Archive for

March, 2006



Still Thumbing Through


So one of the things that I failed to mention in Monday’s much-commented on blog “How Hitch-hiking Imitates Organizing” (read it at http://tcask.blogspot.com/2006/02/how-hitch-hiking-imitates-organizing.html) was some of the other responses that I got from people who gave me rides on my trip down to Mobile. Everyone mentioned that they picked me up because I looked young and”nice” (I was wearing fairly nice looking clothes, etc.) but at least 3 of my 6 rides also said that one of the things that I had going for me was that I was white. I’m also male. And, I’ll admit it, I always tell my baby sister that she is not allowed to hitch-hike. A great friend and organizer emailed me in response to my blog entry and I wanted to share their comments on this tricky aspect of our work. How do we dialogue with a society which is dominated by white males while also bringing the populations that have such a serious stake in issue into the discussion?

Here’s the email that I received:

“I also thought about his (a friend who had hitch-hiked across the country) approach because at the end of Bomb the Suburbs he talks about how class and white male privilege allowed him to get picked up and to navigate hitchhiking throughout the country.

I wonder in a movement that is predominately white and male, how do we create a hitchhiking scenario where people of color and women would be “picked up?” Organizing in a way that pushes the envelope to allow people who do not fit the model a place to sit in the car free of the fear of being raped, lynched/killed or arrested? How do we explore the organizing paradigms that have shaped our approaches to organizing to include a race and class analysis in hopes that we all can reach our goal, together.

I agree with you suggestions about organizing. I consider myself an Southern organizer groomed by organizers of the SNCC and Ella Baker School in which they stressed the importance of dressing up, giving and doing your best for the people you serve. I also wonder how that is changing in the south and abroad. Could it be intimidating or a boundary for some people we are hoping to organize?

At any rate, this is our movement and we are making waves in the South.”

I’m not sure that there are easy answers here, but that makes asking the questions all the more important to me, and they are questions that we have to be able to answer in almost any movement for social change.

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual claim among men is the erectile malfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile dysfunction can be the symptom a strong heartiness problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile malfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying heartiness conditions that can be very much dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile dysfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

shout out to my buddy kristin at amnesty international…

one of the ways in which state organizations experiencing what i call “resource deprivation” can max their productive output is to establish deep-seated relationships with national organizations…that way us small fish can tap into a potpourri of skills, ideas, and programs that we would never be able to generate and sustain all by our state-based lonesomes…

so – yo, yo, yo i want to shout out at my good buddy k-bear (that’s kristin houle for you neophytes) up at the program to abolish the death penalty of amnesty international usa

now k-bear rocks our world down here in tennessee which shouldn’t be unexpected because she’s a close-by neighbor from the bluegrass state just north of us on i-65…but more than just a help oriented personality and naturally curly hair she runs point for the national weekend of faith in action on the death penalty annually facilitated in the last half of october…

now down here in the belly of the former confederate states where we “enjoy” a culture of violence and death second to none other in the country and that includes the use of executions (legal or extrajudicial) as a historical tool of control over certain populations (gil scott-heron knows what i’m talkin’ about)…if we’re going to successfully challenge the death penalty (i.e. junk that “bad boy”) we will have to meet up with people where they interact in the south and overwhelmingly those opportunities come through the doors of faith communities…

so if you’re serious about organizing in your state the nwfa every october ought to be one of your core tools to establish new contacts, initiate relationships, and ultimately facilitate the empowerment of local leaders and activists to carry out a coordinated, strategic assault upon capital punishment…

tcask has set 3 years worth of goals related to nwfa a part of its capacity building goals…

but hey, it’s not all work and no-play — just the other day i received a note from k-bear congratulating me on winning the on-line scavenger hunt created to teach amnesty death penalty activists how to navigate the workgroup manager…i received a nice amnesty international journal but more importantly a nice note from the k-bear…

so all you state orgs get jiggy with the real deal and establish relationships with national peoples and you just keep on rockin our ever lovin’ world down here in tennessee k-bear!!!

peace out – <3

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be highly dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

All the Things We Do

At TCASK, we spend a lot of time on the big picture, the huge systemic injustice that is the death penalty system, but for many abolitionists, it’s also important to bring that system back down to the personal level and offer companionship to those people caught up in the system. With that in mind, below is a recent announcement from Tennessee’s incredible Visitor on Death Row program.

On May 13, 2006 there will be a Visitor On Death Row orientation at Riverbend Maximum Security Institute from 9 a.m. til noon. This will include a trip to Death Row. The orientation is for those who are interested in possibly making a commitment to be a friend to someone with a death sentence in Tennessee. I need the names of those who wish to be a part of this orientation as quickly as possible. Unless your name is on the list to get in, you will not be allowed to stay for the orientation. Additional information will be sent closer to the time of the orientation to those who indicate an interest. Please call or send an e-mail indicating your interest to: Michelle Baier at Baier-Lambert@webtv.net or 615-297-0525

Visiting on Death Row
In 1978, when Tennessee’s new, allegedly constitutional death penalty law began sending people to death row, the folks at Southern Prison Ministry decided that everyone under a death sentence needed a friend. So they started recruiting a visitor for every condemned prisoner who wanted one.

Over the years, as Tennessee’s Death Row has gradually filled up, through a variety of channels others have begun visiting individuals under a death sentence, and many faithful and rich relationships have been formed. Then in 1992, as the pace of capital sentences began to pick up across the state, the Visitor On Death Row (VODR) program began an effort to find a non-family visitor for every death sentenced prisoner who has no other regular visitor and wants a VODR friend. VODR planners also decided to make available opportunities for sharing and support among Death Row visitors in order to build community, prevent burnout, and offer an opportunity for consultation with problems.

In early 1993, VODR began doing visitor orientation sessions once or twice a year on Saturday mornings at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, including a walk to the Death Row area where visitation takes place. Since that time, the orientation team has recruited and oriented over 100 persons, mostly from area churches. Many of those persons are still visiting the Death Row prisoner with whom they were paired. Others have opted not to visit, moved out of town, been unable to “click” with their prisoner, or seen the prisoner transferred to another prison after having the death sentence changed to life.

VODR orienters, who have all visited Death Row prisoners for many years, offer individual support and consultation to newer Death Row visitors as needed and as called upon. One feature VODR orienters wish to emphasize is the support group and mentors that newer persons will need to actively engage so to stay the original course the orientation emphasizes; that of being a friend and to take the visits as a serious commitment. The leader of the VODR Support Group is Theeda Murphy. The orienters are also available to help out with questions. Names and contact information are added at the end of this article.

If there ever were an opportunity to be with the poor and marginalized, this is it. The most common characteristics of those who wind up on Death Row are likely to be these: (1) they are poor; (2) they are charged with killing a white middle- or upper-class person; (3) they had a bad lawyer who had few resources to work with; and (4) they came from an abusive home environment and stand a good chance of having permanent brain damage. For some VODR visitors, visits to the house of the condemned are rooted in the convictions that these, too, are children of God, our own brothers and sisters, and for one of them to be killed by the state would constitute just one more crucifixion in a day when violent pseudo-solutions to the problem of violence are more the norm than the exception. However, you do not have to be of any religious persuasion to visit. As a matter of fact, the purpose of visiting is to be a friend, not to proselytize.

Our visits with prisoners do not signify that we condone murder or want convicted killers to be freed. There are long prison sentences available for murder (which are used much more often than the death sentence anyway), and many Death Row visitors also work with, and on behalf of, crime victims as well as prisoners.

To be a visitor or penpal call Michelle Baier at 615-297-0525 or Baier-Lambert@webtv.net

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as core trouble. Albeit the erectile malfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile dysfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be very much dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

Home on the Range

Last night I visited Cookeville and spoke at St. Thomas Aquinas church, and it was a great trip – great audience, fun talk, interesting questions. I visited a friends farm in the area while I was out there, and in fact a lot of the people in the audience were farmers. Charlotte Burks, who represents the area, is a farmer.

Matter of fact, if you look at a map of Tennessee, you’ve got Memphis way to the West, Nashville in the middle, and Chattanooga and Knoxville over in the East, but there is a lot of in between room with not a lot in it – at least not a lot of people. Notice any people in the picture above?

This can be a challenge for an organizer. How do we get people together in areas where they are spread out? Because there are a lot of those areas in Tennessee and we won’t win this thing if we don’t address the whole state. So how do we do it (I’m really asking here)?

Well, I don’t claim to have it all figured out, but one secret is the same as with any organizing: Go where the people are. Especially in rural areas we need to find where people congregate already. Number 1 place – probably churches, so go to churches. Another is colleges. Even rural areas have ’em and you can find collections of young people with a lot of energy and, if they’re way out there, maybe not a lot to do. ( for instance, here’s a typical conversation: “What do you want to do Friday night?” “I don’t know, dude, this town is lame and everyone IDs.” “Hey! We could abolish the death penalty!” ) And there are probably other organizations as well. So we just have to keep working at finding them. Where are the people in your area? Tell us and we’ll go talk to them. Or better yet, go talk to them yourself!

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual claim among men is the erectile dysfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile malfunction can be the symptom a strong soundness problem such as soul trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying soundness conditions that can be so dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.

even for “big picture” people the success is in the details…

it would be amazing if all one had to do to set a strategic event in motion was, like dorothy, click one’s heels 3x and there you have it – a Legislative Letter Writing Lobby Day

ahhh – but it doesn’t happen THAT way – it’s a lot of planning, coaxing, evaluation, encouraging, and – oh yes – the necessary detail of work, work, work…

consider just yesterday, february 28th, the day before the 4th annual tcask march 1st write-a-thon…you see, tcask uses international death penalty abolition day as a statewide collective action tool and…

and our state office creates an organizer’s toolkit, selects the politicians to target, generates the primary message in letter form, supports local organizers with advice and ideas, handles both media advisories and press releases – well i think you get the idea: we empower local volunteer leaders by supplying them with all the tools necessary to make it easy for them to organize a successful event…

consider some details from yesterday…

  • check and make sure that all media advisories sent out monday went to the proper media contacts for each event
  • send to all potential letter writers(~1200 tennesseans) an updated target list (including chairs and vice-chairs of the house and senate judiciary committees) with full addresses and the recommended letter text
  • create customized letters addresses to the 7 primary targets (the 4 above plus, governor, lt. governor, and speaker of the house), customize the text as necessary (ask the governor to exercise party leadership rather than support bill #), and e-mail them as attachments to the local leaders of organized events, uh, adding additional letters for their specific district representative and senator as possible…
  • write a press release for march 1st, customize it for each organized event assigning quotes to the local volunteer leader in each one and list them as the contact person, and e-mail or fax it to the media representatives in their specific communities (as was done with media advisories the day before)

then go buy a bottle of cheap merlot, catch the #10 bus, transfer to the #26 bus, stop off at kroger’s to get your mother a gallon of milk, walk a mile more to home, eat some rice-aroni knock-off for dinner, and crash before you get the cork out of the bottle …

wake up the next day and start all over again…

so when you read about a successful, strategic collective action remember what the details are behind its success…but check your ego at the door – it’s just what organizers do…

Fairly, there are numerous aspects you would like to think about medications. All discount medicaments save money, but few online drugstores offer better deals than other online drugstores. There isn’t anything you can’t order online anymore. Remedies like Deltasone ordinarily is used to treat diseases such as eye problems. Glucocorticoids naturally occurring steroids, which are easily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. There are varied drugs for every conditions. Cialis is a remedy prescribed to treat many illnesses. What do you already know about long term side effects of cialis? What consumers talk about how long does it take for cialis to take effect? A general sexual appeal among men is the erectile disfunction. Sexual problems mostly signal deeper problems: low libido or erectile disfunction can be the symptom a strong health problem such as heart trouble. Albeit the erectile dysfunction itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, erectile disfunction is sometimes one of the early warning symptoms of other underlying health conditions that can be highly dangerous. Unfortunately nearly all over-the-counter medicines have sometimes dangerous aftereffects, from muscle aches to death. If you buy any erectile disfunction medicaments like Cialis, check with a physician that they are sure to take with your other drugs. Do not take unwanted medications. Take Cialis to your local chemist’s shop which will dispose of them for you.