Sunday, July 17, 2011

What are we Capable of: Phase 1

Message from Anonymous.

We are Anonymous
We are Legion
We never forgive
We never forget
Expect us.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Building a self sufficient movement

Late Wednesday night, after our last final, Jordan and I drove out to DC to make our court date Thursday morning. The commute is a hard one and my little PT Cruiser wasn't much help, but we've sort have become pros at it- after all, we did the same exact thing a few weeks back when we decided to disrupt the House with a song. Thursday night, April 14th we headed out to DC to meet up with youth activists from all around the country who were ready to take a risk to inspire the 10,000 students attending Powershift that weekend. We sang an alternative version of the Star Spangled Banner, one that called for our congressmen to start standing up for our future- our right to clean air, water, and food- not big oil, gas, and coal. Disrupting congress is an arrestable action, something that we knew going in. But even though we were arrested and stayed in jail for over 6hrs, we had accomplished our goal. That monday, hundreds of activists stormed the Department of the Interior and stayed despite the threat of arrest. 21 stayed for arrest even after being threatened with felony charges.

This past week, the nine of us who were arrested that friday all had to come back to DC for our arraignment. For some of us, that meant flying in from Utah, long train or bus rides from Massachusetts, Maine, etc. For Jordan and I it meant pulling another all-nighter to drive in from Michigan. At 8am, Thursday morning, we met with our lawyers and we ended the day with a drug test at around 3pm. This is the not-so-sexy side of civil disobedience, the part where sacrifice starts to kick in and we are forced to face financial, personal, and professional consequences for our action. But at the same time, these past couple of days have been the most encouraging for me.

I see the beginning of a culture within our movement that is willing to support those who decide to take action even at the expense of their own future. I am beginning to see a movement with people that can find it in their hearts to give the little that they have to support those who they can call allies. I'm beginning to see a movement that is becoming financially independent, and with financial independence comes true mobility. Is the movement strong enough to support one another? Is it capable of making things like money less of a concern when taking action? I think it is.

Going to court on Thursday wasn't a walk in the park. I saw too many of my less fortunate black brothers and sisters in that room and too many people there for minor drug charges. The failure of our court system was hard to ignore- the true victims of our unjust society were criminalized while the true criminals were no where to be found. Yet there was still hope because in the middle of this scene was a row of individuals who were crazy enough to think that they could take on this institution...and there are hundreds who were starting to stand behind them and their action.

Even though Thursday, I was surrounded by those who force their laws on us, It also wasn't scary, nerve racking, or daunting- it was liberating. I am not alone. I have countless of people- some I don't even know personally- who are there to back me up. I want to see more of those seats filled with activists standing up for what is right. I want them to feel the same sense of relief that, despite the outcome, there is a whole movement of like minded individuals ready to bring about support in any way that they can- whether it be with time, money, or just encouragement. I believe the nine of us and the 21 who got arrested in the department of Interior are continuing to play a part in inspiring others to join us in tactful civil disobedience. A movement that has learned how to sacrifice individually and for one another is powerful. It's a force to be reckoned with!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Meeting Bidder 70- Stand With Me

Hi. My name is Tabitha and I care about earth. I care about our home- I care about the air we breath, the water we drink, and the food we eat. I care about that which sustains me and it which sustains other living things....I also care about people. I care about people more than I care about trees, soil, grass, pandas, cows, bunnies- I care about people's access to their basic need to clean air, water, and food. I care about the people who are oppressed through their withdrawn access to clean air, water, and food.I hate the institutions that care about neither people or the earth.

Though I have always cared about people a ton, I didn't always care about the gr
een things and the other stuff I live with. But my eyes were opened to the connection between people and the earth. My senior year of high school, my AP Environmental Science class turned my world upside down. That year I realized the connection between a healthy earth and healthy people. That our bodies will only go as far as how healthy the things are that we put in them. I also learned that there are individuals who would rather us have sick bodies if that means more money.

It was at that point, that i knew I wanted to do something about it.

When I went to college, I knew that the activism spirit that I had felt since I was young had to bloom soon- I decided to dedicate my major and my time to learning how the system worked so I could find the best way to take. it. down. My sophomore year, I realized that the only thing stopping me from taking down the system now wasn't 4 year in school- it was me. It was that year that I joined Greenpeace and Amnesty International at Michigan State. Through those groups I learned one of the most valuable lessons one can learn at my age- that there is power in my voice.
Can you stop with me and think about that statement? Go on, sa
y it to yourself, "There is power in my voice". There is POWER in your voice. My sophomore year i decided to stop being docile and to start become a good citizen- one who
maximizes all of my rights.

Unfortunately, my sophomore year I also found out how frustrating it was to be a good citizen- signing petitions, calling my congressmen, following politics, voting in elections, following ALL THE RULES. And yet for some reason no one cared what I had to say. My political weight was just not good enough. MY government told me that I was just not that important. They said instead that we can start talking when I either have a ton of money or a ton of people. You can guess what options I had to take.

Up until today that's what it's been for me- a numbers game. How many people can we get to this rally, how many petitions can we get signed, how many pledges, endorsements, phone calls, etc. etc. etc. I believed that there was power in my voice, but believed more in the power of many voices.

Today I met Tim DeChristopher, also known as Bidder 70. To make a long story short, Tim singlehandedly stopped the unethical selling of Utah land from the out going Bush administration to big oil and gas developers.

Well how did he do that? It was simple: he walked in, said he was there for the bidding, became bidder 70, and started out-bidding everyone in the room...he won 22,500acres of land at the price of almost 2 BILLION dollars.

Tim didn't have 2 Billion dollars, but he did it anyway. He decided to take matters in his own hands- he realized that there was a point where protesting with signs, petitions, and marches are only going to go so far. His one action stopped the bidding of 116,000 acres of Utah soil.

His voice has power.

After my chat with Tim, and after hearing him speak to a few of us tonight, there were two things I really took to heart: first- facts and figures never changed anyone's minds. The willingness to sacrifice the comforts of my life to take a stand does. Second- I need to shift my thinking from believing that only numbers can topple injustice to taking ownership of the idea that I have the power to topple injustice no matter how big.
Tim was in the breathing space of very powerful, intimidating, and influential people. He could have let the daunting gap between him and them get to him but he
didn't. Instead, he decided to look at the situation for what it was- people getting bargain prices for land they would rip to pieces just to bank on some non-renewables. He then decided that he'd much rather do something and face the consequences of committing a federal offense than sit in a room full of exploiters and do nothing.
There are too many things that I let pass by me, that I'm unwilling to take a lonely stance on. But that won't happen anymore.

My voice has power.

There is something to be said about the times we are in. They are interesting and one of a kind. I say it's time to stop WAITING for our generation to step up. Those who are already need to start walking, kicking some butt, and taking some names. I say lets stop this system. Let's stop corporate take over of our lives, our government, our homes, or bodies. Let's stop corruption, injustice, and out of control consumerism. Let's stop this move to more development, more degradation, more burning of bad things that choke our children and our trees.

I no longer call on my generation, but to those in my generation who sees the battle and are ready to fight. We don't need to wait for the masses to move mountains. The masses will move themselves in their own time. Instead, we need to be setting the example of what it means to draw a line.

Your voice has power.
OUR voice has power.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by and do nothing."

Stand. With. Me.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Adventures in Philly

I went to Philly for the first time with a friend of mine during winter break. It was some good times.

"Why is Ben Franklin in a toga?"

"I love walking on stones!"

Also. Here is a video someone shared with me, it was really powerful

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to stand by and do nothing"- Edmund Burke

Tabby <3

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

GOT- Gulf Shores, Alabama

Time for some pictures. These are from the GOT's expedition trip to the Gulf Coast. We went there to bear witness to the Oil Spill that happened a few months back. It might be old news to the media but it's not old news to the residents who still have no means of work because of the lack of tourism and accessible fishes, the aquatic life that will continue to be drenched with oil and toxic dispersant, and to the ocean that will continue to be raped by countless oil spills that happen every day right under our noses.

From here they just looks like black specks of sand but if you look closer, you'll can see they're actually pulverized specks of oil. The oil patties (more below) are a mixture of oil and sand that's clumped together to make a sticky, mushy form. They come in various shapes and sizes and, lucky for BP and the government, look better on the beach than those blobs of oil. From far, they look like a bunch of smooth rocks.

Dime to quarter sized balls of oil dispersed on the shores of Alabama

Perspective on just how close these oil collecting ships and rigs are to shore. Definitely a prettier horizon than wind turbines...

We were finding these oil patties all behind the beach house we were staying at that week. Though the government deemed the beach to be clean and opened it to the public, there was still oil coming on shore like this clump here. You don't have to be a mother to know how easily a child can find these rock looking tar balls in their mouth. And yes. They are definitely still toxic.

**Sorry it took so long to upload all these pictures! Blogger wasn't working the first time I tried to post and I basically gave up on it until now. (yay for picture uploading abilities!!) I have TONS of new pictures I need to put up but this collection of my work wiped me out!**

Until next time. Hopefully I'll have more time to make random posts too. There are a couple of projects I want to work on so I'll keep you posted on that if I do follow through with them.

Tabby <3

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Readings


I can't believe the GOT is almost over- i definitely recommend it to anyone who is serious about leading the movement in their own communities- changing the world through organizing and facing opposition in the eye. It's been a great experience and I cannot wait to go to the Gulf Coast to witness the oil spill and then to go back to university so I can start organizing.

BUT that is not what i wanted to talk about...well at least not this time around. As I said a few posts ago, instead of just listing off all these books i was going to read this summer, I'll list them off as I go along. Even though I am no where close to finishing that list, i still consider the 2 books iv'e accomplished a win- lol.

Don't Think of an Elephant
By George Lakoff

This book was written shortly after the 2004 elections and basically analyzes why the republican party has their act together while the Democrats do not. Lakoff states that people do not vote based on self interest but rather by frames (the values that you filter information with). He believes that in the US we operate within two frames- a strict father model and a nurturing parent model. Republicans have a strict father frame that they filter politics with and democrats have a nurturing parent frame they filter politics with.

It was a pretty good book, but after the first chapter things got repetitive. One thing that i didn't really like though is the division that he makes between Republicans and Democrats. I mean, i don't read a lot of current affair books but is there really that much hostility between the two parties? It makes me feel like the civil never ended. These divisions go beyond just political differences, we literally see opposing sides as less than human or as an enemy that will never change. The point of his book was to encourage the top dogs of the Democratic party to take note of what the Republicans did to pass all the bills they wanted- package their frame in a way that's sellible to get more American's on their side. But my question is if both parties start working in the same way, if they both successfully killed the independent vote, wouldnt we end up making this deep division between Americana's worse?

Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal
By Randall Kennedy

(whoa! big pic!!!)
This book was about the history and reasons of application of the word sellout in the African American community. Kennedy tackles the what we mean by selling out in the black community, the complexities of selling out to a race or being a race traitor, and how slippery of an identification 'Black' is.
It was a very good book. I think it makes some very interesting points and asks some very bold questions. Kennedy tries to bring to light that the community's quickness to jump the gun on the 'race traitor' waggon prevents us from opening up a dialogue that may be controversial but much needed. Even by writing his book, Kennedy will be fending off race traitor accusations. I think that african american's are so quick to call someone a sellout because we want so desperately to keep, if nothing else, our sense of community- we must stick together, we have a responsibility to help each other out of our oppression, and we support one another. That is all the black community know's to trust- each other, and that cannot change.
Right now i'm trying to get through Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop The Corporate Theft of the World's Water. So far it's really good but I hate to say, VERY one sided. Good thing i'm a little familiar with water privatization issues already. Update on that soon hopefully! and I'll probably make another GP semester update soon-ish too : )

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Born to be WILD

June 11, 2010. The first day of World Cup South Africa 2010.

But more importantly (in a self centered sort of way), June 11 marks the day that I did the BIG CHOP. The short version of that is that I decided to cut off the chemically straighten part of my hair- which i have been doing since the single digits- and letting my natural curly/kinky hair grow out freely. so basically I went from this:

to this:

yea. pretty exciting. I wanted to make an update on my new look but i don't see why it's necessary to make an entirely new blog for it (after all, i already have 2 blogs to keep up with). Plus i don't have enough time to dedicate my free time to being a full time 'naturalist' and trying out/ reviewing/ researching all these different products and recipes for my hair...

Now. I hope you are wondering why i decided to go natural. Honestly it started by watching this history of Soul Train on Vh1 during black history month. specifically an episode where they were explaining how Soul Train was the first African American owned, ran, and hosted tv show in the US which had a lot of commericals that focused on making black beautiful- including black natural hair. It was then that i realized the connection between being natural and being comfortable with my african 'heritage'. From there came two other moments that pushed me over the natural hair edge- my last hairdresser appointment (where i realized just how badly my hair breakage was) and watching Good Hair by Chris Rock.

Good Hair made me really look at the idea of how much my hair means to me and how much a black women that lives in America sees straight hair as being related to 'pretty'. I'll let you in on a secret: I feel the prettiest right after i get a relaxer (or chemically straighten my hair); when my hair is so straight that i can feel my scalp, not puff. All i want is long black hair that is straight and falls down to the middle of my back. I feel beautiful with that hair, not with the hair that i already have- i'm ugly with this hair on my head.

To make an already long story short, i decided that I need to know what my hair is and what it looks like. I want to know what my hair likes to do, what it does in different circumstances, and what products it reacts to. The process of straightening basically strips the protein from your hair to make it fall straight and limp. no, my hair should be free to grow and curl and shrink and absorb and do whatever it wants- AND I SHOULD LOVE IT.

There are also some other reasons for this decision, like recognizing that permanently altering my hair on a regular basis originated from black ppl trying desperately to disown their black characteristics and look more white. On a certain level straightening my hair is literally like living oppression on your head- a daily reminder that i do not feel comfortable in my own skin, in the body God has given me to cherish and love, that all i want to do is look like someone else. I used to make the argument that straightening black hair was now a part of the African-American culture, but you can't always just forget where you came from. The emotional connection between beauty and straight hair for black women shouldn't be ignored.

There's also an environmental side to my decision that i didn't really catch on to until i chopped it all off. To go natural tends to apply to a lot of parts of your daily routine- it's a lifestyle change. The more natural the ingredients, the better for your hair. For natural black hair, a lot of chemicals and alcohols strip your hair of moisture that it desperately needs (natural hair thirsts for moisture like crazy). This allows me to start becoming sustainable in my hair routine. I even have the option now of making my own recipes for conditioners or moisturizers or whatever! Also, being natural frees me from having to go to the hair dresser ever month to use harmful and toxic chemicals that burn my forehead and cause breakage. Not to mention being responsible for all of the crap that must be in the water system thanks to those chemical relaxers.

so there. now you know.

For peace and liberation,