I don't know Chrissy Walker. Watching his video, he appears highly femme so possibly he's been confused for gay by some people and it's really hurt his feelings.
But here's the reality: For a long, long time, LFBTQ people have been persecuted. That's by the government, that's by the medical profession.
There is no reason in the world not to have pride in people being heterosexual. But it's not an either/or.
Pride Month is about equality. It's about righting a historical wrong. It's about people who have been attacked persecuted, killed, 'treated' for their sexuality getting a month that says there's nothing wrong with you.
Because there is nothing wrong with you if you're gay or straight or bi or whatever.
But our government (the US) and our medical system spent decades persecuting and shaming and harming.
Gay pride is about restoring fairness and equality
There's no reaon for little Chrissy to have his hissy fit -- it is fun to watch though, that video where he thinks he's so tough and he's minicng around hruling nasty. He is a joke to laugh at.
Taking a month to celebrate pride in our friends who deserve every right at happiness and fairness is not harming anyone and its restoring balance. Black History Month is not about saying that White people don't matter. It is about restoring balance and respsecting the hardships and accomplishments our ancestors endured and made -- against huge barriers and discrimination. It's about balance and fairness.
We are all human beings and we need to be celebrated. But our history has tended to celebrate only those who most resembled -- in looks and actions -- whomever occupied the highest position in society. Those that didn't got discriminated against.
I have no idea why Chrissy is threatened by celebrating a part of our humanity. But we need to do this and we need to make sure that all members of the human race feel included, feel valued. And we need to be smarter which means going beyond the limited stories that were told to most of us in history. Too many voices were shut out.
Even Chrissy should grasp that he is smarter because other people stepping forward and sharing stories that were ignored in earlier times.
We all grow from someone stepping forward and saying, "This is what happened." It takes out of our comfort zones (and we all have them) and teaches us a little more about the actual world we are living in.
I don't understand the need to feel threatened by someone else having the microphone. Listening is as important as speaking -- if not more so. And you increasing your knowledge base because someone is kind enough to share their story with you is something you should be thankful for.
For someone who has been oppressed or erased, sharing can be very liberating. For someone who never knew what that was like, it can be very informative. It can be enriching for both parties. Unless you've reached some stage in life when you don't wish to know more and you have no interest in anyone other than yourself.
October 10th, Iraq held elections. The government is still lacking a prime minister and a president. June 10th, it will be eight months since the elections. RUDAW reports:
Iraq's prime minister candidate Mohammed Jaafar al-Sadr urged the
necessity to implement and abide by the Iraqi constitution to address
the current political turmoil engulfing the country and rendering it
unable to form its next government.
"We must return in earnest to the origins of the state-building project,
the constitution, of which we wrote with the acceptance of it by the
majority of people through an elected assembly," Jaafar wrote in an
op-ed sent to Rudaw on Saturday, calling on the country's different
political alliances to implement the constitution and use it as a basis
to resume the stalled government formation process.
Jaafar, picked as a candidate by the repatriate's alliance for the PM
post, said that Iraq's different alliances "stumbled" in the
constitution's application, and the errors previously committed have
made the process of state-building difficult, despite the document
containing all the concepts needed to build the country.
He listed the stubbornness of politicians by "clinging to narrow
fictional demands and trying to evade the entitlement [of applying the
constitution]" as examples of faults committed by the political forces
which have drastically deterred proper government formation.
Mohammed, of course, has been proposed for prime minister by his cousin cleric and cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr.
As the 'government' dithers on, climate change continues to show its impact on Iraq.
In the video above, Osama Bin Javaid (ALJAZEERA) reports on the drought harming Iraq's wetland in southern Iraq ("believed to be the Biblical Garden of Eden") . Iraq's suffering, be great if the world could focus on -- especially the western world which has done so much to harm Iraq.
The Iraqi-Chinese Friendship Association on Saturday held an event
here [Baghdad] to celebrate China's traditional Dragon Boat Festival, as part of
its efforts to promote cultural exchanges between the two countries.
Attended by Chinese Ambassador to Iraq Cui Wei as well as
representatives of Chinese companies based in Iraq and the Iraqi
government, the event included a show of Iraqi folk costumes and
traditional Iraqi songs, and a presentation about the making of Zongzi, a
traditional Chinese delicacy wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves for
celebrating the festival.
"We wanted to convey the feeling of love and the Chinese folklore to
the Iraqi people, and at the same time we conveyed Iraqi folklore to the
Chinese people (in Baghdad)," Haider al-Rubeiy, head of the
Iraqi-Chinese Friendship Association, told Xinhua during the
Al-Rubeiy also expressed his expectation that Iraqi public
universities will make Chinese language learning available due to the
importance of the Chinese language.
David Bacon spent three decades capturing the experiences of laborers, their treatment and where they came from.
Photojournalist David Bacon in front of the Reclusorio Norte prison in Mexico City.Photo by a bus driver on strike. The bus union's leaders were in the Reclusorio, and Bacon went inside to interview them.
If you have seen photography that brings to life the faces of farm laborers working the fields or on strike from Baja California to Yakima, Washington, it may well have been the work of David Bacon.
For 30 years, Bacon has documented the struggles of farmworkers and migrant communities through photographs, articles and oral histories, with a particular focus on California and the U.S.-Mexico border.
His path toward journalism passed through activism. As a young child in Oakland, he was questioned by the FBI about his blacklisted radical-leftist father. He was later drawn to Berkeley's Free Speech Movement and got arrested for the first time when he was just 16, for taking part in a sit-in at Sproul Hall, which was then the main administrative building at the University of California at Berkeley.
During the 1970s, Bacon became a United Farm Workers organizer for about five years, a decision that profoundly affected the trajectory of his life. Later, he spent 20 years organizing factory and garment workers before becoming a photojournalist and writer to cover the world that he knew best - that of working people.
Bacon is now 74, and his award-winning work has been published widely - including in Capital & Main. He is the author of six books that chronicle labor, migration and the global economy. His most recent publication, in Spanish and English by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, is entitled More Than a Wall/Más que un muro, the fruit of his three decades covering communities and social movements on both sides of the border.
Over the phone from his longtime workshop in East Oakland, Bacon spoke about his journey from organizer to journalist, the common threads of those two professions and what we miss when our entire vision of the border is limited to a wall.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Capital & Main: Can you talk a bit about your background?
David Bacon: I was born in New York City. My dad was a local union president within the United Office and Professional Workers of America, which was the CIO's union for white-collar workers. During the McCarthy era [in the early 1950s], the union was accused of being red and was thrown out of the [pre-AFL-] CIO and destroyed. After my dad was blacklisted, he found a job at the printing plant at the University of California. So when I was about 5, we moved to Oakland. In California, the FBI came around and tried to get him fired from his new job. One time when I was around 8, they even followed me home from school and tried to talk to me.
So, you grew up in a world of left-wing organizing?
I certainly knew what a picket line was and what a union was. My parents were radical. It was part of our culture. But it wasn't like my mom and dad sat me down at the dinner table and told me everything that had happened. They didn't talk about it a lot because they wanted us to be able to grow up without being afraid.
Tijuana, Baja California, 1996. Children of factory workers play in the street in front of their homes. Photos by David Bacon.
How did you get involved in the farmworker movement?
I started with the grape boycott, picketing Safeway and liquor stores. I began to wonder: Who are these people we are picketing for? I didn't know. I was a city kid, an Oakland boy. The Black Panthers had a medical clinic a block away from my apartment, and I volunteered at the pharmacy. I was familiar with the big racial divide in Oakland, which was between Black and white. I didn't know anything about Chicanos or Mexican people or immigration.
After picketing for a while, I joined the United Farm Workers in 1974. Eventually, I learned enough Spanish to be an organizer. My big teacher was Eliseo [Medina, a young farmworker who later became a UFW leader]. I had to learn about life in the fields, about the culture, about how the work was organized. Eliseo talked about building the revolution in the crew. You have to take a lettuce crew, say, in which the foreman is a dictator and the workers do what they're told, and turn it on its head so that the workers become the ones who are powerful and the foreman is the one who has to watch himself.
What particular moments with the UFW stand out?
I remember talking to date workers, palmeros [farmworkers who harvest dates]. We had this very exciting meeting. This was the era before cherry pickers, when palmeros had to climb ladders that are nailed to trees and are rickety as hell. You fall 40 feet, and that's it. They were fearless and proud and had already organized among themselves.
Oasis, California,1992. Workers climb ladders to harvest dates.
They said, "We don't want anybody telling us what to do." We said, "We're not here to tell anyone what to do. You run your own ranch committee, and you enforce your own contract." The next morning, I drove over to talk to the workers on the job. When I arrived, they were being loaded into a Border Patrol van. These proud workers were handcuffed and had their heads bowed down. I followed the van all the way to the detention center, and I remember standing outside the fence, not knowing what to do.
Another time, we had an election at a mushroom shed, and the morning of the election the [Immigration and Naturalization Service] threw up a roadblock on the way into the plant. You could see so clearly who benefited from immigration enforcement and who lost. That was a big lesson I've never forgotten. I've been an immigrant activist ever since.
How did you make the transition from being an organizer to a journalist?
After the farmworkers, I spent 20 years with different unions. I was usually the strike organizer, and I began taking pictures of our strikes. It was a good morale builder. We could pass photos out on the picket line and joke around, tell workers to show the photos to their grandkids 20 years from now. And I could give pictures to union newspapers and get some support. It was utilitarian.
In one of my last organizing jobs, we ran a strike at a big sweatshop in Pomona. We had 500 people from Mexico and Central America on strike, and you could feel with this strike and others, like the Justice for Janitors strikes, that there was an upsurge. The ground was shaking under our feet. By then, I was really into photography and decided I was going to document that strike from beginning to end. I carried my camera everywhere. At first, the workers thought it was a little strange [laughs].
Santa María Los Pinos, Baja California, 2015. The family of María Ortíz, a farm worker at Rancho Los Pinos. The workers in Los Pinos are almost all indigenous Mixtec and Triqui migrants from Oaxaca, in southern Mexico.
What was your first journalism project?
I did a photo project in Coachella in the early 1990s about the palmeros. When I started taking pictures and writing, what was I going to take pictures and write about? The stuff I already knew. I had spent a lot of time working at the border - Calexico, Tijuana, San Luis Río Colorado - so I got to know border communities enough to be really interested in them. What does the border mean to people who have to cross it every day? To people deported and shoved back through the fence? To people organizing in the maquiladoras [foreign-owned factories usually located along the border]?
How is your job as a journalist different from your previous one as an organizer?
It's a change in the way of going about things but not a change in the purpose or direction. The reason for doing this work is to help move the world forward. I write and take pictures of working people. That's a conscious decision, a political decision. It's a participatory kind of work - I'm a participant in what I'm documenting and not just parachuting in from outside.
When I started journalism, part of the reason was out of frustration. Although union organizing is very intense, you're only reaching the people who are right there with you. We live in an enormous country in which 80 or 90 percent of people have no experience with unions, and I felt that we weren't reaching enough people. Taking pictures and writing seemed to be a way of reaching larger numbers of people, with the idea being to change the way they think. Whether you're doing it in a house meeting or doing it through photographs, the end purpose is the same.
Tijuana, Baja California, 1998. Silvestre Rodríguez is a member of the executive committee of the independent union at the Korean-owned Han Young factory in Tijuana. Workers fought to organize an independent union at the plant.
One consistency in your journalism, dating back to the earliest days, is your exploration of the personal histories of workers to show how their previous experiences shaped where they are today.
One time, I met this older man who was part of an organizing drive of tangerine pickers. He had been involved in the land-reform fights in Baja California. They demanded the land of the hacienda [estate or plantation], and the hacendado [owner] had refused. So, they burned down the hacienda. Then the hacendado got his thugs to go after them, and this worker had to flee to the U.S. There he was, years later, working as a tangerine picker.
It made a big impression on me. I realized that people come to the U.S. with all of their political and social histories. When I record oral histories, I find out what happened to them in the places they are coming from, how they organized, their politics. I almost always end up asking: What is your idea of justice? What is a just world to you? Because it's not just the concrete experiences they've had; it's also the ideas that they bring with them. I have no patience for the kind of mainstream journalism in which [a reporter writes] about the concrete experiences of immigrants, and then they go off to some academic at a university and have it all interpreted. They ask the academic: "Tell us what it means." I think that's very demeaning to people. I'm interested in how people think, and what their ideas are and where their ideas come from.
Your new book is More Than a Wall. Why'd you choose that title?
The media is obsessed with the wall, which goes back to before Trump. This idea that all there is at the border is a wall, and all that happens is people try and cross it, with maybe some coverage of people dying in the desert. That's certainly part of the reality. But I know, based on having been involved in different social movements for a long time, especially on the other side of the border, that the border is a region with a very long and rich history of communities. It includes people fighting for social justice, people just trying to survive.
So, I'm trying to get people to see that the border region is more than a wall. What counts is not so much the separation - although we have to deal with that and the consequences of it - but that we share a common history. We have to look beyond the wall to see the people, their communities and their history.
Tijuana, Baja California, 1998. Members of Tijuana's special forces march beside the Han Young factory, as they prepare to illegally reopen the plant and bring in strikebreakers.
And yet the wall is also part of the border, and the first section of the book does focus on the wall.
It's ironic because of course on the cover of the book is a photograph of the wall. There's a man who has climbed up and is looking across to see where the Border Patrol is. Down below are his dog and a hole that has been dug. If nobody is around, he and his dog are going to crawl through the hole and make a run for it.
There's a Nahuatl legend that says that if you die, you go into the underworld and are guided by a dog. So, here we have this man who is going to be accompanied by his dog as he crawls under the wall into this new world. And what is he looking at? Is he looking at a paradise where the streets are paved with gold? Is he looking at the place where immigrants are exploited and treated like shit?
One thing about the wall is that it can serve as an evocative backdrop for an artsy photo shoot, but then the symbolism tends to blot out the people living on both sides. And to understand the stories of the people takes an investment of time and resources. There's no investment needed in just shooting a wall.
There's this project that the artist J.R. made so people on the U.S. side would see the image of a baby leaning over the wall. Here the border is being used as a prop for this art piece that J.R. is doing because ... well, I don't know; maybe he had some good motivations about trying to encourage friendship. But what he did is he produced artwork that can only be appreciated from the U.S. side of the wall.
The U.S. media and U.S. cultural establishment is fascinated by the wall. I'm trying to say, "Fine, you find that the wall is interesting. That's good because we need to recognize that it's there, because it shouldn't be there." In the end, we should get rid of it. It's offensive. But let's not just look at the wall. What about the people there? MORE THAN A WALL / MAS QUE UN MURO
More Than a Wall / Mas que Un Muro explores the many aspects of the border region through photographs taken by David Bacon over a period of 30 years. These photographs trace the changes in the border wall itself, and the social movements in border communities, factories and fields. This bilingual book provides a reality check, to allow us to see the border region as its people, with their own history of movements for rights and equality, and develop an alternative vision in which the border can be a region where people can live and work in solidarity with each other. - Gaspar Rivera-Salgado
David Bacon has given us, through his beautiful portraits, the plight of the American migrant worker, and the fierce spirit of those who provide and bring to us comfort and sustenance. -- Lila Downs
- a book of photographs by David Bacon and oral histories created during 30 years of covering the people and social movements of the Mexico/U.S. border - a complex, richly textured documentation of a world in newspaper headlines daily, but whose reality, as it's lived by border residents, is virtually invisible. - 440 pages - 354 duotone black-and-white photographs - a dozen oral histories - incisive journalism and analysis by David Bacon, Don Bartletti, Luis Escala, Guillermo Alonso and Alberto del Castillo. - completely bilingual in English and Spanish - published by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte with support from the UCLA Institute for Labor Research and Education and the Center for Mexican Studies, the Werner Kohlstamm Family Fund, and the Green Library at Stanford University
"The "border" is just a line. It's the people who matter - their relationships with or without or across that line. The book helps us feel the impact of the border on people living there, and helps us figure out how we talk to each other about it. The germ of the discussion are these wonderful and eye-opening pictures, and the voices that help us understand what these pictures mean." - JoAnn Intili, director, The Werner-Kohnstamm Family Fund
Letters and Politics - May 19, 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nvs6SyXsM-4 Three Decades of Photographing The Border & Border Communities Host Mitch Jeserich interviews David Bacon, a photojournalist, author, broadcaster and former labor organizer. He has reported on immigrant and labor issues for decades. His latest book, More Than A Wall, is a collection of his photographs of the border and border communities spanning three decades. IN THE FIELDS OF THE NORTH/EN LOS CAMPOS DEL NORTE
Photographs by David Bacon
Chandler Museum 300 S. Chandler Village Drive Chandler, AZ 85226 June 12, 2022 – August 28, 2022
La Quinta Museum 77885 Avenida Montezuma La Quinta, CA 92253 January 8, 2023 – April 16, 2023
Online Interviews and Presentations
Exploitation or Dignity - What Future for Farmworkers UCLA Latin American Institute Based on a new report by the Oakland Institute, journalist and photographer David Bacon documents the systematic abuse of workers in the H-2A program and its impact on the resident farmworker communities, confronted with a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXKa2lHJXMs
There's More Work to be Done Housing Assistance Council and National Endowment for the Arts This exhibition documents the work and impact of the struggle for equitable and affordable housing in rural America, inspired by the work of George “Elfie” Ballis. https://www.thereismoreworktobedone.com/david-bacon
Bioneers Pulse – updates from the Bioneers Community
The desperately needed radical change in humanity’s environmental and socio-political behaviors requires a transformation of our core attitudes toward the “feminine” (in all its forms) at the deepest levels of our psyches. Women on the frontlines are often both the main victims of climate impacts and leaders in the struggle for climate justice. Zainab Salbi has dedicated her life to empowering women around the globe, and she has now co-founded Daughters for Earth, a dynamic new campaign to mobilize women worldwide to support and scale up women-led efforts to protect and restore the Earth.
This week, we explore how women’s leadership is transforming the movement for climate justice, balancing action in the world with individual healing, and creating more resilient networks and communities.
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As climate change and the destruction of Earth’s lands, waters and wildlife accelerate, women around the world are the most impacted, but they are also the frontline warriors fighting to protect our future. Unfortunately, their work and leadership are often not seen, appreciated, or funded. In order to address that marginalization, female leaders in the women’s rights, environmental and philanthropic sectors came together to found Daughters for Earth (under the auspices of the visionary philanthropic organization, One Earth). A co-founder and leader of this new initiative is Zainab Salbi, a widely celebrated humanitarian, author, thought leader, and journalist. In this presentation, Zainab explores the interconnection between our personal search for healing and how we face the challenges of climate change.
Daughters for Earth: Women and the Climate Change Movement
Women all over the globe, especially in the “developing world,” are the ones who most often bear the brunt of having to contend with the radical disruptions visited upon their families and communities by climate change and environmental degradation, yet women’s voices are far too often ignored. Furthermore, climate change and physical and psycho-spiritual health are almost always discussed as separate issues, but the personal and the political, the heart and the mind are not just interconnected, they are all one. In this discussion, Justin Winters, Zainab Salbi, Helena Gualinga, Kahea Pacheco, and Nina Simons explore the impact of climate change on women and how to assure their full inclusion in all climate solutions, how these struggles relate to the personal search for healing, and what it will take to create authentic global change.
Daughters for Earth | A women-led campaign that is bringing together women’s rights, environmental and philanthropic sectors to address the marginalization of women in climate change action.
Women’s Earth Alliance | An organization that identifies grassroots women leaders fighting for climate justice and invests in their long-term leadership through training, funding, and connecting them to a network of support.
Amazon Watch | An organization that works to protect the Amazon's ecological systems by partnering with Indigenous leadership and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, and corporate accountability.
One Earth | A nonprofit organization working to accelerate collective action to solve the climate crisis through groundbreaking science, inspiring media, and an innovative approach to climate philanthropy.
Nature, Culture & the Sacred: A Woman Listens for Leadership, 2nd Ed. – Launching June 7th!
We are excited to announce that the second edition of Nina Simons’ book, Nature, Culture & the Sacred: A Woman Listens for Leadership, is launching on June 7 and is now available for pre-order! Nature, Culture & the Sacred offers practical guidance and inspiration for anyone who aspires to grow into their own unique form of leadership on behalf of positive change. Join Nina on an inspiring journey to shed self-limiting beliefs, lead from the heart and discover beloved community as you cultivate your own flourishing and liberation.