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Hey folks –

This might seem a bit off-topic, but today I learned just how easy it is to create a compost bin and I wanted to share this knowledge!! Yes, I know, this is probably well-known by lots of folks, but it’s brand new to me, and I am stoked.

SO – a little bit of background:

I am FINALLY in a place in my life where I am able to *make manifest* all my dreams and resolutions.  By this I don’t mean that I have money (or even a steady, living-wage job, for that matter) or unlimited magic dust, y’all –  I mean that for the first time in my entire life I am FINALLY free enough from the paralyzing grasp of depression and anxiety to have thoughts and desires and to take action.  This might seem like such a insignificant thing, folks, but I promise: this. is. huge.  I thought to myself, “you know, a garden this year would be just lovely” and then I started doing the things that need to be done to HAVE said garden.  I feel alive.

Having gardens and a knowledge of how to cultivate plants and grow food is an essential part of being human and remaining connected to our labor, so when and if it is possible, I encourage all folks to give it go.  Even on the smallest scale, I firmly believe that growing our own food is resistance.  We can talk about that more as the politics of *food* are being highlighted now more than any time before, but perhaps in another post.  Or just in conversation.  But anyhow, to keep it shortish, knowledge of sustainable living is important.  People often paint it as a trend but this knowledge represents a larger portion of human history than does our faceless, industrial agri-giant of today.  With this knowledge we can feed our communities – and not just with that nutritionally void, processed shit, either.  This is very much an issue of class.

Back to the containers:  I live in an apartment and I don’t have a yard that I can use for growing.  I am working with limited funds and want to minimize my waste as much as is practical for my situation.  I have decided that my collection of old plastic totes, prior to now used only in harried moves a couple times a year, will serve perfectly as container gardens and a compost bin.

It’s the perfect time to start composting, though I suppose weeks ago would have been even better, so I did a quick google search to make sure I wasn’t doing it all wrong, and BAM! Compost bin.

If you find yourself with little space and dreams of greenery, grab yourself an 18 gallon or larger plastic bin and lid.  Then, literally stab a ton of holes into the sides, bottom and lid.  You can use a drill for this if you have access.  The size of the drill bit doesn’t matter, but if your hole can accommodate a rodent – expect a rodent.  Drills are nice but aren’t necessary as long as your holes allow for some airflow. It’s good idea to keep this thing outside, as all your old food and paper will literally be decaying in here.  Also, if possible, procure an extra lid or something similar to place beneath your new compost bin to catch all that nutrient-rich garbage juice.  Shake it up once in a while to help everything along with the process and to prevent spontaneous combustion.

 

In a few weeks I will be starting some seeds inside, but when the frosts are behind us they will be transferred to container gardens made from the very same totes as our compost bins.

Self-watering container gardens

 

I think these are just swell.  Well, that’s all the knowledge sharing I have in me today.  Just remember that all of these skills, lost to so many of us folks these days, are the true wealth of our human legacy.  If that doesn’t do it for you, just remember that if the zombie apocalypse strikes, you’ll be a lot more useful to your apocalypse-posse if you have some survival skills.

 

Hey folks – I don’t know how it took me this long to figure out how to truly use wordpress but….there are a lot of awesome bloggers here, obviously, and I JUST REALIZED THAT I CAN SPREAD THEIR EXCELLENT PIECES….so….get ready for a lot of awesome articles from folks who blog w/ WordPress.  Reblog revolution. 

 

I’m out

 

I can’t find a transcription of this speech that is correct.  All of the versions available leave out critical bits of this speech.  They leave out the mention of spending too much on military bases instead of bases of genuine concern, etc.  A typical example of the attempt to de-radicalize the good Rev. King.   Listen to this in its entirety.

I feel honored to have spoken out alongside so many brave survivors from our community today.  I have transcribed my statement below in hopes that it will help empower other people to speak up about their experiences with violence.

My name is Sarah-Kathryn Bryan, and I am in my second year at the University.

First, I’d like to thank everyone who has come to support the UNC-Chapel Hill community of sexual assault survivors, as well as those who could not attend today, but who have expressed their solidarity with survivors, and who continue to struggle with us for justice.  Several of us are primary or secondary survivors of sexual assault, but it is not necessary to recognize a shared experience of sexual assault in order to work together.

Today’s impressive attendance testifies to the potential strength of our Carolina community where society has previously failed us.  The act of coming to a Speak Out implicitly expresses a commitment to ending violence.  This commitment comes from the understanding that if sexual assault is even a conceivable threat to anyone, every one of us lives in a culture of violence in which none of us is invulnerable to violence in one form or another.

We must hold perpetrators of all forms of abuse (including sexual abuse, the abuse of state power, and cultural abuse) accountable for their actions.  And as a community, we must hold each other accountable for bringing perpetrators to justice in a way that benefits both the survivor and our community as a whole.  Any other outcome subjects survivors to renewed trauma and frustration.

I speak today as a non-reporting survivor.  The first time I was sexually assaulted, I was thirteen years old.  As a young person, I was not empowered to access the healthcare –let alone the sympathy– I needed in the wake of the assault.  Having been raised in a culture of violence that teaches victim-blaming even in the absence of comprehensive sexual education, I remained silent about the assault for months, and did not tell my parents for years.  I am only beginning to repair what damage the silence wrought on my interpersonal relationships.

Age is one of a host of factors that complicate a survivor’s ability to report a sexual assault.  To name a few, race able status, religion, gender expression, sexuality, age, and socioeconomic status make reporting any crime to the authorities less a matter of choice than of circumstance and courage.

In order to eliminate victim-blaming, which is the first step to holding perpetrators accountable and eliminating violence from our culture, we must support the methods of care and avenues to justice the survivors in our lives seek.  This may never be easy until we learn that because our struggle for justice and freedom from violence is a shared one, we disempower ourselves when we appropriate, ignore, or actively silence the struggle of our neighbor.

Sarah-Kathryn Bryan

Welcome to our newest recurring blog theme: activists we oughta know!!

Now if there is one thing I have learned in the time I have spent deprogramming myself and my brain, it is that we have been offered an intentionally narrow array of heroes and role models within this great thing I will refer to as “the dominant cultural narrative.”  This cultural narrative is, as you might have imagined, fashioned and molded by the cultural ideals of the dominant forces in any given society.

“What’s wrong with that?,” you might ask.  Well, my friends, this model has a number of flaws, in my opinion. Allow me to list only some of them without explanation below:

  • reinforces current power structures
  • terms of selection are highly exclusionary to anything that threatens the status quo
  • the MLK effect (my own term – describes the phenomenon by which certain serious revolutionaries and their movements are stripped of their radical and subversive messages/beliefs and are then presented without full historical context within the history books used to “educate” our children)
  • only interests/practices of the dominant party/group are represented – meaning that experiences that do not fall within the dominant range of experiences are either actively invalidated or passively NOT validated
  • whose stories and histories are being told? and to whom?
  • WHEN IN DOUBT – ask our self: What’s at stake? Who stands to benefit?

I could go on, but this isn’t really the point of this post…so…MOVING ON

If you are familiar with the concept of the matrices of oppression or of the concept of intersectionality, it should come as no surprise that the people whose voices are most often ignored, whose stories are least often told, whose struggles are given the least legitimacy are – women of color.

I am surprised, but not really, to discover how much I have yet to learn.  AND SO WE BEGIN ——

VIRGINIA LEE WILLIAMS

Virginia Williams was one of seven people (3 women, 4 men! Doubly integrated!) to stage a sit-in at The Royal Ice Cream Co. Parlor in Durham, North Carolina on June 23, 1957 – three point five years before the famed Greensboro sit-ins.  The parlor was chosen primarily because of its location within a black neighborhood.  According to custom, whites were allowed use of the soda counters and booths while blacks ate in the parking lot.  The group, now referred to as “the Royal Seven” was arrested and charged with and convicted of trespassing by, of course, an all white jury. Their convictions were later upheld by the North Carolina Supreme Court.

I would like to borrow this little exchange from the News & Observer article I have cited at the bottom of this page:

“They were very courteous and never handcuffed us,” Williams remembers about the arrest. “When we got to the station, one of the officers said to me, ‘If I was your daughter, I’d take you across my lap and spank you.'”

Without missing a beat, Williams replied: “If I were your daughter, I wouldn’t be here for this.”

This sit-in could very well be the FIRST sit-in of the civil rights era (1955-1980) if only Wikipedia would accept my article.  As it turns out, however, it is hard to cite things that were never recorded as historically significant at the time. C’mon wiki!!! This sit-in received a little local coverage, but beyond that, was mostly ignored.  The N&O covered only a brief about the arrests.

SO – Virginia Williams is a North Carolina native.  Her parents, Wiley and Elizabeth, were sharecroppers in North Hampton county.  As it turns out, her father was an active member of the local NAACP chapter throughout her childhood, though this fact wouldn’t come to light until later, as the meetings were held secretly, I assume for reasons of safety/security.

While her involvement in the sit-in sort of happened by chance, it was enough to spur her into a lifetime of activism, including nearly a decade spent fighting segregation laws and practices in North Carolina.  She also participated in the March on Washington in 1963!  Virginia Williams worked for forty years as a cafeteria worker in Chapel Hill and though now retired, she remains active in her advocacy.  She volunteered for the Obama campaign and often speaks about her experiences to a wide array of audiences – from elementary school classes to the N.C. Museum of History.  She is the only living member of the Royal Seven.

As proof of her continued action – I had the honor of making her acquaintance this month during the Civil Rights weekend in Chapel Hill. The “Still Walking for Justice” event commemorated the 65th Anniversary of the 1947 Journey of Reconciliation, also known as the first freedom ride.  9 women, each walking in honor  of a female activist, completed a leg of the journey from Pauli Murray’s former home in Durham to the Peace and Justice Plaza in Chapel Hill.  Virginia Williams was one of the 9 women honored that day. I was proud to wear her name – and not just because of the specific work she did.

Virginia Williams is an inspiration, an example of a long life dedicated to community engagement.  She is a reminder that, YES, you can just go out and involve yourself, and SHOULD, because sure, our schedules are busy, but what are we working towards if not a better world? Your involvement, however big or small, is a vital to THE movement – whatever that is for you.  Don’t hesitate!

P.S. – It was my lack of familiarity with most of those names that inspired this project of ours.  From the Pauli Murray project, which you should check out, on why we are still marching for justice:

“The work continues. Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Queer rights, voting rights, prisoners’ rights, women’s rights, and civil rights are still on the line and require our vigilance to protect them. The Walk also shows how we can use history to activate memory and motivation for contemporary activism.”

Sources:

http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/02/21/350063.html

http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/bragin/DE/royal1.jpg

http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/20648962/article-Walk-to-commemorate-1st-freedom-ride

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pauli-Murray-Project/114283276942

WOW! WOW! All my posts begin with WOW!

I can’t actually even begin to delve into all of the amazing things we have coming your way, so in a way, the title of this post is a lie…it implies explanation. BUT I APOLOGIZE! And clarification will swiftly follow.

I just HAD to take a moment and tell you all that our little baby VOX has grown up and moved out of the house and changed its name. I am proud to introduce: SURJ! Students United for Reproductive Justice!!! I strongly encourage you to check out SURJ’s new SITE

You will also notice that there is an event for which one might register – There will be more on that, more details, more info, more talky-talk….but if you want to, NEED TO KNOW NOW, please visit the EVENT PAGE

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

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