics…as did just walking down the street together looking visibly gay.  We did not let that fear keep us home, and many of my best memories of those years came from the joy of dancing in community.

I read…

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Until Gun Laws Change, Make Them See

WeMustDiscussIt2

It took only one week past the last massacre
before the NRA stopped their silence.
Their big guns say
we must dismiss it
we mustn’t discuss it
after all,
it’s just another blood-spattered day.

I can’t shrug it off.
I won’t shrug it off.
I refuse to remain silent.

Every lawmaker must see the imagery
of our expressionless babies surrounded by oceans of blood.
Every lawmaker must have dreams
of wounded bodies shrieking with terror into the night.
Every lawmaker must look
into the open gaping wounds,
bones twisted,
shattered,
and hearts exploded.
Lawmakers must be forced to look at their blood-stained hands
Until the dead invade their dreams,
with blood-soaked nightmares
echoing the shrieks of their victims every night.

Until they admit, they know what the NRA bought from them
Until they know the pain of the wounded lying in hospital beds,
Until they know they stole the lives of the living
Until they know they disposed of the bodies on a cold, morgue slab.
Until they know the sacrifice of the innocents came from their greed.

Until they look at all 31,000 images of death.
Until they realize the loss reverberates
in the hearts of hundreds of thousands more
Until they can feel the grief
of the mothers, and fathers,
the sisters, and brothers,
the sons, and daughters,
the husbands, and wives,
and all the friends,
until lawmakers can feel the pain of grief coming from the living.

Lawmakers are blind, we must make them see
lawmakers are deaf, we must make them hear.
until we are heard
until gun laws change,
until the blood ceases to pool
we must make lawmakers see the price paid for their greed.

Don’t let them forget
as they have in the past.
Let us rub their noses in it
each and every day.

 

Update 06/20/16 An amendment proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) did not pass. Once again NRA’s money buys the vote.

Harry Reid (D-Nev.)  Voted “no” for a procedural move to preserve option to reintroduce the bill, which is a good move to help bring this back as a bill.

The Senators who voted against the bill. This is dedicated to you. Their blood is on your hands.

Democrats:

Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
Mark Begich (D-Alaska)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.)
Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)

Republicans:

Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)
John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
John Boozman (R-Ark.)
Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Dan Coats (R-Ind.)
Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)
Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
Bob Corker (R-Tenn.)
John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.)
Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)
Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)
Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)
Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
John Hoeven (R-N.D.)
Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
Mike Johanns (R-Neb.)
Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)
Mike Lee (R-Utah)
Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
James Risch (R-Idaho)
Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
Timothy Scott (R-S.C.)
Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
Richard Shelby (R-Ala.)
John Thune (R-S.D.)
David Vitter (R-La.)
Roger Wicker (R-Miss.)

Posted in Corruption, gun control/guns, Hatred, News, Politics, Violence | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment