Bay Area Moms Launch Hunger Strike for Family Reunification–Update–Hunger Strike Spreads to Other Cities

Photo by Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News

Photo by Jerry Lara, San Antonio Express-News

MEDIA ADVISORY

The National Rolling Hunger Strike Spreads to Other Cities

August 1, 2018

The hunger strike at the Oakland Federal Building (1301 Clay St.), begun on Monday, July 30th, will close beginning at 5 pm Wednesday, August 1st with a Break the Fast dinner. The following day, a three-day fast will begin in Sacramento.

Organizers plan to continue rolling hunger strikes across the country until their demands are met, with fasts already planned in eight cities as more than 700 children remain separated, and hundreds of parents appear to have been deported without their children. 

For more information: https://www.solidarityhungerstrike.com/
Upcoming hunger strike dates and cities:
August 2-4: Sacramento, CA
August 5-7: Santa Cruz, CA
August 8-10: Portland, OR
August 11-13: Staten Island, NY
August 16-18: Chicago, IL
August 19-21: New York, NY
August 22-24: Ashland, OR
August 27-29: Seattle, WA

Bay Area Moms Launch Hunger Strike for Family Reunification

 As Trump Administration Fails to Meet Deadline, Oakland Kicks Off National Wave of Fasts Demanding Justice for Migrant Families

July 27, 2018

Oakland — As the government failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite immigrant families Thursday, Bay Area parents and grandparents announced a three-day hunger strike—the first in a series of fasts across the country calling for separated parents and children to be released together.

“As a mom, I’m supporting the hunger strike because children deserve to be protected no matter where they are born,” said Xochitl Oseguera of Moms Rising.

The hunger strike will take place outside Oakland’s Federal Building, beginning the morning of Monday, July 30th, and closing on the evening of Wednesday, August 1st. Public mobilizations will take place each day of the strike at 8 am, 12 noon, and 6 pm.

The following day, a three-day fast will begin in Sacramento. Organizers plan to continue rolling hunger strikes across the country until their demands are met, with fasts already planned in Santa Cruz, Portland, and Charlottesville, VA.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw gave the Trump Administration a July 26th deadline to reunite all separated families. But only 1,012 of more than three thousand had been reunited by Tuesday, and hundreds of parents appear to have been deported without their children.

Parents and grandparents in the Bay Area and across the country launched the hunger strikes in order to keep pressure on the government to reunite the remaining families—inspired by mothers inside Port Isabel Detention Center in Texas, who went on a rolling hunger strike after being denied the right to speak to their children.

Strikers released the following statement of demands:

We demand that every migrant family separated by this administration be reunited and released from incarceration. We demand that the families receive support and justice for the trauma inflicted by our government.

We are parents, we are elders, we are clergy members, we are volunteers, we are teachers. We are ordinary people who have decided that enough is enough. We will not silently watch government-sanctioned kidnapping and the torture of migrant families. We will not sit back and watch families torn apart, babies and toddlers deemed ‘ineligible’ for reunification, children returned to their parents so traumatized they can’t speak, parents denied food, water, and medical care, children and women subjected to abuse and mockery. We stand against the criminalization and dehumanization of immigrant families.

We will continue our hunger strike and other solidarity actions until our demand is met.”

Participants also linked their fast to the broader surge of violence and racism facing immigrants, communities of color, and children under the Trump Administration. “My fast is my public demonstration of my brokenheartedness,” said Rabi’a Keeble. “We have the Muslim ban, we have young black women being murdered on public transit, we have a government that is out of control, and trying to turn back the clock on progress sixty years. My fast is dedicated to change, to hope, and to futures that are better than what we have now.”

Contacts:

Carolyn Norr, Families Belong Together: carolynclara@gmail.com, 510-220-5707Rabia Keeble: keeblerabia@gmail.com, 510-672-8095

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So Much for the Rule of Law

'Something about this court makes me uneasy.'

I’m worrying about the powerful abusing the weak and the need to expand rights and opportunities. Them’s my rules.

The Trump regime’s goal of returning us to the days before even the Progressive Era, 1890 to 1918 or 1920, when women finally got the vote, has now given us a truly horrendous Supreme Court pick. [By the way, I’m not one of the sad sack progressives who believes this guy will automatically make it onto the court although I am very close to a state of sad sackism…]  In case you’re not familiar, watch this video for a history of the Progressive era, the good and bad https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0Q4zPR4G7M

Let’s circle back to the hue and cry of late from Democrats and some progressives among them that the Republicans are not obeying the “rule of law” by which I think they mostly mean, the norms of civic life more than actual laws. Okay, there are also things like the “emoluments clause” which none of us had likely heard of til now and few yet know what exactly it entails. It seems it was written for folks like Benjamin Franklin who, “for instance, had accepted a snuffbox festooned with 408 diamonds from the King of France.”  https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/what-is-the-emoluments-clause-does-it-apply-to-president-trump/2017/01/23/12aa7808-e185-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ca92c7adcdf6

Here’s a tweet which typically references “the rule of law” without stipulating what that means, “In the end of this debacle, there will either be a Republican Party that has joined with Putin to reform our gov.into an authoritarian state, or there will be the rule of law. There can’t be both. The Republicans have committed treason and need to be prosecuted for the crime.”

If it’s referencing colluding with a foreign state, then the law would seem to work as many already have been indicted and given prison terms but if it references the president, it’s vague. Because, by law, the Republican run congress can set aside the findings of the investigation and it’s a toss-up as to whether a sitting president may be indicted. In fact, it’s a political question, not a legal one.

But, if you’re asking whether a politician is above the law, yeah, that’s another issue and we all know the answer to that. Our system was set up to favor a certain group, a group I don’t have to describe. There have been years, even a decade here and there where laws were made to equalize the playing field, although equalize is not really fair if you were placed at a different starting block than others.

So now the Supreme Court and to a greater extent, the lower courts, which we had come to rely on, will be stacked against, hmmm, take a long lunch break while I type these-(Warning-I’m dropping the useless apostrophe here) workers rights, consumers rights, womens rights, Black folks rights, Brown folks rights, disabled folks rights, LGBTQ folks rights, immigrants rights, childrens rights, people who need healthcare rights, people who need to breathe clean air rights, endangered species rights (we should be added to that list). Hey, even most straight white males who own property actually need to preserve some of those rights.

Well, we kept saying, the system worked. The courts have stopped him/them. Yeah, good luck with that now. They will just ignore any judge who disagrees with them after ignoring any existing laws, statutes or NORMS until they get to SCOTUS where their perfidy will be upheld.

Why is any of this a surprise? For most of our history the courts have protected the Wealthy, the White and the American Aristocracy, whether it’s landed dudes who own their workers or tech dudes who, almost own their workers, and so-called Christian dudes who don’t wanna bake cakes in case they call for lavender icing.

We learned to love the Warren Court and hold it as our image of the goodness of lifetime appointments and the belief that if the same guy who proposed the internment/imprisonment of Americans of Japanese descent could turn out to oppose segregation and uphold the 4th Amendment, could evolve so could they all.

Well, good luck with that. But if it’s cause you now wanna defend the FBI, I got some movies that show even Hollywood can set the lie to that. Now I don’t mean to say that the folks who run that Republican organization are all like J Edgar, no, they are more polished than that. And should we defend them, those agents, against the GOP’s obvious partisan and personal attacks, yes, of course. We can read and chew at the same time, right?

BUT, let’s stop getting our panties or our boxers-tired of the feminine reference being used to show weakness and Warning don’t read this if you are offended by gross language-everybody knows a pussy is way more resilient and powerful than a dick-whenever a norm is broken or a law misused. It’s the American way.

I’ve gone to jail twice because I ignored the rule of law, minor laws, laws imposed for expediency sake, for sure. But I’ll do it again and I’d even prefer doing it for “greater” laws as we shall soon see the return of laws against free speech like we did under Woodrow Wilson, yeah, that guy. Check out the Sedition Act of 1918, https://www.thirteen.org/wnet/supremecourt/capitalism/sources_document1.html

Or the ones that go back to John Adams, sigh.

Relying on such a concept of the Rule of Law is a recipe for acquiescing to more racially punishing laws, more denigration of individual and group liberties and the complete collapse of our environment.

No, we need to coalesce around a group of principles against which we will give not an inch. It starts with preventing any of Trump’s SCOTUS picks from getting a fair hearing, Yep, I said fair. All those judges were picked by folks who oppose equal rights for the rest of us so the list is biased against us and we must act accordingly.

Anyway, please discuss, especially the legal minds, tear into this if you will but please define the rule of law before you do, cause really, I don’t know what you folks are worrying about. I’m worrying about the powerful abusing the weak and the need to expand rights and opportunities. Them’s my rules.

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Solo Travel, Part 1: the Airlines & Lisbon

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Traveling and vacationing are two different things. At least it seems vacationing should be relaxing and as stress free as possible. Of course that’s rarely true as getting yourself and your necessary belongings to an, often, unfamiliar place in order to sleep in an unfamiliar bed and eat unfamiliar food is not always as fun as you thought it might be. Surprise.

That’s why many people regularly vacation at the same spot where everything is familiar. But, travel is designed to bring you into new experiences. I imagine that’s why many people go on group tours or even cruises where the unfamiliar is reduced by proportional percentages. On a cruise, you get your own room which moves with you and meal choices based on what you already stipulated was familiar to you.

So here is an account of my latest Travel “Adventure.”

When I pulled my bag from the carousel in the Lisbon airport, I noticed it was soaking wet, my first observation of sunny Portugal was that it was not. On my brief guided tour segment of this trip, the guide kept repeating that this was unusual weather. I had looked it up and found that the mid 70’s was the norm for most of Portugal for the first half of June, but it was decidedly chilly and damp. [welcome to climate change=unpredictability]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VJY97l0jVA 

Dire warnings of overly hot weather never came true. By the time I actually caught up to summer weather, which, admittedly only arrived days before me, I was in the Algarve, the little tourist city of Tavira, to be exact and it had become deliciously warm, even a ittle hot.

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Tavira in the Algarve

Airlines & the Inquisition

But let’s go back a bit because I always marvel at airlines’ ability to make air travel as uncomfortable as possible. First, they warn you to arrive a day or two before your plane is due to taxi the runway endlessly. A slight exaggeration but is there a reason that all planes have to attempt to take to the air at the same time and then airline personnel expect you to arrive hours preflight so that airports can make you wait in labyrinthine lines which snake slowly on the linoleum while denying you even a cup of water?

IMG_2018-06-09_21-11-11And then because the flights are scheduled on top of each other (a scary visual to be sure,) you gotta sit on the tarmac and wait out the actual take off in a line with the other air tubes, then taxi around, then rev up, then taxi some more. Ah…by the time of actual takeoff, you are already in a paroxysm of muscle spasms due to the Inquisition-style seats and the fact that you have only a centimeter between you and your seat mates meaty arm.

The seats were designed to cause maximum pain and then reduced by 30%, all the while we have expanded by 40%.  Your lower back is sunk into your tailbone while your head is forced to jut forward and down. You then have to force it back up at much cost to your spinal health in order to view the little TV on which reside memories of earth as you knew it or knew it if you lived in Glendale in the early 60’s or the Village in the late 60’s in an enormous loft. But I digress.

I carry multiple pillows, some plush and some designed for inflation at the point when my oxygen supply has been reduced to barely breathing. I scour the internet looking for travel pillows and other accessories most of which I send back almost as soon as they arrive, some make it onto the plane with me but rarely make it off. If I were allowed scissors on the air tubes, I would have angrily slashed them to pieces before abandoning them in the seatback. But by some miracle the airline folks always seem to discover them in time to remind me of my loss. Let me not mention all the things that have actually been unwittingly left behind. I’ve already forgotten them.

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multiple pillows can fit in or around my backpack

Anyway, lines, surprise staircases, powdered creamer, multiple seized water bottles (yes in one airport after you have purchased yet another water bottle, they take it at the next gate,) kindles that inexplicably refuse to work and, why oh why don’t airline seats come with foot rests? It became far easier to focus on the brief interlude I had between planes always reduced by extravagant taxiing, I found myself racing then riding to my next air tube so that I could wait for my group which is always Group 3 or 4. Ok, one other airline query (yeah, like they’re going to read this,) why is my gate always the last or next to last one? Don’t they use the others?

Enough about flying or too much already, eh, like childbirth, it’s best forgotten or, you know, the species dies out. Arrival-I run around the airport looking for the Rick Steves designated departure area so I can get the good cabbies, ha, never found that so just got in line and it was fine. The way that driver scooted around traffic woke my bleary eyes right up and gave me someone new to respect…or fear. 20180606_212447 (1)

I arrive at my little hotel and it even had an elevator, after you climbed one short staircase, which is why I use only a carry-on which I check and a backpack which I store under my aching feet. No matter how many weeks I’m away, I still come back with at least one shirt I didn’t wear and I always chuck something I didn’t have the heart to at home on my laundry chair (don’t pretend you don’t know what that is.)

My hotelier offers me breakfast even though I’m officially not yet his guest and a map full of suggestions I’m almost too exhausted to contemplate. I inevitably go off in the wrong direction or take the wrong tram but since I didn’t get pickpocketed and eventually found my way home, I considered it all a rousing success. 20180607_200537 (1)

The next day I stumbled around in the rain, not realizing you have to open the train door yourself, doesn’t open automatically, and I began to wonder what the heck I was up to and why the heck I was traveling alone.

But by the next day, I had become the tour guide to some friends from the Bay Area whom I never see there but who had just arrived in Lisbon the day after me-thanks to a facebook tag. By then I was considered an old hand and we wandered the Alfama (medieval Moorish district) and had a wonderful lunch together after which we both had to join our respective tour companies and go our separate ways. 20180608_112121 (1)

That’s enough about this little trip for one post but I just want to state for those who think San Francisco is hilly, you haven’t seen Lisbon much less Porto or Coimbra (look them up.)

More soon…I think. Meanwhile remember, travel, like life, is not for sissies but if you have cab fare and a paid bedded room somewhere, you are waaay ahead of the majority of the world today which is moving relentlessly and in ever larger groups around the globe in search of any semblance of home. Please donate accordingly.

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