A New Non-Violent Resistance Movement?
In North Carolina, William J. Barber II, pastor of the Greenleaf Christian Church announced “a new moral movement to challenge the enmeshed evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and America’s distorted national morality.” Announced fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s memorable “I Have a Dream” speech, the movement is modeled on King’s. This group is hoping for a new national wave of direct action.
According to The Nation, Rev. Barber is the architect of the Moral Monday movement, the president of the North Carolina NAACP, and pastor of his church. Heavy.com lists five fast facts a reader might want to know about Rev. Barber. He is a beacon of liberal activism in North Carolina. [I know nothing about his personal life, and nothing showed up on Google.]
If you are interested in joining this moral non-violent movement, you’ll find more details here.
This Week’s Harassers
On Saturday Night Live News Update, Colin Jost announced a new segment, “This Week’s Harassers,” where names of the newly accused would be read like Powerball numbers. SNL is clearly satire, but the truth is we are seeing an unprecedented number of victims come forward to name their abusers. More than that, we are seeing consequences: Matt Lauer was fired. James Levine was suspended. Russell Simmons stepped down from his companies. Garrison Keillor was fired. As of the date of filing this column, President DT is still in office.
If this is all just too depressing, maybe look at what the cartoonists are doing with the material.
Separate the Abuser from His Creative Genius?
We hear this a lot when a famous creative man is accused of sexual wrongs. There’s a lot of talk (whining, in my opinion) about all the good these men have done in the world, and how we have to appreciate the good while condemning the bad. One Facebook commenter the other day said I’d have to stop listening to Mozart. Fine by me. If looking at artwork, watching a film, listening to music, watching a [beloved] television show, reminds me of the creators’ groping, raping, molesting, harassing of their employees, girlfriends, children, or strangers, I have other things I can watch, look at, read, or listen to. But Amanda Hess says it better than I have. Her article in the New York Times lays out a convincing argument for not separating the abuser from his creative work. In any case, looking at the work of lesser-known people, looking at women’s work, the work of the marginalized, this is an exciting and rewarding pursuit.
Fight this Hate
If you are experiencing any form of sexual assault, or if you ever have experienced it, and you want to report it, or talk about it, RAINN is one resource. The national hotline number is 800-656-HOPE (4673). The website is here.
End Intimate Violence?
Activist Mia Mingus has ideas of how to respond to sexual assault without creating more harm. She is a longtime social justice activist and a transnational and transracial Korean adoptee raised in the US Virgin Islands. Mingus is also queer and physically disabled, two identities that have formed a large part of her perspective and activism. After working in the reproductive justice arena for the better part of a decade, Mingus is now at the Oakland-based Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective. Although her work focuses mostly on child sexual abuse, it also touches on other forms of intimate violence.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything she writes in this article for Colorlines, but it’s important to look at different aspects of this #MeToo movement, and the possible consequences.
Fight this Hate
Because we live in a patriarchal society, because we live in a rape culture, changing our society and culture may take generations. But we have reached a tipping point. The #MeToo movement reminds me a great deal of the early women’s movement in this country. Consciousness-raising happened, not only in rap groups, but also as a wave. Women realized they weren’t alone in their oppression. That movement was not as inclusive as it should have been. The current movement needs to include all of us. All women, all non-binary people, everyone who has been victimized: all races, all colors, and all creeds. We need to remember that for Native American women and girls, their statistics are worse than for any other race. In fact, they are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other races in the US.
Recognizing that for Native American females the question is not “if” but “when,” Charon Asetoyer, CEO of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center teamed up with graphic designer Lucy M Bonner to create a graphic novel entitled, “What To Do When You’re Raped: An ABC Handbook for Native Girls”. The book is available to download free online or to order in print.
Sandra de Helen, author of the lesbian thriller Till Darkness Comes also pens the Shirley Combs/Dr. Mary Watson series. She is a poet, journalist, and a playwright. Her plays have been produced in the Philippines, Ireland and Canada, Chicago, New York City, and in thirteen states. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Dramatists Guild. Her books are available online, at Another Read Through Bookstore in Portland, Oregon, and Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. Samples of her work are available on her website.