(Painting by Melissa Mcconnell)
On Tuesday, my day started with dread as I checked my phone to see who won the election. I want to Instagram, because that is my news source. That is where I go for heart-based original thoughts and musings, and up-to-date information filtered to people I trust and respect.
The first thing I saw was a photo of one of those ‘I Voted’ stickers that was photoshopped to say ‘I Vomited’ and I felt the chunks rise in my throat. I scrolled down past heartbreak emojis and photos of my friends with tears rolling down their cheeks. It was obvious what had happened.
I dropped my phone and sobbed. Full body sobbed. I stood up and went to the most shatterable window in my home ready to punch it out but my mom brain stopped me. ‘Set an example.’
How are we going to raise our daughters in this mess??
My kids woke up to me crying and Jonny solemnly making pancakes. Paul McCartney played in the background, but his songs sounded dark. We walked to school hand in hand crying. I kept saying ‘Now we get to stand together.’ Inside I was saying to myself “FUCK the ELECTORAL COLLEGE. Again. Fuck the man. “
I regretted not posting that political rant the day before, about how I’m With Her, but Her being the planet earth because I was so sickened by our lack of actual options for a leader who is going to steward the earth that sustains us first and foremost. I voted for Jill Stein, I’m not gonna lie. I went with the radical vision of earth healing, And I did it because I refused to play the fear game.
Over the course of the day, I regained my strength. I kept getting closer to ‘This is what we have been waiting for. A true reason to stand together.’ What was it going to take, otherwise? We are due for a trip way the fuck out of our comfort zone, to remember that creating change takes hard work and we are the ones for the job.
By the time I picked the kids up that afternoon, I felt centered. I felt relieved. I have waited my whole life to get to this place, where we all get to work together and stand up for what we believe. We have raised our kids since infancy to be radical outside the box thinkers and to give a shit and to see themselves as a participating thread in the great web.
This is a call to action, a call to love, and a call to think outside of the system in a really big way.
As I walked around Greenlake this morning, I noticed the geese. They were posse-ing up, as they do every fall, when the leaves are mostly off the trees and the ground smells like the sweet decay of maple and oak. Flying in v’s, many different families in formation, they circled the lake, coming in for a landing. With a graceful skim across the water, they met together in the center.
I could hear them approaching from all directions, talking to each other, signaling that the time had come to prepare for the great migration.
Geese, to me, have always represented the importance of community, all-for-one-ness, common vision, and action rooted in the heart. Geese know instinctually when to come together. They know when it is time to take action. Each, in turn serves as a leader of the great movement.
Thank you to the Geese for teaching these lessons.
Today, I am writing my feelings in response to the political reality in our country. I have written many political rants lately, but I just can’t seem to bring myself to share them.
Today, instead of a rant, I am sharing a prayer followed by some thoughts from the deep core of my heart on love, fear and taking action.
May We All Stand Together in Love.
To our family who fights to save our planet.
To our sisters who fight for civil rights.
For our brothers who fight for freedom of expression.
For our mothers who fight for women’s rights and women’s power. For our fathers who fight to defend our country. For our grandmothers who fight for the right to vote. For our grandfathers who fight for the land that raised them. For our children who fight for fairness on the playground, seeking justice and loving kindness. For those who fight for safe haven within our borders. For those who fight for safety in their own bodies. For those who fight for the dignity of the the four legged ones, the winged ones, the ones with scales and cold blood. For all of those who have fought hard for something life-giving, who have laid the groundwork for a better future for all……. May we stand together to recognize a common vision. May we offer support and connection, a shoulder to cry on and a wing to fly on. May we appreciate the bottom lines that define us. May we all Stand Together in Love.
Love and Fear
Recently, I heard put into words something important that I have always sensed deep within myself. Fear is the opposite of Love. We are raised learning that hate is the opposite of love. But at the root of hate is fear. And at the root of fear is losing what we love. So we are back at the beginning, at love.
My biggest fear, I will share. This is a fear that I have carried since childhood, and watched slowly manifest. I have been paralyzed in slow, deep grief by this fear and only recently found a part of me that is ready to look deeply into it, find the source of love, and take action in a bigger way.
My fear, I write with tears, is that the rivers that I grew up swimming in will run black with filth. And we will lose access to clean water. That our plant allies and food sources will whither away on the land in drought. And we will starve. That the ground beneath us will crack open and no longer sustain life. And we will lose our footing. That the animals will die, and we will lose our species. That the wind will blow poison and we will suffocate. That the oceans will fill with toxic waste and we will lose our balance. That the earth we walk, the air we breath, and the water we drink will no longer hold us in safety and reciprocity. The great web will unravel beyond repair. And this is all under the heartbroken gazes of our children who would have done things so much differently had they inherited the planet before it was too late.
Underneath this huge paralyzing fear is the fiercest, most primal love of this earth that has raised and sustained me, taught me lessons, and showed me the power of mutual respect, forgiveness, unconditional love, and reciprocity. This love source is where I access my hope and action.
Love connects us. Love is the web that we are all woven into. Love drives us to protect, honor, respect, and take personal responsibility. When we, with our love, raise kids who love, we raise kids who care enough to stand to defend that love.
Fear and love are like fires. We can feed them and watch them grow. We can run from them because they are too hot. Or, we can learn to recognize them, understand them, look them squarely in the flame, and walk straight into them.
To take effective action we must use the fear we have to understand and fuel the radical love that we feel beneath it. How do we do this? We have to identify our fears, look at them closely. Speak them to the wind, speak them to each other, let ourselves be vulnerable by expressing and owning them. Find the root of them. We are afraid of losing something that we love and depend on. What is that thing we fear losing? Where is the source of love? How can we standup to defend those things we are afraid of losing, taking radical action towards love instead of hiding, frozen, behind our fear?
Owning fears requires a deep understanding of them followed by clear articulation of them to channel them back to love. This takes work carried out within a trusted community. It is within our reach. It is absolutely necessary to do this work. We see it more clearly now than before.We need to access that radical love that is at the root of our deepest fears. Cultivating this love is what will inspire right action.
How do we know when it is our time to take action? This is a question that I ask myself often. I feel called to be at Standing Rock, to be in a Kayak protesting big oil, to be chaining myself to trees, I feel called to walk alongside my sisters of color in Black Lives Matter protests, I feel called to host refugees, to adopt children who need homes. I feel called to quit my life as I know it every day and to be of service wherever I can.
I cannot do all of these things, I cannot save this world singlehandedly. So where do I begin?
When we love something enough to stand up for it, we will take action. Understanding the cycle of fear and cultivating the deep love at the root of it is the path to action.
To do this, we need to get out of our comfort zone and walk straight into the fire. The good news is, we have just been collectively forced out of our comfort zone by witnessing our country’s true colors which are a reflection of the cycle of our collective fear. We are here together now! Let’s break the cycle!
What are we going to DO?
While we work personally on understanding and breaking the fear cycle, here are some ways that we can take action towards a cause.
- Throw money at it. Choose your cause and donate. Donating money to those who stand on the front lines of an effort is a great way to help when you can’t be there in person. Do some recon to find out how to get money into the hands of those who need it on the ground. Legal defense, supplies, food, health care, shelter. Spend the time looking into it, and send money. Every bit helps. While you are at it, sign as many petitions and make as many phone calls as you can to politicians who hold thereigns.
- Share it….Consciously! Make sure that you are sharing your thoughts and views in real time with real people. Sharing articles via social media may be perpetuating big media outlets that pump out fear because it moves faster than love in the digital world. Be conscious of the source of your information and whom you want to promote, remembering that our media machine created a massive monster. How about this instead?……Share the work and words of grassroots efforts you see blooming around you. Go to the authentic source.
- Show up ready to do the work and help where you are needed. Commit to selfless work on site of a protest, event, or sit in. Be prepared to take direction and to get your hands dirty. Get some friends on board to join you.
- Organized an event to raise money and awareness. It can be as simple as gathering your friends and neighbors for a discussion and potluck at your house with an intention to help a cause. Charge 10$ a head to donate. Discuss effective solutions. Conspire together and imagine a beautiful outcome.
- Talk to your kids and your friends’ kids about personal responsibility. Help them to understand that they are an important part of the web and that their voice and their action is a necessary gift to this world. Show them examples of direct action. Help them understand that they are going to need to work hard to make things better and that we are all in this together.
- See something? Do something! Use your critical thinking skills, your heart, and your creativity to rally around a cause that you feel needs awareness brought to it. We need your input and your action!
- Use your art to express your feelings and create beauty. Make art with the intention of positive change. Give it away as a gift. Share it with the world.
- Stop spinning your wheels. Take stock of the parts of your life that are not in alignment with your core values. These things are a distraction from your truth and a drain of your energy. We need all the energy and ingenuity we can muster to be working in the right direction. The blinders are off. We see it is now or never. Work smarter.
- Push yourself. Where before you may have had heated discussions and felt anger and despair around a cause, push it to the next level and take immediate action. The time is now.
- Do some research on how to support a particular cause. Go straight to the source if possible to get the true story of what supplies/support is needed. Then, reach out to the companies and people you love. Ask them to help you support the cause. Be relentless. Be honest. Speak from the heart. Call every contact number you can, send emails to PR departments, ‘contact us’ forms, tell them who you are, what you are organizing, and ask for what you need. Money, food, sleeping bags, wool blankets, notepads and pencils. People want to give and not everyone is carving out time to organize.
A Very Worthy Cause
A Potent Example of Grassroots Action: My friend Alix Brown decided she wants to support the First Nations People who stand to protect the land and water at Standing Rock. She found a venue to host a fundraising event, and invited all her friends to come and help her raise money to donate to the cause. She made contact with three people who are on the ground at Standing Rock who let her know what is needed and not needed, and who to get in contact with upon arrival, to deliver cash to the hands of the tribal elders.
Alix is both passionate about the cause and sensitive to the realities of the situation.
….I am going because I have the ability. I have that ability because I am a white privileged female. Because of that, my respect and understanding of what my skin tone means in this setting will be paramount. My goal is not to save or rescue the First Nations People on the front lines. My goal is to respect, protect, nurture, and support.
She reached out to companies that she respects to help sponsor the trip and donate things like sub-zero sleeping bags, propane, cell phone chargers, and quality snow gear.
She leaves LA on Friday the 18th, driving out in a large vehicle packed with useful gear and firewood, which she considers an elemental gift from the earth towards a very worthy cause…..Keeping the fire burning for all.
‘Today was the first signs of snow at Standing Rock. It was so foggy in the morning that the tops of the tipis were obscured from vision, and the grass crunched beneath the feet of the men and women up at 5 am, checking on their brothers and sisters and rallying the day awake.
In a weeks time, I will present the people of Standing Rock with our contribution. We will bring Love, Gear, and Fire.’
And a large cash contribution, straight to the hands of the Tribal Elders.
This sort of direct support and action is what we need to be contributing to, and spearheading. Please take the time today to give to the cause of Warmth and Fire at Standing Rock by sending your donation to tostandwithstandingrock via Venmo.
((Photo Filthandbeauty for Be The Fair)
Let this inspire you, and in the meantime while your find your fire and your cause, keep working to break the fear cycle, cultivate love, and inspire other people to do the same. This will create a strong heart-centered community- flock so that when the moment comes for a Great Movement, we are ready to fly in formation.
More Causes to Support
Thanks to Jezebel and many friends who helped build this list.
Environmental /Plant/ Planet Activism:
For the Wild works to preserve our natural communities through land conservation via direct action and story telling straight from the source. Donate here.
Earth Activist Training teaches and empowers community based, earth centered tactical action through organizing and the lessons of permaculture. Donate here, Get involved here.
The Free Herbalism Project works to make sure that our herbal allies and medicines are protected by teaching sustainable growing and harvesting techniques. Get involved and learn more here.
The Union of Concerned Scientists works to create solutions to the planet’s most pressing scientific problems through research, advocacy, and policy. Donate here.
The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the county, and works to protect millions of acres of wilderness and pass legislation like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Click here for ways to give.
EarthJustice is the largest nonprofit environmental law organization in the country, working to protect wildlife, for healthy communities, and for cleaner energy options. The organization represents its clients free of charge. Donate here, and sign up for action alerts here.
Gender Equality and Lgbtq Rights
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project provides legal services specifically to low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. Click here to donate, and click here for to volunteer.
Lambda Legal is a national legal organization dedicated to fighting for the civil rights of the LGBT population and people with HIV through litigation, education, and policy work. Donate here.
The Mazzoni Center offers healthcare services to LGBTQ population in Philadelphia, including trans clinical care services, walk-in HIV and STI testing, primary care, and addiction and recovery services. Donate here and find information about volunteer opportunities here.
Circle of Health Maternal Care offers international health care and support to women, children and babies, working closely with communities to identify needs and solution. Get involved and donate here.
The Reproductive Health Access Project is a non-profit that trains clinicians to make quality reproductive healthcare more accessible. Click here to donate.
The Center for Reproductive Rights is the world’s foremost legal advocate for securing women’s access to quality reproductive health care. Donate here.
Planned Parenthood is the country’s leading sexual and reproductive healthcare provider. Click here for nationwide volunteer opportunities (including as a clinic escort) and click here to donate. Local chapters also list more extensive volunteer opportunities, so take a look at your specific chapter (here’s New York’s page) for more.
Violence against Women
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) advocates for victims and attempts to change policy surrounding domestic violence. Click here to donate.
The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault lists a number of ongoing volunteer opportunities in childcare, community training, rape crisis counseling, and legal advocacy here.
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) is the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, which operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE; online.rainn.org; rainn.org/es) and programs to help victims of sexual violence. Click here for information about how to volunteer for the hotline or in your community, and click hereto donate.
National Organization for Women (NOW) is an activist organization, foundation and PAC that advocates for equal rights for women. Donate here, and look for volunteer programs, like clinic escorting, on your local chapter’s page.
The National Women’s Law Center has worked for over 40 years to enact policies and laws on behalf of women and families. Donate here.
Black Lives Matter advocates for dignity, justice and respect within the black community. Get involved and donate here.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund fights for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and education. Donate and learn about ways to get involved here.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)works to promote the civil rights of people of color and to eliminate race-based discrimination. Donate here, and find your local chapter for more ways to get involved here.
Art and Social Action
Blue Heart Action funds local organizations and grassroots social action by partnering with artists who create from within the movement. Find out more here.
Childrens Welfare and Support
Running Start is another organization dedicated to educating young women and girls about the importance of politics, through the Young Women’s Political Leadership Program and various other fellowships and internships. Donate here.
The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights works to protect the best interests of children who come to the U.S. on their own. Donate here or learn about how you can volunteer as a Child Advocate in Chicago, New York, Houston, and Washington D.C. here.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America offers enrichment programs and support for children when they’re not in school. Donate and learn about ways to volunteer here.
The Southern Poverty Law Center fights hate groups and bigotry using education, litigation, and advocacy. Donate here.
The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, it fights against anti-semitism and bigotry as one of the largest civil rights organizations in the country. Find your local affiliate here and donate here.
Amnesty/ Immigration and Refugee Support
Border Angels is an all-volunteer non-profit that advocates for immigration reform and social justice focusing on the U.S.-Mexico border. It offers educational and awareness programs and migrant outreach programs to San Diego County’s immigrant population. Donate here.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) is an advocacy and organizing group focusing on achieving human, civil, and labor rights for immigrants. Donate here.
The National Immigration Law Center is dedicated to fighting for the rights of low-income immigrants through litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, and various other methods. Donate or learn how you can attend a local training here.
The National Immigration Forum is another leading immigrant advocacy group that offers various programs to integrate immigrants into the workforce and obtain citizenship. Donate here.
First People’s Empowerment
Standing Rock’s Sacred Stone Camp offers information from the ground at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation where our nations First People have come together to defend their sacred land and water. This is both an issue of indigiounous rights and the Environment. Get involved here, and donate here.
The Native American Rights Fund provides legal assistance to Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals nationwide who may otherwise go without adequate representation. Donate here.
Civil Liberties and Human Rights
The American Civil Liberties Union works to defend individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. Donate here.
Freedom of the Press/ Expression
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press offers legal resources, support and advocacy to reporters to protect the First Amendment and freedom of information rights. Donate here.
PEN America works to protect free and open expression in the United States and across the world through literature and writing. Donate here.
Rights for the Alter-Abled
The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) is a national civil rights law and policy center devoted to advancing the rights of people with disabilities through advocacy, training, education, and public policy. Donate here.
The magic of this time on the planet is that we are being challenged to face our fears and take matters into our own hands. This fosters a potent opportunity to reimagine and recreate the future. Thankfully, we get to do this work together! Ready to take flight?
Please Share. I Love You,
Roxie Jane Hunt.