Time to choose sides. Do we live safely in our comfort and accept what America is becoming or do we get out of our comfort zones and take a leap of faith? We’ve had very few options to really make an unequivocal statement. Until now.
Before we describe the national movement to stop the corporate takeover of America, a more modest call to act locally today. How about a 4pm rally for a worker’s rights (see below), then going to the School Board meeting to testify for middle school kids. We have to emphasize that a budget is a moral document and if you have $100K for 12 students to participate in ROTC but don’t have $100K for 300 middle school kids in an under-served community that is a problem. It appears the district is willing to consider this, but we need to stress that this is important.
Santa Fe School Board Meeting TODAY, 5:30pm, 610 Alta Vista. Advocate for a Tremendous Youth Development Program for Southside Youth. Email Action Needed Today and Participation in the Meeting tonight. For roughly the $100K that the district spends on an ROTC program serving 12 students, the district could fund a soccer-themed youth and family development program staffed by part-time college students, mostly alums of the SFPS, and trained parents of SFPS students. Kate Noble has proposed to begin with two middle school sites: El Milagro and Ortiz. The project offers weekly soccer as a draw to incentivize students and parents to participate, and then offers:
- health/wellness and art;
- parent peer-training using the Abriendo Puertas curriculum;
- monthly workshops on themes that build family strength and resiliency as well as rights, resources and responsibilities;
- leadership training for youth and parents; etc.
The program will also emphasize school attendance and positive social engagement (behavior). The idea for this last one is not to focus so much on behavior modification, but more on developing restorative practices at school. Taken together it is a great concept that would serve 300 students and their families.
We need all of you who know members of the school board to reach out and let them know that you feel that this project is a perfect way to demonstrate the district’s commitment to southside youth. Thus far, only Steve Carillo has expressed opposition to this initiative, which is odd to me as I have always thought of him as an advocate for social justice. But please reach out to board members to voice your support for this great project if you have a relationship with any of them. It would also be good to have a number of us at the School Board Meeting to express our support for the program. And it would be a good idea to write to Kate Noble and thank her for her leadership. The message to the Board is simple: If we have $100K to support ROTC, we have to be able to find the same level of resources for the most under-served students and families in Santa Fe. Click here for contact info for all school board members. This will take you five minutes and can make a difference. Our calls and emails have worked with the City Council; let’s go to bat for our youth at the School Board.
You can attend the Somos rally and then swing over to the School Board and advocate for southside youth. You forge alliances by showing up for issues that are important to our allies. Let’s show up.
Enough is enough. It is time to make an unequivocal statement, take sides with justice, and oppose tyranny. I don’t know about you, but the ongoing undignified assault to our sense of justice that has been the Trump regime leaves me often feeling impotent. Petitions, calls, emails — none seem even remotely adequate. And yet, what more can we do?
Since August when the Rev. William Barber came to ABQ, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the launch of the Poor People’s Campaign, a nationwide call for 40 days of nonviolent civil disobedience. And now it is here. Is this the beginning of something game-changing? I know one thing, petitions are not game-changing and neither are blogs.
Because of death threats against the Reverend and reasonable concern for making public the details for plans for actions that could well lead to arrests, the campaign is being very vague even two weeks from the first nonviolent action on May 14. So we don’t know what we have signed up for, but Roxanne and I are in. We will attend the May 5 training and we will attend the second training just prior to the first action. And while I don’t know what “putting our bodies upon the wheels” will involve or what will be asked of us on May 14, it is time and we are in.
I recently read a passage from Chris Hedges that concluded by saying that there are times when you simply must choose sides, and then “I feel this twinge of euphoria in my stomach, this utter certainty that the impossible is possible and that the mighty can fall.” For months, we have suffered the indignity of deporting our brothers and sisters, we’ve watched our planet raped, we’ve been utterly and totally embarrassed by the direction of our nation, and because there were very few options for actions, aside from a march here and there, we’ve been standing on the sidelines, watching the unwatchable.
But now there is an alternative, a way to say no, to shout NO! It is very difficult to “sign up” when you don’t know what that means, but I ask you to consider how far our country has fallen and how dangerous these times are becoming. I feel like the frog in the slowly warming water and I am saying today, ENOUGH. I am ready to jump. I don’t know where, but jump. A leap of faith for justice, for a future, for our kids. I want them to know that we didn’t roll over; we did all we could, we cared enough to risk some of ourselves.
My hope is that across the country on May 14, thousands and thousands of people will get out of their comfort zones and say: ENOUGH. We just can’t abide this any more. It must stop. When the next action is called, I am hoping our numbers will multiply, our courage increase, our commitment grow stronger, and that others watching what we did on TV will get out of their chairs and join us, and that May 14 is the first step in something transformative.
So I am asking all of you to do this. Call a friend or turn to your partner and talk about joining us. Talk about what you are willing to do. And then please email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP and be notified of the location of the May 5, 11am-3pm training. Find out more about the campaign at https://www.poorpeoplescampaign.org. From Daring Democracy: “Civil courage, once experienced, changes how we see ourselves. We start thinking, ‘Well, if I could do one thing I didn’t think I could, maybe I can take the next seemingly impossible step.'” The times call for courage, they call for impossible steps.
I have no idea how many there will be on May 5, but however many there are, Roxanne and I will be proud to be there with you. It is time. Way past time. This one is for you Joanna, Josh and Jesse. We are doing this for you.
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Personal & Collective Action