Tag Archives: justice

Playing for Change:Song Around the World “One Love”

A friend of mine, sent me a link to this today and I loved it! One more example of the power of music (and the arts) to bring about change in the world. It’s also a great Bob Marley song they are performing. Enjoy!

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Singing for Freedom

I have LOVED this group for many years: Sweet Honey in the Rock
I saw them in Nashville 9 or 10 years ago and I saw them on stage at Michigan 20 or 25 years ago. I heard today that Michelle Obama hosted an event at the White House to celebrate Black History month and guess who the invited musicians/singers were?!!?!
That’s right….how sweet it is!!!
From the night stage at michfest to the White House…
These women rock!


Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 at 5:30 pm
Remarks by the First Lady at Sweet Honey in the Rock event

For Immediate Release February 18, 2009

East Room
4:20 P.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA: Well, hello. Welcome to the White House. How are you guys doing?


MRS. OBAMA: That’s good. It’s good to see you all. I’ve heard you all have been just quiet as mice. Have you been behaving in here? Is it exciting?


MRS. OBAMA: Come on, it’s exciting. Isn’t this a beautiful house?


MRS. OBAMA: Well, we are so, so very proud and happy to have you here.

First, I want to thank the Admiral for sharing his story with us. I hope you all were listening, because this is a very wise man who is a very amazing professional in his own right, and he has made our transition to this place just fun and welcoming. He is our friend. So let’s give another round of applause. (Applause.)

I wanted you to hear from the Admiral because he plays a very important role in making the White House a wonderful place for the President and his family, and that goes for any President who comes through these doors. What the Admiral does for us he would do for any family who lived here. And he makes this a very special place for people to visit, not just here in this country but from around the world.

Like Barack and I, the Admiral didn’t rise to his position because of wealth or because he had a lot of material resources. See, we were all very much kids like you guys. We just figured out that one day that our fate was in our own hands. We made decisions to listen to our parents and to our teachers, and to work very, very hard for everything in life. And then we worked even harder any time anybody doubted us.

Each and every day the Admiral and his staff, who run this beautiful house, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism. It’s amazing to watch them. They do their jobs with pride and grace. And that’s one thing I hope that you all pick up, is the level of pride and grace that you put into anything you do. They work very hard to make the White House a warm family home and a great presidential residence commanding pride and respect throughout this country and around the world.

As President and First Lady, Barack and I are just the caretakers of this house. We’re just borrowing it for a little bit. But while we live here, we’re your neighbors, okay? And we want you to feel welcome here at the White House, which really is, as the Admiral said, it’s the people’s house that belongs to all of us. So just remember that, okay?

And as the people’s house, we believe the White House should be a place for learning and for sharing new and different ideas, sharing new forms of art and culture, and history and different perspectives. We want you to visit and we want you to take advantage of these opportunities and maybe see something for yourselves that maybe you never thought you could do or be.

So I’m happy to welcome you here for our little Black History Month celebration. I’m glad you guys are here.

So many milestones in black history have touched this very house. Just to name a few, did you know that African American slaves helped to build this house?


MRS. OBAMA: You knew that? Did you know that right upstairs in a bedroom called the Lincoln Bedroom, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that marked an important step forward in ending slavery? Did you know that happened right here?


MRS. OBAMA: You knew that? Well, did you know that in 1878, Rutherford B. Hayes was President at the time, and Marie Seilka became the first soprano, the first African American artist, to perform right here in the White House? That was in 1878. Did you know that? Because I didn’t know that.


MRS. OBAMA: And in the 1960s, did you know that Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders met here with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson to debate and discuss the end of segregation? Did you know that?


MRS. OBAMA: Pretty cool, huh?


MRS. OBAMA: Yes. Well, you’re yawning. Wake up! (Laughter.) I’m just kidding. (Laughter.)

And of course, who lives here now? President Obama. And he’s making history every single day. Why? Why?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: He is the first African American President of the United States.

MRS. OBAMA: That’s correct. (Laughter.) Would you like to stand? (Laughter.) You want to say that one more time?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: The first African American President of the United States of America.

MRS. OBAMA: Very good. (Applause.) So you guys know your history. That’s a good thing. That means your parents and teachers are doing their jobs.

But I encourage you not only to focus on the famous names that you read in the history books or that you see on TV, but I want you to also think about the extraordinary people who live in your own world, the folks in your own lives — parents, grandparents, yes, teachers — all those folks who play important roles in black history and American history every single day.

You’re living right among them — people like Admiral Rochon, who has his grandchildren here today. Where are Alex and Olivia? Where are you, guys? Where are they? Hello, welcome. It’s good to see you all. That’s the Admiral’s grandchildren. Let’s give them a welcome. (Applause.)

All of these folks who are in your world right now are writing a chapter in history of their own. But the truth is, is that the next chapter in history will be written by all of you. Did you realize that? The next chapter in history is written by you.

So you have to ask yourselves, what will you do in life to help someone else in need? You have to ask yourselves, what are you going to do to make your own community stronger? What are you going to do to make sure that this nation is even greater? And what are you doing right now in school and in your neighborhoods to prepare yourselves to assume a level of responsibility and to be good citizens? Those are the questions that you can ask yourselves right now, even at your age.

And think about, as the Admiral says, getting up every single day and working hard, as hard as you can; putting your best foot forward all the time, not just when somebody is looking, but every single moment; and supporting your family, the folks in your own households; making your beds, putting the dishes up, cleaning your rooms. That’s part of the preparation. How do you help your neighbor? And how are you going to build a better life and a future for yourselves?

That’s not just a story that Barack Obama is writing, or Admiral Rochon is writing. Those are the stories that we’re all writing together. And you’re an important part of that.

So we are so excited about the future that you are going to take hold of in just a few years. So I welcome you again to the White House, and I hope you enjoy what is going to be a phenomenal performance. We’ve got some special guests with us today who are also national treasurers, a group — one of my favorite groups in the whole wide world, Sweet Honey In The Rock. Doesn’t that name sound good?


MRS. OBAMA: Well, their voices sound even better. This group was founded in 1973 by Bernice Johnson Reagon. Sweet Honey In The Rock has continued the African American tradition of using music and song to advance freedom and social justice. So will you guys now help me welcome them? (Applause.) Give a big round of applause to Sweet Honey In The Rock. (Applause.)

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Happy Valentines Day

From Courage Campaign
“Fidelity”: Watch the video and join our letter to the state Supreme Court, signed by over 200,000 people
Tell the Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8, reject Ken Starr’s case, and let loving, committed
couples marry. DEADLINE EXTENDED: March 2

We, the undersigned, share President Barack Obama’s view that “for too long, issues of LGBT rights have been exploited by those seeking to divide us. It’s time to move beyond polarization and live up to our founding promise of equality
by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect.”
Yet, on December 19, 2008, Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and seeking to nullify the marriages of 18,000 devoted same-sex couples solemnized before Prop 8 passed.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments in this case on March 5, with a decision expected within 90 days. We, the undersigned, ask that the Court enforce the equality promised to each of us by our constitution and invalidate
Prop 8. So doing will protect all loving, committed couples in California — including the 18,000 who said “I do” last year — and prevent the initiative process from being a tool for stripping vulnerable minorities of precious constitutional rights.
As Americans who believe in the rule of law and fundamental civil rights, we know that Ken Starr and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund’s shameful attempt to nullify equal protection and all these bonded unions will be condemned in the eyes
of history. We know that, ultimately, love will prevail, no matter how hard they try to fight it.
241,152 people have signed this letter*.
NEW GOAL: 250,000 signers by March 2.
Please add your name now!

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Accused Murderer of Tiffany Berry Kills Again

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition

For Immediate Release: Dated August 2, 2008

Accused Murderer of Tiffany Berry Kills Again

Last night, WREG-TV in Memphis reported that the man who was charged with the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry, has now been arraigned on a second murder charge. On Thursday, authorities in Shelby County charged DeAndre Blake with the murder of his own two year old daughter.

At the time of this second murder, Blake was walking the streets of Memphis as a free man on a $20,000 bond. According to Berry’s family, Blake admitted he had killed Berry because he did not like the way she had “touched” him.

“We believe these ‘trans panic’ and ‘gay panic’ defenses need to be rejected and that local law enforcement needs to begin aggressive prosecution of all such cases as hate crimes,” said Dr. Marisa Richmond, President of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. “If the judge had set a more appropriate bond, or if the Shelby County District Attorney had been more aggressive at scheduling a trial date, this man might not have been out walking the streets for two and half years and that child might still be alive,” continued Richmond.

This latest tragedy is just one more in a growing number of anti-GLBT hate crimes across Tennessee. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition insists that the murder of Tiffany Berry be prosecuted as a hate crime. We also insist that the Memphis Police Department officers who brutally beat Duanna Johnson, an African American transgender woman, on February 12, also be prosecuted on hate crimes charges. We also urge the Memphis Police Department to step up its investigation of the July 1 murder of Ebony Whitaker, another African American transgender woman.

In other parts of Tennessee, we insist that local authorities aggressively investigate and prosecute additional hate crimes including the murder of Nakia Baker in Nashville on January 7, 2007, the ongoing harassment of a gay man at his home in McMinnville, and last weekend’s tragic shooting in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. All of these events show that there needs to be increased education across Tennessee about the GLBT community, and a more serious look at hate crimes covering both sexual orientation and gender identity.

We also urge members of the Tennessee General Assembly to address the inadequacies of Tennessee’s hate crimes statute in Tennessee Code Annotated 40-35-114 (23), as soon as they reconvene in January. This should include adding “gender identity or expression” to the language. It is also time for the United States Congress to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.

We also wish to extend our condolences to the other family members of the child who lost her life so senselessly this week.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC)
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
(615)353-1834 fax

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Stop the Hate

Thank you Ellen for saying what needs to be said. Everyone please watch this and the forward it to everyone you know.

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At Halliburton/KBR, sexual assault is part of the workplace.

Jamie Lee Jones, a young computer tech, was gang-raped on her fourth day by coworkers after being drugged; the other, Tracy Barker, was sexually assaulted by a State Department employee. Both immediately reported their assaults, only to have KBR first lock them in isolation, then question their accusations.

read more | digg story

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Tomorrow can’t come soon enough

Waiting for the Bush regime to go is like watching paint dry. I worry with so much attention focused on the election happenings we will be distracted enough that Bush and/or Cheney can pull off some more crap that the next president will be saddled with the undoing. Iran? Permanent bases in Iraq? Right wing appointments? More economic disaster strategies and shocks?

We must hold them accountable but it may be after they leave office. Meanwhile we must also remember to keep our eyes and ears on them throughout this next year. There is still much damage they can do and they still hold the power to do it. As the mainstream media saturates the airwaves in the coming months with nonstop “horse race” coverage (instead of real discussion of the candidates issues and plans) don’t forget to look to other news sources for what else is happening in the world. There are many many great blogs out there. Go check them out. Do a search for “blogs & progressive” for a starting place if you don’t know where to begin.

An informed public will ensure we are doing all we can to protect this democracy. Voting is great but it’s not enough. If we come out in huge numbers in the fall the election can’t be stolen. From the numbers I’m seeing in the primaries democrats are voting in huge numbers over republicans. I MEAN HUGE! Aint it great? -Peace and Love, Val

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Fascism…are we there yet?

To paraphrase Paul Krugman in his book Conscience of a Liberal, I too grew up taking the America I knew then for granted. I also protested the bombing in Cambodia. I attended my first “sit-in” at the JFK center in Boston. I was sixteen at the time and skipped school to do it. Through the years, I protested injustices directed toward women, gays & lesbians, blacks & immigrants. I refused to eat lettuce because of Caesar Chavis. I believed that we were going to wrestle “it” away from the corrupted politicians and put America back on the road to Peace, Justice and the pursuit of happiness for ALL.

Now, I’m 51 years old and after living the last seven years under the neo-con’s wet dream called the Bush Administration, I am concerned for the health of this democracy. These days I ask things like “is fascism just around the corner? Or are we already in it?” Everybody throws around Hitler and the nazi link when they talk about fascism but really Mussolini was a much better example.

Fascism is when the government and corporations merge. It’s when everything is privatized. Like schools (New Orleans) and and there’s private armies (Blackwater) and secret prisons or “gulags” (Guantanamo & Abbu Garab) and the government spies on it’s own people (The Patriot Act) and the media is controlled. (5 US corporations now own all US media)

It’s when the government scares the hell out of it’s own people by telling them of threats inside and outside of the country. (The “War on Terror”) It’s like when Government officials start acting like thugs or the mob (Blackwater roamed the streets of New Orleans with guns after Katrina and they are building facilities now all around the country) It when a country harasses it’s citizens that speak out against it’s policies (200-300 people were on the “terrorist watch list before 9/11 today 850,000+ are on the list now including Sen. Ted Kennedy, anti-war activists, liberals and others)

It’s also when the government singles out individuals who speak out (purging of 8 U.S. Attorneys, CIA worker denied secret clearence after saying waterboarding is torture on her blog) and Dissent is unpatriotic (The Dixie Chicks) or treason (Editor of the NY Times attacked by Republicans in Congress for publishing what Bush called secret documents) Fascism is also when the rule of law is suspended. (The Posse Comitatus Act – Bush is violating it by saying he can now use the army for domestic law enforcement)

Well, I guess I better try to get some sleep. It’s late. I had a few things on my mind. Better go hit the sack because soon it will be time to WAKE UP!

Peace and love,

Naomi Wolf’s 10 steps to Fascism

The Conscience of a Liberal
Paul Krugman

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TEP needs your help to reach across Tennessee:Adoption Rights Update

Dear Valerie,

Yesterday the State Attorney General issued an opinion saying that there is no legal barrier to adoption by same-sex couples. While we welcome that opinion, I’m sad to report that less than 24 hours later, the far Right has announced an attack on our community’s adoption rights.

According to today’s (Nashville) City Paper, “Rep. Glen Casada (R-College Grove), who was one of the co-sponsoring Republicans on the 2005 bill, said he or one of his colleagues would try to ban same-sex adoption again this year. ‘Children should only be adopted by a man and a woman,’ Casada said. ‘That’s what we’ve built our society upon is a man and a woman raising the next generation. And it works.’”

In 2005 our lobbying efforts and your support helped defeat these kinds of attacks.

What will you do to make sure that deserving children find good homes and that our adoption rights are protected? We have an opportunity to prepare.

Will you commit to attend the fourth annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill on February 19, 2008 and meet with your legislators about this issue? It sounds like a long time away, but it will be here before we know it after the holiday rush. We need people from every part of the state at Legislative Plaza that day to defeat this bill. For more information about this event, email public policy chair Marisa Richmond at marisa@tnequalityproject.com.

Will you consider holding a town hall meeting or even a house party in your part of the state to discuss the adoption issue in November, December, or January? Chances are a TEP speaker can come to your event and we can help publicize it. If you are interested in doing that, contact me at chris@tnequalityproject.com.

Will you consider making a gift to support our lobbying effort? Having a presence on the Hill is not free. I wish it were, but the GLBT community in Tennessee needs to understand that we benefit from having a lobbyist at the Capitol and we all need to take responsibility for funding these efforts. Make your gift here: http://tnep.org/html/donate_now.html.
Together we can defeat these attacks on our adoption rights and advance equality in Tennessee.


Chris Sanders
Chair and President

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