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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. 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 we want all to thrive in

Friday, December 21, 2018

A fucked up beginning

There are several groups operating at both sides of the border providing services and support for refugees, amazing awesome local Latina and indigenous-led groups who have been working here on the border, some for years, others for decades. 

Sanctuary Caravan is a new group project of the New Sanctuary Coalition that was launched this past Wednesday in response to the latest caravan crises. I will be beginning with them, as they are most likely the least busy, and even though they are a faith-based group, they claim to be open and welcoming to all.

I focus this morning on cleaning up then making my coffee and breakfast before heading out of the truck and into the fellowship hall where several rows of chairs are formed in a semi-circle facing a large tv screen and white blackboard.

I get inside just by 8:00am and take a seat in the front row close to the screen as I’ve left my glasses in the truck. Several participants lean in to tell me as soon as they saw my truck they knew they were in the right place!
After hanging out for a half hour, anticipating the beginning of the workshop, the organizers announce that we’re not going to start until 9am – that this time is for schmoozing (my word) and getting acquainted with each other.

Grrrrrrr – I could have slept a little longer.

When the program finally begins, it is really interesting and informative, combining group participation interspersed among lecturing and slides - an orientation I recommend everyone coming to work across the border avail themselves of, whether it is the group you will be working once you enter Mexico or not.

Before the clock strikes 10a.m. though, Phillip approaches me, puppy dog please-forgive-me eyes as he requests to talk with me for a minute.

I’m thinking he must need me to do something – and he does. He needs me to move my truck out of the fuckin parking lot.

I’m kinda incredulous as I explain I verified permission to park there at least twice, sent pictures of my truck  and was told there was no problem with me parking overnight let alone in the middle of the day.

Phillip insists he is terribly sorry about this but someone has complained to the church and the church has a very diverse congregation so the minister who runs sanctuary and has been working so very hard, doesn’t want to offend anyone or cause waves within the church.

I’m almost speechless as he pulls out his cell phone where he has a map of the neighborhood telling me he’ll give me a ride back from whatever dark corner I decide I want to park my truck in.

I ask to speak with whomever has the issue and am told I can do that later but now the truck has to be moved.

I point out that this is discrimination: first of all, I can’t imagine what on my truck is bothering anyone. I’ve painted over the “Smash Fuckin Patriarchy” and the “Death to Racism” plus the “End the White & Male War against Black, Brown, Native, Muslim Asian People; Immigrants, Womxxn, Mother Earth” – some of the missives people have been ‘offended’ by.

When I ask Phillip to tell me who and exactly what someone finds offensive. He shrugs with his wide-eyed jesus smile placating smile claiming he doesn’t know and what a good thing to try to find out.

I’m pissed but we are here for a very specific purpose. It is the beginning of the training and I don’t want to miss it but I do want to deal with this.

I tell Phillip again this is discrimination: here the leadership of the sanctuary has an opportunity to practice and role model how to deal with discrimination. “Do No Harm” is one of their guiding principles and here they are allowing someone to do harm.

I move my truck off church property into a neighborhood adjacent to the building – but it’s still a long walk, especially for someone who has broken a toe, to return to the orientation.


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