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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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

policia

When I find the Coliseum and park, only a few people are in line and Cemelli or the other womyn from Café Mayapan are not there. At least I didn’t think they were but then when I approached two womyn standing off to the side of the building to hand them flyers, I recognize at least one of them from the café.

Most people are happy to take the flyer; maybe half are aware of who Jill Stein is; one white male aggressively informs me he’s voting for Hillary. Ok great I say and tell him I don’t care who he votes for as long as it’s not 'rump. The womyn in the line laugh.

Soon Cemelli arrives with banners, more flyers, and other womyn. As I continue to hand out flyers, a huge white man dressed in the neon green shirt of the parking attendants puffs over to ask me if I have permission to hand out flyers. First I say yes, I’m with the tablers. Then not wanting to get the café in ‘trouble’, I attempt to give him a flyer and tell him it’s information about an event happening on Friday.

He immediately talks in his walkie-talkie to someone who says I’m not allowed to hand out flyers in the parking lot. I attempt to argue my case – it’s a parking lot, it’s an event flyer, I’m not causing trouble.

He insists on me ceasing handing out flyers there and directs me to the front of the building where there is a sidewalk and street. I hear him talking about the police as I head that way, still handing out flyers to the one or two people I’m passing.

When I get around to the front where people are slowly driving in, I realize this spot is even better – I get to hand them a flyer as they drive in.
But I don’t get to stand there very long before I notice three armed cops marching in unison together across the parking lot on a direct collision course with me. I whip out my phone and really do began videoing them, not just faking it as I often do, especially when I'm outta battery... The one in the middle gets right in my face, the other two flanking my sides as they try to march me backwards and sideways, demanding I get onto the sidewalk.

I stand my ground and read their names off their tags onto the video so I have a record of who they are. I point out that I’m off the parking lot, standing on the cement that I try to pass off as part of the sidewalk. They’re insisting it’s a driveway, which I agree, it is, a very long, big driveway.

They order me off the driveway onto the sidewalk, where it will be almost impossible to hand any body a flyer – it’s too big and the car would have to turn in sharply on my side to get a flyer. Grrrrr

After I ask them who the hell they are, they tell me they are the El Paso police and this is private property I’m standing on. I should have asked them why the El Paso police are here bullying a citizen on alleged private property.

I do not want to be arrested over handing out flyers in Texas so I retreat to the sidewalk but the police are not just wanting me on the sidewalk, they really don't want me to hand out flyers. Period.

They physically move so they're almost but not quite blocking me - which is really unnecessary because they are blowing whistles and directing cars around me swiftly into the parking lot.

I'm furious they are impeding my right to hand out flyers. I attempt to get drivers and passengers to take the flyer but they are attuned to police authority, not mine.

I need to head out anyway - I've got the whole fuckin state of Texas to cross.

El Paso: obrera y Cemilli



I’m excited to return to El Paso and the Café Mayapan, where our Black Womyn’s Lives Matter: Free Marissa caravan did a presentation and where we were given the warmest, most loving and inspiring welcome and sweet fierce support for our journey.  And where we met awesome, kickass activist native and Hispanic womyn fighting for womyn’s lives.

GPS doesn’t work but I find the address of Café Mayapan in my email and I feel my way off the freeway onto the streets. I think I’m heading in the right direction, as I know the street was south of the freeway but north of the border. I confirm with a driver of a black pickup truck next to mine that Texas Ave is in the direction I’m heading.

I’m pleased to witness not one ‘him’ yard sign, poster, banner or even bumper sticker. When I was on the freeway this morning, a couple of muffler-less trucks accelerated and zoomed too close around me, behavior that could be considered frothing by angry white men but maybe not.

A white male maybe in his 30’s driving a spiffy white car did race to swerve in front of me almost clipping my front bummer, threw on his brakes and extended his arm way above the roof of his car to point downwards towards his “marine veteran” sign across the bottom of his back window.

I honk back and give him the peace sign that I morph into the “I love you” sign as he speeds away and ponder why he thought it was important to make sure I noticed his military status. As I no longer have "disarm military, police, all men" on the back of the truck (just on a side he can't see), I try to figure out what distresses him most – the truth about ‘rump’ or the only other writing “Black Womyn’s Lives Matter” and “White Silence is Violence”.
Hmmmm. This is one of the biggest downfalls of highway conversation.

When I feel my way to the café, I learn Cemelli cannot meet me for lunch but I am deeply touched and honored when she invites me to attend her class at the University at 3:00pm. I eat lunch at Café Mayapan, get online to catch up with facebook and emails, then work diligently on my blog. I’m anticipating seeing the University campus and sitting in on Cemelli’s class.

On the way to the campus, I’m caught it heavy traffic and receive several smiles and waves – no overt 'rump rage. One older brown womon drives next to me smiling and watching until we stop at a light when she leans out the window and pointedly mouths ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ about 10 times. I smile broadly at her and we raise a fist in unison together as she turns off and I continue forward to the university.

I drive unquestioned through the guard shed, him giving me directions to the building I’m seeking as he gulps down soda and rushes to wipe chip crumbs off his cheek. I find an illegal I’m sure park right in front of the building. It turns out to be the biggest, tallest building on campus and I have no idea which room Cemelli is teaching in, plus my phone is working on sporadically.

After asking many folks, going to several floors, and almost giving up, I get a text with the room number – a floor I haven’t yet searched. When I get into the class, Cemelli surprises me by asking me to talk a little about my work. She speaks eloquently and earnestly about Marissa Alexander. I add a few more of the egregious details but want to impress upon these young minds that Marissa’s case is not unique, that every where we went, womyn shared similar stories. Cemelli even spoke up and shared her story.

And because we are on the Juarez/El Paso border where Indigenous and Mexican girls and womyn are being murdered daily if not hourly, both Cemelli and I talked about brown and native womyn’s lives matter also; and how saying “Native Lives Matter” or “Brown Lives Matter” is NOT a co-opting of Black Lives Matter but a part of BLM and a recognition of racism/police violence impacting people of color.

We then see a movie that is a Mayan story of creation – I’m afraid I might have talked too long because we didn’t get to finish watching it.

Cemelli walks out with me and we see numerous students taking pictures of my truck! She brings me to her car and gives me several presents. I’m ashamed I have nothing to give her, and that I forgot about this graciousness and generosity that was also given to us the last time we passed thru El Paso. I’m intending to find her something special and send it to her.

She invites me to her home, offering a place to sleep, shower, eat, rest. She has invited me to the Prophets of Rage concert that evening that she is rushing off to table at. I’m torn about attending. I’ve looked up the Y in El Paso and an organic food store for snacks – I haven’t exercised properly since I’ve been on the road and I’m out of snacks for keeping myself awake as I drive at night to beat the heat.

She gives me some Jill Stein flyers – Jill is coming to Café Mayapan on Friday! I promise her I leave some at the Y and wherever else I go in El Paso. She tells me I can hand them out at the concert for her because they are not allowed to hand them out themselves.

After she leaves I get a hold of myself. I can’t believe I’m thinking of going to the Y instead of handing out flyers – I probably can do both so I hurriedly text Cemelli and tell her I’ll be there.

John 3:16 LOVE

There are three different messages tractor trailers seems to sport on the back of their trucks. Unlike mine, these are trucks belonging to a corporation, part of a fleet of trucks, as I've seen several thus far on my journey.

The old ones - i.e. the ones I've seen in previous years - are of course the covenant trucks that have the "It's Not a Choice, It's a Baby" signs (to which I've made a counter sign to hold up: "It's Not a Choice, It's a RIGHT" ) and the other one that I'm blanking on right now, about defending america from the hordes of invaders.

I'm cautiously pleased when I see a big LOVE painted on the back of what I think is an electrical company truck. Peering closer I see John 3:16 printed in small letters above it. I'm hoping that's a "love your neighbor, do good to those who would harm you" biblical quote.

But when I look it up - thank the goddesses for google - I find out it's the god loving the world so very much he raped mary in order to bring his son to earth to be killed by humans to then be so special to be saved from death three days later.

Okay.

Oil leak....

When I leave the rest stop, I peer under my truck and see that my oil pan IS leaking, just as the speedco fellows warned my might happen.

This means another probably challenging speedco stop. I find one close to my next destination and am thrilled to see all brown Latino and Indigenous people working there, speaking Spanish, admiring my truck and asking questions about every message - even the "#SayHerName" column.

They dump my oil, can't find the proper ring so they load the plug with plumbers tape, refill my oil - which is about 12 quarts - and don't charge me a penny!!!



"Oh god no!"



My heart is breaking! I’m greeted this morning, as I step out of my camper parked for the nite in the rest area just west of Las Cruces into what used to be a beautiful, breath-taking view of the tiny city down below and the entire mesa that is now blanketed with thick gray smog and stretches as far as this hilltop vantage point reveals, I’m greeted by a beautiful young womon, black pony tail bouncing, in a tie-dye t-shirt and khaki shorts with a broad smile hurrying over to greet me and bashfully ask if she can facebook pictures of my truck.

Of course she can. We begin talking, her gushing over my truck and expressing her admiration for me and my messages. She asks me where I’m coming from and I find out she’s coming from Iowa – Marion, IA to be exact.

And where is she going to? She shyly looks down and tells me she’s in the military, headed to Texas. I’m devastated, telling her oh no, quit.

This child is sooooooo brainwashed. She tells me I don’t know but lots of people in the military agree with what I’ve written on my truck. What, DISARM the MILITARY???? She probably hasn’t seen that one.

She tells me the military has given her purpose – I say, yes to learn how to kill people. She smiles ruefully in admission but says she really wants to help people. She says it is the purpose of the military to protect the people of this country and to help people around the world.

I look at her with what I hope is a searching searing look. What? Help us how? I tell her she is going to be the ones sent out to kill and imprison people like me who are protesting. She shakes her head vigorously, visibly shocked, proclaiming that has never happened and won’t happen.

When I talk about Jackson State and Kent State, she tells me oh, that was such a long time ago…I tell her she is missing what is happening in the country right now – and she’s on the wrong side of the revolution, she’s on the side of our corporations.

She protests, telling me the military has given her a lot. I ask her to explain what has the military given her exactly, beside the skill to kill another human being. She again acknowledges that gain and adds proudly that she now is fluent in Arabic.

Arafuckinbic. I say oh so you can translate terrorist’s secrets as they’re screaming while being tortured. She giggles and says, ‘oh we don’t torture anymore’… REALLY????

Then she repeated again she can help people by translating and letting her fellow soldiers know they’re innocent. I say innocent of what? What if they want the military invaders – you – to leave their home? She says oh, we’re not allowed to kill - or torture - random people.

When I point out that we bombed Yemen yesterday killing 150 womyn, children and men, she looks sad and says she knows and that it is the fault of Saudi Arabia…

Okay.

Genesis is her name. My dialogue with her is sprinkled with my urging her to resign the military, to not allow her being to be so brainwashed and poisoned by military doctrine. To touch that part of her - that female and brown part - that knows the truth and can see the truth about the military machine.

She said she had no direction before the military gave her direction. I asked her what did she want to do with her life when she was 6 or 7? She immediately said she wanted to be a writer, a cartoonist really, dismissing the idea as ridiculous. I encourage her to revisit that, I tell her she would probably be a great cartoonist and there are a million ways – or at least 20 – to learn Arabic.

She is not a white womon, light brown, probably Hispanic I’m thinking. She confirms she’s from the Dominican Republic. I see her life now, a little miniscule brown spanish-speaking speck in Marion Iowa.

I talk more about how the military has been used – and is still being used – to shore up dictators, as Trujillo from her home, to conquer and enslave the people of her island, to divide the land mass.

She smiles pityingly but then says I’ve given her lots to think about. I ask her if she's read "In the Tiime of the Butterflies" about the Mirabel sisters. She has not heard of them nor of the book - Julia Alverez, the name comes to me as if I just read it yesterday.

I ask her if she’s registered to vote, which she is. Then I take the plunge and ask her if she’s voting for Trump.

She says, “Oh god no” and we hug.