Archive for the ‘Take Action!’ Category

On Getting Pushback: Advice for Young People Walking Out of School

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

On Getting Pushback: Advice for Young People Walking Out of School

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 By Kelly Hayes, Truthout | Op-Ed 


Junior Nigel Wallace comforts freshman Aleyana Pina during a student walkout to protest gun violence in schools and demand new gun control laws at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 7, 2018. (Photo: Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)Junior Nigel Wallace comforts freshman Aleyana Pina during a student walkout to protest gun violence in schools and demand new gun control laws at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 7, 2018. (Photo: Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

As a longtime grassroots organizer and direct-action trainer, I have heard from multiple parents, in the past few days, asking me about what their children will be up against as they participate in the #NeverAgain walkouts this week. As most of us have read, some students will be treated gently by administrators, who have more or less decided to go with the flow. Some students, however, may face consequences for walking out. Many have already been menaced by saber-rattling administrators with consequences ranging from suspension to arrest. The threat of some potential penalty for participating in protest is nothing new, but for many students, this is a first-time experience, so I have decided to share some thoughts and advice for young people who may be walking out.

So, You’ve Been Told You’ll Get Into Trouble

Some students have been told, in no uncertain terms, that anyone who walks out as part of a protest will be punished. Some school administrators have outlined specific punishments, while others have left students wondering. I have seen numerous outraged parents on social media, threatening to involve the ACLU if students are punished for exercising their “right to protest.” I am glad these parents are being supportive of their children, but it’s important to keep in mind that if the punishment is within the school’s normal disciplinary code (check your student handbook), and a student has, in fact, broken the rule in question, the ACLU is not going to stave off that suspension. I’m not saying that’s a reason not to walk out, but I am saying: Be ready to absorb the consequences of your actions. Don’t expect the system to see the light, cut you a break, or dismiss the rules because of some higher law regarding free expression. As someone who has organized protests for many years now, I can tell you, that’s not how any of this works.

In broad terms, people have a right to protest. But students don’t have a legally protected right to leave school in protest of anything. Defiance for the sake of justice usually costs something. I am not saying students shouldn’t dodge those consequences, if they can, or that parents and students shouldn’t talk administrators out of punishing students who protest whenever possible. Do that. But let’s also talk with young people who are new to all of this about the fact that protest doesn’t just happen when everyone’s on your side and you’re being offered a hall pass. Most movements aren’t received that way at all.

Even students at schools where no one will be penalized should understand that there will be schools where no exemption from discipline is offered, and that in protest, exemption from discipline is rarely a thing. Students who are exempt from punishment should not exempt themselves from discussion of what it means to issue a call to action, to answer one, or to be in solidarity with others, for whom the ask may pose a risk.

Make sure that everyone has a legal plan: If something unthinkable happens, and someone goes to jail, who gets called? Have a plan for that. If the punishment handed down is inordinate and ridiculous, and simply must be fought, who contacts an attorney, and what attorney will they contact? It’s good to have those bases covered, if you can. And if the situation feels very risky (for example, if the proposed punishment is excessive and potentially damaging), have real conversations with one another about who is most at risk (due to existing disciplinary status, institutional anti-Blackness, and other possible factors), and what could be done to insulate the most vulnerable participants.

As someone who has absorbed numerous consequences for disobedience in protest, including arrest, I can tell you, it’s important to be ready. Know what you are getting into. Direct action means stepping outside of society’s preset solutions — solutions that have already failed your community. That’s a challenge to authority, and to the validity of the system itself, as it makes clear that the recourse you were freely given was not genuine. The paths you were told to take to solve your problems are actually closed, or have been politically rerouted by the powerful into insignificance. This is why we protest — because it is the only meaningful path open to us under the unjust conditions we are faced with. In taking such action, I believe a person should know the risks they are facing, take personal responsibility for knowing those risks, and act if they feel that the necessity of the action outweighs the risk. I cannot tell you if that’s the case in any of your given situations. Only your beliefs, your conscience and your knowledge of your circumstances can tell you if the urgency of the moment demands that you take a risk.

When You Protest

Move as a group. Numbers don’t always afford safety, but they do afford power. If you have a lot of people, don’t let your group get stretched out. Don’t have stragglers who could be hassled out of view. Don’t have people jetting out ahead who could be grabbed up as an example to the rest of the group, in an effort to stop your procession. If they want to confront you, make them confront everyone, together.

Any imagery your event generates in the media and on social media will also be more powerful if your group moves in a tight formation, making your unity clear for all to see.

I have no experience dealing with school resource officers, specifically, as they pertain to protest, but I would say a lot of the same rules apply as in street protests, because whatever title police in schools are assigned, they are, in reality, still police. Have a buddy — that way no one is identifiably vulnerable for being on their own, and there is a witness to whatever each person experiences. Make agreements with your co-organizers about what to say/do if confronted by a school resource officer. This is not a decision you want to be making on the spot. If you need to respond to an officer, have a canned response that everyone has agreed to, like “We will be going outside for 17 minutes and then returning.” That’s it. No flourish. No arguing. If you are detained, hand over your school ID and shut your mouth. If they are detaining you, they may be treating the protest as criminal, which means anything you say can be used against you and your friends. They may act as though their questions come from a place of agreement or understanding. Know that’s not real and stick to your plan of minimum communication.

Know your tone. Is your event solemn? Is it angry? Have some intention about that and encourage your classmates and co-organizers to hold one mood together. If your event is too scattered, you lose control of your narrative. Encourage participants to take the matter seriously. No goofing off. Personally, I would try to keep a serious expression at all times. People who are photographed laughing and smiling in serious protest situations are often used to discredit the seriousness of an event or issue. Don’t play into that. If the group’s shared mood or behavior falters, words or songs that are spoken or sung collectively can be a good way to reel people back into a shared mode.

Read Up

There’s a lot of good material out there on the legal, ideological and pragmatic aspects of protest. For those getting pushback, I highly recommend, “White People Hate Protests,” a zine by Mariame Kaba that makes clear that the popular embrace of past movements is largely grounded in our society’s need to subsume those movements, rather than allow for any sense of historical momentum. Movements that truly undermine the status quo are rarely popular when they occur, regardless of what people claim decades later.

I also recommend the zine “Why Protest,” which provides some relevant thoughts and inspiration about why we take action in general. I would actually suggest printing out copies of “Why Protest” to share with your classmates on Wednesday or thereafter. It’s that good.

If you are part of a walkout about gun control, read up about guns and gun laws. Don’t settle for talking points. Be able to discuss your own informed thoughts. There’s a lot of legal history around gun legislation, and there’s a lot that may matter to you that doesn’t matter to adults who have shaped the gun control narrative over the years. This is not the Democrats’ moment. It’s your moment. Let your exploration of the facts and the ideas at work inform it.

Make sure your demands reflect your values and desired outcomes. If your demands aren’t in lockstep with the demands being made at other schools, that’s OK. Some of the more unique demands that students who are walking out have made involve the development of alternative forms of conflict resolution in their schools, such as transformative justice programs, to create a more just and healing environment when harmful dynamics arise the first time. That’s a good thing.

In solidarity with those who have already been organizing, read up on what groups have been leading protests in your area in recent months in years. What are they fighting for? Why? Had you heard about them before? If not, ask yourself why, and what forces might be at work. While people tend to have their favorite examples of youth protest — examples that tend to rest firmly in the past — there is incredible youth organizing that’s gone on in very recent times that many have yet to hear of. Black youth in Chicago, for example, won a trauma center for the city’s underserved South Side, but it took a lot of direct action and defiance to make that happen.

Lastly, read up on your school’s disciplinary code and on local protest laws. Acts of righteous indignation should be well informed.

If You Don’t Walk Out

Maybe you’ve decided to sit this one out. Maybe your protest was somehow thwarted. Maybe you settled on a compromise with administrators — an assembly of some kind that isn’t what you had in mind but will address the issues you wanted to discuss. Here’s what you need to remember: Organizing an event can be a very good thing, but if you want to change the world, organizing one event is just one small step in a much larger process of taking action, building culture and building community for the sake of change. And while your principal, the police, or your own circumstances may derail your participation in a singular event, community and culture are something you can build every day through the relationships you develop with others, and through the dialogues and activities you undertake. No principal has the power to stop that, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.


Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes is Truthout’s social media strategist, as well as a contributing writer. She is also a direct action trainer and a cofounder of The Chicago Light Brigade and the direct action collective Lifted Voices. Kelly’s contribution to Truthout’s anthology Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? stems from her work as an organizer and her ongoing analysis of movements in the United States. Her work can also be found on her blog, Transformative Spaces, in Yes! Magazine, BGD and the BGD anthology The Solidarity Struggle: How People of Color Succeed and Fail At Showing Up For Each Other In the Fight For Freedom. Kelly is also a movement photographer whose work is featured in the “Freedom and Resistance” exhibit of the DuSable Museum of African American History.

Hawaii: Training ground for My Lai Massacre and Catastrophic Nuclear War

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Never Again!

Vietnam My Lai Massacre – 50th Anniversary

        The My Lai Massacre was the deliberate murder by U.S. troops of 504 innocent civilians, including women, children and grandparents in the Vietnam village of My Lai on March 16, 1968.

      More would have died but for the heroic intervention of a US helicopter crew led by Hugh Thompson. The Pentagon tried to hide the massacre story until exposed more than a year later by Ron Ridenhour and Seymour Hersh. Only Lt. William Calley was ultimately held responsible by court martial, but he was pardoned by President Nixon.

      The 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre is an appropriate time not only to honor the victims and those who challenged that infamous event, but also to bring to light less known or still unknown war atrocities. It is an occasion for U.S. citizens to acknowledge the millions of innocent civilians killed during the wars in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, and the many wars since, and to take responsibility for such human slaughter conducted in our names. Together let us say “No More Wars! War Never Again! Stop the Killing!”

      The gunman who recently killed three people and himself at a California veterans home was a decorated soldier of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and had been stationed in Hawaii at Schofield Barracks. 22 U.S. veterans commit suicide every day. U.S. Veterans for Peace President, Gerry Condon says: “Tragically, the extreme violence of U.S. wars — from Vietnam to Afghanistan and Iraq — continues to destroy lives here at home. In order to stem gun violence in the U.S., we must stop killing people in other countries.” In 1968, Hawaii was the training ground for troops before going to My Lai and today Hawaii is the training ground for global wars, including catastrophic nuclear war. B-52 and B-2 strategic bombers fly non stop training missions from Air Force bases in Louisiana, Missouri and Guam to bomb Pohakuloa on Hawaii island as training for a global nuclear massacre. It is up to all of us to stand up, speak up, and stop this madness before it is too late. Silence is complicity.  It’s been said many times “Prevention is the only solution.”

Wage Peace NOT War! 

  1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
    4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
    5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760 Phone (808) 966-7622. Email:

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March 16, 2018 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet 860th week – Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

Stand with students to stop gun violence in schools

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

Aloha friends,

     This is an appeal that wherever you are on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 stand in solidarity with students all over Hawaii and the U.S. who will be walking out of school at 10AM for 17 minutes in protest of gun violence. 17 minutes for the 17 lives lost in the recent Parkland, Florida school shooting.

     Here in Hawaii, I will be joining with friends to stand outside the Kea’au High school in solidarity with hundreds of students there expected to walk out in protest of gun violence.  We will be standing on the Keaau/Pahoa 130 highway across from the traffic light near the school.  We will stand from 9:50 until 10:30AM.  Others are welcome to join us or stand with students walking out of a school near where you live.  (Below is a peace leaflet I wrote 2 weeks ago “End U.S. Addiction to Killing” that speaks to American violence at home and abroad.)


      Jim Albertini


End U.S. Addiction to Killing!

      The latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida is not unrelated to U.S. ongoing wars in multiple countries and the increasing threat of global nuclear annihilation. The U.S. is a killing society that glamorizes violence and appears to put more value on the right to own an assault weapon than the lives of children.




      The U.S. empire has become a culture of mass violence that has been building layer upon layer, from the massacres of Native Americans, the killing of unarmed African Americans, to the millions killed in wars for resources disguised as freedom and democracy. Now the chickens are coming home to roost with the killing of our own children. More killing and more weapons of war are put forward as the solution to killing. The U.S. has become a completely militarized society. Look at the size of the U.S. military budget. Look at our militarized police forces. Look at U.S. gun ownership compared to the rest of the world. Signs of military worship are everywhere – at every sporting event, special discounts at stores, even in places of worship and prayer. All of this reflects a very deep societal mental illness – an addiction to killing.

      It’s time that we adults listen to the grieving children of Parkland and the world. They are showing us a way forward. Together, we need to join our voices to stop the killing, at home and abroad. Never underestimate the power of nonviolent action. Draw from movements for social change all over the world. Stand with our youth and give each other encouragement to continue and never give up. That’s how we build a world of justice, peace, and security for all. Stand up and keep standing!

Love One Another!

1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760 Phone (808) 966-7622. Email:

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March 2, 2018 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet — 858th week – Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

Stand Up for Justice & Peace, Not War!

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

U.S. & Israel War Plans!

With Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, possibly triggering WWIII

      Both U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are on the ropes, under criminal corruption investigations. What better way to take the focus away from themselves than by waging war, creating national emergencies to solidify their power, and have the finger pointed at someone else rather than themselves.

      According to Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and currently, a professor at the College of William and Mary, it all goes back to the chaos created by the U.S. ill advised and illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 by the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney administration. Wilkerson says that U.S. invasion “destroyed the balance of power in the Gulf.” Besides destabilizing Iraq and producing ISIS, it set Persian against Arab, Sunni against Shia, etc. and escalated conflict throughout the region. The U.S. is responsible for creating the mess in the Persian Gulf and now it wants to add to the mess.

      Americans need to remember that the CIA has publicly admitted it was behind the notorious 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. Like the U.S. invasion of Iraq, it was all about oil, power and U.S. empire building. Today, Iran has established itself in a new position of power in the Persian Gulf. Lebanon and Syria are allies of Iran. French president, Emmanuel Macron, said: “The current rhetoric of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel is pushing the region toward conflict with Iran.” Israel defense minister Avigdor Lieberman will speak in April in New York City at the annual conference of the Jerusalem Post. The title is, “The New War with Iran.” Syria or Lebanon could be flashpoints for war with Iran. Beware of possible ‘False Flag” triggering events. The escalation could be very swift toward global war. Colonel Wilkerson concludes that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu “is willing to do whatever he needs to do to get rid of whomever he thinks is threatening Israel to the last dead American.” For other motivating factors see these links:

Lebanon has an oil and gas bonanza and Israel wants it.

Israel Preps for Syrian War with Golan Heights Oil and Water in its Sights…golans-oil…/237566/

Wage Justice & Peace, Not War!  

  1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties.
    4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
    5. Seek peace through peaceful means and work for justice in Hawai`i and around the world.

Contact: Malu ‘Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box 489 Kurtistown, Hawai’i 96760 Phone (808) 966-7622. Email:

Sign up on our website to receive our posts

March 9, 2018 Hilo Peace Vigil leaflet 859th week – Fridays 3:30-5PM downtown Post Office

Peace on Earth! No More Bikini N-blasts!

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

March 1st Remembering Bikini, Marshall Islands

Prevent Nuclear War — Abolish Nuclear Weapons!

March 1st is known at Bikini Day and Nuclear-Free and Independent Pacific Day.  On March 1, 1954 the U.S. exploded a 10 megaton (10 million tons of dynamite equivalent) hydrogen bomb code named Bravo on Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands.  Overall, hundreds of nuclear weapons have been tested in the Pacific by the U.S. Brittan and France.  

The March 1st (monthly 1st working day of the month at 11:45AM) nuclear attack warning siren test has been cancelled in Hawaii, but it is still important to stand in opposition to nuclear weapons and war in solidarity with people all around the Pacific and the world.  There is no defense against nuclear weapons.  The only shelter is peace and the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

People on Hawaii Island are invited to join in a Bikini commemoration in Hilo on March 1st.

Remembering the 1954 U.S. Nuclear Blast named Bravo at Bikini, Marshall Islands


 The Bravo Test Remembrance Worship Event

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Sanctuary, Hilo First Born Temple

181 Oio St. Hilo, Hawaii (Behind the Hilo Shopping Center)

On March 1, 1954 the U.S. government tested Bravo, a hydrogen bomb on Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands. The test proved to be 1,000 times stronger than the Hiroshima A-bomb. The Bravo test was just one of 67 nuclear tests done at Bikini and Enewetak from 1946 to 1958.

The Bravo test Remembrance Worship Event, the 64th anniversary of the Bravo test, is the fourth to be held in Hilo. The agenda will include: 1) Service of Remembrance, 2) “Nuclear Savage” DVD, 3) Testimonies representing Bikini, Rongelap and Utrik atolls, and 4) a medical report of the present situation of Micronesians in Hawaii.

Planners of the event are Rev. Maize Luke of the Hilo Marshallese Assembly of God, Rev. Roney Joel of the Hilo Marshallese Ministry, Rev. Glann Lokebol of the Marshallese Full Gospel Church, Mr. Ronald Fujiyoshi and Carmina Alik Hilo Marshallese Community President.

For more information, contact Ronald Fujiyoshi at 808-959-9775 or email:

Bring your friends with you to learn of the injustices of the past, why Marshallese are in Hawaii in growing numbers and the effects of nuclear radiation. An offering will be taken. You are invited to contribute some food to be shared with all after the official part of the event.

Make Hawaii & the Pacific Nuclear-Free & Independent

Prevent Nuclear War –Abolish Nuclear Weapons