Monday, June 22, 2020

Pandemic Solidarity, Momentum Shifts. Love Wins Celebrating Juneteenth. Phase Two Begins #nojusticenopeace , #whosstreetsourstreets , #sayhername #breonnataylor #sayhisname #georgefloyd


"Photos and caption by Ken Schles is in New York, New York.
 "Yesterday, Juneteenth + one, there was a massive solidarity ride for #blacklivesmatter convened by @streetridersnyc .
10,000 cyclists rode peacefully (some cite twice that figure), double the number of people in attendance of President Trump’s failed political rally that took place that evening in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The #blm solidarity ride stretched over 40 city blocks at one point, organizers told the riders as they took the West Side Highway at 42nd Street.
With raised fists and chants of “Black Lives Matter,” #nojusticenopeace , #whosstreetsourstreets , #sayhername #breonnataylor #sayhisname #georgefloyd the cyclists moved uptown on the east side across 125th Street and down the west side in a twenty mile sojourn that took in parts of #midtown , #harlem and #downtown that ended at the Battery in #wagnerpark
Chants of “NYPD suck my dick,” and “How do you spell racist? N.Y.P.D!” also predominated. Originally slated to meet in Times Square, police barricaded the deserted crossroads in a vain attempt to hold back the growing numbers of activists. Eventually police opened the barricades allowing cyclists to fill the 4 to 6 lanes of Seventh Avenue from 47th Street south down to 38th Street.
Police helicopters followed the route. At one point a chopper started to swarm protesters traveling along the West Side Highway, coming within scores of feet.
The same chopper also hung noisily above the rally for some time. After it left, relieved protesters and others in the park joined in an emotional silent vigil. People took a knee for over eight minutes, the time it took for police to choke out the life of George Floyd by putting a knee to his neck.
The rally ended with a call to #vote and to #voteforchange .
#defundthepolice . We need a better way.
@streetsblog @nycmarchers @justiceforgeorgenyc @uniteny2020 @ New York, New York"









Photos Ken Schles, who writes:
"Our opponent has no conscience, hence the prison camps for children, the reopening of the economy even if mamma and papa die, and the racism and the vitriol, etc., etc. — but maybe our opponents, who have parsed and diced all of us is now reducing its own numbers in a crucible of hate. Has the vast middle begun to awake and say, ‘No more?’ It feels to me something fundamental has changed in America in the weeks since George Floyd was snuffed out. His loss of breath spoke to our collective fears of a government snuffing us out with its uncaring indifference, stealing our collective breath in the time of COVID. We will see in November, but my sense is that those that went along are finally realizing that they are not going to get along any longer with such a hateful soulless figurehead in office."
@fly_peops says....

@norasays injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. #blacklivesmatter #defundthepolice #fundcunynow #fundthelibraries

For those who wonder why we say defund the police, look at these guys blocking our bike ride through an empty Times Square. Hundreds of bored cops, being paid overtime to control us. Fund nurses and doctors and librarians, social workers, those who help, not these useless thugs. — in New York, New York.
"New sign, ready to march with my friends, hoping for a brighter day together. #Juneteenth in the streets. — at Brooklyn, New York."
"The kids r alright. #Juneteenth — in New York, New York." 
Running into friends.  Strange scenes and times. 
Wonderful to run into friends out there on the streets, fighting for a better day.


Signs are everywhere.
Walking down Bond Street, graffiti states:
Love Wins!
I hope so.
These days, the streets of New York feel like art galleries, with messages and images painted,  from Brooklyn to SOHO.
People carry signs on their bags and bikes.
At Washington Square last Tuesday,
Babs gave  me a sign that said.
Defund police, fund gardens, libraries, healthcare, therapists, teachers, rehab, and reparations....

Right on

Look around at everyone…
This is what community looks like said the mc at Cadmen Plaza on Juneteenth.
Everyone trying to do it right… trying… to get it right.
Still marching for Emmett Till
Read the sign we carried.
The teenagers carried ACAB.
I can’t agree about all.
I don’t want to generalize as that blows each way.
But its not for me to stop the kids from speaking out.

Trying to make sense of it all,
Marching through history,
Running into friends in the streets.
Solidarity expanding.

Saturday, we ride all day long.
From Williamsburg Bridge to Delancey Street in the Lower East Side.
To Bryant Park.
Movements ebb and flow. 
Over time more people get on their bikes to ride through Gotham, putting the fun between their legs, forming a Critical Mass, screaming “Black Lives Matter,” public space for the people. As clubs closed and public space contract, others push back, a moving amoeba zooming from Union Square to 42nd Street, stretching across the city.

Over the years, police attacked the cyclists, arresting thousands, cyclists ever returning, “Fuck the Police!” “How do you spell racist?” they called, “NYPD!” 

This year, they blocked us off at 42nd.
Before we made our way out.

I’m trying to stay joyfully self destructive.
but the alarm clocks of reality ring.
I go every day. But the police are not always warm
and affectionate about our first amendment expression.
Our carnival is their disorderly conduct.
Sometimes, they even seem upset with our messages,
blocking us in the street.

Its all playing out... everything we think and dream about.
climate chaos grounds us, forces us to slow down.
It reveals inequalities and the need for a social safety net.
A mass movement takes shape.
The world changes.
hopefully, without a complete descent into fascism.

Socialism or barbarism?

After marches with thousands outside wearing masks,
I get tested each week.
As I write this, New York is preparing to open for phase two.

At work, we have been talking about how to respond.

Becky Bigio, NPP/Human Service Provider, writes:
“I have learned just as much from my students as I have shared with them .
Grateful for that
As far as the pandemic I am still in disbelief that we are struggling with such a monster ...
( several monsters but will leave it at that ) .
I have seen adults and older adults struggle with the disease ... quarantine, isolation ,fear and perish ...Why???
The fact is that this should have never happened and could have been avoided.
I believe “we the people” need do something new in the way to deal with our political leaders, government and laws.
This should have never happened !
Lord Save US All…”

Looking around, it looks to me as though, the kids are doing something about this.
Tik Tok, culture jamming our systems.

Epidemics expose a great deal about who we are. They always have. “There is something deep here connected to what is the real truth about who we really are, not what we are told about ourselves,” says social movement scholar and activist Marina Sitrin in her introduction to Pandemic Solidarity.  This concept expands in countless directions, bundles of stories of movements growing through gestures of mutual aid, of movements dovetailing from ideas through time, through gestures of mutual aid, narratives of fear and connection, inequalities exposed and movements growing out of them.  “And the result is friendships, deep care and support…” says Sitrin.  It’s a lesson worth exploring through Pandemic Solidarity.
“Yes, we are afraid. Yes, we feel pain and vulnerability, and what we do with that, again and again, throughout history and now more than ever, is to reach out to one another and find ways to care for each other. We feel all of these things, and it is an and. We do not need to either fear or help, be vulnerable or open, protective or protecting, we can and are doing all of these things, and that is what makes this moment both horrific and transformative in a deeply hopeful way.”

Wave after wave of people, high school kids, preachers, bikers, lesbians, rise and resisters, marched over the Brooklyn bridge on Juneteenth,
Even as we walked back from city hall,
Each of us posting more stories,
Pictures,
Signs,
Images.
Our destinies intwined,
Liberation tied in others’ destiny.
Greeting and cheering those walking the other way.
Solidarity expanding as we walk together, New Yorkers in a Critical Mass against racisim.

Alexis Danzig notes:
That was the first Brooklyn Bridge Juneteenth take-over of the day—I believe—but not the last?! The Break-The-Chains-With-Love march crossed the Brooklyn Bridge starting at approximately 7:15 pm...
(see below).

Walking home, I put down my sign.
I’m still marching for Emmett Till.
And Rodney and
Abner
And Amadou
And Eric
And Tamir
And…

I became a social worker after marching for Rodney King almost thirty years ago.
For others its longer than that,
Its decades,
Hundreds of years.

It’s one thing to change policies, but can we ever change hearts and minds?
Stokely Carmichael said nonviolence only works if your opponent has a conscience.  It isn't working because white people do not have a conscience:

“Dr. King's policy was that nonviolence would achieve the gains for black people in the United States. His major assumption was that if you are nonviolent, if you suffer, your opponent will see your suffering and will be moved to change his heart. That's very good. He only made one fallacious assumption: In order for nonviolence to work, your opponent must have a conscience. The United States has none.”

Certainly, watching Trump on Saturday in Tulsa, it’s hard to disagree with this sentiment.
I don’t want to generalize as that blows each way.
And we could do more with dialogue, as King suggests.
But there are those who’d rather blow things up.
Then and now.
And I certainly have a sense of who they are.

Later that night, we watched the Spike Lee 1997 joint:
4 Little Girls,
“a 1997 American historical documentary film about the September 15, 1963 murder of four African-American girls (Addie May Collins, Carol Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Rosamond Robertson) in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama.”

MKL gave a Eulogy after their death, noting their lives had something to teach us all:

We’re still marching for them.
Still writing poems and blogs,
Still organizing and creating policies,
Still riding for them.

Ars Poetica
Greenhouses, Lighthouses
Tung-Hui Hu

The new words will be spring and summer.
Poems will continue to pose questions of existence
Though not as probingly as before
Owing to the change in vocabulary
Which stresses the social over the existential
And having over not having. In the new poems
Endings will be soft, quiet, understated, and
Images will contain recycled content.
Some poems may be made entirely of
Used rubber tires; others, of canvas.
Canvas and luminous will be featured;
….That anger, the least complex
Of emotions, thus the hardest to write about,
Succeeds the topic of malaise. Not disdain
Vengeance, or regret. Just impotent anger
That the new city bears no resemblance
To the old city but keeps the same name.
It is like the Sicilian town of Noto: after an
Earthquake, citizens voted to build a a town
Ten kilometers over, also called Noto.
Having lived here all your life,
You can't find your way around.
Water-blue skyscrapers are everywhere,
And there is a luminous river where
Old streets once meandered.

All over the city, different groups are joining and supporting the movement.
We are joining in a new chorus, along old meandering streets.

Riding into our future.






































































































































































































































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