action civics

Real Change Starts Within Ourselves

We took the summer off but as a part of our back to school efforts, @action will be restarting our Champions of Change series where we work with our partners in media and civil society to profile young people doing extraordinary things in their communities.

To kick off we will be hearing from Leonardo Serrano from Los Angeles School of Global Studies, who participated in Civic Action Project a program of Constitutional Rights Foundation.

Growing up in Mexico as a Mexican-American Citizen was not easy but it offered me the opportunity to witness the struggles people suffer in both countries. Once back where I was born, LA, I realized that even I, a student who barely knew English, could take action. I’m one example that no matter what situation you are in, you can make a difference.

In January I became homeless, struggling with my job, school, and my living situation. When Civic Action Project (CAP) started, I saw a valuable opportunity to be the voice not only for myself but for the growing homeless community of LA.

I first took the initiative to persuade the senior class with my personal experience to choose the topic of homelessness for our CAP. Most seniors from Los Angeles School of Global Studies concentrated their efforts researching policies in two areas: the first, policies that criminalize the homeless community, and the second, proposals to increase access to affordable housing, shelters, and services.

At the end of the project we produced T-shirts to support our action, PSAs, a press conference in front of LA City Hall that was recorded by two local TV stations, and ultimately we delivered concise speeches to the council members. All of this to support, change, or eliminate different policies in the city of LA.

Thanks to this project my peers and I have the basic knowledge to keep striving for positive change anywhere we go.  Real change starts within ourselves, we have control over what we do and when. Nobody can tell us or decide for us when we want change or when to take action. For anyone who wants change but does not have the courage to do so I would like to say, don’t be afraid to reach out to people for help. Even if the first few discourage you, keep going you will find someone who will help.

-Leonardo Serrano

22 million

That’s the CBO number for how many people– babies, children, adults and the elderly, veterans, neighbors, your fellow Americans– will lose their healthcare under the Senate’s “healthcare” bill. Whether or not you live in a red or blue state, you can call the Senate Finance Office before 6:30 PM EDT to request public hearings on the Senate “health care” (aka death care!) bill. Call 202-224-4515. Takes a few seconds. You’re saving lives.

DoSomething.org wants to help you #DefendDreamers

From November 9 - 13, we’ll send you a new ways to defend Dreamers in your community.

In under six months, DACA recipients and Dreamers – young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children – will start losing their right to live in the US. These 800,000 young people are our friends and neighbors, people who love this country and who shouldn’t have to live in fear of being deported from the place they call home.

The DREAM Act, which would give Dreamers a path to citizenship, is supported by both Republicans and Democrats. We need Congress to pass the DREAM Act before they break for the holidays in mid-December. 

The clock is ticking.

Today, we want you to encourage reps in 18 key states to pass the DREAM Act.

If you’re in one of these states, your voice is especially important right now:

Tennessee - Maine - Utah - Oklahoma - Arizona - Ohio South Carolina - Pennsylvania - Florida - Missouri Nevada - North Dakota - Wisconsin - Georgia - Texas  North Carolina - Colorado - Michigan

If you’re not from one of those states, share this image with someone who is. 

Sign up to join us for more actions now: https://www.dosomething.org/…/campai…/defend-dreamers/action

”There’s no question that civic engagement is a way to stand firm against the degradation of a representative system of government. At the same time, recasting the fundamental building blocks of civic engagement not as essential tools of public engagement available to all citizens in all times, but as acts of resistance we deploy only against extraordinary threats to our system, is a quick way to get those acts tagged as radical rather than normal.

We should be wary of adopting a renamed version of civic engagement that seems mostly intended to make ourselves feel good and brave about doing things we should have been doing in the first place. Meeting our basic obligations as citizens is not the same thing as revolutionary action.”

Calling basic civics ‘resistance’ will only make it harder to stand up to Trump

The Aftermath of Jeffrey Dahmer’s Crimes

It’s been almost 26 years since Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest, yet it seems nothing can wash away the memories of his crimes.

Dubbed, “The Milwaukee Cannibal,” he preyed upon young men in gay bars and clubs, luring them back to his apartment with the promise of sex, money and booze. He killed 17 young men; he was convicted of 15 of those murders.
But, what happened after all was said and done and Dahmer was behind bars? What happened after his murder in prison in 1994?

The now-infamous Oxford Apartment building was destroyed in 1992. When Dahmer’s crimes were fresh in the news, the building became a macabre tourist attraction. His neighbor, Pamela Bass, said that people offered her money to sit on a couch that Dahmer had given her. Of course, residents became fed-up with all of the attention and some moved. Once plans were made to destroy the building, others were forced to move.

The Oxford Apartments then and now.

There were plans for a memorial garden to be built for Dahmer’s victims on the site of where the Oxford Apartments stood but the plan fell through. To this day, all that remains of the building that once housed Dahmer’s house of horrors is an empty lot.

There are mixed accounts of Jeffrey Dahmer’s brief life in prison. While in prison, Dahmer officially converted to Christianity and was baptized. Some say he adjusted well, and that he had a macabre sense of humor. There is a photo circulated online of an order form filled out by Dahmer for the prison commissary, requesting two cyanide tablets. Prison officials filed a report on this and also for him mocking a prison guard with a speech impediment. He also reportedly hung a sign up for a “Cannibals Anonymous” support group meeting.

In July of 1994, Dahmer was attacked by another inmate in the prison chapel.
Jeffrey Dahmer’s father, Lionel, published a book, entitled “A Father’s Story” in 1994. His now-infamous son, Jeffrey, agreed to do a lengthy, in-depth interview with his father. During the interview, Jeffrey admitted he did not agree with everything his father had written in the book, in particular Lionel’s impression of Jeffrey as being a shy child.

Christopher Scarver

Shortly after the interview with his father, Jeffrey Dahmer and another inmate, Jesse Anderson were murdered by fellow lifer and convicted killer, Christopher Scarver on November 28, 1994. Both Dahmer and Anderson were bludgeoned to death by Scarver while the three were performing their assigned cleaning duties that morning.

Scarver claims that he killed Dahmer because of how the serial killer allegedly taunted other inmates by taking food and shaping it to look like human organs and dousing it with ketchup. He claimed that Dahmer was an insubordinate and difficult inmate.

Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, Joyce Flint, expressed her grief with an angry statement: “Now is everybody happy? Now that he’s bludgeoned to death is that good enough for everyone?” Dahmer’s victims reportedly had mixed emotions about the death of their loved ones’ killer.

Dahmer family photo, from l., Jeffrey, parents Lionel and Joyce and younger brother David.

Lionel Dahmer and second wife Shari during the trial.

Joyce Flint during a 1994 interview.


The family members of Dahmer’s victims sued for damages and were awarded Dahmer’s estate. The items left over from Dahmer’s life were to be auctioned off. Thomas Jacobson, one of the lawyers representing the families, hoped to raise $1 million. Upon hearing about this, the citizens of Milwaukee sprang into action and formed Milwaukee Civic Pride. The civic organization hoped to raise money to purchase all of Jeffrey Dahmer’s possessions and have them incinerated. The group got their wish after making a $407,225 pledge for the items. Five out of eight of the victims’ families agreed to have the items destroyed. The charred remains of Dahmer’s worldly possessions were buried in a landfill in Illinois, the exact location of which remains undisclosed.

As for the Dahmer family, Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother, Joyce Flint, died of breast cancer in 2000. His younger brother, David, has since changed his last name.
Retired from his career in chemistry, Lionel Dahmer has become a strong public supporter of creationism. He is still married to his second wife, Shari, and the two reside in Ohio. Shari Dahmer is active in their community as a member of the Medina County Ohio Horseman’s Council. Both supported Jeffrey Dahmer throughout his trial and brief imprisonment.

Over the past 26 years since Jeffrey Dahmer’s arrest, the blood-spattered memory remains of the soft-spoken, bespectacled blonde man who lived in a make-shift macabre museum of his crimes. Various merchandise bearing Dahmer’s image is available for purchase online from t-shirts to pins to action figures.

There have been many books written and movies about him and are still being produced. In recent years, books and films about him include the 2012 documentary, “The Jeffrey Dahmer Files,” “Across the Hall,” written by Dahmer’s former neighbor Vernell Bass in 2013, “Dahmer Detective,” a book published in 2016 by retired Detective Pat Kennedy and an upcoming film in 2017, “My Friend Dahmer,” based on the graphic novel of the same name written by Dahmer’s former classmate Derf Backderf, which was published in 2012.
Info from documentaries and various articles around the web…

DILI, Timore-Leste (June 20, 2010) An AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter flies off the coast of Dili, Timore-Leste during flight operations aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5). Sailors from the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group and embarked Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (15th MEU) are participating in Marine Exercise (MAREX) 2010, a multilateral exercise promoting cooperation through civic action programs and training with the Timore Leste and Australian militaries. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Russell/Released)

civility

“civility is claiming & caring for one’s identity, needs, & beliefs without degrading someone else’s in the process. civility is about: 

disagreeing without disrespect

seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences

listening past one’s preconceptions

& teaching others to do the same. 

civility is the hard work of staying present even with those with whom we have deep-rooted & fierce disagreements. it is political in the sense that it is a necessary prerequisite for civic action. but it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating interpersonal power such that everyone’s voice is heard, & nobody’s is ignored.”

-cassandra dahnke & tomas spath, via brené brown

anonymous asked:

Hello! I was wondering if you knew anyways to help someone be able to talk to and/or feel their deities. I'm afraid I'm not very good at divination, I'm horrible at sensing things, and meditation is difficult since I can't keep still... thank you for the help!

So, my emphasis on “talking to” and feeling the Theoi is not the “I have actual conversations with my deities” kind of communication that you may see a lot of in tumblr pagan circles. I don’t think it’s practical or healthy to put that out there as the standard for communicating with and perceiving deities, and it’s not what I try to teach other people. If that’s what you’re looking for then this post isn’t going to be much help for you. 

However, if you’re looking for ways to feel closer to the Theoi, to find Their presence in your everyday life, and to be more perceptive to the signs They may send you, then I might be able to help.

First things first, my advice is to find the influences the Theoi have on things around you all of the time. This can be hard at first, and you may very well have to actively think about it. But once you get into the habit of recognizing where the Theoi are in every day life, then you’re quick to notice Them everywhere. For me, Apollon is in every single song. Dionysos is in every dance. Aphrodite is in every kiss and every time I hold my lover’s hand, and in the glitter in my body spray. Demeter and Persephone are in the flowers outside my window. They’re in the produce in my fridge and the bees buzzing from flower to flower. Zeus is in the rain, He’s in every civic action I take, and He’s in clear blue skies. Hestia is in every laugh, She’s in every chore and in meals with family and friends. Hermes is there with the man on the corner asking for change, and in the jangle of coins, in customers who are polite despite everything going wrong for them. Whatever it looks like for you, find the small, daily things that remind you of the Theoi.

Next, seek out the Theoi. Do walks through the park make you think of Persephone? Go for a walk. Does the sunset remind you of Hera? Take the time to watch the sun sink below the horizon. More than just the simple things that are part of your daily routine, go looking for those extra things which remind you of the Theoi. When you feel distant from Them, when you want to connect to Them, when you want to get a message from Them–engage in those things. 

Finally, recognize that signs aren’t always big neon signs on the side of the road. Sometimes they’re just the little coincidences that make you stop and think. Sometimes they’re little things happening at just the right moment to hold significance for you. You don’t need to wait for a flock of crows to land in your yard to get a sign from Apollon; maybe His message is as simple as the clouds passing after you say a prayer and the sun brightening up. I’m not saying to look for signs all the time or to expect them everywhere, I’m saying that when you ask for a sign, don’t dismiss the small things. Don’t gloss over things that get your attention, just because they aren’t obvious and weird.

4

On this date in U.S. Army SF history……09-July 1963: U.S. Army Green Berets began organizing and training tribesman in the Central Highlands of Vietnam into the Civilian Irregular Defense Group.

The CIDG program was devised by the CIA to counter expanding Viet Cong influence in South Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Beginning in the village of Buon Enao, small A Teams from the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) moved into villages and set up Area Development Centers. Focusing on local defense and civic action, the Special Forces teams did the majority of the training. Villagers were trained and armed for village defense for two weeks, while localized Strike Forces would receive better training and weapons and served as a quick reaction force to react to Viet Cong attacks. The vast majority of the CIDG camps were initially manned by inhabitants of ethnic minority regions in the country (especially Montagnard), who disliked both the North and South Vietnamese and therefore quickly took to the American advisers. The program was widely successful, as once one village was pacified, it served as a training camp for other local villages.

By late 1963, the military felt that the program was a great success, but also that the CIDG units and Special Forces units were not being employed properly, and ordered Operation Switchback, which transferred control of the CIDG program from the CIA over to Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. The CIDG Program was rapidly expanded, as the entire 5th Special Forces Group, U.S. Army Special Forces, moved into Vietnam, and the CIDG units stopped focusing on village defense and instead took part in more conventional operations, most notably border surveillance. Most of these were converted to Vietnam Army Ranger units in 1970.

10

Getting the Right Message Across: How to convey effective political messages without coming across as a pedantic twerp

Today was a very instructional day for the folks of RVA. While City Council reps, surprised by the highly effective, highly sophisticated and highly on-point political actions taken by a group of savvy students from area high schools, went into backrooms and did an about face with regard to how they would fund area schools’ desperate needs for renovations, Mayor Dwight Jones embarrassingly tried to tell students that poverty and failing schools were not initiated under his administration. He failed to remind them that 1) he is in his second term and has made no clear deliverable with regard to ending poverty other than creating an office to continue a dialogue about it at the expense of actually ameliorating it and 2) he is asking the Council to fork out funds in excess of 70 million dollars to build a stadium which offers no clear paths to doing away with it.

He did get testy when students actually tried to question him, pressing him on what his defensive posture had to do with their question of why he had not ensured that schools attended by under-served students met basic health and safety requirements. Suffice it to say that students were not impressed and a highly professional young student organizer, Isabella Arias, pressed for a space on the Citizen Comment period for last night’s Council Meeting. She spoke eloquently, she spoke directly and, unlike the Mayor and City Council, did not mince words, “If Richmond is going to be a tier-one city, then we need to stop building training camps and baseball stadiums and start fixing our schools,” like, duh! God, can this kid and all of the other kids that were speaking truth to power grow old faster so we can put them on the ballot?

And, of course, once City Council saw the superior wisdom of these young warriors for truth, they kneeled and honored them saying, in utter humility, “we are not worthy,” - right? Wrong. His High Twerpiness, Charles Samuels, got all in a tizzy: his little bow tie spun around (at least I strangely imagine him with a bow tie), his face flushed red, and his smarty glasses fogged up as he got fiercely pedantic on this crowd of rebel rousing hooligans, telling them that maybe in between studying about world history and trying to get into college and build a career, they might busy themselves to know that City Council has no real role in the schools other than deciding on how to allocate money and maybe they missed the memo (as did the Mayor and everyone else in the city) that came out, well, it hadn’t been issued yet, but they had already decided to find funds for the schools and - gosh darn it - they were lucky he had granted them approval to speak since last Council Meeting he had denied every citizen the right to speak about a major privatization issue surrounding Monroe Park, and, well, they were just about to make him cry and, he was worried the event might just have caused him to soil his Spider Man Underoos.

I really felt bad for poor ole’ Charles. Not just because he sort of looks silly - like he wants to be a part of some historical preservation club and, maybe, he wasn’t accepted into his local barber shop quartet and, he really secretly wishes he could apply Dapper Dan hair creme and stand imperious on an old town gazebo, swaying backwards and forwards with his thumbs in his suspenders while brass bands punctuate pompous populist soliloquies -  but because he looked like he lost. I always have a soft place in my heart for the loser in any battle. So I decided, this is a learning opportunity. I thought, what an opportunity to look at what might have been a more noble way to concede a political defeat without being resoundingly twerpy - or dingo-like.  So here’s how he might have addressed those amazing young political leaders of RVA’s tomorrow:

“First off, I want to commend you young people for what you have done. Its one thing to learn what our great Democracy is about in a classroom - to read it in a textbook. Its another thing to look around you and, seeing a case of injustice or a problem, speak out in a very sophisticated and thoughtful way. Secondly, I want to let you know that, thanks to the pressure you applied through your courageous civic actions, City Council has reconsidered our budget priorities. We were so moved by you that we decided to find the funds to make our schools respectable and to give the School Board what it needs to do its job with dignity. 

Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for showing your fellow Richmonders what it means to get involved in your city. Without local residents like you asking important questions and offering their diverse perspectives, this city would not be the fantastic place that it is. 

We will make sure that the poorest children among us have a roof to protect them from the elements and can study free of anxieties about disease carrying pests. We will honor your request - you can count on it. We are sorry for not greeting you when you came down to City Hall today and you can be assured - if you EVER have a concern again - our doors are wide open to you - as wide as they are to Altria or Bon Secours or Venture Richmond or Lou Solomonsky. Because this city is our city and it relies on truth and transparency. 

Thank you and we apologize that it had to come to this for us to finally do the right thing. Even seasoned politicians like yours truly, Charles Samuels, make mistakes. We aren’t defined by our mistakes, but how we respond to them. You showed us the way.”

Its sad, fellow Richmonders, that our local politicians don’t have that level of dignity. Maybe its time we started looking for ones who do. What yesterday HAS taught us is that we have a great pool of young leaders to pick from!

#RPSwalkout students: you rock!