When I was a kid, my friends and I could hop on our bikes, pedal a mile or so and cup our hands to fetch and drink delicious, clean, ice-cold, fresh spring water. We knew the water was safe and never dreamed that it would disappear or that others could not have what we did. When I hear of the phenomenal numbers of people in the world without access to clean water, I am stunned. When I find myself not trusting the water flowing out of my tap or hear about impending and already occurring scarcity, I am stunned. Water and humans go together. There should be no assigning of privilege with access to this basic elemental right. If you’d like some facts on water, check out this United Nations fact sheet. Staggering.
We are supposed to identify with nation above humanity or sisterhood, to support endless wars, to not-see our government’s crimes dressed up in “humanitarian interventions.” Let’s not. We should be outraged that women and their loved ones all over the world are being relentlessly trammeled by the injustice of our wars. Wars, now, not just led by men, but also by women of great power and deception.
Birthdays. Funerals. Community events. Weddings. The important life affirming events of any human society. Times to be cherished, honored. The US government does neither, however. Rather it sees those events as prime opportunity to seek and destroy with its high-tech weaponry. If we value human culture we must end drone warfare.
Violence against women is a hate crime and should be classified as such. Yet, according to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics (2012) hate crimes are based on race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic/national origin, and religion. Gender is left out. Why? Rape is not sex out of control. It’s an act of hatred, contempt and destructiveness against a specific class of people — women and girls. Mis-categorizing is not an incidental issue as it has an impact on how rapists are viewed and punished and it limits women’s consciousness and solidarity as a targeted people.
I was moved to design this poster on fracking after watching the documentary, “Gasland,” written and directed by Josh Fox. Listening to the people whose lives have been immediately affected by fracking on or near their property is an eye-opener and a call to action. While fracking occurs or may begin in many different environs, including within the city in which I live, I used the red barn in this image because of the threat to my beautiful beloved home state of New York. I warmly remember countless rides with my grandparents through the luscious countryside, being taught to love nature, to honor our farmlands, to value those distinctive red barns. Those kinds of places are now suffering from or being threatened by environmental destruction due to fracking.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants are being kept in immigrant detention centers for crossing a border every year. These centers are increasingly in the hands of private corporations that have profit as their primary goal. It is, therefore, in their interest to keep their population within those walls. This raises the question: Which is the crime? Crossing a border? Or keeping immigrants captive for money?
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.
Imagine being 7 or 12 or 15 and being afraid to leave your house for school, play, errands, life. Imagine your parents equally frightened, desperate, being forced to leave you or send you away in a scramble to help you survive. No parent, no child would undertake the very dangerous journey across borders to an unknown, hazardly mounting a train called la bestia — the beast. Economic, political injustice pushes children out. Injustice sends them back.
Take 2 minutes, Google “economic justice info-graphics,” and we can find plenty of staggering information on economic inequality. Check out Rick Wolff, listen to his very accessible lectures or read his work for indispensable theory and knowledge to turn around our economic reality. Not only is economic injustice devastating for us in the U.S., it’s our number one export.