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Flying Focus Video Collective

August 2021 Newsletter

PMB 248     •     3439 NE Sandy Blvd     •     Portland, OR 97232

(503) 239-7456     •     (503) 321- 5051 (call/text)     •    ffvc@flyingfocus.org

NOTE: You can also see/dowload this newsletter in PDF format!


Supporting Black and Indigenous Lives

[Protest sign: This is Kalapuyan Land]

"Black and Indigenous Lives Matter" (VB #118.2&3) features several events focusing on issues faced by Black and Indigenous people. The longest segment comes from the anti-Independence Day event held on July 4, 2020 that included a march from the Native American Center at Portland State University to Pioneer Courthouse Square. There, various speakers gave informative and inspiring speeches about solidarity and liberation.

In part two, there is an October interview at the "Red House" on Mississippi, owned by a Black/Indigenous family, two months before there was a standoff over the threatened eviction of the family from their home. Then there are excerpts from regularly held Black Lives Matter protests in November. The events were recorded by PC Peri and the shows were produced by Barb Greene with editing help from Dan Handelman.

Justice and Education Equity

On October 10, 2020, the group We Gone Be All Right held a rally and march in North Portland. In "March for Justice System Reform and Equity in Education" (VB #118.10&11), Field Coordinator PC Peri recorded the rally at Columbia Park and interviewed people at the end of the march in McCoy Park. Speakers and participants present many varied and interesting viewpoints about race, justice and education which are rarely covered by nightly news reporters, who only seem to be interested in murder and mayhem. Participants include members of J.U.I.C.E. (Justice, Unity, Integrity, Community, and Equality), the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, local activists and even some Utahans who drove to Portland just for the event. This show was produced/edited by Barb Greene with editing assistance from Dan Handelman. --Video-- Streaming

Context for "Guantanamo Voices" Graphic Nonfiction Book

[Sarah Mirk and a page from he book]
Author Sarah Mirk talked about her graphic nonfiction book Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World's Most Infamous Prison on a livestream on January 12, 2021, one day after the 19th anniversary of the opening of the "detention center." Mirk talked about the history of the prison in the context of the "war on terror," statistics about the inmates, and the people she interviewed including guards, former prisoners, and lawyers. She also gave commentary on how the book was created, with various artists illustrating each chapter by referencing her notes, sketches and photographs. Of nearly 800 people taken to Guantanamo, roughly 40 remain. The two part show "Sarah Mirk Illuminates 'Guantanamo Voices'" (VB #119.1&2) reveals how the US base -- located in Cuba -- forever changed how Americans look at torture and indefinite imprisonment.

The presentation begins with an introduction by local media personality Theresa Mitchell. The Flying Focus version improves on the original with additional video that was not part of the original Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group stream. Both versions were produced by Dan Handelman (of PJW and FFVC). This show can be seen online at tinyurl.com/FFVCmirk.

Exclusive! Council Overrides Chief on Police Misconduct Case

Flying Focus member Dan Handelman, also part of Portland Copwatch, looked at a breakthrough case on police accountability in the two-part show "Police Oversight 2021: Officer Fails Theft Victim" (VB #119.9&10). No other television outlet covered this case, which involved a woman who said an officer violated policy by failing to take a stolen car report, resulting in her loss of the car. The Police Bureau initially found the officer within policy. The oversight body (the Citizen Review Committee, or CRC) voted three times at three different hearings that the officer failed to follow Bureau policy by not accepting a document showing the complainant's claim to the car, and failing to call a supervisor. At the second and third hearings, Chief Chuck Lovell tried to get CRC to agree to a finding that there was not enough evidence to prove a violation, but the officer would get instructed on how to do better in the future. When CRC rejected that the second time, it led to the fourth hearing -- at Portland City Council.

Spoiler alert: At that hearing, Mayor Ted Wheeler, also Police Commissioner, and the other three Council members voted to Sustain the allegation. His vote marked not only a sharp departure from Mayors in previous appeals, but from Wheeler's own speech denouncing Council's authority to overturn findings in 2019 (as seen in a clip from our show, "City Council Finds Officer Misconduct May 2019"). Perhaps it is because this case is about an officer failing to do their job, rather than actively doing harm to a community member.

Handelman produced this show and recorded the video (hearing 1) and screen captures of Zoom meetings (hearings 2 & 3); the Council footage came from the CityNet webcast.

Why Do We Need Universal Healthcare?

A national conference on health care was held in Portland, OR in late 2019. In this program, "Equal Healthcare for All" (VB #119.5&6), Flying Focus Field Coordinator PC Peri and interviewer Lisa Stiller spoke with people from around the country about the importance of single payer-- "everyone in, nobody out." Organizers, health care professionals and even an elected official spoke out in favor of a Medicare for all system and explained how it would work, how it would benefit us all, and how it would be funded. While the event happened nearly two years before this program was produced, the issues are even more stark today, as COVID has made even more obvious the racial disparities and other problems caused by our expensive and fractured healthcare system.

This two-part show was produced by Barb Greene with editing assistance from Dan Handelman. --Video-- Streaming

Labor Solidarity Actions 2021

[Protest for the PRO Act] Three events on or around May Day 2021 stressed the importance of unions in this time of extreme economic disparity. "May Day 2021: The Union Makes Us Strong" (VB #119.13/120.1) weaves together footage from:

• a protest to keep the Post Office running and to mourn lives lost, held on Post Office Worker Memorial Day, April 28;

• a rally and march supporting the Protect the Right to Organize (PRO) act, held outside the office of Sen. Ron Wyden on May 1; and

• a May Day porch concert featuring Portland musician Mary Rose and various guest bands including Beyond Little Boxes and the Quarantinas.

Through music, stories and educational calls for change, participants echo the lyrics of "Solidarity Forever": "The Union Makes Us Strong." All three events were recorded by Flying Focus Field Coordinator PC Peri and edited/produced by Barb Greene, with editing assistance from Dan Handelman.

American Iranians and Allies Speak Out

The American Iranian Friendship Council hosted a town hall on August 3, 2019 in Beaverton, OR where members of the Iranian American community and their allies spoke to US Representative Suzanne Bonamici. The concerns they raised about US policies around sanctions, war and immigration were sadly still relevant when we produced the two-part show "American Iranian Town Hall" (VB #118.6&7) 18 months after the event. Even as we go to press, the US is maintaining a mostly adversarial posture toward Iran. This show was videotaped by PC Peri and produced/edited by Dan Handelman.

Thirty Years On and Still Sharing Info with the World

It was in July of 1991 that Flying Focus first came up with its name and became an independent nonprofit organization. This summer marked 30 years of us getting important voices heard on the medium of video. We've been able to continue producing through the first 16-plus months of the COVID pandemic by stepping up field production of outdoor events and pivoting to record virtual events. While we wonder whether it's good to return to "normal" (mass consumption, polluting the air to travel, etc.) we are interested to see what's to come in the next year.

We hope you are appreciative of our efforts. There are several ways you can support us. We encourage folks who aren't substantial ($100 or more per year) donors to give whatever amount you can-- the IRS checks to be sure groups have many small donors to prove widespread support. Our online donation service Network For Good also allows for regular donations to be set up monthly, quarterly or annually. You can order a show on DVD or on USB (Flash) drive, or donate to ensure a program gets posted online for everyone to watch ($75 for individuals, $125 for large institutions). Finally, there's the difficult but important consideration of estate planning; if there's room in your will to donate to nonprofit causes, consider adding Flying Focus to the recipient list.

Believe us when we say we make every penny count. A recent grant awarded to us by Mount Hood Cable Regulatory Commission will allow us to buy much-needed hard drives and video tapes to back up our programs for posterity. Your donations help with other recording media and keeping our website going and the lights on at the office. Thank you -- we wouldn't be here without you!

"It's imperative that we stop terrible measures that are being enacted to reduce service standards even further and to delay America's essential mail."
-- Daniel Cortez of the American Postal Workers Union. From "May Day 2021: The Union Makes Us Strong" (VB #119.13 / 120.1)

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