The Activist Who Came In From the Cold

Well it’s been an amazing and overwhelming ride, forcing me into deep reflection and personal reorganization.  There’s so much to write about, and I hope, now that the dust has cleared a bit in my own mind and my own home, that I will have the time to start blogging again.
I have had to struggle with how to post to a blog while threats on my life are being made, aware that any hint of my plans could provide a deadly indication of where I might be at any given time.
Andy and I have rearranged our lives, though a series of events, finally provided with the opportunity to combine our households, and my son is away at an excellent educational program that I hope will be able to meet his needs.
The last few months have been wrenching and I have struggled with issues of safety, isolation, ostracism and depression.  The path is wide open, and I am not sure what my next step will be, though I am grateful that today I have begun to write again, inspired by attempts at censorship at SJSU, similar to the efforts that have brought down the UTLA Human Rights Committee. (I will be posting that letter to the Café Intifada blog.)
I have had to ask difficult questions, both deeply interpersonal and of the larger body politic.  Certainly at the top of the list, is how to live an open, honest life while in hiding!!??  Strange, how I have been forced into hiding by the criminal, illegal and terrorist acts of my opponents.  I have never been a bomb thrower or a guns runner, that’s not how I take to battle, (though I have had close friends who had gone down that road in their youth, in groups like the Weather Underground or the John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and their more secret spin offs.  In the seventies and early eighties, there were many such groups in the U.S. I remember when I decided not to take that path.
So it seemed strange that I needed to hide where I was staying; to cloak my plans.
Andy and I have moved to Los Angeles.  We are renting, so finding us is not as easy as it would be if we were homeowners.  Our home phone is unlisted.  We have installed a security system in the new place.  Which is small, but meets our needs.  We still need to install a ramp so that I can use my scooter.  Bob McKloskey, ace carpinter and human rights activist, will be building it.
We live in a dynamic part of the city, near EVERYTHING; a relief from the bitter isolation of the suburbs.  I have been consumed with the requisites of moving, as we leave two homes.  What an ordeal.  My health has been challenged, to say the least.  The advocacy work on my son’s behalf has been no less overwhelming or demanding.  It is very difficult to be the single mother of a disabled child.  Every agency, every program provides its own hurdles and humiliations, as if, in the pursuit of one’s child’s rights, one were trying to feed off of the system.  –the welfare queen image, which seems to apply doubly to those of us with disabilities. The truth  is that it isn’t those in need of service that feed off of the system, but rather the web of agencies and “professionals” that claim to serve that need.  Holding an organization to its mission can result in greater humiliation.  Putting up with their time wasting paper trials that document their alleged assistance takes away from the real needs that they should be addressing, and  getting caught up in the expectation that they might actually be of help is a dangerous disillusion. – How amazing that even within my union, among human rights activists I have been accused of “not really being disabled!!”   or that such discourse can go unexamined and unchallenged by other activists.

<><>As I write I find myself leaving out tidbits to protect others and to hide our plans.  If I were to write that I was anticipating going to a demonstration this weekend, a film tomorrow or a meeting next week, it would put everyone at those events in danger. If I describe a weekend alone while Andy is away at a conference, I alert those who would do me harm, that I am alone.  I wanted to write about the process of finding and establishing a home but didn’t, at least until I could honestly say that we had a security system installed.  I am committed to telling the truth in these pages.  I am also committed to protecting, to the extent possible, the safety of myself and those around me.  How do I live an honest and open life without providing information to those that would do me harm?
But these are the essential questions:  How to be the change we want to see?  How to live in the darkness as if the light were brightly lit?  How to fight with a broken heart and open fist?  How to love those who would do us harm?  How to be strong and gentle? How to make peace in the midst of immense brutality?  How to know who we really are, in a hall of mirrors?
Well, this is what I get to explore over the next days, weeks, months and years in both the In Bed with Frida Kahlo and the Café Intifada blogs.
It’s good to be back.

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