Advice for Advocates

 Photo by Bob Lloyd from People Rise Up! PJALS

Note from Bob Lloyd: This article was originally published by the Inlander January 26, 2017. Follow the link below to see the original post. Advice for Advocates is a regular feature  by Mariah McKay.

Tips for people looking to be the change in these unprecedented times

A roar breaks out as the throng takes its first steps onto the icy streets of Spokane. While no laws or elected positions changed after last weekend’s Women’s March, an era of anemic insider-driven politics officially came to an end. If you are one of the many who feel called to take back our democracy, here are six helpful hints to heed along your journey:

FIND YOUR PLACE

You know those universe maps with a tiny arrow pointing to a dot that says “You are here?” That is you in this new mass movement. Learn about the constellations of groups already working on your issues, rather than reinventing the wheel. Don’t know where to start? Try Google or the “three degrees” approach. Ask someone who knows someone who does. Think about your unique abilities and focus on a role that plays to your strengths.

EMBRACE COMPLEXITY

It is possible for two or more things to be true at once. We are so conditioned to think in “either/or” terms, we often miss out on opportunities in between. Just because your neighbor disagrees with you on one issue doesn’t mean they won’t help you on another. Remember to not see people, organizations or institutions as monolithic.

JOY LOVES COMPANY

Some think you aren’t doing enough unless you are exhausted and miserable. This culture of stress is counter-strategic. The change we seek is a marathon and not a sprint; thus, you must sustain yourself for the long haul. Balance organizing hard with celebration and rest. People are attracted to a movement that is fun and joyous!

THINK AND ACT LOCALLY

The specter of national politics has sucked many into a cycle of emotional reactivity. Turn your existential angst into real-world action in your own backyard. Resources for engaging your congressperson, like the Indivisible Guide (indivisibleguide.com), are also relevant at the city, county and state levels. If just a fraction of the energy displayed at the Women’s March were channeled into local arenas, mountains would be on the move.

PUT PEOPLE FIRST

Revolution is the business of radical relationships. Befriend those who are different from you and find ways to celebrate your common humanity. Abandon name-calling and clever insults. Be as specific and respectful with your concerns as you can be. When reaching across a political divide, don’t immediately dive into issues. Be a person first, and you may be surprised by the friendship that will follow.

In the end, all these tips are about getting outside yourself. Ego is the ultimate enemy of an effective mass movement. Enjoy the liberation that comes with knowing you are not the only one!

Mariah McKay is a fourth-generation daughter of Spokane and a community organizer campaigning for racial, social and economic justice. She currently serves as a public health advocate.

 

Hidden Figures: A Must See for Mothers and Daughters

5,000+ women marched in Spokane. How many will bring their children to see this story?

Scroll down to see other posts from 4comculture.com

 

How I Saw: Spokane’s 8,000 Women March by Robert Lloyd

Protester’s sign read stand up! speak up! and these protesters did it this cold Spokane winter day. Some who were lucky made it to inside halls standing and sitting in the warmth and could hear the messages from the Ballroom. Others filled sidewalks for blocks east and west and entertained each other with songs, music, chatter. The Davenport Hotel Coffee and Bar was a hit place to keep warm.

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After the March People Rose Up!

Marchers continued on to the Community Building where they shared chili, soup, music, poetry, speakers, a movie, action tables, creative activities for kids and adults, and began networking to take action.

Something You Can Do                                                    Personal Actions You Can Take

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Something We Can All Do: Life Under Trump #3

 

Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.

Let’s Commit Ourselves

Martin Luther King Day Celebration 2017

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OK, we had our celebration with speeches and the march.

Now Let’s Commit Ourselves

Since 2008 news and social media have done nothing but complain about what politicians did and did not do. If they have not accomplished goals and objectives it is no one’s fault but your own.  If you are not satisfied with the 2016 election I suggest that you step up and do something about it.

From the list below, choose the issue you feel needs action,  list the issue and the name of an organization that works on that issue in the comment box below and fill in your contact information. If you do not know of an organization, volunteer to start such an organization. I will pass your contact information on to the appropriated organization. Also I will collate the information everyone contributes and post the results at this site 4comculture.com. To stay aware of current posts at this site in the right hand side bar SUBSCRIBE to receive an email notifying you of new posts (a couple per week).

What Will You Commit To

Protest (Civic Disobedience, Non-violent direct action, Go to jail), Government service, Social justice, Political action, Political parties (Democratic, Republican, Independent, Progressive), Employment (Jobs and training), Housing, Healthy food production, Education (K12, College), Environment (Climate change etc.) Community organizing, Social justice, Community service, Social services, Health and safety, Drug abuse prevention, Community security, Reproductive rights, Hunger, Homelessness, Race relations, Human relations, Art and culture, International affairs, Belief systems (Humanism etc.).

 

MLK Week Kicks Off!

 

After the showing of the documentary film 13th at Bethel AME Church at 10 am on January 14, across town at the Spokane Public Library PJALS (Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane) sponsored a 5 hour hands on workshop: Love > Hate: Bystander Intervention Training which covered:

Being Resistant to Assertiveness

  1. Self-defense
  2. Continuum of Oppression / Nature of Prejudice
  3. The Spinach in Your Teeth Theory and Overview
  4. Putting Assertiveness into Context
  5. Assertiveness Model & Calling In

My observation as I photographed the workshop was that it was excellent. I thought that the information below that was listed on a wallet sized card was a good tool for it was an excellent tool for using white privilege to intervene in oppressive situations.

Assertiveness Model
Breathe.
Describe the problem or name the problem behavior. “The situation is ______.”
Tell why the behavior is wrong or say how it makes you feel. “That’s not ok because _____.” “I feel ________when you _____.”
State your needs or give a direction. “What I/we need is _____.”
Be firm and persistent.

Practice Assertiveness!

Act like a self-respecting equal: You are! You have a right to your opinions, decisions, and to say NO with no excuses. Be persistent!
Visual: Straighten your spine. Breathe deeply. Make direct eye contact. Take up space.
Vocal: Speak in a firm tone. Don’t end statements with question marks.
Verbal: Think & talk about yourself positively. Don’t self-limit with lead-ups or tags. State your needs. Use “I feel ___.” Clarify. Say what you mean directly.
Support others in solidarity and unity.

 

Red Alert! Red Alert!

MLK Week Kicks Off

On January 14 in a small inland northwest town MLK Week kicked off with the Netflix documentary 13th:

Sandy Williams, publisher of the Black Lens News and Rev. Walter Kendricks president of the Spokane Ministers Fellowship started the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Celebrations with the screening of the Netflix documentary film 13th at Bethel AME Church in Spokane hosted by the Rev. Lonnie Mitchell.

Spokane Washington 2015 Census DataAfter the screening the audience – predominantly white residents of the inland northwest – broke up into small groups for discussion. How did they feel? What did they need to do about it?

  1. I wish all the kids in our school district could see this.
  2. I never heard of the organization ALEC.
  3. I have 4 family members with a total of over 100 years in prison plus one with 3 strikes you’re out.
  4. I think we need political action.
  5. I take Netflix and I have never seen this before.
  6. I worked on both sides of this issue – as a corrections officer on the inside and as a youth counselor on the outside.
  7. The corrections industry is a cesspool.
  8. We need to talk about self responsibility.
  9. Black people need to have serious discussions about race also.
  10. White people need to check out SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice). PJALS is starting a SURJ Spokane branch.
  11. Look into  Hope Cafe : Washington State Department of Corrections initiative.
  12. We can send out information to follow up on this meeting.
  13. Subscribe to Black Lens News.
  14. We can join forces with a group started on the west side of the state called Black Prisoners Caucus.
  15. There is a small group that meets the First Thursday of every month at the Rocket Market at 43rd & Scott at 10 am and discusses actions that may be taken to build the community we would like to live in.

As the meeting at Bethel AME was ending a workshop called

Love > Hate: Bystander Intervention Training

was being held by PJALS across town at the Spokane Public Library. This workshop gave hands on experience in how to challenge oppressive statements.

What She Did – Something You Can Do

 

This action grew out of our First Thursday Coffee Discussion at the Rocket Market last week. If you have taken a positive action please comment on this post.

River Park Square Customer Concerns
January 13, 2017    (as posted on 4comculture.com)

I want to share an experience with you that I have shared with many people – sometimes in a classroom of 30, sometimes to a friend. The other day I shared it with five or six people having coffee together. These are usually all white audiences. I am an African American. I have two  memorable experiences in the River Park Square Shopping Mall. One was an art exhibit in Nordstrom’s during Black History Week in the late 1990’s. It was a very pleasant experience and the floorwalker came by and enjoyed my work, smiled and said pleasant things throughout the day. I have only shared that experience with a few people. The other experience took place maybe ten years ago but it often feels like it happened yesterday. Let me describe that second experience.

I am an older man with gray hair and dressed rather conservatively. I was shopping with my wife and began to feel tired and out of breath so I asked my wife to continue shopping while I found a seat in the entryway to the mall. There were two benches, one on the east side of the entrance and the other on the west side. The bench on the east side was filled with a family. A man with many packages was seated on the bench on the west side. I stood next to next to him on the bench, he saw me but he did not make an effort to move over or make room for me on the bench. Feeling very lightheaded at this point I sat down on the floor fearing I was going to fall down. Two or three minutes later a man approached in street clothes and told me that he was security and that I could get up or go to jail. I told him that I was feeling lightheaded and had to rest and that my wife would be back soon to take me home. He told me “Get up or go to jail.”   So I got up, walked outside, got some air, came back, my wife came, and we went home. I had expected that mall security would have asked the man to move his packages that I might sit on the bench. He didn’t and I didn’t. I asked security to ask the man and his response was “Get up or go to jail.”

The only reason I am telling you this now, out of all the times I have told this story, is that usually when I do whites listen without saying anything while Blacks say “That’s life.” I think “What’s the use. They’re all white so avoid any kind of confrontation, let it go.” This time when I told the story to a white woman she later contacted me. Here is what she said in her message: “Hey Robert! What a pleasure to hear/see the history in your warm, inviting home. Thanks so much for taking the time to “educate” V and I. BTW, I forgot to mention, I visited for a long time with a Riverpark Square security manager last week about that incident you told me about and learned a lot…must share with you sometime. I encourage you to fill out this complaint form attached and send to Sara Cannon at the address provided. Let me know what you think.“  Attached was this form.

I don’t know how you can use this information. Maybe it can be an educational process for your staff and employees. I’ll probably keep telling the story. But there will be an addition to it. I will tell them about a white lady I met named BB who came to my defense and maybe there is hope after all. I will encourage my listeners to immediately document their own event and send it to the management of the facility and a copy to some social justice organization.

Robert J. Lloyd

Let’s Commit Ourselves to Action

During the last eight years I have heard so many complaints about what President Obama has and has not done for us.   Barack Obama has done more for America than anyone since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. energized the Civil Rights Movement.

Since 2008 news and social media have done nothing but complain about what politicians did and did not do. If they have not accomplished goals and objectives it is no one’s fault but your own.  If you are not satisfied with the 2016 election I suggest that you step up and do something about it.

If there is an issue or a problem that you feel needs fixing, post a comment to this page describing the problem and the name of an organization that works on that problem that you are involved in or would like to be involved in. If you do not know of an organization, volunteer to start such an organization. Include your contact information. I will collate the information everyone contributes and post the results on  this site 4comculture.com 

What are the issues that you feel are important in the year 2017?

What is your level of commitment?
Are you an actor, are you an ally or are you an accomplice? Click the link to see how we are defining these terms and what you might do: http://wp.me/P1UPVH-2rX