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Hello all So. Here is the thing: I left Mississippi I came to… - The pen of enlightenment in a state of disrepair. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Mar. 11th, 2006|04:54 pm]


Hello all
Here is the thing:
I left Mississippi
I came to Seattle to pick up some organizing skills to continue my activism in the south.
I fuckin burnt myself out in Mississippi.
I have been SOO tempted to just stay here in 'blue state' heaven.
But reality and gloria steinem pinched me back into reality.
I'm coming home!

Here is the thing:
Its time to create a radical community in Mississippi.
I'm ready!
I have written a rough draft of various ideas/programs/activities that I think would rock in MS.
i need yur help

1. Read through and let me know what you think! Feel free to challenge me on my ideas, as well as, add onto them! What has worked in yur community etc.

2. Join me in Mississippi

* I want to add onto this and stress how dedicated I am to creating a bigger radical community. I am putting college under my mother's lack of approval belt and dedicating my life to this. We have to make Mississippi a safe/fun/free place for EVERYONE to live. Its time people saw what a queer community can look like, its about damn time for some bike lanes, how about sex education or an info shop..
So. If you need me to inspire you some more let me know! But honestly if really care about ending oppression you will join me in this idea and fight!

Radical South:

- Co-op living network-
Create a co-operative living house. This will be an activist household were we share food, mostly vegetarian meals, and chores and meet regularly, making decisions by consensus. This would also be a space for Do It Yurself (diy) shows (music, art etc.) A space for organizing, crafts, and support. We would also be supporting the formation of other co-op housing through out Mississippi, by educating people on what co-op living looks and feels like! With activist feeling so isolated in their fight for social change, we need to have a support group everywhere we go!
(this includes home) Having the house as a space for art and performance again begins to create a community where artistic expression and individual freedom is welcomed. This will be a safe space for people who often feel threatened to share their ideas/work with the public because they are either queer, trans, a person of color, a person with a “dis”ability or simply feel ostracized for their radical/progressive political views.

- Bike lanes- public transportation-
Let’s face it the roads are not safe for bicyclist in most areas in the south. People in cars view us as an annoyance and view our bikes as toys NOT actual forms of transportation. It is often hard to ride yur bike to school, work, the store because of the lack of bike lanes and public acceptance and familiarity with bicyclist. Its time we push our local government for more bike lanes and better public transportation. If you can’t ride your bike to work then take the bus! I know that a lot of young people do not give the bus a chance! The focus of this project is setting up critical bike mass events, community information on the benefits of riding a bike and improving public transportation. It can start off small with our friends, family and people we know from the bar or that restaurant on the corner and grow into our college campuses, churches, synagogues, and community centers. Getting people to think about their actions and its affect on the environment, our health and our community is the first step in social change. I think this is an important area, because I can see some people helping with this project not because they think it is political, but because they think it makes sense. (Of course this is where they become involved in the activist community and help with other projects and/or see that being political isn’t that bad of a thing, because well it is taking common sense thoughts, and putting them into action)

- Activist Phone Tree-
The idea behind this is again stopping the isolation that many activist feel when doing their work. I know in my activist life I felt like the ‘lone ranger’ only randomly connecting with other activist in other parts of Mississippi or other southern states. In these meetings, my heart was inspired again and I felt like I could keep going. This needs to happen more than once a month and the communication has to be better among activist. We can help each other with ideas, tactics (what worked with our recycling program, what didn’t) So, we either have to find the activist in different regions of Mississippi (gulf coast, pine belt, Jackson area, the delta) and give them support and ideas for setting up the above programs (or any program they see as vital in THEIR community) or if there are not any activist in these regions…we go there/send people there) This is not meant to be another obligation of ‘man I have to go to that meeting in Jackson’ its more like us calling each other and checking up, emailing inspiration, and activities that we are doing in our community that we could use support on. We could have monthly or bi-monthly meetings/events were we learn about what each community is doing and have a good time with each other! How about engage in some trainings on undoing institutionalized racism, organizing tips, checking ourselves for any homophobic, racist, ablest, transphobic, heterosexist etc. thoughts/activities we may have in our organizing/events. I know that identifying as ‘liberal’ in our state is RADICAL enough, but we have to make sure that we are constantly educating ourselves and CHALLENGING ourselves! If you care about social change in our state you have to be open to educating yourself on all types of oppression that affect our communities, friends, families and partners. Challenging yur privilege, class, traditions and ideas on what oppression can look like, will help us unify and multiply. We can not hold our tongues when our fellow activists’ uses language that only perpetuates gender stereotypes, institutionalized racism, and heterosexism. Again, when ONE is oppressed we are ALL oppressed.

- Radical South Art-Music
This is mentioned briefly in forming co-op living. Art/music/all forms of expression are vital in a healthy community. I use healthy here to mean we need a fuckin break sometimes! We need to take off our shoes and shake our booty’s or whatever else we can shake! We also need to show each other what a ‘free’ community can look like. This again shows ALL people who are present in our community and it encourages self-discovery and imagination. We need to get the word out to the bands we love that there are people who love them in Mississippi. It really can be as easy as sending your favorite band an email. This somewhat depends on the type of music and the politics of the band. But, I plan on contacting everyone on K-records, Chainsaw, Kill Rock Stars etc. etc. that when they are touring and just SKIP over Mississippi that its fuckin wrong! We want their presence, and experience. Many people have never been to any type of diy show that is welcoming for all. This is a time to build support for the programs and activism we want in Mississippi. Plus if we set up a show in the delta we can easily connect through our ‘radical phone tree’ to our other friends throughout Mississippi and help bring shows to everyone! Also a great way to support local artist.

- Anti-Oppression work
This will take on many forms because there are many forms of oppression in the south. I think everyone has an issue that is number one on their list and then they usually act as support for other anti-oppression work. So, we need to figure out together in a community what we see happening locally. The next step is starting the planning and action around that topic. What does this look like?
“hey DR do you need any help making signs for your pro-choice march on Friday?”
–“Sure mike! Thanks I know yur busy with yur upcoming critical bike mass happening in a couple of weeks! I will totally help you put up some flyers after the march is over! AND of course I will totally be ridin right beside you” Its simple, but sometimes sooo hard! But sooo needed!

- Outside help?
So. Here is the thing. I do think we need some help when it comes to numbers in starting some radical activism in Mississippi. BUT. I do not want this to look like we need people from outside of the state to come in and save the day! We simply need advice/support from people who have lived in progressive/radical communities through-out their life. So. It would rock if we had some people come and help organize in our communities. There has to be that understanding that things are done differently in the south and it would need to be people who can handle offering advice and reaching common ground on the course of action, because we have to keep in account the difference in location and traditions etc. this is also offered to people who have organized in the south and have been successful. Cause lets face it there are southern states that have amazing queer communities and actually have info shops, sex education etc. So again it would be amazing to share those resources and experience!