Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

I watched the HBO movie based on the book by Dee Brown.

This book, plus the rise of the American Indian Movement had a direct effect on my life when I was in junior high in Mankato, Minnesota.

Think about the stories you hear about young Germans in the 1960s not being educated about the camps. It was the same for us. We were surrounded by this horrible history, and yet nobody talked about it. Mankato is the site of the largest mass execution in U.S. history shown below in an etching:

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The settlers originally planned to hang 330, but Pres. Lincoln said it was too many and narrowed it down to 38. This event was celebrated in Mankato with this incredible monoment which greeted ever visitor as they entered town:

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AIM and other activists threw red paint and/or blood on the monument to express their displeasure:

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Many years later, through the combined efforts of concerned whites and Native activists, the monument is gone and is replaced by a beautiful white buffalo statue in a placed called "Reconciliation Park":

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There is a great website put together by local students where you can read more about the events in 1862.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Feminist Links

Feminist Philosophers blog could be interesting.

let them eat pro-sm feminist safe spaces is a joint blog from my blogging buddies belledame222, Trinity and antiprincess plus verte, who I don't know yet.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Not hiding, just busy

Lots of stuff to do lately that don't involve blogging.

I got called to fill in at one of the local used bookstores I used to work at more often. Had to go in first last Wednesday to get trained in on the cash register as well as how to close up, including counting the till, etc. The owner is referring to me as "Super Nanny" -- she only calls me when one of her regular workers needs time off. I used to accept $6 an hour, but now I'm taking my pay in books: which equals $11 an hour. With every book half price, that adds up wonderfully.

On Thursday night, my youngest daughter went to her college gradution ceremony. It was huge with hundreds of students. I spent much of the night outside trying to catch up on my reading, but miraculously I went back in just in time to see her pick up her diploma. She looked great and she certainly deserves her reward after all her work.

On Friday night, I attended a going away party for one of my Iraqi friends who is heading back home for a few months. It was a lot of fun and some great Middle Eastern food.

On Saturday, I met with my book group: 5 wonderful friends who've been meeting together for nearly 15 years. From 5 to 10 p.m. I worked my shift at the bookstore and managed to sell a number of good books.

On Sunday, I went in to work to continue creating maps and graphics for a book I'm creating that my Mom wrote. It's been keeping me busy since August. I'm nearly done, so every little bit is a step closer to the end.

Then in the afternoon we heard from my brother in law. He was in the hospital! Turns out he went with a bunch of friends to walk the beautiful paths along the Mississippi River and he went over a cliff. He had to be rescued by firemen repelling down the cliff face and then being lowered onto a rescue boat. He scraped everything and was unconscious for a short time. He broke no bones, thank the goddess. We spent the rest of Sunday getting him out of the hospital and recovering his car, his keys, his cell phone and making sure he wasn't showing signs of a concussion. He's doing amazingly well while aching over every bit of his body.

Meanwhile, I'm busy this week. On Wednesday, I'm driving an out-of-town writer around. I'm halfway through his book and I must say I'm hugely disappointed. The question is will I be honest with him when I meet him, or just be a mute little service worker meeting his needs in an unknonwn city. We'll see.

Amidst all this, I've also picked up Jessica Valenti's "Full Frontal Feminism". I'm about halfway through and will comment when I'm done. I am following the blog debates about the book and I'm fascinated that people who I respect have strikingly different responses.

So much for the catching up. Hopefully I'll be back to useful blogging sometime soon.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Antiwar for Mothers Day

Here's a sign I made for today's antiwar march in Minneapolis. We wanted to focus on both Iran and Iraq and this seemed to convey the issue rather nicely. Feel free to copy and use yourself!

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Michael Albert

Here's a flyer I made for Michael Albert's talk in Minneapolis.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Mayday Parade 2007

One of the great cultural traditions in Minneapolis is the Mayday Parade sponsored by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater every year since 1975. The event has two parts: a parade down Bloomington Ave. to Powderhorn Park where there is a celebration to say goodbye to winter and welcome spring. The parade also has two parts: the first part has a theme and the second part is the "free speech zone" where politicians and activists march. This year it was wonderful weather and great fun.

This year's theme was "Somos Aqua" (We are Water)

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MayDay Poster Design by Sandy Spieler

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From the ITHOTB website: Before memory, there was water. The water that covered the earth in primordial times is the very same water that feeds the planet and its inhabitants today. We begin the Parade with an homage to the wisdom of Water as the original source of creation.

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Two ancient snapping turtles, witnesses of time, lead the way.* These ancestors carry the histories of humankind on their strong shells, and support the Earth entirely, according to many cultures' creation stories.

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Powerful serpents represent the entwining ebb and flow of tidal currents. Within them thrive fish, snails and denizens of the deep. The spirit of water is embodied in jellyfish, living beings that are but a few cells thick, which pulse with the heartbeat of the sea.

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Our Father of Waters, with his singing flotilla, is inspired by the rhythmic, musical quality of water. The boats play with the idea that we are all carried by or supported by water,while the image of Old Man River runs through many traditional songs.

Our Mother of Waters is inspired by various water goddess traditions, including Chalchiuhtlicue, the Aztec
goddess of running water and springs, and protectoress of all new-borns.

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LIKE A GIANT UMBILICAL CORD, our public waterworks connects us to Water -- and to each other --through a vast network of pipes. In Minneapolis, our water pipes connect us directly to the Mississippi River.... Our clowns celebrate the many ways we use water everyday. But, like us, they also use water na•vely and mindlessly. Their silly antics affect even the parade's huge, imposing pipes.

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ARE YOU THIRSTY? TIENES SED? THE FIRST HALF OF THIS PARADE SECTION depicts an ad campaign for a fictional water bottle company called H2NO -- complete with cheerleaders, marching band, and a plastic water bottle goddess -- to promote the "need" for water sold in plastic bottles.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Greensburg, Kansas

An amazing series of photos by Jaime Oppenheimer of the The Wichita Eagle showing the devastation of the entire town of Greensburg by a tornado last Friday.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lovely short story

Four Short Crushes from the New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs column. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

May 1 March in Minneapolis

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Coverage in the Minneapolis StarTribune was pretty good for the Immigrants Rights March yesterday in Minneapolis.

Immigrants on the move for change

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Photo by Jeff Wheeler , Star Tribune

Hoisting banners and flags, immigrants and their advocates march down Lake Street Tuesday afternoon.
Demonstrators marched for immigrant rights, but the kind of wide-scale work stoppages seen a year ago weren't in evidence.

By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune
Last update: May 02, 2007 – 12:09 AM

Stretching for three city blocks, immigrants and their advocates took to the streets in south Minneapolis on Tuesday as part of a nationwide day of demonstrations to support immigration reform and worker rights.

Hoisting banners and flags, participants marched down Lake Street at 4 p.m., eliciting friendly honks along the way.

Many Latino businesses closed their doors at that hour so their workers could attend events in Minneapolis. And several hundred high school and college students left their classes to attend an afternoon rally at the State Capitol in St. Paul or other events.

But local businesses weren't reporting wide-scale worker stoppages or boycotts, as some did last year. In part because of a public backlash to those actions, the focus Tuesday was on worker rights and immigration reform.

"Last year it was different because it was the first year," said Victoria Gonzales, a co-owner of Manny's Tortas in Minneapolis, which closed its three shops a year ago. "But in reality, we don't want to boycott this country. It's our country, too. We just want to show our support for immigration reform that would help [illegal] immigrants fix their status."

Buoyed by bright blue skies and warm weather, demonstrators marched from Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue S. to Powderhorn Park. The group, about half Latino, included a large group of high school and college students, as well as many families and workers.

"I'm here because I want Congress to change immigration laws," said Francisco Romero, a construction worker who took the day off from work, with permission from his boss. "And we want them [immigration agents] to stop the raids."

Romero and others acknowledged that many people were staying away from the demonstration this year because of stepped-up enforcement by immigration agents, including recent raids in Minnesota.

Those raids were criticized at a rally after the march, as was the fact that Congress has not passed changes that would create a pathway to legal residency for illegal workers.

Cell phones put to use

Elsewhere in Minneapolis, about 100 people, most carrying wooden crosses representing people deported during immigration raids, gathered on the steps of the Basilica of St. Mary Tuesday afternoon. From there they embarked on a several-block procession to Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Outside Westminster, many participants took out cell phones and called the offices of Minnesota congressional members, asking them to approve immigration reforms.

While the demonstrations were similar in nature to last year's, the day's impact on business was considerably less. For example, Sean McHugh, a spokesman for Swift & Co., reported "no effect" on the workforce this year.

"In contrast to last year, when we didn't operate the Worthington plant on May 1, this year all plants are up and running," said McHugh.

Still, the May Day rally was on everyone's mind in the Latino business district on E. Lake. Street. Store owner Santos Jimenez said he'd sold 300 U.S. and Mexican flags this week, in part to use at the rally.

At the bustling Mercado Central, workers and customers were planning to leave at 4 p.m. so they could attend the demonstration. The complex of 40 businesses shut down, too.

"We decided to treat it as a holiday," said Mercado Central manager Becky George. "The idea for today is to foster immigrant business. But if we close, customers go someplace else."

At the International Bazaar down the street, home to a cluster of businesses, a pink note was posted on the door saying, "We will be closed May 1 To Support a Just Legalization for Everyone."

The St. Paul School District reported that about 70 high school students skipped classes Tuesday in connection with the rallies. In Minneapolis, about 90 students left Southwest High School at noon, said officials in that district. They said they didn't have numbers for other schools in the district.

Staff writer Tom Ford contributed to this report.

Jean Hopfensperger • 612-673-4511 •


WCCO TV, a CBS affiliate, had this to say:

Immigrant Marchers Trying To Get Back Momentum

(AP) Minneapolis Marchers took to Lake Street on Tuesday for the second national immigrant workers boycott, hoping to pump new life into proposals that would give many illegal immigrants the chance to become citizens.

It's been a year since perhaps 1 million Hispanic immigrants joined rallies across the country on a day intended to show their value to the nation's economy. But little progress on congressional reform, mixed with hundreds of arrests in Minnesota this year, have dampened some immigrants' enthusiasm for speaking up.

"It's been stuck. They can't seem to agree on something," union representative Jose Garcia said of plans that would allow some illegal immigrants to gain citizenship. "Maybe there could be a guest worker program first, and then citizenship later. It doesn't all have to happen at once."

Waving flags and homemade signs, a throng of mostly Hispanic immigrants clogged the street on the near south side of Minneapolis as they made their way toward Powderhorn Park. Organizers estimated that more than 1,000 people took part in the march, about half as many for a similar march and rally as last year. Police didn't provide a crowd estimate.

"We want some things changed so people will have the opportunity to be happy and live in peace," said Nora Barrera, who works as an immigrant liaison for the Minneapolis public school system.

Barrera and her husband, Juan, who are legal residents, said they were frustrated with the slow pace of reform and said many people were living unnecessarily stressful lives because of concerns about being arrested.

"It's like cat-and-mice, the way some people have to live," Nora Barrera said. "People are living with fear and stress."

Billed more as a protest than a worker boycott, the day took on a lower profile in Minnesota as organizers planned two events for late in the afternoon -- after the work day was over for many immigrant workers and business owners.

Besides the march along Lake Street, religious leaders re-created the Stations of the Cross in a walk from the Basilica of St. Mary to Loring Park. Also, about 70 people marched in the southern Minnesota city of Austin, where many immigrants work in meatpacking.

Meanwhile, few of the several hundred Hispanic-owned shops along Lake Street -- many of which closed their doors for last year's boycott -- appeared to have shuttered for the day. College students hoped to use the day for a renewed push for Dream Act legislation -- which would provide some illegal immigrants with in-state tuition -- though few organized student walkouts were reported.

As Latin music blared, Alberto Cortez marched down Lake Street ahead of signs that read "Legalization For All Now" and "Pilgrims Didn't Need Green Cards."

Cortez received permission from his boss to take the day off from his construction job in suburban Burnsville. He said he turned out for the march because he was angry about the arrests this year of hundreds of illegal immigrants in Willmar and Worthington, many of whom were deported.

"We want them to stop the raids. Too many children have been separated from their families," said Cortez, who has been living in the U.S. illegally for 16 years, including seven in Minnesota.