Saturday, November 30, 2019

stamping Tubman 20's

Pres. Obama got it approved to get Tubman 20's minted in 2020. The current U.S. president pushed the printing to 2026 or 2028. I joined the movement to not wait. I bought the stamp to help get more representation on our currency (a woman, a Person of Color, and an activist). Harriet Tubman represents what I believe in, not Andrew Jackson (a strong supporter of the removal of Native American tribes from U.S. territory east of the Mississippi River, Jackson began the process of forced relocation known as the "Trail of Tears.") 

Since I am trying to get these into circulation, I try to use them often. I start with the attitude that folks would want to have these, asking with a positive tone: "Would you like to have a Tubman 20?" Not assuming they will have a problem with a defensive tone: "Would you take a Tubman 20?" 


I bought my stamp from this site: tubmanstamp.com, getting the ink pad and extra ink too. I have needed to re ink the pad a few times, so I am glad I got the extra ink. I am stamping 20s for my family and friends too.

I use a white colored pencil to make Jackson's shoulders (and hair that still shows) lighter. Then I use a fine point Sharpie marker to complete the top border where Jackson's hair was, and write: "TUBMAN" at the bottom if the printing alignment wasn't accurate enough. The stamping process isn't perfect. But it is better than Jackson!

We checked with our bank, yes, they are legal tender. 
One store my sister used it in did a test with a marker and accepted it as legal. 
Sometimes folks won't take it, but we will keep trying to normalize the use of these so they will be readily accepted.

Here is research on legality of these 20s:

Here is info about this movement:
Note from 3/5/20:
I am considering not doing this anymore. I just read this article: https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/02/14/nation/i-dont-want-harriet-tubman-credit-card-or-20-pay-homage-not-like-this/
I am so opposed to using currency with Jackson on it... based on what he did to Indigenous Peoples... that I like the Tubman option. But now not sure if stamping Harriet Tubman over his face is better...based on the points of that article.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

my choices for today and these days

Some folks are celebrating Thanksgiving today. I don't, and haven't for a number of years. This is what I do instead:
  • I recognize the National Day of Mourning. 
  • I do a Mother Earth Celebration outside on this day, including the 4 directions and 4 elements. Every day I can, I nurture the earth and plants indoors and outside, conserve water, reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose, enjoy walks in nature, drive an electric car...for example. 
  • I spend time with my family another day.
  • I try to feel, and express when I can, my gratitude everyday.
  • I try to educate myself and pass on what I learn to my community.
Here is some examples for above:

I am grateful to my growing community of folks wanting to learn about our history, and do something about it now and the future.

I am reading An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This is so information and important to know.

I recently saw Native education specialist Annawon Weeden, a member of both the Mashpee Wampanoag and Mashantucket Pequot tribal communities, present ‘First Light Flashback,’ the personal story of his communities' history and legacy. It is powerful. This is his website: firstlightfoundation.net

Jessie Little Doe Baird is a linguist known for her efforts to revive the Wampanoag language. Here is a film about her efforts and the effect: "We Still Live Here As Nutayunean": dailymotion.com/video. I am grateful to Annawon for telling me about this film. I found it moving and hopeful.

I recently saw "Praying Town" a documentary film by filmmaker Zadi Zokou for a screening and discussion of his film that covers three centuries of Natick and Southern New England: Puritans, Christian Indians, King Philip’s War, Black slavery, the Abolitionist Movement and more. I requested a copy and will get it when it becomes available so I can share it.

Today I listened to this current informative interview about the National Day of Mourning, the myth of Thanksgiving, and the truth: wbur.org/radioboston/2019/11/27/50th-day-mourning. See uaine.org for more. My sister regularly goes to this event. She is there now.

Here is what I did last year for my Mother Earth Celebration:

A neighbor and good friend and her two younger daughters, joined my partner and me for this event. It included the four directions and four elements as we moved around the house. I elicited answers and we had conversations at every stage. (It was cold so we didn't spend a lot of time on this...it could have included more, for sure.)

North, wind/air
Standing in the side yard, we discussed the need for this element: for fun (all blew bubbles, E. continued this until the end of Celebration), for birds, bees, butterflies, and planes to fly (all got a Reminder Stone gift (pottery I made) of a butterfly (or other things for the other elements) and a folded paper crane, we looked at a small model airplane of P.'s), and for scattering seeds to represent the spreading of trees, flowers, plants, food (we blew seeds off of my ornamental grasses). Appropriately, it was a windy day.

West, earth/land
Standing in the middle of the front garden, we discussed the need for this element: to grow flowers, trees (for fruit and oxygen to breathe), and food. We dropped on the earth as a gift back to Her: popcorn seeds and lentils to represent food, and a dried flower from the garden. We walked and stomped on the earth to send a message to Mother Earth that we appreciate her, and want to care for her.

South, water
Standing in the middle of the food garden, we discussed the need for this element for food: I pointed out the herbs, blueberry bushes, rhubarb, and strawberries...they need water (and earth) to live. Just like all of our food. As do us people (and animals). We are around 80% water. We drank water, and poured some on the garden. We discussed the ocean...that it is 70% of earth surface and ocean water is 97% of water on planet; we need to take care of the 3% fresh water since we can't drink ocean water. All got a shell as a gift from the ocean. WATER IS LIFE!

East, fire
Standing in the sun in the back yard, we discussed the need for this element: the sun for warmth and light; fire is needed for warmth and cooking our food. We discussed what it would be like if we could only eat raw, cold food. P. said she couldn't have baked the cake she just made without fire. And we need to respect the power and danger of fire. Talked about fires in California: damage to people, homes, trees, and more. We had written notes with our wishes for Mother Earth inside. At this point, we burned these small notes in a ceramic container with "Gratitude" carved on it, spreading our wishes to the Universe asking to help us carry them out. We had trouble in the wind lighting and keeping the fire going...this reminded us of positive and negative sides of wind/air on fire. 

I ended with the reminder we don't have to stop speaking to the Universe with our wishes. It can make a difference. And I mentioned that we went around the house in a circle, like the cycle of the seasons, and that all of the elements are connected, and continuous.

Today, my hubby and I were alone. We did a similar but shortened version since no guests and children were with us. Then we smudged around the house 2x and in all the corners and rooms of our house afterwards.

Again, I am grateful to my growing community of folks wanting to learn about our history, and do something about it now and the future. I am grateful for you.

- Deb

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

free Rodney Reed

This is urgent. On November 20th, Texas is scheduled to execute an innocent man for a rape and murder he did not commit.

Mountains of evidence exonerates Rodney Reed. All of that evidence was kept from the all white jury that convicted him. Instead, the evidence implicates the victim’s fiancé – local police officer Jimmy Fennell – who has a history of violence against women, including being convicted for kidnapping and sexual assault soon after Rodney was wrongly sent to prison.

Read more, and sign the petition, here: www.freerodneyreed.com and do any other action you can. Do something every day if you can. I am asking friends and family to sign the petition at least. I am making calls (there is lots of support on the calls), writing emails, and sending clemency letters.

Rodney Reed is innocent. Even if you aren't sure, let's get him a fair trial!

Thanks for your help,
Deb


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

ideas and support for activists

A friend shared this recently. I just read it and found it helpful (as an imperfect activist wanting to learn how to find balance with the challenges in this work):

6 Signs Your Call-Out Is About Ego and Not Accountability
May 22, 2019
by Maisha Z. Johnson
thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/6-signs-your-call-out-isnt-actually-about-accountability/


From the article above, I got this link and appreciated her suggestions:

Activist Burnout Is Real – And You Probably Need to Read These 4 Ways to Manage It 
May 27, 2015
by Aliya Khan
everydayfeminism.com/2015/05/dealing-with-activist-burnout/






Wednesday, May 1, 2019

We don't have the Constitutional right to vote!

I learned about this issue from Ep. 19 of The Breakdown with Shaun King podcast. The episode title is: Do you even have the right to vote? really recommend listening to The Breakdown. Shaun King breaks things down very clearly and gives us action steps.

The action for Ep. 19 was to research this issue more on: www.righttovoteamendment.com.
(Note: If the links in the body of text don't work, use the top navigation.)

I also am reading about this:
Dozens Of Civil Rights Groups Ask Presidential Candidates 
To Support Letting People In Prison Vote 
on www.huffpost.com


If you want to get started with the podcast, google: The Breakdown with Shaun King
I use the podcast player Podbean if you want my suggestion. I am new to listening to podcasts myself. This is my first!


Saturday, February 9, 2019

How to Overcome Our Biases, TEDx talk

This is a TEDx talk by Vernā Myers.

"Our biases can be dangerous, even deadly — as we've seen in the cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner, in Staten Island, New York. Diversity advocate Vernā Myers looks closely at some of the subconscious attitudes we hold toward out-groups. She makes a plea to all people: Acknowledge your biases. Then move toward, not away from, the groups that make you uncomfortable. In a funny, impassioned, important talk, she shows us how."

Very good.



Thursday, January 24, 2019

wealth gap

You might be aware of the wealth gap in the U.S. between white folks and POC. One way we (as white people) perpetuate it (are complicit) is to offer jobs to our friends and family (high percentage of which are also usually white too) without offering the job to the broader community. This would make it possible for POC to apply and compete.

I know why this happens; it is easier to do, we know the person, we love the person, we already trust the person, etc. For those of us who appreciate the importance of undoing racism, I challenge us to see the big picture, put in more effort, and offer jobs to the wider community, not just our friends and family. And don't take a job you could get from a friend/family member connection until you are sure the job was advertised widely.

Here are some related resources I used at a Knapsack meeting in Feb. 2018: Exploring the Intersection of Race and Class:

Whites Aren't Affected by Racism but are Victims of Classism (YouTube, 4:26 mins)

Wealth Inequality in America (YouTube, 6.23 mins)

America's wealth gap is split along racial lines — and it's getting dangerously wider (article on vox.com)

It’s Not Class, It’s Race: Why America Can’t Move Forward Until It Addresses the Racial Wealth Gap (article on theroot.com)

Is America more divided by race or class? (article on washingtonpost.com)

Our money will not liberate us: What the NFL protests say about wealth and White Supremacy (article on resourcegeneration.org)

The Color of Wealth in Boston (article on bostonfed.org)


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Seeing White podcast

A friend recommended this podcast to me and others in the Racial Justice Dialogue group that meets in Natick the first Saturday of each month. I am so grateful to know about this. I am almost done listening to the 10 hours in 14 parts. I have learned from it and want to share it with everyone.

Seeing White*

An exploration of solutions and responses to America’s deep history of white supremacy by host John Biewen, with Chenjerai Kumanyika.
Go to the bottom of the page I posted to start listening to part one.

This part of the series I found particularly helpful for understanding affirmative action so I can respond to what I hear from other white folks.