social-activism

salon.com
From Stuff White People Like to #NotYourShield: How irony is killing activism
We're so used to skewering dopey progressives who try too hard that we forget what it takes to create real change
By Arthur Chu

I can’t even find a part of this to quote, but I think this is really important. Criticizing “allies” for their actual mistakes or wrong beliefs is one thing; mocking them for caring in the first place is harmful.

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TPS in solidarity with Burlington Pig Save *All Day* vigil July 27th 2015

(Photo set two of two.)

While vigils are always somber events as the animals have only minutes left to live, and are going to a bloody, violent death, and while there are always suffering, sick/injured animal persons in the transport trucks, what we witnessed on this day was particularly horrific.The all-day vigil took place at the beginning of a heat-wave in Toronto where temperatures averaged around 35C/95F during the day. A natural, healthy pig has trouble cooling themselves down in hot weather since they have very few sweat glands. This is often why pigs will lie in a mud wallow. However, the baby six-month old piglets in the trucks are not healthy, they have been breed and fed to gain weight, and this weight retains heat. Furthermore, the metal trucks themselves soak up, and hang onto the heat, making the temperatures inside the trucks even hotter than the outside atmosphere. All of this put together means even more suffering for the piglets who’s tails were cut off and their ears mutilated without anesthesia shortly after birth, who were taken from their mothers and forced to live in filthy, dark sheds, receiving no medical care even if sick, who were extremely tightly packed into the transport truck through the use of electric prods, who will be pushed into a gas chamber where they will struggle for minutes before they are rendered unconscious,and who may be submerged, while conscious, in the boiling water of hair-removal tank. The pigs witnessed at this vigil were heavily panting in extreme distress. They were screaming and had wide panicked eyes. Some of their eyes were glossy as they laid on the hot metal floor after having collapsed from heat exhaustion. And some were lying on their sides with their eyes closed, gasping for breath, while their unconscious/dead friends lay beside them. We did what we could by providing the ones we could reach with water and watermelon, as well as soft caresses and kind words. Two brave activists even stood in front of the trucks (one was even hit by the vehicle in the process), so that we would have more time to give these beautiful, innocent babies just a few more moments of the only mercy and love they have experienced in their entire lives..

Even if you think we humans should eat animals, you know in your heart that this is wrong. And due to the level of secrecy maintained within the animal agriculture industry, there is no way of knowing if the animal product on your plate did not come from an animal who died in agony. The absolute only way to know that you are not a supporter of such incredible cruelty, is to listen to your compassionate heart and go vegan.

Learn about Toronto Pig Save and join our vigils.

Photo credit to activist Louise Jorgensen.

notonemoredeportation.com
Immigration Authorities Have a New Plan for Trans Detainees
Read the just released memo and reaction here.

“A guidance document cannot be expected to change the fact that DHS and ICE have consistently failed at maintaining a minimum of safety and dignity for transgender immigrants. Transgender immigrants and other vulnerable populations, including mothers with their children and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) detainees, should be released from detention.

While we have an imperative to advance short and long term protections for LGBTQ people and all people in immigration detention, our experience with guidance documents such as these is that their implementation is inconsistent and with little oversight or  accountability.  In addition, this guidance still allows for practices that have been denounced as inhumane — including administrative segregation, ‘protective custody,’ and isolated pods — as adequate forms of housing for transgender individuals. Every one of these practices has failed to protect transgender immigrants, particularly women,  from rape, sexual and physical abuse and dangerous living conditions in detention.

Lastly, it is extremely concerning that this guidance does not mandate that contracted detention facilities sign on to pre-existing protections such as to the Contract Modification for Transgender Care.  This will result in a continuation of the practice of using isolation or inadequate GBT specific pods to detain transgender women.

I hate, hate, hate arguments like “OMG, you’re posting about that shot lion but you didn’t give a damn about any of the black people in the US who’ve fallen victim to police brutality! Shame on you!” 

I fucking hate it. And I could say right back at those people: “Oh? So you’re enraged about Sandra Bland, but don’t care about the Palestinian youths murdered by Israeli police, or LGBT people executed in country XY? Wow, you’re such a hypocrite.” 

The thing is, there is so, so fucking much evil happening in our world, in many different regions and societies, towards people from many different groups and minorities, and yes, also animals. No person can a) keep up with every single of those horrific events, and b) bring up the energy to do so. It would be utterly self-destructive to care about all of them. 

I, personally, haven’t been posting much about any such issues in the past. I’m in a good place right now, happy with a new job and finally seeing a silver lining after all my financial troubles. I simply can’t and don’t want to burden myself with caring about things I can’t change anyway. Or at least, I’m deliberately stopping myself from doing it because I know it a) doesn’t make a difference whether I reblog something on tumblr or not and b) just drags me down way too much. 

What’s been happening in the US recently - or come to the surface because people are posting about it - is so horrible and incomprehensible to me that I can’t find words about it anyway. And I see these things, I read about them here, but I’m choosing not to get too deeply involved in discussions and reading articles because of the above reasons. 

But I might get upset and post something on a different issue, who knows. Maybe it’s going to be a lot less cruel topic, like bisexual erasure, or the failure of recognising same-sex marriages on the same level as straight marriages in Germany. Or I might post about shark conservation and ask someone to sign a petition against shark finning. Who knows. 

Maybe I prefer to choose areas in which I have at least a tiny bit of influence, meaning my own country, or things that are, for some reason, especially close to my heart (like sharks). 

But I’m sure if I do that some people here and on social networks in general will judge me for not picking the ‘right’ cause to get upset over. Because Sandra Bland’s murder is more relevant than gays and lesbians in Germany who could use a bit more legal benefits and rights. And maybe it is. Or maybe that Palestinian kid is, or the girl who was raped and sold into marriage, or or or or. But does that mean endangered species and LGBT issues in mostly tolerant societies are completely irrelevant? Does that mean you should not care about them at all and spend some time and energy on them?

We cannot care about everything. If we did, we’d lose our minds and also would have to stop working and spend 24/7 on the internet, reblogging and commenting on every cruelty that is happening. 

It just bothers me that significant pre-colonial societies had relatively loose notions of gender, sexuality, and heteronormativity and it was the imposition of Western colonial systems that informed strict binaries in those spheres, but now… now when post-colonial societies are still stuck in their previously forced yet regressive dichotic norms and the West has only recently begun shedding its entrenched ignorance in the name of social progression, it has also somehow simultaneously become the champion of forward-thinking beliefs. And that’s just bullshit on so many levels.

TPS in solidarity with Burlington Pig Save *All Day* Vigil July 27th 2015

Help move towards a future where the screams of nonhuman persons shall be heard no more. Live a life of love and compassion; go vegan.


Learn about Toronto Pig Save and join our vigils.

Photo credit to activist Louise Jorgensen.

LGBT COMMUNITY: YOU NEED TO WATCH FAKING IT AND HERE IS WHY!

Hi there, this a very unconventional post on here, so I apologize. However, you may or may not have seen/heard of the new MTV sitcom “Faking It”. I know what you’re thinking, this show is about girls faking being lesbians for popularity, giving awareness to the incorrect idea that being gay is a trend, and I’m with you! The initial concept for the show seemed offensive and problematic.

However, I challenge you to look closer! This show is ground breaking on so many levels. This show was created by a gay man who understands the reality and struggles of the LGBT community. He accurately expresses what it’s like to be trapped in the closet, outed, in love with your best friend, and many other common themes for people questioning and working towards understanding who they and what their sexual orientation is or isn’t. In addition, they consistently challenge conventional stereotypes, create well-rounded characters, and most importantly show sexuality as more than just straight or gay.

Yet, the beauty and truly defining factor in my opinion, is HOW the content is being delivered. IT’S A COMEDY! An amazing and effective way to talk about massive issues like the LGBT community, is through humor. Humor makes these topics seem approachable and create an avenue for conversation. In order to continue to gain rights and social acceptance, this is the kind of representation that is necessary. 

However, in order to get this representation, we need people to watch the show. The ratings haven’t been high enough in order to get renewed, so we need to get people on board. I encourage you to give Faking It a chance, I promise you that it is relatable, it is witty, and it is time for a show like this to be seen and talked about. 

Sorry for the essay, I just think it’s super important to get this representation out there!

Tracy Chapman: Why she kicks ass

  • She is a singer and song writer.
  • She has won the Grammy Awards four times.
  • She is a multi-platinum artist.
  • Her song “Fast Car” was ranked by Rolling Stone as number 165 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”; the highest ranking song both written and performed by a woman.
  • She has a strong interest in human rights; this is reflected often by her music (see: “Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution” which is about speaking up against injustice).
  • She performed in London as part of a worldwide concert tour to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Amnesty International (1988).
  • She performed in the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute, an event which raised money for South Africa’s Anti-Apartheid Movement and seven children’s charities (1988).
  • In 2004 she performed at and rode in the AIDSLifeCycle event.
  • She sponsored an essay contest for high school students in Cleveland and other cities, “Crossroads in Black History”.
  • She was given an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts by her alma mater, Tufts University, recognizing her commitment to social activism.
  • She often performs at and attends charity events such as Make Poverty History, amfAR and AIDS/LifeCycle, to support social causes.
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The protest against the new price of electricity in Yerevan, Armenia. Citizens organized a peaceful sit down demonstration near the Armenian president’s residence, Baghramyan avenue. The police blocked the way to the residence. At 5:10 in the morning of 23rd of June the police forced back the peaceful activists with water cannons, forced more than 240 social activists to go to police stations, broke journalists’ gadgets and recording devices. After the incident people made graffiti on some walls with the following expression: “This hasn’t been watered” which means that the activists are not going to give up.

They spend  nights in the street demanding from the president of Armenia to cancel the new law and agreement according to which the price of electricity will be raised by 40%.

In the morning of 24th of June the activists started cleaning the avenue, new people joined the rows and shared food and drinks with the ones who spent the night in the main street of the city. Some of them threw flowers to the police as an act of peace and kindness. The protest is still going on. The participants have promised to stay there as long as it takes to cancel the new law.

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MUST WATCH: Kendrick Lamar debuted his new song on The Colbert Report last night and delivered a breathtaking performance. With the current epidemic of police killings, the last verse is especially relevant and powerful. WATCH it in full here: http://on.cc.com/13c95v6 and SHARE if you are moved!