daily link(s): middle school student arrested for “stealing” a carton of milk in school

 

A middle school student who received free lunch was arrested for petit larceny and disorderly conduct for “stealing” a 65¢ carton of milk – that he had forgotten the 1st time he went though the line and went back for.

Not only was the denial of milk wrong but the family feels that the student was unfairly targeted because he’s a black student.

The student, Ryan Turk, is now a Freshman in high school. The incident happened at the end of last school year and his trial is coming up in November.

Related: Children of color begin experiencing racial bias from teachers as early as pre-school and receive harsher punishments than their white classmates.

Also, GET THE COPS OUT OF SCHOOLS. That’s just assisting the school to prison pipeline, not actually serving as a means to educate and discipline students who get into trouble. Fire cops, hire counselors.

 

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Conscience Voting

People are confused about my political views. They’re not the only ones. I’ve been in the middle of  a political identity crisis for a few years now.

I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.
I had the style, I had the ambition.
I read all the authors, I knew the right slogans.
There was no war but the class war.
I was ready to set the world on fire.
I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.

Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?

Thank you, Laura Jane Grace,for providing lyrical narration to my very first political identity. That’s who I was. In my early twenties I went through this weird part of life I cringe thinking about. I became a Mama in my teen years (unrelated to anarchy but I can see why one might try to connect it). I was frustrated by “you don’t look old enough to be a mother” and all the criticism that gets heaped on teen moms without foundation so I did this awful thing and conformed to what a grown ass mother is supposed to be like. Ugh, yeah. I conformed. I wanted my motherhood to be respected and honored like mainstream women. I thought that if I looked like I had my shit together and acted like what was expected by socially accepted models, I’d get it. I know now that I totally had my shit together ,was kickass at the parenting gig, and didn’t need to look a certain way to prove it. I know that now. Thank the gods I got that figured out. Doctor, please get in the TARDIS and travel back to 21 year old me and explain that to her.Make her burn that Ms Suzy Creamcheese dress with the sunflowers on it that she wore all the time while you’re at it.

Part of conforming was registering to vote. My resistance to voting feels alien to me now and I’m glad that I’ve found people on the web who also feel anarchism and voting can be paired. I do still in part cling to Emma Goldman’s idea that “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal” but I’m also a autodidactic student of history and I know better than that. Which is not to say I’m not aware of the flaws and think voting should do more than it actually does. I am too aware. That’s a huge part of my struggle at the moment.

I do still love Emma Goldman. If I had the money right now I’d go get Emma Goldman’s face tattooed on my arm. Sadly I can’t find a tat parlor that accepts my EBT card as payment. If any fox news folks have any leads, hook me up. I would be extra delighted to pay for it with government money. I love irony (and sarcasm).

As I’m creeping into age, I’m feeling my anarchist roots more and more. I’m trying to come to terms with this while also recognizing that there’s this system in place that I hate and instead of fighting it, I need to find ways to work within it. I don’t know what that looks like for me right now.

I was raised in part by a patriarchal figure who was a Reaganite and passionate about politics. We did not agree on anything politically but I cried the other day thinking about how I wish he were still on earth to argue with about this election. Maybe we wouldn’t argue. Maybe we’d discuss things instead of yelling a lot like we used to.
I think he would be horrified by Trump being an actual candidate. He would never vote for Hillary either. Not in a million years. I imagine most of our fights would be because he said something sexist about Hillary and I’d have to jump on that. We’d agree on not wanting to vote for her though. In my ghostly imaginings, I’m glad he and I find common ground on this.

Hillary Clinton is not my candidate. I can leave that statement there without clarifying. I’m an educated and informed voter. I do not feel that Hillary Clinton is a candidate that represents me. These statements are not a request for one of her supporters to enlighten me. I understand what I’m saying. I’m not smarter or more moral than her supporters, nor are they smarter and have higher morality than I do. They have their reasons for wanted to declare they’re with her, I have my reasons for not. You do you, I do me.

There are plenty of people who aren’t really with her but they’re going to vote for her anyway. This is one part of voting that I just can’t even with right now. Because it really isn’t supposed to be this way.

That Reaganite who raised me? My grandfather. The first presidential election I voted in, it was no secret he and I were voting differently. That Election Day, we drove to our polling place together. Before we got out of the car he said, “Well, I guess here we go to cancel each other’s vote. It’s ok. You have to vote your conscience. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”

I know. I know. Here in America, most people aren’t afforded the luxury of actually voting their conscience. You have to vote for the person who is against the person you hate the most. I get it.I really do. In this election, it’s especially scary to think of Trump getting into The Oval Office. The other day I imagined a Trump presidency and felt ok for a minute realizing that he would screw up badly in the infancy of his term and be effortlessly impeached . Then I realized that Trump being impeached would mean Pence would take office and that is terrifying . Unlike Trump, Pence has actual experience legislating discrimination and public policy that harms people.

Some recent polls of Millennials reveal that more than half are interested in being third party voters.  The commentary on this is that it proves that Millennials are selfish little pricks who don’t give a shit. I’m the mother of three Millennials (wait,no….FIVE if I include my step kids) and I disagree. They are interested in third party candidates because they do give a shit. They see two candidates who aren’t ideal . They’re looking for an alternative.They want actual change.

The rest of registered voters are listening to the chant of the Democrats explaining that a vote for a third party is a vote for Voldemort. (Sorry. I hate typing that orange guy’s name. It makes me nauseous.) Some of these voters will definitely fall in line and become “Girl, guess I’m with her” voters.  A lot of those voters are not going to vote at all. They will stay home because they’ve been made to believe that voting any way other than Democrat or Republican is a wasted vote.

And I know. I know. This is a scary election. The uncertainty makes us unwilling to take the risk. It doesn’t help that the main third party candidates might not seem qualified to most or that thanks to media, we just don’t know enough about them. So, I get it. I’m not saying this is the election to shake things up by putting a third party candidate in office but let’s not rule it out for the future,ok? It has happened before. Lincoln was technically a third party candidate when he was elected.

I am currently an undecided voter. Maybe I’ll vote for Hillary. Maybe it’ll be a third party candidate. Maybe I’ll write in Emma Goldman. I have no idea.I don’t think I’m alone. I do know that no matter what the outcome, we’re all in this together and there will still be work that needs done.Maybe there’s an advantage in accepting the idea that no matter who is elected, it won’t be someone I want to be President. It keep me ready to fight , ready to stand up for things that need standing up for. People stay on their toes and become active pugilists in the heat of an election year only to fade into complacency once the election cycle comes to an end. Participation in democracy can’t be cyclical. It has to be a  never ending commitment with eyes wide open.


 

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“I Want A Dyke For President” (1992) by Zoe Leonard, artist, activist, member of Fierce Pussy

 

 

If you haven’t already, go register to vote. Now.

 

Register to Vote

 

Voting this election is so important but it’s not all about the Presidential election. There are several states with crucial gubernatorial elections and of course state representatives to be seated. These are the policy makers. These are the people who can make or break it for people. They can create progressive change or set us back 50 years, for the whole country and in individual states. Those people on the ballot are too important to ignore right now.

daily links::a food waste cookbook!, news on teen hunger, and more

2016-09-24

There’s a cookbook called Amazing Waste with recipes entirely devoted to cooking with scraps,leftovers,etc. I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire thing yet but this looks like the kind of cookbook I would write. Am writing. These kinds of recipes are great for food pantry users (at least my food pantry) where you might end up with produce that is not the prettiest or freshest.

The entire cookbook is available for free RIGHT HERE.

Thanks to my local food waste reduction -anti hunger group Friendship Donations Network for passing along that info.


·:   Five Questions with JoAnne Berkenkamp, Food Waste Expert and Advocate  – there’s a lot of food waste going on but it’s getting better thanks to mainstream recognition and initiatives to reduce waste


:· some new research reveals some sad information about teenagers living in homes with food insecurity  . Even if teenagers do have access to programs that give them food,they’re too worried about what their peers will think to use them openly but also they are underserved by programs like The Backpack Program, which focuses on elementary aged kids. This is something touched on before here when one of our readers was trying to develop a program for older kids.

As a result, in households where hunger was most acute, teens reported engaging in all kinds of risky behavior to obtain food, including: shoplifting food directly, selling drugs for cash and/or engaging in “transactional dating,” i.e., engaging in sexual relationships with older adults in exchange for food and money. In a few communities, some teens even viewed going to jail as a viable option to ensure regular meals. The report also revealed the degree to which hungry teens look out for each other and for their younger siblings, often forgoing meals or sharing their food with those also in need.

Here’s a summary of the full report: Impossible Choices

My teenager’s high school made school lunch available for free to ALL students, regardless of income. If high schools did that widely, this would eliminate so much of these issues. Her school also has Free Food Friday where food donations picked up from a local rescue agency is available in the school lobby for anyone to take home. My daughter very rarely gets anything because it’s completely gone by the time she has a chance to check it out. Even when she is there on time, it’s difficult to get anything. No one is shy about taking food home. Now I have to wonder why these students have no reluctance to take free food. The school is a small charter school that focuses on sustainability and social justice (nope, don’t go off on me about how awful charter schools are) . Is it just that the culture of the school is centered on taking care or others and being stewards of the earth? A lot for me to think about there. I asked my daughter what she thinks and she says it’s because the school works hard to be a safe space for everyone and “no one judges people for things like that”.


Meanwhile in my community, the school district just expanded their Fresh Snack Program to include another school so that it now serves 1,200 elementary students. The Youth Farm Project (which one of my older kids worked at and let em tell you…that’s an AMAZING program) and other local farms provide a weekly snack to be served with the intention of expanding food horizons and food accessibility. It’s awesome.

My 6 year old was very critical of the yellow watermelon mentioned in the article linked above. He spent his summer growing his own watermelon, so he’s an expert now.
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He’s a super proud watermelon farmer.  I think we actually have a couple left to harvest. I plan on making this watermelon pie. YESSSSSSSSS.

10 Reasons To Get Behind Basic Income

This is aimed at Bernie supporters who need to focus their fire on something now that he’s out of the race but the points are laid out so well for anyone else who is interested in solutions to making life better for low income people in the U.S.

One minor irk: The first reason given states that ALL people deserve to have money for work, no matter what work they do but excludes those who don’t or can’t work who are susceptible to living in poverty. I’m thinking of disabled and elderly people specifically. Yes,there’s disability and social security but those usually do not meet all the economic needs.

 

(This post comes to you via my FIXED laptop! No more forced hiatus. Thank you so much to those of you who offered replacements in the event it couldn’t be fixed. I love that there are people like ya’ll out there. Mwah. )

What foods would you like to see in a Backpack Program?

I’m sharing this question today from a reader who is involved with starting a Backpack Program for junior high aged kids in her area.

For anyone not familiar with the Backpack Program : every Friday during the school year, food is sent home via backpack . The goal is to provide  food for the weekend to kids who rely on free school meals.

S asks:

If your student came home and opened their backpack on Friday afternoon, what would be most helpful to find?

Parameters:

Total gross weight under about 5 pounds

Picky kid friendly

Nutritious

Easy prep since some families have no cooking facilities except possibly a microwave

Pretty cheap, like $5 retail

 

 

“Abuse is stronger when its silent and it wants to be a dirty secret because it can take control over the victim as long as they live. “

An important guest post today.
This is an anonymous letter from a mother to her daughter as she watches her struggle in an abusive relationship while dealing with memories of her own past experience. Sometimes those who are closest to the situation feel the most powerless to help. I hope these words resonate with some readers and give them the courage to reach out for help or to help someone else they know dealing with domestic abuse and violence. 


I am not just a mom. I am the very person who watches and keeps track of you even though you are my adult child. It may seem I am not paying attention but I do; among the other busy life tasks I must perform every single day. I will always worry. I will always say something that supports your independence and recognize your qualities that makes me feel proud of you even though you are defensive and biting. I still feel disappointment, kindness, frustration and pride among other things. I have done the best I can in raising you and I know more than anyone that no parent is ever perfect. Especially when poverty is in the fold and the struggles that we experienced as a family complicate a content household.

I just wish that I was better able to share my story about my past. To convey my experiences as you grew up. The time before you were born before I met your father. I failed you by attempting to diminish the memories and the emotional hardship in talking about my experiences. It’s a terrible secret that no one in my family knows about; and in that silence I know abusers are given permission to continue when they aren’t even in the parameter in your life any longer.

So mom’s know things. I know things. I know he’s threatened to kill you. He’s threatened to kill himself to me. Mom’s see things in their daughters and know they are not okay. They see the bruises that are scoffed off or given some improbable excuse. They see you as an unhappy, argumentative illogical decision maker that demonstrates poor choices for your future independence. I am tired worrying and I don’t know how to fix it for you.

I remained silent and unwilling to share my terror too long because I placed it far back in my memories and built new ones to bury them. But as I realize now, the bones are always there and by burying them I can’t help anyone else, especially you. Abuse is stronger when its silent and it wants to be a dirty secret because it can take control over the victim as long as they live. Even if the abuser is long gone or dead.

When I was a young adult I made decisions about my life that were misguided. I could never confide to your Grandmother. She would have shamed me and not said anything useful as she lived out of state and out of touch since I was a young child. She would have blamed me, for certain, for not being something or say something to keep the violence going. I had no trust with her. You don’t have to trust me and as much as that makes me sad and a bit hurt it’s more important that you trust someone.

I made bad choices. Horrible ones. Most of it out of a false sense of compassion which turned into fear. In essence I let myself be held hostage by a stranger.

My sweet daughter, meet my abuser. A man who was ridiculously shy at first and for certain odd. I felt compelled to go out on one date. At the end of the evening when I told him honestly I wasn’t interested in seeing him again he erupted in such a scene – an emotional episode that I was completely in shock. I was eighteen and I had no idea what to do. You should have seen this through my eyes. He tried to set his hair on fire and screamed hysterically he would commit suicide if I did not see him again. Me. A stranger. He stripped off his clothing and huddled on the edge of the furniture in a tight ball sobbing with a lit lighter by his hair. He rocked back and forth inconsolable and out of fear of witnessing this and general concern over his well being I agreed, in terror and trying to understand what was happening, to go out with him again. I have no idea why honestly. I was terrified at what he was capable of doing.

So you see, in my silence about my past I neglected to teach you about my painful experience for you to learn from. I am not sure if you would listen anyway, but to give it everything I have as a parent I must; I will forfeit my shame and embarrassment to help you. My experience was short lived; only over one year. During this time it was extremely painful emotionally and physically.

I learned he was on parole for robbery in another state (“RUN!” I screamed in my head). He excluded me from my friends and I had to like only his (“STAND UP!” my inner voices demanded). I was held hostage by a stranger that I did not want to know or be associated with. I was better than this and I was confused at myself for the experience. He stalked me at work (“HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH! I told myself “This is not as bad as I think it is.”) He drank at least a case of beer every day that turned into rage and tirades breaking everything in sight (“SURVIVE!” my inner voices demanded).

Almost daily if the broken items weren’t my personal belongings it was the windows, doors, walls. and then he’d turn the rage by hitting himself or threatening worse (my inner survival took over). He’d turn that rage onto me if I became visible to him. If I argued back. If I spoke out. If I commented. If I didn’t have beer. If I didn’t cook dinner. If I kept something special. I was strong physically but it was the emotional barrage of unpredictable shocking behavior and assault that left me numb and incapable of acting. I hated him and worse I hated myself for being there. He would work for short periods of time before he lost his job due to his drinking, and terrorize me while driving my car which he also demanded to drive sober or drunk.

He’d threaten to drive us off cliffs and jerk the wheel toward the edge pushing the gas pedal. The worst lie about all of these experiences is that on the outside he was engaging, funny, and other people liked him. I would physically feel ill when people talked kindly about him (“CAN’T YOU SEE INTO MY EYES AND HELP ME?” I’d scream into my own silence). I tried to tell people what was happening, and they never believed me. I thought about that as he would rip off my clothes and push me outside the front door and lock it. As he would bite me leaving ugly raw bruises. As he would beat anything in his path making me feel weak.

I never got the help I needed from friends and in part because it was so embarrassing to fully confess the depths of terror I was living under. You can imagine my feelings of betrayal when I tried to seek help but couldn’t articulate fully – and “they” blamed me. People can be like that, so go to someone and keep talking until someone will believe you.

When I did finally flee from his terror I was exhausted. I had the paperwork in place, a protection order, but it didn’t stop. He chased me in his car on the rural dirt roads I lived. He broke into my home while I slept in that exhaustion and I woke up to him sitting on my bed, stroking my hair, begging for me to take him back whispering his own venom into my ear. I woke up in stark fear and pushed him off the bed and he once again raged.

I had to leave the state and go to an unknown area and start my life over and I tried my best to bury these bones to never have to think or acknowledge it ever happened. To bury myself in busy. To raise my family like it never happened. Until now. When I see it in your eyes.

So dear daughter. I see you. We give silence permission to continue the abuse. In our stories we grow stronger together and I beg you to recognize this in yourself. Before it’s too late.


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