Standing with and Working Together

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“Let’s put our minds together to see what we can build for our children.”

_Sitting Bull, Sioux chief

I am filled with hope for all Americans because of what happened in North Dakota. It was working together with many people, first nation’s tribes from all over the country, American soldiers, and even people like me online who could not go to North Dakota. We stood with the Sioux tribe of Standing Rock, and the Army Core of Engineers had to listen about changing the access of the pipeline through the their land and destroying their water. I was joyous when I heard the news of this.

I plan to remain vigilant and cautious and hold the Army Core of engineers to their word, no matter who is president. It is time to begin and stand with and work together on rectifying our past. When I saw the abuse that was recently experienced by the people protesting the pipeline, it reminded me of the 1960s and of what I saw the local police do to black protestors in Alabama and other southern states before the Civil Rights Act was passed. Using water cannons on people who are peacefully protesting is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

If you do not know about what happened with the Standing Rock tribe, here is a great summary.
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2016/09/why_the_sioux_battle_against_the_dakota_access_pipeline_is_such_a_big_deal.html

Since 1607 when the English arrived at Jamestown, the “invaders,” immigrants, the English and other Europeans, have never kept a treaty with any first nation’s people in this country. It is time in the 21st century that all of us change that history with this offensive pipeline in North Dakota. US history, in regards to all first nation’s people here, is one of the most shameful, cruel, and murderous, parts of our history, other than slavery against people from Africa.

“Not able to enslave the Indians, and not able to live with them, the English decided to exterminate them.”

-Howard Zinn from a People’s History of the Untied States, page 13.

If you have not seen the PBS series “We Shall Remain”, I challenge you to watch ALL of it and then see if you think it is morally right to stand with the Sioux nation in North Dakota.

The first time I was even slightly conscious about the plight of native people was when at 20 years old and I had moved to Arizona. After several months of living in Scottsdale, AZ, I kept seeing young men about high school age who looked like they belonged to a local tribe (I am not sure which one). I finally asked my husband, why these young men all had to wear black jeans and white long sleeve shirts. He replied,”They have to go to Indian School.”

At the time he said this, it just seemed strange and not right, somehow. Little did I know until much later in my life, that in the USA we had been training Native American children since the late 1800s to be “American” and took their language and culture away from them, even if those children lived on their reservations, where we had stuck them after we took much of their land.

Today I and all of us 99% Americans can stand with the Sioux tribe and reverse the past injustices against first nation’s people. When many of us stand together with concern and love for our fellow people on this planet, NO ONE CAN BREAK US! Remember we are still a representative democracy. We can choose to NOT let greed dominate our choices as a people and continue to pollute our planet until ALL our children and grandchildren have NO FUTURE, or we can act from the moral high ground and protect the future of our planet for ALL of us, including the Sioux people of Standing Rock.
Listen to a story about the Standing Rock tribe and the pipeline from 12/5/16.

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning-edition/2016/12/05/504393507

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Working Together II

During my life when I have worked with a group, together we were able to accomplish some amazing things. This was particularly true when most of the people involved had the same commitment. The first time I experienced this, was with a volunteer organization called Beyond War in the 1980s. It wasn’t as if all of us agreed all of the time. In fact this organization taught me during a workshop I took, that conflict was a normal human behavior, so this was a peace organization which fully acknowledged people’s differences and honored them. I had never experienced that before neither in my family nor my marriage, so this was a life lesson I embraced whole-heartedly. Beyond War also taught me that all of us humans are one. 23 years of work as an English-as-a Second Language teacher solidified that belief about us humans.

Before the my years of working with Beyond War, which became Foundation for a Global Community, I was used to all conflict being solved with domination of the older or stronger individual and fights about who was right and who was wrong. There was no “win-win” for all people involved, except for the dominant person. There was little or no listening to each other and little learning or mutual respect. The “weaker” person was usually left feeling resentful towards the “stronger” person. Competition not cooperation was how we rolled and how I learned to communicate. When I became a single mother when my daughter was 4 years old, I still had this pattern of communicating.

Beyond War is still active in the northwest in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. Their website is: beyondwarnw.org/

and also lives on online as:

Beyond War Legacy

The group Beyond War showed me another way. When my daughter was in high school, at one point I put on my mirror in my bathroom “Would you rather be RIGHT or be HAPPY” as a way to remind me that being “right” was a sell out. My daughter put the same saying on her mirror in her bathroom, but when friends came to visit, she removed it because they asked her about it. At least every day I was reminded that I had a choice of how I responded.

These days I search for stories that show people working together toward something positive. Just last week I hear two stories. One was about saving an animal, a toucan named Grecia from Costa Rica. So many people were part of the process of helping this toucan. Also laws may change in Costa Rica to protect all animals from killers who have been maiming animals because of this story about Grecia. You can see Grecia and his story on youtube.

In another story from July, after 100 years of not being able to fish for salmon in Burns, Oregon, many members of the Paiute tribe there, were finally able to fish for salmon on the Malheur River. The Paiute had had the cultural tradition of fishing for salmon on the Malheur River, prior to the dams. The Oregon fisheries manager, Erica Maltz, worked with tribal chairperson, Charlotte Rodriguez, to truck in and reintroduce 200 salmon beyond the dams that are on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, so that tribal members could fish for the salmon once again.
You can hear this story on Oregon Public Broadcasting radio:

http://www.opb.org/radio/programs/thinkoutloud/segment/ron-wyden-at-dnc-salmon-reintroduction/

For a final story which is very current, concerns and the historic flooding and horrific damage in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and all the clean up help the residents are receiving from people from New Orleans and around the world. Try to listen to the entire podcast. I hope it will warm your heart as it did mine!

http://www.npr.org/programs/all-things-considered/2016/08/26/491456466?showDate=2016-08-26

“Now we have black and white officials working together. Today, we have gone beyond just passing laws. Now we have to create a sense we are one community, one family. Really we are the American family.”
– John Lewis

All of these stories remind me that when we work with each other, we can make all of our lives better including our animal friends. Stories such as these fill me with hope about our common future.

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Become Friends With…

I am very grateful for the words on the graphic for this blog. They came from “One Fit Widow” from September 9, 2014. Thank you!

I have the good fortune to have good friends who are younger than I. Along with my own daughter, I love to hang out with them on the phone or face to face. We teach each other; we learn together; we share ideas and observations of our world. One of the things I know my younger friends and daughter teach me is how to be BRAVE and speak up for myself. When I grew up that was discouraged, yet, today these strong women teach me how I can stand up for myself with their lives and actions. What a gift.

One one day I heard the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles, and I thought of these two friends and my daughter. I knew they were teaching me how to be brave in my own life. This is the video for “BRAVE”:

I also have had the good fortune to teach people from other countries as an English-as-a Second Language (ESL) teacher. I also “hung out” with them while I taught them because with ESL you have to learn to talk about yourself and your life and culture. We had lots of parties over my years of teaching. I came to care a lot about my students and their families, particularly at one of the jobs where I taught for nearly 2 years. My students were very generous to me when I was forced out of my job.

In my family my father married out of his “social class” and I did, too. In 1925 my own grandmother was a single parent to twin girls (my mother included). Life was hard for my struggling single parent grandmother.

So many factors contribute to class. Health problems, business mistakes, and things like divorce can change everything about which “class” we are in. Most Americans work hard, but wages are not fair for most people in this country. Education used to make a difference for people as to how much they could earn. However, today so many young people are stuck with high loan costs and often can only get low paying jobs. Hey, about 99% of us are in a similar situation, so it is time for us to speak to each other!

In the past, I had to get out of my comfort zone to relate to others who were not the same race, ethnicity, gender, age, or class. I was shy when I was young, but found out as an adult that I am actually an extrovert. I labeled myself and believe the label for a long time. Sometimes others labeled me, too. By questioning my “labels,” I found out how false they were. You too, might be doing the same thing to yourself and others. When I freed myself and learned to appreciate myself more, I began to fear others less, too. I am and my life is very different now. That is possible for you, as well.

When we relate and speak from the heart to each other no matter our gender, class, color, age, we learn how we are both different and similar. We learn from each other if we are willing to be open and listen. Our differences do not separate us from each other as much, and together we can work on so many of the problems that are plaguing our world today and get to grow as people, too.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Being an Ally

For me, Dr.King is one of the greatest men of the Twentieth Century. He was an incredible writer and speaker, and he lived what he spoke in action. King was an exemplary example of a human being. Through him, I have learned a little of the story of many people of color. I was too young and unconscious at the time to understand how important he was while he was alive. For the last 20 or so years, I have been learning what a great human being he was, and also how I could be come an ally to all people of color, being a white lady.

What do I mean by an ally. I am speaking of supporting others who many not be the “group” you belong to. I have close friends who are a African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and know of and have taught people who are Arab background. I can and do NOT live the experiences they have had to deal with, sometimes every day, but I can walk alongside them and can support them in their causes. I can have compassion for them and respect them and their needs.

To understand history and what is so today, I have needed to understand the role that white folk have often played unconsciously, so I can learn what White Privilege is. Learning this helps me be a better ally. This is not about feeling guilty for what happened in the past. It is about waking up to what is so today, and what happened in the past. Here is start.
mic.com/…/7-actual-facts-that-prove-white-privilege-exists-in-america

Another thing you and I can do is pay attention to what is happening in the Black Lives Matter Movement. This is wake up call for all Americans of every color. It is hard being a police officer in the USA now, and it is time some of the rougher parts of the officers and police forces in large and small American cities be called out. We white citizens can play our part here. Our justice system is another huge stumbling block. You and I have plenty of work to do.

I can financially support and participate with groups who support all Americans from all backgrounds and sexual orientations. This is what an ally does. It is NOT a passive role. This is about service- not ego.

On Dr. King’s real birthday, January 15th, A friend shared a YouTube video of a Dr. King speech. What shocked me about it was that so few people had seen it. I want to share it on this blog.

Please watch this.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a humanitarian and was working for all of humanity when he was murdered. He and all the people who were allies in the ’50s and ’60s during the Civil Rights Movement showed us how we can white folk can be allies today, if we choose.

This way of the past in the USA of having two or three countries or even more within its shores, (We women understand this around how we get shorted in wages), instead of one country, where everyone ACTUALLY has the same rights is within our grasp. In the past and today in the USA, we have had a system which leaves out, and even abuses way too many Americans to keep the status quo and business as usual alive.

We can do this work together as allies in action. We can support each other in this work spiritually and financially. Thank you, Dr. King, and all of the allies who supported the Civil Rights Movement for showing us the way!

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When Our Community Works Together

open hand

open hand of cooperating

“We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.”  – Bill Richardson

This morning I heard a TED talk about people cooperating and the development of the human brain.  In the past I have had experiences of working with a group on a specific goal.  I saw it come to fruition because we were able to work together.  Yes, everyone had their personalities and differences, but still we parked our egos at the door most of the time as we moved toward our goal.

This is the podcast of what I heard from December 11, 2015.

http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510298/ted-radio-hour

We have a choice to be a bully and aggressive, or be mature and be open to working with others. I always preferred getting along, but not at the cost of losing my voice.

tree of life

tree of life

In a way we humans are like this tree. We are here together on the earth; we have our branches, but we all work together to stay alive as one human tree of life.  We humans change like this tree does as the seasons change and as we mature. If we stay stunted (mentally) as humans, we do not thrive. We can make an impact short term, but in the long run we fizzle out.

From sports where cooperation and working together is essential:

“5 guys on a court working together can achieve more than 5 individuals who come and go as individuals.” –  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

The myth of “RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM”, is just that, a myth. A false belief  that one can do everything alone and does not require others. This belief does not serve the human family. We don’t have any supermen or superwomen to fix everything for us. We have ourselves.

It seems there are some wealthy individuals, who would like this myth to live on- so that they can accumulate more money (and power)! Money alone can not fix: global warming, change the weather, or bring rain, as the state of California is very aware. Money alone can not fix how people of color are treated in this country. Money alone can not grow the food we need that is healthy for us, i.e. without GMOs and pesticides. Money alone does not care. Working together with people who care to deal with our problems along with money can help the whole planet and ourselves.

It is my actions and how I care that make a difference in my life. That is true of every person. It takes all of us because each of us has a gift to bring to the human family, to make a better world, to make our human family tree one that thrives.

 

 

 

 

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Love Our Planet and Ourselves.

heart from necklace

The open, loving heart

Sometimes you hear something that is so profound, you have to share it. Tonight I heard an Alternative Radio talk of Naomi Klein that summed up so much of what is not working and how to find another way together. The politicians are not going to figure it out. We will, together. Listen to this cool piece of intelligent, loving, incredible thinking.

www.alternativeradio.org/collections/spk_naomiklein

We can change what is happening to our planet and most of us here, by loving our planet in action!

love our forests

Love our forests

Also another dear friend shared a video of who we could be, if we choose. Unfortunately, I cannot find the video, but the words that accompanied the video come from Brian Piergrossi. Read what he has to say about the possibility we can be in an empowering poem.

http://brianpiergrossi.com/shareit/

Love is the new religion of the world. Here he and I mean Agape love, as we can love our earth, so can we love ourselves and each other.

Willamette

Love our rivers

flowers

love our flowers

cat rolling

love our animals

students

Love and respect each other

We humans can be  very unpredictable. Although with nature, global warming is making our weather unpredictable. It is understandable that everyone wants to feel safe. Fear is appropriate when there is actual danger. Being awake to danger is important.  Living in vigilance and fear that whole entire groups of people are to be feared is distressing behavior.

With an open heart, I have found that I can work together with others.  This is how we can help our own planet and ourselves- TOGETHER.

By listening to what Naomi Klein spoke of, and the possibility we can be to each other that Brian Piergrossi writes and speaks about, then we humans can be unstoppable in a good way. Ms. Klein and Brian are speaking of working together- not as separate little groups, not working against each other. Try to include the children in your life in this new possibility of how we can be towards each other and the planet.

We ended slavery. We had a Civil Rights Movement. This time is ours.  Our planet needs us, and we need each other. Let’s give life to light, peace, and kindness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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