Month: March 2019

Christchurch Massacre: Urgent Call for Solidarity

Dear Friends,

On Friday afternoon, white supremacists opened fire in multiple mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. So far, we know that at least 49 people were killed and more than 20 seriously wounded in an act of "extremist right wing violent terrorism." Our hands tremble with the horror at this bloodshed in a sacred space. How do we show up right now in Revolutionary Love? Through our tears, we must act swiftly.

Send a message of love and solidarity to the Muslim families of Christchurch.

We will make sure that your words are delivered to the families and survivors.

To our Muslim sisters, brothers, and siblings: We know that this news is sending waves of grief in households across New Zealand, the United States, and around the world. We mourn with you. We share your outrage. We are breathing with you. We will not leave your side. We will not forget those who were slaughtered. In their name, we pledge to rise up against white supremacy -- in our institutions, on our streets, online, in our homes, and in our own hearts.

To all who feel helpless right now: Hate on this scale feels like looking into the abyss. But we are not powerless. In the wake of recent mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Charleston, and Oak Creek, we worked with Auburn Seminary to collect tens of thousands of letters and prayers of support, which were then bound and delivered in person to the survivors and families. In Oak Creek, the books are still preserved in the gurdwara's library. Long after the media trucks leave, these physical embodiments of solidarity show the community we will not leave their side. Our movements are only as strong as our solidarity is deep.

In sending messages specifically to the Muslim families of Christchurch, we are rising up in one voice to express our grief and moral outrage. We recognize that white nationalism is a global epidemic. This massacre was the result of white nationalist ideologies that we all have the power to eradicate. As we grieve, so too we pledge to take action to dismantle white supremacy in our institutions and cultures.

The massacre took place at a time mosques are filled with people who gather for Friday prayers. It was fueled by the same hate that led to mass shootings against other communities of color in their houses of worship in the United States -- Sikhs in the gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, African Americans in Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, and Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Right now, Muslim and Sikh Americans are preparing for heightened security at our houses of worship across the U.S. this weekend. We need your support more than ever:

1. Send a message of love and solidarity to the Muslim families of Christchurch.
2. Call or text a friend who is Muslim or Sikh. Let them know they are not alone.
3. Visit a mosque or gurdwara near you and leave a sign or flowers to show your love and solidarity.
4. Donate to the victims and families of this massacre.
5. Show up to a solidarity event in your community - friends at Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice have put together an event list, searchable by zip code: Click here to find an event

If people in your life are hurting right now and need this message, please forward this email to them. This is a time to take one another's hand. We hold yours.

- Valarie, Amy, Elizabeth, and the Revolutionary Love Fellows

Write a message or prayer of love and support to the families and survivors of the shooting. 

In the wake of the mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Charleston, and Oak Creek, we worked with Auburn Seminary to collect tens of thousands of letters and prayers of support, which were then bound and delivered in person to the survivors and families. In Oak Creek, the books are still preserved in the gurdwara's library. Long after the media trucks leave, these physical embodiments of solidarity show the community we will not leave their side. Click above to write your message. And donate to the LaunchGood fund set up to support victims and families.


#DayofEmpathy: Inside America's Prisons

On March 5, the Revolutionary Love Project joined with #cut50 in support of the National #DayofEmpathy.

The #DayofEmpathy is an opportunity to shine a light on people impacted by incarceration in the United States. Americans impacted by the criminal justice system met with federal, state, and local lawmakers to share their experiences. Family members who have lost loved ones to violent crime, formerly incarcerated people, children of incarcerated parents, individuals who have overcome addiction, and many others joined together across demographics and party lines.

Valarie Kaur's award-winning film, “The Worst of the Worst,” takes us inside a supermax prison, where inmates are held in solitary confinement for months, even years at a time. Hear their stories—then take action.

“Northern is meant to break your spirit, and tear you down. It’s not about rehabilitation at all, it’s about straight up punishment. They want you to think of yourself as an animal, as not being human.” –Keishar, former Northern inmate

“I didn’t want to live. I was lost. I felt like I couldn’t do anything anymore. I wanted to give up. So, I started harming myself. I cut myself with things nearby. Break a battery, make a blade. Bite myself.” –Misael, former Northern inmate

“That first day I was free, it was happiness and confusion. I had to learn how to be a person again. I still have a problem walking, pronouncing my words. I got to learn how to talk all over again. I got to become a person again because I was an animal for 3 ½ years.”—Darnell, former Northern inmate

“Outside of work, I look at things differently, approach things differently. I was diagnosed with PTSD. Certain noises, you know like people running—when you’re in prison, people running means they’re responding to an emergency. So when you see people running, you get that jump—that I’m going to react and respond.” –Pete, Correctional Officer

“They had a rule they actually never implemented where you could only work at Northern for 3 years because of the mental stress it causes. I thought that was a good idea, but I stuck it out and stayed. The reason I stayed was because all my other buddies stayed, and I’m staying with them.” –Mark, Correctional Officer

Ways you can turn your empathy into action:

• Learn more and join #cut50 at an event near you: DayOfEmpathy.org
• Write a letter of love and solidarity to a person recently released from incarceration or a person recovering from opioid addiction: www.ReclaimLove.us

Watch highlights from an MSNBC discussion about the film: