Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels across country in my mobile billboard truck as I attempt to engage in dialogue with people in hopes to wake us up and inspire action to change our country and communities and selves. And it is froth with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society and life we want

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Thank the goddesses there are Black people here!

I'm so joyous this morning in "red" Illinois - I got so much positive, warm, enthusiastic hugs and words I feel I can continue my work forever!

I went to another sweet coffee house - it's kinda incredible how much building space there is here for a town of 26 thousand - and probably maybe half as many billboards, posters, paintings and notices advertising anti-womyn's health, jesus christ, and guns!

I chose a strategic parking space - also incredible the huge empty parking lots at this businesses - facing both the coffee shop and the busy road (not empty of cars). When I entered the shop, I was so pleased to see that there was a Black person behind the counter!

I ALWAYS feel more safe when there's Black or brown people wherever I go. And today I felt not just safe but super wanted.

A white man came into the cafe from the other directions, commenting on the 'van' out front. I didn't hear exactly what he said but Robert immediately sang praises and accolades honoring the messages and then pointed me out. I don't know why but I'm always a little taken back when people notice me and connect me with my truck without me introducing myself.

The white man nodded and turned to ask me if that is my 'van'. I say, "No but that's my truck!" He smiles and ambles over to my table. I tell him I'd love to talk with him for a minute but I do have a lot of work to do. He sits down as he explains he thought maybe the truck belonged to the band members who play here but then he read it more closely.

He immediately expresses his disdain for tRump and surprises me with the depth of his seeming liberalness. When I ask him how he's gotten to be so liberal in such a 'red' state, he claims he's still conservative: his son is in the military and he's scared to death of what might happen; he supports the police putting their lives on the line every day.

I don't have time to respond before he says "I've been thinking lately that I need to be more active and you've inspired me to stop waiting. I have to show my children and grandchildren how to do our civic duty and act to get rid of that knucklehead in the white house.

I wish I had more time to talk with him but I'm doing a reading at noon today and I need to work.

As I get ready to head over to my reading, Robert hurriedly approaches me, smiling so broadly, arms outstretched and tells me he just had to come and let me know how much he loved seeing my truck and having me in his coffee house. I tell him about my book reading and he tells me about the group he's meeting with at his diverse (as in gay and lesbian...) church. They're reading White Rage together!

I give him a book - he has to work - and we hug warmly. He goes back behind the counter but returns before I can pack up with a young white man worker and introduces us, telling me Jacob really wants to meet me.

Jacob has tears in his eyes as he tells me how upset he is about this town and the racist, bigoted people who inhabit it. And how validating it has been to read the messages on my truck and actually get to meet me, to meet someone who is awake and involved. He told me he was ready to 'give up', that's how tired he is.

I tell him he can never, ever give up as he nods affirmatively

Monday, May 14, 2018

Poor People's Campaign Indianapolis-style!

Getting ready for the Poor People's Campaign action here in Indianapolis. Stay tuned! I found a great park just off the square where I think we'll be gathering - three hour park for only $1.50/hour!

You need to learn to love amerikkka

As I wait in line at the Y in order to be checked in, a very buff, very white not so young man with a crew cut demands to know what "white silence is violence", written on the back of my shirt, means.

I ask him what does he think it means? He declares it could mean many things. I ask again, "like what?"

He refuses to answer and demands again that I tell him. So I say when white people witness racism happening and say nothing, this is violent.

Of course, he asks "And what about Black people, when they're harming white people?"

I ask him "What Black people have the power to harm white people?" He gives me his confused look and I ask again "What Black people are in a position to deny white people access to property, to sentence white people to prison, to make laws against white people?"

He moves on to wanting to tell me the one good thing about slavery. I have heard this, especially from christian white men. I know he's going to dump what he has to say and then slip off without waiting for me to respond.

I inform him I will listen to him as long as he listens to me. He nods but I know he's not committed.

He claims slavery was good for Black people because it brought millions of Black people here so they are not languishing now in Africa.

I tell him the only reason he can say that is because he nor his ancestors have been enslaved BUT "the 'good' thing for you is that slavery and genocide made you and your ancestors very, very, very rich."

Of course, he denies that his wealth came from genocide and slavery - which I slip in is still happening today as he's embraced the further comforting myth that slavery is over.

He makes the statement that we have been going around the world helping people, especially the poor people in Africa. I state "we've been going around the world helping ourselves to their resources." I talk with him about the mineral wealth of the Congo and he says the people of the Congo are poor because their leaders are corrupt.

I ask him if he's familiar with the concept of "blaming the victim?" He stares through me and I can't tell if he's considering the question but then he begins to talk about christian missionaries saving the savages around the world. 

I interrupt and tell him he has to think that because obviously he's a christian and he probably would not be able to live himself if he faced the truth of our military might and corporate greed.

He abruptly takes his leave, throwing "you need to learn to love amerikkka" over his shoulder.

I respond "I love YOU enuff to engage with you" and he merely throws a hand over his shoulder as if pushing back the wind and repeats "You need to learn to love amerikkka."

I doubt I got thru to him, at least for this round.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Overstaying my welcome....

Well, this is a first for me - my white host, so excited and welcoming two weeks ago, is no longer enamored of my work nor my company.

The last straw happened this morning when we heard shouting across the alley from her house. I was going in and out of her house anyway, loading my truck so I can hit the road today. Outside I can hear clearly a womon screaming hysterically and a man bellowing loudly.

I cross the alley, recognizing the neighbors Jessa and Brian who I met my first day in the neighborhood, and I call out to her, asking her if she's okay. I want to try to separate her and the boyfriend. She is standing up a flight of stairs, crying, and telling me her boyfriend has stolen her rent money. Her boyfriend is on the landing, throwing large plastic garbage bags of his possessions over the railing to the ground below, calling her names and shouting he only put her money into his bank account for safety.

"My money," she screams "in an account I don't have access to! Now how am I gonna pay the rent due tomorrow!"

"Brian," I say, "have you paid the rent?" He starts to say "Why should I" and I say "Because your child needs a roof over her head!" He continues grabbing his stuff.

I ask Jessa again to come and talk with me, trying to get her away from a potentially volatile situation. I also call out to him and ask him to please calm down and invite them both to talk about this.

But neither are up for talking. Jessa does come down though, weeping and screaming, hurt and angry.

I ask her if she wants coffee - no, she doesn't drink it - or a cup of tea, which she accepts.

I go to the front door of my host's home and ask her if maybe I can invite her young neighbor Jessa and her baby in for a cup a tea. My host is horrified and pointedly tells me to invite her into my camper instead - which of course, I do. Actually, I get two chairs out the back and put them up on the space between the curb and the sidewalk.

Jessa and I talk some more - well I talk, telling her she's strong and capable, she doesn't need him to pay the rent, she can do this even though she feels like she can't. She's hysterical dreading being homeless, missing work, not having money to register her vehicle - until finally he's gone and she's able to calm down.

But my host, in the meantime, has become hysterical herself. I'm REALLY bummed. She has talked about pushing herself out of her comfort zone as a white womon and here she has the opportunity to extend a neighborly hand to someone - a young 24 year old Black womon and mother who is her neighbor - in crisis.

Instead, she orders me out of her home and tells me to leave immediately. I point out that I'm not in her home but on a public sidewalk and parked on a public street. OMG I've worn out my welcome...

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Missed opportunity to engage in anti-racism...grrrrr

I've come to Lafayette, invited by a white acquaintance who was successful setting up one reading for me, even though she had wanted to organize several others but was unable to.

This evening, she offers her home for a monthly Lesbian potluck gathering (held over the past 25 years) to which maybe 12 white dykes show up. After everyone has eaten and before most of the womyn leave, I announce that I've written a book and ask if anyone is interested in talking with me about it.

About 8 or 9 womyn sit down with me and listen intently as I give my (shortened) spiel. No one leaves in the middle, all seem to be engaged enough to enter into a somewhat lengthy discussion which is cut short when my host states unequivocally "well, there's always been war." In the pause that follows her announcement, I say "no there hasn't always been war, but that is one of the myths we've swallowed to make war palatable." She's furious, I've interrupted her. I apologize and ask her, as do several other womyn, to explain what she meant, but she's done. Two of the three couples ask me if they can buy my book and the gathering breaks up.

I feel really good about their interest and glad that my host has invited these womyn and given me the opportunity to talk with them until I realize I allowed them to leave without pointing out the racism existing right inside this white group..

I feel gravely remiss in my commitment to anti-racism, so engrossed I am in trying to entice them to read and act, I do not challenge them about the whiteness of their social group.

Friday, May 11, 2018

russia with love

I just looked at my blog stats and suddenly over 30 hits from russia have popped up! hmmmm should I be concerned? am i FINAFUCKINLY making waves!!!

Monday, May 07, 2018

He's a drug dealer, a thief, a liar...and I'm not a racist...

I'm taking a walk around this neighborhood where I've been camped for the past week and notice is seems to be pretty racially mixed.

I see a white womon standing out in front of her lawn and she starts muttering to me about how she needs to find someone to mow.

I'm happy to point out her neighbor who told me the other day that he is a landscaper. When I share this information with her, she scoffs and says "he's lying".

I'm, frankly, shocked. I look at her trim little house with lovely rows of new tulips leaning slightly towards the setting sun, and ask her how long she's lived in the neighborhood. "It'll be four years this October," she boasts proudly. Then she points to the flowerless apartment next door where Ezequiel lives and claims "They've only been here a couple months, I don't know his name. He's probably lying about that also."

When I ask her why she doesn't know his name, she claims it's because he's a drug dealer. "His baby's name? His girl friend's name? Are they all drug dealers too?"

"Well," she responds, digging herself deeper into her racism, "if he has a lawnmower then he probably stole it."

Really? Fuckin really???

I fall back on my practiced response to white people, especially white people who present themselves as 'liberal', which this white womon does with her "Hate Has No Home Here" sign in the window. "Do you think you are being racist?"

She looks genuinely shocked as she stares at me, shaking her head. "No, I'm being truthful," she retorts.

"What facts are you basing your belief that this Black man is a thief, a drug dealer, a liar? Have you bought drugs from him? Have you spoken to him and asked him his name, introduced yourself?"

Now color is crawling up her neck - the color red - as she claims her proof is that he's home too much, she thinks the clothes he wears are drug dealer clothes and bling he could only afford if he was selling drugs.

I tell her I think she is being racist and this is why, as I run down her stereotypes, her fears, her lack of neighborly friendliness, let alone concern - all spell racism.

She tells me I don't know what I'm talking about, I'm just visiting, I don't live here. I tell her maybe I don't but I know her name and her neighbors' names and what kind of work they do.

I point to her sign and ask her if she thinks what she's saying is not hate thriving here, how has she ensured that love is thriving in her neighborhood?

She mutters she'll think about it, turns heel, and strides up her screen-in porch to slam her heavy wooden door.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Why is "harm no one" so very hard for white males to grasp??? Rhetorical question...

I've gone to the Y a few times since I've been here in Lafayette Indiana and apparently a 40 something old white man has also been going and has noticed my truck. Doug is his name, he tells me with a sneer, when I attempt to slow his tirade down so I can respond. He's decked out in tattoos covering bulging muscular flesh where cut off gym shorts and sleeveless t-shirt aren't covering.
Doug claims with that white male not-to-be-questioned confidence "Muslims are the most violent, war-mongering countries (as if) in the world." I don't bother pointing our that Muslims are not a country but a people.
"Wow," I put on my best friendliest open face possible "Doug - you certainly don't know your history, of the u.s. or the world. You do realize you live in a country that has been at war against someone EVERY SINGLE FUCKIN YEAR since it's inception except for 17."
This gives him pause, so I jump in with "And Europe, before us, conquered the middle east and exploited her resources, especially oil."
"Well," he angrily continues, jerking his head at the 'white and male war against Black people' statement on the back of my truck, "Black people are armed and killing in every city around the country. What about Black-on-Black crime, eh?" he ends triumphantly, sneer back in place.

"Every year in this country, the people who kill the MOST u.s. citizens are WHITE MALE SUPREMACISTS. That is if you don't count the 3-5 womyn A DAY that get murdered by men who claim to love them. Nor the one Black person - that's a womon, a child, or a man - murdered by police in this country every 28 hours."

At least he admits he doesn't know the statistics and I assure him, with my own brand of white male confidence, I do know the statistics. Then he's off and running again against the terrorists i.e. Muslims and how we HAVE to protect ourselves.

I'm glad he keeps mentioning protection because then I get to agree with him about our need for 'protection' and then state unequivocally "The ONLY way to 'protect' the u.s. is for us to topple our empire and eliminate u.s. corporate and personal greed."
He ignores that and strides around to the front of my truck to pat with great exaggeration his back pocket, a gesture I've experienced before from angry white men, but a futile move as he realizes he's in gym shorts. He's pointing as his frown deepens to take in the backward "disarm" message painted there for folks to read in their rear-view mirrors when they're passing me.
"We MUST disarm ALL MEN, beginning with our military and police." I state again silencing his protests. "Come on Doug," I insist, "you must know that weapons have done nothing but cause extreme harm to human beings. That period of our world history must be OVER."

But Doug is back to insisting that we have the strongest military - he knows this for sure, he's a vet - that embarks on the greatest military maneuvers of any military on earth with the most brilliant minds and strongest bodies. "And with the holy blessing of god" he has the temerity to claim.
I tell him, my own rage building but not distracting me to challenge his gawd, 'Sure, you're right. You speak about military maneuvers that only the u.s. has the power and resources to pull off: resources we've obtained through conquering almost every nation in the world and on this land - not because we're so goddamn special or gifted but because we were founded by men who were not only willing to murder to get what they wanted but were willing to enslave, to commit rape, genocide, torture, and all the other extreme acts of violence unimaginable to most humans and certainly not employed by most."
"People in other nations need us to..." he begins but I interrupt. 
"People in other nations want us to leave them the fuck alone. Why is that so hard for you to understand?"
"But the bad guys in their country are attacking us. I was there. My buddies were injured and some were even killed. What do you say to that, eh?"
It's not a unique question. Soldiers and veterans often demand to know how I would expect them to not defend themselves against such an attack. Besides, it's how they can justify the violence they've committed.
I ask Doug, as I love to ask all men "Tell me Doug, if someone entered you home without your permission, if someone was in YOUR house, taking YOUR resources, YOUR children, YOUR things, would you not fuckin resist?"
He stares at me as if he's seen a rose slowly bloom for the first time. "Yes, I say, YOU are the ones in THEIR home."
I can see, as I almost always can see, the realization dawn on him - surely not for the first time - that he was the intruder that needed to be vanquished.
I'm relentless. "You say this is what you fear, that Muslims want to come here and take your things and yet it is such a false, unfounded fear. But you've been part of the foreign military forces occupying these countries, taking their resources. You, more than anyone, you KNOW it is the reality of the people in every country we are occupying: we are in other people's homes, lives, countries. We need to get the fuck out."

"I can't see how we can do that," Doug insists. "We have to do this to defend our country. I can't see any other way to bring peace to the world and get rid of terrorists."
I groan, feeling I've failed. I have to comment "Your 'vision' is so antiquated not to mention criminal and wrong, if you can't see that - and I understand you can't - you need to step aside and make the space for those of us who KNOW we CAN do things a different way - a way that holds ALL LIFE SACRED," I silently think, you violent ignorant white man. "HARM NO ONE. It's not so hard."

He throws his hands into the air and retreats. I hope to go think about our conversation, to talk with others, even if it's just to complain. At least he's engaged!


Friday, May 04, 2018

Three young white high school guys...

My reading at the Tippecanoe Library did not bring out the throngs of progressive whites from Lafayette but it did bring out several interesting folks: an older strate white couple, the man of which was a conscious objector during World War II!!!! Plus one of the womyn I met yesterday at the Diversity Round Table monthly meeting, a young and very preggers womon of color who is directing the shelter for battered womyn of Lafayette. Another strate white couple who have also been long-time activists with many decades of bold actions to their legacy along with several other younger white womyn also committed to changing our country and communities.

Then three young white male teenage high school students showed up 5 minutes before we were to start. They wanted to know exactly what my presentation was going to be and instead of answering them directly (much to one of the womyn's chagrin) I invited them to sit down and join our circle.

They said that their high school history teacher suggested they might want to check out the reading but they only had 5 minutes. They all checked their cell phones almost in unison. I urged them to come sit for their five minutes then.

They agreed but indicated one of their mother's was going to come pick them up in five minutes.

I skipped one of the exercises I usually ask folks to do toward the beginning of my presentation in the hopes that I could cover as much ground as possible given these few minutes they were granting me.

These young fellows were sitting forward, on the edge of their folding chairs, listening intently, participating uncertainly, but they did not make a move to stand and leave. In fact, they stayed for the entire reading/workshop and came up to talk with me afterwards.

They were mesmerized - and stunned at their inadequate (at best) education. I donated a book to their school and history class but one of the young men told me he had $10 and would like to buy a copy of the book for himself.

To end the presentation, I asked everyone to think of one action they would like to commit themselves to accomplishing in the very near future. But I forgot (and have been forgetting) to tell folks about the list serve I created so people can stay in touch and get support and encouragement.







Thursday, May 03, 2018

11:00 tv news!!! Lafayette IN

When my truck was (visibly parked as I attempt to do to get the most exposure to my messages) in a social services building parking lot and I was returning from an event I participated in, a small TV news van was circling around it. As I approached, the young, white female journalist threw on the brakes, backed up, and stuck her hand out the window as she asked me if this was my truck.

Hmmm - how did she know? Just kidding. She asked me what I was doing in Lafayette and whether I was willing to be interviewed. Of course I was.

We made an appointment for the following day. She interviewed me for about 20 minutes and then turned it into a one minute news story that showed on the Lafayette 7:00 and 11:00 news! I'm hoping it will inspire tons of folks to come out to the reading tomorrow!

Here's the video

http://www.wlfi.com/content/news/Woman-travels-through-Lafayette-with-eye-opening-truck-sharing-beliefs-on-social-issues-481695731.html

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-- A woman who's traveling the world in an eye-opening truck is making a stop in Lafayette.

After 9/11 almost 17 years ago, Xan Joi began to paint her truck with the message, "Thou shall not kill." From there, she's traveled the world sharing her beliefs on current social issues.

Joi  lives in her truck and travels to different states sharing her book "But what can I do?" She said bringing racism, homophobia, and sexism to light is a conversation people need to have.
Joi said her truck is a way to spread her message.

"People can paint their truck also. They can paint their car also. They can speak up. They can stand up. They have to we have to push everyone, even myself to do more." said Joi.

Joi will present her book Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m at the Tippecanoe County Public Library.

So you know the confederate flag is racist!

Sitting in my truck, getting ready to take off down a residential side street, a honking big-ass black pickup truck with one side of the front bumper hanging off, dark tinted windows, pulls off the main road and crookedly parks across the rear bumper of the passenger car parked directly behind me.

I see a large white man jump so quickly out the truck, he leaves it running with his door open. His navy blue sweatshirt has been ripped at the should, revealing huge white arms with tattoos running up and down both sides.

I here him say something like "I don't care" as he bounds toward me, bald headed but sporting a bushy red beard.

I hop down off the my seat to meet him on the road as I greet him with a cherry "hello".

He whips out his phone and starts taking pictures before telling me in a very neutral voice that his mother would like to see this. Apparently she lives up north.

He declares, surprising me, that he can agree with almost everything on my truck. I am surprised and test him, asking if the "death to racism" doesn't 'offend', as I point out my experience with other white men (I don't mention the pickup or the tattoos - yet) do object to what I've written.

He looks at me with crystal blue eyes and says, "Why should it? I'm not a racist so it doesn't." Then he goes on to declare his "live and let live" personal attitude and as long as people leave him alone, he leaves them alone.

He finishes with a littany of all the friends he has: Black, Mexican, white - you name it. He doesn't believe in not giving people jobs or places to live and the same things he wants for his family, everyone should have for their family.

I smile encouragingly and then state: "That's great but there's such a thing as institutional racism that ensures you and white people get to live and work where we want and prevents people with darker skin from getting those very things."

He protests that of course he knows these things. I comment on his tattoos, that are colorful and geometric shapes. He immediately exclaimed with a wide grin "No racist things" as he pulls up the material hanging slightly over one shoulder, twisting his arm so I can get the full view, "not even a confederate flag."

I nod with approval as I say "So you know the confederate flag is a racist symbol!" and watch as his face flushes almost the color of his beard. "Yeah" I think is what he mumbles as he waves good bye, bidding me to "be safe" and "keep up the good work"...

The 'n.....' word...

I think 'liberal' white people feel more comfortable saying the 'n.....' word than the word 'Black' or even 'white' - especially when they can couch the taste and feel of that word coming off their tongues as regurgitated from something a Black person said or sang.

My heart was ripped open today when the white lesbian womon who befriended me on a lesbian list serve, invited me to stay at her home, and even set up a reading for me in her conservative republican mostly white town began a conversation about a billboard and used that word.

I immediately interrupted her with my hurt and horror, sitting in her pleasant homey kitchen on an equally pleasant warm Indiana spring day, shocked that she could so easily push those heinous, abhorrent, detestable sounds out of her mouth.

I told her so. She did not accept what I had to say but argued with me.

My white host felt that the fact it was on a billboard, that she was just saying what was written for all to see, and that she was repeating the story that a womon told her, a Black womon, it was okay for her to use that word.

Then she claimed that because Black people use the word - she's heard the music, she's witnessed guys and girls calling each other that, she has friends who easily say the word - that if 'they' can use it, why can't she?

Yes, why can't she? 

She asked me if I felt the same horror earlier that day when we were at a gathering of mostly white folks where a Black womon shared a story of being in Kindergarten and two white girls not allowing her to play on the swings, calling her the 'n' word.

I told her I felt a deeper horror: the fact that this womon had to experience that hatred and violence at only 5 years old; and deeper horror that two little white girls, also 5 years old, already knew that word and how to use it and against whom.

She insists, asking me again, but didn't I feel anger towards the womon telling the story for her use of that word. I repeat, no, and reiterate my horror at the white girls and the violence itself.
I talk with her about her desire to be an ally, let alone an accomplice, of Black people. She claims she is and yet when I ask her how does she think she can disconnect her whiteness, her racism, her white power from the history of that word?

I suggest she can instead say "the 'n' word" to communicate she recognizes the horrific history - past and present - of that word and all it implies. She insists it is the same thing, saying 'the 'n' word, and/or saying the entire word itself.

Really? I tell her when she as a white womon saying "the 'n' word" she is sending the message to Black people she has an understanding of racism, and to white people that whites should not use that word.

It's very hard to reason with white people who feel they are 'entitled' to repeat what Black people say.

I end up telling her that I can only ask that she take into consideration the years I've spent studying racism and, whether she believes me or not, I beg her to not ever use that word again. I also suggest to speak with other white people and find out what they think.

She falls back into a white response typical of too many white people. She wants to ask her Black friends if it's okay for her to use the word.

"But why would you want to put your friends in that position? Don't you think it's time white womyn take responsibility for figuring out what racism is and for protecting Black womyn from their own racism?"

She insists it would not hurt her Black friends for her to use that word. I groan and think how best to address this. The only thing I can say is that I hope she asks white allies first and to really listen to what white people have to say.





Saturday, April 28, 2018

Check your fluids!

So I'm planning on taking off early - but leisurely - this morning. I've 3 days to drive over 700 miles to my next reading location in Indiana.

And I'm sad to tear myself away and say goodbye to my wonderful chosen kickass family in Jackson.

But I do leave, deciding to stop at Whole Foods one more time, as there is no Whole Foods along my route or in Lafayette, where I'll be staying.

Coming out of the store, returning to my truck, I glance underneath the engine and see a little puddle, look closer and see a drip drip drip. I lay down and scoot under the truck and sure enough, radiator fluid is leaking and it appears to be coming from where the hose is attached to the bottom of the radiator.

Oh shit. Of course I'm thankful I haven't gone far from my chosen family and thankful I've seen the leak before getting on the highway.

I return to my sistar's home and she immediately comes out to look and help me. I'm thinking the clamp has somehow loosened allowing the hose to slip less than a quarter inch. At least I'm HOPING that's all it is.

We get the proper tools and begin loosening the clamp more so we can push the hose back that quarter inch, crossing fingers.

Low and behold, the leak stops! We've fixed it!!!!

I'm filled with that overwhelming pride of accomplishment - and relief that comes with knowing what could have been in store for me, for my truck, if I had not noticed that leak when I did. 

Friday, April 27, 2018

Central Mississippi SURJ reading!!!

Wonderful SURJ folks and my loyal Mississippi sistars plus a couple new but committed comers led to a lively and meaningful discussion around the many points highlighted from my book. Plus SURJ provided food in the comfy, cozy, private community meeting room upstairs (with the prerequisite working elevator) in Whole Foods!

And a plan to join the Poor People's campaign starting next Monday! YEAH!!!!



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Lies and more lies

So this is very important, especially for white womyn travelers rolling in campers they've constructed themselves: you might get the opportunity to confront bigotry and discrimination if you attempt to camp at a public camp ground and are told you don't have the "recreational vehicle association seal of approval".

First, ask them to produce the written requirement for camping there. This morning when I asked Joel and Chris to provide that, they actually showed me a rule that talked about campers extending longer than 32 feet and wider than 8 feet. There was/is no rule requiring such a seal.

Second, point out to them that not ALL campers have this seal. Anyway, it's just a fuckin seal like the good housekeeping seal of approval. It's a fuckin manufacturers' seal.

Third and especially if there is something about your vehicle that offends them because they are sexist, racist, macho pigs and just blindly committed (or fighting like hell) to maintaining the status quo, call them out on their discrimination: it's the same mentality that allows for all discrimination to fester and flourish.

Chris tried to tell me this morning that he doesn't know what I experienced, but in all the 55,000 visitors who have come during his 12 year tenancy at this campground, none, not one person, until me has persisted when he's informed them they have to leave.

I had to smile broadly. I do persist.

I had to tell him over the past 16 years and over 400,000 miles I've traveled around the country staying in state or national campgrounds, not one has tried to keep me out on the grounds of an association seal.

And then I had to tell him what I experienced, after thanking him for asking. I told them my experience was they decided they didn't like what was written on my truck and that's why they invented a rule to exclude me. "When you do this," I say, "you are discriminating against me."

They shake their head in vehement denial. Even these white men don't want to be told they "discriminate" let alone that they are racist.

"I made you uncomfortable and your response was to try to get rid of me" I persist some more. 

I don't let them deny it though as I tell them even if they believed that maybe the seal was a rule, they did not try to figure out how to make it 'legal' for me to camp there. When I asked about pitching a tent yesterday, Joel told me they didn't have tent spaces, which he changed to "primitive camping". He did say that rv'ers can set up tents in their space. But I'm not an rv'er, therefore I can't camp there.

Now, this morning, when I mention the folks camping with tents only (I did take a walk around the campground) they grab onto the tent suddenly as if they were drowning men and I threw them a life jacket, both coming forward to the counter to declare eagerly I can stay if I pitch a tent.

"Are you kidding?" I inform them. "I'm not staying. Do you know my friends from Jackson were ready to storm the campground last night to protect me?"

To their silence, I take my leave. Chris says to my back "Well good luck." I stop, turn, and say to both of them with much more sincerity, "Good luck to all of us."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Racist violence

At the time I confronted these white men with guns, I didn't know that the town I was in is the same one that produced the violent, hateful racist gang of white teenagers who beat to death a Black man, Mr. James Anderson, and then ran him over with their vehicle, murdering him. Although traveling in the south (or anywhere in the u.s.ofa.), it would be more unusual to be somewhere where some act of racist violence has not occurred.

An opportunity for a lesson in tolerance

"But if people are complaining making a fuss about what's written on my truck they're the ones causing a disturbance aren't they?" I ask.

"But what am I supposed to do," he whines in agony, "if people complain?"

I say: "You're supposed to give them a lesson in tolerance: you're supposed to say everyone, including my truck, has as much right (maybe more I don't add) to be here as you do. You're supposed to mention the u.s.ofa. constitution and our bill of rights."

He kicks the soggy grass as he grasps his hands behind his back.

"Better yet," I add. "Tell them I'd love to dialogue with them, to tap on my door!"

He turns heel and I'm sure he hasn't found much comfort here.

Shame on Joel.... and Chris

Ok so fuck the fuckin state of missifuckinssippi. 

After harassing me & claiming my vehicle is not a camper cause I don't have a recreational vehicle association 'sticker' - like whoever heard of them??? - & not accepting my California State Motor Home registration "cause who knows what they're doing in California?", Joel retreats to the office with a copy of my registration, my driver's license, and my Y card - he doesn't believe the picture on the license looks like me. Are you fuckin kidding?

But not before I have asked, with my most non-threatening smile, if he demands everyone's driver's license and/or demands to check everyone's "seal of approval" - or just those people whom he wants to discriminate against?

Suddenly another similarly weaponized white male about a foot shorter but with a louder voice and much redder face - flaming red after I ask him if he knows what 'live streaming' is (as I hold my phone camera up to fake live stream him - damn gotta learn how to do that). His tirade includes all the arguments Joel has spouted, ending with "your camper can't be here". HA!

I point out that he just called my vehicle a camper after claiming for 10 minutes it's not a camper, and he declares I've confused him - he didn't mean it. I scoff and say I'm sure he's not that easily confused.

"Besides," he continues as he changes his tune and starts taking pictures of every side of my truck  grumbling I'm taking pics of him: "you're breaking the 'no offense' rule." REALLY? He begins to point out all the things on my truck that people, including him, could find offensive.

Like I don't find those huge gluttonous rv's that get 2.5 miles per gallon with fuckin flags plastered all over fuckin offensive?

He, like Joel, whines about me putting them in a position of 'losing their jobs'. Hmmmm do I think two white men carrying guns, probably making up 'rules', trying to intimidate me into leaving a state campground should lose their jobs?

It's not up to me to decide if they meet the state of Missifuckinssippi's qualifications for state park police but if they seize the opportunity to discriminate against me because I don't have a seal they've conveniently made up as a qualification for camping there, that's probably grounds for dismissal.

I'm not ready yet to ask them where that 'rule' is written but I do mention that I did not see that rule written on their website. But I am ready to ask is it really me wanting them to "be flexible as they know my vehicle's a camper whether it has the seal they claim necessary or not - or the messages painted on my truck that they deem "offensive" that bothers them most?"

I don't point out that they started the topic of "offensive" by quoting the clause "causing a disturbance" as reason for exclusion from the campground. Honesty rears its head: they find what I've painted 'offensive' and therefore causing a disturbance. I do point out the "disturbance" is not caused by my silent truck is it, but is if a mob of one or more decides to attack my constitutional rights.

They must know they are on shaky ground with the 'offensive' track so they keep coming back to the scandalous bus - & 'homemade' campers issue - as in "what if a bus comes by and claims they're a camper, we'd turn them around". I finally say "keepin out all the hippies ru?" One laughs, the red-faced one declares his love 4 hippies.

Right.

They finally dejectedly state "you're not going are you?" I nod and say "Sure I am: I'm going to bed" and make them the promise that I'll go look up the 'seal' information tomorrow and let them know.

Missifuckinssippi

Does racism work both ways??? Absofuckinlutely NOT

So I do get to walk around the truck with him and talk about what I have written there. He is of course most upset about the "Death to Racism" and "End the White & Male War Against....everyfuckinbody".

He claims the largest thing on my truck is "Death"and that alone is "disturbing the peace". Really?

I ask him what he wants to happen to racism. He gets a glint in his eye, like he's finally trapped me, and says "do you believe racism can work both ways?"

I know immediately what he is referring to. We are no longer talking about whether I have the proper camper and 'seal' to be allowed to camp here, although I'm very aware of how close that subject is when I answer firmly "No".

"A ha" he exclaims as if he's found me out. I interrupt before he can dig his hole further, "there's a difference between bigotry, prejudice, discrimination. Anyone can prejudge, anyone can be bigoted, (and there's a difference between such things and the reaction to racist oppression) but not anyone can be racist - or sexist" I add.

"Racism doesn't have to be a personal thing, it can be and is all too often but it is also an institutional thing" I explain to him, "there isn't an institution in the country that is directed and run by men of color or womyn, including white womyn." He nods and it does seem he is getting the distinction.

Or he just knows he can't win this one. Racism needs power: if you don't have the power of skin color that the institution values behind you, you cannot be racist - or sexist.

Like the power of that gun. I ask him why the hell is someone carrying a gun at a campground. He claims it's so he can protect people. At a beatific peaceful campground on a lake in the middle of tall pines and an abundance of water birds.

I ask him and he tells me he's never had to use it, never even threatened to use it and, when pushed, he affirms there's never been a situation where it might've could've should've been used. He's seen no violence there in 12 years.

"I'm a born again Christian" he declares, as if that has something to do with his disassociation with racism and power and his gun. My turn to nod and to ask if I can then ask him a question. He consents so I ask "How does that (being a christian) square with you carrying a gun?"

He looks at me blankly as if he doesn't get the question. Really? Does your born again christian bible say "Thou shall not kill" unless you're getting paid to kill? Or "do good to those who would harm you" unless it's your job?

He doesn't want to talk anymore but instead asks me for my license. I ask him why? Does he ask everyone for there license? I've already given him my registration so he can see for himself that my camper is really a camper - according to the state of California. But of course for him, I might be talkin' consent of the devil, that evil state of California.

He says no and admits he neither looks for the 'seal' of the rv association either but he's sure every camper here has one. He has me at a disadvantage there - for now - but I will find out.

grrrrr


Discrimination Missifuckinssippi State Park style

Soooooo a very tall white male carrying a gun & various other weapons attached to his uniform is claiming I don't have the right kind of camper to camp at this state of Missifuckinssippi camp ground.

I'm rushing to write this as I don't know what he is capable of doing - he had such a nice, affable even welcoming voice over the phone when I called to inquire about wi-fi availability. Pre-seeing my truck of course.

He eyes my camper as if it might jump up and bite him any second. I assure him it is a camper and I've camped all over the country in it -= I don't tell him I even was a camp host at a alafuckinbama campground once - without any issues. 

Now he's 'concerned' as I don't have some kind of recreational vehicle "seal of approval". Are you fucking kidding me? He claims it's a "rule" of the campground...




fuck 'cheap'!

A young womon, smiling broadly and bouncing excitedly, rushes around the side of my truck to where I'm standing and exclaims: "I LOVE your truck!"

She, Monae, works at a gas station so she knows from a truck!

She continues: "I saw that mural and I HAD to come see you!" She has ducked out of the tiny cashier booth she's stationed in 6 straight hours a day.

"I HATE monsanto" she gushes "and I LOVE that ear of corn with the skull and crossbones!"

I'm thrilled. She is young and Black and a southerner, born and raised, and she knows about fuckin monsanto.

I ask her how she became so informed. She talks about the concept of 'cheap' and how she learned long time ago 'cheap' food has dire consequences on your body, on your health, on our land.

As she talks, I hear her almost quoting from the chapters I've written. I HAVE to give her a copy of my book. She slips back into the cashier's booth as she promises me she'll email as soon as she's read it and let me know what she thinks!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Feels like the old dayz

I'm in Vicksburg, Mississippi about to do a reading at a little bookshop "Lorelei". I've pulled up and parked in front of the coffee shop next to the bookstore, and while I'm getting my books - and self - together, 2 young enthusiastic white womyn come bounding out the door, greeting me, and urging me to come inside and have a free cup of coffee or whatever I want.

When I question them "free?" they point to my truck and say any womon who drives that truck deserves a free cup of coffee!!!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Desperate enough to beg money from strangers???

I haven’t been home for an hour – in fact I’m still on the BART from the airport to my home - & already I get into a fight, on that very BART.

A young womon lugging a baby dangling from a sling on her chest is holding up a handwritten note on a piece of crumbled cardboard asking for spare change. I give her a couple of dollars and watch as she approaches two other stony-faced women seated across from me draped in fancy scarves with matching high heels and several new shopping bags clutched to their chest, women who refuse to look at her.

She then approaches a tall white man decked in the latest biking sportswear leaning in front of his thousand dollar racing bike. He jerks the headphones out of his large ears and accuses her of driving an audi in Fremont. She shrinks back from him as he demands again if she isn’t the one who was driving an audi in Fremont. Before she can say a word he snarls a bet that the baby she’s holding probably isn’t even hers.

I jump up with my own demands for him: “Have you ever been so desperate as to have to ask strangers for money? Have you?”

He doesn’t want to answer my question but of course we all know he never has even had to consider this way of trying to feed himself. He gestures at the womon frozen in place as he claims she is wealthy.

I demand “Really? Wealthy? Do you really think if this womon had an option of a good paying job – like you obviously have – or of begging for money she’d really be here?”

“Didn’t you watch the special on TV last week? There’s a gang of 30 {muslim/brown/immigrants understood in his pointing} of her people who are going around begging for money and they’re RICH?”

I know my mouth is wide open by this point. I say to him “So all muslim people look alike to you? And so fuckin what, if she has an audi or a mercedes – only white men like you are entitled to own such cars? And only white men like you get to say what jobs or means of making money entitles you to an audi?”

“She’s just ripping us off” he retorts, as he leans toward her and tells her she’s illegal. Illfuckinlegal.

Now I’m REALLY hot. I raise my voice even louder so everyone in the car can hear me. “Oh you mean like how our country is bombing the hell outta her country, ripping her people off, forcing her to flee only to come here and face assholes like you?”

He pales a little under his perfect tan, grabs his bike and heads for the opening doors. “Again, have you ever been so desperate as to have to ask strangers for money?” He turns to give me the finger as I shout with disgust “Asshole”.

Towards the next stop yet another man waiting in front of the door turns to tell me the white guy was right, she is participating in a scam, like he has seen this particular womon on TV.

“So all brown people look alike to you also?” I demand incredulously. “And I’ll tell you what a scam is: a scam is men making more money than womyn.” He protests loudly claiming he’s on disability so I tell him “That white man you’re defending probably saw a TV show about Black people scamming disability too & would accuse you of ripping him off!”

Geez are all the men on BART ganging up on me? I should have said “You want to know what a scam is? A scam is a multi-billionaire sitting in the White House that we’ve turned over control of trillions more dollars, and you males pointing the finger at a womon with a baby asking for spare change. THAT’S a scam!”

I did look around scathingly – not one person meeting my eyes nor standing up to support me. I then inform the car that “We live in the MEANEST country in the world?”



Saturday, April 14, 2018

Maybe it's time

A slight, short white womon in a long dusky blue trench coat breathlessly caught me as I was locking up my truck, grayish brown unruly curls peeping out from under a matching cap. "Here" she says, thrusting a handful of wadded up dollars as crumbled as her long coat. "This is all the money I have in my pocket."

First, I'm thinking she's homeless and thinks I am also so I ask her as I examine the bills in her outstretched hands "What is this for?"

She tears up as she lauds my bravery and declares she wants to support my work. She confesses that she used to be active when El Salvador and also Nicaragua was happening but when Ollie North was pardoned she realized it was rigged and we can't do anything.

This gave me the opportunity to talk with her about Starhawk's message: when we feel how she is feeling, we have to know we're falling under the spell of those people in power. They NEED us to feel this way. We have to recognize it's a spell and step back and cast our own counter spell. We are not powerless, we are not helpless.

I gave her a copy of my book and her parting words to me were "Maybe it's time I got involved again". I agreed enthusiastically with her and urged her to push herself - and everyone she knows - to do better, more, any and everything!

This is Jackson Mississippi

Friday, April 13, 2018

From Pink House Defenders to the Antis (as in the plural of anti-womyn's-rights) Women

I spend most of the day today, before my reading this evening, at the only clinic in the entire fuckin state of Missifuckinssippi that provides the option of abortion services to womyn.

I join a couple of other kickass defenders, all white, and a Black male security guard who has surprised me with his staunch support and total comprehension of womyn's rights.

The antis are there as well. One particularly obnoxious mean white woman with white hair bright as pristine paper, thrusts a flyer out to the mostly young womyn approaching the clinic as she authoritatively declares she has info they (she disparagingly spits out nodding towards the clinic door) won't give her inside. When the womyn ignore or refuse as they continue to walk briskly behind the tall wire fence that separates them from the anti, she starts yelling "You're murdering your baby! That's your baby you're killing". When that doesn't deter the womon, she then starts screaming in a baby voice "Maaaaameeee, I love you! Maaaaameeee! Don't Kill me. Please Mama Please" until the womon disappears behind closed doors.

This is Melody. The clinic defenders here know all of the antis' (is that the plural of one anti?) names. I find out she is an evangelic (of course) christian married to the minister, who by the way, sat down out of the way after I challenged his christianity when he called me the b word.The b word, out of a white christian minister's grubby mouth when he overheard me breaking down the racism and hypocrisy of the origins of his expressed "ma'am"; and when he then switched to 'lady', he overheard me breaking down the sexism and classism inherent in 'lady' so he decided the only other thing he could call womyn/me is a b.... REALLY? Fucker.

I attempt to engage her in dialogue, mostly to distract her from ranting at womyn seeking health care, but also to find out who would be this cruel as to attempt to manipulate womyn with shame and guilt, and to their very faces.

Come to find out, this Melody had an abortion. The first thing she tells me is that her child would have been 44 years old this year. I can do the math and out loud I state, the disbelief overcoming my attempt at neutrality, "you had an illegal abortion". First she says "Well, no, not really" but I interrupt her and say, "Oh yes, you're white and wealthy, you had a nice, clean abortion in your doctor's office - no backyard, back alley, back street for you, eh?"

I ask her if her abortion was made into a public affair. She quizzically glances my way and I clarify: "Did you have to run through a gauntlet of old adults pointing the finger, screaming at you, shaming you?"

"No" she admits with a sly smile. "I wake up every day regretting my abortion" she attempts indignation with her mournful utter, eyes full of disdain. I can't help the snort of disbelief that gushes out of my mouth. I tell her "you would regret even more bringing an unwanted child into the world, a child obviously no one wanted to support, and that you were incapable of taking care of IF you wanted to attain the life you planned and dreamed of for yourself."
She shakes her head vigorously in denial, attempting to keep up her bereaved visage as she reiterates her deep sadness at this loss. I nod in an attempt at empathy but visions of coat hangers and blood limit and redirect my compassion.

I say to her "Is that the only thing in your life you've done that you regret? I'm sure there are many decisions you've made over your 60 plus years of life that you feel sad about or regret. In fact I bet you regret marrying your husband, if it's that man over there that can only call womyn "ma'am" or "lady" or "b..."

I see her glance towards her husband but before she can figure out how to frame her denial I say "So you had the right and the means to have an abortion but you want to take that right away from other womyn, because you (I might have added a 'fuckin' here) 'regret' your decision? You think that's right? You think you're so special and privileged you get to limit other womyn's choices, choices you were free to make?"

I say to her nodding, as she agrees "Okay, so you believe abortion is wrong; I believe womyn have the right to choose for themselves, like you had that right."

She is now nodding eagerly, her eyes glaring with hatred, silently saying "I'm right and you're wrong."

I ask her "How many of those bad decisions you've made over the years have you tried to turn into laws? How come you believe you can impose your beliefs on others?"

I know my obvious incredulity - or something - is giving her pause. I shake my head muttering "Okay so what if I attempt to make a law saying ALL womyn HAVE to have an abortion - except those I deem 'worthy'?"

She stares blankly at me as if she either cannot wrap her mind around how she could put an end to that many abortions or maybe she is just finished talking to me. I do find out it's the latter as she refuses to talk with me for the rest of the day...

Still I tell her "I can't believe you would attempt to deny others a right you had."

The I tell her unequivocally: "If your ugly, mean people are successful in outlawing legal abortion, you will be responsible for the deaths of womyn seeking illegal abortions."

But this hatred of womyn has never been about the rights of womyn: but the continued oppression of womyn.

These antis have gone so far as to open a fake 'abortion' clinic cattycorner from the real health care clinic: the fake clinic employing no doctors but these cruel anits who hand out false and misinformation; the real clinic employing doctors who have to fly in from parts unknown but far away from Mississippi to provide services.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Wonderful, fierce white womyn (and one white man) defenders at my reading!!!!

Yeah!!!! I've written before about the great joy and wondrous affirmation of finding white womyn in the fuckin south who are fierce anti-racists and defenders of womyn!

Tonight, such womyn come together at my reading! They listen patiently and participate openly as we discuss my book and how it relates to Jackson and their work.

I'm deeply grateful and indebted to all but ESPECIALLY to my most precious treasure Amelie - and her beautiful family! Among all the other support she's provided with enthusiasm and fierce commitment, she's made me the t-shirt I'm wearing!

And YOU can order one custom made from her soon!


One Black, one white...to be continued

A spend the wee hours of the morning at a beautiful, big rest stop in Alabama where the birds are singing joyfully and the weather is warm even though the sun is just rising.

When I jump out my camper, I see (as good as I can without my glasses), a man across the parking lot motion

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

High wind advisory in New Jersey!!!

I made it to New Jersey last night - coming home to my chosen sistars and sooooo happy - despite running out of solar power and my cell phone dying, plus hitting cold weather making my veggie oil sluggish.

There have been very few reactions to my truck this trip - infrequent beeps and peace plus love symbols increasing as I get closer to NYC; only 1 fuck you and no one tried to run me off the road this time.

I did take I20 across Georgia this time and then up I95 through South and North Carolina where there didn't seem to be many misogynist racists driving - or at least not reacting to me (that I saw).

The young lesbian womyn at the Y in North Carolina were VERY happy to see me but the folks in Virginia, where I got the middle finger, were decidedly cooler. I was basically ignored when I stopped to rest and tried to get folks to engage with me.

I hadn't counted on snowed piled around in melting globs here, nor the high winds that are keeping me inside all day today! I HOPE tomorrow, the weather will be better.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Hugs or hits???

An obviously wealthy, pristinely coiffed white womon swiftly approaches me in the parking lot as I return to my truck from the bathroom. She has the march of someone determined - to punch me or hug me, this is the deep south after all - & the silent brisk stride of a hospital nurse.

She does neither but congratulates me with military intensity as she declares her agreement with everything written on my truck. She whirls around and takes off as quickly as she came. I'm disappointed we didn't talk more but thrilled also to get such a greeting from a white womon in the deep south.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Taking Jasi to CA

Trying to head home for a few days!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

I agree...

I'm parking at Trader Joe's next to the sidewalk where an old white man is shuffling back and forth, bent over his walker as he begs for money. The wind yanks his faded "Viet Nam Veteran" cap off his bald head and tosses it a few feet from my side door. When I retrieve it for him, he straightens a few centimeters as he puts out a shaky pockmarked bare arm to snatch it back.

I brace myself as he gratingly spits a glob of something greenish yellow to the curb then glances sideways at me to grumble "I agree". At my raised eyebrows he continues firmly "I agree with everything..." a gnarled hand floats upward to point at my truck " I agree with everything you have written there - on ALL sides".

Monday, March 05, 2018

Oh no, the side of the highway AGAIN! to be continued

After finishing preparations to hit the road, after the mechanics give me yet another green light, after I exercise for 30 minutes, after completing all my internet needs, I'm finafuckinly ready to leave El Centro behind.

After hitting the road and driving for 120 miles, my temperature gauge swings wildly into the hottest of the hot mark. I pull over to the side of the highway AGAIN and AGAIN in the middle of fuckin nowhere. I call my mechanic who tells me they are now closed, everyone is home, and I'll have to wait until 8a.m. in the morning. At my vigorous protestations he claims surely it has nothing to do with the repairs they just did but it must be my thermostat.

Thermostat? Reafuckinly? I don't think so and I tell him so. I remind him I might be female but I do know somethings.

And thus begins the google search once again for a diesel mechanic closeby. I'm about 100 miles south of Phoenix - I've already passed over the border from California into Arizona, far from the biggest 'city' off this freeway Yuma, and haven't seen as much as broken pavement of a deserted gas station let alone a diesel mechanic shop.

After many unsuccessful attempts, I get a hold of a traveling diesel mechanic service based in Phoenix who agrees to come help me but first, David wants to try to narrow things down before the mechanic arrives to insure they can fix it.

David has me check the radiator - the overflow tank still has water in it so I think the radiator must still have water in it but it doesn't - it's completely dry! I add the remainder of the container of anti-freeze I carry with me and then a gallon plus more of water before it is refilled. Then he has me turn on the engine. Immediately I see where the water is spurting out of: the little pipe that runs from the water cooler to the turbo charger that I just had replaced has sprung a leak. On closer examination, I see it was crimped when they installed the charger and now that crimp is leaking.

I take pics and text David who calls around to see if he can find the entire pipe to replace, but of course, he can't. He tells me he will send out the mechanic anyway because he's pretty sure they can figure out a way to fix, at least until I get to Atlanta.


Part II: when your turbo goes and engine runs away:

After you get your turbocharger replaced and the manifold if it has cracked when removing the turbo or if the bolts are sooooo rusty they break off inside the manifold... before you so joyfully drive off, make sure the boys clean out your air cooler and intake hoses/pipes.

I took off Saturday, joyfully, after being stuck for four days, only to drive 2 blocks when the engine once again began it's magical running away! But this time, I knew what to do: popping the clutch, she shut down. Then I started her again and slowly made a u-turn and limped back to the shop, which is now closed.

This Monday morning, I greeted the mechanics with my 'suggestion' they clean out the air cooler.

Begrudgingly, these guys allowed me to tell them what to do - per info from my mechanic & secret informant - & even though they first peer into the air cooler and insist there's only a little dirty oil. But they do proceed to take off air cooler & find tons of oil gathered at the bottom. Looks like I MIGHT get on the road today after all!!!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

El Centro wall....

I know my woo-woo friends are going to claim something woo-woo that I just happened to break down in one of the three targeted places tRump is going forward with building the fuckin wall:

"Customs and Border Protection is taking immediate action in response to the president's executive order. We have identified locations near El Paso, Texas, Tucson, Arizona, and El Centro, California, where we will build a wall in areas where the fence or old brittle landing-mat fencing are no longer effective."

Actually, El Centro is the only place I was NOT planning on stopping at this trip...but now that I'm here, like I found the LGBT Center, I'll find where the protest of this wall is happening - especially if I'm still stuck here Monday.

A young bi-racial Chicana and white womon told me it is outsiders that are protesting the wall, most of the people working here are employed by border control. I asked her why the locals are not against the wall and she said that they are but bad people are coming over the border. I asked her if she thinks a wall will keep bad people out and she says absolutely not.

Go figure.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

My first book 'reading'....to be continued

I'm thrilled I get to present at the event at the LGBT Center. It is housed in a nice building, railroad style with a large entry room followed by a long middle hall with offices on either side to the back room which is a little smaller than the entry room, set up with chairs - in a row, not the lesbian circle chairs - electronic equipment and a large screen.

I'm up first after the director intros the center and evenings program. I rush through things faster than I should, as not only am I asked to talk about my book, but also about lesbian herstory - I'm probably the oldest lesbian there and definitely I've been out the longest.

I identified myself proudly as a radical (I hope!) lesbian feminist, just to get on the right foot, and spoke briefly of our magic, powerful, amazing amazon community that I was fortunate enough to come out into forty years ago! YEAH!!!! I forgot to invite folks to talk to me after if they want to know more.

And then I talked about my book, highlighting that most of us in this country do not know our true history but instead most of us know a lot of myths and propaganda about our history - we don't even know the truth about our present state of affairs, here and in the world.

I asked folks to stand if they have a roof over their heads, food they don't have to eat today, a change of clothes, daily source of clean water -= everyone stood & I talked about those standing are the 15% richest humans on earth. Which Ithen lead into the amerikkkan nitemare - running out of time, I recounted the salmon story.

No one felt inspired to buy my book...tearz but I did give one copy away to one of the two Black people there, a gay man.

LAMBDA from San Diego was the featured speakers who presented a slide show. I almost felt like I did when we gathered together to listen to bush give his state of the union and we counted how many times he said certain words. I listened carefully for the "L" word or even the Dyke word - but those words seemed to come from my mouth only. Even when talking about the aids crisis and 'women' came out to help their 'brothers', not lesbians. 8000 gay men have died of AIDS since 1982 but no mention of how many womyn have died from breast cancer since 1982.

Queer of course was probably mentioned as much as trans though. I had to point out, when one of the gay white male presenters recalled the victory over tRump's attempt to ban trans people from the military, that we are engaged in the longest war off this continent and the state department wants anyone who is willing to murder other people.

I plugged the Bay Area Lesbian Archives for Lenn and the rest of us. Of course, no mention of the controversy, exclusion, of lesbians from the archives, although they did touch on the lack of Black representation  -which is why we are creating our own archives.

Practicing my 'run away engine' skills...

I'm thrilled when Fed Ex pulls up right on time 10:00 this morning, giving my mechanic his two hours needed to install the turbocharger and the manifold before clocking out of work at noon.

I watch him, practicing my spanish as we talk about family and traveling while he works. His father has a shop across the border in Mexicali and he's worked in his dad's shop since he was 15.

When he's all finished tightening bolts and attaching hoses, I turn the engine over. She purrrrrrs! I pull her into the bay for steam cleaning and off we go!

About two blocks...this time, when the engine starts to 'run away' I know exactly what to do. I turn on the ignition which doesn't put a dent into the revving up nor the smoke that's beginning to pour out the tail pipe. I try first unsuccessfully to pop the clutch in 5th gear. Changing to 4th gear, I pop the clutch and the engine dies. I'm so fuckin relieved.

I restart the truck, make a u-turn and head back to the yard where the astonished workers are wiping their hands, dropping their greasy scrubs, and looking forward to leaving for the day, I'm sure.

But I make it back without my truck sounding too bad, minimal but still too much smoke, and no more running away.

But I'm not running anywhere either. I'm informed that no one can work on my truck now until Monday - so I have to settle for waiting...

I walk to the LGBT center by way of the coffee house as I'm very early.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Activists El Centro style!



Looks like I’ll be stuck here until tomorrow at least – the good news is that I’ll be able to speak at the LGBT center, 15 minutes! The bad news is that some of the bolts broke off when they tried to remove the old turbocharger plus the manifold cracked. Which just doubled my bill…plus my time here.

At least I’m still in California, although barely. They will overnite the manifold, install both the turbocharger and manifold tomorrow, hopefully in time for me to drive to the center. Everything has to be finished by noon anyway, cause that’s when the shop closes on Saturday.

To save a few dollars, I walk to the O’Reillys auto place to buy oil and a filter. A young round-faced cheerful young man behind the counter searches for my filter and then looks at me with alarm in his eyes as he says “wow, that one’s expensive”. I agree – my mechanic has already informed me, $50 if they provide, $46 if I get at Reillys.

When I set my Kombucha water bottle on the counter to find my VIN, he comments on the Kombucha, which leads us into a long conversation about the environment and growing organic, Standing Rock and protesting the border wall. 

It is such a pleasure to have this conversation with a worker at Reilly’s – not the usual but this appears to be a brown-male-run shop, not usual either.

I ask him how he got to be so active and aware and he attributes this path to following his older brother, who lives on and is the caretaker for land in the country and grows organic food and animals.


Thursday, March 01, 2018

White people



Leaving the LGBT center I walk the additional mile to the State Street Coffee House – a cute, little bungalow sitting back from the road, converted into a coffee shop. There are no lesbians or at least no one who admits to being a lesbian inside but there are more white people than I’ve seen since I’ve arrived here.

A slight older white womon with a full head of long white hair braided on either side of her ears, smiles shyly and tells me she agrees with “Death to Racism”. We talk a little and when Tina hears that El Paso and Texas are in my travel plans she confesses she hasn’t driven through Texas since she and her best friend took a greyhound from Charleston to San Diego. She starts describing one of the scheduled stops the bus made along the way in Texas. When the passengers disembarked and entered the building, there was a little, very dark, dank and dirty small walled-off porch area to their right with one Black man sitting there, his back to them, hunched over his plate.

The bus driver pointed the passengers through another doorway to the sunny, cheery formica tables with matching chairs perched on top of shiny dark brown wooden floors. Behind the counter, a couple white women in red, white and blue uniform skirts and blouses, broad smiles plastered across red lips, motioned for them to sit.

Tina looks directly into my eyes, anger and resentment filling her face, as she expresses her irritation … at the bus driver. I’m taken back and ask her why would she be angry with the bus driver – and since 1982? She declares that he should have taken them somewhere else, that he knew he’d have to sit in the darkened section while they went to the white side. She resented him exposing this reality of the u.s. to her.

“Where did you expect the bus driver to take you in Texas in 1982?” I ask, curious. I see it dawn on her, for the first time in 35 years, that maybe that’s what all the restaurants in Texas were like. Startled, she asks me if it is still the same in Texas today.

I ask her what did she, her friend, and the other white passengers do? She looks at me blankly. “Did you support racism and sit in the ‘whites only’ part? Or did you think about joining the bus driver and other man sitting on the porch?” 

“Why, no. We weren’t allowed to do that,” she states unequivocally. 

“Really?” I ask skeptically as she blushes slightly. I could see I made my point. I acknowledge her anger and ask her, rhetorically I hoped, why did she think she turned her anger on to the Black person who was the victim of racism and not on the white perpetrators? Why was she willing to comply with and add to racism instead of challenging the white waitresses and owner, the other white passengers, her friend? 

I told her about the sunset or sundown towns, where Black and brown people had to be out of that town by sunset – or be targets of white violence, legal white violence with impunity.