It takes just one spark to start a fire. Spark your personal revolution by getting involved in ‘Participatory Media’ with the Good Men Project’s Social Interest Forums.

 

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“Know Your History to Know Your Destiny” — Bob Marley

As a lifelong lover and student of history, I have always been fascinated with what generations previous had to struggle against to achieve true freedom. I admire the intensity of the dedication of the thousands of everyday people that contributed their energy to the Civil Rights Movement, the resistance to global fascism, the struggle to free South African’s from Apartheid, and on and on.

Or, going back even farther to study the history of resistance to oppressive governments down through the ages: from the oppression of the Jews in Babylon, the oppression of Rome upon the “barbarians” of Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia.  There was the not too distant tyranny of world dictators like Chairman Mao and Lenin (each of whom was responsible for exterminating at least 30 millions of their own Chinese and Russian citizens), down to the notorious death camps of Nazi Germany.  There has been a dreadfully long and ugly history of “absolute power corrupting absolutely.”

 

Silence is Violence

I have always asked myself as a student of history, “What was the regular guy doing (or not doing) that allowed these oppressive atrocities to occur?”  The answer to that is, of course, deep and multifaceted.  Yet, one commonality remains in all of these cases of historical oppression. Silence.

The “Powers That Be” (“P.T.B.”) that organized systemic oppression often use the same tools from the same tool box; intimidation and discouragement of honest conversation, critique, and mutual support among the communities they seek to oppress.  Silence.  As I used to teach in my community presentations to prevent relationship violence, sexual violence, and gang violence–Silence equals violence.  People need the space to “speak the truth to power,” as they say.  Even more importantly, they need the space to speak truth to each other.

 

“Isms” & “Schisms”

As a weekly columnist for the Good Men Project, I have found a positive and supportive outlet to share my voice along with other sisters and brothers who are socially conscious. I have been able to learn more about how different individuals and communities work against the sexism, racism, anti-immigrant hatred, and hosts of other “isms” and “schisms” affecting our children’s world.  I have learned even more about the intersectionality of oppressions than I was aware of from my field experience as a social activist for 16 years in Los Angeles with youth of color. I learned that not only I can read truth, I can hear human voices, and speak my own voice out against oppressions and for advocacy of human rights.

 

STOP Racism Social Interest Calls

I first joined Good Men Project Social Justice Groups when I was traveling in East Africa promoting my self-care book and doing research for an anti-racism project I am working on regarding the history of the White Supremacy and its impact. When I heard about the opportunity to be involved in the Good Men Project’s, STOP Racism Social Interest Group calls, I would wake up at 4:00 am to call in (trying very hard not to disturb my Tanzanian hosts).

Why get up that early for a long distance overseas call? It is a profound encouragement to hear others share their thoughts on an issue I care deeply about and have devoted much of my life’s work in addressing. Just to physically hear the sound of the human voice resonating with my hopes, concerns, and passions was impactful (verses just reading words online).  It was worth getting up early for, contributing to, and promoting. It was worth letting others know about Good Men Project’s efforts to redefine what media can be in these troubling times.

It reminded me—“You are not alone, or crazy, or a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ to be deeply concerned about these issues. You learn from others and get more practical tools to work against oppression. You can resist racism alongside other sisters and brothers, and hold hope in your heart, at the same time as you swing fists (figuratively) in battle.”

 

“I Can’t Breathe” — Eric Garner

More than ever, the United States of Chaos needs breathing space for our minds, hearts, and souls.  We need to hear out our sisters and brothers of all backgrounds and colors; to remind us we are not alone.  We need a safe, yet challenging and interactive social space. We need to be able to let our minds and hearts breathe.

Eric Garner’s last gasp of “I can’t breathe,” is symbolically morphing into a collective “We can’t breathe.”  Now, even peoples who are not of color are starting to feel a symbolic chokehold on our freedom and lives; while our Black sisters and brothers have felt the literal chokehold here for centuries. Here we are able to learn we can, and must stand together.

 

Drink Deep but Don’t Slur Your Words

I have heard that most of the great revolutions began in bars or pubs. Those communal places where regular folks gather, congregate, chat, and “get real” with each other. Though Good Men Project is not a pub, you can develop supportive relationships there, write or speak your truth there, grow in wisdom there, and breathe there.  The Good Men Project Social Interest Forums may not be the physical community pubs where resistance and peaceful revolutions are born, but feel completely welcome to have a drink while interacting with the community via a call or post.  Just don’t slur your words.

Because we share our words there to build each other up and heal.  Pitch in your support, your money, your thoughts, your writing, your voice, your unique contribution to the collective efforts to STAND UP for a better, more inclusive world.  A world void of oppressions, “isms,” and hate.

We call it “participatory media.” Talk to others. Create media together. Change the world.

It is the “the conversation no one else is having.” Genuine human communication, support, a.k.a. Participatory Media is the “Kryptonite of fascism.” Got a hold of some.

 

 

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Frank Blaney is Creative Director at Less is More Press LLC

Mr. Blaney has a Master’s Degree in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding.

For 16 years Frank Blaney has focused his passion for social justice, scholarship, and community healing towards serving youth of color in Los Angeles. He is an expert in self-care, a Martial Arts, Qigong, and Tai Chi instructor, and author of “Qigong: The Quick and Easy Start-Up Guide.

He is currently traveling the African continent and Europe doing research for an upcoming book on the history and global impact of White Supremacy. To learn more about Frank visit

www.frankblaney.com