In elementary school when your skin is dark and your nose is broad and your hair is kinky, your peers don’t think your life matters. So you find sanctuary in the library. No one beats you up, no one calls you names, you read. And you discover how much there is that you don’t know and you can find it in a book. A teaching career, a military career, an artist’s career, medical technical career, African history, philosophy, literature, world travels. Information made his life matter. Charles made his life matter. Charles Henri Tuggle, 80
Information Made His Life Matter
Charles is part of Hunters Point Shipyard Artists in San Francisco California. Examples of his work are available here. www.shipyardartists.com
There are mobilizers and there are organizers. The demonstrations you have seen and participated in for George Floyd here and across the globe have been successful mobilization events. What is needed now is grassroot organization.
The map on the left are the communities in Spokane where this discussion needs to take place. Suggestions of what you can do in your community are at this link: Mobilizing to Organizing
Sunday June 7, 2020 started off at 10:30 am with meditation and yoga exercises at the Red Wagon. At 2:00 pm the NAACP had one of the largest outside rallies in Spokane’s history. The tone of this rally was set by Kurtis Robinson, Kiantha Duncan, and Le’Taxione. Kurtis Robinson welcomed a large standing crowd at the Lilac Bowl. Kiantha Duncan followed asking everyone to sit down on the grass and center themselves. She had three messages that she wanted to deliver to three groups of people. She thanked all who showed up to nonviolently express their outrage and disappointment with police brutality throughout the country. If there were those who came looking for trouble with signs with hateful speech, she wanted them to take those signs and sit on them. Then she called upon all law enforcement agents to obey the law and treat all demonstrators with respect and human dignity. My observation was that there were no visible signs of law enforcement. Le’Taxione told the audience that he was not speaking to make anybody feel good, he was there to express his strong objections to brutality and the status quo. But he made it quite clear he and the youth he brought would not allow anybody to hijack this peaceful demonstration. If so, they would be escorted out of town. These photographs bear witness to the unified desire that everyone should receive equal justice.
After your demonstrations at the Red Wagon or City Hall you could:
Ask 5 of your new or trusted friends for their email addresses and mobile phone numbers so you can set up a meeting regularly via Zoom to discuss strategies and planned measurable actions. Assign someone to send information about the measurable actions you plan to firstname.lastname@example.org so they can be shared at the website 4comculture.com. Hopefully when the city opens up and you can have meetings in public places such as coffee shops you will be able to have these discussions face-to-face.
If you can find 4 people that will accompany you to an arterial in your neighborhood each could stand on a corner displaying their signs for an hour or more
Walk up and down the block or cul-de-sac where you live with your sign and handout sharing why you march and what others can do to help. This is something you can do alone.
Stand in front of the house you live in with your sign and have a discussion about why you march with anybody that will join you. Have two socially distant chairs nearby.
Being Black I am always visible! I am asking you to shed your invisibility.
History Lesson On Organizing
Kwame Ture: Converting the Unconscious to Conscious
Sometimes we can’t wait on the cavalry! Let’s put the wagons in a circle. The battle has begun! We are under attack, we must do the best we can with what we have. The creative will have the best chance for survival. It’s good to be prepared and independent but in times like this we need to be inter-dependent.
Thanks Fawna and David! We will wear our super masks proudly.
Super-Heroism 101 : You Need A Mask By Yvor Stoakley
Dear Friends, While the jury may still be out (sorry about the legal jargon…it means there is still no clear verdict on this issue), “Masks Save Lives” (https://www.maskssavelives.org/ ) makes some compelling arguments for wearing masks in public during this pandemic. We each have to weigh these arguments and make up our own minds but here are some of the points they offer for consideration:
Western countries are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infections compared to Asian countries where mask wearing is a more culturally accepted practice.
· There is broad consensus that individuals who are infected and individuals who are contagious should wear a mask in the presence of other people to reduce the incidence of infecting others.
· It is standard practice in hospitals for surgeons to wear masks to avoid transferring germs to their patients.
· Masks can protect against transfer of aerosolized droplets that may contain viruses.
· Wearing a mask during a pandemic is a courteous gesture towards other human beings.
· Masks trap virus particles on the inside preventing them from becoming airborne.
· Without sufficient testing and given that many COVID-19 carriers may be asymptomatic (i.e., not exhibiting symptoms) it is best to assume that everyone could be a carrier.
· Masks are only one protective strategy and should still be combined with social distancing, coughing into your elbow, washing your hands frequently, and other appropriate practices.
· Masks can be easily made from readily available materials without preventing healthcare workers, first e responders and others from having masks they vitally need.
· N95 masks are better than surgical masks, but anything that prevents breathing in moisture particles with viruses helps.
We clearly need more research and hard data to confirm or illuminate the effectiveness of wearing masks. And it is always good advice to consult with a doctor. But in a time when every individual is called upon to do his or her small part to “flatten the curve” and mitigate the spread of the corona virus, we can all wear a mask in public or when interacting with other people. At any rate, while you are sheltered in place, give it some thought.
And furthermore, remember that many fictional superheroes and defenders of justice (e.g., Zorro, the Lone Ranger, Black Panther, Raven, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc.) choose masks.*
*In law school they taught us to try any argument that we thought might be persuasive.
Scott was one of Spokane’s remarkable people – the city’s first African-American woman attorney, a teacher at Rogers High School for more than 30 years, a president of the Spokane Education Association and a president of the Washington State University Board of Regents.
She was also a forceful and stalwart leader in the local civil rights movement, which helped drag a recalcitrant Spokane toward equality. She believed in nonviolence, but don’t confuse that with meekness.
Listen to Scott in a 1982 talk: “We must exercise some degree of militancy … against slumlords, against Klansmen, against people who want no minorities in their neighborhoods, against racist textbooks and against politicians who thrive on bigotry. Otherwise, people will say in the future, ‘You were there. What did you do about it?’ ”
She grew up during the 1920s and 1930s, especially tough times for a black person aspiring to be a professional in Spokane.
When Scott was a student at Marycliff High School in the late 1930s, she and some of her high school friends went to the Davenport Hotel to interview the famous opera star Marian Anderson for the school paper.
The Davenport made Scott ride in the freight elevator.
“My white friends – bless their hearts – decided if I had to ride the freight elevator, they would, too,” she later said.
They couldn’t find Anderson’s room – for good reason. Anderson was black and the Davenport was lily-white in those days. The girls eventually found Anderson in a small hotel nearby.
Scott spoke often of the time when, as a girl, she had to have her appendix removed at a Spokane hospital. The hospital gave her a private room – but only so a white patient wouldn’t have to share.
“I suppose that was one of the advantages of being black,” she said, dryly. “But it was humiliating when you realize why I got the room to myself.”
She graduated from Marycliff and went on to Holy Names College. She married W. Vernon Scott, a Spokane chiropractor, while still in college – and that didn’t go over well with the nuns at Holy Names.
“The good nuns put her out because she married a divorced man in her senior year,” said her sister, Ruth Nichols, of Spokane.
Undeterred, Scott finished her degree at Whitworth College (now University) and then went on to get a master’s degree in education. This was 1958 – a time when the Spokane School District had only four black teachers, up from zero in 1950.
She was hired at Rogers because “my credentials were good enough for them to hire me without doing me a favor.” She would teach English and German there for more than three decades.
She was 54 when she decided to take on another academic challenge.
“She wanted her son to go to law school,” Nichols said. “And we all said, if you want a lawyer in the family, you should go yourself.”
So she did. She graduated from the Gonzaga University School of Law in 1979 – and became Spokane’s first African-American woman attorney. When she was sworn in to the bar, she said, “I want to be able to instruct, as well as represent, minority people in their dealings with the law.”
She went on to practice law on the side, taking mostly civil rights and pro bono cases, while still keeping her Rogers teaching job.
Scott soon found her law degree handy in an entirely new arena. In 1981 she was elected president of the teachers union, the Spokane Education Association. Her election was notable for at least one reason: She had been one of the few teachers to cross picket lines in a 1979 strike. She was able to convince her fellow teachers that she had been bound, as an attorney, to obey a court injunction that had ordered teachers back to work. She remained president of the union until 1983.
She was also deeply involved in the Spokane branch of the NAACP, in the Democratic Party and at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
Excerpted from Distinguished Woman Left Us a Legacy by Jim Kershner.
People of Color Legislative Conference Areas of Focus Discussion for Spokane Region Saturday, October 12th, 2019
The summit has three main goals: 1) to stimulate dialogue between diverse POC organizations, community leaders, and state legislators of color to build statewide solidarity, unity and mobilizing capacity on the most important issues to our collective communities of color; 2) to organize a platform for community leaders of color to develop a Legislative Agenda of top priorities for the Senate and House Members of Color Caucus (MOCC) to push forward; and 3) to come out with a working list of who’s working on what issue in what region, so that organizations across the state can build on momentum made at the summit. This is not meant to pre-empt any individual community’s legislative priorities, only build a resource for connecting people and organizations with shared issues.
Racial Justice Community Leaders
“Racial Justice Community Leaders” were invited to the summit and asked to bring their organization’s legislative priorities and were “welcome to invite POC community leaders you know to register for the event.”
Community Leaders of Color
The purpose of the summit was to hear from and connect people of color community leaders and legislators of color to build solidarity and mobilizing capacity across the state for issues that are of highest priority to our collective communities of color.
Below are Spokane’s top 10 priorities for each of the categories discussed.
Racial and Criminal Justice
End cash bail
Decriminalize driving with 3rd degree suspend license
I-1000 (pro) affirmative action (ref. 88 on ballot)
Expedition of voting rights restoration of people with felonies
HB 1517: Risk assessment, etc. for DV and IPV (need racial equity lens plus broader rep from impacted population)
Rights and education for women who enter prison while pregnant
True blood legislation
Housing, Homelessness, Displacement, & Human Services
Statewide rent control
Just cause eviction statewide
Fair chance housing
Enhance reentry housing
More $ for permanent affordable housing
Civil-legal aid/right to council for eviction court
Build in rent grace period or remove 3 notice protection revocation
Decriminalizing public camping
Universal voluntary access to ECAP
Full day kindergarten, Headstart
Raise ECAP poverty threshold so more people qualify
Cultural competence for Pre-K teachers
Increase support for teachers plus families for accessing development resources
Fund to provide disciplinary diversion to keep kids in classroom
More teachers/authority figures of color
Race pay equity-equal pay
Racial health equity (tied for first priority)
Consideration of voting rights/participation in underrepresented communities (tied for first priority)
Ask for expulsion of Matt Shea (tied for second priority)
More $ resources towards impact of nuclear industry on communities of color (tied for second priority)
If you want to know what organizations and individuals registered for the event and represented people of color in our Spokane community, contact Terri Anderson and Jac Archer, the facilitators of the Spokane summit.