our local save-on wants you to be gay and eat bananas
MAILED IT TODAY June 10 when Jeff and I went for a walk. Then we ordered pizza and watched Time Team.
June 9, 2020
Superintendent of Schools
Board of Education
Burnaby School District 41
5325 Kincaid Street
Burnaby BC V5G 1W2
Dear Ms. Nicoli-Moen,
Please listen to your Black and Indigenous students and remove the RCMP from their current roles, including attending career days, in Burnaby schools.
<—– my request
I would support this action as a Burnaby voter, parent of two former School District 41 students who commented frequently on racial tension at their school, and politically curious person who is speculating why it is that everyone on the senior management team of your organization is white, when Burnaby is not a majority white city.
<—– my cred, with a boot to the ass in the last sentence and there’s NO FUCKING WAY I’m telling you which school, although ten bucks says someone who reads this letter checks the records
With my hopes you and your loved ones will stay safe during the pandemic,
<—– despite my distaste for cops in schools, I bear you no personal ill will
Now I have to print it and find an envelope and sign it and post it so this is a draft until I actually move
she gets a star trek stamp, I’m thinking JANEWAY … fuck I love myself sometimes ha ha used Sisko instead
via Mary Hui, Hong Kong graffiti: “We can’t return to normal, because the normal that we had was precisely the problem.”
From twitter this am. She studies genocide. She’s moving to Canada from the US in 2021… she hopes.
What is interesting to me is watching for the warning signs:
Ruben Um Nyobè was murdered in Cameroon in 1958 on this day.
I highly recommend listening to Blick Bassy’s album ‘1958’ to commemorate this event. He has an amazing, plangent, energetic, enfolding kinda voice, a suitable memorial.
It’s a .38 special for me, thanks. Fits my hand and my accuracy is good. Menfolks had fun too. 65 bucks poorer, I emerged.
Today I have a 30 year old child. WITAF???
Dallas. Black mens’ names. Grief and rage.
This is what I’m doing about it.
- Here is How To Make a Police Complaint in BC.
- I (time will tell) gave money to BLM:Van
- I am not forgetting that EVEN THOUGH Canada still has a ‘racial problem’ regarding black people, (most seriously in Toronto and Nova Scotia, but definitely elsewhere) first and foremost settlers have a FIRST NATIONS racial problem, and so I continue my anti-racism work around Land:Language:People which is my short form construction of the work that needs to happen for a more equitable and intelligent sharing of the land we call home with the peoples who lived here first. (The number of FN activists who want all settlers (‘whites’) gone is vanishingly small compared to those who want to kill the Indian Act, formalize their borders and do something about clean water, sound education and health care for their peoples.)
- My antiracism work is being quoted and passed around on social media. I don’t even care if it’s attributed to me if it helps push the peanut.
- I am calling out famous white people on social media when they say something racist, while owning my involvement/complicity with racial systems and institutions. One finger points forward, the other three point back.
- I’m leaving racist family members out of this work. It’s mostly for me, and other people who want to pry the lid off their unwitting selves. I make no excuses and I take comfort in what POC activists have said to me on the subject of having racist relatives. Intersectionality has many dead ends.
- I don’t drag my poor dead ex-husband to any street parties hoping for anti-racism cookies. It’s just a variant of the “some of my best friends…” argument and did I mention he’s dead? Since he can’t defend himself or me, I’ll leave him in the peace of his grave, and spare his bereaved family the notion that some white clownbag married to one of their relatives 30 odd years ago is trying to score points from prior association with him. This will be the last time I mention him in this context, since I prefer to think of him listening to art rock and writing poetry and being settled in a chair with cats draped all over him and making wry comments, than sighing heavily while delivering Negroes 101, as he was forced to do many times during our brief (2 year) marriage.
Apart from a bunch of stuff healthwise that I’m not going to talk about because EW GROSS, yesterday was awesome. I wrote 1200 words, watched a bunch of world class soccer, drank beer and stayed the hell out of the sun.
Today Jeff and I are going to do a schlep, and then I’m going to lie around waiting for Mike to take me to the beach so I can at least get in one Wreck Day this year. Alex had HIS first Wreck Day yesterday and Katie nearly spavined herself on the stairs but he loved it and no sun burn. Yay. Hope it’s kiteable, Mike always likes that.
Still no word on when C. (Mike’s buddy) can come home from the US. She already had a work visa here, Las Migras in this country are underfunded fools. A buddy has been waiting 3 years to bring his wife from the Phillippines! Cazart.
The court decisions in the States are blowing up my social media feeds. More work remains. I’m not going to colourize my facebook picture; I’ve got all the goddamned ribbons, medals, encomia and thank you letters I want from the work I have done for equality and if people don’t know where I stand they don’t care enough to pay attention. Also, I’m not an American and we’ve been able to marry like that for a decade now.
One of Joni Mitchell’s former squeezes has let slip that the aneurysm has blown out her ability to talk. I figure if she recovers enough to hold a paint brush she’ll be fine. She’ll certainly be getting the best care.
Back to making lists and getting dressed. I am going to have another good day, I can feel it. Tomorrow, when I’m sore from the stairs, that’s something else.
A few recommendations of my own:
Read the 94 recommendations.
Which of these recommendations can you action in your own life?
In your church?
At your workplace?
In your buying habits?
Do you know where the nearest Friendship Centre is? Locate it.
Do you know what languages the First Nations in your area speak?
If you have internet access, research and follow a First Nations activist on social media.
Visit your local library and borrow and read books by First Nations authors which can be fiction, poetry, memoir, non-fiction, academic.
Donate money to a First Nations cause.
Read the Indian Act.
If you have access, watch a youtube video google “youtube testimony residential schools”.
Go to a powwow. Dance your ass off.
Purchase and display art by aboriginal artists.
Examine your speech for racist terms and expunge them.
Listen to First Nations music.
Learn how to say hello, goodbye, please and thank you in a local First Nations language.
Support First Nations people by attending peaceful protests.
Learn the traditional territorial boundaries of First Nations people.
Read about the laws, traditions and spiritual beliefs of First Nations people in your area.
If you have school aged children, ensure that they learn age appropriate materials about the residential schools.
I took extensive notes.
Christine Lowe opened things up by saying that in healthy communities we acknowledge the harm that comes to victims of violence, and that victimes need to be helped with their physical, spiritual and emotional well being. Strong relationships make social justice possible.
She made a joke about the podium. When they were finalizing planning they realized they had no podium, and they had no money to buy or rent one. So they called the police. The Victoria PD supplied the podium.
This donation by the police meant that we were looking at their logo the entire time, but it also meant that it was a place where cops and SJWs could work together, and that made me happy.
There was a territorial acknowledgement, and Elder May made a blessing that set the tone for the day. A little rambling, heart-piercingly beautiful, compassionate. When she sang I started weeping. The contrast of her speaking voice and her singing voice was so acute it made me sit up. Her song was wordless and filled with yearning for justice and peace.
Then the Deputy Minister for Justiceland Wanamaker got up and gave a canned f*cking empty speech with about as much inflection and heart as one gets from a Grade 7 kid giving her first address. As a libertarian-inflected feminist, I was enraged to the point I nearly booed when she tried to make political hay out of taking 5 million dollars from civil forfeiture – forgot we had that in Canada, right? right? and earmarking it for prevention of violence against women. Really don’t like that. I could go on at great length about why I was pissed, but instead I stink eyed her until she left. She may be a king hell accomplished career bureaucrat, and we should be thankful that somebody of her dignity spoke to us, but I came away wanting to coach her on public speaking and liberty both. Please don’t think that the 8 Domestic Violence Units which have been set up across BC with the money are bad things. I don’t. One thing I will credit her with is saying ‘all genders’; this is phrasing I wish more politicians would adopt, since it doesn’t other trans* and intersex people, or people who are distinctly possessing identifiable bits but are not gender normative, and it includes two-spirited.
Frank Elsner. Chief of Police in Victoria since January 2014. Man, I wish, you have NO IDEA HOW I WISH, that brO could have been in the auditorium when he spoke. He worked the room, greeting and speaking with many, many people. Fine, a cop can have good social skills, in fact let’s hope she does. As he was introduced, it was obvious that he is highly intelligent and has multiple degrees from real universities. He’s been chair of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which means he’s been exposed to best (and worst) practices across the planet, and let’s face it the last decade has seen some impressive advances in community policing.
He said, “Why talk about community health in terms of policing?” Essentially good policing is part of what makes a healthy community. As a cop he was appalled to arrest three generations of criminals. The boys weren’t born bad; intervention and options are required to turn lives around.
He mandated a different approach to street prostitution. Instead of throwing them in the jug, a group of women were streamed toward social workers. Picture their astonishment when the first problem most of them had was that they had no picture ID. Childcare, job training and housing were also issues. Address them, and women can get off the street. He made it sound simple, but the key is collaboration among a large group of people across half a dozen Ministries and social agencies. When you get seven women out of the life, you are reducing human suffering in them, their children and their grandchildren, is the point.
Then he said the thing that would have made brO happiest. He said the police must be accountable to the people they serve for everything they do, even when it hurts the police institutionally and personally. The reactive model of policing is no longer tenable; police have to earn and show respect in the community they serve.
He also mentioned that cops need to be better educated and trained (yay, maybe that one dingus will finally learn how to give evidence in traffic court) and that their own mental health MUST be factored into the equation; police need like all people to be treated with respect for the sad duties they take on, on behalf of all of us, and that if we just keep expecting cops to suck it up they will snap. So he wants to look after the well being of the people in his department and not just expect them to stand tall and be stoic.
My applause at the end of his talk was very genuinely enthusiastic, as was Paul’s.
Then Dr. Martin Broken Leg got up.
1. Dude’s funny.
2. Dude’s a survivor.
3. Dude’s hella smart.
With effortless humour, fluency, clarity and logic, he walked us through what it’s like to live in Aboriginal culture, both sides of the border (he is Lakota, adopted into the Raven clan on Haida Gwaii and man you shoulda seen his button decorated black vest with the most beeeyootiful appliquéd silver raven on the back, I admired it in person.)
One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Indian kids went to residential schools until 94 when the last one closed. Four Hundred and Fifty Thousand Indian kids have gone into care since the mid fifties.
The ACE studies (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can provide some light.
If a child is exposed to addictions, abuse, domestic violence, incarceration and neglect, you will get social impairment, health risks, disease, disability and early death.
There are other sources of trauma to FN kids. Federal laws, provincial policies, residential schools, the institutions of the churches, poverty, sub standard housing, poor nutrition and lack of healthy practices, lower opportunities for education and employment.
Oppression comes in many forms. Social microaggressions, the way people look at you and talk to you and make assumptions about you. Systems don’t make place for you and your cultural folkways. The professional people who are supposed to help you don’t necessarily respect you and don’t expect you to improve; and then of course there’s internalized racism and the numbness that comes when you realize that you’re worthless; you don’t need to see 1200 missing women on tv to realize that there’s not a lot of respect for FN women, let alone men.
He recommended Rupert Ross’s Criminal Conduct and Colonialization and Dr. Paulette Regan’s Unsettling the Settler Within.
Traumatized people show it. They show it by abusing their children, committing suicide, legal trouble and incarceration, early death, violence and addictions.
If you’re working with traumatized people the question to ask is not What’s Wrong with You!? it’s What Happened to You?
In 2012 the Gladue decision brought into sentencing the ability of the judge to inquire as to childhood trauma before jail time.
Subsequently a 19 year old aboriginal man was arrested for assaulting (I remember this story) a Coast Mountain bus driver. At sentencing it was learned that he had been in 28 foster homes between 4 and 18. He didn’t get jail time, he got counselling, and the howls from white people who said BUT HE ISN’T BEING PUNISHED were very loud. And pointless. Jail wouldn’t help.
FN people need to:
See your own and your inherited pain (he called it the dark shadow that lies across every aspect of aboriginal life.)
Know and express your own suffering.
Self-critique and move toward self-improvement (away from victimhood toward self-actualization)
Reclaim aboriginal spirtuality, community and culture ESPECIALLY LANGUAGE (my comment because it is a road map back to the way the land spoke to your ancestors.)
Non-aboriginal people need to work on:
Self-reflection, to lose their white innocence (I had no idea FN children were experimented on, I had no idea that three percent of the residential school kids never came home, I had no idea that the Indian Act didn’t let FN women vote until the 1960s.)
Accept the historical violence, from the Beothuk to Akwesasne.
Admit the full equality of Aboriginal people and ways. That’s the tough one. We’ve been acculturated to believe that European ways are superior, and it ain’t necessarily so.
Remember that the 1948 UN definition of genocide COVERS THE SITUATION OF THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS.
Broken Leg then talked about the four stages of forgiveness, as outlined in Tutu’s The Book of Forgiving, which he wrote with his daughter Mpho.
- Let us tell the truth. Speak the truth, unvarnished, the facts. Tell trusted people, accepting that the past will not be changed.
- Name the hurt. Accept all feelings as valid and connect those feelings to the facts. Use Kubler-Ross’s grief work. Be vulnerable and be willing to be hurt, because you will be.
- Grant forgiveness by choosing to forgive. Grow by forgiveness. Move to the place of being a survivor hero, not a victim.
- Change your story. Tell a new story to heal. Renew or release the relationship that has marked you. Ask for what you need. Look at your role, not to blame yourself, but with calmness.
Young people, to be resilient, must be valued enough by their culture to be taught
Then I went to a breakout session on suicide prevention in young people “This do in memory of me” for Kaitlin Schmidt, whose plaque we put up in the Gazebo of Remembrance on Thursday night.
Almost 4000 people kill themselves in Canada every year. A lot of them are young people. Accidents involving brain injury, suicide and cancer are one two three for cause of death in folks under 25.
It’s okay to ask somebody if they are thinking of harming themselves or killing themselves, but there is a big but.
You have to say that you have seen a change in behaviour first. This marks you as somebody observant and caring. If they are suicidal but deny it you have marked yourself as a safe person to talk to later. (I find it unlikely that I will ever be that blue again but I know EXACTLY who among my friends I can go to, and that in itself is wonderful.) If they aren’t suicidal they can explain why they’ve been wearing nothing but sweat pants for two weeks and are giving away all their stuff.
Since kids have smart phones, there’s been a lot of work on apps that help kids manage their moods. Links below.
I found it very interesting that the presenter, Renata Hindle, said that in two hundred 80 minute presentations in BC to Grade 8 and Grade 10 kids, precisely one class wouldn’t go with the guided meditation, and that dozens of kids have told her they wished they knew about it earlier. Funnily enough, we teach meditation at a number of points in the UU religious education curriculum. Cause we be all about raising resilient kids yo.
Then there was a very challenging talk on male survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Men process sexual trauma differently than women.
Gender role conditioning to not seek help, to suck it up, to be tough and stoic, mean that help is not sought and the trauma plays out in all aspects of the survivor’s life.
They don’t have the social permission of women to ask for help, to admit to needing it.
When they do seek help, there is a deluge of stuffed-down emotions which occurs at the commencement of the counselling.
Societal and internalized homophobia (offenders normally being men) can cloud the survivor’s ability to see their own victimization. Womanizing is often a consequence of childhood sexual abuse.
Often, they can fear that they will prey on children (this was brilliantly depicted, as an aside, as part of Bunchy’s story in Showtime’s Ray Donovan.)
Something that never occurred to me was that as boys arrive at puberty, they have the ability to be physically aroused by damned near anything. This is used by perps to show to the boy that he ‘must have enjoyed it.’ ew ew ew.
5 – 6% of boys who’ve been molested go on to offend.
BUT 95% of offenders were abused.
Those are horrible statistics. And we’re doing a shitty job as a culture of helping men who’ve been sexually abused as children. I am going to investigate the group helping men here in town.
As an aside, she said that male survivors are very likely to espouse conspiracy theories, because their essential feeling of safety has been destroyed. They have seen the shadowy forces of evil and want everybody to be as frightened as they once were.
This made me realize that someone close to me is probably a survivor. I have had to come to a personal adjustment of my thinking patterns.
Sobriety is virtually impossible for survivors who haven’t had counselling for the trauma.
Survivors get in fights, they are medicated heavily, many have difficulty keeping sober and binge or drink steadily, they dress in a fashion that tells people ‘KEEP THE **** AWAY FROM ME”, they don’t come to family events and cause scenes or sit in the corner and drink, and they are job avoidant or can’t keep a job due to ongoing issues with disrespect and authority.
I didn’t take notes.
Reena Virk’s parents made a presentation about what it was like, and how the reconciliation with one of their daughter’s killers went.
I cried a lot.
Then they started talking about the Bible, which was less moving, and Paul and I anthem sprinted to the ferry, where we made the 5 o’clock. There was a circular rainbow in Active Pass, and I saw a fur seal.
- Singing that in church on the 50th anniversary of Selma. I cried, it was really hard not to. The minister preached an excellent sermon, and owned from the pulpit our shame and Canada’s in the treatment of the First Nations specifically with reference to the residential schools. The part Unitarians played in Selma was retold. In the future, they will ask, were you there, and I will have to answer.
- 1.8 hours on the cpap. Feel very crusty this morning. I had strange dreams.
- The Rogue Folk Club is under attack. They want to redevelop Saint James complex (the United Church of Canada local diocese) and given where it’s located, half a block from one of the priciest stretches of real estate in one of Canada’s priciest cities, I hardly think bake sales and fundraising will help. Honestly I’m glad John didn’t live to see it.
- March 14 there’s a demo against C51.
- March 11 THEOLOGY PUB. Rob and I are going again but the steak I felt comfy enough to treat him to is not happening again so he’s coming here first for sour owl jowls and then we’ll have soft drinks at the pub. He encouraged me to download Sketchup and it doesn’t fucking work with my Mac OS version so I am really irritated. I’ll see if I can put it on the other machine. My irritation is softened by our amusing convo yesterday morning. Me: Hey Rob, missed you in church last week, are you coming? Him: (sleepily) I was planning a leisurely shower and hop on the bus. Me, looking at the clock downstairs at church: Uh, it’s quarter after 10, hon. Him: I set my clock backward instead of forward. Me: Showing up in time for coffee is a fine Unitarian tradition. Him: Skipping shower…. inbound!
- Workshops are how to grow a church, who knew. This is an in joke.
- My landpeers are not raising our rent – for the second year running. It’s like a March Miracle. This is officially the most reasonably priced detached rental in east Burnaby.
- I got Reddit gold. If you don’t know what that is, good, and if you do know, ask me for my reddit username so you can bask in the glory that is my helpful commentary to the angry and sad.
- My pOp played an extremely hilarious practical joke on me and Jeff, and to preserve the dignity of the everyone involved, I am not talking about it on the internet. I did however light a candle for it in church and it must have sounded funny to the congregation, because they laughed most heartily.
- I sent off another thousand words to mOm yesterday and as usual she is agitating for more. It felt so good to have something to send… that chunk is only half way done.
- The sun and warmth has been glorious.
- Jeff and I tag teamed to move the fridge, clean under, beside and behind it, remove the MAT of dust on the fan intake, and once I clean the interior the fridge will be cleaner than at any point since we moved in. I’m thinking of tackling Jeff to help with the kitchen “cupboards must be examined for stale dated contents” clean.
- I have to call the city of Burnaby today and ask them where the food scraps container we are supposed to get is.
- The purple and green screeching iridescent ribbons have gone from my fabric stash to church. I have spent much time thinking what I should do with them, but finding out that the RE kids are doing a Maypole this year means that I never have to look at them and be sad again.
- I enjoyed my sewing machine so much the last time I’m going to haul it out again.
- But probably not before I clear off the living room table, which will probably take a couple of hours.
- Keith is going to come over in the next couple of days and help me get my bicycle in riding condition.
- I have an appointment with the bone health doc for the end of April. The MOA who called with the appointment info was a truly delightful person and though the call was brief it left me feeling really good.
This interview was assembled by Lorraine Murphy, an internet colleague.
They told me what would happen. I started following racism eradication activists on twitter, and they told me, down to the last squeak of privilege and bleat of illogic and roar of cognitive bias and growl of hatred and whine of misdirection and concussive threat of personal violence and siren of tone policing, exactly what would happen to me when I started confronting racist speech in others, in public. In a three round conversation, I got it all but the threat of violence, including how the other person’s spelling and grammar devolved as (I assume from the name) he completely lost his shit.
I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding conflict and trying to talk pretty; this is going to make the friendships I have with people who want to help me with the work even more important. It already IS ugly. Up until this point I’ve had no skin in the game. That’s what privilege does. Now I want to have skin in the game without getting my feelings hurt, and that’s just not going to happen, and I have to get over it, and I’m scared.
One of the things that is helping is learning about the Japanese-American and African-American troops as they served their country fighting in the Second World War. They wanted to prove two things, their patriotism and their worth. Many made the ultimate sacrifice to demonstrate both. As they fought in their campaigns, they encountered the worst of what human beings can do to each other, and helped destroy the engines of fascism and racism, although they could not eradicate those ideologies. With their sacrifice in mind, I will get off my ass; I will quit whining; I will do the work.
I have started making lists again vs. the overwhelm.
Wrote some on both projects this morning.
This made me laugh very very hard. It’s a combination of the clothing and the locomotion.
Slept at least a couple of hours in the cpap machine last night. I don’t remember waking up and tearing it off, but I did.
Today, more laundry. Really what I should do is get rid, mercilessly, of every piece of clothing that is too tight or ugly or stained, but I get super attached to clothing.
I show the shop again today at noon. Heavy sigh. At least the last time I went in I got rid of the last of the stuff that was going bad (I hadn’t been able to see it, unfortunately, and this last time I crawled around on my hands and knees until I saw it, removed it, bleaugh). So it will smell a lot more like a restaurant thankfully. (Added later… another person wants to see it.)
I think in about two weeks I may be able to handle a tray of cookies, so if I don’t sell it, I will be going back to work.
I forgot my physio appointment yesterday – how, I have no idea. However I get another on Friday. I am getting stronger, but sometimes things ‘catch’ and it hurts A LOT. There’s a huge divot in my shoulder where all the muscle attachments fell away. Or whatever, I am not one hundred percent sure about what is going on except I sheared off my greater tuberosity. I have to check on my next doctor appointment, I sure don’t want to miss that.
I am reading Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian and it’s making me REALLY REALLY MAD about policy toward native people in Canada (and in the US, because like most First Nations people he considers the border a willful chimera, and so deals with both nations). I mean foaming at the mouth mad. His metaphor to deal with the constant refrain of ‘get over it’ is miraculous, and I will be using it whenever I talk about intersectionality and civil rights in future. He also makes mincemeat of the whole sad and tired trope I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS RACIST STUFF AND I’M NOT RACIST SO QUIT CALLING ME ONE. It’s certainly not an academic work, but there’s plenty of followup reading. I had NO FRICKING IDEA that there were first nations film documentarians (including a woman??!!) in the 20’s in the US, whose work of course is so far out in the margins I’ll be lucky to ever see it. We get Nanook of the North instead. Tanks Mr. Flaherty.
I am going to – definitely! – read more Will Rogers.