“Lit Sticking”

The time has come for the many, many Funky East Dallas Dems to get out and distribute our voter literature. We ordered giant sticky notes that we leave on doors of confirmed or potential Democratic voters, thus the shorthand phrase “lit sticking.” Saturday and Sunday, volunteers came to our leader Kristy’s house, which we have dubbed “FEDDquarters,” to pick up their literature, get directions and help with the phone app we use, and pick up some swag. My friend Kathy and I were in charge of merchandise so we had fun hanging out and chatting with people before hitting the streets to work our own precinct. Once we are finished with our East Dallas precincts, we will be helping similar groups in Garland and Richardson. I think we are distributing something like 130,000 pieces of voter information. Let’s do this!

No rest for an activist

I have jokingly commented several times in the past two years that I thought I would be able to relax in my older years, but apparently not. Of course, these are not joking times and I am more and more disturbed and angered as each day goes by while the Trump administration seems determined to destroy all that has been good about our country. No, we have never been perfect and yes, we still had a lot of work to do as we inched slowly, slowly toward justice for all.  I have protested one thing or another in just about every administration since I was old enough to do so; however, this particular time seems especially cruel and inhumane.  Among all of the despicable things that have been perpetrated by Trump and his minions, the idea that the USA is purposely and systematically separating children from their parents at the border is particularly heinous. Thankfully people are speaking out and taking to the streets to call attention to these horrific policies, though I am fearful that extreme damage has already been done to these children as we know that trauma can cause permanent change in developing brains.  Unfortunately, little progress has been made in remedying the situation as I write this,  with tonight’s news announcing that the government needs more time to reunify families of small children under five years old (five years old!) and I’ve read heartbreaking testimony from parents, children, aid workers and lawyers familiar with everything going on.

Saturday Rich and I joined a rally and march in Dallas to make our voices heard. It seems like a small thing, under the circumstances. But with similar rallies being held all over the country, perhaps we will make a difference. I also emailed our county judge who was seeking mental health volunteers to work with families.  I hope I will be able to assist in some way.

Amusing side note: We only saw one counter protester (unless you count the very elderly couple who walked through the crowd in their MAGA hats) and he chose to stand next to Rich with his sign that instructed people to “go home” and “change your own country, not mine.”  Followed by “I support ICE.”  I don’t know if he thought Rich was a kindred spirit or what! Rich was holding a sign that said “end racism now” so he asked me to take a picture of the two of them.  🙂  See if you can find it in the montage above.

The next Monday I attended a standing room only meeting of the Funky East Dallas Democrats who are going all-out to get people registered to vote and out to the polls. We heard from our Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, Mike Collier, and two state senate nominees, Nathan Johnson and Kendall Scudder (who is running in my district). They were all GREAT! I know we have some awesome candidates for November and hopefully that BLUE WAVE is coming in Texas.

36578975_10211949204861910_733247214888943616_nFourth of July was quiet as the Dallas kids were out of town.  Bonnie and David flew in from Amarillo early that morning, had breakfast with us and visited for awhile before they had to leave to shoot a wedding about an hour from here.  Rich and I had tostadas and fresh corn on the cob, then Bonnie and Dave came back to spend the night after the wedding reception. They are really funny and had some good stories to tell as we sat up till 1 AM talking and laughing. They had to leave early the next morning but we were happy, happy to have them here for a quick visit.

Happy Independence Day. Let us strive to embody the ideals that this country claims to stand for, even though we have failed time and time again. We are patriots when we work for peace, justice, and equality for everyone, especially those who have no power against the government.

Rally4Reform

The NRA came to town for its annual convention. We were blessed with the presence of both Trump and Pence, along with Cruz and Loesch and LaPierre, among many others.  I am thankful I did not have to hear any of them speak because I might have lost my mind.

Several counter-events were held over the weekend.  Rich and I took the DART downtown to City Hall on Saturday morning to join the Rally4Reform sponsored by the students who led the March for Our Lives awhile back.  I’m really inspired and impressed to see so many young people getting involved and taking a stand for gun reform.  Although this event was not as big as the march was, there was still a decent turnout and the program was very impressive. Speakers included one of our local Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America leaders, another woman who was a survivor of gun violence herself, a woman whose son was shot and killed by an off duty security guard, a student from Newtown CT, and Manuel Oliver, the father of Joaquin Oliver who was one of the students killed in Parkland FL.  Mr. Oliver is an artist and created a mural behind the stage a little at a time between speakers.  In the end, he took a hammer and slammed it into little silhouettes representing the 17 people killed in Parkland.  It was extremely jarring and hard to listen to; in fact, several people were visibly upset and one young woman in the audience began sobbing loudly. (As an aside, Rich noted that one of the TV producers in attendance noticed the woman and directed a cameraman to walk up close and video her, which seemed very exploitive).  Mr. Oliver then took sunflowers and placed them into the holes he had just created in each silhouette.  He asked his wife to come on stage with him and he spoke about his son and their desire to end gun violence.  He also noted that Trump had time to speak to the NRA convention but not to call his family to express any condolences in the loss of their son.  He publicly invited Trump to come to their home in FL and to sit in his son’s room for a few minutes, to meet the other families who were suffering, and to have a conversation about ways to bring people together to solve the problem of gun violence.  Although all of the speakers were very moving, he definitely touched everyone in the crowd.

Afterwards we wandered over to the convention center just to see what we could see. As we approached the corner, there was a small contingent of open-carry fans congregated near the portapotties with their guns on full display.  Honestly, I don’t get the point unless it is for the intimidation factor. We rounded the building and came across a large confederate monument alongside the sign welcoming NRA members.  Makes me wonder what kind of society we live in.

 

 

You are Welcome Here

Saturday we marched and rallied for immigrants and refugees.  It was a beautiful warm and sunny day in Dallas as we made our way from City Hall to the JFK Memorial Plaza with a couple thousand like-minded folks.

When I lived in Alaska, I taught English to immigrants from many countries for a couple of years. This experience opened my eyes as I got to know my students ; I quickly came to love them and to respect their motivation and dedication.  They were such hard workers and such kindhearted human beings.  Recently I’ve been volunteering with a refugee agency here in Dallas and I’ve been so troubled by the hatred toward immigrants and refugees as well as the Trump administration’s harsh policies and actions. Can you imagine how tough it is to come to a new country where you don’t speak the language well (if at all), where you’re unfamiliar with the customs and expectations of other people, and find yourself feeling unwelcome or unwanted after years in a refugee camp holding onto your hopes and dreams of a better life in the USA?  I worry about the people arriving in Dallas each week and I hope they do feel welcome here.  Our small action last weekend was a statement and we hope it was heard.

Mentioning my students made me want to go back and look at all of my pictures from our classes, gatherings, and celebrations.  I sure do miss these beautiful people!