Category Archives: social justice

Occupying Milwaukee, Occupying Everywhere

Hello Readers,
It seems we are in the midst of a time of great Change and Promise. Each day brings more news of  communities organizing, reaching out and demanding Justice.
I intend to devote some attention to the voices of the 99% and the recent “Occupy” movements that have been emerging into the public field of vision over the past month. All over the U.S and abroad local chapters and occupations have been born in Solidarity with the incredible tenacity and commitment of the original “Occupy Wall Street” action. I might add that although the OWS is the most recent highly visible manifestation of Community Action, there have always been and continue to be organizations, affinity groups and individuals who have been committed to the cause of Social Justice. When I use the term Social Justice I refer to any cause or group whose purpose is to improve the quality of life for all living things including our Mother Planet. It happened that OWS made their appearance at a time when many of us have reached a point of critical mass. The people have been communicating, educating ourselves and one another and watching the incredible Social Revolutions that have taken place in Egypt, Greece, Spain and many other countries throughout the world. It seems that the Collective Consciousness has been germinating the seeds for change, nurturing the soil with love and care and our efforts are now coming into full bloom.

It is crucial to acknowledge that historically great change takes place in steps, and movements for progress have their own ebb and flow. If we track history as far back as we are able we are likely to discover periods of “Social Unrest” and Revolution often followed by seasons of what may appear to be complacency. We must not allow ourselves to be discouraged by these times of apparent stagnation, they are necessary for regeneration and stabilization; and even in such times there are those who persist in our roles as educators, rabble rousers, rebels and rogues. That’s you, my readers, all of us who never quite fit in, who have struggled with rules, questioned the “norm” and dared to imagine a different reality.
I believe our time has come. We, as individuals who have no fear of challenging the status quo, who have  applicable street smarts tempered with the wisdom of experience are well suited to the changes and challenges of a mass shift in consciousness.
You may say you are not a “political” person, or you may not identify with one particular movement or cause. You may feel you want to help but don’t know how. Or you may feel the world can clean up it’s own crap just fine without you, which is equally valid and certainly understandable. I am not calling anyone to action specifically; I am a Messenger, not a Recruiter. However, as a Messenger, I must say that we are in the midst of some pretty exciting times and it’s worth tapping into that energy even if only to charge up your own juice.
This post is just the beginning. The planting of a seed, the nudging of a thought, the “bug in the ear”.  Look around you. Read or watch non-commercial media. Talk to your friends and neighbors. If you are already active in a cause (even if it’s your own) give yourself a hug. Evaluate your experiences. Do they feel authentic? If not, what’s missing? What would feel right for you? If you have found yourself in a good place, a group or action where you feel energized, productive and passionate by all means take a moment to appreciate how that feels, to be empowered, to be part of a community and say I am the 99% and I am joined by Brothers and Sisters everywhere. Reach out and love your family, all 99%!
As always I’d love to hear stories, feedback, thoughts etc. My next post will include a mix of some of my personal experience with the movement along with some practical information for those who are interested.  I will also be adding some mini-posts of stories I have heard, actions I have witnessed and pictures, words and events that have struck a chord resonating the sound of change.

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


We are the Messengers

By now most of us have become aware that conditions in our world are rapidly changing. Not only in politics and economics but in the Earth herself. We have seen an increase in severe weather patterns, earthquakes, and other phenomenon. The events are most likely due to our ongoing abuse and manipulation of the planet and her resources. Politically  there are uprisings around the globe, in response to the abuse and manipulation of human beings as resources. Here in the US there have been rallies, demonstrations, recall efforts and occupations of  government buildings by citizens who demand fair and proper representation.The nation is now more than ever at the mercy of the abusers and manipulators, many who appear to be blind to the needs of the rest of us. Even in the face of public outcry, many of those who wield the power and control appear unfazed by objections to their myopic policies.
Sometimes it feels like it’s all too much to take in. While I follow events closely on a daily basis mostly via non commercial sources like blogs, twitter, independent news sources and the WisEye* legislative coverage I find myself needing, and deserving, an information holiday from time to time. As much as I advocate for an informed community I also realize that keeping track of events is hard work and I encourage others to take occasional breaks as well. As with any other job our productivity is increased when we are given the opportunity to rest, play and manage self care. And like any vacation, sometimes it can be difficult to return to the real world of work. But we do because we know our work is essential, meaningful and necessary.
We do not check in. punch a time clock or report to a supervisor. We do not accrue benefits or bring home a paycheck or gain promotions; we work for a greater goal than money or security we work for the survival of humanity, for Justice and for Freedom. There are two kinds  of freedom, freedom to and freedom from, this is an important distinction. Many are content to say that we here in America are granted certain freedoms based on our constitution and cultural precedent. We must remain aware of the freedom from. Freedom from censorship, freedom from an oppressive government, freedom from invasions of our privacy and civil rights. The Patriot act, heralded by its creators as policy that would provide freedom from the evil forces of other nations is in reality an open door allowing our own government to restrict our own freedoms, both to and from. Now as the hearings addressing whistle blowing, namely Bradley Manning, are beginning we are at a dangerous juncture where all our freedoms of expression are at risk. If it is decided that speaking the truth about wrongdoings and immoral behavior is a form of treason, what is the next step? I know there is a difference between military information and other forms of public information, but I also know that we are headed down a slippery slope on the path to censorship.
If you need more relevant here and now examples I can tell you that two reporters were arrested at the capitol in Madison during the budget hearings this week (see link for story). This is only one of hundreds of similar cases where attempts to document the reality of the injustices that are taking place have been repressed. These people, the documenters, the messengers, are essential to public awareness of the wrongs that are being committed by our government. As writers and bloggers we also take on the role of messengers, keepers of the history, educators and mobilizers. We have an unprecedented access to collect, document and disseminate information and we need to ensure that we maintain the right to do so.
I don’t care what it is that people chose to blog about, any real life story is an important strand in the fabric of humanity; and it is by maintaining a shared consciousness of humanity that we will remain strong, educated and compassionate as we stand together against oppression and tyranny.

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Following Nature’s Lead; How’s the weather Up There?

Hello Fellow wanderers and wise women

I hope everyone had a pleasant weekend, we have a new moon this weekend which I always welcome as a beginning, a chance to organize, plan and if needed, make changes or adjustments. One thing I have learned over the years is that self assessment and reflection are vital to my own well being. It probably doesn’t hurt the well being of those who live with my eccentric nature on a daily basis either. this practice is complimentary to my thoughts on changing seasons and the cycles of nature that I referred to in an earlier post. if we relate to the environment around us it can serve as a guide and prompt us to be respectful and responsive to our own cycles and process. what a beautiful way to monitor one’s own inner self and daily routine. The wild windy storm that pelted us with huge hailstones seemed fitting for the frustration and anger than many of us have been feeling with current events. for me storms are exciting, exhilarating and expressive of intense emotion. today is rather dark and gloomy, a day that could prompt quiet time and reflection, much as we ourselves will do once our anger has been spent.
Most recently i have been trying to stay afloat and in balance between the interests, passions and responsibilities of my life. I have been almost obsessive in following politics and attempting to inform, motivate and organize in whatever way i can. This involves a substantial amount of reading, discussion and fact finding. the only cause i will fight for unquestioningly is social justice. the path to this goal is not always easily negotiated as i sift through the volumes of claims, opinions, commentary and the sometimes ego driven motives of others. there are individuals who will vehemently defend the actions of their political party or particular candidate without taking the time to look within themselves and feel if they are truly comfortable with the plan, policy or action. they hurl hailstones at one moment then hop right into the next sunny day without taking that foggy, cloudy quiet day in between to reflect and restore.
i myself have been troubled by some decisions that have been made in president obama’s term. i voted for him, i still believe he wants to do the right thing for our country and our future but at the same time i am willing to call out my own candidate on issues where i disagree. remember a while back when i wrote about not taking oneself too seriously; about true humility and maturity? i believe that the ability to draw our own conclusions rather than blindly following a party line or ideology is the fruit that is born of that self awareness there is great comfort in being true to one’s own values and there is great power in challenging the decisions of others who may have promised us one thing and delivered something entirely different. we do not all have to agree, but i believe that if we are true to our inner values and respect ourselves, we will be more inclined to take the time to question situations that don’t feel right. and because we are “walking our talk” we will not be afraid to stand up for our beliefs in a way that is respectful without being self compromising. how do you handle disagreement or conflict? how do you react “after the storm”? how’s the weather in your soul today?
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard

Budget deficit? Or attention Deficit?

It’s happening all over the country, elected officials are forgetting that they work for us, not the other way around. Some people will argue that these politicians were elected and therefore earned the right to make certain decisions which is true,to a point. It seems however that some of these newly elected representatives are so excited about their new status that they have forgotten a few details. Apparently those pesky checks and balances, those open hearings and other time tested procedures that must be adhered to when creating policy and/or law. are far too troublesome and time consuming. Supporters of these attention deficit stricken Politicians may have forgotten that we do operate with a two party system; the other party having also been elected by and for citizens who also deserve representation. These people have been flooding the streets, stationing themselves in State Capitols, campus Administration buildings and local government offices for over a month now. We have taken to the streets in thousands, in crappy cold weather to insist that we be heard. As I write thin there are events scheduled as far into the future as late summer.
It’s not only the “big” events that are propelling the winds of change; there are daily updates on social networking sites with accompanying discussions. There are conversations happening just about everywhere you look. There are small acts of rebellion, a spray painted message on the sidewalk here, and impeach Walker sticker there. Bit by bit the concepts are becoming embedded in our cultural consciousness, and the more firmly entrenched, the less likely they are to be undermined.
No matter what issue ignites a passion within you that demands Justice, there are actions you can take that will make a difference. If you are interested in becoming involved, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email and I can provide you with a list of resources, contact people and tips on ways you can make a difference. I offer the same, eve if your passion project is not related to the many current political issues at hand (although they seem to be covering all the bases if you look closely enough!) Whatever it is that calls your Heart to action…you do have the power to make a difference!
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard