The Never Ending Picket Line
What would I protest...Well, as a social worker I'd have to say I would protest and actively do protest just about every bit of fuckery the human race engages in. The whole purpose of my career is to help those who may be marginalized and lack resources. Specifically, I work with 0-3 year old's who may be born premature, have genetic conditions, neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, kiddos at risk for or diagnosed with autism, and the one that REALLY FUCKING PISSES ME OFF, children who are born exposed to drugs and alcohol.
The agency I work for was created in California by parents in the 1960's who were told by doctors and other medical professionals that their child should be institutionalized because they had conditions like Down's Syndrome. So, basically, the idea was, "Let's warehouse your developmentally disabled kid and you can go on with your lives and pretend he/she doesn't exist." Well, this didn't jive with a small group of the parents. So when they were told by, "Medical Professionals" to put their child on mothballs in an institution somewhere, they politely declined and said, "Fuck that and fuck you." They then lobbied the state legislature and frankly, annoyed the fuck out of a lot of politicians. Finally, a guy by the name of Lanterman got tired of being pestered by those darn loving, caring parents who want to keep their children at home. So, he wrote a bill which would come to be called the Lanterment Act. Basically, the law stated that it is more humane and even more cost effective to support these families than to institutionalize their kiddos. Regional Centers were then set up whose mission was and is to help families of kiddos and adults with developmental delays. Our ultimate goal is to help the developmentally disabled individual gain as much independence as possible and we have adult consumers who work, live independently, and do everything us boring, Developmentally appropriate" schmucks can do. The services offered are free and range from the simple monitoring of a preemie's developmental milestones all the way to making sure extremely medically fragile individuals get the correct support. Of course, we also support the caregivers by funding respite care agencies (or even pay family members) for the consumer. This allows the full time caregivers to get a break and take care of their own needs.
So, how does my current career lead me to protest just about every example of human fuckery? Simple. In helping the kiddos on my caseload to get what they need, I often have to help the family deal with some form of discrimination. It's not uncommon for me to ask a question like, "So tell me why exactly you are refusing to rent to this family because there are laws against housing discrimination?" I'd like to think in situations like these I make the bad guys piss themselves. Because the one thing I know for sure is as a state agency our lawyers can beat up their lawyers.
Of course, this is just one example. Another example, is discrimination against members of the LBGTQ+ community. Many would argue that members of this community shouldn't be allowed to foster children. To that I say, "Okay, you bigoted fuck, so how many foster kids are you going to take in?" It's amazing how quickly these morality warriors shut their fucking mouths. Oh, they may find kiddos being fostered by a gay couple morally objectionable, but it isn't objectionable enough for them to become foster parents themselves. I have had quite a few foster kiddos on my caseload who are fostered by members of the LBGTQ+ community and frankly, as foster parents, THEY ROCK! In fact, LBGTQ+ foster parents often take the kiddos with the most needs and do so knowing that the newborn in their care is still kicking heroin and will likely be shrieking in withdrawal for days to come. I can honestly say that when I get a new kiddo on my caseload who has LBGTQ+ foster parents I smile because that kiddo is going to experience boundless love and understanding. I've been doing this job for a while now and not a single LBGTQ+ foster parent has ever been anything less than amazing, loving, kind and dedicated advocates for the kiddos in their care. So, I will fight for them to have the same rights as everyone else because they possess a combination of compassion, commitment and bravery that many of us vanilla straight folk will ever be able to replicate.
I could go on and on about ways we have to become social justice warriors for our families, but after a while it becomes exhausting to even think about it. If I could protest every injustice I encounter, I'd never leave the picket line. Social Work rarely stays within the scope of an individual because the individual's needs cause a ripple effect that includes those around them. So, if I have to call out a racist landlord so that the family has a place to live I will. If I have to protest the use of certain pesticides because there is evidence that adults who work around those chemicals have been found to have children with autism at a higher rate than families who aren't exposed to the pesticides, I will. In short, I love humanity, but the infinite number of ways we hurt each other and our planet cannot be delt with by a single, underfunded state agency. Help would be greatly appreciated.
I am the Lorax.
There's my sign, covering my shirt. I made it myself.
The shirt says I speak for the trees.
I'm not a lawyer, I'm 16.
I don't actually speak for the trees.
But I was raised on Wall-E and Dr. Suess.
They told me that I could make a change if I wanted.
I can't. I could plant a tree, I could pick-up trash, and I could stop eating meat.
but I could not make change.
The world won't end, but it's gonna get hard to live in.
No one has to care, not the rich at least. Not until their taxes are raised.
The kids have given up. A few hold their signs, and sign their petitions.
A few got desparate and went crazy. How could they not? But most gave up.
Thats okay, Greta Thunberg did it. She made a stir.
She's a joke now. Apparently. A broken record. An overplayed song.
This is ridiculous. I should put the sign down, I should go home.
But I'm crazy too.
I look at the green horizon. It shouldn't be like that.
It's pretty, but it shouldn't be like that.
Our springs, algae flowing in the current. It shouldn't be like that either.
The boardwalks were cut off, they had to be shortened.
The sea's gotten closer. It shouldn't be like that.
Sometimes I go to the middle of my town. We have a tree there. Two of them.
I climb one. I get to the top. I'm four stories above the ground, I watch the people pass.
I can pretend for a moment, up there in the branches,
that everything's the way it should be.
I am the lorax. I beg. I beg on behalf the trees.
Privilege is not thinking there is a problem because it is not a problem for you. Equal Rights is not Gay Privilege.
I was told that the LGBTQIA+ community was upset because not everyone liked them. That they were mad because they wanted everyone to be like them.
I think differently.
I think that people like me demand change because they know there are people who are being killed because they are not straight, or are not cisgender.
They know that mental illness is higher in kids in the community because of harassment. (And yes, mental illness can have a cause.)
That is why I demand change.
I am tired of people thinking we want Gay Privilege. We want the same rights as you. And you know what. Maybe we want the privilege to walk outside our room or our house without the ever growing fear of being killed or hurt.
And that is not a privilege we have, but it is one that we all should have. It should not be considered a privilege at all.
It is the bear minimum.
We are not mad that because not everyone likes us, we all know that people will hate us forever.
We just ask for the right to love who we want and for you to not kill us for it.
Self ❤️ Care
There are a lot of causes undoubtedly worthy of bringing to light: things that need taking care of by Others. I think of human trafficking, of the perils of war-torn peoples, of migrants, of so-called illegals, and those living in peripheral shadows in fear of identity and consequential inequity in treatment whether national, ethnic, racial, religious, gender or other isolating factor(s). Causes needing advocates.
Self-care might not seem to be one of these, and yet there is something in it that troubles me, as an underlying problem that reaches across various boundaries. It's a "buzz word," mostly farcical, lacking in substance, that I'm hearing floating, and it is I believe in need of someone to actually stand behind it. I notice that "leadership" have administratively adopted proactive rhetoric-- as if speaking of something addresses the problem in itself.
"We care for you, remember to self-care! your patients, guests, customers, sufferers, etc. are needing your care and services! so take care of yourself as well!" is the exclamation at the end of professional development "training," geared towards public servants, which fails to address with any intent how that should be done? The words dissipate into the wind.
In my observation it is all too common that caretakers do not know, neither instinctively nor by training, how to take care of themselves while taking care of groups or individuals who are ill, traumatized, or suffering from other impairment, grievance or loss. I call to mind burnt out group home managers, hospice workers, human and animal shelter employees, among others, even in less extreme cases, such as struggling parents or grandparents.
It is notable, but ignored, that the self-sacrificing are exactly that: self-sacrificing.
I've determined, that to help correct this imbalance, I can support the service of others in difficult decisions that feel counter to ethics. I mean personal ethics. For instance, I know from observation over years that the hard-working individual feels great shame in taking a sick day, never mind a mental health day. I'd like to advocate that individuals take every day off allotted to them with self-permission. Not with arrogance ("I earned it"); but with grace ("forbearance and maintenance"). Also, that they set boundaries; rather than expect 24/7 mental or physical operation, in whatever public service.
I realize that the guilt and self-beratement, internally, is difficult to overcome, but perhaps having support from an ordinary person on the street, even if only a single banner of solidarity, not so much Protest, might potentially provide that moment of recollection for a few, and eventually a few more, that all Selves are important and in need of respectable treatment. I mean Self-Respect.
Holding up a single sign seems a feeble effort, and perhaps I delude myself that those so burdened, with the problems of others, would see a heart as a one held up for themselves? A risk, one might counter, because those who are "pretenders" may arguably use this banner as excuse to put in less effort. But, then again, those are not the individuals I am concerned about, nor standing for-- the half-hearted it seems always know how to take care of themselves.
You Lied! I Want My Power Back!
You promised us that you would protect us. You promised you would put us first. You LIED!
People are going to yell at you about the atrocities of this world, and yes they are completely right but other than natural disasters, every problem we have was man-made by you. These issues created to teach us that we have given you too much power. The ones in charge did this to us because we thought they knew better than us. They have used and abused the power we have imbued them with for personal gain, and now we are at our wits end on how to solve these problems. Someone is going to ask for a solution, but here is the issue with a solution: Those solutions are based on the lived experiences of those individuals (how the problem is perceived by the person experiencing the problem), will supersede the collective’s experience even if it’s a similar lived experience. So, getting a collective together to agree on a solution will take time, effort, and COOPERATION from all parties because everyone involved must agree on a solution and how it is put into practice. Cooperation and war have been the world’s solutions to solving problems, but cooperation has been the only solution for humans to continue to evolve. But those we have trusted with that power have become greedy and self-serving only worrying about their people and leaving the rest to die. I personally take issue with that! Humanity being lost for something that only has intrinsic value will be the downfall of man. To me a human life is more valuable!
normalization of Homophobia in schools i guess
Fucking homophobia in the american school system. It's stifling. It isn't said enough that minorities and oppressed peoples shouldn't be put against each other like rabid dogs. Speaking from personal experience, the majority of (american middle/ high schools) schools don't give two shits if students are racist, or homophobic or incredibly hate full as long as its mildly discreet. Straight, cisgender people could say the F slur all they please, as long as its not directly in front of a supervisor/teacher. I (a transgender queer person) could very well have my rights striped away from me, and my peers would make a meme about it.
Understanding (and maybe even an ounce of compassion) towards queer youth is ideal, but acceptance is the bare minimum. It is legitimately baffling to me, why some are so dead set on hatred, and discrimination, and making LGBTQIA+ youth (specifically trans folks) feel so horrible. Why some people go so far out of their way to alienate and taunt queer children just trying to exist. At some point, it becomes to fucking much though. These people have feelings and shit.
People who come from privilege need to find a way to understand that equality is not discrimination.
As a poor neurodivergent LGBTQIA+ AFAB Jew who has severe allergies, I know my fair share of discrimination.
If you still don't get it, I was bullied from elementary to the beginning of high school, mostly for being short and smart.
You must understand, right?
I was raised by a single mother starting around my eighth birthday when my dad moved for a job. That turned into them being separated and then divorced by the beginning of middle school for me.
The weight of knowing how much debt my ma is in is immeasurable. Her meager raises are nothing in comparison to the skyrocket of inflation
If you really don't get any of this, you're the problem I'm protesting.
Well, not you directly, but the system that has created you.
The same system that created the kids who bullied my mom when she was in school for not having name brand clothes.
The system which leaves her with so much debt even today because of the systematic barriers put in the little, likely neurodivergent, Jewish girl's way.
Shaming her for her family's financial situation, scaring her as she continues to have the same issues.
Now juggling me, a college student with all the descriptors from the beginning and the ongoing struggle to be debt free, when credit cards are no longer usable because of the amount owed.
I'm not asking the not understanding rich person to come down to my level of suffering.
I just wish it was reasonable to think my mom might not struggle economically one day.
That the barriers only passable by luck should be lowered to allow people to actually move up based on their hard work.
If hard work got you places, my mother would be rich.
We have the privilege of skin tone, so I don't mean to shape us up as having it worse than everyone else.
I know we have it better than many, many others.
I don't see those below us getting support as discrimination; I see the use of our identities as ways to put us down as such.
It must take ignorant privilege to think others being represented and helped as discrimination.
No one deserves to be discriminated against; no one knows that better than the oppressed. What makes people think those who hate oppression and discrimination the most would cause or wish for others to experience it?