Our hearts are feeling heavy this week. With the senseless deaths of Nabra Hassanen and Charleena Lyles, the Philando Castile verdict, and the secret, not-so secret lies of the Senate as they try to squeeze through Trumpcare. And we're mad as hell, really. We're not alone in that. (See Shortcut). Thankfully we have the brilliant words of peacemaker and professor, Najeeba Sayeed, on communal grief and the opportunity to celebrate Juneteenth and World Refugee Day. We're also activating around healthcare and justice and listening to a Senate-approved playlist. Take good care of yourself this week.
Once again, we find ourselves heartbroken in the face of senseless violence on our communities due to guns and hate. When is enough going to be enough? As we remember the great loss in Orlando and confront the shock and heartbreak of today's mass shootings in VA and SF, we’re reminded of the urgency of our commitment to the safety and wellbeing of one another. We turn to the words that remind us that love is love is love is love. And we take action. Because the time is always NOW to #disarmhate and end violence.
This has been a tough week in peace, love and justice. From the injustice of Betty Shelby’s acquittal to the horrific Manchester attack to an egregious budget proposal that leaves the most vulnerable behind — we have our work cut out for us. But we are ready…thanks to a practice of clear seeing and courageous conversations about race, allyship and collective wellbeing. Shout out to our friends at Safety Pin Box for leading the way in solidarity and liberation. Together, we really are better.
At CTZNWELL, we strive for heart-centered activism. Love is our bottom line, and we know that how we make change is just as important as progress itself. We look to leaders like Valarie Kaur and the Revolutionary Love Project as examples of how we can practice and take action from love and solidarity, and not our own limiting beliefs or fears.
This Valentines' Day, we're joining Valarie -- plus angel Kyodo williams, Seane Corn, Eve Ensler, Dr. William Barber, Van Jones, Linda Sarsour, and MANY, many other leaders! -- in claiming February 14th as a Day of Revolutionary Love.
"We declare our love for all who are in harm’s way...."
"We declare love even for our opponents...."
"We declare love for ourselves...."
Sign the declaration with us at www.revolutionarylove.net, and share with your community.
Most importantly, consider taking some or even all of the loving actions. The templates make it easy.
"Love is not just a feeling but an action. Love is the commitment to extend our will for the flourishing of others, opponents, and ourselves. When we love even in the face of fear and rage, we can transform a relationship, a culture, and a country. Love becomes revolutionary. The way we make change is just as important as the change we make. In this dangerous new era, Revolutionary Love is the call of our times." Valarie puts is so beautifully, doesn't she?
In love, solidarity, and action,
Tonight, the United States Senate confirmed Senator Sessions of Alabama as Attorney General. Of course, this is one day after Vice President Pence exercised his constitutional duty and broke a 50-50 tie to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
And last night, we watched as Republican Majority leadership silenced Senator Warren as she read a 1986 letter by Coretta Scott King on why Sen. Sessions is unfit to serve at the Department of Justice.
For those with privilege, there might be a creeping a sense of fatigue and numbness closing in, threatening to shield us from the indignant anger and grief that we need to experience in order to move in solidarity for the wellbeing of all of us. Now is not the time to hold back on our practice.
Our elected representatives, particularly our U.S. Senators, have an enormous amount of power. What we're witnessing (and what's actually been happening for decades right in front of us) is a breakdown in accountability between elected official and constituent. On Sunday, we explained why accountability is a two-way street, and how we can claim our power by raising our voices not just at the polls, but on the phone, in the mail, and on the Capitol steps.
How do we keep working that power for the long run? Simple: 1. together and 2. with a lot of care.
If you're a rookie at constituent power, ask a friend who's in the loop about the best ways to get involved. Try new ways of engaging, meet new people, and notice what works for you. Someone who hates phone calls might be a letter-writing wiz. Or perhaps you show up to your officials' district and home state offices to get to know the staff. Plus, it just takes a few clicks to learn more about the people who represent you.
One step at a time, we're moving forward together. Stay with it. We're with you.
When we fight a system of separation and division, our greatest weapon isn't unity. It's relationship.
At CTZNWELL we talk a lot about this relational approach to social change - that is, how we seek to understand one another so that we can move towards a society that takes care of all its parts. That's because we understand that the breakdown of our communities and social fabric has been a primary factor in the civic engagement crisis that (at least partially) got us into this mess.
But relationships, like our practice of "citizenship," take commitment, and not just every four years. Relationships need accountability. A friend and teacher once referred to holding one another accountable as "the way we demonstrate that our word and our work matters."
This moment matters. Now more than ever, we must extend this relational accountability to our elected officials. Our representatives are making big decisions, right now, that directly impact all of us and the future of this country. To hold politicians accountable, WE must be accountable as CTZNs and make our voices heard.
Former Rep. Steve Israel gave us the inside scoop on how to get your legislators' attention here. We're also loving Daily Action as a practice and resource for making an impact. And have you downloaded Countable yet? These are just a few ways to get started.
How are you bringing your CTZN practice into your relationships -- family, friends, community, legislators, and beyond? What tools are you using that you can share? Let us know in the comments. This is a space where we can support one another for the long haul.
People keep asking me what can they do. Folks are fired up. People want to be engaged. We don't have time to ask each other where you were before because this moment calls for EVERYONE. Our communities are in imminent danger - more than they ever have been before.
Not everyone is a full-time activist but everyone can DO SOMETHING. Here are some tangible things you can do:
1. Go meet your neighbors. We can't protect one another if we don't know one another. Do you know who your neighbors are? Who lives two houses down or down the hall from you? Knock on a door, say hello, introduce yourself and say if you ever need anything I am around. You can alleviate someone's fear and anxiety by doing this. It's simple and necessary.
2. Do you know who your city council member is? US Senator, Congressmember, State Representatives, Mayor, Governor? If not, get to it. Save their names and office phone numbers on your phone so you can easily get in touch with them to voice concerns or to thank them when they do the right thing. Elected officials work for YOU, make sure you remind them often.
3. Donate to an organization in your local area that is committed to organizing and building power and/or provides services to directly impacted communities. You can also donate to national organizations of your choice that align with your principles and values and are doing critical work at this time. $20 bucks even goes a long way. Support local organizers - check in on them if you know them.
4. SHOW UP. When you hear of a local direct action try your best to make it or at least promote and ask others to attend. Visibility is important. We cannot be silent in the face of injustice and abuse of power.
5. Share important articles and posts that are informative and accurate. Use your social media platform as a way to educate others about what is happening and sharing action items they can do. If an article doesn't sit well with you, it may not be true - try to verify before posting misinformation and creating confusion.
6. Try to stay positive - especially in front of the kids. I am not saying we should lie to them about the reality but explaining what is happening by following up with actions and solutions and/or stories of people resisting makes for better conversation. Love the kids. Encourage and motivate each other!
7. Take care of yourself. News is overwhelming. Remember to drink water and to eat. Try to find a few minutes a day to read a few pages of a book, laugh with some friends, converse with your spouse/partner, kids or nieces and nephews - basically something that brings you a lil bit of joy to remind us of what we are grateful for. We have to sustain our sanity - this is a long journey.
That's all for now folks. Stay engaged. Stay informed. Stay sane.
Oh...and WATCH THIS.
The first seven days of this new administration has sent a clear message that they mean business and this is gonna be the fight of our lives. No doubt, this next week is going to bring another round of chaos and change. How we respond is going to define who we are as a community and country.
And while it is tempting to "stay in the light", think happy thoughts and post positive mantras, Rev angel Kyodo williams is calling us to go deeper.
In the light of an egregious, inhumane and un-American policies of this administration, we are gonna have to take risks, make sacrifices and put it all on the line to protect our fellow brothers and sisters. No amount of meditation and good intentions is enough to meet this moment. This is about solidarity in action.
We are gonna need to dig deep and get radical now. Radical in the way that Rev angel talks about it - FAR REACHING AND THOROUGH. It calls us to go beyond and get radical now - in our practice, in our relationships and in our action.
After all, "Justice is what love looks like in public" (Cornell Brooks). Check it out.
It just keeps coming. But this is perhaps the most egregious, inhumane and un-American action by the President thus far.
What does it mean?
It means refugees being turned away. It means families being torn apart. It means suspicion, interrogation, detention and worse.
This is the moment of truth for our community. Especially for those of us who have the least to lose.
What will you put on the line for the safety and wellbeing of our friends and neighbors?
It's more important now than ever to put our hearts and bodies on the line. When they come after our communities, they come after all of us. No one is free unless everyone is free.
So let's show up.
Here's a helpful guide from THE NATION on how to fight Trump's racist immigration policies.:
1. CALL your elected officials including your president. 5calls.org is a good resource.
2. LEARN more about what's at stake. This is a good article to reference.
3. ELEVATE helpful programs like IDNYC.
5. SIGN petitions like this one.
6. SHOW UP for rallies like the ones happening at airports around the country.
Finally...shout, resist, cry, march, donate, love hard, hold one another and pray. This is gonna be a long haul.
In the urgency of now (and make no mistake, it IS urgent) it can become easy to grasp and reach and fling ourselves at whatever is in front of us. Because all of us are yearning to take action in this moment; to find purpose in an unimaginable time. And we should try new things - call your representatives, sign petitions, attend a protest. But actions out in the world don't go very far if we are not taking responsibility and transforming what is closest to us.
Yesterday, it was announced that Travis Kalanick, CEO of UBER, was joining President Trump's economic advisory team. This is not the first time UBER has done something questionable - they have been gauging drivers, denying healthcare, hoarding profits and undermining unions for years. No, it is no surprise that Silicon Valley is moving into the White House.
But as I was riding in my UBER from LAX, I was confronted with my own choices. How might my lifestyle be contributing to the problem? I am straight up addicted to car services. I work hard, move fast and live fully, so getting around with ease and convenience feels like a major asset. But when you multiply my "addiction" by everyone else in the US who is using UBER (approximately 21% of android devices), you can see how not only are we contribution to the problem, we ARE the problem.
The resistance is not just calling us to take action, its calling us to take inventory - of how we live our lives and the implications of our choices. And it's good timing, tonight's New Moon is inviting us to check our privilege:
We the people can come to understand that our point of privilege is also our point of entry. Our invitation into inquiry. It is the place from which we can get curious instead of frozen in shame. It is the point where we can volunteer ourselves to receive an education instead of becoming more defended in ignorance. It is the point at which we can reach deep down and liberate ourselves from the complacency that privilege produces so that we can access the energy that is available when we choose real freedom over a false sense of importance. --Chani Nicolas.
You might find that making these decisions feel harder than picking up the phone and dialing your local congressman. For me, quitting UBER is like quitting coffee (I am NOT quitting coffee by the way...don't even). But imagine the message we would send if we chose together - we cannot and will not be bought by privilege and convenience and our #resistance is full on.
So your radical action for today? Delete Uber. And let's get real about changing making from the inside out.
I woke up this morning feeling overwhelmed.
And I know I’m not alone in that. After an impassioned march of millions around the country demanding love and justice, the actions of this administration have felt like a slap in the face.
There is no doubt, this president is going to be swift and harsh in executing his agenda and fulfilling on his “Contract with the American Voter”. In the last few days, President Trump's 12 executive orders have sent a clear message:
He doesn’t respect women’s right to choose (reenacting Mexico City Policy), he’s putting profits over our planet (Keystone Memorandum), he’s coming after our communities (accelerating deportations, cutting funding to sanctuary cities), he’s dismantling our wellbeing (ACA rollbackl), he’s promoting violence and incarceration (reenactment of detention centers and torture methods) and he’s building the friggin wall. And that’s just in the first seven days.
(This would be a good time to take a breath.)
In the face of this attack (and make no mistake, this is an attack on our safety, our wellbeing and our humanity), we are gonna need to dig deep and build a capacity to sustain us for the long road ahead. And to do that, we need to build a culture of solidarity that actively defends and protects our communities (especially those who are most vulnerable like women of color, trans and gender non conforming individuals, migrants, undocumented individuals, Muslim Americans and more).
Solidarity is not done on the sidelines. Solidarity is direct, embodied and active. It’s a stance we take for ourselves, for each other and for our country as a whole.
We need to BE solidarity every step of the way.
It means taking care of our selves and one another.
It means centering the needs of those most vulnerable.
It means boldly speaking truth to power.
It means taking responsibility for the “privilege” it is to be well, feel safe and live free in this country and advocate for wellbeing as a human right.
It means putting our bodies on the line for our communities who are threatened.
It means resisting injustice every step of the way.
It means fiercely holding a vision of our country where everyone belongs.
And it means loving big and holding each other tight.
Solidarity is calling us up to trust one another and what’s possible when we come together for the wellbeing of everyone. At an Emergency Rally hosted buy CAIR last night in Washington Square Park, Linda Sarsour reminded us that “while they are united around hate and divisiveness and racism and homophobia and xenophobia, we are united by solidarity and love, unity.”
This is who we are.
Let's do this.
The women's march was a historic, record-setting, epic demonstration of resistance. And it's just in time. American politics has been "trumped" by dangerous politicians, corporate control and corrupt policies. And while it's easy to point the finger at institutional power for our failing democracy, we rarely talk about the other also broken component of our political system - "citizenship."
Citizenship is not a "juice fast".
It's not simply how we vote every four years, or how we speak out on Facebook or how we click to act. And it's not even how we march.
Citizenship is how we show up for our community and country EVERY DAY.
And it's calling us up to go beyond personal responsibility and self-interest towards the messy complex and intersectional reality of who we really are in America and how we came to be here. It means recognizing that many of us, non natives of this country, have benefited from the legacy of colonialism, racism and free market economics. And we can't truly know healing and reconciliation within ourselves until we face the wounds that we have inherited - that we are a part of.
Citizenship is not about where you were born or what documents you have.
It's about how you show up, who you stand with and what you fight for. It's a story that centers love, justice and the idea that no one is well unless everyone is well.
And it's a citizenship where everyone belongs.
So starting now, we're taking back our power and reclaiming citizenship as solidarity. #100DaysOfCTZN is a campaign that bridges spiritual practice and political action. Together, we will explore the practice of citizenship in how we take care of each other, get informed and rebuild our country from the inside-out.
We need a citizenship that is rising to the occasion.
It's not the kind of patriotism that puts love of country above love of one another. It's a citizenship of humanity. And in this citizenship, EVERYONE is welcome, so invite your friends, join the conversation and let's build together.
Here's a TEDx talk I did pre-election about reimagining citizenship and voting as collective care. While the election has been decided, our destiny hasn't. So let's play our part and co-create the country that we ALL deserve.