Sunday, February 12, 2017

From a Planned Parenthood to an Immigrant Rally: Here To Stay y No Nos Vamos

Scenes from Washington Square

Legal advice, support for Planned Parenthood and a great picture by Eric McGregor of this writer and #RebelFriends,
Wendy, Yana, and Elissa.  

Walking up to the Planned Parenthood Rally in Washington Square Park, I greeted my friend
Elissa Jiji.  She had a sign written on cardboard that declared "We Won't Go Back."
"I made it for both rallies," she explained.  "We came to defend access to care & reproductive autonomy. We stayed to stand with all our neighbors.One takeaway: New York's electeds are not getting a free pass for talk with no walk."

The Planned Parenthood Rally was ending and the Immigrant Rights rally was about to begin. 

Walking around the square, some kids started a drum circle, chanting, 

“no pussy grabbing. no patriarchy, no fascist usa!”just as we'd heard it Washington at the Women's March. 
"No Ban, No Registry, End White Supremacy."

This is the world everyone is inheriting and its scary. So people are pushing back hard. 

The rally themes seemed to bounce off each other, giving energy. 

A woman who taught at NYU talked about her students who are afraid they won't be able to return 
if they leave the country. The USA feels like its closing and opening. 

Others talked about the ICE Raids and the new Underground Railroads taking shape across the country, 
offering legal advice. 

Its a chilling time.  

But we're out here to support each other through this, connecting issues and movements, Planned Parenthood and Immigrant Rights rallies.  

Hopefully people can see the connections between family planning and support for human rights, openness and diversity. These are the stories with through lines which can connect us. 

Finishing the rally, i joined my book club in discussing, In Praise of Older Women  by Stephen Vizinczey, one of my favorite novels, about a man who grows up  in war torn Hungary, being forced to immigrate to Italy and then Canada
and then the USA, finding new friends and saying goodbye, losing a bit of himself with each stop, longing for what was gone, 
fucking away the loss of country, family, and self, lonely desolate...
Reminding me of the feeling we have when we lose a place where
we grew, but you can't go home again.  Its not there. Still, we all hunger for that lost place.  In lieu of that place one finds
is a need for generosity, an obligation to be kind to strangers, to be
open to the world and history and everyone's struggles. 

That was why we were at the Planned Parenthood and Immigrant
Rights rallies. 

The call for the Planned Parenthood Rally was simple:

Protest PP is holding country-wide rallies to defund Planned Parenthood. If you think Planned Parenthood is vital and necessary and should receive government funding, then this event is for you! Join me and others who stand with Planned Parenthood to peacefully support them on February 11th. 

A counter-rally approved by PP has been scheduled in Washington Square Park at 11AM in Garibaldi Plaza.
For more information on the Protest PP group:

For more information on Planned Parenthood:

Benjamin Heim Shepard shared ICE-FREE NYC's post.
February 8 at 3:56pm

On Thursday, February 2, an immigrant-led coalition will gather outside City Hall at 12:15pm to announce a citywide rally on Saturday, February 11th to challenge the criminalization of immigrants under the NYPD’s current Broken Windows policy before it worsens under Trump’s far-right administration. Advocates call for a shift away from arrests and prosecutions as public safety, and transition towards massive re-investment into struggling neighborhoods.
Thursday, February 2, 2017 @ 12:15pm
Outside City Hall Gates (Broadway entrance)
Saturday, February 11, 2017 @ 2pm
Washington Square Park
In response to Trump’s immigration policy, politicians have highlighted NYC’s status as a sanctuary city, arguing they will do whatever it takes to protect ‘law-abiding’ families and ensure public safety. However, any city that employs Broken Windows policing cannot be a sanctuary city. We demand an end to Broken Windows policing and the dismantling of the current policing apparatus.
Community members have long argued that Broken Windows policing and decades of a militarized police presence have transformed Black, Central American, and transgender immigrants, Muslim communities, and all of New York’s vulnerable populations into targets. With over 34,000 officers, NYPD is one of the largest police forces in the country, leading to a heavy policing of immigrant, black, and brown working class neighborhoods. Furthermore, 97% of those prosecuted resolve their cases through plea bargains due to economic constraints. Fingerprints taken by the NYPD for even minor offenses are sent to the FBI, then used by ICE to locate people for deportation. Yet, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have responded to concerns with the IDNYC program by intensifying police power.
The City Hall gathering will focus on the safety and protection of all immigrants—documented or undocumented, people with criminal convictions, workers, queer / trans / gender nonconforming folks, the poor, people with disabilities, Muslims, women, and all people of color. Immigrant New Yorkers and their allies will call for increased community power, divestment from the NYPD, an end to the city’s collaboration with ICE, a stop to criminalization and permanently abolishing Broken Windows policing.

By the end of the weekend, The NY Times would report:

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