Friday, October 15, 2010

Update on Sara Kruzan: Please Write Letters of Support to Free Her from Prison for Killing Her Pimp "Who Use[d] His Manhood to Break You In"

I have posted on Sara before (see *this* post). Here is the latest.

From Ed Herzog:

Earlier this year I was in contact with each of you about Sara Kruzan, the young woman in California who was a victim of human trafficking and was sentenced to life in prison for killing her pimp.  At the time, Sara was up for resentencing and was requesting letters of support for her trial.  Since then, her trial has been postponed multiple times and is now scheduled for February 14th.

In the meantime, a clemency petition was filed asking California Governor Schwarzenneger to commute Sara's sentence to time served.  Sara is once again requesting letters in support of her freedom.  Letters should be sent to the following address:

Governor's Office:
Governor Arnold Schwarzennegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160

There are also a couple of online petitions that can be signed:

Further details about Sara's clemency petition can be found here:

Many thanks for your support!  I know Sara greatly appreciates everyone who supports her during her quest for freedom.


A Conversation Between Ruchira Gupta of Apne Aap and Gloria Steinem (U.S. white feminist) on Male-Pimp Ruled Sex Trafficking and Sexual Slavery

Part 1 of 4:

Part 2 of 4:

Part 3 of 4:

Part 4 of 4:

35th Annual American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco, CA: November 5 - 13, 2010 ECD

What follows is from Brenda Norrell at Censored News. Please click on the title to link back.

SAN FRANCISCO American Indian Film Festival

Image: Black Horse Woman • Terrance Guardipee ©2010


35th annual American Indian Film Festival
recognizes National American Indian Heritage Month
Nov. 5--13, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO —National American Indian Heritage Month is celebrated every year in November to honor and recognize the original people of this land. The first “American Indian Day” was declared by the State of New York in 1916, but a month long recognition of Native Americans was not achieved until 1990. In that year President George H. W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating November 1990 as National American Indian Heritage Month.

The American Indian Film Institute (AIFI) encourages the broader community to recognize the significance of National American Indian Heritage Month and support organizations and events that foster historical and cultural values inherent to native peoples.

Since 1975, the American Indian Film Festival has presented over 2000 films providing inspiration and educational value to the community-at-large and support for Native film projects. AIFI encourages filmmakers to bring to the broader media culture the Native voices, viewpoints and stories that have been historically excluded from mainstream media; to develop Indian and non-Indian audiences for this work; and to advocate tirelessly for authentic representations of Indians in the media.

The 35th annual American Indian Film Festival, presented over nine days, will run Nov. 5-13 at the Landmark Embarcadero Center Cinema, One Embarcadero Center, Promenade Level; and conclude Nov. 11-13 at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St. @ Bay Street. The American Indian Film Festival will premiere over 80 new feature films, shorts, public service, music videos and documentaries of USA American Indian and Canada First Nation communities.

Some highlights include: Feature Documentary, A Good Day to Die, a bio pick of AIM Activist, Dennis Banks on Nov. 11; AIFI’s Tribal Touring Program, a Summer Indian youth film workshop program supported by Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, CA; Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, CA; Nisqually Indian Tribe, WA on Nov. 12 at Pier 39 Theatre; AIFI’s American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show which honors filmmakers, actors and showcases contemporary Native American talent, on Saturday, November 13, 6:00 pm at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Complete Film Festival Schedule to be posted October 4th under the Film Festival section.
The American Indian Film Institute (AIFI) is a non-profit media arts center founded in 1979 to foster understanding of the culture, traditions and issues of contemporary Native Americans.

Coming Out as Queer in an Academic Culture: Speaking Out Against Heterosexist Misogyny

image is from here
Why does the Human Rights Campaign graphically promote the Coming Out of only relatively thin and seemingly able-bodied people? Who gets to be lesbian, gay, intergender, intersex, and transgender in media? First answer: If intergender or intersex, virtually no one. Second answer: usually and typically it is white, thin, not too young, not old class-privileged people. Notice how all the people presented below as women--if we can discern such things through a graphic like this--are ESPECIALLY thin. I am opposed to an LGBTIQ program that centers the experiences of able-bodied, class-privileged population as normal and representative. I am supportive of queer people of color speaking out against the many oppressions which confront someone without white and het male privilege.

Audre Lorde worked very hard to be visible enough to make lesbians of color less marginalised in the movements for Women's Human Rights and what is now called Queer Human Rights. I support the voice of Cyrus in speaking to LBGTIQ concerns as a Filipino Queer young male Californian. What follows is from The New Gay blog/website and may be linked back to by clicking on the title below.

Activism: Fool That I Am: National Coming Out Week
13 October 2010, 4:00 pm
This post was submitted by Cyrus

Come Out, Come Out, Who ever You are- Harvey Milk; Photo Credits to Human Rights Campaign
This week is National Coming Out Week on my campus. I am very fortunate to attend a working class, diverse, liberal minded college in California where there has been a strong sentiment towards celebrating diversity. Spearheaded by my college LGBT resource center, many of the festivities featured this week include Transgender Awareness 101 and a resource fair with many representatives from the campus and city community in attendance. I wholeheartedly support National Coming Out week because ten years ago, at the age of 14, I came out during NCO week. There is something uniquely enjoyable and incredibly striking about raising consciousness and collective power. You realize the closet is a small space and people are out there who are waiting for you to be the person you are meant share with the rest of the world.

The process of coming out is centrally tied to the realization and the actualization of recognizing one’s queer tendencies in relations to the world. Coming out is the constructive point of realizing the closet was heterosexual construction for queer people to “come out” from and realize their queer selves to celebrate themselves in recognition of the life. This is why I think the sharing of coming out stories is so important in the queer community because everyone grew up differently. No two coming out stories are ever the same, though very similar, and no one ever fully comes out of the closet. We continually have to mention our queerness to another person, a new acquaintance, a new individual.

Takes one step out of the closet; Photo credit: NCOW Washington
My school newspaper solicited coming out stories for this week in particular. I was originally opposed to the idea of publishing my story because the newspaper ran a satire about sexual violence on campus and a loser’s guide on “How to Get Laid”. In essence, that specific issue was very misogynistic and dehumanized the female experience on campus. But it made for one infamous newspaper publication. Thus, when the Union was soliciting, I could not help but wonder, how they would take these stories and whether they would do them justice. After the “How to Get Laid” publication, I swore never to support the Union ever again, but not acting is passively supporting. I had to react. I had to prevent these stories from being published and in my acitivist moment of fight-or-flight, I logged on facebook, got on my listserves and did everything in my power to prevent these stories from being publish. I myself sent my own “coming out story” with an exclamatory “fuck you” to the newspaper in even daring to publish coming out stories. In the end, despite my story and anger towards the newspaper, I found my story, “fuck you’s “ and all, in the newspaper.

My “story” was published. To the shock and ironic attempt of not having coming out stories published, I realize that I am ultimately the beneficiary of the process of coming out myself. If I never came out, I would never have the courage to even write what I did in the Union. Furthermore, I displayed my anger and passion to showcase the power of sharing my voice as an open queer individual because I can live my life as a queer individual.

Coming out is a resiliently liberating experience for any queer individual.

Audre Lorde- Black Femnist Scholar; Photo Credits: World People's Blog
Audre Lorde, a famous black lesbian feminist, and her famous quote reads, “ I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood and even the smallest victory is never taken for granted. Each Victory must be applauded”. My liberation is bound with yours, I support you.

Toby Hemenway: How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth, but not Civilization. Vandana Shiva: Human Freedom and a Fragile Planet

ALERT: DEMOCRACY NOW! on FRIDAY, 15 OCTOBER 2010 ECD will feature Derrick Jensen and many other important guest speakers. Please tune in locally or find the program on Democracy Now!'s website. Hopefully, I'll be posting the program to this blog some time within the next 24 hours so stay tuned here if you can't hear the program when it airs live.

What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself — a Black woman warrior poet doing my work — come to ask you, are you doing yours? -- Audre Lorde, "The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action"
I appreciate the information in this lecture, even while I have concerns and criticism of it. But I want to thank Toby for doing his work. I want to thank him for speaking his truths. And I want to remind us that there are many truths that remain unlistened to. Most people's voices are not heard in media. I dare say that the most important people's voices, the most knowledgeable people's voices, the smartest people's voices, and the most necessary voices are not listened to. Instead we have Rupert Murdoch and advertising executives and pimps speaking up a great deal to sell us an idea of civilisation that is utterly calloused, savage, and in profound denial. It is a death culture, promoting pollution, heteropatriarchal atrocities, and and white supremacist destruction. One key privilege required to believe one is good while doing evil is this: the privilege to not see or feel the consequences of own's own actions. I am speaking primarily collectively here, not as much individualistically. It may apply interpersonally too, but this is more about whole groups of people with privilege believing we are all only individuals--except those we oppress as groups, not as individuals.

I'm speaking about what the exorbitant price paid for Western Civilisation, from the vantag epoint of Indigenous people globally, from the perspective of poor people in the Global North and the Global South, from women everywhere. If we are privileged in many ways and are only willing to listen to those with similar levels of privilege, it is guaranteed we will never know what we need to know to be good, loving people co-creating a better world. By better I mean this: sustainable, not oppressively hierarchical, living with rather than on the Earth among the other Living Beings here, not establishing dominion over them, and not engaged in any form of warfare because resources will be maintained locally and regionally, not internationally or across continents.

Indigenous people's voices, especially Indigenous women's voices, from thousands of diverse societies across the globe, are largely silenced in dominant media. Almost completely silenced. This media is designed to promote a very narrow voice within the Western white het male supremacist mono-culture.

Why are so many voices silenced through slaughter or trauma? Why are their words, when spoken, not listened to? I believe it is because the dominant "we" would rather not be reminded of what its civilisation does to that of the other "we"--the people who are struggling to survive. To know in one's body and mind, in one's heart, that suffering is manufactured on a global scale, and that it isn't necessary at all, is to come into a kind of compassion that requires action. To feel that suffering as if it were one's own--and often enough it is one's own--requires that one have support to bear it and the validation from loving people that there is reason to believe it will be different one day.

It is quite terrifying to know that my life requires rape and death across the globe. It is something my people--whites, males, Westerners, class-privileged people--want to shut out. I see it happening every day. It is frightening how easy it is to ignore human suffering that is happening on massive scales to millions of people and to pretend, as a very privileged person, that one's own pain is the only pain that matters.

I see reports of the despicable ways the U.S. military leaders treat soldiers--sending them back into warfare after they report having major post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal feelings. And what I think about is how invisible the people U.S. soldiers are, because the U.S. media never informs us about their post-traumatic stress, and what it means that President Obama sent more troops into Afghanistan when he became president.

What levels of denial or coercion does he live with to make that decision and think it is morally, or good, or loving? How do you decide to send mostly poor people overseas to commit atrocity and witness horror, to mass murder people you are trained to not see as human-like-you? How does a president do that and sleep at night? What does he tell himself that makes not only not ending war, but escalating it, an acceptable policy?

How do whites mistreat, ignore, stereotype, and discriminate against people of color and think that's a good, loving thing to do? How do men subordinate, rape, batter, pimp, procure, enslave, harass, and discriminate against women and think of themselves as good people at  the end of the day? I am speaking collectively, not only individually. I mean how to whites, men, Westerners, participate without objection to social arrangements that are brutal for some and beneficial for others, and think that is necessary or acceptable?

When I listen to people I structurally oppress speak, what I hear over and over again are two things: frustration at not being seen or heard, and the knowledge that the oppressor cannot and will not liberate the oppressed because they wake up one day and realise the horror of what they've been doing for hundreds of years. I also hear an awareness of how oppressive systems work that oppressors may know, but won't admit to.

The main problem I have with videos, lectures, and writings by white men about matters of sustainable living is that the audiences, usually of relatively privileged people, are not brought into awareness that maintaining our dominator societies require whole groups of people, plants, animals, waterways, and land masses to become diseased and die. Necessarily. And if white men don't give their privileged platform to people who are suffering in ways white men are not, they are keeping the idea, the myth, alive that the information we need to survive must come from Western white men. This is a dangerous idea. Even while some white men have very useful, loving things to say about humanity and the Earth, such as men like Derrick Jensen. I hope you tune in to hear him on Democracy Now!

When privileged people are listening to oppressed people not because oppressed can teach the oppressor, but simply because oppressors need to know what we're doing and to stop doing it, then something radical will have occurred: radical love will flourish on Earth when that happens. When oppressors change their/our behavior not for ourselves, but for other people who are not us.

I leave you with these lectures, by Dr. Vandana Shiva and hope that her voice is at least as meaningful to you as Toby Hemenway's.

Part four of Vandana Shiva's talk for Moravian College as their fifth Peace and Justice Scholar. Dr. Shiva, an internationally known scientist, environmental activist, ecofeminist philosopher, author, and recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), is speaking on the topic of "Human Freedom and a Fragile Planet."