Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Dark Times Inspire Brilliant People

The Fourth of July means different things to different people, as Frederick Douglass attests. Do you feel like celebrating this Independence Day? Can we really celebrate American "democracy" when we don't follow our own laws, particularly when it comes to immigrants and those we've falsely incarcerated to make money for a for-profit private detention system?

The following two memes illustrate the conflicting emotions many compassionate Americans have felt recently. There's nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed by current events, but we can't allow our emotions to shut down our response to them. We can't dwell on the darkness. We have to find the courage to keep fighting or else the savagery will continue.
Perhaps we can learn something from those who take action instead of sitting around and bemoaning their lot. Isn't it time we organized to bring about the just and peaceful world we envision? As Dr. King said in 1964:
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."
Are we marching toward justice or away from it? Can we lead each other to a moral future? The following is one example to inspire you.
Dark Times Inspire Brilliant People
by C.A. Matthews
photos of Families Belong Together Rally 
by Adrian Matthews
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” --Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross 
With temperatures near the century mark and high humidity, you might think few would show up to a downtown Toledo rally (on concrete) on a Saturday morning. But they did. They braved the extreme heat and came out in numbers with their signs and voices demanding an end to Trump's immoral policy of separating families at the border.

Some days it seems like we're caught up in an endless battle against the forces of evil in our country. It seems there's no way we "little people" can ever defeat the minions of darkness. And then you experience a crowd of approximately 400 standing on a hot cement surface shouting, "No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here! No justice, no peace!" Instantly your pessimistic outlook becomes one of optimism.
No doubt about it, these are dark days for Americans, but we aren't stuck in this black swamp alone. There are many compassionate and brilliant people standing up for justice and using their abilities to lead us all to a better world. In the midst of our despair over turning into the 21st century equivalent of Nazi Germany, there are beautiful rays of sunlight and hope. You see them in the faces of Millennials and their children.  You see them in the faces of Boomers and others who have experienced first hand how ugly discrimination and hatred can be. But they're not giving in to despair--they're fighting back and not taking "You can't do that!" for an answer.

We see them at these rallies against Trump's fascist immigration dictates. We see them Occupying ICE in Portland, Detroit and other places. We see them online bravely working as alternative journalists to cover the stories the mainstream media never touches, such as the ongoing water crisis in Flint and the newest oil pipeline threat to indigenous people's lands, Line 3 in Minnesota. They haven't given up on this planet, and they challenge us old-timers to not give in to the destructive, selfish mindset of "I really don't care--do u?"
Over the past couple of years I've lost friends, and I've lost contact with family members who don't see the world the way I see it, but I have gained one thing in this ongoing political revolution: peace of mind. Whether I live to see the day when we're free of the death grip of fossil fuels and war-mongering capitalists or not, I can rest assured that the coming generations will not rest until they've brought peace and balance back to our small planet.

When depression threatens to overtake you in the daily struggle to simply survive, look to the good that is being born in the midst of the darkness. People around the world are standing up and speaking out against racism, sexism, misogynism, classism--all the immoral "isms"--and choosing to put the good of the community above the greed of the billionaires. Join them in their quest and you too will experience their brilliance brighter than the sun on a sweltering hot summer's day at a rally to reunite families.

Power belongs to the people--not the mindless, heartless corporations. We will shut them down in time. Rise and follow the light.
 (Quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley)

I started an online petition. Will you please sign  it and share it with others? Thank you.

Families belong together! Ban the use of military bases to house immigrant children

I have worked with immigrants and refugees and have heard their horror stories of why they were forced to leave their homelands. They do not make such decisions lightly. Americans should not be adding more grief to these families by separating them from their children and refusing to hear their requests for asylum. It goes against everything good and moral when we treat our fellow human beings like "animals." We are not Nazi Germany!

That's why I created a petition to The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Donald Trump, which says:

"Ban the use of military bases to house immigrant children separated from their families. Families belong together and all asylum-seekers should have  their claims considered and their human rights upheld."

Will you sign this petition? Click here:



Help inspire more brilliant people!

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Power to the people and not the corporations!

From the UCC:

Tell Congress: No Muslim Ban Ever

In a narrow 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s Muslim Ban, a policy which, from its inception, was based on blatant discrimination on the basis of nationality and religion. 

In Trump v. Hawaii the justices ruled, along ideological lines, that it is within the President’s authority to ban people from Muslim majority countries if he determines that doing so is in the interests of U.S. security. The decision to uphold a de facto Muslim ban is not only unjust, but immoral. The rights of all faith communities are put in jeopardy when one faith community is attacked. 

The Supreme Court has decided, for now, that such a policy does not violate the Establishment Clause and is constitutional. But the deeper question at stake is a moral one. What kind of nation do we want to be? A country that excludes people on the basis of religion, race, or nationality? As people of faith committed to religious freedom, to welcoming the stranger, and to loving our neighbor, we say no!    

This policy is not what we aspire to as a nation.  Excluding people of the basis of religion or nationality not only harms those seeking refuge or livelihoods in the U.S., but ultimately undermines our moral authority as a nation founded on principles of religious freedom, tolerance, and welcome to all. 

Act now. Tell Congress to oppose this shameful policy of religious discrimination and to exert oversight over the administration’s Muslim Ban.
Read the statement from our United Church of Christ Leadership.

We, the leaders of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, request to convene a hearing before the U.N. Human Rights Council on the state of poverty in our nation. Co-sign the letter now to add your name to the list of people demanding an end to poverty.
After more than three years of traveling across the U.S., meeting with poor communities from El Paso to Aberdeen to Detroit to Selma, Harlan County, Marks and Memphis, we have just completed 40 days of nonviolent moral fusion direct action with more than 3,000 poor people, clergy and other activists presenting themselves for nonviolent civil disobedience and a call to action rally and march of tens of thousands of people putting a face on the facts, demanding an end to abandonment in the midst of abundance.

We write with a sense of urgency. Just last week, the U.S. doubled down on its commitment to inflicting policy violence against children and families by pulling out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Days later, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley responded to a report from the U.N.’s special rapporteur on poverty by saying, “It is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America.”

Here is what is patently ridiculous: Today, despite substantial economic growth, a full 60 percent more Americans live below the poverty line than in 1968, and 43 percent of all U.S. children live below the minimum income level considered necessary to meet basic family needs. Fifty-three cents of every federal discretionary dollar goes to military spending, while only 15 cents is spent on anti-poverty programs. An alarming 13.8 million U.S. households cannot afford water, and a quarter million people die in the U.S. each year from poverty and related issues. And 23 states have enacted voter suppression laws since 2010, leaving the US with fewer voting rights than we had 50 years.

For a nation that declared it was founded upon principles of equality, systemic inequality has never been starker. In the richest nation in the world, 140 million people live in poverty. The richest 1 percent in our country hold more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined. And our leaders continue to feed us the same moral narrative: We blame poor people for their poverty, when in fact the government has gutted social programs. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 has not been raised since 2009, and on average, wages for all workers in the U.S. have raised $0.04 a year since 1979.

In recent weeks it has been brought to the public’s attention that Brown children have been systematically separated from their families at the border. Inside our borders, families of all races are separated from health care, food stamps and a living wage, and with widespread voter suppression and racist gerrymandering, millions of people have been separated from the ballot box. Hundreds of thousands of children are taken away from their parents because of their poverty; we hear the cries of the people “take away our poverty, not our children; take away unjust policies, not our children.”

Our democracy is impoverished. Policies serve the few at the expense of the many, while leaders spread lies to divide people against each other. To be clear: Poverty is a moral and political crisis, one that this administration and Congress are inflaming instead of solving. Every policy decision is a moral one, but choices being made by our leaders have been overwhelmingly immoral. We need to reshape the heart and conscience of this nation, starting from the ground up. We need immediate and major changes to address systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and our distorted moral narrative. Add your name to this letter if you agree.
Seventy-one years ago, W.E.B. DuBois submitted a petition to the United Nations about the unequal treatment of Black Americans. More than 50 years ago, Malcolm X approached the U.N. with a similar message, charging the United States with being “either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of your 22 million African American brothers and sisters.” Both human rights leaders and countless others including welfare rights activists, indigenous leaders, women and other marginalized groups addressed the U.N. at times when the U.S. government failed to bring forth solutions to moral and political crises.

Since our government is committing policy violence against its citizens and exacerbating poverty instead of alleviating it, we urge the U.N. Human Rights Council to hear directly from the poor and dispossessed of the United States.

We call on you to listen to the Alabama woman whose daughter died in her arms because the state refused to expand Medicaid; to the undocumented California woman struggling to raise a family; to the Kansas City McDonald’s worker battling to raise three young girls on $9/hour; and to the Flint woman who is fighting for clean water in her community still four years after it became public that public officials had knowingly poisoned the whole city. We know you’ve heard from the special rapporteur on the conditions; now we ask you hear directly from those impacted by America’s policy violence.

As W.E.B. DuBois, Malcolm X and other human rights activists requested decades ago, we request an audience with you because our government seems unwilling or incapable of doing the right thing. 

Thank you for your consideration,

Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis
National Co-Chairs, Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival 

From March for Science:

Last week, we learned that the administration and the Department of the Interior are restricting the ability of federal scientists to communicate their research. We need your voice and federal scientists need your support.  

This petition is not just a call for for science and transparency from Congress and the Department of the Interior. This is a rallying cry of support for federal scientists facing restrictions on one of the most important steps of scientific research: public communication.

Why does this matter?

1. Reporters rely on federal scientists for accurate information about scientific research and policies.
2. The Department of the Interior is responsible for, among other things, research on natural hazards and climate change. Vital research on these topics risks being hidden from the public. We are restricting communications from the scientists who know this information best.
3. The research done by the Department of the Interior is funded by our taxpayer dollars. Their findings and work should be publicly communicated and transparent.  

Join us in demanding Science, Not Silence.

Check out our Science, Not Silence merch and wear your support!
It's been a busy time for science advocacy and we need your voice more than ever. Check out our other campaigns, plan an event, or attend one in your area. And register to vote!

From Move to Amend:
Corporations Don't Have Families But They
Are Making Millions Ripping Them Apart

This is a dangerous moment in the United States, and in response hundreds of thousands gathered this weekend to respond. 

  • An increasingly fascist U.S. regime is openly committing crimes against humanity, including the indefinite detention and forced separation entire families.
  • Our Congress not only refuses to hold this authoritarian President and his regime accountable for their crimes, but the majority of our representatives -- on both sides of the aisle -- are actively collaborating with them, for the sake of short-term political gain and furthering the bottom line of their billionaire benefactors.
  • The Supreme Court is so corrupt, they are stripping workers’ of hard-won protections, black and brown voters of their equal protection under the law, women of their right to know and their freedom of choice, and even denying immigrants their humanity and equal rights -- and they have handed over our government to the highest bidder.

Move to Amend has been working to get to the root problem by passing the WE THE PEOPLE AMENDMENT to the U.S. Constitution to make clear that constitutional rights belong to human beings, not corporations, and that money is not equal to “speech” so it can be regulated in our political campaigns and elections.

The root problems of "corporate constitutional rights" and "money equals speech” go deeper than the obvious political implications -- this is a human rights issue that intersects with every struggle for justice and equality we face today.

Law follows culture, and from the beginning, U.S. culture has mostly prioritized property and profit of a few wealthy white men over the basic wellbeing and common interests of We the People. Such priorities are enshrined in the Constitution itself — written as a property rights document that added only a few human rights as amendments — even enshrining the evil notion that human beings could be legally owned as disposable PROPERTY.

Even worse, the Constitution’s failure to define who is a "person" worthy of legal protection, has enabled our government to persistently deny constitutional protections for the vast majority of people in the United States -- women, black/brown/indigenous people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, and other less wealthy people.

In every movement for justice today, rich and powerful corporations stand in the way of any serious change that we seek: from wanting an end to immigration crackdowns, indefinite detentions, for-profit prisons, and police brutality to creating universal health care, affordable education, and a green energy infrastructure that moves beyond fossil fuels.

Passing the We the People Amendment is the only lasting solution!

This November, let’s make sure that the only people we send back to Washington, D.C. are Representatives who support WE THE PEOPLE, not the corporations.

If you are with me, take Move to Amend's VOTER PLEDGE today and pass it on to all your friends:

We all may working different causes and different issues, but we do not need to go it alone. The root problems are all connected, and working together in solidarity with those intersectional issues, we can step back from the brink of fascism and move forward to creating real democracy for ALL people.

In solidarity,

Keyan Bliss
Move to Amend Volunteer Coordinator


  1. I'm starting to see a real value in celebrating Bastille Day - July 14 - instead of July 4. That was the day the poor really began to cut the rich down to size. These days with so much crap coming out of the Trump regime every single day, it's hard to feel passionate about a country that's so lost its way.

    1. Good idea. Let's "storm the Bastille" and take back our country before it's too late. Today feels more like "Co-Dependence Day" with this fascist state stealing more and more of our civil liberties and denying human rights to strangers in our midst--and millions supporting this racist agenda. It's high time to liberate ourselves from the chains of late-stage capitalism. Viva la Revolucion!


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