Monday, September 28, 2020

Dream Boat along a Sensitive Habitat, #RIP Elizabeth

 




Ivy Arce photo and caption. 
"Thank you Elizabeth Owens for being family and a leader. You will remain loved by all us. We have your marching orders #Velvet #vocalnyc #shessovocal #inDeepMourning"








Andrew Boyd writes:

This past weekend, our Climate Clock went live in NYC! The iconic Metronome clock in Union Square is being newly repurposed as a giant Climate Clock, an 80-foot wide digital display that keeps track of our remaining time window to take urgent action on climate change.

The numbers displayed (7 years, 102 days, counting down by seconds) show our critical time window to undertake bold transformation of our energy system and economy. With fires raging across the West Coast, 5 hurricanes churning in the Gulf, sea levels rising, drought impacting food supplies and other climate-related catastrophes, the clock communicates a clear message: We have no time to lose. The time for bold action is NOW.

The Climate Clock is a project of Beautiful Trouble’s Action Lab and has gone viral with articles in NYTimesWashington Post, posts by Hailey Bieber, and more. The Climate Clock was the single most read article in the NY Times on Monday. The Washington Post article's instagram post has over 14,000 comments and has gotten more likes than any other Instagram post in the entire history of the paper, clocking in this morning at over 1 M. There were over 80 articles written on Monday from India to Greece. There have also been 17 reported cases of whiplash from people walking down the street in Union Square. Okay, that last one isn't verified, but check out the Climate Clock media twitter thread here!

Meanwhile, activists are pouring into the streets with creative tactics to hold elected officials accountable in the wake of the death of the Queen of Dissent, RBG. And using creative tactics to get out the vote.”



RGB, George, John, Elizabeth,  a lot of lost heroes this year. 




We walk past the dunes and a sign that reminds us, this is a sensitive habitat.

Tread lately,

This is a sensitive habitat.

Not just the dunes at Ft Tildon, all of it, our democracy, our lives.

History swirls with the tides.

“It is a joy to be hidden, and disaster not to be found,” says DW Winnicott.

What happens if we are not found?

What happens if no one knew you were here, I ask my students in our online classroom, many with their cameras off, a blank screen and maybe a voice in front of me?

Everyone is on fucking line teaching, trying to learn, and not to lose their minds, first week of senior year, freshman year in high school....

I come down from two and a half hours of policy class and the teenagers are cooking away, making fried rice and cake for mom and dad and international hobbit day, teaching day.

We talk it out at Barbes.

There is a lot we can and should do to beat back democracy’s decline.

We can push back against the coup, the president seems to be planning.

We can vote.

We can mobilize.

We can prevent the fall.

We can refuse to accept the election results if all the votes are not counted.

We can take the streets if he tries to steal this election.

As Daniel Hunter puts it:

We will nonviolently take to the streets if a coup is attempted.

If we need to, we will shut down this country to protect the integrity of the democratic process.”

 

Even if he wants us to think his win is inevitable.

I awake every with a sense of foreboding.

The climate clock is ticking.

Seven years and counting... 

Andrew Boyd is in town, on a stop in his year of living experimentally.

We talk about his climate clock, 7 years and counting it reminds at Union Square.

Boyd tells about his clock

Finishing class earlier in the day, we watched the film of Freddie Hampton, shot in his bed in 1969, receiving news about the police who did the same thing to Breonna Taylor in her bed, charges mostly dismissed.

All over the city, activists are in the streets, calling for justice.

“It is better to rage against the preventable suffering/because it leads to the suggestion of gorgeous alternatives/than to express our sadness,” says Judith Malina (1984).

Few are giving into notions of the inevitable.

It’s the year of living vulnerably,

Dangerously,

The center isn’t holding.

A 6-3 hard right majority in the highest court is a tough one to stop.

Moderates are falling into line behind the nomination.

While I was not expecting Romney to save democracy, I do wonder why Mitch is that much more conniving than all of us?

The lunatics, the people of praise are taking over.

 Is American democracy dead?” wonders Masha Gessen

“ Just in the past few days, Trump has asserted that the Presidency gives him “total” authority, made sure that his name will appear on the stimulus checks that Americans will receive, and threatened to adjourn Congress in order to fill Administration vacancies without waiting for Senate confirmation. Is this the definitive end of American democracy? No, but only because when a democracy dies there is rarely a definitive time of death. Democracy is never pronounced dead at the scene.

Gradually, we see our gains on the precipice:

Environmental regulations,

Civil Rights protections,

Gains for LGBT folks,

Healthcare, the affordable care act, in jeopardy.

Don’t mourn organize.

Get out the vote.

Call voters in Pennsylvania.

Write post cards to Georgia, get activated.

Democracy is not a spectator sport I write on one of my cards.

Vote early.

Some days the panic grasps.

And then I have to breathe it back in.

Don’t let the outside world make you crazy.

Ride the “Dreamboat”, one of Ferlinghetti’s oil and acrylic paintings on canvas, Keegan and I check out at Hyperallergic Gallery on 60 Mulberry Street in Chinatown.

101 years and still painting.

The stories about the survivors,

Hettie Jones and Monk and the Murakami living dangerously, their ideas popping off the page and the stage, jazz screaming into the night.

“When you opened the door the music rushed out, like a flood of color onto the street,” said Hettie after hearing Monk play the Five-Spot in the summer of 1957.

Dangerous living, the sun sparkling on the waves, reading all morning long.

Saturday, some goodbyes were in store.

Tides pouring.

Along the Christopher Street Pier, where we said goodbye to Bob Kohler all those years ago.

Charles, who was there, talking with Dana, who was remembering Jerry, a few of the trials of time.

Star here, Elizabeth there.

She was my aunt’s best friend.

I remember losing her but it feeling ok, said another.

Activists greeting each other as family.  

This is bad as the early AIDS years, says Kate.

Charles concurs.

We started with the Lord’s Prayer, Elizabeth’s meditation.

'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.”

“Some knew her as Velvet,” said Jeremy, recalling his friend.

She had many lives.

She took in many others,

 a daughter and a sister, many of us.

Every person a new story, a struggle that brought her into this work.

She brought everyone in as family.

How are you, she asked.

That was important.

To keep this going, to check in.

We organize, we build power.

But for her this was the most important thing, that we were family.

That was the thing that would make us safe.

Her philosophy,

“I don’t do hugs.”

“Thank you for coming to work today.”

“I’m your sister from another brother.”

We will be family so no one endures what she did.

There were thousands who were activated, said Jawanza Williams, an organizer with VOCAL, who confessed:

“November 2013, I was in a shelter.  I got a knock.  She snatched me.  I would not be here if it was not for her.”

Gracie, her best friend, was having a hard time.

“I’m really struggling with this. 

I’m trying. But it’s a battle. We are here today and gone tomorrow.”

“She’s right here.  You are near her,” several remind.

Flowers followed, reminding us,

“Why do we have to fight?

Because we are right.

We will

Right is right.

Truth shall rise.”

She’s so VOCAL.

Others remembered her as one of the sweetest, spiciest people they ever met.

“I’m going to smoke some weed and pop a bottle of champagne,” she’d day on the way home from work. But sometimes it took her a while to get home, chatting away with everyone in the office, with the guys in the bodega or the laundry. “At the grocery story, I pinched all the old me in the store to remind them they still got it,” she used to say….

We all laughed.

For a second, she was back with us again.

Fred, her office husband, told a few stories.

“Fred, this is what matters,” she told him.

Organizing, staying connected, loving each other.

“Its hard being in this world without her.”

With Elizabeth on her way, I jumped back on the bike.

Across town, East over the Manhattan Bridge, through Prospect Park, down Ocean, to Brighton Beach, through our dangerous habitat, where the ocean connects with the world.

Meeting Norman and Gene and Kristen for the first time in months.

Norman’s dad passed from this, one of the early ones.

My Aunt Trish, earlier in the day.

Daily waves,

Cases on the rise.

All we hear is so and so is sick.

So and so died.

Day after day, month after month.

Charles remembered every week, some friend COVID, others from isolation.

Loneliness grasped at us.

We kept breathing.

Keep on breathing.

Keep on breathing.

Don’t forget to breathe.

Feel the waves roll through you.

Through us.

Don’t forget to breathe, even in this sensitive habitat.

Don’t forget to breathe. 






































































































































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