Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We Will Not Be Silenced

Really. It's pretty simple. We will not be silenced whenever we 
learn of hatred and discrimination against other Americans. 
Here are some bold people walking the walk of their beliefs.

We Will Not Be Silenced
March for VA-- Marching Against White Supremacy
University of Toledo
photos by C.A. and Adrian Matthews

This sign that made the front page of the Toledo Blade. (Not lettered and painted by the sign bearer, but by a very talented artist, her husband.) 
King's message seems more pertinent than ever before.
Ruth Leonard led us in chants. Ruth is running for a position on the Toledo Public Schools Board of Education. Toledo schools, 40%+ African American, do not have an African American board member--at least not yet. 
Go Ruth! (More from Ruth below.)
Marching past the "Glass Bowl" football arena. Awesome turnout!
After the march, activist Julian Mack and others spoke briefly. Each one shared a message that encouraged us to continue speaking out, doing "something" to keep the message going, to end white supremacy and demand justice for all Americans. 

Ruth Leonard shares her personal message below. (With photos from the March in Maumee, Ohio, earlier in the week.)

 photo by Gbenga Ajilore
I Will Not Be Silenced

I will not be silenced. I cannot stand by while while the KKK threatens the safety of black men and women, while Nazis march through the street and call for the death and eradication of Jews, while white supremacists choose to become violent towards Muslims, while homophobic people attack the LGBTQ community, while the president turns a blind eye to the reality of the hatred that he perpetuated and celebrated for the majority of his adult life. 

On Monday, I joined with members of every race, religion and sexual orientation and we sang, "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me 'round, gonna keep on walking, keep on talking, marching towards the freedom land," and it was beautiful. We all joined together for the common goal of shouting, as loud as we could, that the white supremacist ideology would not be normalized. Anyone who has studied history knows that when you are silent about one person's struggle you are allowing hatred to continue, you are allowing negativity to have a voice, and that is how you create division. It is only a matter of time before you are up next.

I am in the prime of my life, thirty years old. I have taught and learned from some amazing educators. But the one thing that I have always remembered was a quote from high school. It was during the morning announcements, and it simply stated, "Status quo is Latin for 'the mess we're in.'" I couldn't figure out why my English teacher was laughing so hard, but that quote stuck with me. I get it now; the status quo, in regards to political ideology based on the leader of the United States, is racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, ableist and all around wrong. I made the decision not to just stand up at a rally but to stand up in the board room. I made the decision to refuse to sit idly by while white supremacist attempted to have a louder voice than mine. 

I come from a long line of black women who refused to be silent in the face of oppression. I come from a long line of educators who refuse to water down history to their students. There are ugly parts of American and international history, and I do not claim to know everything or even have all the answers, but what I do know for sure is that I will never stop educating children, whether I am in the classroom or on the Board of Education. I will never stop standing up for their right to a rich and inclusive curriculum. I will never stop marching for peace. I will never stop saying Black Lives Matter.

I don't claim to be perfect, but when it come to ending white terrorism from white supremacists, Nazi sympathizers and Klansmen, I know I am on the right aide of history. I am glad the Confederate statutes are coming down. It is time for America to take responsibility for the hateful ideology that built this country, silence white supremacism and allow people to live their lives free from racial, religious, gendered and sexually-oriented persecution. Right is right and wrong is wrong. 
Now some actions you can take this week to show the establishment that "We Will Not Be Silenced."
From Working Families Party:

The Nazi swastika. The confederate flag. Both are bone-chilling images, and both were on proud display in Charlottesville last weekend, where white supremacists marched, and in an act of domestic terrorism, killed activist Heather Heyer and injured dozens more.

But yesterday, Trump blamed the violence on “both sides” and called the tiki-torch wielding white supremacists “fine people.”1 The comment earned praise from former KKK leader David Duke. 

Let’s be crystal clear: in rhetoric and in policy, the Trump administration has coddled and encouraged white supremacists. At least three prominent white supremacists -- Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller -- have been invited to serve alongside him in the White House. 

We’ve seen this dark history before and we will not go back. 

That’s why we, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, are introducing a resolution to formally censure Donald Trump for refusing to condemn the KKK and neo-Nazis and for harboring white nationalists, like Bannon, Miller, and Gorka, and calling on him to fire those advisors who cater to the alt-Right. 
Add your name to urge your members of Congress to censure Donald Trump for his failure to hold white supremacists to account.
(A censure is a strong, formal reprimand by Congress of an individual whose actions are beneath the dignity of the office they hold. No is one more deserving than Donald Trump who continues to preach hate from the White House.)
In spite of progress, racism and bigotry have never been far beneath the surface in American society. But under Trump, dangerous right-wing extremists are emboldened in a way we haven’t seen since the backlash to the civil rights movement. 

Americans have stood together before to resist this kind of violent extremism. We have stood together across racial lines, across religious lines, and even across party lines. We must do it again. 

It’s just not enough for our Republican colleagues to issue statements against violence in Charlottesville. They must act against the rise of domestic terrorism and white nationalism -- especially when the man in the White House refuses to do so. 

Sign on to the petition urging Congress to censure Trump for refusing to denounce domestic terrorism and surrounding himself with white supremacists in the White House.
Because if not now, then when? 

Thanks for taking a stand,
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7)

1. Trump Defends Initial Remarks on Charlottesville; Again Blames ‘Both Sides’, New York Times, August 15, 2017.


Climate Hawks Vote

The following was written by fellow climate hawk Tom Perriello. Tom is a Charlottesville native and transitional justice expert who previously served as a congressman and peace negotiator. He recently ran for governor of Virginia as the first signatory of our No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, and we endorsed him. He is currently CEO of WinVirginia, an effort to flip the Virginia House of Delegates in 2017 and reduce the impact of money in American politics. -- RL & Brad

“Heil Trump,” the white supremacists chanted as they marched past me, turning my beloved hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia, into a rallying point for fascists, white supremacists, and their preppy enablers in the so-called alt-right. One side instigated the rally, dubbed it #UniteTheRight, and spent months escalating violent rhetoric. President Donald Trump blamed “many sides.” They rallied to prevent the removal of a Confederate statue. Trump’s nationally televised response—“we must cherish our history”—was heard less as a dog whistle than as a bullhorn.

Many of the racist ralliers intentionally invoked shocking images from our past, but if leaders, particularly on the right, do not quickly acknowledge the breadth and depth of this crisis, these new images may serve more as harbingers of our future. While Charlottesville played host, most of the pro-hate participants I interviewed came from across the mid-Atlantic and even Midwest. The man suspected of being the driver that plowed through anti-racist protesters was identified as a 20-year-old from Ohio. As for scope, while their numbers were only in the hundreds, a Republican candidate for Virginia governor this year who ran on a neo-Confederate platform and embraced these groups’ calls to protect the monuments came within 1 percent of winning the nomination this summer.

While much can be debated about the event, a few items were very clear.

First, this was unequivocally about race, about white tribalism. For the hundreds who rallied, many of them heavily armed, race was the defining issue. No one I talked to mentioned economic anxiety or trade policy. “You will not replace us” was the leading chant, and I was told multiple times that I was clearly a “Jew banker,” “faggot,” or “sellout to my people.” Their signs read “White Lives Matter” and said that Charlottesville’s black vice-mayor “Wes Bellamy is a Nigger.” I have met Trump voters who were not primarily motivated by race—these were not them.

Second, these guys are enabled by Donald Trump and the politics of Steve Bannon. From the “Heil Trump” chants to the MAGA hats, the participants were clear with me that Trump had made this “our time.” After Trump tweeted that “We ALL must be united,” former KKK grand wizard David Duke responded, “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists.” At this point, Trump appears more beholden to white supremacists than to Putin. Doubt it? Watch the sequence of events on Saturday, from Trump’s relatively presidential tweet condemning the hate, to David Duke’s overt challenge to Trump not to disown the white tribalists who elected him, to Trump’s moral disaster of a press conference in which he refused to condemn or even name white supremacy or domestic terrorism and apparently ad-libbed the most cowardly act of moral relativism of the modern era.

Third, Saturday showed us a vision of a dystopian future that is the logical extension of our current gun laws. Not just gun ownership but AR-15s. Not just concealed carry but open carry. And not just the right to open carry even long guns but to dress in full military fatigues with accessories (earpieces, vests, insignias) to blur every line between legitimate law enforcement and a fully armed white nationalist militia. I have spent time in multiple conflict zones and still would not have known at a quick glance if bullets started flying which heavily armed men in camouflage and flak jackets represented law and order and which were armed terrorists. Donald Trump, who claims to be the hero of law enforcement, has issued no criticism of those who blur the line between public and private security forces, who blur the most sacred blue line between violence and force. Is there anything more vital of a commander in chief who claims to care about those who serve in uniform than to condemn those who fake the uniform?

Fourth, it is probably easiest to just start referring to this entire coalition as the modern KKK. Yes, they are fascists and white supremacists, “alt-right” and actual KKK. Yes, they each had a distinct uniform, from the white polo–wearing preppy brigade to the cosplay crowd to the toy-soldier dress-up troops. But they are clearly working as a coordinated unit, just as the Klan did through various periods. The working class generally wore the robes and committed the ugly crimes, while the leadership wore the robes of judges and badges of sheriffs that wielded the real power of ensuring white male supremacy. This network is trying to cross-brand, and the result is an integrated network of white supremacists that collectively constitute the modern Klan.

Finally, there will be a strong desire to avoid the proximate cause of this rally: how we remember the Civil War. Many moderates on both sides find it distasteful or “agitating” to consider how we memorialize that history. As someone who has worked on transitional justice efforts in a dozen countries, I can tell you that civilized countries have always made deliberate decisions about how to tell their history, who to memorialize, and how that becomes more accurate and informed over time. Do we honor history when we freeze in time a set of memorials largely born out of mythology, largely resurrected in the midst of desegregation (not the war), and largely based on an utterly debunked revisionist history of the Civil War? These critiques of renaming buildings and “protecting” statues are not historically accurate or intellectually honest. They are lazy attempts to avoid the difficult work of correcting the lingering effects of the Dunning School and the Lost Cause myth. It is a failure to understand the new Jim Crow laws that result. It is rendering invisible even today that the majority of human beings in Charlottesville and Albemarle County at the time of the Civil War were black, and it was black Union fighters who were the first to enter Richmond. What this three-month modern Klan campaign should teach those who passively support keeping these monuments is that they serve not as innocent icons of our past but political tools of hate and fear in our present.

Saturday could be the anomaly or become the norm. This could be coming to a town near you, or our future could be defined by the many solidarity vigils being organized around the country. Our future will be determined by whether we speak honestly about the racial demagoguery of this White House, whether principled conservatives stop enabling the racist and authoritarian policies of the Trump administration, whether we restore the line between force and violence, and whether we have the moral and intellectual courage to engage honestly with our past.

Langston Hughes famously said, America never was America to me,/ And yet I swear this oath—/ America will be. Saturday’s clash in Charlottesville may have lacked the poetry, but it offered the same prophetic challenge of those words. Previous generations sacrificed beyond measure to get us closer to that aspiration. Let’s be perfectly clear that there is only one good way for this story to end, and it isn’t with the the side of death or fear, of hate or of a nostalgia for a cult of racial injustice. It’s the only story there is to tell: of the America that will be.

I've called for the firing of the White House white supremacists Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka. I hope you will add your name to this call.
Your fellow climate hawk,

Tom Perriello


Tom Perriello on the Charlottesville Protests, Slate 

@TomPerriello: "Trump can start to prove he's not a white supremacist, but it'll take pink slips, not public statements. Must remove Bannon, Gorka & Miller."

Trump just held a news conference where he doubled down on casting “blame on both sides.”
He refused to acknowledge that the people gathered in Charlottesville to protest the removal of a Confederate monument were white supremacists.
Instead of condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis, he characterized clergy, community members, and others protecting our communities as “very, very violent,” insisting that there are “two sides” to the story.

White supremacists organizations were already elated by this weekend’s events. The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, declared “Total Victory.” Dozens of events are already planned in coming weeks, including in Boston this Saturday

Trump’s rhetoric is actively fueling racist violence and giving it the White House seal of approval.
But this isn’t just about Trump. And it isn’t just about the White House. Up and down the ticket, Republicans have made racism central to their agenda.
Tell the Republicans: Stop advancing a hate-filled agenda. Stand against the forces of exclusion and exploitation. Help us build a country where justice prevails.

We can build a movement to challenge the forces of exclusion and exploitation. But only with your help.

In Solidarity,

— Libero, Jacob, and the People’s Action team


314 Action

Since Trump took office, everywhere you turn there’s a new attack on science. He’s systematically and unabashedly removing fact and reason from government.

But we have one, very powerful way to change that: our votes. In 2018, we have a chance to fill Congress we leaders we deserve -- ones who will stand up to Trump’s attacks on science, support research and data in policymaking, and fight on issues like climate change.

In the weeks ahead, 314 Action will be taking a message directly to elected officials and candidates for office: Here are the names of people in your district who will refuse to vote for anyone who fails to respect the basic principles of science.

Sign our petition to pressure key lawmakers and candidates for office across the country: If you stand with science, we’ll stand with you >> Once we get enough grassroots supporters like you to sign on, we’ll deliver your signatures to their offices in person.

We started this organization to preserve scientific integrity in government -- and from what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be a tough road ahead. We need lawmakers who will promise to uphold these critical scientific standards, and we need to demand it of them.

That’s exactly what we’re going to do now, before the midterm elections heat up. We’re going to call on elected officials and candidates for office to publicly support a strict set of principles -- things like protecting government scientists from political interference and fighting to preserve our status as a global leader in the fight against climate change, to name a few.

We want to show the leaders who stand up and support science that there will be thousands of us there to get their backs.

Add your name to our “stand with STEM” petition and we’ll deliver your signatures to key lawmakers and candidates across the country to ask them to sign on, too.

Thanks, as always, for standing with science.
Harmony Knutson
Director of Advocacy
314 Action

From Demand Progress:
The Department of Justice wants access to the 1.3 MILLION IP addresses of individuals who visited a Trump Resistance site leading up to the January inauguration.1 

Let me repeat that: The Department of Justice, led by Trump-goon Jeff Sessions, wants the names and IP addresses of 1.3 million people who simply visited a Trump Resistance website leading up to January’s inauguration. 
This is not a drill, this is how The Handmaid’s Tale and 1984 get started. Tell the DOJ to back off: Sign the petition demanding they withdraw their outrageous search for the IP addresses of Trump Resisters. 

The DOJ’s search warrant is more than a step too far, it’s a step off a bridge. Trump wants to use his position as President to identify as many people who disagree with his politics as possible. 

The Constitution’s Bill of Rights was written to protect citizens against the overreach of government. And now the DOJ is stomping all over it – attacking free political speech and the right to peaceably assemble. 
If we don’t push back now, the Trump administration will just get even more zealous with infringing on our civil liberties. 
The Resistance movement was built out of the need to protect our country and the people we love from a xenophobic bigot in the White House. Now Trump and Sessions have their sights set on them. 

Thanks for taking action,
Reuben and the team at Demand Progress

1. The Hill, “Justice demands 1.3M IP addresses related to Trump resistance site,” August 14, 2017.


  1. Ruth and Julian are powerful, inspirational speakers! It felt real good getting out there and telling America and the world beyond that Nazis and white 'supremacists' will not be allowed to prevail.

    1. Aren't they great speakers? It is inspiring to see so many "ordinary Americans" passionate about not seeing our country revert back to the "good ol' days" of the Klan before the Civil Rights reform. That is NOT how you make "America great again". We shouldn't repeat racist/fascist history!


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