Sunday, April 10, 2011

No to Islamophobia

UNAC march NYC April 9, 2011
There are tools, and then there is wealth. I have a tool made for me by my friend Peggy Lovejoy. It is the silliest shade of pink ever with swirls and sparkles. A young man in Union Square asked: "Is that a protest apron?" It has extra long apron strings and extra deep pockets the full width of the garment, each so wide it will hold a regular sheet of paper without folding. What it mostly holds are half sheets printed on both sides, one side telling what Maine or Connecticut or wherever I happen to be could have bought with the funds wasted on war e.g. four years of undergrad tuition for the next 21 entering classes at U Maine. Now that would be wealth.

My apron also holds my camera and phone and lip balm and everything else I need to march for 1.7 miles helping to hold a banner in one hand, a pie chart on my outside hand (54% military for FY10 draws the comments: "It's more now.").

I was honored to march yesterday holding a banner with Pardiss Kebriaei who advocates for prisoners in limbo at Guantanamo, and two school age girls in headscarves whose mom and dad walked behind and popped snacks into their mouths like birds. The UNAC banner we carried said: Stop Government Attacks On Unions, Muslims, Immigrants and Communities of Color. On this day the NYPD was on its best behavior, and the legions of officers were polite and respectful in their attempts to keep us on one half of Broadway while the hipster shopping crowd had their phones out snapping away, looking at us like they had never seen a protest march before. Maybe it was the legions of moms, dads, kids, grandmas and grandpas that had turned out to represent for the Muslim peace community. Such a variety of clothing, languages, chants and messages. One handmade sign read: Islam Means Peace.

A hug from Ann Wright is always welcome, and I was able to shake Cindy Sheehan's hand and thank her for her work. Both were among at least 50 speakers who had 90 seconds at the mike to deliver their message. NYC Codepink coordinator Cristina Castro and I went up together while Denise and Starr held BOW$H banner on the steps down front.

Lots of dot connecting in the remarks. The war against the poor at home and abroad, the war against the environment that is our collective home, and the insane waste of resources all around. I cannot even count how many times I heard or read a reference to the need to bring our war dollars home. On my very early morning drive home after the convivial bus (thank you Steve Burke) dropped me off in Portland I was parsing our demand like this.

Bring: resolutions, op eds, speeches, teach-ins
Our: public forums, big tent marches like this one
War: Libya, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, aid to Israel, aid to dictators, 800+ military bases around the world, drones, recruiting budgets
$$: taxes the working poor and middle class pay, but corporate "citizens" don't -- cause they're not part of us
Home: green energy, fully funded schools K-post grad, health care, public transportation, jobs / job training, housing, legal aid, infrastructure upkeep


Vickie said...

Parsing language is good for the soul and essential for critical thinking

starr said...

I have to say we are very fortunate to have individuals who are willing to do the heavy lifting of organizing for rallies and other actions; who are willing to scream at the top of their lungs to wake up the sleeping masses to connect the dots to benefit the people and not the corporations! thank you Lisa and Steve for being those people and thank you to all those who are willing to stand, march, scream, write for a sane way for our very sad country. "All truth passes through three stages: first, it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; and third, it is accepted as being self-evident."