This work has always been my own doing-what-I-can-do response to the unrespondable... like how does one person logically and self-preservationally make any difference to systemic-cultural mass brutality and destruction? I still don't know. Hence, an artistic-spiritual response. (See further below for a story about responsibility and the inability to respond.)
It's been pretty lonely but the climate has changed. Haha, sad pun. Ya, because of climate change the urgency to create real change is sweeping the globe.
There's a Global Climate Strike September 20-27.
As part of those and other mass extinction-related events, I've decided I'm going to do my very best to show up in my Extinction Symbol outfit at the following actions below. I'll bring extra Extinction Symbols.
Climate Crisis Media Action - Demanding Better Journalism
Tuesday, Sep 17 · 1420 Broad St, Victoria, BC
Facebook Media Action event
Student Strike And Die-in
Friday, Sep 20 · British Columbia Parliament Buildings
Facebook Student Strike and Die-in event
And maybe I'll stay for part of the
Global Climate Strike - Intersection Occupation Party
Friday, Sep 20 · Starts @ Victoria Info Centre - Party at Government and Belleville
Facebook Intersection Party event
Strike 4 Forests and Climate!
Tuesday, Sep 24 · Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, 525 Superior Street, Victoria, BC
Facebook Strike 4 Forests event
Global Climate Strike: March and Street Party
Friday, Sep 27 · Legislative Assembly of British Columbia
Facebook Climate Strike March event
So, now a story about responsibility. Waaaay back in 2006 when I was writing the artist statement I wrote "we need to take responsibility for our actions." But, as I was telling my Victoria Fringe audience recently, I only really connected respond and responsibility. I mean we can't really respond to atrocity. You only have to go downtown and see the humans who don't get to participate in "beautiful indoor spaces," "healthy lifestyles," or "fulfilling careers" because they're too busy trying to survive severe trauma. They're just the tip of the iceberg of people I can't help.
Last week, my youngest daughter, her best friend (both 12) and I were driving, turned a corner and had to slow down because there was a woman beating up the pavement with her backpack. She had tears and snot running down her face and she was screaming something. I rolled down the window and asked her if she was ok (obviously she wasn't but that's our stupid language, too).
She kept repeating her agonized statement: "They took my kids. They took my fucking kids. They won't let me see my kids."
You know what I did? I said: "I'm so sorry." Then I rolled up my window and drove away.
It might be best for those kids that they're not with her right now. But at the same time that woman needed help and she is probably not going to get it. I couldn't give it to her. I had to feed those kids in my van, walk my dogs, deal with my own shit. I couldn't even listen to her for a while because I wasn't prepared or able to take the time.
I tried to talk to the girls and explain what happens when a parent can't look after their kids. How they end up in foster care or group homes. How it might be very hard for them. How heartbreaking it can be for the parent even if they're doing drugs or not looking after the kids properly or whatever is going on.
I told them how sad I was that I couldn't help her and how sad that we don't have good help for people and families like that.
They were shocked by the rawness of her emotion but so kind about it. One of them said: "I hope she gets the help she needs." The other quietly wondered if she would ever be able to see her kids.
It was such a strong moment of being UNABLE TO RESPOND, except that at least the girls and I engaged our emotions.
If we are here to love and look after each other, as I believe humans were created, then it was a moment where I could not take responsibility and support this devastated human. Because there is pretty much nothing in my culture or state that would support me supporting her. And I am not a fucking village!
I think through the millennia of dehumanizing brutalizing INSANE violations and oppressions so that one king/lord/alpha-dick or another could consolidate power, it has been a VERY USEFUL survival tactic to not respond. Hence the current century of consequences due to lack of any king/lord/alpha-dick or anyone else taking responsibility.
Also, YouTube suspended my channel. FFS.