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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.

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Protests In Myanmar Find LGBTQ Support

The military coup in Myanmar has put relationships around the world on a strained setting and tested the first days of the Biden presidency. According to the authorities responsible for deposing the elected president of Myanmar, the military will stay in control for one year. Biden has ordered sanctions while we wait for new information. Now, human rights activists have homed in on Myanmar — LGBTQ supporters included.

Min Khant Zin is a popular drag queen who decided to attend the protests in drag, according to the Los Angeles Blade.

Zin said, “Most of the openly gay people in Myanmar are makeup artists and cross-dressers. They do not stand out in the crowds when they wear female costumes, but someone with drag costumes will. This is my intention…We want people around the world to know about the LGBT community’s contributions for the fight for democracy.”

At least 100 members of the LGBTQ community participated in a protest on February 8. The protesters say that police sprayed them with water and shot rubber bullets into the crowd.

Protester Maung Soe said ,”We have to be cautious because we look different and are easily noticeable. We are worried we might be targeted by the police forces and counter protesters. We are all coming to the protests to support the greater cause.”

Burmese college student Khant Sithu explained that the current unrest is simply a result of the military usurpation of power. Sithu said, “Regardless if you are gay or straight, we all vote for the political parties we like. People in Myanmar have overwhelmingly voted for Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party. Now, the military dislikes the situation and detain the civilian leaders.”

The situation overseas is not unlike the one that former president Donald Trump tried to create here in the United States both before and after he lost the 2020 election. He was reported to have been in talks with Pentagon officials about the outcome of the election.

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Trump Lawsuits Will Likely Head To Supreme Court

The scene was set months ago. Trump would cry foul, win or lose. If he lost the election, he would not concede. He would launch dozens of lawsuits aimed at halting the vote after Election Day. He would ask electors to vote directly for him in the event that he lost the popular vote in critical swing states — all on the basis of unsubstantiated voter fraud. Most of those lawsuits have already failed miserably in court.

The chaos that this cloak and dagger routine has thrust upon the American people is immense. Just after Election Day, protestors took to the streets to demand Trump’s concession. In Downtown Chicago, hundreds gathered to say in one unified voice: count every vote. Similar crowds could be found in Washington, Los Angeles, New York City, and Portland. 

The protests have made little difference.

Trump’s supporters still believe wholeheartedly that the election was stolen from him — that upwards of a million votes were cast by dead people (Trump said the same thing after the 2016 election, even though he won), or that votes for him were thrown out by the hundreds of thousands.

Yesterday, an appellate court made an especially strong rebuke of Trump’s lawsuits: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

That was Judge Stephanos Bibas, referring to the fact that while Trump has consistently and constantly said that election fraud has run rampant, he’s failed to provide a shred of evidence to support the claim. His own lawyers haven’t had it easy.

But Trump doesn’t care if there’s a legal basis for his arguments. He doesn’t care what the truth is. All votes must be certified by specific deadlines in the states (many of which have already passed), and then nationally certified on December 14th. If he can delay the certification beyond that date, he could cause yet more chaos.

Right now, his lawsuits will likely be headed to the Supreme Court, where he hopes the three judges he nominated for service will rule in his favor. That seems exceedingly unlikely. But even if they ruled in his favor, it’s difficult to see what difference it would make. Trump is suing to prevent Pennsylvania from certifying the vote in Biden’s favor. But preventing that certification doesn’t mean that Biden automatically loses. The Republican-controlled legislature has already said matter of factly that it would not subvert the will of the majority of the voters — and that means sending a set of electors to vote for Biden in January.

Trump’s lawyers (and Fox commentators) have suggested that the “judicial machinery” has covered up his victory in Pennsylvania. But the judges in question were all nominated by Republican presidents.

Trump’s lawsuit said that state officials should not have tried to certify the “results of an invalid and constitutionally infirm election process before this case can be heard on its merits.”

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How To Calm Down Post-Election Day

Election Day was a moment of suspense for everyone — and of course the stress from that day continues. The fights and conflicts will likely continue for some time, both in and out of home. We all need to take a moment and calm down to prepare for what lies ahead. What can you do? First and foremost, avoid talking with the people who will never see your point of view. Words don’t reach everyone, and Trump certainly fought to ensure that the effectiveness of words was as diminished as possible over the past four years.

It’s anyone’s guess how he’ll act now.

Are you someone who requires action to relieve yourself of stress? Then you might benefit from protest, volunteer work, or even starting a career in politics. We need more people who believe in the freedoms we as Americans hold so dear to enter the political fray if we want to remove those career politicians who cast doubt on elections, suppress the vote, help organize gerrymandering, etc.

But you’re probably not the type of person who wants to be out right now. That’s okay. Most of us could benefit from some relaxing music, a bath, and some ice cream today. And maybe everyday for a while. 

One of the best things you can do for yourself is limit any media. That means staying off your phone, tablet, or computer. Don’t even think about connecting to Facebook or Twitter! There’s too much negative commentary. Instead, sit down and read a book. Allowing yourself to get sucked into another world can help reduce the urge to watch the news or soak up more election-related information. You don’t need it right now. Wait.

Another tactic is getting outside as much as possible. This is a great time for a camping trip, long-distance hike, etc. Los Angeles is surrounded by mountains and forests. We could all use them right now.

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Will Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Do Anything About School Shootings?

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden used Saugus High School’s recent shooting to promote activism against gun lobbyists and congressional Republicans who seem content doing nothing to stop the violence. But for all his words, it’s difficult to take Biden seriously — because at the end of the day, he’s a career politician who knows what happens to people who take the restriction of second amendment rights too far.

But he still manages to say the right things on occasion. At a recent rally in Santa Clarita, he said, “You parents and grandparents, you send off children … and the first thing they learn is how to duck and cover.”

He was describing the basic lockdown drills that most students will learn when they begin school. He went on to comment on specific safe spaces being designed in new schools and campuses across the country.”

“We’re now making sure that we provide children the ability to avoid being shot in school,” he continued. “What does that say about our soul? … I’m so tired about people talking about your prayers. Damn it, we have to protect these kids. We have to do it now.”

The shooting at Saugus resulted in three deaths, including the shooter, who carried out the attack on his birthday. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head the following day.

Biden says that he’s the only one who’s ever done anything important against the gun lobby.

Although Biden is campaigning in California, he’s skipping out on some of the bigger events that his political opponents are attending — an absence that some state Democrats are annoyed by. They believe his attendance and participation in these events is important, especially since California is holding its presidential primary on March 3, much earlier than usual. 

Usually, voting in California occurs after the outcome of the presidential primaries is already cut in stone. State officials moved it up so they could gain more political attention ahead of the election.

Both Biden and Elizabeth Warren, another top contender for the Democratic nom, were lambasted by State party Chairman Rusty Hicks for skipping a recent convention. He commented on Facebook: “I respect your work/candidacy, BUT…you should reconsider your misguided decision to publicly snub California’s Democrats & Latino Voters across the nation.”

Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Pete Kavanaugh, took offense to the post. “It’s just a question of how we’re able to spend our time. He has spent a lot of time in the first four states, and obviously he got into race later and was trying to catch up. It hasn’t been an avoidance; it’s simply a matter of trying to find hours in the schedule and trying to find days and weeks that work.”

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What Can We Do To Avert A Man-Made Climate Change Disaster?

With so many people turning a blind eye to the man-made climate change emergency on our doorstep, a lot of others are asking if there’s really anything we can do — if there’s any hope to change our climate in time — short of turning off the electricity around the globe and waiting a century to see who’s left alive to turn the lights back on. Environmental activism is getting bigger and louder over time, but is it enough to turn the tide?

Probably not.

One of the biggest problems we face is our own system of democratic capitalism, a system many have come to realize is broken — and has always been broken. Under the current status quo, the ones with the most money have the biggest voice, and the government will always cater to them first. Since the fossil fuel companies are rich, who does the government listen to? Even if we install a president who wants to implement a big change without relying on big money (like an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders), there are far too many in the opposition to ever make anything happen to substantial effect. 

So what can we do?

Those who understand the grave consequences of doing nothing will always try to do something. That’s why we all have that vegan friend, or the friend with a die-hard recycling habit, or a friend who bikes to work instead of relying on transportation that pumps more greenhouse gases in the air. But those individual contributions mean almost nothing. Most of these people pick and choose what they give up, and too many people choose to give up nothing. In order to make a difference that matters, we need to do something as a collective.

Perhaps the best thing we can do is educate those who are taken in by all the lies strewn about day by day. Climate activist Greta Thunberg decided she would give up flying to help fight climate change. While her individual contribution means as little as anyone else’s, it’s more of a publicity stunt — and she’s using the publicity to make more people aware of what will happen if we don’t do anything to avert a disaster that could result in the extinction of our own race.

New York recently passed a “Climate Emergency” declaration. While this may be a victory for activists everywhere, we have to wonder what it will really accomplish.

Right now, Joe Biden is perhaps the most likely candidate to receive the Democratic nomination for president — and that’s to say nothing of his relatively minute chance of becoming our next president because of a political landscape that many in the older generations fail to understand. He presented a plan to eliminate reliance on fossil fuels by 2050. Good job, old guy: you’ve presented a plan to do nothing at all. Organically, even if that were soon enough to make a difference (it’s not), we’ll already have turned to other more sustainable resources by 2050. 

We really need a new government to have a chance. We’re not likely to get one.

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The Outlook For LGBTQ Rights After Two Years Of Trump

Pride Month is drawing to a close in cities around the world and most of us are asking ourselves the same question: have we gained any ground after two years of a Trump Administration? The answer is a pretty hard “no,” unfortunately. Trump certainly pretended to be a friend to the LGBTQ community when he ran for office in 2016, but his actions have proved to be anything but friendly to our cause. 

June 28, 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the epic Stonewall riots, perhaps one of the most important events in our community’s history. The LGBTQ community has certainly grown much stronger in the decades since then, but moving forward has been difficult these last few years.

Let’s look at what recent presidents accomplished for the community:

  • Clinton implemented the controversial “don’t ask don’t tell” policy that technically allowed LGBTQ individuals to serve in the military as long as they were quiet about it.
  • Clinton implemented legislation to bar discrimination for sexual orientation in the government. 
  • George W. Bush basically did nothing, but he was somewhat vocal in his opposition to gay marriage.
  • Obama was president when gay marriage was legalized.
  • Obama repealed “don’t ask don’t tell,” allowing LGBTQ individuals to serve in the military openly.

Now let’s look at what Trump has accomplished for the community:

  • He ignored Pride Month.
  • He barred the flying of pride flags at U.S. embassies worldwide (although many chose to ignore his order).
  • He barred transgendered individuals from serving in the United States military.
  • He endorses politicians who hold anti-LGBTQ views.
  • He’s edited legal documents to “redact” LGBTQ rights.
  • He makes it difficult for members of our community to afford health care.
  • He ended a Bureau of Prisons law that allowed transgender individuals to serve time with those who share the identified gender. Now transgender individuals are housed dependent on biological gender, putting them in significant danger.
  • He has strengthened discriminatory “religious freedom” laws.

More importantly, his words continually perpetuate hatred across minority communities. Since his 2016 campaign, attacks against practicing Muslims have skyrocketed. Violence against Hispanics has risen. Attacks against transgender women have skyrocketed. Trump is a man who is responsible for the deaths of American citizens, members of our community included. His election was a disaster for LGBTQ individuals, humanitarian efforts around the world, and progress in general.

For all the steps forward we’ve taken over the last two decades, it seems like Trump has tried to take twice as many backward — and he’s proud of it. 

In 2019, LGBTQ individuals are the most likely targets of hate crimes.

Visiting from Houston and looking for support back home? Jose Ceja is an activist! Visit: https://cejalawfirmtx.com/

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How You Can Get Involved In Environmental Activism in Los Angeles

The environment is taking point on the world stage as the effects of climate change become better known (and much scarier), but deniers still demand more research be done. Those same people probably don’t realize that the research has been ongoing for over half a century, and the conclusions are the same all across the world. The problem is real. But how do you help? Where should you go, and what should you do to be a part of the needed change?

These are a few resources you can use to plan your efforts!

  1. The website Meetup is a phenomenal resource if you live in a big city like Los Angeles, and it should be the first place you look when trying to make a difference. You’ll find thousands of like-minded people interested in all sorts of activities across a wide range of topics like fossil fuel, clean renewable energy, forest and water conservation, education, veterans benefits, and even veganism.

When using this resource, you can decide what it is you want to do. Would you prefer to volunteer? Perhaps you want to protest. Or maybe you just want to get together with other people who are part of a club. The choice is most definitely yours.

2. If you’re interested in information and causes related to aridity and climate change, then check out the Arid Lands Institute. They offer a wide range of resources for outreach, research, and education.

3. The Burbank Green Alliance takes aim at unsustainable practices in the surrounding areas. They offer lectures, workshops, networking, newsletters, and resources for people who want more information. If sustainability is your thing, this is a good place to make a stop.

4. The Burbank Recycle Center is a good spot if you’re having trouble finding a way to recycle certain types of goods. They’ll take everything you would typically leave at the side of the street or bring to the grocery store, in addition to harder-to-recycle goods like scrap metal, antifreeze and oil filtration devices, and more. It’s also a good place to get involved in a workshop, or take a tour.

Or, if you live in the neighborhood and just want a recycling bin, you can drop by and pick one up.

5. The California Coastkeeper Alliance aims to coordinate programs that help to safeguard all relevant waterways in the state of California.

There are literally hundreds of resources, so look around to find the right one for you!

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Who Was Cesar Chavez?

Cesar Chavez, 1927-1933, was a Mexican-American famous for his role as a union leader, labor organizer and Latin-American civil rights activist. In 1962, he found the National Farm Worker Association. After a successful strike with the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee against California grape growers, the two unions merged to form the United Farm Workers. Chavez believed in peaceful protests and nonviolent methods to influence change such as boycotts, marches, and hunger strikes. Through his efforts, he was able to improve conditions for farm workers in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida (despite friction with the famous Teamster union).

Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona to immigrant parents but moved to California with his family in 1939. With this family, he traveled up and down the coast working in fields under terrible conditions such as delipidates migrant camps, corrupt labor contractors, poor wages for hard labor as well as racism. He became active in other labor organizations but resigned to focus on developing his own labor union for farm workers. In September 1965, when the National Farm Worker Association joined a strike initiated by Filipino farm workers in Delano’s grape fields, Chavez became a household name. He organized a march on Sacremento in 1966 and brought the harsh conditions of the farm worker into the limelight.

He was also noted for his hunger fasts that he used to prove that non-violent protects can be effective. He organized a huge fast in 1988 to protect the suffering for farm workers and their children, ignorance of farm workers rights and the use of pesticides. Chavez fasted for 36 days, Reverend Jesse Jackson started where Chavez left fasting for an additional three days. The fast was passed to other religious and celebrity figures including Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Whoopi Goldberg, Kerry Kennedy, Carly Simon and Danny Glover.

Chavez died in his sleep on April 23, 1993.

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Celebrity Suicide

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, after the two back to back celebrity suicide deaths this past week, suicide hotline numbers have jumped up a total of 25%. Because celebrities are always in the limelight, people often feel a connection to a celebrity even if they have never met. When a celebrity dies, society as a whole feels a collective loss and the news of a celebrity death prompts people to seek help. Over the past few years there have been a lot of celebrity suicides:

  • L’Wren Scott – On March 17, 2014 the fashion designer and was found dead in her New York apartment.  She committed suicide by hanging her self.
  • Mark Salling – In January 2018, the former Glee star was found dead in a tree in the Angeles Forest area. He died of asphyxia by hanging himself.
  • Robin Williams – On August 11, 2014, the comedian died of asphyxiation by hanging himself from the doorknob in his bedroom.
  • Chris Cornell – In 2017, the rock star was found dead in his hotel room also had hung himself after taking a lethal dose of benzo, barbiturates, and amphetamine.
  • Chester Bennington – Another celebrity who was found hanging in his home in California.
  • Tony Scott – In 2012, this director jumped off a Los Angeles County bridge to his death. Anti-depressants and sleeping aids were found in his body.
  • Jonathan Brandis – In 2003, this up and coming star committed suicide by hanging himself in the hallway of his Los Angeles apartment building.

The list continues on and on. What is interesting is that most celebrities kill themselves by hanging.

If you or someone you know is an emotional distress or suicidal, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

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