TWW Roundup: Back to School
As we begin this week we are rallying to support our sisters and brothers affected by Hurricane Harvey. TWW has put together a short list of groups, identified through National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD), who are working on Harvey relief now. Please follow the links to see what you can do to help.
Remembering why we do this
This week and last, kids have been going to back to school all across America, and the backdrop for this annual return to the classroom has been chaos and dishonor in our government. The president continues his inappropriate and destructive behavior, while our elected representatives remain relatively quiet, and the rest of us scramble to stay safe, make ends meet, and RESIST this hijacking of our Democracy!
One of the few leaders speaking out effectively is former Vice President Joe Biden. In an editorial in The Atlantic, he amplifies the call for all citizens to come together to save our nation. Biden tells us, “We have to do what our president has not. We have to uphold America’s values. We have to do what he will not. We have to defend our Constitution. We have to remember our kids are watching. We have to show the world America is still a beacon of light.” It is crucial that we set an example for all kids now so they have a chance to do better.
Confronting White Supremacy and Hatred
Following on the heels of the tragedy of Charlottesville, communities around the country staged Peace Vigils, walks, and demonstrations. This week, on Monday, a group of activists will begin a 10-day march from Charlottesville, Va., to Washington, D.C., for justice and equality, and to demand President Trump’s removal from office. “The March to Confront White Supremacy,” will begin in Charlottesville on Monday, Aug. 28 and end in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Sept. 6. The march is being organized by a consortium of groups including Action Group Network, Million Hoodies for Justice, and Womens March, among others.
Immediately after Charlottesville, progressives everywhere started planning vigils to mourn those lost in Charlottesville as well as to make a statement that we support equality and diversity. There were vigils in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Charlottesville, Plymouth, New York City, DC, and more. We learned that many alt-right/fascist gatherings had been planned around the country, several to be held this past weekend.
On Saturday in Berkeley, CA, thousands rallied to oppose a demonstration organized by a trump supporter. The previous Saturday in Boston saw thousands of citizens vastly outnumber the nazi and supremacist demonstrators and squash their hateful message.
The string of counter protesters stretched for two miles as they marched toward the planned “Free speech” rally, whose organizers claimed that it was not a neo- Nazi rally; however some of the same speakers who were in Charlottesville were scheduled to speak.
Many communities have taken a lesson from a small town in Germany, where every year right wing activists show up to celebrate Rudolf Hess birthday; but having found that counter protests were not effective at stopping the alt-right, town members began treating the event like an AIDS walk. They donate money per meter walked by the fascists to organizations that oppose fascism. The counter protesters bring banners thanking the alt-right groups for their donations to their charities and cheer the marchers along letting them know the running total of the money raised. A similar event took place in Laguna Beach, CA, hosted by TWW Orange County, and earned $20,000 for local nonprofits Public Law Center and Resilience OC!
On August 26 we celebrated the 97th anniversary of the 19th amendment, which gave some women the right to vote in our country. At marches around the country, Indivisible groups sponsored demonstrations and speeches to highlight the achievements of women and the need to continue to fight for equality for all women. In Los Angeles, hundreds, and perhaps 1000 depending on who you believe, gathered in front of City Hall. The event was also dedicated to the memory of Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting against racism and white supremacy in Charlottesville, Virginia. Heather’s mother, Susan Bro, continues to speak out in honor of her daughter and has announced the establishment of the Heather Heyer Foundation to fight hate and bigotry by providing scholarships. Remember, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!”
The best thing you can do
Rallying and demonstrating is important, but they are not the only way to combat hate and bigotry and to change the paradigm we are struggling through right now. You can work to make your own community, your workplace, your schools better, more constructive and inclusive places. By making positive efforts to construct new traditions, new goals and new institutions that uphold all people and create opportunity, you make the world a better place. Join a new group, contribute to an effort to build new institutions, hire someone different from you, run for office, look others in the eye and engage positively. Each action has a consequence, so let’s make sure the consequences are productive and just. We all will benefit, especially our children.
- Plan or attend a counter protest — the flashier the better — during any alt-right protests. Make sure the media knows about your fabulous protest/dance party.
- Donate to organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- Learn about our history so that we do not repeat mistakes of the past. Here is a link to a list of reading on the history of racism in America, compiled by The New York Times.
- Help someone in need.
- Stay safe!
Jacqui Viale is an educator living in Long Beach, California with her family, enjoying a temperate climate and relatively clean water. Her social activism focuses on education and equal rights for all. Her local TWW group is working to help flip seats in neighboring districts by spreading the word about progressive challengers.