How To Protest When You Can’t Actually Attend Protests

We’re a nation of fighters. Young and old, big and small, we come in all shapes, creeds, and ethnicities. When we can utilize our right to protest, many of us will. Others won’t. But choice is what it’s all about. Here’s the thing: not everyone who wants to protest can actually get out there to do it. For example, lots of young people want to be on the streets every day of the week — but they need to attend school instead. And then there are plenty of disabled folk who simply can’t make it out of the house to protest. 

Disability law firm attorney Samantha Damascus said, “You might think the police would show crowd-control restraint when disabled vets in wheelchairs are among those protesting, but that’s not always how it goes. Sometimes the strong guys see weakness and pounce. We specialize in social security disability, but we sit down to hear their stories. Some of these guys are real heroes trying to effect change — and they’re treated like no one cares.”

The fact is this: protests should be viewed from the perspective of how many participate, and now how many actually attend. For example, not being able to attend a protest doesn’t mean you can’t set aside some time at home in the evening to draw fliers or make picket signs. It doesn’t mean you can’t share social media posts from the big events. It’s all about making your voice heard. And there’s more than one way to do that.

Remember the record-setting Women’s March on Washington? Well, there was an online component called the Disability March. 

There are other ways to participate. One of the key components of any issue is the lack of education. First, learn all you can about a topic. Share the information you learn with everyone in your circle or others any way you can. If you’re stuck at home, this might mean asking everyone over for an indoors night of protest — but ask people who don’t share your viewpoint to come exchange information with you. Learning about the other side and what makes them get up in the morning is never a bad idea.

If you’re not the social butterfly that your friends are, try to email the protest coordinators to see if there’s a way to help through social media or email lists. Someone writes those emails and letters, you know.

Last but not least, follow the protest live from home. Let friends and family know what you’re doing. Maybe someone you know will offer a solution that will get you to the protest — or offer their company for a day. Protests are serious, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while we make our voices heard.

Comments Off on How To Protest When You Can’t Actually Attend Protests

Filed under My Blog

What Is Civil Disobedience — And Why Are Governments Cracking Down?

The definition of civil disobedience is simple: it is the act of breaking the law — albeit in a peaceful way — in order to peacefully protest. For example, protesters might decide to block off a busy road without legal permission to be there. Inevitably, many of these protesters will be arrested for misdemeanors after breaking the law. But by breaking the law in full view of cameras all over the world, the hope is that they get their point across by doing so. 

A new policing bill in the UK has been attacked for threatening the right to peacefully protest by making civil disobedience — already against the law — more difficult.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill seeks to “strengthen police powers to tackle non-violent protests that have a significant disruptive effect on the public or an access to Parliament.”

Maximum sentencing guidelines for memorial vandalism have been increased from three months to ten years incarceration in order to deter this type of behavior. 

Opponents point to overreach in the new bill. Authorities are now allowed to break up or restrict the right to protest based on noise. In other words, if the police say you’re too loud, then they can lawfully disperse the crowd. 

More than 150 organizations have penned a letter urging lawmakers to rethink the aggressive bill, describing it as “an attack on some of the most fundamental rights of citizens.” Ironically, “Kill the Bill” protests have broken out in response to its passage. A petition calling for the immediate repeal of the bill has garnered over 200,000 signatures.

Labour MP David Lammy said, “by giving police the powers to use these powers some of the time, it takes away our freedom all of the time.”

The Home Office fought back against opposition, suggesting that “the majority of protests in England and Wales are lawful and will be unaffected by these changes.”

Comments Off on What Is Civil Disobedience — And Why Are Governments Cracking Down?

Filed under Environmental

What Is The Men’s Rights Movement?

The men’s rights movement (also referred to as MRM) is referred to by some scholars as the hypermasculine response to the rise of feminism. In part, it just might be. But the movement takes on some admirable causes as well. MRM debates the legality of circumcision and conscription, or favoring women when judges determine who gets sole custody of a child. Other causes include suicide, domestic violence, social safety, and domestic violence.

However, many have rightly noted that the movement is dominated by misogynistic thinking rather than a desire to implement real change for the good of everyone.

One prominent MRM activist was Karen DeCrow, who ironically was the president of the National Organization for Women, serving from 1974 until 1977. Even so, she advocated that men should have the same rights as women do in regards to child custody, alimony, and distribution of wealth upon divorce. She even once said that domestic violence is a “two-way street.”

When an anonymous second year attorney who works at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou was asked if the firm ever took on divorce cases from the standpoint that men have the same rights as women, he said, “We take every case on a basis where the facts matter more than our opinions. Women’s rights movements, men’s rights movement — they don’t matter to us. Whether or not a person would make the best parent for a child is how we determine which cases to take.”

Other lawyers from other firms absolutely have taken cases based on the MRM beliefs. Attorney Marc Angelucci was an attorney and activist who played a large role in MRM, even serving as vice president of the National Coalition for Men (NCFM). He successfully argued for National Coalition for Men v. Selective Service System, after which a federal judge ruled that the current mandate of the selective-service system — which only took men — was unconstitutional. Another case won by Angelucci was that the California State Legislature did not allow men to use the state’s domestic violence programs when they were victims.

Despite these wins — and their unquestionable effect on implementing full equality in society — there are still elements within the organization that appear to focus on white power or male dominance, which results in opponents of MRM labeling it a hate movement. 

UC Berkeley scholar Alex DiBranco called the MRM a “male-supremacist movement.” 

DiBranco believes the MRM and similar organizations are responsible for planting the seed that men undergo the same struggles as women, which has resulted in more radical movements like the misogynist incel movement. DiBranco said, “The misogynist incel movement has primarily been connected to acts of violence in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., there have been attacks motivated primarily by misogynist incel ideology, and ones in which misogynist incel ideology intertwined with other far-right and white supremacist ideologies.”

Comments Off on What Is The Men’s Rights Movement?

Filed under Civil Rights Activists

James Cromwell Is More Activist Than Actor

Los Angeles has long been known for pumping out liberal blood. Hollywood in particular is a bastion of liberal belief. That’s not to say that conservative actors don’t exist — but they exist only in a quiet minority. Actors are proof that a person can be rich and want what’s best for the betterment of society. Imagine that! Famous actor James Cromwell is now 80 years old, but he still makes plenty of time for the causes in which he believes.

Writer Steven MacKenzie decided to ask Cromwell what the two activities could possibly have in common.

Cromwell said, “Well, you know Shakespeare? The purpose of playing, wasn’t it ‘to hold, as ‘twere, the mirror up to nature, to show virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure’?”

Cromwell believes that acting and activism are the very epitome of effectuating change that people can believe in. He said, “As an actor, all I can do is hold the mirror. If people will look, they will see the image of who they are. Is that the image that they want — anger, fear, grief, distrust, animus? No, I don’t think so. If in any work, we can show anything that we can call and agree on as truth, that will make a difference in the world.”

Cromwell’s dad was one of the men blacklisted during the witch hunt catalyzed by former Senator Joseph McCarthy, so he knows something about being the subject of undue persecution by the mob mentality so often found in politics today.

Cromwell is also routinely arrested for his activism. He was arrested about a year ago when he disturbed the peace at A&M University — trying to save dogs. A couple years before that, he was arrested when he failed to pay a fine imposed after protesting the construction of a gas plant. He believes that these ideals should be society’s focus. Instead, we spend all our time worrying about all the things that don’t make any difference.

Comments Off on James Cromwell Is More Activist Than Actor

Filed under Civil Rights Activists

What To Do When You Are Injured During A Rally

The world is becoming a more complicated place every day. Last summer, then-president Donald Trump self-prescribed a name for himself as the “law and order” president in response to Black Lives Matter protests — some of which involved rioting while the majority remained peaceful. He called in the National Guard, intimidated protesters, and even illegally forced peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square with force so he could take a picture with an upside down Bible in front of a church across the street.

When his own supporters became violent earlier this year, the National Guard was nowhere to be seen until the pressure was so great he had no choice but to call them in.

Don’t believe it? There have been studies conducted on the gap in forceful response of authorities between the two groups. Police use more force when dealing with liberal protesters than they do conservative protesters — which is part of the reason that many conservative protesters believe that police are “on their side” (apparently rightly so).

All this begs the question: What can peaceful protesters who were injured by the police do?

The answer might scare you. For starters, let’s talk about the aforementioned Lafayette Square protest. Trump had no lawful reason to break up a peaceful protest with force. He essentially ordered the National Guard to assault and batter those protesters — and when someone commits assault and battery, you have every legal right to defend yourself. That means if every single one of those protesters who were injured began to fire on the National Guard, they would have had every legal right to do so.

But would the courts see it that way? Almost certainly not. Protesters who go to court of police brutality in situations of protest very rarely win. A personal injury attorney will still urge you to try.

You need to return to the scene of the crime, as it were. Obviously you can’t approach the police in order to obtain evidence — which is what you would normally do following an assault — but you can still go about it yourself. Many protests occur in cities where every square foot is under the watch of a camera. Find those cameras and the footage that shows you were unlawfully attacked, and you might be onto something. If you can locate additional witnesses, you have even more proof.

Negligence cases are difficult to win in general, but even more difficult where the authorities are concerned. Unfortunately, the system “works” best when police, prosecutors, and judges all work together, which makes it difficult for any of those three legs of law enforcement to attack the other.

And police sometimes have immunity from certain types of negligence. To prosecute or sue a police officer, a higher standard of proof is usually required than if you were filing suit against Joe Shmoe from Napersville, Illinois.

One last thing: it never hurts to try. Personal injury attorneys work on contingency, which means they only get paid when you win. And that means you’ll know you have a winnable case — if they decide to take it on.

Comments Off on What To Do When You Are Injured During A Rally

Filed under Civil Rights Activists

The Trend Of Spiritual Activism To Foster Mental Health

Most white Americans won’t understand the pressure crushing down upon our minority friends and family members. Life can be a daily struggle. Coming away from that struggle with a positive outlook can be nearly impossible — especially considering the state of American politics and partisanship. And that’s why many activists have sought spiritual rest and relaxation in order to foster their own mental health. How else can they keep fighting the good fight?

Author of Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy Rachel Ricketts says that her book is “essentially a combination of my personal and professional experiences of a lifetime of navigating white supremacist systems as a queer multiracial Black woman — and it is rooted in spiritual activism.”

Spiritual activism doesn’t mean that people have to stop fighting. To the contrary, it only means that we have to keep fighting after we attain personal inner peace. You can’t fight from a place of hatred. Your heart needs to feel content first.

Ricketts said that spiritual activism “means doing [the work] from a space, of a grounded understanding, in the way we are all involved in systemic harm in a way that ensures that we are connected to ourselves as well as each other, as well as all beings — conscious or not — including nature, and to something bigger than us.”

She adds, “Activism is really about understanding that this work has to start within us first, so that the work we do out in the world is a reflection of that. It’s grief work, it’s healing work, it’s trauma work, and if we aren’t treating it as such, then it just becomes an analytical exercise.”

The purpose, according to Ricketts, is to get to know oneself and other people in order to understand what makes people tick. Without that understanding, growth and change are impossible — and we’ll only keep hurting ourselves and the ones we want to save.

Comments Off on The Trend Of Spiritual Activism To Foster Mental Health

Filed under Civil Rights Activists

Why Is White The Color Of Suffrage?

Women’s rights have come a long way since the birth of our nation. But the right to vote wasn’t just an American struggle. The British suffragists shared it. The color “white” became a visual symbol of this struggle at a time when women were desperate for men to understand. This came to be in the 20th century when women in the United States formed the militant organization called the National Woman’s Party. They adopted the colors white, purple and green. And that message came across loud and clear — even though it wasn’t always received well.

Historian Susan Ware wrote to the Washington Post in 2019 in an effort to memorialize the plight of women not too long ago: “For too long, the history of how women won the right to vote [has been] top-heavy and dominated by a few iconic leaders, all white and native-born.”

She added, “Thousands of unheralded women representing a vibrant mix of regions, races and generations came together in one of the most significant moments of political mobilization in all of American history.”

Women marched through the streets in the District of Columbia more than a century ago, wearing white dresses. 

They’ve earned the right to vote in both countries, but they still make less money than men. They still occupy fewer positions of power and authority. There are signs that a shift is taking place — but is it happening fast enough? Influential women dominate the activist’s sphere, especially when it comes to climate change. Do you know these women?

The Prime Minister of New Zealand is Jacinda Ardern. When she won reelection, she almost immediately declared a climate emergency to jumpstart the country into becoming carbon neutral by the year 2025 — which is an ambitious goal.

She said, “This declaration is an acknowledgment of the next generation. An acknowledgment of the burden they will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now.”

African American Director of Consumer Health Boma Brown-West has waged a long war on carcinogens and potentially dangerous chemicals that we see everyday in the products we use and consume. In addition, she’s driven internet behemoths like Amazon and Walmart to provide information about ingredients in their products. 

Boma explained, “We want to call attention to how the biggest environmental impacts and the biggest health impact of products is really due to the products themselves and the creation and the use of a product.”

Our new Secretary for the Department of the Interior Debra Haaland has a long history of fighting climate change. 

National spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement Lily Gardner said, “[Debra Haaland] was one of the first co-sponsors of the Green New Deal and really broadly has a bold agenda for climate justice. This is a huge and historic moment.” 

Haaland will now have the opportunity to oversee the management of our federally-owned lands.

Comments Off on Why Is White The Color Of Suffrage?

Filed under Feminists

Are Social Media Giants Helping Indian Authorities Wage War Against Climate Activists?

Climate activists have rarely put the government of India in the position of international hero — but then again, climate activists all over the world are pissed off at their respective governments. Why shouldn’t they be? Politics are putting the future of our world at risk. They shouldn’t force us to delay investment into renewable energy solutions just because a few holdouts can stomach the idea.

Last month, Naomi Klein for The Intercept wrote about a climate activist named Disha Ravi: “A nature-loving 22-year-old vegan climate activist who against all odds has found herself ensnared in an Orwellian legal saga that includes accusation of sedition, incitement, and involvement in an international conspiracy whose elements include…Indian farmers in revolve, the global pop star Rihanna, supposed plots against yoga and chai, Sikh separatism, and Greta Thunberg.”

Ravi had spent more than a week in prison while she was interrogated about her alleged part in these crackpot conspiracy theories when a judge granted her bail. But he actually wrote an 18-page ruling to rant about the government’s part in accusing this youthful, innocent activist without actual proof.

Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have now been accused of playing a role in helping the Indian government lock up activists like Ravi — and for no good reason.

One anonymous digital rights activist told Naomi, “The silence of these companies speaks volumes. They have to take a stand, and they have to do it now.”

The judge who presided over Ravi’s case wrote: “Citizens are conscience keepers of government in any democratic Nation. They cannot be put behind the bars simply because they choose to disagree with the state policies.”

Part of the government’s case against Ravi hinged on Ravi sharing a digital “toolkit” with Greta Thunberg, a famous climate rights activist. These toolkits are basically just organizational suggestions. Tweet this, hashtag that, etc. The judge said that sharing the toolkit amounted to “the freedom of speech and expression [and included] the right to seek a global audience.”

Comments Off on Are Social Media Giants Helping Indian Authorities Wage War Against Climate Activists?

Filed under Environmental

How Can We Lift Minorities Out Of Bankruptcy?

African American farmers have been hurting for generations, and COVID-19 hasn’t done anything but depreciate family bank accounts. For them, this is about survival. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 has an underlooked clause that forgives about $3.7 billion of debt owed by disadvantaged farmers all over the country. Some African American farmers believe that this is the chance of a lifetime to build their farms back up.

President of Memphis-based trade group Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association Thomas Burrell said, “It is a victory for socially disadvantaged farmers. They can forgive their debt, start over and go back to the front of the line. They’re not asking for any more than anyone has received. They’re just asking for their share.”

One farmer living in Shorter Alabama named Demetrius Hooks commented, “Ironically that money is going to dissipate through USDA and not go directly to farmers. So, we don’t know exactly how that’s going to come out.”

Another, John Coleman, said, “Right now, we’re on the bleachers. This will help us get on the playing field.”

A number of farmers aren’t sure the help will get here in time. It’s almost planting season.

One anonymous bankruptcy lawyer who works for Toronjo & Prosser Law (www.t-plaw.com) said, “Some ranchers along the outskirts of Dallas are bleeding money bad right now. We want to help everyone we can, and we point to some of the help provided by the government, but it’s not always enough. Sometimes bankruptcy ends up being the best option. No one wants to hear that.”

The American Rescue Plan also has a mandate that forces special agencies to consider equitable solutions for American minorities in order to lift them out of poverty. In order to benefit from the current debt relief, farmers need to contact their local Farm Services Agency.

Arkansas farmer Jeffery Webb said, “There just isn’t much information out there. I am at the brink of bankruptcy right now. This forgiveness could keep me from going bankrupt.” 

But Webb also commented on the typical USDA pressure on the African American community: “We’re so limited on resources — African American farmers are. They can pass a bill like this in Washington and we would never get the full benefits because it’s hard to know what the benefits are and how to find them out. We don’t know where to start.”

That means civil rights activists would do well to approach legislators about finding new ways to easily provide information to those who need it the most. Not everyone has a working computer or internet access out in the country. Farming doesn’t require a screen. 

Agriculture researcher Brennan Washington said, “It’s kind of interesting that once again it doesn’t seem like a good job is being done of communicating this to the people it’s actually going to affect. But there will be a period for comments. Especially if you’re in areas where you have Black congressional reps, call them. Because they would have information on what’s going on with this. People who are going to be affected by this, this is the time to let their concerns be known.”

Comments Off on How Can We Lift Minorities Out Of Bankruptcy?

Filed under Civil Rights Activists

Anti-Trans Bills Sweeping The Country

A recent Supreme Court ruling guarantees certain kinds of protections for trans individuals in the workplace. The ruling says that the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity from being fired simply for existing and prevents landlords from barring them from properties for the same reason. The landmark Equality Act would fortify those protections in modern law.

But those protections might not be enough to protect our trans kids.

Regional and state-sanctioned bills have been introduced in the last few months — dozens of them — which would bar trans kids from playing on the male or female sports teams aligned with their own gender identity. These bills are advocated on the basis of “fairness.” But since when do Republicans care about that? We live in America, where capitalism thrives and the super rich are rewarded simply for having more money than the rest of us. 

Eleventh grade student Eli Bundy missed class on February 23 to testify to a South Carolina House Subcommittee on one of the aforementioned bills.

They’re sixteen. Bundy said, “They didn’t want to hear from us. I think that’s part of the reason why they weren’t more accommodating — they didn’t want to sit through that.”

Senior executive adviser at GLSEN Eliza Byard said, “The incredible well of youth activism that has been at the vanguard of the LGBTQ progress for the last 30 to 40 years continues to push back in new ways…It continues today, and I feel very confident given what I’ve seen over the years that these advocates will prevail.”

Bundy says that the conservative push for discriminatory legislation demanded their response. They said, “In my case, it feels like a necessity. I feel like I can’t afford to not pay attention, because it’s my life and the life of my friends on the line, and that feels like much too high of a cost not to be paying attention to, even though it definitely can be very painful.”

Comments Off on Anti-Trans Bills Sweeping The Country

Filed under Civil Rights Activists