Tag Archives: social justice

What it Takes to Build Movements

I find it interesting to hear the sentiment that one person built or builds a movement.  I see it differently.

Throughout history there have been movements for numerous causes.  They have usually grown out of the concepts, ideas and inspiration of a collection of individuals or one individual who dedicated their lives/life to ending injustice. The ideas blossom into inspiration which in turn creates a domino effect of various forms of the ideas into movements. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between movements and organizations, so we have to dig a little deeper to discover the inspiration behind the creation of the organization.

Here are a some examples of movements that have grown out of concepts, ideas and inspiration, with links provided to read more details.

Food Not Bombs

Food Not Bombs was born out of the concept  of feeding people, not war. FNB started after the May 24, 1980 protest to stop the Seabrook Nuclear power station north of Boston in New Hampshire in the United States. The people that started Food Not Bombs shared their first full meal outside the Federal Reserve Bank on March 26, 1981 during the stock holders meeting of the Bank of Boston to protest the exploitation of capitalism and investment in the nuclear industry.” Today there are Food Not Bombs groups all over the world.

Boycott Movements

Boycotting, Divesting and Sanctions are concepts that have long histories in a variety of forms,such as Fossil Fuel Divestment, the British Anti-Apartheid Movement / InternalResistance to Apartheid .  The original “Boycott Movement” was founded in London in 1959 at a meeting of South African exiles and their supporters. Members included Peter Koinange, Claudia Jones, Steve Naidoo and Ros Ainslie. The Boycott/Divestment/Sanction (BDS) movement was organized in 2005 by the Palestinian BDS National Committee.

Green New Deal

Green New Deal is a concept that was given prominence by journalist Thomas L. Friedman. Green New Deal has taken on a variety of platforms by numerous groups and individuals, inlcuding Van Jones, Jill Stein, Colin Hines (Green New Deal Group),The Green Party of the United States and The European Green Party.


Mahatma Ghandi is credited for the inspiration that ended the colonial occupation of India. He gained notoriety due to his British education and ability to articulate to the issue of non-compliance with the demands of the colonizers.  His vision and bravery inspired a movement of actions by the people that ultimately resulted the end of British rule. His influence is the catalyst for many peace and justice organizations today.

Civil Rights

Civil Rights Movements are numerous throughout history. An example is the Civil Rights Movement for African-Americans in the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is largely credited for leading the civil rights movement from 1954 until his death in 1968. His visibility and outspokenness influenced and resulted in a mass movement of non-violent direct action by millions. Dr. King’s vision is carried on by numerous organizations and individuals promoting the concept of non-violence in activism.

Dr. King also organized the Poor People’s Campaign  which is an economic justice and  human rights campaign for poor Americans of diverse backgrounds, spurring a movement that has grown and continues today.

The list is endless. There is the Occupy Movement , Black Lives Matter, Human Rights Movement, Animal Rights Movement,  Victory Gardens, etc. Again these are just a few examples, for the purposes of invoking thoughts on what it takes to “build a movement”.   Not one person for sure.

An example in my own life is an annual event that I help organize, inspired by a similar event in another part of the county – our Annual Community Coat Exchange – the day after Thanksgiving, which (strategically) is also Buy Nothing Day (another movement that inspired the Coat Exchange nationwide). We have been doing this each year for 13 years.  If we all do our part – our small part – in the larger scheme of things, we are inspiring ever increasing social justice movements globally. It takes many people to build and idea into a movement.

What are you doing these days in your part of movement-building?

Cynthia McKinney’s TV ads on the Issues

Single Payer Health Care

View the rest of Cynthia’s tv ads:
Sustainable Investment instead of Corporate Bailouts
Green Values – Grassroots Democracy, Peace Social Justice, Environmental Wisdom
Green Party Seat At The Table will invite the Public
Constrained by the Two Party Paradigm
Restore Our Constitutional Rights
Rebuild the Economy with Energy Efficient Cars
Bring All The Troops Home
Katrina survivors right of return
Oppose Africom

Shot and edited by Don Debar

3rd Annual Imagine Peacfest
Contact information: Deanna Taylor, 801.631.2998,info@imaginepeacefest.org
3rd Annual Imagine Peacefest will highlight films, music, and children’s artwork

Salt Lake City – The 3rd Annual Imagine Peacefest will be held at Library Plaza, downtown Salt Lake City,
September 20, 2008 from 12noon to 6pm. The event is being held in tandem with the International Day of Peace, September 21st.

“Imagine Peacefest is an opportunity for people to come enjoy a variety of ways to experience the concept of peace in our world,” says Deanna Taylor, co-founder of Imagine Peacefest. “The goal of the festival is to provide a fun, interactive afternoon of art while raising awareness of the need for peace, sustainability and social justice. We hope that this event will inspire community members to become more involved in local projects and organizations that promote global peace and justice.”

Imagine Peacefest features activities and entertainment for all ages. Displays of art by area school children and local musicians, who donate their time and talents, are featured. Films and a panel discussion provide education on global peace and current issues facing the world. Booths are available for children and adults to learn, create art and participate in a variety of ways during the event.

The Eyes Wide Open Exhibit will be on display throughout the entire event on the plaza.

"The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) created its traveling exhibition, Eyes Wide Open: The Cost of War, to honor fallen U.S. military personnel and Iraqi civilians. Eyes Wide Open: The Cost of War Utah focuses on the specific costs of war to the state of Utah,” states Brenda Chung of Cache Valley Peaceworks. “ The exhibit includes over 20 pairs of boots representing fallen servicemen and women from Utah, plus boots added by request of the families of the fallen from Mendon and Salt Lake City, Utah, and a visual representation of the Iraqi civilian casualties. This exhibit is part of AFSC’s national Eyes Wide Open: The Human Cost of War networks. “Since the Eyes Wide Open state exhibits embarked on their tour around the nation in June 2007, the exhibits have been shown in 44 states. The results have been remarkable as the message of the human cost of war has expanded to an ever wider audience. Since it’s debut in October 2007, the Utah exhibit has been shown several times in cities and towns across the state.”

Inside the library downstairs will be a children’s display of art on the theme of Peace, organized by Westminster Roots and Shoots.

“Roots and Shoots groups from around the Salt Lake Valley will be participating in the Imagine Peace Festival by bringing peace doves to fly and open the event. This symbol of peace, will soar at all Roots and Shoots Peace Day Events around the globe,” states Monica Ferreira, Community Outreach Coordinator of the Westminster Roots and Shoots. “The Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots strives to foster a respect and understanding of all cultures and beliefs and promotes care and concern for animals, humans and the environment. We feel that if compassion and understanding is given to the whole world, peace will follow”.

A children’s “peace story time” will also be held with the reading of two books on the theme of Peace.

Two films will be shown in the library’s 4th floor conference room: “Peace One Day” about the advent of International Day of Peace and “A Soldier’s Peace”, made by Utahn Marshall Thompson, an Iraq War Vet who walked across Utah to tell his story. His film will be followed by a panel discussion including Thompson, Kim Sprangunde of Military Families Speak Out and Andy Figorski of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace.
Local musicians Gary Stoddard, Slick Rock Gypsies, Andy Monaco, Rich Wyman, Ric Shirett, and Leo’s Ego will provide continuous live music on the plaza just outside the library.

More information: info@imaginepeacefest.org or 801-631-2998

2008 Schedule of Events
Saturday, September 20, 2008 12:00 noon: Opening – Amphitheater, Plaza at Library Square, Salt Lake City

Eyes Wide Open Exhibit: The Human Cost of War

will be on display for the duration of the Imagine Peacefest event.

The exhibit is provided by Cache Valley Peaceworks and the American Friends Service Committee. Downstairs in Library
noon to 5:00pm ~ Art Display
Meeting Rooms A and B sponsored by Blue Sky Institute
Peace Story Time for Children at 2:00pm in the Art Display Room of these books
(Readers provided by student members of Westminster College Roots and Shoots) Continue reading

Hip Hop VP: A Q+A With Rosa Clemente

Published on Vibe Launch

Talk about the platform. What do you think the Green Party has over the other parties?

This is the only party that even has social justice as its core principle. When we say ending the war, we mean all the wars. We need to get all the military out of every country, we need to begin to deal with issues of what peace can look like, how do you sustain that. Obviously, the green party is at the forefront of pushing the environment as a core value, that was innovative then. There should be an end to imprisoning young people, an immediate stop to the death penalty, a livable wage, not a minimum wage. Impeachment for George Bush and them is critical. I think if we don’t hold them accountable as a people, then anybody can do the same shit that they did.

Words are words, but we can make the words into deeds. If people would even open up the platform, they would see that neither the Democrats and Republicans would even talk about young people having rights and that we should be signing some of these international treaties, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The hardest part is to literally get people to open it up and want to be exposed.

Read more.

Rainbow Gathering

I will be attending the National Rainbow Gathering late next week.  I request that all folks out there, in the spirit of a more peaceful world, at noon on July 4th, participate in a world wide meditation for world peace.

From the invite to the very first Rainbow Gathering in 1972:
We, who are brothers & sisters, children of God, families of life on earth, friends of nature & of all people, children of humankind calling ourselves Rainbow Family Tribe, humbly invite:
All races, peoples, tribes, communes, men, women, children, individuals — out of love.
All nations & national leaders — out of respect
All religions & religious leaders — out of faith
All politicians — out of charity
to join with us in gathering together for the purpose of expressing our sincere desire that there shall be peace on earth, harmony among all people. This gathering to take place beginning July 1, 1972, near Aspen, Colorado – or between Aspen & the Hopi & Navaho lands – on 3000 acres of land that we hope to purchase or acquire for this gathering — & to hold open worship, prayer, chanting or whatever is the want or desire of the people, for three days, but upon the fourth day of July at noon to ask that there be a meditative, contemplative silence wherein we, the invited people of the world may consider & give honour & respect to anyone or anything that has aided in the positive evolution of humankind & nature upon this, our most beloved & beautiful world — asking blessing upon we people of this world & hope that we people can effectively proceed to evolve, expand, & live in harmony & peace.

Human Rights Torch Relay Rally in Salt Lake City

The Human Rights Torch Relay is an international campaign that seeks to bring an end to all human rights abuses against the people of China, while highlighting the persecution of Falun Gong – the most severely persecuted group in China today. During the run up to the 2008 Olympics, the HRTR will host events in 37 countries across six continents to present its message: The Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China. The Tibetan, Burmese, and Vietnamese communities, the Darfur Support Network (Sudan), Chinese democracy groups, student groups, former Olympians, and representatives from sports and politics are among the relay participants. The HRTR was initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG).

I have been asked to be a speaker on behalf of the Green Party, to address environmental injustice in China.
Sunday, April 20, 10am – Peace Walk followed by Rally
City County Buidling at Washington Square400 South State Street, Salt Lake City
Events starts with a peaceful march followed by speakers and musicians.
Speakers include: Chinese Olympic Basketball player Kai Chen, a Falun Gong former prisoner of conscience (whose speech will be read for her, so that she can remain anonymous for her safety), Tsewang Rinzin, president of Tibetan association, Erika George, U of U law professor, Deanna Taylor of Green Party of Utah Desert Greens and more.
Deanna Taylor is a local peace activist who is also a co-coordinator of the Green Party
of Utah Desert Greens.  Deanna also serves as a delegate to the Green Party of the United
States and participates on several committees.  Deanna was a candidate for Salt Lake
County Council in 2006.  She also co-founder of the Green Party Peace Network.

A public school teacher by profession, Deanna, along with her husband Tom King, is a co-founder of Blue Sky Institute, a grassroots educational non-profit organization that focuses on peace, justice and sustainability issues.  Deanna has been to peace events all over the country and was a
featured speaker at a peace rally last September in Los Angeles.  She has also
participated in several civil resistance events in protest to war and nuclear testing and
has been arrested at the Nevada test site in May, 2006 in the move to stop the Divine
Strake test.

by Deanna “Dee” Taylor

Greetings from the Green Party of Utah Desert Greens, the Green Party of the UnitedStates, and the Green Party Peace Network.

The count down to the 2008 Olympics in China has brought with it assurances by the Chinese government that the development of human rights would be strengthened. However the Chinese government continues to restrict its citizens? fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. Labor rights, Children?s rights, Women’s rights, and access to health care to patients with HIV/AIDS, a very serious health issue in China, all are also compromised by the restrictions on the people living under the Chinese regime.

I will focus, today, though, on the how the Chinese government engages in human rights abuses by virtue of its unregulated environmental practices.

The BBC in August 2007 reported that some of the Olympic games in the Bejing games in 2008 could be postponed due to pollution. The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was quoted that “It is an option.?Sports with short durations would not be a problem, but endurance sports like cycling are examples of competitions that might be postponed or delayed.”

Billions have been spent in an attempt to reduce pollution without success.

The Human Rights in China Olympics Campaign, in a February 2007 article called China?s Environment and Situation of Water reported that , and I quote:

With a record high of US$177.47 billion in trade surplus last year, China is one of the world’s economic powerhouses. However, this economic growth comes at the expense of the environment and public health. Researchers estimate that pollution in China causes more than 300,000 premature deaths every year. In addition to human costs, pollution has brought economic losses at an estimated 10 percent of China’s GDP. According to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), China will need to spend a projected 1.6 percent of its GDP, totaling about 1.3 trillion yuan (US $167 billion) to clean up the environment and prevent further degradation between 2006 and 2010. Extensive environmental damage has also fueled rising social unrests. In 2005, SEPA reported that severe pollution prompted 51,000 public disputes, while the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has identified pollution as one of four social problems linked to social disharmony.

China’s environment is deteriorating on all fronts: air, land and water and is negatively affecting biodiversity and the health and quality of life for individuals. The statistics on air pollution, loss of farmland, toxic waters, and biodiversity are alarming.

The Chinese government’s lack of sustainable water management policies has contributed to water pollution that significantly harms public health, water shortage and contamination, and loss of community livelihood and local income.

Polluted water not only has a significant impact on public health in China, but also the livelihood of farmers and fishermen . Additionally, coastal waters have become polluted to the point of rendering the water uninhabitable for coastal species and organisms. The management of water in china does not reflect the regard for water being used as a communal resource, resulting in several hundred thousand displaced residents.

Under international laws, all people have the right to basic human needs, such as water, health and an adequate standard of living. These rights are protected in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which has been ratified by 155 countries, including China in 2001. Ratification dictates that countries must adopt effective measures to realize, without discrimination, the right to sufficient, safe, acceptable, accessible and affordable water. In China, however, this still remains out of reach for much of its population.

Various human rights organizations have discovered that, while for the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games, China has committed to a “Green Olympics,”  (giving top priority to environmental protection, including preventing air pollution and protecting drinking water sources. A reported $7 billion has been spent on environmental clean-up for the Olympic Games, and the government has committed to replacing coal with clean energies), the overall preparation for the Olympics has been plagued by corruption, forced relocations, and lack of transparency and independent monitoring mechanisms.

In other words, the Chinese government does not walk the talk.

How can we in the United States make a difference in this situation? Get active.

Participate in movements to boycott corporately controlled events like the Olympics. Boycott sponsors that promote the Olympics – especially those that are linked to human rights violation practices. Help support celebrities like Stephen Speilberg who, in a bold move, withdrew from his role as an artistic adviser to the 2008 Olympic Games in Bejing, because of his opposition to China’s support for the Sudanese regime responsible for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. He has accused China of not doing enough to press Sudan to end the “continuing human suffering” in the troubled region. Write to the Chinese embassy to demand the release of political prisoners for exercising the right to speak out against human rights abuses. Support the environmental movement in China. Research, read and absorb all the information you can about environmental human rights violations to become better informed. Support groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, whose missions are to work to defend the rights of humans worldwide. Urge your representatives to defend human rights world wide. When exercising your right to vote, vote for politicians who value human and environmental rights in our world. I became a member of the Green Party because of its key values of non-violence, environmental justice, and advocacy for human rights. Seek out organizations which value life on our planet.

I’d like to end with this Pledge to Life, which my husband, Tom King, wrote:

I pledge allegiance to all life in its interdependent diversity;

and to the Planet upon which it exists,

one World,

under the sky,

undividable with harmony and balance for all.

Next time somone callse me a Hippie….

….I’m going to say, “Damn right!” and hand them this article:

In his piece, The Hippies Were Right, Mark Morford explains how the ’60’s counterculture values laid the groundwork for much of the “to-do” nowadays over our planet:

There is but one conclusion you can draw from the astonishing (albeit fitful, bittersweet) pro-environment sea change now happening in the culture and (reluctantly, nervously) in the halls of power in D.C., one thing we must all acknowledge in our wary, jaded, globally warmed universe: The hippies had it right all along. Oh yes they did.

You know it’s true. All this hot enthusiasm for healing the planet and eating whole foods and avoiding chemicals and working with nature and developing the self? Came from the hippies. Alternative health? Hippies. Green cotton? Hippies. Reclaimed wood? Recycling? Humane treatment of animals? Medical pot? Alternative energy? Natural childbirth? Non-GMA seeds? It came from the granola types (who, of course, absorbed much of it from ancient cultures), from the alternative worldviews, from the underground and the sidelines and from far off the goddamn grid and it’s about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

Morford goes on to point out the many, many issues and issue-based projects that are rooted in the hippie culture. He has a very enlightening (is that a hippie term?) way of bringing to light what hippies have done for our world today.

It was, always and forever, about connectedness. It was about how we are all in this together. It was about resisting the status quo and fighting tyrannical corporate/political power and it was about opening your consciousness and seeing new possibilities of how we can all live with something resembling actual respect for the planet, for alternative cultures, for each other. You know, all that typical hippie crap no one believes in anymore. Right?

Yup. Peace. Love. Planetary respect. Resisting corporate power. I’m a hippie. And proud of it.
(And yes, I have a job!)

Green Party State of the Union Response – Nan Garrett

This is my green sister, Nan Garrett, who was going to run for President in 2008 but had to choose between her job and campaigning. Survival won.

Here is her Green Party respsonse to the State of the Union:


Tom and I have long been advocates of the Bioneers and plan to join them in the near future. 

Founded in 1990, Bioneers is a nonprofit organization that promotes practical environmental solutions and innovative social strategies for restoring the Earth and communities.

“It’s All Alive, It’s All Intelligent, It’s All Connected.” Bioneers offers pragmatic solutions that honor the living web of the natural world as the most fertile source of inspiration and models. It’s all alive.

One of Tom’s “heroes” is mycologist Paul Stamitz, who often speaks at Bioneer Conferences.  Kenny Ausubel, Bioneers Founder says about that Stamitz   has been able to remediate Sarin DX nerve gas for the Defense Department. Sarin is right up there with plutonium as one of the most deadly substances on the planet, yet two mushrooms actually digested and transformed it into harmlessness. He’s done the same thing with oil spills.

Here are some issues the Bioneers promote:

Common Circle

I recently joined Common Circle, which has as its tag line, “Redefine civilization, one action at a time”.

We envision a world based on the 10 key green movement values: grassroots democracy, social justice, equal opportunity, ecological wisdom, non-violence, decentralization, community-based economics, economic justice, feminism and gender equity, respect for diversity, personal and global responsibility, future focus and sustainability.

Powered by a mix of solar/wind energy and pure love, Common Circle exists to help support the movement. Another world is possible. We must bring it about. It is up to us, and only up to us. Let us together redefine the world, one action at a time.