99% of Portland Moms “Not angry, just disappointed”

99% of Portland Moms “Not angry, just disappointed”

Portland’s wall of mothers has gotten a large amount of attention and their motivation to protect their own and others’ children has generated high praise. However, most Portland mothers have not attended any of the demonstrations that have occurred nightly in the city since the death of George Floyd. The reasons for this seeming lack of enthusiasm appear to have a common thread.

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I have questions, Marriott and Enterprise.

Marriott is reportedly housing the violent, lawless federal agents who are acting to diminish democratic rights in the USA even as I type this.

Enterprise is supplying the minivans used to disappear protestors, activists, and possibly even bystanders.

We should not let them profit off such crimes without scrutiny. (Indeed, I would like to make sure that they don’t profit off such crimes at all, but rather pay the normal capitalist penalties for abhorrent behavior: loss of customers and loss of money.

One model letter, written by me and sent to Care@Enterprise.com:

I have received what i consider to be credible reports that your rental vehicles are being used in the process of transporting people detained by federal law enforcement officers in Portland, Oregon.

Although LEOs do indeed have broad powers, these powers are constrained by both the constitution and federal statute. As it happens, respected experts in this area of law, including the Attorney General for the State of Oregon believe that these detentions are unlawful and unconstitutional.
Should their analysis be correct, then federal criminal statutes 18 USC § 242 would apply and this behavior would be a felony known as deprivation of right under color of law.  Not only is this a very serious crime in its own right, but as the behavior gives every appearance of being planned, and again assuming that the Oregon AG understands and is accurately stating the law involved, further felonies of conspiracy would also have been committed.
Acts of this grievous nature not only injure the rights of individuals, but also degrade the ability of the public to participate in the democratic process. This is why the penalty for such crimes is so harsh: up to 10 years in a federal prison.
My questions to Enterprise.com, then, are these:
1. to what extent were you aware that your vehicles would be used in the commission of a string of multiple felonies?
2. When did you first gain that awareness?
3. What action is your corporation now taking to limit your involvement with this felonious criminal conspiracy and the erosion of democratic rights?
Thank you for your prompt attention.
I encourage you all to address your own concerns to the Portland Marriott and to Enterprise.com.

A few more pics from Portland

Some lunatic was running around with this on hir back:

Transsexual Perverts 4 Peace

Must have been someone itchin’ for a chance to rumble with the feds is my guess.


There’s a LOT of graffiti. I’m told by multiple people that it’s power washed and/or painted over every single day. I specifically asked if they take weekends off. They replied that the graffiti is erased Every. Single. Day.

Some of the graffiti is artistic. The most artistic, by the way, is also the most long lasting since the people that enjoy doing art enough to become talented at it have saved their better works for boarded up buildings other than the courthouse so as to avoid the daily purge. This graphic is one of those, and may have been up longer than 24 hours because it was on private property two blocks from the courthouse:

An anarchy symbol - the A in a circle - and the peace sign are given legs and arms in this picture. An attractively simple drawing, it shows Anarchy & Peace holding hands, with a heart symbol growing over those linked hands between them. Immediately below this friendly image, however, is the reminder,

Anarchy & Peace are sitting in a Tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

I found myself particularly affected by this one. The image is attractive and friendly. It was also found in many places downtown. But then there’s the statement, “Blue lives murder.” Of course that’s unquestionably true, and the point of the protests, but it can be jarring immediately below the more upbeat image of anarchic, peaceful love. That image of anthropomorphized anarchy & peace, by the way, was not generally accompanied by the words blue lives murder when painted elsewhere in Portland.

Of all the graffiti I saw, this is the single one that stood out the most. I felt this one. I still feel it when merely looking at the photo.


The federal courthouse itself is a site of more chaotic expressions:

Chaotic graffiti on the west face of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse building. The fencing piled to the right is barricading a door that police have used to emerge from the building when ready to surprise or assault or clear protestors.

Less than 12 hours worth of graffiti.

You can see that there’s some pretty angry, hateful stuff there (“kill all cops”), some humor (“yum, bacon!”), and some much more hopeful thoughts expressed (“I love you mama, papa, babies, but no one taught me how to love you”).

Pictures from Portland

So my first night protesting in Portland in a while. Brings back memories.

Here are a couple photos, though there should be more coming later when I have a friend’s phone available to me:

An EMT has climbed into a tree in the park across from the federal courthouse, and is reclining on a branch.

An EMT in a Tree.

Turns out, being an EMT at the protests can wear you out talking to people. Sometimes you just have to get away from all the people clamoring for your attention, so….

Next up, a Star Wars reference!

An organizer and medic wears a white cross-on-red with the word “Ewoks” filling the crossbar.

I spoke to this person about their shirt. She said she was part of a group of people that was doing the networking and connecting for the protests. In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the ewoks did tons of organizing as evidenced by their log traps and whatnot, and were absolutely necessary for eliminating the shield generator to make the raid on the 2nd Death Star possible, but the humans and the ship pilots got all the credit. She said their aim was to be like the Ewoks: worry about the organizing, not about the credit.

The purpose of the shirt, then? She said it wasn’t about getting notice or credit either. The purpose of the shirt was because it allowed people to recognize them and ask them for whatever they might need. The Ewoks wouldn’t necessarily provide it, of course, but because they’re the networkers, they know exactly where to go and whom to ask to get what you need.

There were things to dislike about the protests, of course. It was chaotic, as protests tend to me, and far from homogenous. As a result there were some people who were, shall we say, not my cup of tea. But there were lots of good things as well, and I’ll provide more on both another time. I must get some sleep.

 

Cold Comfort

Many millennia ago, a full 275 years BT, an insightful composer once wrote the immortal words,

All we like sheep.

And as true as it is that we all find delight in ovine innocence and playfulness, it is perhaps time to update this ancient sentiment to something more of our moment. I suggest

All we like Janelle Shane.

Should you doubt, you have only to read her new short story in the online science fiction magazine, Strange Horizons.

A short story in such times as ours may seem insufficient. To that notion, I say, Beep. And yet more unexpectedly, Beep.

Google Doodle: Marsha Johnson

This pride month, Google has been using their doodles to honor QTs of color, and today is Marsha P. Johnson. I’m very happy about the doodle, which is quite attractive, and has a whimsical flair that I imagine is appropriate, though I never did meet her:

A colorful illustration of Marsha P Johnson, Stonewall veteran and co-founder (with Sylvia Rivera) of Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, the best named and best acronymed group of people in the ever.

There’s also a wonderful effort, reported by CNN, to replace a local statue of Christopher Columbus with one of Johnson in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey:

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, there’s another push to keep Johnson’s memory alive.
A 19-year-old woman has created a petition — which in less than two weeks has garnered more than 40,000 signatures — to replace a statue of Christopher Columbus in the city with one of Johnson.
The creator, Celine Da Silva, told CNN she thinks an honor for the activist in her hometown is long overdue.
“Being that this is her hometown, I think that we should be celebrating her and honoring her here,” Da Silva told CNN. “And I think that the LGBT and queer community should be able to learn more about historic figures from their own community.”
Da Silva and her boyfriend have plans to bring up their demand to the city council next month. They say they hope a new monument for Johnson will be the first of many steps to create a more inclusive Elizabeth and one that celebrates minorities and LGBT figures like Johnson.
Marsha P. Johnson, a black transgender woman, was a central figure in the gay liberation movement
The late activist’s family, who still live in the New Jersey city today, say the movement to honor Johnson in her hometown gives them hope.

What I’m less happy about is the deadnaming by certain articles engendered by this doodle. For Rolling Stone, they feature Johnson’s deadname prominently, at the opening of their second paragraph:

Google has unveiled a new logo illustration (“Google Doodle”) for Marsha P. Johnson, the pioneering LGBTQ rights activist and self-identified drag queen who was a pivotal figure in the original Gay Liberation Front and the Stonewall Riots.
Born [Deadname]., on August 24th, 1945, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Johnson moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village upon graduating from high school, where she adopted her drag queen persona and legally changed her name to Marsha P. Johnson. (The “P.” stood for “pay it no mind,” a phrase she allegedly used to describe her gender.)

I don’t speak for Johnson, but this trend (followed in other articles as well) doesn’t sit well with me. Regardless how Johnson described herself in life, we do know for sure that she legally changed her name (EDIT: it turns out that we don’t know this for sure), and I would think that it’s well known by know that this is disrespectful where legal name changes have happened and even in cases where a legal change hasn’t happened but the expressed wish of the individual is clear and/or context makes it clear that using a former name is no longer appropriate.

So I’m glad for Google, but I’m disappointed in how this is being covered in the press today.

Do better, writers. Do better.


ETA: In a comment by a casual reader (yes, that’s the name of the commenter, not my description) down below, there’s a link to the wikipedia talk page for the article about Marsha P Johnson. The people engaged in that discussion know a fuck of a lot more than I do about Johnson and claim that Johnson did not legally change names. Though they don’t cite sources for good information on some of their claims there, they aren’t hesitant to single out a couple of sources of bad information. They also sound quite certain about the no-legal-name-change thing, although I noted that there seems to be some equivocation going on between some people saying that there was no legal name change and others stating that Johnson’s birth certificate was not changed.

As someone who knows exactly how hard that is to do, especially when you no longer live in the state where you were born (although anywhere in New Jersey was at least physically closer to NYC than Sacramento or really any California court was to me when I was changing my ID), I’m not as worried about BirthCert gender/name as I am about something like a driver’s license or state ID card which would have been in Johnson’s power to change in the 90s, and I am even more concerned about the name actually used with the friends that Johnson most trusted and loved. From those best friends, from those most supportive family members, did Johnson want to be called only Marsha P Johnson? Did it change day to day? Month to month? For me that matters.

However, it also makes Rolling Stone’s choice more understandable. I still wish that they wouldn’t have done it. I simply don’t see the benefit unless this was how Johnson wanted to be addressed in the media, by and to people who would never meet Johnson in person. But in light of the uncertainty, my disappointment in Rolling Stone is lessened.

Israel, Black Lives Matter, Jewish Whiteness, and this Historical Moment’s Call for Justice

I don’t write about Jewishness much. For most Jews, I’m Jewish enough. But not for all, and I see their point. My adult atheism makes it easier for me to pass, or even just deny any Jewishness if I were the type of person to want to do so. My childhood distance from Judaism means that I don’t feel the pain of anti-semitic insults as acutely as many. I have no Holocaust stories in my family to feed the watchful eye that notices anti-semitism at all.

I am, in short, a Jew hardly harmed by anti-semitism.

It is largely for this reason that I struggle with taking positions on Israel. I don’t have to have Holocaust stories in my own family to remember the stories told to me by congregant’s parents. My time writing newsletter articles for my shul had me taking down the words of people whose parents had survived the concentration camps. I know the effect is real, and lasting. I’ve seen it impact friends and co-congregants. When they tell me how desperate they feel when it seems Israel is under attack, i hear the shift in timbre. I feel the anxious air between us.

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Cornelius Frederick Was Murdered. What will we do?

For those who thought the residential schools nightmare was over, I present you Lakeside Academy in Kalamazoo. Don’t read any further without preparing yourself for the horror you know is coming.

16-year-old Cornelius Fredericks [sic – actually “Frederick”] died on May 1 after suffering a heart attack on April 29.

Why did his heart stop on April 29th? I will never GEORGE FLOYD guess, will I?

[S]taff sat on his chest as he lost consciousness. …Employees waited 12 minutes to call 911, even though Fredericks was limp and unresponsive.” …[V]ideo from Lakeside Academy shows a staff member placing his/her weight directly on Fredericks’ chest for nearly ten minutes as the victim lost consciousness.

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