By Tommy Airey
God, help me to refuse ever to accept evil; by your Spirit empower me to work for change precisely where and how you call me; and free me from thinking I have to do everything.
Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers (1992)
On the day we met Bill Wylie-Kellermann back in the summer of ’13, we naively asked him how many times he’d been arrested for acts of civil disobedience: “I stopped counting at 50,” he muttered matter-of-factly. Between sermons and sacraments, Pastor Bill is committed to hitting the streets, participating in what he calls “liturgical direct action.”
From an Essence interview with Bree Newsome, who scaled the flagpole of injustice in Charleston. She is a member of the Tribe, a small group of protestors in Charlotte.
An activist named Heather flew down from New York to train me. We went to a park and practiced on lampposts, basketball hoops, and then I got to practice on one flagpole. The very first attempt I made…I was just completely winded, thinking, I don’t know how I can climb 30 feet. Once I got the rhythm of it, it was fine. It’s actually more leg strength than arm strength…
What we’re really hoping to do with Tribe and other local organizations is to develop a model for sustainable change and organization. We’re facing a lot of crisis. We don’t see action happening nationally for our lower-income communities here in Charlotte. We can come together as citizens to empower disempowered people who don’t have the agency to do this. It’s not going to be just one person changing the world.
In recent weeks, organized die-ins have spread through cities all over the world, in protest of the decades long epidemic of police brutalities and fatalities. On Friday, over 100 Legal Aid attorneys walked out of Brooklyn Criminal Court Tuesday morning to protest the grand jury outcome in Eric Garner’s case.
“Mr. Garner was our client and we wanted to show solidarity with our clients,” said attorney Rebecca Kavanagh.
Bina Ahmed is a public defender on Staten Island.
“We see a lot of police brutality,” she explained. “We see a lot of charges of resisting arrest when people are beaten to a pulp by the NYPD, to justify the brutality”
“We are building up a new world.
Do not sit idly by.
Do not remain neutral.
Do not rely on this broadcast alone.
We are only as strong as our signal.
There is a war going on for your mind.
If you are thinking, you are winning.
Resistance is victory.
Defeat is impossible.
Your weapons are already in hand.
Reach within you and find the means by which to gain your freedom.
Fight with tools.
Your fate, and that of everyone you know
Depends on it.”
-Flobots, “We Are Winning”
Calling all peace activists & nonviolent practitioners within the Great Lakes Region! Today’s blog post is asking for your hands, feet, minds, hearts, time & all the creativity you can muster. Continue reading
From the late Walter Wink in <em>Engaging The Powers (1992):
This is the bright secret of social activists: they do not simply oppose evil because it is wrong, but also because the struggle is exciting and sometimes even fun. For even when they lose, the outcome is assured.