Community Activism · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia...

Join Showing Up for Racial Justice and Become a Better Ally

Join Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a group that encourages and organizes white people to dismantle white supremacy and move America toward actual racial equality.

If you’re reading this, odds are you’re white. And odds are you’re sickened by how white supremacy warps our society and you want to do something about it. Knowing what to do, exactly, can be hard. White supremacy is insidious and it can be hard for white people to see its effects as clearly as people of color do.

SURJ, founded in 2009, is a network of white anti-racists that’s devoted to serving as allies to people of color and their causes. It also supports using white privilege as a weapon against itself by speaking out against police brutality and related abuses. It facilitates the awkward conversations that white people need to have, amongst ourselves, without burdening people of color to shepherd us and do the work for us.

SURJ is intersectional and all-inclusive while staying alert to how systemic racism shows its face in a chapter’s local community, and finding thoughtful, specific ways to fight back. SURJ will also help you learn to be a better, more useful ally.

 

Visit the SURJ website:

http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org

 

Find your nearest SURJ group:

http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/affiliated_groups_local_contacts

 

Donate to SURJ:

https://showingupforracialjustice.nationbuilder.com/donate

 

Like its Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/ShowingUpForRacialJusticesurj/

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@ShowUp4RJ

 

Read this 2015 interview with SURJ leaders:

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/answering-the-call-white-people-showing-up-for-racial-justice-hesaid/

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Save This Tool for Keeping Tabs on Bills That Concern You: GovTrack

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

Bookmark Govtrack.us, a nifty tool for learning about and tracking bills that concern you.

 

Govtrack debuted in 2004 as a hobby project and blossomed into what you see today. It helps you find federal legislation on issues that you care about, and lets you track them as they work their way through Congress.

 

It can also show you the bills most tracked by the site’s users, trending bills, and other useful information, such as the total amount of legislation passed by Congress in the current session. And it offers good longer reads in the form of GovTrackInsider, which offers detailed examinations of hot bills and contested issues.

 

 

Start using GovTrack:

https://www.govtrack.us

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like its Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/govtrack/

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@govtrack

Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism

Support Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Support Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an organization along the lines of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which seeks to change our country’s gun laws and gun culture. 

 

Moms Demand Action came into being the day after the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. It quickly evolved from a Facebook page to a grassroots movements to change things for the better. It also became part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in America.

 

The nonpartisan organization supports the Second Amendment and common-sense gun laws.

 

See a list of its accomplishments:

https://momsdemandaction.org/our-victories/

 

 

Join your local chapter of Moms Demand Action:

https://act.everytown.org/signup/Join-Moms/?source=mdmo_MomsTakeAction&utm_source=md_m_&utm_medium=_o&utm_campaign=MomsTakeAction

 

 

Donate to Moms Demand Action:

https://wordpress.com/post/onethingyoucando.com/17302

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction/?source=mdmo_MomsSidebar&utm_source=md_m_&utm_medium=_o&utm_campaign=MomsSidebar

 

 

Follow it on Twitter:

@MomsDemand

 

 

Follow founder Shannon Watts on Twitter:

@shannonrwatts

 

 

Buy Moms Demand Action merch:

https://store.everytown.org/?source=mdmo_moms_website_link&utm_source=md_m_&utm_medium=_o&utm_campaign=moms_website_link

Common-sense Gun Laws · Community Activism

Learn About Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership

Learn about Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership (GOFRO), an Oregon-based gun safety group.

 

Paul Kemp, a gun owner who grew up with guns, launched the group after losing a brother-in-law in a December 2012 attack on a Portland, Oregon mall. The 22-year-old shooter used a semi-automatic rifle to kill two people and injure a third.

 

GOFRO supports common-sense gun laws. It asks its members to take the following pledge:

 

“I will practice safe storage.  I will keep my firearms and ammunition locked and separate.

I will support universal background check requirements.  I will not sell or buy a firearm without a background check.

I will support the rights of my fellow citizens to be free from intimidation by the open display of firearms in public.  I will avoid the unnecessary carrying of firearms in public, particularly in places where children are present.

I will always make gun safety a priority in my home, in the field or on the range.”

 

 

 

 

Visit the GOFRO website:

http://www.responsibleownership.org

 

 

Take the GOFRO pledge:

http://www.responsibleownership.org/take_the_pledge

 

 

See its ‘Research/Read More’ page:

http://www.responsibleownership.org/research_read_more

 

 

Donate to Gun Owners for Responsible Ownership:

https://oregongunsafety.nationbuilder.com/donate

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Volunteer for GOFRO:

http://www.responsibleownership.org/volunteer

 

 

Like its Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/GunOwnersForResponsibleOwnership/

 

 

Read a transcript of a January 2018 PBS Newshour interview with the founder of GOFRO (you can also watch the video, which is above the transcript):

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/gun-owning-group-in-oregon-advocates-for-firearm-safety

 

A Note: OTYCD has devoted several posts to common-sense gun laws and gun safety, and will continue to do so.

 

That does not mean, however, that we want to ban all guns. We don’t, and we never have. We are pro-responsible gun ownership. We support people who fully understand the responsibilities of gun ownership, and who show a healthy respect for guns, and whose actions consistently show that understanding and respect.

 

As of February 2018, it’s obvious to most Americans that its gun culture is horrifically, grievously, and unconscionably borked, and its gun laws need to improve ASAP. Here’s hoping the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas provide the push we need to truly fix things at last.

Uncategorized

Learn About the Paradox of Tolerance

This OTYCD entry originally posted in August 2017.

 

Learn about the Paradox of Tolerance, a philosophical concept that allows tolerance to survive and thrive.

 

Philosopher Karl Popper first elucidated the Paradox of Tolerance in 1945. Notice the timing there? 1945? Remember what happened in 1945, and what had happened over the six or so years leading up to it? Yeah, not an accident.

 

Here is Popper’s quote defining the Paradox of Tolerance, taken from his work The Open Society and Its Enemies:

“Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if e are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

“In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols.”

“We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.”

 

This is going to be a gross simplification of what Popper is talking about, but at its core, the paradox of tolerance means that at some point, we who uphold liberal democracy have to protect tolerance itself by practicing intolerance toward those who would destroy it if given a chance.

 

To be dead clear–we don’t practice intolerance towards those who we simply don’t like, or whose ideas we find merely distasteful. Do not go medieval on people who insist that Creed is the best band ever. People are allowed to be wrong.

 

People are NOT allowed to act on beliefs that would extinguish the life and liberty of other people. Exhibit A: The Nazis, whose worldview included killing the disabled, imprisoning (and eventually starving to death) minorities and political prisoners, and trying to wipe out all the Jewish people in the world.

 

The neo-Nazis who showed up in Charlottesville in August meant business. They were testing, trying to see just how much they could get away with now that Trump is in power. They chose a smallish college town and chose to come when college was not in session. They came armed. They chanted Nazi slogans. They carried torches. Some came dressed to look like a militia or a police force. They threatened counter-protestors. And one drove his car directly into a crowd of protesters, killing one and injuring 19.

 

The only silver lining to this–and it was a brightly polished one–is that Americans who had been dismissive or skeptical of what the white supremacists and neo-Nazis had been on about snapped to attention after Trump made his comments offering the bad guys aid and comfort. The next big scheduled protest after Charlottesville happened in Boston on August 19. About 20 neo-Nazis and white supremacists showed up; at least 20,000, and by some reports, as many as 40,000 counter-protesters came out to meet them.

 

That is what should have happened, and that is what did happen. Keep showing up to oppose them. Keep being non-violent. Keep calling them out. And yes, let them feel the full force of their terrible choices. If you stand up in public and embrace fascism, Nazism, and racism, you should suffer social stigma. Period. Full stop.

 

So, yes, be intolerant of the intolerant. Be bigoted towards the bigots. But stay nonviolent. Chant. Play instruments with comedy value, like bagpipes, tubas, and kazoos. But don’t go raring to punch Nazis. That’s what they want–they want you to hit back, they want you to hit first. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

 

If the neo-Nazi clown show comes to your town, show up. Turn out in hordes, in swarms, in droves. Show them that their ideas suck and we ain’t having it. But let them have their dumb little meeting and let them come and go unmolested. And never, never give them what they want.

 

Read Popper’s quote on the Paradox of Tolerance GoodReads:

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/25998-the-so-called-paradox-of-freedom-is-the-argument-that-freedom

 

See a cartoon on the Paradox of Tolerance that went viral:

 

Read The Careful, Pragmatic Case Against Punching Nazis in New York magazine:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/08/the-careful-pragmatic-case-against-punching-nazis.html

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Honor Those Who You Carry With You When You March

This post originally appeared on OTYCD in August 2018.

 

Honor those who you represent when you march or protest.

 

When you go to a march or a protest, it’s not just about you. You stand for many other people who want to be there, but can’t.

 

Maybe they’re working. Maybe they’re care-giving. Maybe they’re cramming for finals. Maybe they’re traveling. Maybe they’re too sick to go. Maybe they live too far away to make the trip. Maybe they can’t afford it and would be insulted if you tried to pay their way. Maybe they’re dead, but would go without hesitation if they were alive to join you.

 

Find a way to bring these people with you even though they can’t come in person.

The cheapest and easiest way is to write their names on a piece of paper and tuck it in your pocket.

 

Sit and think. Who would want to come with you? Your mother. Your great-grandfather. Your cousin. Your favorite teacher. Your sorority sister. Write their names. That can be enough.

 

You could also build a charm bracelet or a necklace, with each charm representing a person who you’re “bringing” to the event.

 

Jewelry isn’t as cheap as pen and paper, but it can be pretty cheap (see the link below).

http://www.fitnessfinders.net/school-awards-and-tokens-s/147.htm

 

And when you do this, find a way to carry the memory of Heather Heyer with you. She was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017 when a 20-year-old man deliberately drove his car into a group of anti-racist protesters.

 

Heyer’s favorite color was purple. If you have purple clothing, you could wear that to remember her and carry her with you. Or maybe you could carry or wear a violet–she named her dog Violet.

 

Never lose sight of the fact that when you lace up your marching shoes and ready your signs, you are not alone, at least not in spirit. Draw strength from those who you carry with you.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Support the HONR Network, Started By a Sandy Hook Victim’s Father, Which Defends Those Affected By Gun Violence and Terrorism

This OTYCD entry originally posted in December 2017.

 

Support the HONR Network, an organization started by the father of a Sandy Hook student, which protects and defends the families of victims of headline-making gun violence and terrorism. 

 

Leonard Pozner got the worst news of his life on December 14, 2012–his son, Noah, was among the children killed at Sandy Hook. In a merciful world, that would have been the end of the horror he faced, but it was only the beginning. Immediately after the tragedy, he received harassing messages from self-appointed “truthers”–people convinced that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.

 

He was told that his little boy was a paid actor, recruited to deceive the public. That he didn’t die. That he never existed. Offering proof, such as releasing Noah’s death certificate, only made them double down on their conspiratorial thinking, and made them more determined to spread the “truth” as they understand it. And they have powerful advocates in the form of people such as radio host Alex Jones.

 

Fed up, Pozner started the HONR Network to fight back against determined harassers–people who stalk the survivors of headline-making acts of gun violence and terrorism and inflict more pain on them. It recently achieved a real punishment for Lucy Richards, a 57-year-old Sandy Hook truther who sent multiple threatening messages to Pozner. She pled guilty to sending threats through interstate communications and will serve five months in prison followed by five months of house arrest.

 

To be utterly clear on this–reading about the beliefs of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists and their compatriots is not a crime. Interacting with them online is not a crime. Holding such beliefs is not, in and of itself, a crime. But if you hunt down the contact information of the family members of the victims and deliberately push your conspiracy theories in their faces over and over and over again, you’ve crossed a line, and consequences could follow.

 

See the HONR Network’s website:

http://www.honr.com

 

Donate to the HONR Network GoFundMe:

https://www.gofundme.com/honrlegalfund?utm_medium=wdgt

 

Follow the HONR Network on Twitter:

@honrnetwork

 

Like it on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/honrnetwork

 

Read about what Pozner and his HONR Network friends are up against (this Cracked story inspired this OTYCD post):

http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2232-my-son-died-at-sandy-hook-conspiracy-nuts-think-im-lying.html

 

Read about the sentence levied against Lucy Richards:

http://time.com/4810828/sandy-hook-shooting-lucy-richards-threats/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/09/sandy-hook-conspiracy-theorist-death-threats-prison?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!