“To Hammer The Alarm” by Lauren DiGioia Dedicated to Bradley Manning



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What would you do, with horrors that you knew?
With the innocent that haunt memory?
Would you be willfully blind, bite the tongue and your own hands bind?
Would you choose to be just as cruel?
I have fought, endured, suffered and survived
I am one human, not the only denied my granted unwavering rights
I come before you, Sir, to receive the offer, and the sheath you will have me cast
“I am to blame! I am ashamed! It’s all from a troubled past…”

I know what I did was right, I know what continues is wrong
The knife to my back was forged on genocide
I stole it to hammer the alarm

Please don’t hate me for the words on my lips
I held firm stood tall but the knife it is ready and waiting for my back
I love my country, all its people, who knew no better under a steeple
Worshiping the god of security
I hope you all read in between the lines, of what will be seen as apologies I
Know for all we’re fighting for
So take me now like encrypted code, find the answer in your soul
Take a look around for me
In this time war is still a racket, still a crime sewn on a jacket
I love you please don’t let it end this way

I know what I did was right, I know what continues is wrong
The knife to my back was forged on genocide
I stole it to hammer the alarm

I learned the hard way how your fear, is crafted, molded, engineered
And I may take that lesson to the grave
I’m sorry I must lie to you, after all some have tried to do
To clear my name and spread a scarier truth
They hand the knife to me now, the truth before me, held down
I raise the blade… has god forgave me for giving in
To those who wish to cage me?
I’ll keep it’s body and what the truth gave me
Revelations start to bleed
The truth in here shall be my pillow, shall be my blanket, a graceful willow
To shade the light shining constantly
It will be my love, my company, as all else is stripped away from me
I’m sorry with you I can no longer be…

I know what I did was right, I know what continues is wrong
The knife to my back was forged through genocide
I only stole it to hammer the alarm
To hammer the alarm.

“Where Heroes Can’t Play”



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Hit the button on your alarm, it’s 6 a.m.
Elsewhere there’s a button releasing a drone bound for Yemen
Put on your suit and tie, fibers from China
Kiss your little ones goodbye, there’s nothing finer
But they are the same age as the little ones who die for our excess
For our progress…

Walk in your polished heels passing that bare-footed beggar, day after day
To jump on the wheel, churn out over 8 hours just for a little more pay
For a little more pay, a little more pay, more pay more pay more pay

And so we row so we row this boat on over the edge
Take an oath an oath an oath to protect the pockets of invisible men
And we grow we grow we grow ever bigger, all consuming
If we don’t know what we don’t know we’ll just keep carrying on
Unassuming

This is how a soul cries out after awakening, the spell’s breaking
No need for fear or doubt when the signs are all around, deafening sound
I do not dream at night anymore, I don’t know why
My mind is a flood, an unstoppable tide, with the weight of it all

And still we row we row we row this boat on over the edge
Take an oath an oath an oath without questioning what you pledge
And we grow we grow we grow ever sicker, all polluting
If we don’t know what we don’t know we’ll keep sailing out to the end
We’re reaching…oh!

If we don’t know any better…

Oh so we’re given away our rights like a sweepstakes prize
Voting the next idol with false hope in our eyes
They’re spying and lying, deciding our fate
While we fight amongst ourselves with misguided hate 2x

Oh I’m turning on the lights, let the truth have its day
In the sun where no heroes of mine can play
The system’s a scam, we’ve all had a hand in churning and burning
For the next in command I say no!
I say no!

Put down the oar if you can’t take anymore
I say put down the oar if you can’t take anymore

But you’ll hit that button on your alarm it’s 6 a.m.
Elsewhere there’s a button releasing a drone bound for Yemen
Gone is the hour to deny we’re collapsing
If we let the truth die what are we left grasping?

The Day After: With Battle Lines Drawn, Where is #Justice4Trayvon ?

“Until we have the proper dialogue with the people who can change these laws on our behalf, we will have more of the same.”
-Walter L. Smith II, activist & father of two

Interview With Smith Family


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After an 18-hour deliberation the verdict was delivered, swiftly and simply. George Zimmerman, acquitted of all charges, was free to go. With his bond released and gun returned, the Zimmerman family quickly exited the courtroom to go back to their lives, with a 350,000 dollar fundraising profit to boot. For George, though, that life will never be the same. Wherever he goes, whatever he decides to do, he is forever branded for that day, the day last February he chose to take the “law” and a young life into his own hands, despite orders to stand back by actual law enforcement. Perhaps he will now understand the uneasiness the black community has felt for generations.

The verdict has left the nation polarized, revealing once again the historically sharp split between the accepted version of justice through the court system and the justice communities affected by profiling and oppression rarely receive. Despite being thirteen years into the 21st century, our nation continues to be in denial. Many do not want to acknowledge the dangerous message this verdict sends; the profiling, stalking and incarcerating of black youth is justified, and all a wrongly assuming offender has to do to go free is claim self-defense.

Taking To The Streets of Tampa


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The mainstream media did a good job of avoiding this dialogue throughout the trial. They also did a good job at first not mentioning the enraged reaction of thousands countrywide to the verdict. Demonstrations and riots erupted within hours and carried over to today. From Oakland to New York, people of all ages and colors took to the streets to express their grief and anger. Cop cars burned and glass shattered. Once again, something about this particular case hit a nerve. For many however, this verdict comes as no surprise, for we have adopted a system designed to work for some and to fail most.

“No one should live at the expense of someone else.”
-organizer with Int’l Democratic Uhuru Movement-www.ipdum.org

The fact that there are hundreds of cases like Trayvon’s every year is devastating, and the stats are hard to face. According to the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, every 28 hours another person of color is murdered by police or by vigilantes seeking the same authority. The reality is that this is not as much about race relations, but about class. In order for this system to sustain itself, it must be upheld at the expense of an oppressed class. We live in a time where, although most of America is experiencing the side affects of this oppressive system, certain classes feel it much worse, and most of the communities it impacts live on or below the poverty line.

Walter L. Smith ll Speaking About His Children


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For the youth in these underprivileged neighborhoods, the odds are not in their favor. They, along with the majority of today’s youth, are bombarded daily with negatively influential imagery, toxic messages in social media and pop music and the distracting, glorifying nature of reality TV and tabloid print. Most are uninterested in the lazy, lackluster mainstream news coverage of issues relevant to them. (that is, when they bother to address them at all) Most of them are experiencing the pinch of the system’s slow economic collapse under a heap of debt. Dozens of schools are being selectively shut down or fazed out across the country. Many distrust the political system even if they all can’t readily explain why. The exploited classes, however, have the additional burden of inheriting their painful history in a country founded on genocide and forged through slavery. They know to be poor, to appear less educated or to wear certain clothing is to be profiled. Is it any wonder so much of our youth is lost, fearful or angry? What hope is there for youth born at the bottom of this systematic design?

Interview With Life Malcolm


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So I asked the question today; where do we go from here? With class war staring us in the face, is it justified for us to lash out? Is it justified to take to the streets and give in to the urge to see it burn? If justice isn’t served in our eyes by the courts, how to we ensure these deaths do not continue in our name? Today we spoke with Florida locals who offered a more positive future, urging for dedication from all classes to initiate that honest dialogue, to truthfully educate our youth to these realities and to not be afraid to simply tell it like it is. Justice for Trayvon , to me, means justice for his peers, for the generations that will take our place someday. The violence will not end when we finally convince our oppressors of the truth, but when we raise this impressionable generation simply knowing it as so.

Uhuru!

In Solidarity Forever,

Lauren

Special thanks to The Uhuru Solidarity Movement, the Smith Family and to Life Malcolm for sharing their passion with us.

Life Malcolm ” I’ve done the math, balance the equation”


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Life Malcolm Speaks Out


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Interview With Ashley


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Speak Out


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End Racial Oppression

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Hundreds out in Tampa

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Stand Your Ground

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We Will Not Be Silenced

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No Justice No peace

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#Justice4Trayvon

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We Can’t Watch Our Children Die

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Whose Child Is Next

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Restore The 4th Protest -Chicago

Restore The Fourth

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Foreign Man Cries Over Loss Of Freedom In US


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Big Brother Is Watching You

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15yr. Old Boy Speaks Against NSA


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Demand Transparency

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Father Speaks Out For 15yr. Old Son


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Yes We Scan

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“Scanning” The Crowd


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The NSA has TMI

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Marching And Chanting


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Not Today NSA

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Lauren Of Radikal Media Speaks Out


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Eye Spy

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“SF Pride” -2013

Thousands March For Bradley Manning

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Pride In Our Whistle Blower
via @CarrieM213

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Free Bradley Manning

They Say Court Marshal We Say Grand Marshal Chanting

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Pride Board Sides With Manning Jailers

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Anonymous Pride

Marching In The Streets

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Free Truth

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Marriage Equality Corvette

Code Pink Interview

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Bradley Manning Trolley

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Pride Balloons

Bradley Manning Supporter Interview

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Pride Float

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Anti-Google Bus

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Anti-Google Bus 2

Pride: Celebration and Condemnation

A Root Takes Hold

On June 18th, 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York’s City’s Greenwich Village rocked the gay community and left a ripple that continues to this day. At the time, Stonewall was a haven for locals and street kids who came to dance, mingle and party hard at the only gay bar in the city. The bar operated out the back door and under the table. It was a target for underage drinking and drug dealing. But, this was the refuge for a community alienated simply for being born a certain way. As a result of that violent night, something sparked, marking one of the first well-known spontaneous rebellions to come out of the LBGTQ community against the police and governmental oppression of sexual minorities.

Michael Fader, who was in the club the night of the raid, explained,
“Everyone in the crowd felt that we were never going to go back. It was like the last straw. It was time to reclaim something that had always been taken from us. It was something that just happened. All kinds of people, all different reasons, but mostly it was total outrage, anger, sorrow, everything combined, and everything just kind of ran its course. It was the police who were doing most of the destruction. We were really trying to get back in and break it free. There was something in the air, freedom a long time overdue, and we’re going to fight for it. It took different forms, but the bottom line was, we weren’t going to go away. And we didn’t.” *1 –Michael Fader, riot participant
“The Mattachine Society newsletter a month later offered its explanation of why the riots occurred: “It catered largely to a group of people who are not welcome in, or cannot afford, other places of homosexual social gathering…. The Stonewall became home to these kids. When it was raided, they fought for it. That, and the fact that they had nothing to lose other than the most tolerant and broadminded gay place in town, explains why.” *1

A year later, the first Gay-In and Gay Pride March was held in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Overnight groups across the country organized and paired their messages with new alternative media outlets. Commemorating the 1 year anniversary of Stonewall didn’t come without arrests in The Bay though, and since then global movements to normalize, legalize and legitimize the LBGTQ world with the rest have had their extreme ups and downs. PRIDE, now a tradition over 40 years old, continues to be an annual fixture of the Bay Area and a display of how far we have come but also how painfully far we still have yet to go.

Celebration

The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade is the second largest LBGTQ gathering in the world, second only to Sydney, Australia. The event features over 250 parade contingents, 300 exhibits and 20 different stages & venues. Over one million people frpm around the world are expected to attend, dressed to impress for 2 days of theatrical, political, musical and visual expression. This downtown pop-up arena costs $4million to produce and relies on the help from various donors and sponsors. A minimum $5 donation gets you in, which helps support and sustain the parade every year. Since 1997 Pride has given out over 2.1 million in grants to causes such as breast cancer research, HIV/AIDS organizations and non-profits that serve the local LBGTQ community. Pride also gets a lot of help from their sponsors, which include heavy-hitters like Bank Of America, Wells Fargo, Nike, Bud Light and ClearChannel, just to name a few. What started as a movement to raise awareness and end sexual discrimination for good has become a corporate-sponsored festival, intertwined with activism, consumerism and a few conflicting interests.

This year’s Pride Parade is anticipated to be a significant one, as the event’s timing coincides with dramatic news coverage of the Supreme Court’s decision on both DOMA and Proposition 8. It has been long overdue victory, and Californian couples celebrated the legalization with weddings all across the state. But even as I write this, pro-DOMA groups are already filing motions to appeal the Supreme Court’s decision. It has been an endless tug of war over the issue of marriage, the definition of and debate over stretching far back into our history. This is also a political move, as throwing a bone to the civil rights community in one respect distracts from the other crucial rights being taken away. For Instance, there’s that pesky abortion debate, the outcome of which threatens to send us back to the stone age. Again. Texas Senator Wendy Davis performed a marathon fillibuster to stop legislation that would close nearly every abortion clinic in Texas. Then there’s the slew of whistleblowers being demonized for sharing the truth with the public, despite public demonstrating and petitioning for his release. Bullying and violence still plague our schools. Cop violence plagues them on the streets. And all the while the Hollywood/Media juggernaut spends most of it’s time coming up with clever ways to perpetuate toxic stereotypes of social interaction. I think it’s fair to say we have a full plate. As members of oppressed, marginalized or discriminated communities, we have to be open to seeing the bigger picture. The fight for acceptance, choice or validation extends beyond sex and race, because what we also fighting for is equal access to the information, education and global allies that will help shape a new perspective, one in which we and the next generation actually view one another as human beings first and foremost. To get there we need to have freedom of assembly, and perhaps more parades. There is still a severe lack of safe public forums where all sexualities and races can experience what it means to coexist. Attempts to create or liberate that forum have been constantly under attack by the state, so while we can celebrate the headway we have made in achieving some equal protection under certain laws, the law is simply not working in our favor and we might want to consider getting out from under it altogether.

Condemnation

There has also been some tension this year between the SF Pride Board of Directors and local community members about the choice for Grand Marshall. Bradley Manning (who happens to be openly gay) was nominated but the Board has since denounced the idea. The story of Manning has been getting more attention as of late, partly because of the trial proceedings and the indirect ties to what has become the Snowden spectacle, co-starring Julian Assange. Broadcasting Manning’s story is important, and for many honoring his courage is more than fitting at Pride. While it may not be in the Board’s best interest to openly support a so-called ‘traitor’, it is if Pride is about advancing our society forward to be more accepting of each other and less accepting of oppressive forces. (like our homophobic congress) Manning is not a criminal; the people involved in the last decade of war crimes are. Bradley Manning was a soldier that endured bullying from his peers for being gay and feminine. Despite feeling alienated and depressed, Manning chose to do the right thing for all of us. Our government persecutes whistleblowers out of embarrassment, not because Manning actually “aided the enemy”, and millions know it. (Unless that enemy is the American People). So what we have is discrimination on political grounds, out of fear of negative association perhaps, for what Manning has been accused of and is projected to be, rather than acknowledging the human being they are. Because we now live under fascist-like surveillance, (which can no longer be denied) federal secrecy and CIA fabrications to instill fear, Manning’s question to all of us seems even more provocative:

“What would you do if you had evidence of war crimes? What would you do if ‘following orders’ meant participating in grave abuses that you opposed? Would you have the courage to risk everything – even your life – to do the right thing?”*2

Despite the close-mindedness of the Board, supporters of Bradley Manning have committed to making their voices heard this year. The Bradley Manning San Francisco Pride 2013 Contingent includes a huge array of activist groups; ACT UP, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Occupy AIDS, Queer Strike, Gays Without Borders and Occupy SF will be in attendance. (Just to name a few) On the Bradley Manning Support website they ” will be marching in solidarity and in mass.”*3 The message is clear and simple: Bradley Manning is a Gay Hero, and he deserves to be honored as such. All voices need to be heard. May this year’s Pride Parade be a reflection of these voices.

In Solidarity Forever,

Lauren

We’ll be on the ground live from the 43rd Annual Gay Pride Parade in historic Downtown San Francisco. The Bradley manning Contingent will be featuring music by the Brass Liberation Orchestra, Laimera and Daniel Ellsberg (it’s noted in a convertible)
Meet Up at 10 A.M. on Howard and Beale Streets.
San Francisco, California
http://www.bradleymanning.org
Info/RSVP: 510-488-3559
Michael@couragetoresist.org

Article References:

*1.http://www.edb.utexas.edu/faculty/salinas/students/student_sites/Spring2007/jap757/Stonewallaccounts.pdf
*2 http://www.bradleymanning.org/learn-more/in-his-own-words
*3 http://www.bradleymanning.org/activism/bradley-manning-solidarity-events-in-the-san-francisco-area

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