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Yes, I suck at updates. But here I am, currently in San Diego at [livejournal.com profile] calculusdude16's house. Will be in Claremont/LA area starting Sunday, through Thursday, and leaving Thursday morning-ish to drive up with him to UC Santa Cruz. Gimme a call on my cell if you want to hang out, kay?

Also? Mmm bagels. Tastiness. And my last meal in New Orleans before I left was a catfish po-boy. Yummm.
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I'm alive. And I suck at updating on things that have happened, I know. Especially since every day is pretty full, and I'm learning so much every day. I keep a little summary for myself in my old Scripps datebook, but for my official journal that I'm keeping, I'm over a week behind, hehe.

So. It's hot and sticky, and I really keep doing the stupid thing of being moving outside during the hot parts of the day, which yeah, not so smart. So yay for air conditioning.

I make a lot of phone calls for PHRF, doing logistical work. It amuses me that for a grassroots organization fighting The Man, we're trying to get a lot of corporate help, like getting water and fruit donated. Malcolm (one of the leadership) calls it a form of getting reparations out of them without them knowing, haha. Also I've been doing a fair amount of flyering.

Why? Because of my bike, the community bike. (see my photobucket album, linked in the previous post) It's also apparently a flood bike, with rusted spokes, messed up tires, the works. So I ended up walking to Plan B, a cool bike collective where volunteers teach you how to fix up your own bike, and tool usage is free and most replacement bits are very inexpensive, about...oh...five times in two weeks. ^_^;; Mostly because the front tire kept going flat, often *right after* I fixed it and Tasia or I rode it back. But in the process I learned how to replace and adjust brakes, true a tire by twisting the spokes, and that there's a ribbon on the inside rim that keeps the spokes from puncturing the tire. Also I got bit by a lot of mosquitos.

Anyhow, as I walked my bike with its flat tire back and forth between the office and Plan B, I (and Tasia) handed out quite a few flyers and met some very nice people. I had a conversation with a man in construction about labor law, and whether Arnold Schwarzenegger had married Theresa Heinz or Maria Schreiber. Once a man in a minivan saw me with my flat and offered me a ride back to the office. This one group of men sat around looking all tough and with their beers and what enjoying the cool shade, and when we talked to them about the commemoration of Katrina, one man broke down, telling us about how his father was one of the elderly people who had been killed by the nurses and doctor that are currently on trial for euthanizing patients during the flooding. He said he was not ashamed to cry, because there is no shame in it, and it meant that God gave him a warm heart, and that his father's spirit was with him.

The interesting thing? All the nice folk were basically all the poor and working class black folks I encountered and was reaching out to with the flyering. Most of the white folks I passed were in the more affluent French Quarter and other areas, and they wouldn't even look me in the eye when I walked near them, but walked faster past me. Not too many Asians out, so Tasia and I go "Look, there's an Asian person!" when we do see one (mostly Vietnamese here). Lot of Latino day laborers being hired to do construction work, so there's a great deal of resentment as black and brown are being played against each other by the corporations and the powers that be. I could ramble on that for a while, but I'll leave it for another post.

Okay, the sun's going down, and I was going to write more about today's and the past couple week's adventures, but I'll leave that for another post.

But I want to add a mini-rant about Lebanon, just to get it off my chest, and I meant to write one in this post before it did the page-kablooey (thank goodness for autosave). First things first: The irony of the situation is killing me. Really, it is. Because what Israel's doing to the lands surrounding it, is basically like the domestic violence cycle of like, a father beating a kid and that kid beating their kid when they grow up. Remember the whole thing with world war II and Germany pulling all this occupation shit and Israel being created out of the treaties and whatnot? (which, hello, Palestine, but that's another rant, maybe). And now Israel is doing the occupation thing, and bombing the shit out of Lebanon (which it's been doing on and off since Israel was fucking *created*) which is such a repeating of history with what Germany did. And yeah, the irony is killing me.

Also, that drafted thingy that the US and France cooked up? Bullshit. I like Rice's statement that "whether the UN security council votes on it will show if you're for peace or against it." Mmhm. So Hizbullah has to cease all hostilities, but Israel only has to cease offensive attacks? Anything could count as a defensive attack if they decide it to be so. Yeah, that's a ceasefire that will last ten minutes.

Is this the time to be saying I'm heavily biased in Lebanon and Palestine's favor? If it wasn't obvious already? Ahahaha. If only because the U.S. government and media (don't even get me started on the "liberal" US media) is so clearly biased in Israel's favor, so I think of this as balance. Okay, that's it for now. Reasoned analysis? Not in me right at the moment, when one of my best friends has family that fled to the mountains in northern Lebanon, in hopes that Israel doesn't *decide* that Hizbullah is hiding there and decides to bomb the hell out of it.

done. if y'all wannna debate me in the comments, feel free but keep it civil, kay?
rhythmia: (Default)
Hey everybody, this post is gonna really suck, since I'm just doing a general check in to prove to everybody that I'm still alive, if eaten alive by mosquitos. :P

San Antonio was awesome, the train rides were decent and I met some interesting people, though the trains took forever because of all the delays. I'm amused that letting it be known that I dated [livejournal.com profile] calculusdude16 gets me all sorts of street cred with the really nice Mexican people I met on the trains from San Jose to San Antonio. XD I got into New Orleans all right, and I've been here a week and a half, every day being a little different with all the activities I'm getting into.

Let's see- quick highlights: Mostly I'm doing office work of all sorts, helping to prepare, because August 29th is the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and the People's Hurricane Relief Fund www.peopleshurricane.org is planning a united front commemoration, to remind people that hey, it's been a year and jack has been done with rebuilding, with bringing people in the New Orleans Black Diaspora home, with addressing issues of racism and classism that has permeated New Orleans from pre- and during Katrina, and since then.

So I've helped put names from 6000 people who were at the Convention Center (like the Superdome, only more so because that place was not equipped for evacuation, so no med or food or water supplies) in a survivors' database we're keeping, been to community meetings here and there, did administrative stuff, walked the streets of New Orleans doing flyering and outreach, and started learning the different neighborhoods that make this place unique.

Also I've seen the lower 9th ward (go to www.nola.com, to the Times-Picayune and they have a flash animation that shows the progress of the various levee breaks and flooding during Katrina- crazy) and the richer, whiter neighborhoods for contrast, and the divide is deep. I've hung out in the French Quarter with my lunchbuncher gal the Queen, watching tourists go by and marveling at the architecture and eating tasty Lebanese food at Mona's and lamenting the damage visible here, when it is so much worse elsewhere.

And I've been to a city planning meeting, where the city is planning to rebuild, and rebuild the black people right out of it. New Orleans here is the center of a storm, and at the PHRF we're trying to nurture a grassroots movement to get people organized, working class and poor folk across color lines, because the people most impacted negatively are the black people remaining in the city, and the Mexican and other Latino laborers being brought into the city to work in the construction and demolition and whatever.

It's kinda crazy, I guess. But I'm glad that I'm here, that I'm doing the work that I'm doing even if I don't see the results right away, like they do over at Common Ground where they're gutting houses in the Lower 9th for free because people are displaced and might not be able to come back to do it themselves. And meanwhile check out the UN Human Rights Committee, because they released a report July 28 criticizing and warning the US about human rights violations, and that is some interesting reading right there.

Am I sounding too radical and crazy for what people know me as? Maybe, but I've always had it in me. And now I'm glad I get to act, when at Scripps it was all talk-talk-talk, and all the action was limited to the campus. And yeah, I'm Asian American, but one thing I've learned is that movements that were led by and helped out African Americans, like the Civil Rights Movement, tend to bleed across society and help people across the board, so this is work that needs doing.

But since I don't feel like doing a crazy detailed online journal entry, when I've got various journal entries on paper, I'll link y'all to my photobucket. I've got photos from San Antonio posted, and some photos from New Orleans posted.


That's all for now, I prolly shouldn't lollygag too much longer. I'm a volunteer, so I'm not stuck with 9-5, but since I get housing, I figure I should put in the time. Most of us here put in lots of time anyway. :P Gimme a call some evening if you're so inclined, I carry my cell around with me, and I'm at CST so two hours ahead of home in California.
rhythmia: (Default)
Hey all, thought I oughta tell people (ehehe) that I will be gone for about a month, I'm not entirely sure yet. I leave July 19th by Amtrak (whee trains) with a couple day stopover in San Antonio to visit a friend, then from the 23rd til the end of August I will be in New Orleans.

I'll be volunteering there, with the People's Hurricane Relief organization. Maybe office work, maybe organizing in the community, maybe construction, maybe all of the above. The super spiffy Tasia and Mary Rose will be there too. I haven't bought the return tickets yet, but I'll be back before or at the beginning of September, I reckon. Anybody gonna be in the area while I'm there? Gimme a call on my cell, perhaps I can visit at the end or something.

Meanwhile- Stories of my daily life )
that's all for now, all my love ^_^


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