***In order of appearance
Good Morning San Luis Obispo!
Are you ready?
Lemme hear you say Truth!
Lemme hear you say Power!
Before I start let me introduce the organizers – Dawn Addis, Andrea Chmelik, Jen Ford, Pat Harris, Terry Parry, and new organizers Rita Casaverde and Gail Bunting!
In 2017, 5 million of us vowed to make our voices heard in numbers too large to ignore.
In 2018 we unleashed the strength of our vote.
Today we are here because our Truth IS our Power, and we are ready to speak it!
We now have the most LGBTQIA people, Muslim women, young women, and mothers ever in history representing us in Congress
In San Luis Obispo County we now have:
– The first woman, and Latina in over 3 decades elected in Paso Robles
– The first African-American person, and woman, ever elected in San Luis Obispo
– The first progressive woman in a decade elected in Atascadero
And we have tripled the number of women Mayors across our County!
This is truth, and this is power.
But that’s not all.
Over the past 730 days we have:
– Raised our voice to say #MeToo and #TimesUp
– Told the truth – not reporting doesn’t equal didn’t happen
– Said powerfully that no human is illegal, families must stay together.
And we have demanded an end to gun violence in schools.
But there is still work to do.
This is the 29th day of the Federal Government shutdown. The Coast Guard in Morro Bay, and other federal workers, have not received a paycheck since December.
Imagine what that puts at risk for our neighbors – housing, transportation, food, and other daily needs. Please continue to check Women’s March SLO Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on how you can do to help.
What we have accomplished over the past two years is the most intersectional mobilization for women’s rights, human rights, and environmental justice that our nation has ever seen.
And it’s because of you standing here in Mitchell Park the birthplace of our movement, you who have shown up over the past 730 days, and you who have decided that today is your day to make a difference.
San Luis Obispo let me hear you roar!
Visit Nicole’s website for all her text & video by clicking here.
I am here to offer thoughts on how we can all speak truth to power.
Each of us already has this power, and now is the time to activate it.
We live in the media age, and power is manifested by what we pay attention to; in the attention economy, attention becomes currency.
What we pay attention to has a direct impact on our community and country.
What we pay attention to will become powerful – even if it is horrible.
I know because I have worked in the attention economy. I am a journalist, artist, and entrepreneur.
A decade ago, I started Misfit Media to tell stories about what was happening in Brooklyn. In the midst of the financial crisis, I bought the domain name Brooklyntheborough.com, because even though we were in New York City, Brooklyn was often overlooked in local coverage where Manhattan dominates.
Maybe you feel that on the Central Coast?
Communities, people and policy, and their everyday reality, were not getting attention.
No attention, no power.
I applied my experience to building an open source media platform for independent, creative people and projects to publish content worthy of our attention.
Creating a new model for media is important because the traditional model for supporting it is based on the exchange of money to capture our attention.
Every recent election cycle has seen the amount of money politicians spend on political advertising increase. Stop for a second and think of all the political ads you saw on TV during last year’s midterm election.
Now consider the massive effort that went into presenting them to you.
That politician or political action committee spent time convincing people, over the phone and in person, to give them money,
so they could pay a company to make the ad,
then a pay another company to show you that ad.
After that money moves through many layers of people, it becomes becomes ad revenue for a media company that pays the salaries of local TV reporters, who are mostly reporting on crime and not policy.
When all was said and done, $5 billion dollars exchanged hands in the last campaign.
It’s not limited to politics.
Across the content we watch, businesses create advertising to sell products that may make us feel bad about our bodies, or sell us food that is not healthy for us, or products that are not made humanely, or that are not good for the environment.
So everyone here is familiar with the Communications Act of 1934, right?
It continues to be the foundation that governs media today. It says:
…the station itself must be operated as if owned by the public…It is as if people of a community should own a station and turn it over to the best man in sight..
“Best man in sight” !!
If this is the best the best man can do, then time’s up!
Great journalism is expensive; infotainment, punditry and whataboutism are cheap.
Shaming advertisers who support controversial media pundits CAN put pressure on big networks to be best; but the underlying foundation of their business model is flawed.
The thing is, we are all human.
We tend to engage more deeply with content that generates negative feelings.
Over the last few decades, crime nationally is down, but programming about it is prolific – because negative, fear based content deeply engages any anger we are holding inside of ourselves.
But it’s 2019 now! And while it wasn’t that long ago NBC passed on reporting about the predations of Harvey Weinstein, CBS did just install the first woman ever as the head of their news division. Good luck to her!
A friend of mine said something to me in college that stuck with me:
Watch TV like you’re watching yourself watch TV.
When we are watching the news that means we have to ask:
Is this narrative based in fear?
Is political reporting portrayed in a polarizing way?
What narrative is missing?
I know we all skip the ads, but who is paying for them?
Are oil and gas interests supporting the nightly news?
Is that program covering climate change in a meaningful way?
Our answers will unveil the lens through which we are all looking.
Where we pay attention can change our media; we must seek out clean media.
Clean media is independent media that does not take corporate or political money.
Clean media can be created by anyone, but it includes the perspectives of women; people of color; the LGBTQIA communities; indigenous people. Water protectors.
We should demand clean media.
Since the 2016 election, media has moved towards a digital subscription model.
This is important.
Supporting clean media sources with subscriptions or donations will challenge established media to actually be better.
Supporting reputable sources means increasingly they will cleanse themselves of money from politicians and bad businesses.
We are the community they ultimately work for; our interests are the public interests.
But our job does not end with a payment. We have to engage with our news sources. Write letters to local and national media and ask questions like, do you have a public editor? Who is your internal check and balance?
We can write to our TV news stations and tell them how they might better serve the public interest by reporting on policy, instead of Twitter, in exchange for the broadcast license they need to operate.
Take the extra step beyond just watching and subscribing to news organizations.
Do the work of being citizen journalists.
Anyone can do it, anywhere in the world.
Local media is especially important and needs our attention now. Whatever we are paying attention to is what they will investigate; when we pay attention to what is important, we invest in our community.
Attention creates power.
By the way, you are not morally obligated to pay attention to things that do not feel good, like reading Facebook.
Depending on the time and resources we have, we can do a lot to influence media.
Do research on the companies you rely on most for your information.
Are they owned by a hedge fund? What are their business interests?
If you have time to invest, take pictures and search public records to learn more about what you see happening in your community. Send them to local journalists with good reputations.
If you have money to invest, buy shares in media companies and attend shareholder meetings. Ask questions about whom they do business with and also cover.
Don’t just believe reporters who extol the virtues of journalism, ask them how they practice their ethics. There is a difference between stenographers to power, and journalists working towards transparency. Sometimes they even work for the same company.
Journalists hold the powerful to account, but all of us hold all of them accountable, by paying attention.
It is up to us to ask follow up questions, to be the citizen journalists our community’s need.
When all else fails, start your own news source.
Be the source.
Pay attention to your body; meditate and scan yourself to understand how you feel.
Pay attention to the air you breathe, the food you eat, the relationships you have.
Pay attention to what is happening in your neighborhood, your house, your bedroom.
Pay attention to what is happening in your local economy.
Pay attention to the experience of the people around you.
Pay attention to why Black Lives Matter;
Pay attention to why Jewish Lives Matter;
Pay attention to why Women’s Lives Matter.
Listen to women. Believe Women.
These are some of the most radical things we can do; we can do them right now.
In case you have not been paying attention, pay attention now. Now is the time.
What time is it? NOW.
I use the word BUCKOES because it is gleefully plosive, and more importantly, because it means: One who is domineering and bullying. Hmm
Listen, you motherless buckoes
You self coronated, murdering kings of the world
You back-breaking billionaires
You blasphemers against Earth Woman Truth
Listen and consider this fair warning
(though you have never given us one.)
Hey Buckoes, everyone you burned is back
Everyone whose land you stole
Everyone you kidnapped
Everyone you raped and infected
Everyone you called witch, slave, alien, and worse
Everyone you burned is back
You stupid bucks
You racist, old, greed buckets in your blood-lined, slithery suits
I am NOT talking about the zombie apocalypse
(That will be the least of your worries
And anyway, I’m pretty sure you’re the zombies)
I am not talking about the body
I am talking about that which rises
to set the body free
The true human voice
The one your money cannot corrupt
The eternally rising, indestructible time traveller
The voice of resistance and lullaby
The deep and the dear
The relentless voice which tells the true story of life
The voice arisen and blazing through the body sacred
The voice of justice singing to open the world
so that no voice is closeted, no mouth closed
its chorus is added to the The Great Song
You seem to hate this song, buckoes
Especially, when its power is channeled
through the voice of women
Our collective song shrivels you deep
For all these hundreds of years
you have been too small
Too mean to hear it
Hear it now
The voice of soul and truth
which you fear most and cannot contain
Cannot kill, no matter who you make laws against
No matter whose children
you gun down or cage
The voice of deeper humanity
Sprung through woman
Risen through blood
Flowing through the milk of every mother
The courage of its song rising in every generation
O you treasonous old white buckoes
you would have to build a wall
at the border of MOTHERHOOD to stop it!
Everyone you burned is back
Through the voice
writing itself on banners
Rising in the tens of thousands
Marching and singing and making you nervous
It is striding now
through the halls of congress In Heels
(No easy feat! You should try it buckoes)
In fact, your wobbly cankles
should be strapped into stilettos
and you should be told
To look pretty
To look forever 19
Hey baby boy, bring it here
But NO Buckoes
You schlubby terrorists in your patriarchal dotage
You are lucky
We will not do to you
What you have done to us
What we will do is this
We will seize your awful power
No matter how many lives or lifetimes it takes
We will quiet your violent, untrue voice
It has preached at us too long
through its dark history of Death and Untruth
We will take your obsolete voice
It only sings about money and war
It never makes us dance
It only ever breaks our hearts
It only ever hurts us
We will take your voice
as a mercy to our planet
Until the only voice we hear
is the voice of real power
which is not power at all
Just truth born of love
whose only law is equality
As equality rises, freedom rises
19 January 2019
Hello my name is Rita Casaverde, and I’m here to tell you my truth.
I am an immigrant.
I moved to SLO from Lima, Peru in 2012. I loved this community from day 1. The green hills, the sunshine all year round, people always smiling at me on the streets. I felt like I fit right in. Until 2016, that is. One night while walking downtown a couple blocked me on the street and didn’t let me pass. They didn’t physically hurt me, but they made sure I felt unwelcome, they wanted me to be scared. Last year, while canvassing door to door in Atascadero, an old guy screamed at me. He said, “Get out of here! You want to take everything away from us!” I had done nothing but
knock on his neighbor’s door.
My experience is not isolated. For the last two years, friends who have my same skin color have shared similar stories with me. A random woman screamed at my pregnant friend at a Trader Joe’s, accusing her of using government help just because of the color of her skin. Events like these made me realize that something dark had woken up.
Last month, two children died under US border patrol custody. 7-year-old Jackeline Caal and 8-year old Felipe Gomez. Their parents brought them into this country hoping to escape terror dreaming of a better future. We took those dreams away.
This week, a brief on family separation at the border issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, reported that “The total number of children separated from a parent or guardian by immigration authorities is unknown.” The Department of Homeland Security says that arrests for illegal border crossings are at a 46-year low. The wall and the shutdown have nothing to do with border security! In the last two years, immigrants have been called animals, rats…our relatives have been generalized as rapists and murderers, our countries have been called shithole countries, we have been used as negotiating pawns, we have been made targets. All of this on national television.
Living away from everything you know is hard enough. But the last 2 years have been especially hard. I’ve experienced deep levels of despair and November 2016 stands out as one of those dark moments. But something happened just 2 months after the 2016 elections, something amazing. In January of 2017 the 1st Women’s March in San Luis Obispo was organized and all of YOU showed up. By showing up you made me feel welcome again. And here you are, one more time, showing what this community really stands for – hope, dreams, respect, and love.
Please, look around. I want you to take a look at this beautiful community. I want you to feel the passion, feel the love and the support. Let it overwhelm you. Realize that by showing up today you’re saving someone!
We.need.your.help San Luis Obispo… You know, during the early stages of organizing this march,
someone asked us, “Why are you still marching? Didn’t you do well in the midterms? Didn’t you get women elected into Congress?” I felt like we were being told: what else do you want?… I’ll tell you what we want: We can’t control what they do, but want YOU to keep paying attention. We want you to use your power, we NEED you to use your power. Use it for those who can’t anymore.
Use your voting power to elect representatives that will stop the persecution of people of color, that will protect LGBTQ+ rights, reproductive rights, workers’ rights. Use your purchasing power to support companies who believe in freedom of speech, equal pay, and climate change. Donate money to organizations that are fighting the good fight but also donate your time for causes that you feel passionate about. We need to seize the moment and act!
Back in 2017, when we gathered here in this park for the first Women’s March, we knew that change was coming. Today we can say that change is here! You are the change! You are the ones who are making a difference. You are the ones that will stop hate, division and fear from taking over. Without you this country is truly lost, but with you, strong men and women of all shapes and colors, with you, love and unity will prevail.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Continue to speak truth to power. Continue showing up. Make your voice heard!
Speaking Truth to Power
Dr. Leola Dublin Macmillan
Women’s March SLO
January 19, 2019
So…last year, I was asked to speak here, and I said no. To be honest, I felt like this wasn’t really my fight. And not because I’m not down for the cause. But because I am a radical Black feminist. And folks who looked like me showed up at the polls and did what we were supposed to do. I didn’t feel connected to this newfound sense of urgency. Because folks who look like me have been mobilizing and advocating for justice for centuries. I was tired. And it felt like maybe I could take a break and let someone else do the heavy lifting.
But this year rolled around. And they asked me again. And once again, I was ready to say no. Because…let’s be honest. I’m tired. But then I saw the theme for this year: Speaking Truth to Power. Speaking. Truth. To. Power. And I read the small print. I read the part where the organizers mentioned the costs that we often must pay when we step up and speak truth to power. And I thought, I have to do it. I HAVE TO.
So! I said yes. In fact, I didn’t say yes. I said YES! I said, “I NOMINATE MYSELF AS TRIBUTE!” That’s how big my yes was. Because if anyone knows about speaking truth to power and the costs that come with speaking your truth, it’s me. I have been a social justice warrior since before I even knew what social justice really meant. That’s what happens when you have activist parents who were college students during the height of civil rights movement. In Greensboro, NC. Greensboro, Y’all. The sit-in capital of America. Greensboro keeps it 100.
Speaking truth to power has cost me jobs, friends, partners, relationships with my family. You name it, I’ve lost it. And I’ve been sad, I’ve been depressed, and I have cried. CRIED. But I don’t regret speaking my truth. Because I know that’s why I’m here. I am here to use my voice, and my platform to speak my own truths, and to speak for those who are not granted a voice or a platform.
And that’s what I want to talk to you about today. About speaking YOUR truth to power.
Now, full disclosure, this speech took a little bit longer to write than I thought it would. I knew *what* I wanted to say, but I didn’t know *how* I wanted to say it. So, I sat with it for a bit. And then I remembered what I do best. Teach. No really, ask my students. I’m amazing in the classroom.
So, without further ado, I present Doc Macmillan’s Speaking Truth to Power 101: Speaking Truth to Power in 5 Easy Steps.
Doc Macmillan’s Speaking Truth to Power 101: Speaking Truth to Power in 5 Easy Steps.
Step 1 – Find your Passion
What issue are you passionate about? There’s an expression I’ve heard for decades that says if you aren’t angry, you’re not paying attention. I believe that. There has to be at least one thing going on in our world that gets you fired up. Find it. Research it. Learn all that you can about it. And get ready.
Step 2 – Find your People
This is super important. Speaking Truth to Power is never easy. You need your people. You need a support network. A place to heal. Folks to tell you that you’re doing the right thing. To bake you brownies, let you cry on their shoulder, pour you a glass of wine. You need your people to help you heal. Because Speaking Truth to Power is hard work.
Step 3 – Find your Platform
Once you have identified your truth, find your platform. Find a place where you can amplify your voice. And then AMPLIFY YOUR VOICE. Stand Strong. Stand Proud. Be Loud. Recognize that there are people in your community who don’t have a platform. Stand for them. Speak for them. Advocate for them.
Step 4 – Find Your Power
Ok. You’ve got your Passion, your People, and your Platform. Now find your power. Find that warrior inside of you and set her free. Roar your truth. Understand the possible ramifications of speaking your truth and speak it anyway. Speak loudly. Let your truth erupt in a fiery flow. Stand strong and unafraid. Know that this work is what it will take for us all to be free. Know that when you speak your truth, you join a community of truth tellers. Our community will be triumphant when we look our fear squarely in the eye and speak despite the what if’s.
Step 5 – Find your Place
When I say find your place, I mean find your happy place. Your safe place. Your healing place. Because you’re gonna need it. Trust me. This work is hard. HARD. It is exhausting. The costs are impossible to calculate. You need to have a place where you can retreat. Lick your wounds. Heal. Replenish your strength and get ready to go into battle once again.
This work is never ending. You will find that once you start to Speak Your Truth to Power, you cannot stop. That’s ok. We need you to keep it going. When all of us are speaking our truth, amplifying our voices, refusing to be silenced, change is inevitable. The bad news about speaking Truth to Power is that there is no end in sight. The good news about speaking truth to power is that when you’ve got your people and your place, you can be confident in the knowledge that you’ve got what it takes to be in it for the long haul.
Be strong. Be sure. Be unapologetic. Speak your truth. Refuse to be silenced. Make your community and the world around you a better place for all of us. Rise up. RISE UP. RISE. UP.
© 2019 Leola Dublin Macmillan