Watch Night Services

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe


The Watch Night Services in Black communities celebrated today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as “Freedom’s Eve.” On that night, free and freed Blacks living in the Union States came together gathering at churches, private homes, and other safe spaces, while thousands of their enslaved Black sisters and brothers stood, knelt and prayed on plantations anxiously awaiting for President Lincoln to sign the Emancipation Proclamation into law. Then, at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 1863, all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts, and songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God.

It’s been 156 years since the first Freedom’s Eve and Black folks have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since, praising God for bringing them safely through another year. African American Christians continue the faith tradition of their enslaved ancestors and will gather, Dec. 31, 2018, to celebrate they are the survivors of a people who were defined in the U.S. Constitution as three-fifths human, shackled in chains and denied the right to vote. Most people were never taught the African American history of Watch Night, but tradition still brings Blacks together to celebrate “how we got over.”

Harper’s Weekly, 21 February 1862. Source: While slavery was far from dead in the United States in early 1863, the signs increasingly were not good for its long-term survival.

Today, Lincoln is remembered as “The Great Emancipator,” but the story of emancipation is complex and contradictory, and the question of how we choose to commemorate this anniversary can be touchy. The purpose of the Emancipation Proclamation was to create confusion and disruption among the Confederate forces. The Emancipation Proclamation only granted freedom to those slaves residing in the Confederate States and not the slaves residing in the Union States as Lincoln didn’t have any jurisdiction over slaves residing in Confederate States because these states had seceded from the United States, ergo, the Civil War, therefore, he did not have the authority to emancipate slaves in the Confederacy, in essence, the Emancipation Proclamation was a worthless document.

In actuality, Lincoln was just as racist as the rest of the peers of his era. This is evidenced by his saying the following at the Fourth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Charleston, Illinois.

(The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume III, pp. 145-146)

EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

“That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

“That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid, by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if any, in which the people thereof, respectively, shall then be in rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State, or the people thereof, shall on that day be, in good faith, represented in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in rebellion against the United States.”

Now, therefore I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief, of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do publicly proclaimed for the full period of one hundred days, from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, (except the Parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the City of New Orleans) Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia, (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Ann, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth[)], and which excepted parts, are for the present, left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.

And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.

And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.

In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the eighty-seventh.

By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.

It’s said the Emancipation Proclamation freed no slaves. In a way, this is true. The Emancipation Proclamation actually freed few people. The proclamation only applied to the Confederate States, as an act to seize enemy resources. By freeing slaves in the Confederacy, Lincoln was actually freeing people he did not directly control as a military measure which was a result of Union battlefield losses by July 1862, the President decided emancipation was a military necessity and ordered slaves freed in areas which were in rebellion against the U.S., declaring the military would enforce their freedom, and receive former slaves into the U.S. military, however it didn’t apply to border slave states like Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri, all of which had remained loyal to the Union.

After the Emancipation Proclamation, the Southern cause was now the defense of slavery. The proclamation was a shrewd maneuver by Lincoln to brand the Confederate States as a slave nation and render foreign aid impossible because the Proclamation only applied to the ten states still in rebellion in 1863, and thus did not cover the nearly 500,000 slaves in the slave-holding border states.

The Thirteenth Amendment (Amendment XIII) to the United States Constitution actually abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. It was passed by the Senate on April 8, 1864, and by the House on January 31, 1865.

2 days late

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

Mary Jane “Mae” West was born on August 17, 1893, in Kings County, New York, delivered at home by her midwife aunt. Mae was the eldest surviving child of prizefighter father John Patrick West, known as “Battlin’ Jack West” and mother Mathilde “Tillie” Delker, a former corset and fashion model. Mae was five when she first entertained a church crowd social, subsequently appearing in amateur shows at the age of seven. She often won prizes at local talent contests and shortly thereafter began performing professionally in vaudeville. In 1907 at the age of 14. Mae first performed under the stage name “Baby Mae”, but she also tried various personas, including a male impersonator. Her first appearance in a Broadway show was in the 1911 revue put on by her former dancing teacher, unfortunately, the show folded after only eight performances. At 18, she was singled out and discovered by The New York Times reviewer who wrote a “girl named Mae West, hitherto unknown, pleased by her grotesquerie and snappy way of singing and dancing.”

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Mae in New York 18 years old

Mae was an early supporter of the women’s liberation movement and since the early 1920s supported gay rights. Years before her movie career she wrote a play about homosexuals called “The Drag.” It never opened, also she’d already been arrested for staging another controversial play. Mae believed gays were born gay and was vehemently against the belief therapy could “change” a person from gay to straight

In 1932 she was offered a film contract by Paramount Pictures despite being close to 40. A director let pick her leading man for the film “She Done Him Wrong”. As Mae looked out the window she spotted a good looking young man walking across the street and inquired about him. “If he can talk, I’ll take him!”, which is how Cary Grant was discovered. When Paramount balked at putting Black musicians on the screen, she insisted on the new sensation Duke Ellington and His Orchestra for Belle of the Nineties (1934). By the second half of the 1930s, Mae’s popularity was affected by her dialogue and severely censored but she was a shrewd investor, produced her own stage acts and invested her money in large tracts of land in Van Nuys, a suburb of Los Angeles.

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On April 11, 1911, seventeen-year-old Mae married Frank Szatkus in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The marriage was kept secret until a filing clerk discovered the marriage certificate in 1935 and alerted the press. In 1937, in reply to a legal interrogatory, she obtained a legal divorce which was granted on July 21, 1942. August 1913, Mae met Guido Deiro an Italian-born vaudeville headliner and star of the piano-accordion. Her affair went “very deep, hittin’ on all the emotions. Marriage is a great institution. I’m not ready for an institution yet.”

From its 1930 opening until her death Mae lived in the Ravenswood penthouse, during this time she was dating Black boxing champion William “Gorilla” Jones. The landlords of the Ravenswood apartment building didn’t allow “negroes” to visit the complex and complained, so West shut them up by purchasing the building and lifting the ban on African American guests and tenants.

Barely 5′ Mae didn’t drink, smoke or swear, loved sweets, hated to diet but exercised in her spare bedroom with various gymnastic accessories including five pound dumbbells, a contraption with handles and cords which worked like a human pulling machine, and a plain traction bar such as ballet dancers hang onto while toning up. The constant stream of White, Black, and Latino fighters who visited her at home were, she claimed, “the one departure I have made from the average citizen’s way of life.” She knew everybody in every town – judges, mayors, gangsters. Sweet, demure with a sensitive retiring side she’d say, ‘The world is about spiritual power, it’s about feeling.” She “quiet offstage, but when she got onstage, she lit up.

At age 61 she became romantically involved with Chester Rybinski, a wrestler and one of the musclemen in her Las Vegas stage show. Rybinski was former Mr. California and merchant marine, he was 30 years younger than Mae, later changing his name to Paul Novak and moving in with her. Chester/Paul discreetly arranged for treatment of the medical problems of her final years, diabetes and cataracts, and protected and reassured her as she became remote, defensive, and increasingly paranoid. She was convinced that “the forces” that had once protected her health and career had abandoned her, that the sun was her enemy, that Tennessee Williams, Mart Crowley, and Warren Beatty had stolen ideas from her early plays for Suddenly Last Summer, The Boys in the Band, and Shampoo. Their romance continued until her death at age 87 on November 22, 1980. Novak once commented, “I believe I was put on this Earth to take care of Mae West.”

During World War II, Allied aircrews called their yellow inflatable, vest-like life preserver jackets “Mae Wests”. Her lips inspired surrealist artist Salvatore Dali to create the “Mae West Lips Sofa” an art deco shaped couch. Fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli (Coco Chanel’s rival) designed a number of Mae’s costumes. In 1937 Schiaparelli released a perfume called Shocking which came in a bottle shaped like Mae’s torso. It’s also rumored Mae inspired a Coca-Cola bottle. She actually had special shoes, almost like a shoe within a shoe which is said to have changed her gate. The nine-inch platform heels she wore to make her five-foot, 130 lb. body appear taller and slimmer.

In 1977 I was employed by the William Randolph Hearst Publishing Company, one of the young men I worked with told me Mae West phone number and address was in the phone book, we looked it up and he called her. She was absolutely wonderful, genuinely friendly and funny as ever. I used to drive by the Ravenswood every day to and from work and although I never saw her, one time her chauffeur had pulled her white on white limo around to the entrance and was standing on the curb with the door open waiting for her to exit the building. Unfortunately, the traffic was heavy and the light changed from red to green and before I could get a glimpse I had to move on. But I’ll always remember almost seeing her!

Excerpts and Citations from:
Wikipedia
The Immortality Of Mae West
13 Things You Might Not Know About Mae West
Mae West Facts
A Look Inside FIDM’s Vault Of Historical And Hollywood Footwear

A THANKSGIVING MESSAGE ~ Remember to forget

Authored by Rudy TwoMoon

By Rudy TwoMoon
rudytwomoon-letourvoicesecho-indigenous-waterislife

WE INDIGENOUS AROUND THE WORLD OFFER FOOD AS GIFTS
This was thanks and giving. This tells all of creation we know what hunger feels like, and no one should ever be hungry. This gesture also asks creation to send more abundance because we are a sharing people whose happiness comes from giving and sharing. We believed this all year around, every day, not just one.

We believed the half-starved should always share with the starving. We dedicated our two front rows of fields and gardens to travelers, those known and unknown. But now, Thanksgiving has everyone pretending it’s a joyous Thanksgiving celebration: Happy Thanksgiving statements, having to shut our mouths and pretend we’re having a wonderful time, pretending there is no genocide, just happiness. Puritans singing and dancing with friendly Indians. Friends for all time!

No, we are not allowed to voice how babies were slammed against boulders, or how children were used as bait to train attack dogs, or how our lands were stolen then destroyed. The same with our waters. Or, how we were forced to trade in free foods and medicines for a lifetime of struggling debt. We’re not supposed to think about the people enslaved by education and religion to make us into the image of our enslavers. Or, how we lost our hair, were brutally punished for speaking our language, were jailed for dancing and singing our ancestors songs, for praying to creation and being called a sinner because creation wasn’t GOD. Mocked. Spit on. Laughed at. Corrected, corrected, and corrected again and again, again and again, because science claims it has proven we are in fact Chinese, when in fact the land bridge was a theory created out of thin air in 1902… 6 yrs. later, it was busted…. in fact it’s been busted in a multitude of ways and proved a lie as per “9 – repeat allele” genetic marker, yet many never bothered to learn the truth and are spewing regurgitated sound-bites just as they’ve been trained to do by public education…. If the land bridge is 10 to 20 thousand yrs. old why do we have extinct cultures throughout the US who died out 50 to 100 thousand yrs. ago? Why is Michigan copper which can only be found in Michigan, found in the tombs of Egyptian mummies? Why is cocaine and tobacco, which is only found in the Americas also found with these same mummies?

Who stole this land? Our land was a gift but it’s been abused. We’ve been forced to salute the flag whose military hunted us for sport and profit and good times.

THIS IS TRULY A DAY OF MIRACLES, KINDNESS AND SHARING, FRIENDSHIP AND FEASTING.
But, before we get lost in all this holiday cheer, let me remind us: Thanksgiving was a celebration for every time a section of land was conquered and the tribes eradicated. this happened so often, Thanksgiving (by name) was celebrated sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. Thanksgiving is a time where we must sit with the oppression, smiling with forgiveness in “OUR” hearts, forgetting history because “that’s all in the past.”

Forgiveness and forgetting! Take the elbows off the table, chew with mouths closed, and pass the potatoes. Take this one day, and one day only, and “remember to forget” we are supposed to be thankful everyday. Stop the fighting this day, eat, so you can fight the oppressors patriotic wars tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow.

Open Letter For People Looking For Open Letters

Thank you Robin Sokoloff
Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

pexels-photo-281962.jpeg

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

I sat down at a sidewalk cafe today, popped open this laptop – ready to send some words to anyone who’s looking for perspective and support out there.

And just like clockwork, when I try to go anywhere or do anything as a woman by myself, I am interrupted.

I am just sitting here, trying to write you these words. I’m typing away. A shadow blocks out the sun above me. Someone is looming above. This is not the first time in a lifetime of men shaped looms.

“Excuse me miss. Hey miss.”

I keep typing.

“Yo ma. Ma… yo I’m trying to talk to you lady.”

I breathe. I keep doing what I’m doing.

“Yo BITCH! What the fuck! You must be some kind a bitch right? Sitting there.”

I remain unmoved.

“BITCH I’M TALKING TO YOU!”

He puts his phone on my table.

I see it. I see where this is going. I see it all.

I pause.

I do the mental math.

I close my laptop. I set it aside.

I flip the table, forcing him to tumble back surprised.

I stand up.

I pause again.

I breathe.

I lock eyes with him.

I look at him and let him see how bored I am. I look at him like he’s an ant. I look at him like he’s obviously no match and he must have been tripping.

I say, “Say it again. No please, tell me again what a bitch I am. Let everyone here know just what a bitch I am so they can hear it and understand you fully that I’m a bitch. What else you got? Just ‘Bitch’? That’s it? What was next? Please oh please, don’t leave me hanging, I’ve been waiting all day for you to interrupt my meal and piss all over me so you can get what YOU need today. Oh hey! Maybe if you say ‘bitch’ some more, maybe just maybe, the people sitting all around me, – no, shrinking all around me while pretending this isn’t happening – maybe one of these nice people will get up and come to my aid or something. I dunno? Sounds crazy right? Why don’t you just call me crazy bitch too, for thinking someone here might care more about a woman’s safety right now than their own pasta.”

No one moves. Still. All of them. Of course. Same as it ever was.

He darts for his phone at my feet.

I push him back. My two hands. On his shoulders. I push him back like we are at the line of scrimmage. That’s what that’s called, right? Football is weird. But now I’m a football player.

He tumbles back again. This has clearly never happened to him before.

He tries again for the phone.

I step on it. Not enough to hurt it, of course. Just lightly enough to say, “Nah, that’s my phone now.”

I cock my head, motioning him up the block; or else.

He runs.

I calmly and quietly pack up my things. I swing my bag over my shoulder. Same as it ever was. I mean, no one at this restaurant seems mildly concerned about my condition, so why should I be.

The waiter shuffles just inside my periphery, to dip his toe in: “Ma’am, your sangria?” – looking to me to make this nice.

“Ma’am, ummm…. are you okay?” Says the patron next to me, suddenly leaping into action now that the action is clearly over.

“Who me? Yes, I AM okay, thanks to your help! Wow, you really took action there, huh? I hope you’re all happy with your choices here today. I hope you’re all knocking back that beer extra hard murmuring ‘oh gee, this Kavanaugh thing… isn’t there anything we can do?!?’ Newsflash my friends, you just missed your chance. You just didn’t ‘do’ anything. So I thank you all.”

I wink at them.

I eye my harasser shuffling along one block up, turning the corner.

I follow.

That’s right, I follow him.

I follow him for a bit.

I follow my harasser some more.

I see him realize I am following him.

I follow him past all the other women who he would’ve tried this on, but is now too busy trying to get away from me.

I watch him awkwardly strategize for many blocks. Change tactics, and wonder who he can ask for help. But he won’t, cause he’s a man. So…

I follow him through 6 Lanes of Canal Street/ Holland Tunnel traffic in both directions.

I keep coming, kinda like it’s Terminator III.

He ducks into a Dunkin’ Donuts, and hides like a child under the window counter.

I stop right outside the store, stand just over him, and stare.

I wonder, how odd, to hide beyond a window, like I can’t see him. Ha!

I stare at him some more.

I stare at him some more.

I stare at him till he stops panicking long enough to realize there’s no way out until I give it him.

I breathe.

I breathe some more.

I light my cigarette.

I take a puff.

I take another.

I shake my head and laugh.

I walk on.

I release him.

I release him.

– – – – – – – –

If you came here looking for hope, I’m not sure I have it. No, I definitely don’t have it. All I have is my survivor’s strength to share, and my continued commitment to transparency where you are all concerned.

I don’t want to give you hope. I want you to wake the fuck up.

I’m telling every single one of you who have been too blah blah blah to believe me, support me, or fight with me – The age of your ignorance needs to end today.

The age where you birth your daughters into a system of violence, and quietly escape to the suburbs as though that will keep them safe, but it will only really stifle their screams just enough so that you can sleep through their torture – The age of your indifference ends today.

The age where you birth your sons into a system that rapes and pillages the generation after you, just as you have, and you find yourself defending a monster because you see a little Kavanaugh in your precious boy king – The age of your convenience ends today.

I do blame you. I do. I’ve been out ringing all the alarms. I’ve been out here weeding out all the weeds, and holding the line so it can inch no further. I’ve been out here defending myself, and defending you too.

And for the life of me, I keep scratching my head knowing you all have children and grandchildren of your own by now and I don’t know what the fuck you are going to do. What you think they are going to do. They are not safe from this. No, not from this – The age where you can hide this from them is over. Heck, the age where you can hide them FROM this is over.

As many of you know, I run Town Stages. That means lots of people in and out, day in and day out. Lot’s of conversations amongst friends, and even more conversations amongst strangers.

If I had a nickel for every seemly nice guy who’s tried to mack on me this week by saying, “So… this Kavanaugh thing, huh?”

And I just stare back. I figure it’s their turn to make this nice.

And they go, “Well, I mean… do you think there is any… absolutely any chance that he didn’t do it? Like what if….. I mean, there’s very little evidence and I was wondering like what if… ”

And I stop him there. I try to help him out. I try to take his side.

“Bro – Humor me. Imagine you were overcome by a bunch of piss drunk men, half suffocated, and brought to the point of ‘about to be raped’, if not actually raped in this manner as so very many women are. Think about it for a sec. Would you tell anyone? How would the people around you act if you said you had been raped? Would your family believe you? Would your job believe you? Would the WHOLE WORLD believe you? Are you prepared to be the laughing stock of every where you go for the rest of your life just to stop one man from having a job? Tell me – Is there a world in which YOU would make this up knowing it would pretty much end your life as you currently know it? And if you actually worked up the courage to tell your story, what would you do if some guy like you, no, millions of guys like you were standing here going ARE YOU SURE???”

He says, “oh…. I …shit. Yeah…. But wait, were the guys that raped me gay or straight.”

I stare back. I blink once, very slowly.

He knows he’s an idiot. He admits he’s an idiot. He just needed a sec.

“Well the thing is, women don’t get a sec when they are being sexually assaulted.”

He stands there quietly.

I stand there quietly.

He tries to change topics, says “Hey… Nice place. You work here?”

“I built it.”

He looks at me.

He looks down.

“Yeah. You weren’t expecting that either, were you….”

He stands there quietly.

And maybe he was thinking, what a bitch.

But what if he was thinking: Holy shit. I’ve gotta get my shit together.

And that’s all I want, men. Get your shit together.

I suppose my open letter for people who like open letters in dark times even though it’s always been a dark time for the people who actually build America, is this: You just pissed off one of the fiercest bitches to ever walk this earth and you still haven’t thought this though. Be afraid. Be very afraid. You left me and my friends with nothing to lose when you had everything to lose. Bad plan. Very bad.
https://www.facebook.com/robin.sokoloff.1

press

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Human Rights Advocate, Researcher/Chronological Archivist and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA.org)

I sat down at a sidewalk cafe today, popped open this laptop – ready to send some words to anyone who’s looking for perspective and support out there.

And just like clockwork, when I try to go anywhere or do anything as a woman by myself, I am interrupted.

I am just sitting here, trying to write you these words. I’m typing away. A shadow blocks out the sun above me. Someone is looming above. This is not the first time in a lifetime of men shaped looms.

“Excuse me miss. Hey miss.”

I keep typing.

“Yo ma. Ma… yo I’m trying to talk to you lady.”

I breathe. I keep doing what I’m doing.

“Yo BITCH! What the fuck! You must be some kind a bitch right? Sitting there.”

I remain unmoved.

“BITCH I’M TALKING TO YOU!”

He puts his phone on my table.

I see it. I see where this is going. I see it all.

I pause.

I do the mental math.

I close my laptop. I set it aside.

I flip the table, forcing him to tumble back surprised.

I stand up.

I pause again.

I breathe.

I lock eyes with him.

I look at him and let him see how bored I am. I look at him like he’s an ant. I look at him like he’s obviously no match and he must have been tripping.

I say, “Say it again. No please, tell me again what a bitch I am. Let everyone here know just what a bitch I am so they can hear it and understand you fully that I’m a bitch. What else you got? Just ‘Bitch’? That’s it? What was next? Please oh please, don’t leave me hanging, I’ve been waiting all day for you to interrupt my meal and piss all over me so you can get what YOU need today. Oh hey! Maybe if you say ‘bitch’ some more, maybe just maybe, the people sitting all around me, – no, shrinking all around me while pretending this isn’t happening – maybe one of these nice people will get up and come to my aid or something. I dunno? Sounds crazy right? Why don’t you just call me crazy bitch too, for thinking someone here might care more about a woman’s safety right now than their own pasta.”

No one moves. Still. All of them. Of course. Same as it ever was.

He darts for his phone at my feet.

I push him back. My two hands. On his shoulders. I push him back like we are at the line of scrimmage. That’s what that’s called, right? Football is weird. But now I’m a football player.

He tumbles back again. This has clearly never happened to him before.

He tries again for the phone.

I step on it. Not enough to hurt it, of course. Just lightly enough to say, “Nah, that’s my phone now.”

I cock my head, motioning him up the block; or else.

He runs.

I calmly and quietly pack up my things. I swing my bag over my shoulder. Same as it ever was. I mean, no one at this restaurant seems mildly concerned about my condition, so why should I be.

The waiter shuffles just inside my periphery, to dip his toe in: “Ma’am, your sangria?” – looking to me to make this nice.

“Ma’am, ummm…. are you okay?” Says the patron next to me, suddenly leaping into action now that the action is clearly over.

“Who me? Yes, I AM okay, thanks to your help! Wow, you really took action there, huh? I hope you’re all happy with your choices here today. I hope you’re all knocking back that beer extra hard murmuring ‘oh gee, this Kavanaugh thing… isn’t there anything we can do?!?’ Newsflash my friends, you just missed your chance. You just didn’t ‘do’ anything. So I thank you all.”

I wink at them.

I eye my harasser shuffling along one block up, turning the corner.

I follow.

That’s right, I follow him.

I follow him for a bit.

I follow my harasser some more.

I see him realize I am following him.

I follow him past all the other women who he would’ve tried this on, but is now too busy trying to get away from me.

I watch him awkwardly strategize for many blocks. Change tactics, and wonder who he can ask for help. But he won’t, cause he’s a man. So…

I follow him through 6 Lanes of Canal Street/ Holland Tunnel traffic in both directions.

I keep coming, kinda like it’s Terminator III.

He ducks into a Dunkin’ Donuts, and hides like a child under the window counter.

I stop right outside the store, stand just over him, and stare.

I wonder, how odd, to hide beyond a window, like I can’t see him. Ha!

I stare at him some more.

I stare at him some more.

I stare at him till he stops panicking long enough to realize there’s no way out until I give it him.

I breathe.

I breathe some more.

I light my cigarette.

I take a puff.

I take another.

I shake my head and laugh.

I walk on.

I release him.

I release him.

– – – – – – – –

If you came here looking for hope, I’m not sure I have it. No, I definitely don’t have it. All I have is my survivor’s strength to share, and my continued commitment to transparency where you are all concerned.

I don’t want to give you hope. I want you to wake the fuck up.

I’m telling every single one of you who have been too blah blah blah to believe me, support me, or fight with me – The age of your ignorance needs to end today.

The age where you birth your daughters into a system of violence, and quietly escape to the suburbs as though that will keep them safe, but it will only really stifle their screams just enough so that you can sleep through their torture – The age of your indifference ends today.

The age where you birth your sons into a system that rapes and pillages the generation after you, just as you have, and you find yourself defending a monster because you see a little Kavanaugh in your precious boy king – The age of your convenience ends today.

I do blame you. I do. I’ve been out ringing all the alarms. I’ve been out here weeding out all the weeds, and holding the line so it can inch no further. I’ve been out here defending myself, and defending you too.

And for the life of me, I keep scratching my head knowing you all have children and grandchildren of your own by now and I don’t know what the fuck you are going to do. What you think they are going to do. They are not safe from this. No, not from this – The age where you can hide this from them is over. Heck, the age where you can hide them FROM this is over.

As many of you know, I run Town Stages. That means lots of people in and out, day in and day out. Lot’s of conversations amongst friends, and even more conversations amongst strangers.

If I had a nickel for every seemly nice guy who’s tried to mack on me this week by saying, “So… this Kavanaugh thing, huh?”

And I just stare back. I figure it’s their turn to make this nice.

And they go, “Well, I mean… do you think there is any… absolutely any chance that he didn’t do it? Like what if….. I mean, there’s very little evidence and I was wondering like what if… ”

And I stop him there. I try to help him out. I try to take his side.

“Bro – Humor me. Imagine you were overcome by a bunch of piss drunk men, half suffocated, and brought to the point of ‘about to be raped’, if not actually raped in this manner as so very many women are. Think about it for a sec. Would you tell anyone? How would the people around you act if you said you had been raped? Would your family believe you? Would your job believe you? Would the WHOLE WORLD believe you? Are you prepared to be the laughing stock of every where you go for the rest of your life just to stop one man from having a job? Tell me – Is there a world in which YOU would make this up knowing it would pretty much end your life as you currently know it? And if you actually worked up the courage to tell your story, what would you do if some guy like you, no, millions of guys like you were standing here going ARE YOU SURE???”

He says, “oh…. I …shit. Yeah…. But wait, were the guys that raped me gay or straight.”

I stare back. I blink once, very slowly.

He knows he’s an idiot. He admits he’s an idiot. He just needed a sec.

“Well the thing is, women don’t get a sec when they are being sexually assaulted.”

He stands there quietly.

I stand there quietly.

He tries to change topics, says “Hey… Nice place. You work here?”

“I built it.”

He looks at me.

He looks down.

“Yeah. You weren’t expecting that either, were you….”

He stands there quietly.

And maybe he was thinking, what a bitch.

But what if he was thinking: Holy shit. I’ve gotta get my shit together.

And that’s all I want, men. Get your shit together.

I suppose my open letter for people who like open letters in dark times even though it’s always been a dark time for the people who actually build America, is this: You just pissed off one of the fiercest bitches to ever walk this earth and you still haven’t thought this though. Be afraid. Be very afraid. You left me and my friends with nothing to lose when you had everything to lose. Bad plan. Very bad.
https://www.facebook.com/robin.sokoloff.1

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Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Human Rights Advocate, Researcher/Chronological Archivist and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA.org)

Obscuring Kaepernick’s Truth ~ Symbols as Political Points

Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez aka Lady2Soothe

The Nike craze of whether burning or buying, I don’t know what pisses me off more… Nike claims it’ll be donating to Kaepernick’s charity “Know Your Rights” (but it hasn’t been formally announced by Nike yet – ah yeah, right) to raise awareness of “higher education, self-empowerment, and “instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios”. Excuse me, PROPERLY INTERACT??? Like when police murdered 12-year-old Tamir Rice within 1.3 seconds of arrival, or maybe 7-year-old Aiyana Jones asleep on the couch, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner or the 684 people killed by police so far this year? What percentage is going charity? And what is going into Nike’s pocket? And then what’s happening to the slave laborers who are already working 12-hour shifts 7 days a week for about 20₡ an hour? They can’t add any more days to the week so is Nike adding more hours to their day? Is this raising awareness or is it just shooting back at Trump and his groupies to piss them off, nanny, nanny, nanny?

As for the idiots who already spent a small fortune on Nike products, wow, like burning them is really hurting Nike who already suckered them out of their money. Then there’s air quality, where’s BBQ Betty when you need her? It’s illegal to burn trash; just think how toxic burning rubber is? Where’s Smokey the Bear? Don’t we have enough of the US burning now?

Before these people make someone/something a symbol for their political point they should make sure to actually listen and stop using a stupid piece of cloth, a dumb song or articles of clothing as a cover for their racism/activism. If they don’t care and can’t be bothered or concerned about police brutality, just admit it and own up to their position.

There are more 49,933 homeless veterans. On average, 20 veterans die by suicide each day. Taking a knee isn’t disrespectful to veterans, stealing VA Benefits and leaving veteran’s to die is, but kneeling isn’t about veterans, kneeling is about police violence.

Most people who complain have done NOTHING for this country but stand for a song claiming they’re soooooooo patriotic, but won’t give a dime to a veteran standing on the corner. There are more than 13 million children living in “food insecure” homes and 16 million children, roughly one in five living in poverty. The United States of America can afford to house every homeless veteran, feed every child, and take in every refugee while still having plenty of money left over for a 30 oz. container of Starbucks bottom of the barrel burnt bean ashtray coffee and a family size bucket of chemically enhanced genetically engineered chicken from KFC.

Where were Nike, burners, and buyers when Kaepernick first took a knee? As White people stand for the National Anthem, most of them sit in careless silence as police kill Black and Brown people while hiding behind the baseless excuse of “I feared for my life.” In the United States people value guns, flags and fake acts of patriotism over people, pain and real acts of courage.

Keep ignoring the fact people are kneeling in support of those who are unable to stand, or kneel, shot down or choked to death by police who don’t even get their hand slapped. That’s what we are protesting! Not the flag, not the military and not the country allegedly allowing for freedom of speech.

“Actions speak louder than words, right?” Kneeling is not disrespect; in fact, it is a sign of profound respect and humility. When a person prays, they kneel. When a soldier honors a fallen compatriot, they kneel. When a Mother is crying over her slain child in the street, she kneels. Instead of looting, lynching, bombing and terrorizing, when a person kneels it is not to dishonor, it is to say we as a collective people should have the right to be able to kneel for freedom. To not be in fear for our lives, to be able to have the same rights as all citizens. The action got attention, didn’t it?

Never lose sight of his original purpose, for Colin Kaepernick is demonstrating the true meaning of the term “By any means necessary” by his unselfish generosity of time, money and loss of career. Nike and the burners are faking patriotism by masking their disdain for racial injustice; both are capitalizing on Kaepernick’s name and his heroic stance against police brutality.

#ColinKaepernick #LetOurVoicesEcho #PoliceBrutality

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Kristeen Irigoyen-Hernandez
Human Rights Advocate, Researcher/Chronological Archivist and member in good standing with the Constitution First Amendment Press Association (CFAPA.org)