Archive for June, 2010

Gainesville cops strike again. On Tuesday March 2nd, when an international graduate student, Kofi Adu-Brempong was having a “nervous breakdown” in his apartment, a concerned neighbor phoned 9-1-1. The University of Florida Police Department responded not by bringing in mental health workers to stabilize the situation, but by breaking down his door, shooting him twice with a taser, three times with bean-bag shotgun shells, and once in the face with an M-4 (a combat-grade automatic rifle) – all reportedly in 30 seconds. Kofi Adu-Brempong is now in the hospital in critical condition, and due to the assumption that anyone having a mental breakdown is a threat, he is facing criminal charges for possessing a weapon (his cane that he uses to walk due to his polio).

This is not the first time the UFPD has acted in blatantly disgraceful ways. You may recall the 2007 incident in which officers repeatedly tased a student when he refused to sit down during a Q&A session with John Kerry. This incident involves those same, now infamous, officers. And one of those same officers, the one who shot Kofi, was recently involved in an incident in which he and other off-duty officers drove drunk through a black neighborhood throwing eggs at pedestrians. This paints Kofi’s case as an obvious product of racism. Why is he still ‘serving’ on the force?

This near-fatal shooting of Kofi has happened just months after Gainesville police repeatedly tased a party-goer during what has improperly been deemed the “FEST Riot,” an incident which sparked the formation of a grass-roots organization called Alachua Committee Against Brutality. ACAB has been working tirelessly to implement a ‘citizen’s police review board’ to ensure that officers involved in violent incidences like these are off the streets for good. This sort of thing happens all the time in neighborhoods of color. Police brutality is unfortunately a constant threat to many people living in Gainesville. It’s when it happens on campus, or to someone in the activist community, that public attention gets drawn to it. It’s in acknowledging this reality that people are organizing. Our goal is to address police brutality in it’s totality, not just in the occasional case in which a student is involved.

Weeks after Kofi’s tragic shooting, 500+ students rallied in support of Kofi and his family. Several demands were brought to UF President, Bernie Machen. The struggle has continue, and the commitment of the folks demanding justice has continued to impress me. An ongoing conversation has emerged in Gainesville about our relationship to the police.

I am working on a zine about possible alternatives to policing. I’ll post it when it’s finished. It will be specific to Gainesville, but still very useful for all communities who are wanting protection from uniformed gang members.

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Posted: June 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Mies

Romance

Posted: June 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

I have been expanding my ideas on love and human connectedness by experimenting with polyamory. Categories like this cause confusion and isolation, so I make no claims and I ask that you make no judgments.  I assure you that this is a lifestyle full of excitement, confusion, and stories to tell. I also assure you it is absolutely full of love. In anticipation of comments I want to say that this is not a philosophical argument based in rational thought, it is a poem based on my feelings and emotions.

ROMANCE and RELATIONSHIP

Romance is not the same as relationship. Romance knows only what it feels, what it senses. Relationships are well thought out, but romance has no time for thinking.  The moment is what matters, the moment is what is at hand. The mind only catches up in retrospect. This retrospect, this reflection, this is the stuff of relationships. The aftermath of romance, when lovers become partners and passion is predetermined, this is what constitutes relationship. Romance is eyes catching with subtle seduction, arms rubbing "accidentally" inciting curious reactions, the indecision of wonder, what should be versus what is. Relationship is the space partners exist in after this curious anticipation is realized.

Romance can happen between anyone, excentuated by a lack of information. When fear meets love, romance is born. The fear of what could be, the fear of what is, the fear of unfulfilled desire, the fear of unintentional boundary crossing, of emotions run wild amidst a world of clear-cut categories. What should be versus what is. Imagine what the world would be like if the terms of our relationships with each other where negotiated in every possible instance by the people involved and not by some abstract ideal about what people should be to one another. Romance would cease to be an underground world of dis-communication and fear, and would be liberated as a legitimate expression of unnamable love, of pre-cognitive feeling that ties the world together in the boundless beauty of unchecked emotion. Romance is wild. It is undomesticated. But it has been tamed by our structural society, a system of tradition, of abstractions based in cultural myths. Romance is not free to be itself, but must instead exist as a secretive longing, as eyes meeting in just the (in)appropriate moment. But romance will be. It will stir us out of our rigidity, our ritual existence, and teach us of an other-world, where love has no boundaries. Romance.