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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

Friday, October 07, 2016

The bitter, the sweet, the unconscionable



All evidence of the stunningly beautiful southwest – muted browns and reds and oranges, rust – melts into hot flat gray sandy soil with the occasional cacti or sparse and withered tree trunk here and there. Rocks and cliffs and mesas – just gorgeous and majestic – are all but a memory or a distant vague outline.

Maybe it is the abrupt looming presence of gray steel and barbed wire that destroys the magic, definitely the beauty, of the desert. Maybe it’s the knowledge that 150 people, human beings – womyn, children, men – have died, been murdered, inside this cold gray ‘structure’ and others like it around our country. Maybe it’s the fact that hundreds of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of more human beings – womyn, children, men – have been and are incarcerated in these buildings, awaiting ‘release’ through deportation, back to face most likely violence and death from those they’ve escaped.

Bitterness swells in me as I remember the stories of my childhood, the fighting tales of despair and determination, my family as traumatized refugees, the horror and shame with disbelief for countries that refused to provide shelter especially a country as this with so much land and space and resources for refuge.

And here, we round up human beings – womyn, children, men – as if they are mere tiresome pebbles from a rock slide and toss them into pens, irregardless of where their children are, their family, their life; discarded in a container with other pebbles to be – eventually, when the state through our generous taxes has finished paying the private corporations a daily fee of around $159 each for their containment – thrown over the 21 foot steel and concrete wall, recently replaced and reinforced by bigger, taller, better steel and concrete.

Eloy is one of the worst detention prisons with the highest number of deaths.

The crowd here swells to close to a thousand, I’m sure. The crowd is diverse and multilingual, elders well represented as are the youth. The only people missing are the littlest children, the babies, toddlers, the below 10 crowd and I long for my daughter or at least my grandchild to be here. Black people, indigenous people, brown people, white people are all here. The communists, catholics, quakers, students, radicals, disabled, political proliferate the dusty field. The rally is bilingual – I struggle to understand the Spanish before it’s translated into English.

The dramatic sunset flaunts the pain or maybe reflects it in the deep reds and bright purples, bruises and blood of so many dispossessed of the basic rights of all humans by the mighty mighty u.s. military/police/border patrol power.

Yet from the back of the truck plastered with colorful radio station signs that provides the platform for the rally voices: the unfaltering words and poignant tales of heroic tenacious actions of so many – formerly  or not yet incarcerated, individuals and organizations – who, working so very hard, have stood up and continue to stand to fight for the incarcerated and desperate, and against the greedy and violent, filter thru the grey and join us together weaving a deep healing and empowering resolve as we light candles and proceed to march determinedly across the highway onto the sidewalk, straining eagerly forward as far as we’re allowed to ‘legally’ advance, chanting, drumming, dancing – sending our singing wafting with the warm desert winds across the dusty expanse patrolled by a lone white pickup truck thru the 25 foot tall barbed wire to the swaying grey silhouettes framed by tall, narrow windows, backlit by prison illumination.



Speedco and Eloy

I'm surprised it is so hot here, close to 90 degrees! grrrrr. I travel through Phoenix rush hour traffic and feel like not one person is reading the back of my truck. I wonder if I should take some of the sentences out and just have 3 or 4 of the best ones.

I am going to participate in the Puente and SOAW (School of Americas Watch) action today in Eloy Arizona, which I find out was 'established' in 1949 according to the first sign on the 'city' limits, but another sign 'downtown' on Main Street says 1909, 1900 feet above sea level, in the middle of the desert between Phoenix and Tucson.

I stopped to get my oil changed and not one of the all male, mostly white workers engaged in conversation with me. They all found reasons though to walk around the truck and read my messages but I think they are most perturbed by the "Disarm: Military, Police, All Men"...hahaha. I say to the air how difficult it is to visualize a country without guns.

Of course, someone pipes up and says they can use other weapons, like knives and billy clubs. hmmmm

When I pull out of the bay and park, one of the 2 brown men standing inside the bay, reads each line in a booming voice - some lines he reads twice. No commentary from anyone - except me. I say I'm quoting USA Today and ask if anyone is familiar with that newspaper. They all nod knowingly but unknowing USA Today took a position against rump.

I think that's the best I'm gonna do here. There's that fine line between engaging white males that are going to work on my truck or just hoping to get out with quality service.

I think they did a good job - we'll see.