Flying Focus Video Collective
August 2012 Newsletter
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Minority Profiling 101Andrea Ritchie is a police misconduct attorney and organizer. On March 13, she spoke in Portland about the book she coauthored, Queer (In)justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the US. In her talk (featured on "Minority Profiling 101," VB #s 83.5&6), she explained how policing gender and sexual nonconformity started long before the sodomy laws -- back when Columbus set foot in the Americas. She discussed how projecting deviant sexuality onto others was used as justification for slavery and for the theft of land and genocide. Ritchie gave many examples of how every aspect of the justice system, aided by the media, continues to police sex and gender to serve the racist, sexist and classist policies of our society today. --Clip--
Rethinking Psychiarty-- Psychotropic Drugs, Forced Medication, and ChildrenIn May, Portland hosted the second annual symposium looking at alternatives to the conventional wisdom on mental health-- drugs, drugs and drugs. In "Rethinking Psychiatry 2012" (VB #84.4&5) the symposium's opening panel discussion examines psychotropic drugs, forced medication, and youth subjected to these "remedies." It begins with a keynote talk by Jim Gottstein, an Alaskan resident who is a psychiatric survivor, Harvard Law School graduate, and Founder of PsychRights, a law firm which defends people facing forced drugging and electroshock. Gottstein's facts and statistics may surprise you, including how one area of Finland reversed America's relapse figures of 80% relapsed / 20% cured by using community therapy instead of drugs.
Fellow panelists Beth Englander of Disability Rights Oregon, Steve McCrea of Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Pamela Butler of Oregon Foster Youth Connection address other aspects of the national movement to create a mental health care system that is more holistic, effective and humane.
Looking at US Policies Since 9/11: 10 Years in AfghanistanLast October marked 10 years since the U.S invasion of Afghanistan. Several community groups organized a rally, march and forum to protest the war / occupation, and to educate community members about broader connected issues. Speakers at the forum, held at the First Unitarian Church, are featured in "U.S. Policy After 10 Years in Afghanistan" (VB #82.6&7).
PSU sociology professor Veronica Dujon described the damage done by U.S. policies in both broad and specific terms, keeping the image of a soldier and an Iraqi child up on a projection screen to remind folks of the grim realities of those policies. Lewis and Clark College economics professor Martin Hart-Landsberg connected foreign, domestic and economic policies, noting how many human needs could be met if not for the bloated spending on the military including the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Executive director of the national Bill of Rights Defense Committee Shahid Buttar laid out a number of civil liberties infringements that have worsened since 9/11, including the specific effects on communities of color, religious communities and immigrants.
"We are the people we've been waiting for"
Flying Focus Video Bus UpdatesFlying Focus has been covering local and international issues for over twenty years. Some of those stories continue to evolve.
Here are two updates on topics we've covered.
Attorney's Sentence Upheld: "Lynne Stewart: Attorney on Trial," (VB #64.6&7), from 2007 covered the story of a grandmother and former attorney who was accused of "aiding terrorists" while legally representing a client. Her sentence of 10 years was recently upheld by the Second Circuit US Court of Appeals. The June 28th New York Times article implies that part of the decision was due to the feisty Stewart claiming she could serve the term "standing on my head."
Cell Phone Radiation Study?: Last year Flying Focus covered Talal Jabari's film "Full Signal" about the dangers of cell phones ("Cell Phones: What Can They Hurt?" VB #80.6).
The Washington Post reported on June 15th that the FCC is considering a study of cell phone radiation, stating "there has been no definitive study on whether the explosive growth [of mobile devices] is bad for our health."
Rights Infringement: From Internment of Japanese Americans to Guantanamo
Two of Flying Focus' recent programs addressed the issues of the U.S. government's taking away of rights and liberties in the name of security.
One featured a lecture on a major injustice perpetrated in our country during World War II-- Japanese American citizens were forcibly removed from their homes and into internment camps for fear they were traitors. Dr. David Adler spoke in Portland in February, marking 70 years since Executive Order 9066 essentially, as Adler quotes one Supreme Court Justice, legalized racism.* Adler's talk is the subject of "Internment of Japanese Americans: Civil Liberties in Wartime" (VB #83.9&10).
Adler focused on the Supreme Court, Attorney General and other legal aspects of the internment, as well as the executive branch's failure to protect Americans' rights during WW II and throughout history. He spoke with passion to the failure of political leadership and the importance of raising one's voice when such violations occur. Adler, then Director of the McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho, gave his talk at Portland State University.
Dr. David Adler speaking in Portland
An earlier show captured the November 8, 2011 panel discussion examining the state of civil liberties in the U.S. 10 years after 9/11. "Civil Liberties 2011: Can We Be Safe and Free?" (VB #83.1&2) is a sequel of sorts to our 2009 show featuring another National Lawyers Guild (NLG) / community panel, "Civil Liberties 2009: Are We Still at Risk?"
Speakers covered the threat to civil liberties caused by the prior and current administrations' policies of torture, targeted killing, extraordinary rendition and warrantless wiretaps, military commissions and indefinite detention, political surveillance and religious discrimination -- policies which have dubious or no value in preserving safety and national security. Each speaker briefly touched on the use of drones (unmanned aircraft) to kill people, including American citizens, anywhere.
Speakers include: Steven Wax, Federal Public Defender, lawyer for a number of Guantanamo detainees; Brandon Mayfield, a local Muslim attorney falsely accused of terrorism charges; Kayse Jama, Executive Director, Center for Intercultural Organizing; and Steven Goldberg, an NLG attorney whose litigation successfully challenged the NSA warrantless surveillance program.
*...and, we would say, "legalized racism again."
Taking Action to HealTwo recent programs covered presentations by the Restorative Action Project since it changed its name from the Restorative Listening Project on Gentrification and shifted the focus to healing from racism. In "Healing Work (Restorative Action Project #1)" (VB #82.10&11) Sr. Pastor Don Frazier talked about his multi-cultural ministry at Genesis Community Fellowship and differences between races. He emphasized that people of color need to be teachers and white people need to be learners and stay committed to the process. Macceo Pettis spoke of his work with inter-racial dialogues, the importance of spirituality and releasing negativity. He demonstrated energy healing that anyone can do for themselves or others. --Clip--
Sharif Abdullah at the Restorative Action Project
In VB #83.13 & 84.1, Sharif Abdullah shared details of the work he has been doing in 38 countries and more than 100 cultures around the world with people in conflict ("Sharif Abdullah on Inclusivity [Restorative Action Project #2]"). He stated that in all his years of work, he has not seen one society that has economic, social and environmental justice and fairness figured out, and that we need to create a new operating system.
He described his vision of inclusivity and challenged his listeners to develop a new wisdom for a multi-ethnic society.
Campaign for Computer Continues, Your Help is NeededFor a few years now, Flying Focus has been asking for folks to donate a used Intel-based Macintosh computer or money to help us buy one, which will help us move more toward the digital era of the 21st century. Because that hasn't panned out yet, we've decided to begin a campaign via WePay.com specifically to fund the computer project. WePay offers the ability to use social networking--which we don't, but if you do, please let your friends know about our work and why they should support us. Our videos benefit many communities in many ways by making prominent the issues normally not talked about in most media.
Of course, we also appreciate your donations of every kind, including checks, money orders, or our existing on-line donation service at Network for Good. Our May fund-raising letter brought in several hundred dollars which will help us keep doing our educational work, keep the office and phone lines running, and ensure our presence on the web for another year. Remember, even $5 means a lot to us, so whatever you can give is greatly appreciated.