Category Archives: activism

People Are Showing Up & Speaking Out

say black lives matter

2020 protests

black lives matter protest

Maria Shriver protesting for Black Lives Matter.

maria shriver black lives matter

“So many people have said to me in the past few weeks that they feel helpless and don’t know what to do or say. I tell them what I tell myself: When you lay there in bed in the dark of night, imagine the country you want to live in. Imagine the leaders you want to rally around. Imagine the ideas that make you feel hopeful. Imagine your best-case scenario. Then, pick a lane and get to work.

Do you want a better climate? Get to work. Do you want to fight against racism? Get to work. Do you want to push for gender equality? Get to work. Do you want to close the gap in health care disparities? Get to work. Do you want a different kind of media? Get to work. Do you want criminal justice or police reform? New gun laws? Mental health parity? A more inclusive church? You know what to do.

The work ahead of us is not for the faint of heart. Every one of us must put on our thinking caps and imagine a more evolved, inclusive, and equitable world. Yes, there is a lot to do, but that is not an excuse to do nothing.”

Quote by Maria Shriver

Natalie Portman shares thoughts on defunding the police.

natalie portman black lives matter

“When I first heard #defundthepolice, I have to admit my first reaction was fear. My whole life, police have made me feel safe. But that’s exactly the center of my white privilege: the police make me as a white woman feel safe, while my black friends, family and neighbors feel the opposite: police make them feel terror. And for good reason. Police are the 6th leading cause of death for black men in this country. These are not isolated incidents. They are patterns and part of the system of over-policing of black Americans. Reforms have not worked. Minneapolis, where George Floyd was murdered, is one of the most progressive police forces in the country, having undergone extensive anti-bias training. I am grateful to the leaders in the @mvmnt4blklives who have made us question the status quo. And who have made us imagine, what a world could be like in which we invested in nourishing people; (in their education, healthcare, environment, shelter)— rather than putting all of our money into punishment. I’ve gotten to the age in my life, where if my gut feels uncomfortable, I take the situation as wrong. But this concept initially made me uncomfortable because I was wrong. Because the system that makes me feel comfortable is wrong.”

Quote by Natalie Portman

Seth Godin shines a light on white supremacy.

seth godin black lives matter

“The systemic, cruel and depersonalizing history of Black subjugation in my country has and continues to be a crime against humanity. It’s based on a desire to maintain power and false assumptions about how the world works and how it can work. It’s been amplified by systems that were often put in place with mal-intent, or sometimes simply because they felt expedient. It’s painful to look at and far more painful to be part of or to admit that exists in the things that we build.

We can’t permit the murder of people because of the color of their skin. Institutional racism is real, it’s often invisible, and it’s pernicious.

And White Supremacy is a loaded term precisely because the systems and their terrible effects are very real, widespread and run deep.

The benefit of the doubt is powerful indeed, and that benefit has helped me and people like me for generations. I’m ashamed of how we got here, and want to more powerfully contribute and model how we can get better, together.

It doesn’t matter how many blog posts about justice I write, or how clear I try to be about the power of diversity in our organizations. Not if I’m leaving doubt about the scale and enormity of the suffering that people feel, not just themselves, but for their parents before them and for the kids that will follow them.

It’s easier to look away and to decide that this is a problem for someone else. It’s actually a problem for all of us. And problems have solutions and problems are uncomfortable.”

Quote by Seth Godin

Illustrations by Meenal Patel Studio

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What You Can Do

what you can do

By now I’m sure everyone is aware of the George Floyd protests that have been taking place. As someone that has participated in social justice protests in New York, I can attest to the dedication and courage it takes to participate. You can literally arrive with peace in your heart and the best intentions, and end up with your life on the line.

Please do not confuse looters with protestors. Looting is not protesting. Anyone that was involved in nefarious activities was not a protestor. (*For additional views on on the protest, as well as looting and rioting, please read my other post.)

Many of the protestors that participated will arrive home safely and others will need some form of legal, financial or medical assistance. Please stand in solidarity with these individuals, as well as the organizations that support them. I’ve listed donation links below by city.

If you are not able to make a donation, please post something supportive on your social media accounts or write a letter to congress. Anything that will raise awareness.

And if you feel unsure about what’s happening, these social media accounts might be of interest to you.

NAACP_LDF

Public_Citizen

RepBeatty

JamaalBowmanNY

TahanieNYC

BlkLivesMatter

AOC

Samswey

UntilFreedom

Rachel.Cargle

TheConsciousKid

MsPackyetti

ThePeoplesAction

MNFreedomFund

PrivToProg

LSarsour

You are welcome to post additional social media accounts and organizations in the comments.

I’m just encouraging everyone to take some type of positive action. (If they haven’t already done so.)

The world is a very small place. We are all connected. If we ignore, misuse or abuse each other (or the planet) we are only hurting ourselves. Let’s rise to help one another. You have the freedom to do it in your own way.

A better world depends on a better collective consciousness. And that depends on each one of us taking responsibility for our part in that collective. If we want the world to change, we must change first.

Think of new ways to be and new ways to help. The possibilities are endless. And if nothing comes to mind, just support those on the front lines. That’s always a great place to start.

Sending love and support to everyone during this time. I know we’re all hurting in different ways. Let’s continue to be compassionate and courageous, and calm.

Fear, stress and blame is not where we want to focus. I always remind myself of this quote, “Where your attention goes, it grows.” Keep your mind and energy on what the world needs right now.

Empathy, peace, love, creativity, patience, compassion, ingenuity, encouragement, support, healing, well-being, understanding… Let’s root our actions and thoughts in what we need most.

Donating to protestors in Minnesota:

It’s my understating that Minnesota Freedom Fund is fully funded right now and wants donations sent to the following organizations;

https://www.blackvisionsmn.org

https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/home

Donating to protestors in other cities:

Brooklyn

Oakland/San Jose

Richmond

Chapel Hill

Seattle

Portland

Houston

Dallas

Chicago

Philadelphia

Colorado

Massachusetts

Louisville

Atlanta

Columbus

For all the cities I missed, you can check this website and scroll down for a city near you.

https://linktr.ee/transnormativity

And if you need bail support or have questions, you can call the National Lawyers Guild directly 612-444-2654

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Call of the Wild

Company-of-Wolves-Artwork-wolves-39927139-1280-714

The wolves in Colorado were hunted to extinction in the 1940s. There is now an opportunity bring them back. Please visit the Rocky Mountain Wolf Project for more information. If you feel moved, please sign the Action Letter here or make a donation here.

“Re-establishing wolves in western Colorado could connect the entire North American wolf population from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan through Canada and Alaska, down the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. It would be difficult to overestimate the biological and conservation value of this achievement.“
– Dr. L. D. Mech, biologist

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Good Deeds and Great Works

vegan

I stumbled upon Caitlin Cimini’s account on Instagram this week. Too cute not to share! You have to see her videos of Janet & Stephen. I can’t get enough of those two. Little moments of happy-smily-bliss watching them romp around. It’s instant happiness for me. Here is a link to her account: @boochaces Go see those videos! …And here is a link to her website too: www.ranchorelaxonj.org

Another account I found (while on Caitlin’s page) was Sammantha Margaret. Wow. Really stunning photography. Her work is absolutely excellent, very top-notch. I will link to her Instagram page as well: @sfisherx

Included in this blog post is a selection of photos from Caitlin Cimini’s Instagram page, and Sammantha Margaret’s photo of Stephen is the top image. Visit her website to see more of her photography. You’ll be so glad you did. www.sammanthafisher.com

Caitlin Cimini

kitty

animal friends

animal sanctuary

goat photo

rancho relaxo

pig photo

cute pig

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Beneath the Surface

Nia Wilson Illustration

I was sitting on a stretch of cushy green grass, looking at a landscape of Napa Valley hills. Noticing the contrast of color. Summer (and forest fires) took the green out of the hills. They were now a rusty camel color. My mind jumped to my to-do list. I began to think about what this Sunday’s blog post would be about. I thought I would share Elizabeth Gilbert’s (she’s the writer of Eat, Pray, Love) recent Instagram post about Nia Wilson. Or maybe I would share the work of the artist that painted Nia Wilson’s portrait? Or maybe I would share both? But then I started to think. About the sexism, racism, ageism, classism, and all of the other -isms. About all of the trauma, fear, ignorance, hate, confusion and injustice people have to face in their lives. And then my mind jumped back to the presence of stillness. To the beating of my own heart. To the air I breathe. To the bird taking flight from a tree branch across from me. To the wind dancing on my skin. To the amazing feeling of being alive and witnessing a miracle. To the pulse of the Universe. To the feeling of simply being. Simply being breathed. Simply feeling life live life. Without judgement. Without drama. Without a story. Just aliveness. Just surrender to all that is. I suddenly fell into a state of Grace and appreciation. I went from worry and fear to kindness and acceptance. Not passive acceptance — but unconditional love. The power of the truth in this moment. The power of stillness that is always waiting for us… just beneath the surface.

Link to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Nia Wilson post:
https://www.instagram.com/p/BlqVA0ml_ot/?taken-by=elizabeth_gilbert_writer

Link to Nia Wilson information:
https://www.kqed.org/arts/13837639/nia-wilson-and-the-war-on-black-women

Link to support Nia Wilson’s investigation & family:
https://www.gofundme.com/justice-for-nia-wilson

Link to Sarah Green’s Instagram account:
https://www.instagram.com/sarahgreenstudio

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Thich Nhat Hanh: True Happiness

art of Thich Nhat Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh

“Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form.”

“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”

“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”

“At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.”

All quotes by Thich Nhat Hanh

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George Carlin, Muhammad Ali & Vietnam

Muhammad Ali

George Carlin discusses Muhammad Ali & Vietnam in 1971 on the Ed Sullivan Show:

muhammad ali vietnam

Muhammad Ali: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.… If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”

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James Aspey: Voiceless for Animals

James Aspey Voiceless 365

In January of 2014, James Aspey started his journey of not speaking for 365 days. It was in honor of all the abused animals (for lab testing, breeding, etc.) and slaughtered animals (killed unnecessarily for food, religious ceremonies and sport) that don’t have the ability to speak on their own behalf. With compassion & commitment, James achieved his goal of not speaking for a full year — but he wasn’t silent. He spent the entire year spreading a powerful message of awareness & non-violence for the animals that don’t have the same opportunity to do so.

James Aspey activist

If an animal could talk, what would it say? Would it yell for help when being tortured in laboratories for the testing of products for humans (examples here)? Would it ask repeatedly not to be tied up or crammed into small crates (examples here)? Would it try to convince those who snatch its newborn babies not to take them (examples here)? Would it plead for its freedom when enslaved by breeders for profit (examples here)? Would it beg for its life just before its throat is slit (examples here)? What would you say, if you suffered the plight of these animals? Would you speak out and try to save yourself or those you love?

If we can say we love animals, or love other living beings, or embrace the idea of peace on earth and equal rights — then I think we need to be honest with ourselves; is our exploitation of animals necessary or fair? Or is it cruel, and based on old traditions, food addictions and insensitive actions?

The thoughts I shared above all came to mind, as I was putting this blog post together. And they are part of a thought-wave I’ve shared on Sunday Is For Lovers over the years. You can find similar trains of thought here, and here, and here. I am so grateful for James Aspey, and the year he spent in 2014. And for all of the other animal rights activists (most of them never acknowledged or named, many of them working in secrecy or anonymously for others) that make a difference in the world. Whether they are cheered, seen or ever acknowledged, their every action has a ripple effect. This blog post is one very small example of that effect. So are the millions of people that have changed their lives after becoming more aware. (There are over 7 million vegetarians in the USA alone. Meat-less food alternatives are now a multi-billion dollar industry, because of the demand for vegan & vegetarian options. Each day the number of people that eat this way grows, and the examples of people living healthy & fulfilled lives, without the need to eat animals or animal products, becomes more evident.)

You can get to know James and his work via the videos below. James is very open with his contact information. So if you have any questions for him, you can find him via the links I share in this blog post. Also, his direct email address is listed on his website.

And don’t forget, you have a resource in me as well. If you have any questions on how to transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet, I would love to help you. I have over 25 years of experience (it includes both raw and cooked diets, so I can answer questions and share tips from both perspectives). I’m happy to help you, and it’s absolutely free of charge. You can find me via my contact page.

You can find James Aspey through the following links:
Website
Blog
Facebook
Instagram

James Aspey

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