Category Archives: Cross Referencing Emmalandia

The Amazing Disappearing Emma

Or “Emma, Emma where have you been?”

Well I’ve not been here or my other blogs as much. Mostly I’ve been on facebook, where interaction is more immediate. I post my informal rants, which initially would have shown up here, on facebook, where I can have more interaction. People respond there. The comments here are not as interactive and not as frequent. There’s a hierarchy between blogger and reader that isn’t a factor on facebook. So facebook changed the way I use blogging.

And I got tired of writing up every, single. time. I. endured. humiliation. or. abuse.

With DISability, it’s everywhere, every time we leave the house, and often in our homes too.

I’ve changed the way I write DISability. I used to write it “dis-ability”, but write it “DISability”, now. Both writings emphasize the social construct of DISablement– that it is what is done TO us, that it is not what ever condition or nonconformity we have, but rather, the social construct of isolation, segregation, institutionalization, discrimination, clientization, infantilization, etc. But “dis-ability” won’t show up in an internet search for “disability”, and “DISability” does. So I think that’s an improvement.

I’ve also (going back to the indignities) added the lexicon that distinguishes caretaker from caregiver. How significant and curious that these two words are considered synonyms. Since when is “taker” and “giver” the same? So I use “caretaker” to mean an abusive person who is assigned or assumed the care of a DISabled person, as opposed to “caregiver” who is someone who gives empathic, attentive and loving care. Clever, huh? Thanks! I think so.

I’ve also been really, really busy, and focused on survival, the house, getting through the day, managing my health, dealing with the imposition of aging, staying closer to home.

Recently I’ve limited my social interaction, including on facebook, which is perhaps why I’m blogging again. The abuse of DISfolx is just so rampant, and socially tolerated, especially in social justice, human rights and educational communities and environments.  It’s just unbearable. As I’ve said before, I can expect a humiliating, dangerous or violent experience almost every time I leave the house. So I’ve withdrawn a bit. I go out when I have to, shop on line when I need things, work out of my home, create community closest to where I live, and budget the amount of abuse I have to sustain. Or so I thought. I was happy working here, at DragonflyHill Urban Farm, working with people I love, creating a supportive community, where each person’s needs isn’t seen as a burden, but an opportunity for greater sustainability. (For example, my inability to stand for long periods of time, means I need meals prepared for me, resulting in our huge community breakfasts, and everyone starting the day together, with a healthy meal.) And then the city proposed a home sharing ordinance that would wipe us OUT. I’ve been writing about that a lot on the DragonflyHill blog, and will be writing more, in the coming days. I’m especially interested in how the rhetoric against home sharing pretends it’s a violation of housing, human, DISability, workers, rights, when it is ESSENTIALLY about all of those. Home sharing provides jobs and housing for people, many of whom are outside of the labor force, including people with DISabilities, undocumented workers, formerly incarcerated and otherwise marginalized folx.

There’s also the illusion that it’s passive income, when it is not. We work so hard here–all of us– essentially domestic work, which is why those pretending home sharing is taking away jobs and housing, can get away with that assertion. Shame on them for perpetuating and exploiting devalued and essential domestic labor as easy and valueless.

Getting this business off the ground has been a daunting task, and what little strength I have has gone into this. I think we’ve finally got to a point where I can clear my head enough to even consider blogging again, more regularly. Social media is mostly my job on the farm, and I think I’ve finally found my groove.

Andy, Xeres, Glenda and I have also launched, are launching The WE Empowerment Center, to make the benefits of nonprofit status and the nonprofit industrial complex, more accessible to ordinary folx. We’ve streamlined the application process and made it easier for people who may not have the organizational social capital to get in the game.

We have facebook pages, blogs, web pages, and EVERYTHING!
https://twitter.com/DHillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/DragonflyhillUrbanFarm
https://www.facebook.com/weempowermentcenter

And, I’ve updated my photography page, complete with images of the house and everything we did to get it ready for where we are today.

emmarosenthal.smugmug.com

And yes, I COULD get my own URLs for each of these, but I like giving credit to the interface I’m using. It’s more of a commons, a gathering place. So smugmug, or wordpress, brings it all together.

So see you on my other sites, and here, between the sheets, In Bed With Frida Kahlo.

Moving Forward

I hadn’t realized it’s been a half a year since I last posted to this blog.   I keep three other blogs, and while I’ve made a few posts on those sites, and I did create a new page: “Resources for Accessibility” to this blog. (see the menu at the top of this page); it’s been a slow year for me as a blogger, and I haven’t made any new posts, here  since December.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on facebook– where, in addition to my private wall, I also have 2 organizational walls– DragonflyHill Urban Farm, and Cafe Intifada, and I’ve started tweeting, too. So, so much social media, and perhaps I haven’t needed to blog as much. Been venting my frustrations there. Regardless,  I do need to come back to bed with frida, not that she missed me. But I hope my readers have.

We’ve also been busy fixing up our home– DragonflyHill Urban Farm, busy with urban farming. I’ve been taking classes in photography and have a very serious and extensive work in progress I’ll be posting to the web sometime soon. And life’s been hard. very hard. We’re coming out of several difficult years and I THINK we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m hoping it’s not the train!!!!

I do expect to be doing a lot more writing in the coming weeks. Some of the topics you might expect to see include:

The Clientization and Infantalization of Dis-ability— the tendency of health care providers, friends, family, co-workers and others, including activists to see PWDs (people with dis-abilities) as clients to be cared for, and not peers to be respected, empowered and nurtured. Along with clientization comes infantilization– seeing PWDs as little children and putting us in our place. (this becomes especially acute for women PWDs, who are apparently expected to be good little girls.)

Emma’s Lexicon: A guide to the terms I use and their meanings, including PWDs. dis-ability, dis-abled, as well as words to address issues of imperialism, colonization, occupation, social justice and radical healing.

Radical Healing:  How to heal in community, how to provide systems of support, how to build community, and at the very least, what NOT to do.  I’m also looking at the role social networking: blogging, Facebook and twitter can have in breaking down the isolation of illness and dis-ability. I’ll also look at how these venues can also be abused by bullies and perpetrators to increase marginalization and victimize targets of abuse.

Resource Pages:  Pages that provide resources on a specific topic.  For example, see our page on Resources for Accessibility. (See links above)  Other pages include resources on Accessible urban farming, healing trauma, etc.

On my other blogs look for posts of essays, stories and poems including much writing on racism, sexism, movement building, infiltrators in the movement, blacklisting,  building community, white supremacy, etc. As well as a variety of resource pages on political figures, issues, etc.

And look forward to my new web page of my photography, something that has been in the works for some time.

To find me on the blogosphere and the rest of the web go to:

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/navigating-emmalandia-links-to-emma-rosenthals-web-presence/

Anatomy of a Blacklist- a thread on two blogs

For the last three years I have been documenting a series of events within United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), around disability rights, Palestinian rights, union democracy and blacklisting, which started as a strange power play within the Human Rights Committee apparently around disability rights, but in my estimation, may have merely been the utilization of (my) disability as the socially acceptable way of attacking when no legitimate means was available. 

Just as that controversy seemed to be resolving itself,  the Jewish Zionist Establishment (the ADL, The Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Jewish National Congress, Stand With Us, the Progressive Jewish Alliance–them too!, as well as others) launched a campaign against the Union, the Human Rights Committee, the AFSC, Café Intifada, and….. me, focusing particularly on an upcoming meeting to discuss boycotts, sanctions and divestiture (BDS) from Israel.  Thisresulted in an unholy alliance between the Zionist lobby, the “progressive” UTLA leadership, bent on protecting themselves and their positions, and the members of the Committee who now had a (pro-imperialist) arsenal of accusations to use against me, resulting in my removal from any position of leadership within the Committee and the destruction of the Committee infrastructure I had played a  large role in creating. 

Due to the (ongoing)  blacklisting, death threats, personal attacks, humiliations and the limitations of my health,  as well as, more recently a “tip” to a hot line,  an early morning service of a search warrant  of our home, complete with 14 armed police officers, a news camera, the seizure of our property, which included a thorough three month investigation  of every computer,  hard drive, zip drive, digital camera, thumb drive, back up disc and memory card, the result of which determined NO EVIDENCE OF CRIMINALITY  (no arrests, no charges, case closed!.  All of this, leaving us with  legal bills and other expenses,  PTSD (!) and (for all teachers under police investigation) the removal of my partner from the classroom.    (More on the police action later. )

Over the course of this time,  I retreated into a period of deep self reflection, depression, study and creativity. I sold my house, moved in with my partner and fellow activist, went back to school to learn new skills and  with him, bought and restored  an old house that promises to be a vehicle for our vision of local and global struggles for social justice.   The pressure on our marriage has been considerable as we have both needed to take time to work on our most basic support system: each other.  Only now am I  attempting to emerge, increasing my personal security, finding out who my real allies are, breaking the silence, speaking out,  healing deep wounds, initiating new dialogue with some of those who committed betrayals of silence, and enjoying the emergence of new, younger movements for social justice within Los Angeles. 

In the interest of disclosure:  During this same span of time the original home of my blogs shut down, so I had to repost each blog entry piece by piece, photo by photo to the new server. Emotionally, there were periods where I couldn’t look at this any more.  It just hurt too much.  And life had its own demands.  Our  larger adversaries are paid to bring us down.  We must work for justice in our spare time.  Emergencies come up, work gets put to the side. So, I have contributed to this thread on and off,  and while material is provided in chronological order, some of the entries have recently been updated or contextualized, drafts written at the time may have been recently completed and posted.  

And I doubt we have seen the end of this.  I invite my detractors to feel free to post comments as they see fit.  If their positions have the validity they claim, there should be no reason for their ongoing anonymity and stealth.  As long as they don’t obscure their identity, I will approve their posts. And it is quite possible that some events have been misrepresented.  I am open to critique and will be issuing corrections in that event. 

Finally, a word about my union ( UTLA), and the progressive slate, whose members include activists with whom I have worked for decades.  I submit this documentation, in the spirit of critical support.  I believe that dissent is essential for the life of this organization that I first joined over 25 years ago.  I was involved in the early recruiting campaign that brought UTLA membership from  30% of teachers and support staff,  to greater than 90% going into the 89 strike. I was active in the fight for bi-lingual education and against the English only movement. I was a cluster leader during the 1989 strike, rising at 4 am and not getting home until after 9:30, all the time carrying my 2 month old son.  (nicknamed “el huelgito)! I have helped plan several conferences, served on the House of Representatives, participated in the School Community Relations Committee, the Human Rights Committee and the Chicano Latino Education Committee.  I have been a delegate to the NEA RA, served as a Chapter Chair (shop steward) before I had permanent status, and filed and won over 30 grievances.   I chose at several junctures not to file harassment or discrimination lawsuits against the union, though I would have been in very good standing, especially when targeted by a member of the Board of Directors and Vice Presidents.  I also chose at the time of the entire controversy regarding BDS, not to present the matter as a an attack on my person, or use the matter to promote my own agenda within the larger community. While the L.A. Times originally accused us of planning for a rally inside (!?)  of UTLA , we very well could have, without union permission, held a protest outside the hall on the day of and at the time the canceled meeting was to be held.  We did not.  We attempted to address these matters internally, except for a call for letters to the broader community when President Duffy made a similar request to only members of the Jewish community.  It is only with considered reflection and after years of continued marginalization, harassment, innuendo and humiliation  along with increase attacks on other activists by these same forces,  that I have decided to fully address myself to this compilation and  broadcast these events more publicly.   

 To follow the complete dialogue on the issue,  please start by reading the statement: Enough is Enough- Who’s Who and Why it Matters, where  I provide a summary of events and  list the real names of the people (formerly given pseudonyms)  who have carried out this campaign against me within the Union.  As I make changes, adjustments or additions, I will post updates and links.  For those who chose to follow this closely, you may subscribe to the blog and will be alerted to newer posts.

The beginning of the thread, regarding disability discrimination is chronicled on my blog:  In Bed With Frida Kahlo- daily indignities, small insurrections and honest musings for a life of infirmity and rebellion 

The documentation pertaining to the Zionist lobby continues on my other blog: Cafe Intifada which is the web page of the organization of the same name.  

1. Go to: Enough is Enough: Who’s Who and Why it Matters:   https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/enough-is-enough-who’s-who-and-why-it-matters/  (If that doesn’t work, try cutting and pasting.  I don’t understand it, all the other links i post, seem to work!)

2. Then start the thread at the beginning at:  https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/category/utla-human-rights-committee/page/4/    and read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the link at the bottom of each page.  

3. From there, within the thread,  you should be directed to the sister blog; Cafe Intifada, but should that link fail, return here, and follow this link to the continued thread:

 http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/category/anatomy-of-a-blacklisting/page/3/   and read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the link at the bottom of each page.)

Peace with Justice, 

Emma Rosenthal

Enough is Enough: Who’s Who, and Why it Matters

In covering blacklisting  within the union, United Teachers Los Angeles, and specifically within the Human Rights Committee, which has been documented within this blog and then later in the blog of Café Intifada, I initially chose to use pseudonyms in quoting or discussing the actions of those with whom I did not agree.  (In the Café Intifada blog,  I used initials.)  I can’t do that anymore, and listed at the foot of this post, are the real names of the public figures who had important roles in these events. 

At the time I felt that while it was important to document what was happening  in the Union, with teachers, activists on the issue of human rights, disability rights; that the names of individuals was more sensitive.  I was still under the illusion that dialogue could, in this situation allow for transformation and that differences could be ironed out with further discussion.  But many of my opponents have influential positions and public images that they have continued to use to wage a campaign of defamation and character assassination against me, well beyond the confines of the Committee, or even the Union hall, with no consequence to their own reputation, and because of their prestige, they have credibility.  As long as the words and actions,  are not attributed to them, they can hide behind their own justifications and misrepresentations, which they have continued to do.  

Their renown, without any evidence to the contrary, gives credence to their campaign, which has been ruthless and relentless.  While I don’t doubt that many of their supporters share their hostile indifference to disability  or Palestinian rights, I hope that others will be horrified to know the depravity of their attacks and the history of dishonesty and abuse.  I continue to endure humiliating and marginalizing responses to even the most passive appearances within the Union hall or at progressive events, having discontinued activity within the Committee since October of 2006. Often phone calls and emails go unanswered, old allies, also close to these detractors,  took themselves off of the Café Intifada listserve without context.  I am constantly barraged with strange accusations.  (For example: that I had falsely sent out Don White’s notice regarding the situation at UTLA in the BDS uproar, or I had fooled both he and Andy into positions that they would not have taken without my guile and manipulations.—as if these two men couldn’t think for themselves on such a vital issue!)

I was finally blacklisted within the Union, as a result of an unholy alliance among  members of the HRC, who are also some of L.A.’s most respected activists,  the “progressive” leadership of UTLA and the very powerful Zionist establishment.

What became clear to both Andy and myself, was that disability had been only the pretext for an attempt to wrestle power within the committee and that the fallout, including capitulation to the Jewish Zionist establishment over the BDS controversy, necessitated these prominent activists continue their lies and accusations beyond the Union hall into the larger progressive community, labor community and the left.   Additionally, the hatred and bitter disregard for disability rights, that would allow these activists to use that bigotry as a means to an end, also provided motivation for what has continued to be a campaign to limit my expression and participation in the larger movement.

It’s not about policy, politics or program. Otherwise we could simply live and let live.  Our paths don’t cross that often, and even when they do, they could extend to me the same courtesy they have had the gaul to demand of me.  (Nod, smile, move on.)   I do think it’s about power, initially within the Committee structure,  in some case, ego; in others, that I dared to write about what happened to me, even not naming names.

These bullies are so  effective, one wonders what other lives have been damaged.  How dare I speak up!

At one point, Greg Sotir brought copies of my writings to the HRC and demanded that the Committee shut down my blog!!!!  I think, in the case of what happened in Berlin, it’s about power.  It’s the school girl thrill of being able to manipulate and instigate hostility and ostracism while taking no action of one’s own.   Rosemary Lee has behind the scenes, been campaigning against me for years, insisting that I don’t have a disability, that I only use it as a pretext to get attention, inspiring others to openly ostracize me, forcing or attempting to force divisions between me and anyone close to me.  The problem with gossip is that it never bears scrutiny of the light of day.  Those who go along, take the heat for their public expression of the silent provocation, or,  with the power of numbers– the mob mentality of the bullies have the justification of majority.   (We tell the target of bullies, to ignore, when in reality it is not possible to ignore those who seek one out– it is the bully that should be given that directive.)  The others, who might even disagree with the perpetrator, do so in one on one conversation, not understanding that beyond that “private” conversation, is a very public  and essentially political campaign.  There are people who reportedly stood up to Rosemary, but only in the intimate context of the accusation. 

We say “the personal is political”  but this entire mess is a failure to really understand how personal the political really is. Illness is very personal. An attack on one’s disability is an attack on her body, on its statement, presence and place in the world.  Gossip, though apparently private; the ancient preserve of ladylike  discourse; the subtle current under the apparently calm sea, has always been political.  It speaks volumes to the role or women. Beyond that, it provides obscurity for a very public agenda. Repeated over and over again,  privacy is only an illusion; the shear volume, over time, distance and the number of people involved.  Whatever the reason for this campaign: hatred of disability, hatred of me, power within the Union around conference planning, resentment of attention being offered to assist access, we’ll never know.  We’ll never know.  That so many went along with it is astounding.  That picking on “the cripple” is still acceptable (among teachers!!!) speaks  to a larger depravity.  Whatever the reason, there is no excuse for the use of bigotry to forward that agenda. 

And something must be said about the controversy around Palestine and how it played out in the Union hall.  The progressive slate, consisting of activists of several leftist tendencies, including Solidarity, ISO, etc, all anti-Zionist;  as well as more “moderate” members of the slate, totally capitulated to Zionist pressure, both from the membership of the union, and from the  larger, Jewish Zionist establishment who launched the campaign to shut down a small, open meeting to discuss (discuss!!!) boycott, sanctions and divestiture of Israeli apartheid.  Gossip became extremely essential in explaining this capitulation, especially from the clique within the HRC, who used this nexus of disdain, the two step children of human rights activism: Palestinian and Disability Human Rights,  to further their own personal political agenda.  To cover their duplicity, they told their friends within the L.A. left they had been mislead either by me and Andy (Griggs)  or by the SDS/MDS, or they didn’t understand the issue, or the HRC never really took a position on the matter, and a few people, acting on their own, plummeted the entire Committee and Union into this controversy.  To their more moderate friends, mostly those within the Union,  they could parrot the point of view asserted by the Jewish Zionist establishment; that any support of Palestinian human rights –even non-violent actions, such as boycotts, sanctions and divestiture was the work of a few extremists who had steered the committee away from a real human rights agenda, supporting terrorism and violence, had failed to back up the leadership of the Union (!) had a one issue agenda, were divisive during contract negotiations (Unions are always involved in contract negotiations.)  

What followed over a period of several years, were a series of hate mail, anonymous phone calls,  death threats and an extensive police investigation based on a “tip” to a hotline, resulting in the serving of a search warrant at gun point, the presence of a news crew, the seizure of our property and an extensive 3 month investigation that found no NO NO NO NO evidence of criminality.  Despite these very real dangers, these individuals continued their personal campaign,  making it clear that the simplest appearance by me, at the funeral of a close friend or simply as Andy’s partner at a Union breakfast,  would subject me to continued harassment, marginalization and humiliation.   They have even taken to sending (traceable) anonymous emails to me, knowing that I have been subjected to hate mail and death threats.  (That was the final straw!) 

I don’t know what will come of finally exposing these names to the light of day, of holding these prestigious activists accountable for their actions.  It may bring on more wrath, though I doubt the situation could get much worse for me, in terms of what has already been dished out, in terms of the damage that has already been done. Their skill and lack of remorse assures that there are other bodies (so to speak) and I hope that by speaking out we can begin a dialogue on solidarity, revolutionary discipline, human rights and group process. 

I do hope that this will illuminate for people that they need to speak  against this stealthy, relentless campaign.  It hasn’t been just one statement or a few small opinions. It has been an ugly operation, conducted over the course of over 4 years, utilizing commonly held hostilities towards people with disabilities, which regardless of anything I may or may not have done, or may or may not be, is cause alone, for public outcry and denunciation. 

IF YOU HEAR SOMEONE MAKING STATEMENTS THAT ARE ROOTED IN BIGOTRY,  SPEAK UP. LET THEM AND THOSE AROUND THEM KNOW THAT THESE ATTITUDES ARE NOT ACCEPTABLE.  IF IT IS PART OF A LARGER CAMPAIGN, OR THEY HOLD SIGNIFICANT POSITION AND PRESTIGE,  SPEAK UP PUBLICLY.  MAKE THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE DAMAGE THEY DO, FOR WHILE YOU MIGHT CHOOSE TO DISREGARD THEIR ALLEGATIONS, THERE ARE MANY THAT DON’T,  AS EVIDENCED BY THE FOLLOWERS THESE ACCUSATIONS ATTRACTED.  THIS SEEMINGLY INNOCENT, CHILDISH GOSSIP IS PART OF A LARGER BODY POLITIC, HAS REAL CONSEQUENCES, LIMITS REAL ACTIVISM, ISOLATES, MARGINALIZES AND DESTROYS.   

The fact is, there has been no negative social consequence for their behavior. 

We who fight for social justice are up against a brutal and ruthless machine. There are those among us who are agents of that machine, though with the complexity of the human animal, determining motives can be quite difficult.  When we let our petty differences, egos, status and pride rule our priorities, people will get very hurt.  As one Iranian friend of mine stated; “In a time of extreme repression, this is the behavior that gets people killed.” These actions lack collective vision and revolutionary discipline.  

 I do not reveal the identity of these  individuals casually, but with the  measured reflection of several years.  We have a huge battle in front of us, and I want, I need to be a part of it.  This gossip has gone on for so long, that my silence lends to my own marginalization and limits my own contribution, as well as the contributions of others whose voices have been similarly stifled.  

I’m not asking that these individuals be ostracized or treated as they have treated me.  They too have important work to do (though don’t expect me to serve on a committee with them any time soon!)  But I do insist that a serious left will be less tolerant of this behavior and will work to draw our circle as wide as is possible, so that we can all bring our skills, our heart, our love and our strengths to the battle, this enormous battle that looms ahead of us. 

Peace with Justice,

Emma  Rosenthal

Within the Human Rights Committee

Gilroy:  Greg Sotir, Multimedia Director, Coalition Against Militarism in the Schools (CAMS)  also known as Coalition for Alternatives to Militarism in the Schools, Teacher, LAUSD, UTLA House of Representatives

Ethel or “W” :  Arlene Innouye  General Coordinator, (CAMS)  also known as Coalition for Alternatives to Militarism in the Schools, Speech and Language Therapist, Special Education, Roosevelt High School (speech and language.) LAUSD, UTLA House of Representatives

Mildred: Roselva Ungar, Retired teacher LAUSD, Past Board member, and Vice President Unitarian Univeralists L. A. UTLA House of Representatives.

Camile: Rosemary Lee  Chair, Trinational Conference, Retired teacher- LAUSD,  UTLA House of Representatives

Clarence:  Howard Bransky   Director, UTLA Board of Directors  2005-2008, UTLA House of Representatives, Teacher LAUSD

Tammy: Theresa Sams, UTLA House of Representatives

Other key players:

A.J. Duffy, President UTLA

Joel Jordan, Director of Special Projects, UTLA

Josh Pechtalt, UTLA Vice President AFT,

Dan Barnhart, Director, UTLA Board of Directors, UTLA North Area Chair

Steve Seal, UTLA Human Rights Committee Chair. UTLA House of Representatives and later, UTLA Board of Directors

Julie Washington, UTLA Elementary Education Vice President

To follow the entire thread, go to: https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/anatomy-of-a-blacklist-a-thread-on-two-blogs/

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.

CROSS REFERENCING EMMALANDIA

Blogs:

I maintain a few blogs; the baggage of enforced respite.  I literally have lots of time on my hands, the consequence of a disability that leaves me physically limited but usually intellectually quite limber, and while there are days when I lack the strength to sit up in bed or raise my hands to access the keyboard, most of the time I am able to click away.
The first blog I started is called In Bed With Frida Kahlo. It is named after disabled activist and artist, Frida Kahlo, whose life story, including her strengths and weaknesses; gives me fortitude and insight.   This is a very personal blog about my struggles with disability and the massive discrimination that accompanies it.  It includes diary posts, recipes, poems, art work, photographs, daily indignities and other musings. 

The second blog I started was the Café Intifada blog, which is a bulletin board of events and articles of interest to artivists and other activists.  I also include poetry, art, commentary, photos etc. It is the official web page of Cafe Intifada, the organization I head up.  

The next blog I developed is Emma’s Room, and it simply publishes my completed, more formal writings; mostly essays. 

The Frida blog includes the entire history of the conflict in the Human Rights Committee and UTLA as it pertains to disability, so for those Café Intifada readers who are following the issue of death threats and hate speech, the Frida blog provides some of the back drop as well as the more personal contemplations on both that situation and the current challenge of personal security, anonymous threats and political and social isolation.

emma’s blogs:
In Bed With Frida Kahlo:_Daily indignities, small insurrections and honest musings from a life of_infirmity and rebellion_http://inbedwithfridakahlo.blogsource.com
Emma Rosenthal: A blog of political essays, letters and news._http://emmarosenthal.blogsource.com

Café Intifada: Uniting Art with Critical Consciousness:_http://cafeintifada.blogsource.com/

Following the thread: Anatomy of a Blacklisting

For those following the thread, Ableism in the Human Rights Committee, which is part of the thread:  Anatomy of a Blacklisting, a thread in two blogs,  go to:  

http://cafeintifada.wordpress.com/category/anatomy-of-a-blacklisting/page/3/   and read the posts in reverse chronological order, starting with the link at the bottom of each page.  You will be returning to this blog to finish the tread.  Follow the prompt which will be provided in my sister blog at the end of that thread.  If you follow these instructions, you won’t be reading the two blogs in perfect chronological order, but I think it’s the easiest way to navigate the coverage of these series of events, at least up until June of 2009.  

For the introduction to this thread, go to: https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/anatomy-of-a-b…d-on-two-blogs

Emma 

June 2009