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The Allied Media Conference, the Chevron shareholders' meeting, and a little bit of randomness

So last week I tried to buy my plane tickets to the ever-awesome Allied Media Conference in Detroit, June 20-21. I was really looking forward to being in the presence of so many radical media folks, building coalitions, hearing about the work other people are doing, and just hangin' out. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a ticket under $600, so it's not going to happen for me this year. A lot of people are surely in the same situation, so I figured I'd spend some of what I budgeted for travel on helping other folks get there; if you can, please do the same (and consider donating to Bitch, too, to help with our very own Debbie Rasmussen's costs).

In other not-entirely-unrelated news (I can't say I'm unhappy about the high fuel prices driving up the cost of flying and driving and making people reconsider their destructive habits), on Wednesday morning Jen Angel (one of the founders of the late lamented Clamor and the aforementioned AMC) convinced me to go with her out to Chevron's corporate headquarters in San Ramon, California, to take part in a protest at their annual shareholders' meeting.

The protest was organized by an amazing coalition of organizations from many different places around the world where Chevron has wreaked greedy havoc: Direct Action to Stop the War, Amazon Watch, Laotian Organizing Project, Asian Pacific Environmental Network, Justice for Nigeria Now (they don't have a website, but more info about Chevon's activities in Nigeria can be found here [h/t to Jen]), Global Exchange, Burmese American Democratic Alliance—SF, Filipino American Coalition for Environmental Solidarity, Rainforest Action Network, US Labor Against the War, United for Peace and Justice—Bay Area, Richmond Greens, Richmond Progressive Alliance, and the West County Toxics Coalition.

A delegation from Ecuador, Nigeria, Burma, and the San Ramon backyard of Richmond went inside the meeting to address the shareholders with information about environmental and human rights abuses in their communities. It was enraging and moving to hear their stories, and inspiring to see how the coalition worked: an example of true global solidarity, with different community-led groups joining forces with the recognition that we are all connected.

Here's Free Speech Radio News's brief report on the protest and the underlying issues, some photos of from this protest and some from the ExxonMobil meeting the same day, Jen's blog post about it, a decent mainstream media article, and further info from coalition members.

And now the randomness: After the protest, I ate a burrito and then got a tattoo (excuse the bad picture, the phone on my camera bites). It's a reading muse on my right ankle to match the writing muse already on my left. I'm hoping the new balance will help me move some of my writing projects forward. The original art came from the brilliant Kate Bornstein's wise and compassionate book Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws.

aw, look at the li'l cherub!

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Free Speech Radio News is in trouble. Please help them, too!

Don't just donate to BITCH, also donate to the other social justice media projects that are in "dire straits." The financially-strapped Pacifica Foundation recently informed Free Speech Radio News of funding cuts that could potentially take it off the air. Please read the press release (link below) and do what you can to help. This important program must stay on the air, imho, so that we can hear more stories of social injustices affecting marginalized communities worldwide. They will thank you for any help you can give.

Press release: http://www.fsrn.org/content/press-release/2517