Read more at the Matt 6:24 blog!
Read more at the Privilege blog!
I recently did an interview and food rescue mission with a reporter from the Religion News Service, regarding the role that my faith plays in my identity, worldview, and praxis. Little did I know, this story was soon to pop up on other major news sites, including the Washington Post and Huffington Post, as well as faith-based publications like Sojourners.
Read more at the Matt 6:24 blog!
And it should go without saying that the rhetorical "angry black person" is nothing more than ad hominem dismissal of legitimate frustration with a white-dominated racist society. But in case you needed the "angry black person" myth dispelled scientifically, I've linked to a great piece by Black Geoscientists (@BlackGeoRocks).
Read more at the Privilege blog!
It's been real cold in the city this winter. I took the photo to the right after a lesson in January, during the first "polar vortex." It depicts Midtown East's 2nd Avenue at rush hour.
The cars may have been stopped, but I couldn't (can't) let the frost, snow, or cold get between me and my work. So I have a few cool updates on the freegan front this week. For one, I wrapped up a promo video last week for the Uptown Freegans meetup group. To the rescue!
The next meeting and food rescue mission will be this Wednesday at Barnard College, 8:30p. If you're in the neighborhood, I hope you'll join us. Just be sure to dress warm!
The other news is that I'm teaming up with Polish sculptor, Pawel Althamer, and a bunch of other NYC buskers to blow the minds of local tourists and passersby. Here's a brief description of the author/exhibit and how I'll be participating.
Since the early 1990s, Althamer (b. 1967 Warsaw, Poland) has established a unique artistic practice featuring an expanded approach to sculptural representation and consistently experimental models of social collaboration. Althamer is predominantly known for the figurative sculptures he creates of himself, his family, and various other individuals within his community. Beyond simple portraiture, these sculptures, in addition to the other activities he is involved in, highlight the complex social, political, and psychological networks in which he lives and operates.
In the past, Althamer has realized a number of projects that seek to subtly alter reality through nearly imperceptible interventions into public space. For his New York exhibition, Althamer has arranged for street musicians to play in front of the New Museum building on the Bowery over the course of the show with the music being broadcast throughout the Third Floor gallery.
The exhibit will be held at the New Museum on 235 Bowery, between Stanton and Rivington Streets, from February 12th to April 13th. I'll be performing on the opening date this Wednesday, and alternating subsequent Wednesdays, between 11a and 2:30p. If you're in the neighborhood on any of these days/times, I hope you'll join us. Just be sure to dress warm!
I could easily spend several days watching the footage that's come out of the political unrest in Ukraine the past two months: the peaceful protesters being brutalized by the storm-trooper police, and then violent police forces recoiling in fear as the protesters have become - well, to put it lightly - not so peaceful.
Like other protests and uprisings around the world (Turkey, Brazil, Egypt), I've been following the current events in Ukraine with great interest. As a protester and witness at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in downtown Manhattan, fall 2011, I'm ever inspired by the courage and tenacity of people who stand up against an oppressive and violent police state (even though I don't condone violent resistance). This is one major way in which the people of New York City, and really of the whole country, failed the demonstrators at Zuccotti Park and similar so-called occupations across the US. Countless instances of police brutality against truly peaceful demonstrators were recorded and widely disseminated both online and in (a few... very few) channels of the mainstream media, but still people in the US did not respond.
I won't speculate as to why folks didn't respond (at least not here, now); but the fact remains. So watching such revolutionary events unfold in other places - it's just energizing.
Now, I won't trivialize the issues in Ukraine with any commentary on the motivations of the protesters, government, or police. While I've maintained a cursory understanding of what everyone is after, I really can't speak to the legitimacy of the protesters' initial outcry or to the alleged (and seemingly very real) police misconduct. It's a complicated situation, there are two sides to every story, "the police are just doing their job," and all that malarky (having been at OWS myself and heard similar comments - dismissals - about it, I use "malarky" with much calculation).
Rather, what I wish to highlight here is one particular tactic that emerged from Kiev a couple weeks ago and that strikes me as effective, peaceful, and - best of all - beautiful.
Protesters literally held up mirrors to the faces of the police.
For one thing, it should terrify the officer to see him or herself approaching in the mirror - the same terror that the protesters feel whenever the police come at them. Secondly, the police must - they must - come to terms with who they are and what they've become.
I tried a similar tactic at OWS. When the police would follow us on a march, I would pick one or two of them, to speak as their conscience. It went something along these lines:
This is your conscience speaking! Why are you doing this? Can't you see that these are peaceful demonstrators? Why are you taking out your baton? These people are not armed! Don't just follow orders, listen to what I'm telling you. I'm your conscience! What I'm saying to you now should take precedence over whatever you're hearing in your earpiece.
And so on.
I'm not sure how effective this tactic was, as it seemed at the time that those police officers still refused to obey their conscience. But who knows what impact it may have had? It certainly looks like the officer in the photo above is having a moment of deep introspection.
Then again, maybe he's thinking about how he's going to snatch the mirror from the woman's hand and bash her on the head with it. Whatever it takes to quash a peaceful redress of grievances, I guess (it's all in a day's work!).
Perhaps the prospect of peaceful revolution in Ukraine is bygone, but I still anticipate such a movement in the US. Here's hoping that if - when - the police come at us again, the rest of y'all won't just stand idly by.
And - if you do decide to join us - be sure to bring your mirrors.
NYC-based musician, writer, busker, freegan, revolutionary.