I was curious to attend the SisterGiant conference in DC on Feb 2nd-4th. It was led by Marianne Williamson, an action-oriented spiritual teacher who encourages us to reinsert ethics and integrity into politics. She did a great job bringing all types of people to speak about ways they act on behalf of the greater good in their studies, activism or political office.
The conference included a mix of motivational and informative speeches. The first 1.5 days included more preaching than anything else, yet there were some people who talked about practical experiences such as:
- Opal Tometti who co-initiated, Black Lives Matter because she felt tired of hearing about murders of non-violent black men without weapons who were killed by police.
- Dennis Kucinich, a former Representative from Ohio, who described many examples where citizens came together to reverse city or state “edicts” by calling their local governments (city council heads, mayors, governors, representatives, senators) and going to meet them in-person. He encouraged everyone to take ACTION and SPEAK UP at local levels, which he says makes a big difference in the way politicians behave.
The 3rd day was more focused on case studies of people doing things “outside the box” from curiosity and anger (funneled in a powerful way) — it was inspiring and exciting! So many people doing great things — few of them covered by the standard media. Examples:
- Ari Berman who got so frustrated that the standard media weren’t covering the quiet dilution of the Voting Rights Act that he wrote a book on it: Give Us the Ballot. He encourages us to vote and told us of Oregon, who makes it easy for people to vote by registering them automatically when they apply for driver’s licenses. Other states doing the same include: California, West Virginia, Vermont and Connecticut. He encourages us to ask our senators to make voting automatic and easy in our states.
- Michael Weiss who studies extremist groups such as ISIS, wrote a book with Hassan Hassan named, ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. I didn’t hear all of his speech.
- Lisa Bloom, a civil rights lawyer, gave lots of examples of how the Women’s March inspired other marches to come (Taxes in April (to ask Trump to publish his) and for LGBT rights in June). She defended women suing Trump, works at NBC and said “she’s tired of diluting her messages to ensure she doesn’t get fired from NBC” and created a podcast to “say what she wants to say:” The Voice of Resistance.
- Cenk Uygur spoked about building The Young Turks, which he says has more subscribers than CNN, CBS and NBC put together. He asked us to “come and get us” (journalists) if journalists are put in prison by the Trump Administration.
- Dave Murphy spoke about Food Democracy Now and food abundance. He grew up on a family farm and watched so many put out of business by Big Agri. He says there is plenty of food to feed everyone.
- Alan Grayson, representative in Florida, says it’s easier than you think to run for office and that we should all do it. He also described ways that people getting involved has a drastic affect in politicians’ actions.
Good Points and Calls to Action they suggested:
- Live democracy everyday by being active in one way or another – create good habits of democracy
- There are many great, caring, honest and ethical politicians in our US Government — find them and support them!
- Use your schedule and money to represent what you care about
- Finance people doing important, yet difficult things – investigative journalism, alternative media
- SPEAK UP out about what you CARE about, don’t hold back
- Run for office – it’s easier than you think
- Go to events for people unlike you — you don’t have to be black to go to Black Lives Matter events
- Get to know your neighbors and community, esp if they’re unlike you. Relationships are the basis of revolution against unfair/divisive practice.
- Stop the overwhelm by focusing on a 1-2 things you can do on a regular basis – being part of a democracy is a marathon, not a sprint so pace yourself (!) so you don’t quit after being involved after for only a few days or weeks
- Encourage politicians who are doing what you like, they need support, too
- Judges are people too; they are influenced by what the popular feeling on an issue is, so write to judges, court houses, your representatives, the Supreme Court judges
- Stop stop criticizing others who believe differently — be respectful — this is also an HCL principle!
- “Echo chambers” are good – they amplify the energy going toward equity, fairness, etc.
- Lead instead of follow in an area you care about
- Stop the ban on immigrants — if the Trump Administration puts a hold on the immigrant vetting process for 120 days, they won’t get funding and will likely have to lay-off people and fold. That’s apparently what the Trump Admin wants… Contact your congresspeople to “Ask Congress to Repeal the Executive Order for Banning Refugees“
- Put on your fridge: the US Capital Switchboard number: tel # 202 224 3121 – call and speak to your senator re: issues you care about
- Call the Homeland Security hotline to vote against Steve Bannan being chosen the National Security Council: tel # 202 224 4751
See additional resources, from the SisterGiant conference. Marianne also encourages us to post things of interest on that site, so as to take part in the growing experience of leading this Country through our citizenship.
[Image from SisterGiant Conference]