Monday, March 8, 2021

March Into Spring, with a #NewDeal4CUNY, Pass the ERA, Quietus / Riotus


March for a #NewDeal4CUNY

This blogger at the ERA rally by Jackie Rudin.
Rudin wrote:
"On this beautiful Sunday,
Rise and Resist
and friends celebrated INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY and marched to demand the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.) FINALLY be added to the U.S. Constitution. ENOUGH STATES HAVE RATIFIED. WE NEED CONGRESS TO CERTIFY."

Scenes from Quiet Us Riot Us. 

All week long, I read about Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James and

Edith Wharton, friends corresponding through the years, sharing ideas and letters through days of innocence, war, connection, separation, estrangement, jealousy, reconnection, volunteering together, and ultimately saying goodbye.


“That’s your favorite topic,” said the teenager to me on the way to ERA rally at Washington Square Park.

“I love all the Suffragette fashion,” she followed, looking at the Rise and Resist sashes.  


A year ago, we traveled to South Carolina for a roller derby tournament.

Soon after the season was suspended.

Future indoor performances for her band were canceled.

And school went online.

A year later, we’re still online.


But spring is coming, at least it feels like it.

I have two vaccination shots in my arm, although many do not.

It was a full week of it.

On Thursday, Kevin and I sat in the cold at the Brazen Head on Atlantic Ave, reading Frost:

My biking ethnographer of the city, Kevin recalls his “Dust of Snow” from memory:


“The way a crow

Shook down on me

The dust of snow

From a hemlock tree


Has given my heart

A change of mood

And saved some part

Of a day I had rued.” 

Listening, I find myself thinking of the Lone Stryker…

Dad’s favorite Poem, he read it to me seven years ago, before he departed, almost as if leaving clues:

“He knew another place, a wood, And in it, tall as trees, were cliffs; And if he stood on one of these, ‘Twould be among the tops of trees, Their upper branches round him wreath.”

We’ve all known another places, other times, but we are in this one.

Sitting with the teenager in Washington Square Park, I think about Henry James, who wrote about life’s limits in Washington Square:

“he smoked a good many cigars over his disappointment, and in the
fulness of time he got used to it.”

We’re tried not to get used to it.

But it has not been simple – a year of a pandemic, still dominating our lives.

I ask friends how they’ve coped.

Some days the mood grasps hard, they say.

Some days better than other.

Some wonderful friends have been there.

Others have disappeared.

Moods have pulled at all of us.

All week, they are with me, through work and the meeting with friendships, spring teasing, winter chills returning, hopes and joys in the bright sun, walking the streets of Brooklyn, from Crown Heights, where they are fighting developers, to Barbes, where we talk about the press conference earlier in the day and the report in the paper.

Brooklyn Paper reports:


A lawsuit has temporarily stalled the land use process for a controversial development that potentially threatens the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.”

Alicia says #novirtualulurp #nodevelopergiveaways.”

 @voiceofgowanus stands with you.

The pandemic cannot be a green light for developers.


My second vaccination making its way through me.

Friday, I work and walk.

Caroline and I chat all night, thinking about friends and pandemics and kids growing.

Up up up and up… into their lives, precarious and free, hopefully finding a better world.

We’re trying to make that for them.


Saturday, my friends in the Union call for:




There are so many reasons for a #newdeal4cuny:

For upward mobility, for education, for workforce development,

For our city, for the people’s university...

The PSC is a proud member of the CUNY Rising Alliance, a coalition of community, alumni labor and student organizations fighting for free, high-quality CUNY education.

CUNY Rising is racking up co-sponsors for the New Deal for CUNY legislation in both the NYS Senate and the Assembly. But we need more legislators signed on—and we need them speaking up for CUNY now during the final weeks of the State budget process…

Please send this letter to your legislators right now and urge them to cosponsor the #NewDeal4CUNY and to pass a budget with no cuts and increased funding for CUNY.

That afternoon, we march from Barclay’s Center to CityTech, chanting:

Tax the Rich, not the poor, stop the war on CUNY!!!! #newdeal4cuny

James is passing out flyers:

“Investment in CUNY can’t wait. CUNY is essential for a just recovery from the COVID Crisis.”

Sunday, the teenager and I stroll through Washington Square.

There we:

“Join Rise and Resist as we march to recognize International Women's Day, honor women leaders, and demand the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.) FINALLY be added to the U.S. Constitution.

In solidarity with this year's theme for International Women's Day, we celebrate women's leadership. Women were on the front lines in the pandemic, and we suffered the greatest losses, especially job losses. The Equal Rights Amendment, first introduced in 1923, has been ratified by the necessary 38 states and should come up in the Senate during the Biden Administration. The ERA would help guarantee our rights to equal pay, equal access to work, reproductive freedom, child care, health care, LGBTQ rights, freedom from sexual violence, and more.

The amendment says, simply, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

That’s it. And though other laws, both state and federal, do forbid discrimination, women’s rights are constantly chipped away by courts and legislators. Without a Constitutional ERA, a judge may—and many do—interpret federal or state law through their own values and biases around gender and sexuality.”


A woman needs a man like a fish needs bicycle. Pass the ERA!!!” says Brian.


I can’t believe it still hasn’t passed, I think.


Breaks my heart.


Out we stroll through the Village after the march, meandering through the streets to Generation records with a few friends.


Monica’s play is later that night.

A note about the upcoming performance with Al Límite:

In honor of Women’s Month, we’re uplifting our current femme-led ensemble for Quiet Us/ Riot Us. Check us out! And please donate if you can to support our work: Venmo @QuietUsRiotUs We open this Saturday and run for only four days Sat- Tues.

Quiet Us/Riot Us is an illuminated ritual on collective grief and mourning performed in the streets and rooftops in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

Sat. 3/6 @ 6pm in Williamsburg at Bedford Ave & South 6th St.

Sun. 3/7 @ 6pm in Crown Heights at Park Pl. (btwn. Bedford & Rogers Ave.)

Mon. 3/8 @ 7pm in Bed-Stuy at Marion Hopkinson Playground

(btwn. Rockaway Ave. and Thomas Boyland St.)

Tues. 3/9 @ 6pm in Williamsburg at Bedford Ave & South 6

After the show, Vanessa and I talk about that whole living theater we are a part of, the bike rides with Julian and Judith, connecting all of our streets and lives and performances, between this world and the next. between this experience and the next.



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