Category Archives: human rights

Read The Signs

black lives matter

All of the photography you see is the mighty work of Misan Harriman.

what if

“What is there wasn’t a video?”

white protester

“You’re not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong.” – Malcom X

be the change

“I am no longer accepting the things I can’t change. I am changing the things I can not accept.” – Dr. Angela Davis

white supremacy problem

“White supremacy is a white problem that needs to be solved, not a Black problem to be empathized with.”

black lives

“The system is stained with the blood of innocent Black lives.”

single families

“They kill our daddies, then make fun of us for being fatherless.”

say their names

“Say Their Names.”

BLM we matter

“Matter is the MINIMUM. Black lives are worthy. Black lives are beloved. Black lives are needed.”

wrong generation

“Ya’ll f*ckin’ with the wrong generation! Watch this space! Power to the People.”

white priviledge

“Admit your privilege.”

chosen side oppressor

“If you are neutral in a situation of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

tolerating

“Tolerating racism is RACISM.”

part of the problem

“If you’re not outraged, you’re part of the problem!”

white silence

“White silence = white violence.”

enough is enough

“You take our beauty. You take our culture. You take our lives. Enough is Enough.”

bad apple rotten

“It’s not one Bad Apple. It’s a Rotten Tree.”

defind the police

“End police immunity. Fund Black communities.”

not sure

“If you’re not sure how to respond, LISTEN. If you’re not sure what to read, RESEARCH. If you’re not sure what to do, DONATE, PARTICIPATE, PETITION. “Not sure” becomes “not my problem”. It’s not enough to be “not sure”, when racism is still impacting lives.

stand in solidarity

“Solidarity. Not just sympathy!”

silence is

“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

you

All photography by Misan Harriman 2020

9 Comments

Filed under human rights

Step Inside The Circle

noshame

Could it be that the U.S. is in turmoil because too many of us have been living in a myopic bubble?

Is it possible that we haven’t been listening or seeing the way we could have? And haven’t been present to our own humanity, our humaneness and benevolence?

Have millions of us not only lost connection with each other, but have lost the connection to our own heart?

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” ― Cornel West

“The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family too small.” ― Mother Teresa

There is a way to come together and expand our circles. The possibility to rebuild and reconnect is always there.

It just takes heart, and the courage to step forward.

In order for the collective consciousness to change, we must be different. We must think and live differently.

As we open up our eyes, and ears, and hands — our hearts open too. And the healing begins. Not just of the world around us, but the inner healing we all desire.

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” ― Henry David Thoreau

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” ― Rabindranath Tagore

We can do it in our own way. We can choose how we can best serve. But let’s not do it from a comfort zone.

Just like anything else you want to transform and change, (your body, your home, your finances, your relationships, etc..), you have to give something up. You have to work through the discomfort and be daring enough to risk.

The commitment to love and transformation must exceed the primal desire to live with what’s familiar and comfortable.

It has to be so strong that you will be willing to push past the fear and challenges. We must poke at the imagined boundaries and doubts, in order to see what’s on the other side.

“Do some selfless service for people who are in need. Consider the whole picture, not just our little selves.” – Nina Hagen

“It is a mistake always to contemplate the good and ignore the evil, because by making people neglectful it lets in disaster. There is a dangerous optimism of ignorance and indifference.” ― Helen Keller

Powerful questions to ask ourselves: Who can I help? How could I stretch outside my comfort zone? How can I educate myself, develop more empathy and be powerfully accountable for my part in the world? How can I help heal others and myself in the process?

“You have two hands. One to help yourself, the second to help others.” ― Audrey Hepburn

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

I came across the work of Fritzi Horstman this week. Have you heard of her? She’s amazing! I found out about her through this video:

And this interview too:

This is the book Fritzi Horstman mentioned in the second video:

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

And this is Fritzi Horstman’s organization:

Compassion Prison Project
www.compassionprisonproject.org

There are also other great organizations to explore:

Essie Justice Group
www.essiejusticegroup.org/mission/

Defy Ventures
http://www.defyventures.org

National Bail Out
www.nationalbailout.org

Young Women Free
www.youngwomenfree.org

TGI Justice Project
www.tgijp.org/about.html

And can you imagine if these (list below) voices were not heard or helped? Their great works would have never been known. They were written while in prison. As I think of that, I can imagine all of the great works that will NEVER be known. Because people were ruthlessly marginalized and written off by society. We can break that cycle, and other cycles that hurt people. We always have the power to help someone. We can be there (in many ways), to let them know they are seen, loved, heard, and valued.

Examples of those works:

De Profundis, by Oscar Wilde

Soul on Ice, by Eldridge Cleaver

Civil Disobedience and Other Writings, by Henry David Thoreau

Conversations with Myself, by Nelson Mandela

Letters from Birmingham Jail, by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Sleeping With the Enemy, by Wahida Clark

The Enormous Room, E.E. Cummings

Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes

On the Yard, by Malcolm Braly

In the Belly of the Beast, by Jack Abbott

Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison, by Piper Kerman

and more.

6 Comments

Filed under activist, human rights

Adrian Piper : Think About It

Adrian_PiperPiper_1970

The voices (and works) of the past are coming in strong and are louder than ever. Everything that is happening today, the unrest and the breakthroughs, are built on the persistent work of those that proceeded it. We have so many to thank.

Adrian Piper, Thank you for the work you have made since the 1960s. Thank you for who you’ve been and for who you continue to be. Your presence is powerful and your contribution is beyond measure.

The Museum of Modern Art in New York held a major career retrospective for Adrian Piper in 2018, the largest show ever for a living artist. And the Hammer Museum is Los Angeles, known for its permanent collection of historical art presented a 50 year survey of her work. But the artist they were praising declined the invitation to attend. Piper was not present for the exhibitions, because she refused to return to the United States. Not even the holy grail of art world honors could bring her back.

photo of adrian piper

Adrian-Piper

An American conceptual artist and philosopher, Adrian Piper’s work addresses professional ostracism, otherness, racial passing, and racism by using various traditional and non-traditional media to provoke self-analysis. Piper was born in New York City on September 20, 1948. She received a master’s in philosophy from Harvard University in 1977 and her doctorate in 1981. In the 1970’s she was kicked out of the art world for her race and sex. Her work started to address attitudes around racism, intending to help people confront their racist views.

Piper taught at Wellesley College, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and University of California, San Diego. In 1991, she became the first female African-American philosophy professor to receive academic tenure in the United States. Wellesley College terminated her tenured full professorship in 2008. During that time she was on the U.S. Transportation Security Administration Watch List. In 2015, she was awarded the Golden Lion for best artist in the international exhibition of the Venice Biennale. Adrian Piper currently lives in Berlin, Germany.

Whut choo Adrian Piper

Image: Adrian Piper, Self-Portrait as a Nice White Lady, 1995

Adrian Piper_Everything 2.8_2003

Image: Everything #2.8, Adrian Piper, 2003

unnamed

Image: Everything #2.13, Adrian Piper, 2003

Video: Keynote speaker Jörg Heiser, on the work of Adrian Piper

The following images and text are works and words of Adrian Piper.

Adrian_Piper_Anita_Hill

Image: Decide Who You Are #1, Adrian Piper, 1992

adrian_piper_text

Image: Detail from “Everything #21, Adrian Piper, 2010-13

DSC06421

Image: Pretend #3, Adrian Piper, 1990 “Pretend not to know what you know”

Adrian_Piper_Artworks

Adrian_Piper Art

Images: Close to Home, 2 of 15 photographs, Adrian Piper, 1987

DSC06398

pretend adrian piper

1991 adrian piper

Image: Pretend #2, Adrian Piper, 1990 “Pretend not to know what you know”

DSC06380

Image: Think About It, Adrian Piper, 1987, mock-up for billboard design

1970_Catalysis_Adrian_Piper

Image: Adrian Piper, Catalysis IV, 1970. Photographer Rosemary Mayer

adrian-piper--calling-card

piper_struggle_card

Image: My Calling Card #1 and #2, Adrian Piper (1986-1990)

Adrian Piper Portrait

Piper_Mythic-Being-Say-it-Like-You-Mean-it-Babycakes_1975-cropped

Image: The Mythic Being: Say It Like You Mean It, Adrian Piper, 1975

“I am identified as “black” by others, both “black” and “white,” only when this serves to enhance their own social status, and not otherwise. Identifying myself as “black” had also very often served this function for me. I had regarded it as an honor and a privilege to be counted among the members of a community that had proved its mettle, its intelligence, and its genius by surviving and sometimes flourishing amid the most resourceful and sustained effort to destroy its humanity the world has ever seen.”

Adrian_Piper_Mother copy

Image: I Am Some Body, the Body of My Friends, #1-18, 1992-95, 1 of 18 photographs. Photo of Adrian Piper and her mother, when she was suffering from emphysema, towards the end of her life.

Adrian Piper safe 1990

Image: Safe #1–4, Adrian Piper (1990) “We are around you”

safe_Adrian_Piper

Image: Safe, 1 of 4 framed photographs and audio, Adrian Piper, 1990 “You are safe”

black artist adrian piper

“I’m black.

Now, let’s deal with this social fact, and the fact of my stating it, together.

Maybe you don’t see why we have to deal with it together. Maybe you think it’s just my problem and that I should deal with it by myself.

But it’s not just my problem. It’s our problem.”

.

4 Comments

Filed under art & film, human rights

Love Is Love!

0

Screen Shot 2020-06-28 at 2.49.42 AM

2

3

4_

5

1_

6

7

“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us”, are the powerful words of Micah Bazant, that are linked to the spirit of Marsha P. Johnson.

Illustration of Marsha P. Johnson by @beeillustrates

2 Comments

Filed under human rights

Meet The New YOU?

self accountability

Much of what I say will be explained the further (and deeper) you go in this blog post. If you decide to gloss over content and suggested watching/reading, then don’t wonder why you are remaining the same while the world is on fire begging for change around you.

Don’t miss the point of what’s happening. Don’t be imperceptive, indifferent or passive out of laziness and convenience (and conditioned heartlessness). If what is happening isn’t a wake up call that you need to do more, then expect all of this to get worse, because you stayed complacent.

Keep reading, keep going…

Victor Varnado

Have you or anyone you know, or anyone in your social media circles said something similar to the statements below? If so, please click on the links next to each sentence. Your environment desperately needs empathy, education and your personal accountability towards change.

“All Lives Matter.”
(read this, scroll down on that website to see article)

“I don’t see color. Everyone is equal.”
(watch this)

“The Black Lives Matter movement is dividing people.”
(same video as above)

“Black people are making it harder for themselves by looting.”
(see Trevor Noah video and other videos below)

“Why should I help anyone that’s rioting or destroying property?”
(see Trevor Noah video and other videos below)

“The riots and violent protests are messing up the next election!”
(read article, and watch video, and read article)

“How irresponsible to gather and protest during a pandemic.”
(watch the same video)

“If blacks would focus on voting, we wouldn’t have this problem.”
(watch the Christian Cooper video below and this video again)

“Thank goodness everything is fine where I live.”
(see this video)

Trevor Noah has a profound view of looting and explains the context of the protests. Cornel West also mentioned legalized looting (video posted throughout this post), and Bakari Sellers clearly states that the protests are beyond George Floyd and police brutality.

Keep reading, keep going…

This is Christian Cooper speaking. He’s the one that Amy Cooper (same last name, not related) tried to harm by using the police as a weapon. If you need more information, you can find it here and a great article here. Turn up the volume when you watch the video. The sound is low. Tap the sound icon at the bottom of the video to raise the volume.

Keep reading, keep going…

I want you to watch this video of Trevor Noah in South Africa, visiting his 91 year old grandmother. He’s going to make light of things, but obviously it’s not funny. Jokes are often used as a way to release anguish and optimistically move forward. What you see in South Africa is not much different than how marginalized people live in many parts of the USA currently.

Keep reading, keep going…

If for any reason you are still not passionate about using your voice and time and resources to help Black Lives Matter and ending systemic racism. Please think of George Stinney and Kendrick Johnson, and all of the other gruesome injustices that continue day after day. It’s a longer list than anyone can imagine.

In 2013 a 17 year old Georgia boy was killed at school, his body was found in a rolled up gym mat. The evidence was covered up and the case was ruled as an accidental death. There’s school security footage of him walking into the school gym, but no footage of him walking out. Crucial security camera footage is missing. There are even organs mysteriously missing from his dead body (so there couldn’t be a full autopsy report). It appears that two white students killed him, and their father (who’s an FBI agent) covered up the evidence, along with white classmates, school staff, the local crime lab, state and federal officials and five agents of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. You can read about it here and see the Kendrick Johnson video here.

This case is not new, but it shows you how deep social injustice for the black community goes. George Stinney was a 14 year old boy that was sentenced to death in the electric chair for a crime he did not commit. Yes, you read that right. The United States of America executed a child. Who was completely innocent.

George Stinney

Keep reading, keep going…

Young people are facing police brutality during the protests. This girl was shot in the face with a rubber bullet by police while she was protesting this week. Video of it here and here and close-up photo of her face here. A lot of the comments under her photo have been buried and deleted, but when I saw first saw that post on Twitter, a large number of people tweeted that if the police did that to her, then it was justified.

If you want more videos of police brutality during the George Floyd protests, you can find over 600 vides (as of June 7, 2020) in this spreadsheet here.

You can also see a video about Black Lives Matter protestors getting set-up posted by Moby here and Joe Rogan mentioning set-ups here.

It’s no surprise that George Stinney and others were innocent. A study stated that half a million (500,000) people currently in jail have NOT committed a crime.

This is a fact, two-thirds (2/3) of people in jail haven’t been convicted of a crime. Most of those people are in jail because they could not pay bail. If you don’t understand how that all works or makes sense, read and listen to the links provided, and do what you can to help.

You can assist organizations like National Bail Out and Prison Policy Initiative read about about it all here.

Here are a few podcasts that could be helpful:

Justice is America

Serial Podcast – Season 3

black lives matter

And please watch this video. Professor Carol Anderson will fill you in on so much. You’ll see why saying BLACK LIVES MATTER is so important, and you’ll understand why systemic racism and police brutality needs to end NOW. This has all gone on long enough.

And these videos too. Listen to Dr. Robin DiAngelo, Professor Angela Davis and Activist Jane Elliott speak and answer questions.

Keep reading, keep going…

This was posted as a link above, but I hope you paid close attention. It covers so much of what I touched on, but in vivid detail. So I’ll post it here again. Listen to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Dr. Cornel West and Bakari Sellers discuss the nationwide uprising.

Here are ways you can help Black Lives Matter:

Donate to causes that need funding.

Show up to a protests.

Sign petitions.

Say their names.

Show solidarity on social media.

Educate yourself.

Become an antiracist.

Follow black social media content creators.

Support black business owners.

And more.

To be totally transparent, when I say YOU throughout this blog post, I also mean me. The events of this week (the police brutality, people risking their health and life to protest, the riots and set-ups of innocent people, the racist comments everywhere online, as well as the mainstream news’ reinforcement of systematic racism), it all felt like a slap in the face.

I must do more, I must speak up, I must live differently.

Like I said in my blog post last week, “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.”

Please join me. Empathy, education and personal accountability is the route to lasting change.

Black Lives Matter.

Artwork credits:
“Alive” cartoon by artist signed (lower right corner)
“Getting started” cartoon by Victor Varnado
“Self reflection” painting by Paint In Hawaii

6 Comments

Filed under human rights