Women leaving their home countries, fleeing war, domestic and social violence, poverty and political, gender and religious persecution, find that even their journeys are fraught with violence, abuse and exploitation. Eighty percent of women and girls leaving Central America for the US are raped or abused. It is such a common occurrence, they take birth control along to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Women in many parts of the world setting out for a new life are grabbed and caught by elaborate networks of sex trafficking, one of the three most lucrative illicit businesses internationally (the other two are drugs and illegal arms dealing). Surely safe passage is an important issue for feminists.
A society bent on war cannot take care of its own. When we destroy the lives, homes, and possibilities of people around the world we cannot fund, protect or nurture own lives, homes and possibilities. We destroy ourselves. With a collective fist, which should hold righteousness and generosity, we hand over our own lifeblood to forge a relentless attack on the human relations we have never bothered to know. We acquiesce in a terrible decision. Or do we?
It is easy when doing political posters to focus on our troubles. There are many, after all. Sometimes, however, I nudge myself to concentrate on our vision of a better life, to remind myself why I got involved in movements in the first place. The power and joy of deep connection with earth, the natural world, with other human beings. The importance of creating economic systems and social institutions that honor and support those connections. Doing this poster brought me back to those first exciting, very connected days way back when.… Sigh.
Today, I heard another instance of there being “not enough money” to appropriately fund a predominately Black and Latino high school’s course offerings. This time the school is Jefferson High in Los Angeles. Students will not get the courses they need to graduate on time. Students will have to repeat classes they have already passed. Where do they turn? What does that slick saying “When one door closes, another one opens” mean for young people in this school? What options are we giving our precious youth when “not enough money” is seen as a good enough reason to block vital opportunities for some, when there is plenty of money available for war, prisons, and yachts? Is this democracy? Justice?
I believe it is important for activists to be disciplined in our discussions about social issues. We need to speak to allies and potential allies in a way that educates, supports, rallies and sustains people rather than venting at people of power. This is not a moral issue, but one of practical strategic sense. We need to keep building. However, we must question the source of this current push to emphasize civility, an incessant pointing the finger of condemnation at the enraged expressions of oppressed people. It puts the onus of “civility” on people who do not call the shots, rather than on the those who do. Hmm. A misdirect?
It’s mind-boggling that a society professing moral democratic superiority around the world would stand by as Black and Latino children get pushed out of schools into what very likely will be an incarcerated future. And yet, that is what is happening here and now. If you would like to know about the school to prison pipeline check out ACLU’s source page.