Monthly Archives: February 2015
By all outward appearances, I am a nice white lady. This gives me a lot of privilege, but it also means people make a lot of assumptions based on my appearance and demeanor.
Recently, I went to Mayor Hancock’s Cabinet in the Community here in Denver. I didn’t really want to go, but I have committed to getting out as much as possible to meetings and events so that I can livetweet the events and keep people updated. I’ve gotten a lot of comments that people like the livetweets, so I try to do them often.
In the first 5 minutes after I arrived, 2 police officers and one city official came up to me and said “I want to know how much I appreciate the way Coloradans for Justice does things.”
This is amusing, because if you’ve been watching, Coloradans for Justice is primarily an activist calendar service. We will organize events if it is needed, but there are so many groups in Denver organizing that it currently is NOT needed. We’re all about doing the work that needs to be done. We are also a really tiny group that does not hold meetings.
When I started organizing, shortly after connecting with @kennyswiley and @eliasheibert on Twitter back in August, none of us knew what we were doing. We didn’t know how to organize a vigil, a rally, a march. We hadn’t taking any organizing classes. Our main experience was that I have BEEN to a lot of marches and protest activities. We called around and no one would call us back. So we made some mistakes and we tried to build off of them and not make them again. I think we did a good job.
A friend of mine pointed out that the Denver police had run through all their informants and probably see me as a likely informant about activist activities. I get why.
Why does the city like the way we do things?
Because we met with the cops. We got permits. We asked permission.
This is why they like us. Because we played by the rules of respectability and this gets you things like handshakes and meetings with public officials.
There is a time and place for permits. If you are planning to hold a rally several weeks in advance for an annual event, you should get a permit. If you are responding to recent events, there may not be time to get a permit. You may not have time to meet with city officials. It is still vital to hold your event. It is still important that there is some level of organization and communication happening to ensure the safety of people attending your action. Having connections with other groups can help with this.
There are also times when you are just NOT going to get permission to exercise your right to free speech. When you have to realize that the requirement to get permission is an insult. That you don’t have to get permission for many activist activities.
I want to be clear that I am in solidarity with the protesters at Saturday’s #DefendDenver March Against Police Terror. I had intended to march and even went to the park, but I was really sick that day and my fellow activists encouraged me to rest. The media and police in Denver were quick to focus on red paint being thrown on a memorial for fallen police officers. They were quick to arrest a friend of the Hernandez family for overdue tickets on the day of the protest so they could claim another arrest that day.
Whenever there is a police involved death in our community, the police are quick to utilize the media to slander the name of the victim. To paint the dead person as a “thug,” to show how they deserved to die. And we, as activists, play our role. We argue for the worth of the value of the life of the dead person. We try to convince the community, the media, the country, that person’s life mattered. It is exhausting, and I hate doing it, but it must be done.
Paint that can be washed off of a statue does far less damage than the actions police take to destroy the worth of a victim’s life. So many people are so insulted by some red paint that was quickly removed… but did you think about how it feels to families who are victims of police violence to hear over and over that their loved one deserved to die?
You’re not going to catch me yelling “fuck the police” because it’s just not my style. I am generally analyzing what is happening, looking around for safety, watching people in the crowd, and looking out for my fellow activists. I’m not going to be yelling “fuck the police” but you can be sure, in my head, I am figuring out ways to subvert your system.
I am not a nice white lady. I am a radical, gender non-conforming activist. You should not let my outward appearance allow you to assume I will be your mouthpiece or your informant. I don’t want the respectability that is being offered me. I understand that in order to effect change, my personal respectability may be affected and I accept that.
The revolution is going to require we give up our attachments to respectability and public opinion and solidify activist relationships with one another. I am here for it. I hope you are, too.
#DefendDenver – #Denver Community Defense Statement on “March Against Police Terror”
On Saturday February 14, over 300 people marched through the streets of Denver to show solidarity with families who have lost their loved ones or had their loved one’s lives threatened because of police violence.
When the March arrived at the Denver Police Headquarters, a bucket of paint was thrown by unknown March participants at a memorial to police officers who have been killed while in performance of their jobs. This single action has gained the most attention in the media, and has become a rallying call for Denver police and those who defend their actions.
We, as the members of the Denver Community Defense Committee, the organization that planned the March against Police Terror, voice our unwavering support and solidarity to all those who participated in the protests and March yesterday.
It is telling that at this moment, local media and the Denver Police…
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Solidarity with Those Arrested During the March Against Police Terror!
During the march against police terror on February 14th, multiple people were arrested. These people are going to need our help and support. We are asking for any and all donations to help with court fees, bond, and other associated expenses. If you would like to donate, go to our Fundly at: https://fundly.com/donate-to-denver-anarchist-black-cross# You can also donate via paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org We thank you all in advance for your support. Solidarity with the arrestees and the families and friends of those murdered by the DPD!
It’s been a year since my blog post went viral and I have faced some rather scathing remarks from people online and offline for my blog post, which was just advocating for nurses to care for our mental health, and for my refusal to take it down. Yes.. I could have taken it down but I continue to receive emails from nurses who have found comfort in that post. Who have found validation that yes, nursing is this hard and yes, people break down, and no, the need to take a day for your mental health does not make you a bad nurse.
First, I just want to reiterate that I am non-binary and do not use “she” or “he” or “they” pronouns. My name is Jo. When you tell me I am a horrible person, please go through the effort to not misgender me while doing so.
Excuse me while I double down.
Frequently nurses are required to go above and beyond. While going above and beyond should be something reserved for doing weekly.. monthly, at the most, once a shift… recent changes at my place of employment now require nurses to go above and beyond multiple times a shift. Indeed, going above and beyond is now the daily order of things and this is becoming incredibly stressful. Nurses have spoken up and I believe we will find resolve to these changes and I hope we come out of this better and stronger and more united.
Last night, I went above and beyond. I took a patient load that most nurses on my floor could not have handled. I notified the charge I would need her to be at my side and she was. How busy was I? The Up – Move pedometer stopped registering my steps and recorded a 3 hour cardio work out. I gave blood. I checked vitals. I assessed and reassessed and reassessed and at the end of my 12 hour shift, there are 4 human beings looking better than they did 12 hours before.
I did so much critical thinking that I started to critically think through this post and that is the last thing we need.
I didn’t do it alone. I had the intern on the floor for the first 5 hours of the shift, working side by side with me, reminding him of protocols and giving suggestions on what we could do. My fellow nurses checked in on me frequently and gave prns. They were also at their max patient load. The aides checked in and did walks, did some of my frequent vitals. I had a lot of help. We all went above and beyond.
My first near break came at 1 AM. That’s when a new grad who has known me for years told me “you need to eat, I can tell.” She was right. I ate. I once more believed in the validity and importance of life and kept on truckin’.
Things got better. Through hard work, my patients all stabilized. I got my charting done. I actually took a break off of the floor. It was amazing.
And then … something horrible happened.
At 5 AM, I ran out of fucks to give.
I remember it clearly. I was priming tubing to give a bolus. And as I watched the fluid roll down the tubing (always satisfying when it doesn’t bubble), I saw the ghost of my last fuck fade away.
I don’t remember who it was who first told me about the importance of rationing your fucks, but as a nurse, this knowledge, this ability, is so important. You must ration the number of fucks you give throughout the course of a 12 hour shift so that if someone falls apart at 6:55, you have a fuck. If you see a wreck on the way home and your feet and back are screaming, YOU NEED THAT FUCK…
And lo, I had no more fucks.
That is how, at 5 AM, I ended up talking to a new grad who has probably never uttered the word “fuck” about the importance of rationing fucks. I used the last dried up wisp of the last fuck in my arsenal to tell her.. do better. Ration. Mete them out appropriately.
Fucks allow you to go above and beyond. Fucks allow you to listen to complaints that you can’t fix but you need it to look like you have TRIED.
Fucks allow you to realize you are running low on fuel and need to regroup so that you can keep being an awesome nurse.
So I dug deep. I found one last, shriveled fuck down in my soul. The fuck that happens when someone gets a hard on at three in the morning and the other person is like… well… okay, why not? It wasn’t an enthusiastic fuck, but it got me where I needed to go. I pushed through the rest of the morning and here I sit, waiting for my melatonin to kick in, once again, begging nurses to care for one another.
I was so busy last night. I am so tired this morning. My patient load was not unsafe for me because I have been on my floor for a long time and I had good support. An energetic charge nurse. Helpful co-workers. AWESOME CNAS (you live and die by your CNA and so do your patients).
I did well last night because other nurses & staff looked out for me. Everyone knew I had made a sacrifice in order for the team to work efficiently and everyone helped out as they could. I have a stack of thank you notes to write out to people who really did so much to get us through the night.
On multiple occasions last night, others also offered to cover me so I could take a break. They made sure I took a break, when my own inclination was to skip it. That break was what gave me the last fuck I needed to get through the end.
A year after an impassioned, exhausted blog post about the need for nurses to practice better self-care, I am happy to say that thanks to my co-workers (and yes, even my manager), I am better at caring for myself as a nurse. I am better at scheduling my shifts so I do not get overtired and I am a better person for it.
I have learned to ration my fucks. I really hope, if you are a nurse, and you are going to work tonight, you stop and think about how many fucks you have to give and realize you’ll need to parcel them out. You might need to borrow a fuck from someone else.
If you truly have no fucks to give.. tonight might be the night you take that mental health break, and that is still okay. You are not a bad nurse for taking care of your own mental health. Nurses should not fall on the pointed tips of our nursing pins to be martyrs for the cause. Take care of you, take care of each other. Be careful with your fucks, for they are precious. This will make you a better nurse, and even a better person.
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