Tag Archives: activist

Speaking Without Words

My audience for this blog series is anyone who is (or should be) concerned by the massive number of school shootings: students, parents, and anyone interested in safety and social justice. I will be focusing on the movements made by high school students who have been taking charge of the fight against gun violence. My goal is to make people think about how they can participate in this fight for life. 

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Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

What Emma Gonzalez Said Without Words

Castells writes that “All forms of communication…are based on the production and consumption of signs. Thus there is no separation between ‘reality’ and symbolic representation” (p. 403). In the March for Our Lives, a movement that started online and moved to the streets and government building, symbols have played a huge role in creating a shared meaning that has kept the fight against gun violence moving and growing throughout our culture.

When Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland Florida shootings, got up to the microphone at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, it was her silence that spoke louder than words. Her silence, for 4 minutes and 26 seconds, resonated with people around the country. Her silence represented the time it took for 17 of her peers to be killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

4 minutes. 26 seconds.

Silence is uncomfortable. Silence is loud.

Gonzalez has become the face of March for Our Lives. Though already well known through her fiery speeches following the shooting at her school, without words she gave us that time to stop and think. With all of the arguments going on online and offline, complete silence with your thoughts can be really hard to take in.

With 1.3 million followers on Twitter, Gonzalez has a huge presence on social media that is vital to the fight against gun violence, but it is her use of mass media that is making her message that much louder.

We can all stand to learn a lesson about the importance of symbolic representation in getting our messages across. Whatever the platform, creating a shared meaning bridging cultures, media, and age groups is vital in creating a movement. If we don’t understand, if we can’t interpret, then what does it have to do with us?

But we all understand silence. A voice with no words. It’s uncomfortable.

And maybe that discomfort is exactly what we need to keep the movement going.

 

You’re Kidding Me Right??????

I was scrolling through Twitter and had to do a double take when reading this article headline:

At first glance, I thought, okay good, this guy is probably going to jail but then when I saw the word “activist”, that is when I got upset. This is terrorism. This man is part of a terror group yet he has the privilege to be called an “activist” by the media. Here is the link to the actual article which I personally believe did a good job at letting their audience know the full story but the headline is what could have been given a better thought. In the article, they even say that he “pledged allegiance to the domestic terror group ‘Army of God’ where he faces charges connected with a threat to bomb and burn down Chicago-area abortion clinics” (para. 1). I don’t understand why the title of the article doesn’t replace “activist” with “terrorist” because the heading truly counteracts the content of the article.

The article is lacking information about why the FBI isn’t or possibly is, prosecuting the terror group itself because if this one individual is such a terror threat, why isn’t the actual terror group being disseminated so that no more harm comes to innocent individuals? I was left wondering and worrying about others possibly getting hurt for even just going to a clinic to educate themselves.

Thankfully this man is currently faces up to six years in prison for his threats (which he also outed himself to the FBI about which is very comical so please read this article) but this terror group is still at large and has taken responsibility for bombing an Alabama abortion clinic. Can you say white male privilege???? Lets stop radicalizing these terror groups that are run by white individuals that reek havoc on our society and our citizens.

Dog Meat Festival

Did you know that in 6 days China’s Annual Dog Meat Festival is set to take place?  It has been taking place for two decades in Yulin, a town of 6 million people.  Did you know “an estimated 90 percent of the dogs killed at the festival each year are stolen from urban households and farmers by thieves who then turn around and sell them.”?  Annually it is estimated 40,000 dogs and 10,000 cats are consumed at the festival.

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On average dogs are sold for $60 each, the butcher then charges the consumer (barf!) $120 for the “final product”.    Supporters of the “festival” say it is there right, “if someone wants to eat it, they can kill it”.  Those selling and butchering the pets say it is a business and they need to support their families.

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In recent years the Yulin government has “banned” the event, but that only had a minor impact, activities still continue even when they are no longer government endorsed.  Peter J Li, Ph.D. China Policy Advisor, Humane Society International posted to The Dodo stating “Last year when Yulin authorities declared the festival was over, they summoned the dog meat traders about 20 days before the summer solstice, and warned them to remove the word “dog” from their restaurants and to slaughter dogs in the cover of darkness during the early hours instead of daylight, so that the controversy would simply be hidden from public view. The visible trappings of a festival disappeared, but so did thousands of dogs.” The Humane Society International has been working with more than 35 local groups from 24 cities for more than a decade to end this cruelty.

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To really understand the situation, I ask that you watch this VICE report Dining on Dogs in Yulin which has been seen by 2.3 million people – it should be seen by you too!  I appreciate this particular video (including Part 2) because it shows different perspectives on the issue.  In Part 2 everything is “normal”, the meat is cooked and everyone sitting at the table around various dishes, just as we sit down around a turkey or ham in America.

CNN reported on this issue in 2014 acknowledging that shifting the mindset will be an uphill battle.  In an interview they conducted, it was argued that a dog meat festival is no different than a rib fest

So is the issue that the dogs being eaten were family pets?  Would it be any better if the dogs came from a factory farm, like our turkey and ham?  Or does the fact remain that the animal experienced cruelty at the hand of humans when they were living?  Is this really our right?  If you believe it is, are you really that different from your friends in Yulin?

I think its time to question this idea that humans “need to eat meat” for survival.  Does telling yourself its a “need” lessen your responsibility to what happens to that animal before you buy it at the grocery store?  Take a guess what my next blog post is about… 

For now, #StopYulin2015

Sign the Humane Society International’s petition to end the Dog Meat Festival and stay up to date on the issue!

Photos: AP/Humane Society International