GUN REFORM NOW

GUN REFORM NOW

As of this morning, the US has been home to 255 mass shootings in 2019. Private guns have killed more people since 1960 than in all of our wars combined.

2 days, 2 cities, 2 mass shootings in the US. How long will it take Congress to stop this? In the words of Dr. King: “How long? Not long, because no lie can live forever.”

This is not hopeless. We are not helpless.

How long does it take to walk from the NRA to GOP headquarters? 90 seconds. How long does it take to march from the NRA to the Capital Building to The White House? 61 minutes.

What can we do?

  1. We can call.
  2. We can write. (Inform yourself of the facts, invite your friends to meet you at a coffee shop, and send a postcard.)
  3. We can take turns. Pick any one of these 198 Methods and do one a day. Share them with your friends, and ask them to do one thing a day. Ask your friends to ask their friends to do one of these methods a day. When you see any of these methods in action, share it with everyone you know, and participate if you can.
  4. We can march.

About the 3.5% Project

Research has shown that no repressive regime has survived the active sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population. There’s a playbook to fix this, and every week, I’m blogging a new method. Subscribe to receive your weekly method.

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Method 40: Religious Processions

Method 40: Religious Processions

I went to bed furious and woke up afraid. Now that I’ve had my coffee, I’m back to rage. The footage of the crowd shouting “Send her back” at last night’s campaign rally has brought back the fear I felt in November 2016. We have every reason to be afraid. And we must fight this.

As Lidia Yuknavitch often reminds us: “The voice is a muscle.”

The reason I started the 3.5% Project is because the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action have been proven to work. Research has shown that no repressive regime has survived the

active

sustained

participation of just

3.5 percent of the population.

In this country, that’s 11 million people. Each of the 198 methods can be used at any time, in any order, by anyone:

writers/teachers/bartenders/nursepractitioners/softwaredevelopers/realestatebrokers/dogwalkers/undewriters/policeofficers/yogainstructors/landscapers/firefighters/hairstylists/audiologists/pharmacists/architects/chefs/prisonguards/pizzadeliverydrivers//humanresourcesmanagers/actors/scubainstructors/librarians/psychicmediums/estheticians/airlinepilots/morticians/trainconductors/accountants/personaltrainers/veterinarians/dentalhygienists/sexworkers/fulltimeparents/currentlyseekingemployment/notseekingemployment/myjobdoesnotdefineme/financialadvisors/occupationaltherapists/engineers/physicians/equestrians/bakers/opthamologists/phlebotomists/zookeepers/translators/judges

and members of the clergy.

(Method 40.)

All of us.

More than ever.

Method 40: RELIGIOUS PROCESSIONS

In April 2019, more than 1,000 parishioners made a Palm Sunday procession to a century-old Catholic chapel on the U.S.-Mexico border. Father Roy Snipes, known as the “Cowboy Priest,” led the procession as he does each year, but this year, the march took on new meaning. If the border wall is built, not only will it limit La parishioners’ access to La Lomita chapel, it will also cut off access to city services like 911 for people living on the other side.

From NPR: Mary McCord is a senior litigator at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection, and she’s one of the lawyers representing the diocese. She says the church argues that the wall is inconsistent with Catholic teachings, “which includes this principle of universality that all people are equal and need to be treated as such, and provided with basic necessities of life. (The Historic Chapel At The Heart Of A Legal Fight Over The Border Wall, NPR)

The next court battle will be over the government’s plan to seize the land and start building.

WHY NONVIOLENT ACTION WORKS:

Before I move onto my writing day, I want to mention a recent example of Method 39 in action. When used as a vehicle for political protest, parades call attention to a particular grievance or point of view. A week ago today, the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City to the cheers of “EQUAL PAY!”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in the parade celebrating with the team, and during the festivities, he signed an equal pay bill into law. Do you see the kind of power we hold? It reminded me of the first parade for women’s suffrage in Washington, DC in 1913. There were an estimated 10,000 participants, some of them U.S. senators and representatives who marched in support of their wives.

When the people in power join together with activists, change happens.

Watch this video before moving on with your day, and then let’s turn this fear and anger into energy and action.

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Method 39: Parades

Method 39: Parades

As I’m gearing up for a patriotic movie night with neighbors (Jaws, Lincoln, Independence Day, Hidden Figures), I thought it might help to share some ways to celebrate the best of who we are. Sending love and solidarity to all of you – with all of us pitching in, clearer skies are ahead.

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Method 37: Singing “Hey Baby!”

Method 37: Singing “Hey Baby!”

The images of the Trump Baby balloon flying over London all week have made me downright jolly. Sky News even released a promo video that feels like the trailer of a horror movie.

The citizens of Brighton made great use of Method 37 during Trump’s first visit to the UK in 2017. The melody the of 1961 classic, “Hey Baby!” is a popular football chant, but in the new anti-Trump rally cry, protestors sang:

“Hey Donald Trump (oooh, ah!)
I wanna know why you’re such a c*nt!”

Singing has a long history as an effective method of nonviolent action. Protestors have burst into song to interrupt unwanted speeches or to spread ideas during marches or public events. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has written about the use of singing during the Buddhist struggles in South Vietnam in 1963:

Political satirical songs are easy to learn by heart and can be circulated very quickly. They were widely used during the struggle against Ngo Dinh Diem [who was ousted as head of the government in 1963]. There were hundreds of them. The most famous was “nghe ve, nghe ve, nghe ve, Nhu Diem”, a song dealing with the corruption of that regime.

The Specials’ song Free Nelson Mandela was released in 1984 as part of the bloodless revolution that ended apartheid in South Africa in 1990. Listen and imagine the rallying, unifying effect of such a buoyant sound. To read more examples of Method 37, see my Instagram post about an event that occured during Nazi-occupied Poland eight months before D-Day.

In the midst of my Trump Baby glee, this anniversary is a grim reminder that democracy is not something we can take for granted.

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Method 36: Nancy Pelosi, Goddamn

Method 36: Nancy Pelosi, Goddamn

“What the hell is it going to take, Democrats?!”

That’s what NY Times columnist Charles M. Blow is asking. Yesterday morning, after two years of silence, Robert Mueller made a very brief public appearance in which he declined to clear Trump of any involvement in Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“And as set forth in the report after that investigation, if we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

– Robert Mueller, May 29, 2019

That Trump wasn’t indicted was not a matter of the evidence, but of Department of Justice policy, which prohibits prosecuting a president. Trump is tweeting out his innocence and the administration taking advantage of every loophole it can find. Meanwhile, as I’ve been fearing for two years, the GOP cronies are coming out of the woodwork. Two weeks ago, Alabama passed a near-total abortion ban, and as of yesterday, Louisiana’s headed in the same direction.

Today’s method calls for some Nina Simone…and I mean every word of it.

The name of this tune is Mississippi goddam
And I mean every word of it
Alabama’s gotten me so upset
Tennessee made me lose my rest
And everybody knows about Mississippi goddam

“Mississippi Goddam! — The Song that made Nina Simone into a Revolutionary,” by Chika Dunga, Medium

Method 35: Humorous Skits and Pranks

Method 35: Humorous Skits and Pranks

“How do you entertain a bored pharaoh?

“You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish.”

It’s the world’s first recorded joke, found on a papyrus scroll from 2600 BCE. Carol Andrews, formerly of the Egyptian antiquities department of the British Museum, notes that the ancient Egyptians were amused by “nudity, drunkenness, slapstick and political satire.”

Satire has a long history of keeping up public morale. When pranks, skits and jokes tap into political unrest, verbal dissent becomes a powerful act of protest.

It’s 5:00 on a Friday, so I’ll keep things light. From the SNL archives, the US Presidents from Gerald Ford to Donald Trump – and a special bonus tweet from 2013 at the end.

ENJOY.

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Method 34: Vigils / “We are all Sudanese”

Method 34: Vigils / “We are all Sudanese”

On April 9, Sudanese photographer Lana Haroun captured 22-year-old engineering student Alaa Salah as she stood on top of a car above a sea of protestors and raised her arm in the air, finger pointed toward the sky. She cried, “I was raised to love our home.”

She has been called “The Sudanese Statue of Liberty,” the revolutionary in the white toub.

Two days after this photo was taken, Omar al-Bashir’s thirty-year military dictatorship came to an end.

If you pay attention to anything in this post, pay attention to this timeline:

  • On February 14, Trump threatened to declare the second State of Emergency of his presidency after he failed to secure congressional approval for border wall funding.
  • Hours later, Trump signed a $1.375 billion dollar “compromise spending bill” that was far short of his request, but that will continue to reinforce border security.
  • On February 22, President Omar al-Bashir declared a one-year State of Emergency across Sudan 9 years after the international criminal court charged him with three counts of genocide in Darfur. Pay special attention to the crimes.
  • Hours later, the editor-in-chief of El Tayyar daily newspaper was arrested after he gave an interview with Sky News Arabia TV, stating that President Al Bashir’s decision to impose a national State of Emergency did not resolve the current political crisis.
  • Over the next seven weeks, Journalist Osman Mirghani’s arrest received widespread condemnation from Sudan and around the world. An ongoing vigil was held in front of the National Press and Publications Council in Khartoum.
  • On April 11, after 6 weeks of sustained nonviolent action by the people of Sudan, the Sudanese military removed Omar al-Bashir from power.

Happening RIGHT NOW:

At this very moment, the streets are filled with a new group of protesters from Darfur. One of the mantras heard on the streets: “We are all Sudanese.” Listen to the sound of citizens mooing like cows as al-Bashir and his entire government are transported to prison.

If you need something more to feel hopeful about, THIS is happening in the world, too:

We are not hopeless.

We are kind.

We are strong.

We are all Sudanese.

And we are legion.