Tag Archives: activism

A Movement Begins in a Million Pink Bedrooms

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A few weekends ago I ventured out to one of my favorite streets in San Francisco (Valencia St) to visit this amazing zine show that I read about in SF Weekly at Goteblud, You Are Her: Riot Grrrl and Underground Female Zines of the 1990s. I was way too excited about this show. I know I say that a lot, but this time I mean it times 20. To be able to be surrounded by the zines and writings and manifestos that created a small yet extremely significant movement in the world and in my life… I was beside myself. Seriously out of body HOLY SHIT I CAN MAKE COPIES! AND TOUCH EVERYTHING?! experience. read more »

The Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble has chosen to respond.

About 3 years ago, I took my roommate at the time to see what I thought would be “a little play about the war.” I so was incredibly wrong. We escaped from Irvine for the night to see the Los Angeles Theater Ensemble’s Wounded. It was not just a “play,” it was an emotionally gripping experience that opened my eyes to a world I am not familiar with: the world of a wounded Iraq War Veteran.

Now, at a time of economic recession, the LA Theater Ensemble brings us Survived which is the follow up to Wounded, and the second play in what they are calling The War Cycle. As actor, Albert Meijer stated, “As artists, we are not ignoring the headlines that have been buried behind those concerning the economy, politics, and celebrity. We have chosen to bring the overlooked to light.”According to the website:

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“Survived is inspired by true accounts of the families of soldiers fallen in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. It follows the lives of the Harper family as they prepare to scatter the ashes of 24 year old Lt. Michael Harper on the anniversary of his combat-related death in the Iraq War. A surprise visit from a soldier who served with Michael at the time of his death ignites a powder keg of emotion and throws the family into crisis as they strive to preserve their memories of Michael while learning to let go.”

The Ensemble holds “Talk Backs” after their Thursday shows where they make themselves available to engage in discussions with the members of the audience. The members of the LA Theater Ensemble are a very accessible group of individuals.  Survived will run through April 25th in Santa Monica, CA. For more information, please visit: http://www.latensemble.com

“There are some glimmers of hope.”

About a month ago I attended/volunteered at the 10th Annual FACTS Benefit, which was held at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, their current exhibit titled “A Dream Realized” compared the life and legacy of Dr. King with that of President Obama through a series of similar photographs.

A Dream Realized Exhibit

I had never been there, and definitely want to go back sometime and check out all of the museums in Exposition Park. It seems like a fun place to take my sisters. Anyway, the event was really thought provoking. I learned so much about how many individuals and families are affected by Three Strikes. It was heartbreaking to meet so many mothers who have sons or daughters in prison for non-violent crimes that do not warrant a life sentence. After meeting these families and hearing their stories, it infuriates me to think that Californians could ignore these injustices. According to Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who was the keynote speaker, African Americans make up 7% of California’s population, yet they represent 45% of those in prison because of three strikes sentencing. Something is definitely wrong here.

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky

The Benefit held a silent auction for artwork made by prisoners at Security Housing Unit — or the SHU, at Pelican Bay State Prison in Northern California. Prisoners are not allowed to use art materials in “the hole” so prisoners improvise and use paper pulp from magazines or toilet paper and place that on drawing paper. Colors are obtained by using the coating of vitamins, candy or coffee.

SHU Art by Gabriel Ramirez

A lot of individuals and groups were present to support FACTS and it was really great to see so many grassroots and non-profit organizations come together to create visibility for an issue that seems to be so hidden and unspoken. The Youth Justice Coalition was in attendance and a young activist performed a spoken word piece that was as gritty and dark as her experiences on the rough streets of LA. As she said in her poem “we’re the children who rose from Watts in ’65… we’ve had enough, take the system down, and build something, now.”

It is imperative that the three strikes law be amended. The prison industrial complex is flawed, prisons are astoundingly overcrowded, and there are obvious racial implications when looking at the statistics. Funding really needs to go to rehabilitation rather than putting people away for life for non-violent crimes. Until that happens, the injustice will continue, and these individuals and their families will continue to be oppressed by the system.

For the record…

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I do not agree with or support some of the ads that are showing up on my blog. Just for the record, and because I don’t care if you all know how I’m voting, I’ll be voting no on Props 4, 6, and 8, and yes on Props 1 and 7. I’m still undecided on everything else. I’m bummed that pro prop 8 ads are showing up. I apologize for that.

But anyway, don’t forget to vote today! I’m sure you are, or already have. Tonight’s gonna be effing nuts.

Arrested Dreams: Criminalizing a Generation of Youth

Hey guys! I will be heading up to USC tomorrow evening for this, so I thought I’d spread the word. If you click on the image you will find more information about the event. Here is a link to the trailer for the documentary Juvies that will be screened. I’m pretty excited about this, and hope to see you there!

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