Black clad demonstrators with "NO HATE" signs

Can you be Buddhist and antifa at the same time?

Haven’t processed all of this yet, but this is a great exploration of antifa from a Buddhist perspective. Please read if like me you are troubled by both violence and nazis. Buddhists and the Bloc: An Open Thread On Antifa On perceptions: I also want to think about this on a “Buddhist” level. What do …

Continue reading "Can you be Buddhist and antifa at the same time?"
Children leaving the Lodz ghetto for the death camp at Chelmno

The price of collaboration

From visiting the wonderful Dutch Resistance Museum many years ago, I knew about the “Judenrat,” councils of Jewish leaders that Nazis used to facilitate the implementation of their own annihilation. Although I’m Jewish and believe it’s important to remember the Holocaust, I never really spent that much time learning the political history. I foolishly thought that “never …

Continue reading "The price of collaboration"
Silent Sam, 1913

Silent Sam must go

I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1993. Even then we questioned why any soldier, not to mention one abstracted from a war that divided the country in an effort to preserve the horrible institution of slavery, should be in such a position of honor for all to see. The purpose of Confederate …

Continue reading "Silent Sam must go"
During University Day 1976, students protested the reallocation of Upendo Lounge in Chase Hall. (The Daily Tar Heel, October 13, 1976.)

Student activism is UNC

I’ve been enjoying this excellent UNC History site with an interactive timeline of the successful student activism that led to the creation of the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History that we know and love today. Don’t let Carol Folt or anyone else tell you activism is anathema to The University of …

Continue reading "Student activism is UNC"
An African American woman with her fist in the air looks a white man giving a Nazi salute

What happened in Durham

Like many people, a week ago I was feeling pretty down about the state of racial justice and just basic humanity in the United States. But then something happened.

In response to the hate and violence displayed in Charlottesville, hundreds of Durhamites came together for a huge vigil on Sunday night. Many friends of mine posted pictures and powerful testimonials to the collective love they felt gathered together.

But I also noticed that some activists had less satisfied responses, including frustration that the mostly-white event marginalized voices of color and those with more radical tactics. Much of that frustration fed into the Monday demonstration, which had already been planned to take place in front of Durham’s old courthouse, where there was a confederate monument with an inscription to “the boys who wore gray.”

Many times I have passed that statue and wondered what on earth it was doing there. Until last year, I really didn’t realize how pervasive these were and what drove their creation.

Continue reading "What happened in Durham"
Detail if gerrymandered NC house districts by districks

Speak up now to restore democracy in North Carolina

If you live in a “swing state” like North Carolina or Texas, or have more than a passing interest in democracy, you are probably aware of how severely Republicans have gerrymandered state and federal electoral districts. Rather than voters being able to pick our representatives, they have drawn lines to pick the voters they want, and packed the rest of us into as few districts as possible. It’s been remarkably effective and has led to passing legislation like HB2 with total impunity since the GOP leaders know their majority can’t be threatened with the current districts, even though our state actually has way more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Don’t believe it? I just looked up the latest stats from the state board of elections, and as of 7/29/17 we had 39% Democrats, 30% Republicans, 30% unaffiliated, and less than 1% Libertarian. (Unaffiliated has been growing rapidly, for good reason. Don’t make the mistake of assuming these are centrist voters.) Meanwhile our NC senate is 68% Republican and our house representatives are 62% Republican.

You might also know that The Supreme Court found that NC’s districts are racially gerrymandered and told the state legislature to redraw them and hold a special election ASAP. I was skeptical that Republicans wouldn’t just redraw them in a way that ensured their majorities but didn’t follow racial lines as closely. But in fact, they haven’t even done that. They have been filing appeals and dragging their feet, as explained in the timeline in this very helpful article by NC Policy Watch, “Republicans silent in wake of court order to draw new maps in one month”.

So the NC house and senate redistricting committees are now taking comments online, and they are meeting tomorrow so it’s a great time to let them know that you value representative democracy.

Continue reading "Speak up now to restore democracy in North Carolina"
Cassandra at the peak of her insanity.

It’s time for SOLIDARITY, not SURPRISE

I keep coming back to the feeling of being Cassandra – cursed to know the future and never be believed. Of course she went insane. I am trying not to follow that path by doing what I can: take care of my physical and mental health, take care of my child, teach him about the real world but also help him grow up to be a happy, healthy, and responsible person, stock up on emergency supplies, and build solidarity with friends and family that we are going to need when The Crisis hits.

No matter what, we are living in some of the ugliest times of this nation and it’s almost certain to get much much worse before it gets better. I implore anyone who cares to take care of yourselves, but don’t turn away from the difficulty and suffering. Stay connected to each other, don’t allow authoritarians to isolate us at home, at work, in our community, or in politics. We need each other more than ever.

Continue reading "It’s time for SOLIDARITY, not SURPRISE"

Don’t count on impeachment

I see a lot of people celebrating already because they think impeachment is imminent. It’s really not. More importantly, I don’t want people to think impeachment would (will?) save us. It’s a continuation of people who keep thinking this can’t happen here or that somehow the Democrats or courts are going to stop it. They’re …

Continue reading "Don’t count on impeachment"
DrupalCon 2016 group photo - I'm in there somewhere

This beautiful mess we’ve made – the Drupal situation

Last month, a wedge was driven into our community when a long-time contributor was asked to step down from his leadership position, and it is shining a harsh spotlight into problems that have been lingering unaddressed for years. (And we landed on the radar of alt-right trolls including Breitbart!) I hope that one good thing that can come out of this mess is that we are able to look at what didn’t work here and figure out structures that serve both the software and community better. If we have to shut down a few entitled bros along the way, so be it.

Continue reading "This beautiful mess we’ve made – the Drupal situation"