Humanity and the actions at UC Davis

I don’t even really know where to start on this. I used to blog politically here a lot more back in 2007 but have tried to refrain from that for several reasons now. This, however, has struck such a nerve in me that I have to say something.

Police Pepper Spray Peaceful Protestors

First, if you live under a rock (or another country) and don’t know about the incident of police brutality on the UC Davis campus, then read this and watch the videos if you can stomach them. I almost didn’t. I couldn’t get through the whole thing without working myself into such anger that I had to leave the room. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to believe something like this would happen in our day.

Why? Maybe I live in a bubble. The Occupy movement here in Austin has been dramatically more civil than in other parts of the nation. While there have been a few arrests, there’s been little to no drama, and the APD has been supportive of the safety of the protestors to the extent that they willingly stop downtown traffic to allow the protestors to parade through the streets. I think this is a direct reflection of the education system in Austin and the high acceptance and tolerance levels in our liberal Texan city. We’re lucky. Some folks, like the students and faculty at UC Davis, are not. The police man who pepper sprayed the young and old who sat on the sidewalk with their arms linked in peaceful protest did nothing but prove that peace and solidarity and the strength of community can and will win out over violence.

It makes me despair in the future of humanity, but gives me hope that there are people out there who will give their all to preserve peace.

The Despicable Actions of the Administration

This arcticle by UC Davis professor Bob Ostertag is the best article I’ve read so far about the protest and why it and the actions of the administration were so horrendous. He mentions to the health and safety hazards of pepper spray and how, days after the brutal attack, there are several students who are still sick and burned from the chemicals.

“As with chili peppers, some people tolerate pepper spray well, while others have extreme reactions. It is not known why this is the case. As a result, if a doctor sees pepper spray used in a prison, he or she is required to file a written report. And regulations prohibit the use of pepper spray on inmates in all circumstances other than the immediate threat of violence. If a prisoner is seated, by definition the use of pepper spray is prohibited. Any prison guard who used pepper spray on a seated prisoner would face immediate disciplinary review for the use of excessive force. Even in the case of a prison riot in which inmates use extreme violence, once a prisoner sits down he or she is not considered to be an imminent threat. And if prison guards go into a situation where the use of pepper spray is considered likely, they are required to have medical personnel nearby to treat the victims of the chemical agent.

Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not.”

Thank you

The Shadow was Only a Small & Passing Thing

When using your VOICE becomes a crime so heinous it “forces” officers to use violence on children, my faith in humanity dwindles. My heart breaks. And at the same time, my spirit is uplifted by the community of people, young and old, who refuse to give in, who link arms and raise their voices louder, and who, no matter how many times they are beaten and burned and kicked, refuse to act in kind and instead remain peaceful and connected in their solidarity and beliefs. They remind me that there is still beauty and hope left in humanity and they are the ones that will save us in the end. Thank you to those old souls who know the importance of never giving up for what you believe in.

The Girl EffectYou may have already heard of The Girl Effect. If you don’t know, it’s “the unique potential of 600 million adolescent girls to end poverty for themselves and the world.” In other words, it’s an organization dedicated to improving the lives of young girls and giving them the means of educating themselves and working towards making the world a better place.

“The Girl Effect is a movement. It’s social change in action. It’s about you using your voice, your talents, and your community to help girls help themselves—and, as a result, everybody else.

Created by people at the Nike Foundation, the Novo Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls, its purpose is to spread the word about what girls can do and to recruit other powerful girl champions, like you. Armed with the tools and the network you need to raise awareness—and a little elbow grease—you can change the world.”

I won’t bore you with any more descriptions. Just watch this.

The Girl Effect

It’s a small ripple. Helping just one girl. But that ripple grows and causes more and that one, that one counted. It’s like the Starfish Effect. Every single one matters and it makes an impact on generations. You can make a difference too. It’s our responsibility to make the world a better place and we can do it. This isn’t just about giving one girl a few more years of schooling. This is about the small that makes up the whole. This is about HIV and poverty and it’s about Human Rights and the values we place on people that are seen as different from us. This is about saving a planet before it throws itself off the edge of the universe.

This is about doing what’s right. And it starts with one girl. That’s what the Girl Effect is.

What You Can Do To Help

Raise awareness. This post isn’t just from me. Starting today, bloggers from all over the world are blogging about the Girl Effect. It’s a campaign to make people see that this HUGE issue has a simple solution. Want to help? It’s easy. Write a blog post. You can find more information about what to write and what to include on Tara Mohr’s Girl Effect page, and you can see a lot more blog posts from other folks on the campaign page.

Please join us.

Find out more about The Girl Effect:

In Which I Think I’ve Eaten Too Many Stars. I Mean Sugar.

Lately, (psh, lately? How about for the last four years?) I seem to spend all of my time online. Mainly twitter, which is where you can usually find me. So when do I ever have time to draw? I have no answer for you, though I miss it. For awhile, a friend of mine and I tried to motivate each other by doing weekly drawing challenges, but it kind of fizzled out because life got in the way. I haven’t given up on it yet though. I will persist.

(You hear that, Jason, I am going to irritate the hell out of you until you draw me a spider!)

Ahem. I have managed to get a few sketches out though, and while I don’t think they’re that good, they’re at least getting me into the drawing mindset. And the comic mindset as well. There’s some big motivation happening on The Family Menagerie front. It’s coming back. When? Not sure. But it’s coming. If Ash has anything to say about it. Which I’m sure she does. Though it might all be taking a back seat once we start D&D’ing next week. Oh right. Did you not know I was a nerd?

You must be new.

Where was I? ART. Have some.

Sometimes we like to chase stars. And sometimes we like to eat them. They taste like sugar. No, really. Oh but I did mention sketches. Have some of those too. Because I like to draw things like hands, flying space Stegosauruses, shy moose, and Jackalopes in hats. I’m eclectic. Did you not know that?

Seriously, are you new?

& Because you can’t leave without a Totoro

It’s been a Miyazaki kind of month and Studio Ghibli makes my heart happy. And because Ash and I are nerds and like to collect things like giant stuffed monsters and talking cats. If you haven’t ever seen a Studio Ghibli film, preferably Miyazaki, do yourself a favor and go out and rent one. Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Kiki’s Delivery Service… so many. Just go google them and pick one. They’re all amazing. My Neighbor Totoro is a favorite in this house. Can you tell?

Now your heart can be happy too.

A Plea for Rain in Texas

We need rain here in Texas. Badly.

That’s a picture from Big Dog Rescue’s Facebook page. They’re located in the Austin area, and their Vice President just had her house burned down and they’re looking for fosters to take in animals displaced. The Bastrop County Animal Shelter was evacuated as well and thanks to the awesome folks at Austin Pets Alive and the Austin Humane Society, all the animals were saved and they’re looking for donations and temporary fosters.

If you’re in Texas and want to help in some way, check out the Help For Fire Victims Facebook page and keep updated with the news on the Statesman, they’ve been on top of everything. It’s been crazy down here, and today is supposed to be worse. If you haven’t heard, Central Texas is being hit HARD with fires right now. The biggest being the one in Bastrop that has burned up to 25,000 acres since yesterday, jumped the Colorado River twice, and has desecrated more than 300 houses. Over 5,000 people have been evacuated so far, and a mother and her 18-month-old child were killed. The winds from the recent hurricane aren’t helping. You can check out the placement of all fire activity on this page.

Ash and I are in east Austin and while the fires are supposedly moving away from us, we’ve still come up with our evacuation plan (packing up 20 animals is no easy feat). Standing outside in our front yard, the smell of smoke is strong. It’s scary. If we didn’t have so many fosters already, I know we’d both be at the shelter taking in animals right now. I’ll be continually nagging friends all day to make sure they’re okay.

Please send good thoughts, positive vibes, and lots of rain.

Viva Wisconsin! I love you!

We Are All Badgers Now!

I was born and raised in Wisconsin – lived there for the first 22 years of my life, and now the whole country has turned their eyes to our little farming state full of corn fields, cows, and Amish folks. I miss it. I miss Wisconsin so bad that sometimes I’ll eat nothing but cheese for days. Brings me a little closer to home.

I just wanted to show my support for my fellow Wisconsinites. To the teachers and firefighters, the policeman and the rest of the middleclass union workers who have taken over the streets of Madison and to the thousands of supporters who have chosen to protest the treatment of their fellow man. You inspire me. I am there in spirit, walking beside you, and demanding fair treatment. I miss you all.

My feet may be in Texas, but my heart is in Wisconsin.