Code Pink Journals CodePINK Journals

Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! For now, I’ve returned from my Joiyssey to participate in the "revolution":I’ve been at many Occupy sites across the country:1st in D.C. Freedom Plaza I faced & challenged racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy, classism, heterosexism & eventually was kicked off the island; then I offered workshops as I drove to CA:“Anti-Racism Geared for White Occupiers”; “NO DRONES” "Successes and Pitfalls of OWS"

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I share a picture of my grandchild with a white woman who has shared her grands' pics with me, and she immediately tells me about her friend who adopted two children from Haiti.

I interrupt the conversation to inform her neither my daughter nor my grandchild were adopted - as if...

I tell her how, when my daughter was young and we were walking down the street together, white people would marvel at her hair and "tan", reaching out in a quickly thwarted (by me first, then my daughter) attempt to touch her hair while asking "where did she get this hair from?" And "ohhhhhh, what a nice 'tan'!"

But if we were walking down this street with a Black womon, white people would not questions but just smile with questioning concerned eyes, as they assumed my daughter was her daughter.

White people could see the Black in my daughter only when she was with another Black person.

And this white woman, seeing the color in my progenies, went for adoption.... sigh

Monday, July 06, 2015

Sign Language

So I'm staying it what is called the Community Center on the land - it's a 2 bedroom house with a kitchen and living room and another room that is the library but could be a third bedroom.

I decided to stay inside instead of in my camper - BUGS!!!! Living in California, one forgets quickly how many bugs exist in the south and how they scream at nite - when I first heard this cacophony of discordant endless noise rising at sunset and not ending until dawn, it felt like the souls of Black and First Nation people cursing, crying, imprinting the night.

It doesn't seem as loud now - I'm thinking there are fewer and different bugs.

I have tick-phobia. Two of the womyn here have contracted Lyme's disease and so I'm super extra cautious. Plus the mosquitoes are relentless. I stay inside except for my early morning run but with the fans running, not the air conditioning.

Tonite is sign language class nite so the womyn bounce in, eager and ready to learn more sign language. It is actually a lot of fun and the womyn are quite good.

Plus it's a nice break from re-reading and re-reading my precious words!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Rain, rescues, and review

Rain rain rain!!! I woke up in the middle of the night to a down pour, steady, rhythmic, prolonged wet rain & I knew immediately I wasn’t in California!

Today, I was up to a nice cool morning, either at 5 or 4, depending on east coast time or Midwest time – we’re exactly on the line. I was able to do my exercises, get my vitamins in order for the day, check my email only – nothing else works in this spot….grrrrr – and reviewed a few pages of my book before Ellen came to further orient me to the land.

It is really amazing, these courageous womyn probably all over 65 who have lived here, built their own houses, promote ecological living, and create & build community. Of course, it is always at the surface of my awareness, these are all white womyn – at least they were the last time I was here. 

There’s a new womon from texas who’s just moved in to one of the lots. I’m sad to assume she’s probably white also. I’m told she rescued 17 dogs after Katrina. I have to stare in wonder and keep myself from asking how many people she rescued – Black people from the 9th ward, the ward hit the hardest by first the flooding and then the gentrification.

I don’t ask – yet. I want to meet the dog rescuer & then maybe I’ll ask.

I brought in my kitchen stuff this morning also, including coffee and spices. I cooked a pot of rice to munch on and made my daily green drink. I couldn’t bring myself to buy much fresh fruit as I can’t believe how expensive it is – I shop the Berkeley Bowl too much – so I’m making do with orange juice. Lots of dill and fresh coriander (which I already have) makes my green drink sans berries and apples not just tolerable but tasty.

I’ve reviewed my book up to page 26 – I hope to finish to page 44 today. I wonder how many book pages a typewritten page makes. If it’s only one to one, maybe I’m writing a booklet instead… hahahaha

Saturday, July 04, 2015


I’m here & I begin my sequestered attempts at finishing my book, But What Can I do?

My journey began at the San Francisco airport last nite when I attempted to get on the last direct flight of the day to Atlanta.

When I got there, about 7 people were in front of me with 9 seats available – but people not on the list kept being cleared as the number of seats available slowly diminished.

By the time the plane left at 11:15, there were 3 peeps in front of me… I didn’t make that plane.
The next plane was going at 12:30am to Minneapolis – 13 seats and I’m number 11. I got on and got a window seat – I had forgotten how much easier it is to sleep a little in a window seat as I normally fly with Mujasi who HAS to have the window seat.

I arrived at the gate in Minneapolis at 5:30 and my plane was leaving at 6:15 – I had to hurry thru a couple of walkways but made it to a half-empty plane. This time I got a seat by myself in the row of 3!

Arriving in the terminal the red white & blue is almost blinding. If I had spaced the 4th of da lie day, it certainly wasn’t for long.

Pushing thru the starred and striped crowd, escaping onto an almost empty Marta I’m suddenly overwhelmed by a large extremely boisterous group of mostly white people all decked in red, white and blue, with permed hair, caked make-up running in the heat like uncooked batter, and smelling like cheap aftershave and avon lotion.

I curse myself for bringing so much luggage making it impossible to easily navigate the crowd and seek another car. I comfort myself with the thought that it’s only 6 quick stops.

I buried my head in my book, determined to ignore their ra ra ra god love amerikka freedom cries...grrrr unless they stepped over the line.

Finally at my daughter's, I hang out with her and my grandson, stock up on vitals for my isolated writing home, and share our last meal together before I leave.

Driving thru Atlanta to get on the freeway north, several cars honk and wave. Quickly leaving the city behind, I try not to see the infrequent but gigantic confederate flags on buildings, back of pick-up trucks, and front lawns as my heart sinks rapidly.

Turning off the freeway and navigating thru the mountains that share a border between Alabama  and Georgia, I’m further disheartened to see brand new signs “Pray For Our Nation” with a Corinthian? chapter and verse under it. I remember seeing these signs when Obama was elected & I'm thinking they went up again when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.

Pulling onto the last stretch of the country road that will take me to this womyn’s land, huge confederate flags mar the beautiful lush green forest – one house even has a flag pole in the middle of a giant pick-up truck with a confederate flag that must drape over the windshield when the driver slows down…

I wonder instantly if the white womyn of this land even notice their neighbors hostile signs and racist flags.
And I wonder about coming to the south to finish my book.

Well dah....everyone knows it's better to be white...

I’m with my grandson in the parking lot of Sevananda pushing him in the grocery cart heading for the store when the sun bursts out of the overcast skies, toasting us with hot, bright rays. He holds out his arm, looking down at it, urging me to hurry – not because the moist warm air bathing us is suddenly hot as hell but because he declares he doesn’t want to get any darker.

Now here is a little boy who has the most beautiful golden brown skin ever, a boy whose mom is half black, half white and whose sperm donor is Black; a boy who lives in a house full of Black people, a neighborhood that is predominantly Black, a boy who went to an Afro-centric school one of his pre-school years, a Black Montessori school for his other pre-school year, and for first grade to a home school that is all Black. He is on a Black soccer team with a Black coach and all his friends are Black.

A boy for whom Black is the “norm” in his every day life, and who should be Black and proud – a boy who at three years old claimed he was white and vehemently denied he is Black. But when I asked him what it means to be white, he looked confused and couldn’t put into words what it meant to him.

 When he was four, he proudly and confidently confided in me that he is now “peach”.  He then told me that when white people want to be dark they go out into the sun.

Next, he holds his arm up to me and asks me what do dark people do to be white?

Now at 6 years old, in the parking lot with me encouraging him to embrace the sun’s rays, he wistfully tells me that he wishes he is white and when I ask why, he turns his black sad eyes on me and tells me something like I should know: it is better to be white.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

murder of police vs murder by police - to be continued

How come white people and the white media can talk about the murders of police using such sentiment and words as it is "an unspeakable tragedy, and a vile and cowardly act" yet police murders of Black people are justified and not even prosecutable?

How come white people and the white media can see that "Tragedies that involve our men and women in uniform affect our entire city and touch every member of our law enforcement community," and not that police murdering Black citizens is more than a tragedy but a travesty of justice in our land?

Thursday, April 16, 2015


I lost my computer bag & my 65th birthday celebration savings 2day on BART.

Someone else lost their life.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Nite 7: Middle of Texas

We leave El Paso later than what we had planned but so full of love, good food, inspiration, we feel like we can drive forever!

But first we stop for fuel. As I am fueling up, a white woman gas attendant worker comes running up to my truck, demanding if the credit card I'm using is mine.

This is interesting - I was expecting her to engage about Marissa or Black Womyn's Lives Matter, but instead she's challenging me about my credit card.

Now we do have 2 credit cards for our caravan account, one in my name and one in another womon's name - a womon who is not on the caravan. But both credit cards are ours. I happen to be using the card that is in my name.

I look at her in disbelief - and around at all the people standing by their cars, pumping gas. I haven't seen her ask anyone else about their credit card.

I ask her why she wants to know. Does she really expect me to say no, this is not my credit card? Hmmm

I tell her of course it's my card.

She wants to see my card. I look at her like she's lost her mind, because obviously she has. I tell her again, I am using my own card.

She tells me there's lots of people ripping off gas stations using other people's credit cards. I tell her the gas station doesn't pay for that, the credit card company pays.

She doesn't believe I am using my own card - or she just wants to harass this womon in that truck. She shouts at me the police would like to look at my credit card.

I ask her if they work here too or is she the only credit card police?

Then she orders me to stay put at the pump, stomps off toward the shop, claiming she's going to call the police.

Oy vey.

Like I'm going to stick around even if the police were interested. We leave, head to Target to get some hi-tech merch we need and off we go into the netherlands of Texas.

It is a beautiful day to drive thru western Texas. We have the rest of today and most of tomorrow to make it 550 miles to San Antonio for our 6:00pm report back!

We drive almost 300 miles so we can be closer to San Antonio. It is dark and fuckin freezing when we stop. Gas stations, rest stop, visible homes or towns are miles and miles away. We decide to hotel it tonite, if we can find a cheap hotel - our first for the trip.

Day 7: El Paso Press Conference to Texas...

Cemelli appears at our lovely house with her 5 year old lovely daughter before 8:00am - loaded down with tons of breakfast food. She begins to cook for us, even though we attempt to dissuade her, as we've planned to return to Cafe Mayapan for the press conference and to eat there once again! She insists, saying we can take whatever is left over on the road with us.

Once again, we are overwhelmed and touched deeply by her warmth and generosity. It gets closer and closer to press conference time. Womyn are trying to pack up, grab food, finish preparing for our press conference.

It is time to go and we can not find Jasi nor Amayalli. One minute they were chasing each other around the house, playing with the dog, laughing and screeching! The next, they're gone. Disappeared. No evidence - like the girls and womyn of Juarez...NOT!

Cemelli is stricken, panicked, thinking her child has disappeared - she's been to Juarez, she lives here, she knows the dangers of El Paso; but most of all, she knows where the pedophiles live in this neighborhood - how many houses down, what color the house is, how many steps to our front door.

She has had to walk children from the bus past his house to this house where we are staying, where there is a school for young children - blocks from where a convicted pedophile is allowed to live.

Her panic increases exponentially with the seconds that tick by. We search the house, we search outside, Cemelli is close to calling the police. I know it is impossible that Jasi would go out by himself in a neighborhood he doesn't know. I know that will not keep him safe.

After many harrowing moments, the children are discovered in the closet, hiding - first they say they were playing hide & seek. Amayalli sees how upset her mother is and she weeps sorry, sorry, sorry Mama. Jasi says they were just hiding, they didn't want to leave, they wanted to keep playing.

We have to leave - the press has arrived at Cafe Mayapan and is waiting for us. We rush into our vehicles and race off, children safe in their car seats.

This time, this press conference is very successful! These womyn with La Mujer Obrera know how to get out the press. Gina and Cemelli also speak. We have TV cameras, radio, and written press. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Nite 6: El Paso

We are looking so forward with connecting with the womyn from Mujer Obrera and Cafe Mayapan!!!

Cemelli and Gina, and the community of womyn, greet us with such warmth and enthusiasm, we already feel so special! The cafe is a huge space with a wide stage facing tables that sit 60 or so folks, and a small counter in the back to the side where womyn are taking dinner orders.

We are invited to hang up our banners and set up a table with our handouts, t-shirts, and posters.

Jasi quickly joins the group of children running freely thru the room, scooting out a doorway into another room to circle around again to burst into the front room where we are all at. He is so happy to be running freely, joyously with other children mostly his age!

Then several First Nation dancers - all womyn and girls except for one man - begin a beautiful ceremony for us, drumming, singing and dancing! We are deeply honored. At the end, the elder dancer begins to smudge - and she doesn't stop with the room and people but smudges and blesses our banners as well!

We spread out and begin our presentation. The audience appears to be spellbound as we tell Marissa's story, and then appalled and incensed as we spell out the injustice system's response to her.

And the all too familiar sad and stricken looks, the nods, the breaths held, the tears flowing - the yes, I know this story, this happened to me, this is happening to me.

At the end of our presentation, one of the Mujer Obrera womyn activists and survivor of domestic and institutional violence, tells her story. We are all weeping by the time she is done.

Food and drink is spread out for us and we eat the most delicious indigenous food with yummy hibiscus tea. Gina sits with us and reveals what a fierce, amazing amazon warrior she is - we all want to be like Gina when we continue our journey!

We talk a lot about the womyn and girls that are STILL being murdered daily in Juarez - or at least their bodies are still being dumped around Ciuda Juarez and the prevalent belief that it is rich u.s. businessmen buying the bodies and lives of young girls and womyn to torture, rape, and destroy.

We think about how to acknowledge the violence perpetrated against Latina and First Nation womyn, here on this border and on our northern borders as well - we failed to do so directly in our presentation - and the lack of national and local concern (except from womyn and allies here) let alone real steps taken to protect womyn and girls.Brown: Womyn's Lives Matter!

When it is time to pack up and go, Cemelli leads us thru the streets of El Paso to the house the UU has provided for us! There are 4 empty bedrooms, all with beds or blow-up mattresses, sheets & blankets as well as 2 bathrooms with towels - we've landed in the lap of luxury! No one has to sleep on the floor or in a vehicle! YEAH!!!!

Cemelli asks us to join her in the living room for her Moon Dance ceremony, which is a womyn's ceremony of her people. The pipe and tobacco we smoke have been passed down to her thru generations and we are honored once again to be included as part of this ceremony.

We fall into our beds, saturated with womyn's energy, love, and inspiration!

Day 6: Las Cruces to El Paso

It's a left-overs morning today! We've made it thru another nite at a rest stop - freezing as it was outside our vehicles!

We're eating the remnants of trader joe's, spaghetti, and potatoes with turkey and without turkey! Plus strong Peet's coffee!

We hang out at the picnic table in the bright sunshine, debrief from yesterday's teach-in, sing a few songs while Lajuana begins to teach us a new song to add to our presentations!

Then we head off to Las Cruces, but not without a lot of prompting folks and certainly not in time to do any actions in Las Cruces - tearz...

But we do stop at the impressive Las Cruces rest stop overlooking the sprawling city. Jasi decides this is a war place, a place where soldiers have fought people. Kata decides we should do a video calling on the A people - those with $$$$, so we do.

Then we head out to El Paso! We will not have time to go to the house where we are staying first, but will have to head directly to the Cafe Mayapan where we are scheduled to do a teach-in!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Nite 5: Tucson to Rest Stop

I wanted us to stop at the most beautiful rest stop in Arizona close to the New Mexico border so we can hike the trails there and take in the stunning beauty and quiet peace of this part of the country but once again we don't get out of Tucson until almost 9pm - too late, too dark, too cold to stop.

We continue driving several hours until we are about 100 miles from Las Cruces, which means we can sleep in tomorrow, cook breakfast, and have a leisurely drive to arrived in Las Cruces by 3:00pm so we can banner, flyer, make our presence known in that small collegiate town, and then head to El Paso to get there for our 6:00pm teach in. Las Cruces is less than an hour from El Paso.

We pull into an almost deserted rest stop and crash for the nite. It is another dazzling black night sky with diamonds in New Mexico, although we are too cold to spend much time appreciating the expansive view.

Day 5: Black Lives Matter Tucson to New Mexico

We try to make it early to the Black Lives Matter Conference which has started at 8:00 this morning but getting us up, packed up, fed, and out the house proves to be a VERY time consuming adventure.

We do make it to the University of Arizona with about 30 minutes to spare before our lunch-time presentation. The wonderful Matice is waiting for us to arrive and has set up large round tables for folks to eat lunch she is providing while our presentation is happening.

We get to use our awesome sound system for the first time that Carey donated. The food arrives and we eat first as we wait for participants to come when the BLM speakers finish for the morning. Matice is expecting over 80 folks who signed up for lunch!

We are getting better and better - our singing is wonderful, the improv so informative, and our spoken word and dialogue inspirational.

Womyn are profoundly stirred, speak up and share their stories, again, just like in Phoenix. We are also deeply moved to hear more and more of our stories, to connect so painfully with other womyn, and so intensely with other womyn, growing our determination to FREE MARISSA NOW - along with freeing ourselves.

Our t-shirts have been delivered and we sell or give away almost all of them! We are under time pressure to finish, as the afternoon part of the conference is about to continue. Everyone, but Jasi & I, leave to participate in the rest of the conference.

Jasi & I ride the train around Tucson after we go to the thrift store, find him a pair of slip-on shoes and a bag of wooden trains!

We stay in Tucson at the University until almost 8:00pm, when the conference is over. We hit the road running, as we have to drive thru the rest of Arizona, all of New Mexico to Las Cruces and then El Paso.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nite 4: Tucson and Mujasi!

Jasi & I leave Kat's house after everyone else goes to Trader Joes. The sky is ebony black and the temperature has dropped 40 degrees.

We pull into the main drag and park the truck outside the food coop where we're going to stock up on our special, organic food.

When we get out the truck, the street lights almost boom in the black nite. Before we slam the door, a white male runs up to us, exclaiming his love for the truck and wanting to know what we were all about.

Mujasi leans back against the light pole, lifts a foot to his knee in his flamingo stance and proceeds to explain the whole trip, much to my astonishment.

"We're the Black Womyn's Lives Matter:FREE MARISSA Caravan" he proudly declares. "Do you know who Marissa is?"

The man shakes his head no and Jasi continues: "Marissa Alexander is a Black womon and mother who fired a warning shot into the ceiling - injuring no one (here he lifts his chin, fiercely defiant) to make her husband stop beating her and threatening to kill her.

She had a 9 day old baby at the time and the police came & arrested her. She was sentenced to jail for 20 years. We're going to Jacksonville Florida to FREE MARISSA NOW!"

The man expresses his outrage and support of our caravan. Then he proceeds to want to come with us. Jasi holds up 1 finger declaring this caravan is for womyn and one kid.

I am almost speechless. The man still expresses his support but tries to give me his number in case we change our mind. Jasi informs him he can donate to the caravan or to Marissa if he wants.

Of course, the man is broke and has nothing to contribute.

I'm so proud of my grandchild!

Day 4: Phoenix Press Conference to Tucson!

Today at noon we have a press conference in front of the Phoenix Police Department. By 9:00 everyone is up and getting ready. We have yummy potatoes and onions - some veggie, some with ground turkey - and more bagels and fruit. And of course, thick black coffee from Peets!

Ben has gone to work but has offered us whatever food in her fridge that we want so we make some eggs to go with the bagels and potatoes!

We have to plan our press conference, as this will be our first press conference as a group.

We decide to begin first with Marissa's story and end with the caravan. We sit around the breakfast table outside on the back porch in the bright intense Arizona sunshine that has raised the temperature at least 30 degrees from last nite!

So this is our press conference:

Sound bites for Marissa's story:

Angela begins with talking in our sound bites re:who Marissa is: a Black womon, mother of a 9 day old baby, who fired a warning shot in the ceiling, injuring no one, to scare off the man who was beating and threatening to kill her. The police came and arrested her: she was tried, convicted by a jury in 12 minutes, and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Elizabeth continues with after being imprisoned for almost 3 years, Marissa files an appeal, her conviction is overturned, and she is free to go - for a minute. Angela Corey, the Florida State Attorney General who prosecuted Zimmerman and got him 0 time, has Marissa re-arrested and re-files charges against her, threatening her with 60 years in jail this time.

Davina then reports that Marissa is then placed under house arrest until her trial, which is supposed to be in a couple months, but keeps getting postponed. And during this time Angela Corey continues her harassment of Marissa by dragging her back into court claiming Marissa has violated her terms of house arrest. Corey loses.

Lajuana defines the terms of Marissa's house arrest: she has to wear an ankle bracelet and pay over $1000/month for the bracelet and to be monitored; she is only allowed to go to 2 or 3 places outside the home; if she wants to go anywhere else, she has to go before a judge and get his permission.

Xan concludes with the plea bargain Marissa was forced to accept that landed her back in jail a few dayz before thanksgiving, as she was facing a long and expensive trial and 60 years in prison - or offered instead 65 more days in prison and a hearing on January 27th where she will face yet another sentencing that could land her in jail for another 5 years or house arrest for 2 years. Which is why we are heading to Jacksonville for the 27th.

Sound bites for the Caravan:

Lajuana: We are the Black Womyn's Lives Matter:Free Marissa Caravan and we left the SF Bay Area January 11th and are heading to Jacksonville Florida for the 27th of January.

Angela: Our purpose is three fold: 1) We want Marissa Alexander to become a household name in this country & around the world

Davina: 2) We want Marissa's fight for freedom to be our Stand Up, Fight Back cause;

Elizabeth: and 3) We want all eyes on Florida January 27th

Lajuana: We demand a pardon for Marissa!

All: Self Defense is NOT a Crime: Marissa should NOT be doing time!!!

We're ready to hit the road for the press conference. We don't have the time to gather our things so we'll have to return after the press conference. We haven't heard yet if we have an engagement in Tucson this evening or just tomorrow at the Black Lives Matter Conference.

When we get to the police station, a handful of Phoenix activists are there waiting for us - but no press. We park, get out our banners, and march down the street singing our songs.

We hang banners in front of the police station and present our press conference to those folks standing there and passing by. The police send out a perky, impeccable Black womon community-police liaison along with the community/police internal affairs officer - also Black but male. She has just been working there a few days, he's been on the force 17 years.

We guess he's the first Black officer Phoenix hired. He has his sound bites all laid out for us, claiming Phoenix doesn't have the domestic violence 'issues' other cities have.When pressed to document training for police officers, services for victims, etc., he clams up and doesn't want to talk about it.

Jasi reaches a hand out to touch the so uniformly perfect he thinks they're fake cacti lining the front yard of the station and gets a couple fingers full of thorns - they're not fake!

After we operate and remove most of the tiny thorns from his fingers, he declares he's going to hold his own protest and proceeds to loudly chant: "I hate cactus, I love fairies!"

We fine tune our press conference after we practice several times until we feel like experts, even tho no press shows up, not even the friend of one of the candidates for city council that has arrived.

Finally, we gather our things and head back to Ben's, clean up, grab the last of our donated food that we can eat quickly and head out to Tucson at the height of rush hour traffic. Great exposure but slow going to Tucson.

We arrive in Tucson once again as the sun is setting - but we have the nite off so some womyn take off to Trader Joes while others cook a giant pot of spaghetti to add to the treats that they return with.

We are staying at Kat's little adobe home that is very cozy and has heat! Yeah!!! We spread sleeping bags on camping mats and call it a nite to relax & do our own things!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day 3: California Desert to Phoenix!

It's oatmeal, coffee, and bagels this morning at the rest stop as disengage ourselves from bunk beds, the floor, and top of the collapsed seats of the van. We calculate the miles we need to go to arrive in Phoenix in time to do our first indoor presentation and figure out we have enough time to head to our host Ben's house first.

Ben stands in her driveway and greets us as we drive up. She has a 2 bedroom house that she is graciously sharing with us. We pile in, select and set up our beds, wolf down the vegetarian chilli Ben has made before hopping back into the truck and expo to head to Puente, a lovely community center that works with undocumented folks as well as survivors of domestic violence.

Kim has bottom-lined this gathering and we sit in a circle and begin our presentation. We receive bucket loads of positive feedback and support from the wonderful Phoenix participants! They especially comment on how great the format worked for them.
And we sold one of the wonderful Marissa Caravan posters that Molly Jane created for us and collected $18 in cash donations!
We head back to Ben's home, exhausted but really happy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Nite 2: Palm Springs to Rest Area

Even though we (I) had REALLY wanted to make it to Palm Springs in time to visit the First Nation sacred land there, we don't pull into the city until dusk. We drive down the main drag and park so everyone can see the truck.

We jump out our vehicles, grab banners, flyers, and song sheets and find a great corner by the plaza that crosses the main road, to set up. We hang our banners back-to-back so that people driving down the main drag can see one side and people walking on the sidewalk also have a great view of our bold, black messages: Black Womyn's Lives Matter: FREE MARISSA!

Once our banners are secure, we begin singing and handing out flyers. Traffic is sparse but steady, pedestrians are few but this allows us to talk with everyone, the curious interested folks along with the extremely bored! Most people are not from Palm Springs and those few that stop to talk, promise to bring Marissa's name back to their town.

A gay white couple put three one dollar bills into out donation box while a straight white family of four listen carefully to Lajuana explaining Marissa's story.

A young creamy brown womon with a chubby wide-eyed baby perched on her hip, joins Jasi & I as we walk down the sidewalk on our way to the truck to get him additional toys. Jasi foists a little purple Free Marissa flyer into her child's flailing hands while I attempt to recall enough Spanish to explain Marissa's story to her.

The mother wide eyed and struggling to understand, grabs the flyer and intently studies the print as a tear slips down her cheek. "My mother, mi madre," she chokes out, "esta muerta.... asesinada." Oh no, I embrace her as I murmur how sorry I am, lo siento, lo siento - muy triste.

Mujasi puts his arms around both of us and tries to hand her baby one of his cars. 

Before we part, she fiercely promises me she will read more about Marissa and do what she can.

After a couple hours on the streets of Palm Springs, it starts getting too chilly to hang out, so we begin to close down. A realtor approaches us - a local white and gay boy - who points to his 2nd story office around the corner and tells us he came down because he heard us singing.

He promises to send an email out with Marissa's story to his list of 356 local realtors!

Another short white male speaking heavily accented English and decked out in a very expensive suit with an equally expensive camera on his shoulder begins filming us. He tells us about the international film festival that's happening now in Palm Springs - but we missed the 8pm opening and folks probably won't get out until 10:30 or 11 - we can't stay this long.

He claims to be a journalist and promises to send our pics far and wide, especially in the media outlets he works for. Kata has his info...we'll see!

We have donated salads, bagels, sandwiches we consume as we head out of town. The desert sky is blacker than 30 leagues under the sea and the stars brilliant pinpoints of crystal shimmering white, just stunningly beautiful.

We drive to the first rest stop and spend our second nite on the road snuggled in sleeping bags and blankets inside the camper and the expo, steaming up windows and breathing heavy to warm us up.

Day 2 January 12th: Los Angeles to Palm Springs

Our first morning arising on the road after spending the nite in Los Angeles at a lovely home provided for us by two film-maker activists who wish to remain unanimous! Jasi & I have a little one room cottage with a bathroom all to ourselves. Everyone else shares living room futon and floor space.

We arise, stumble around gathering sleeping bags, toiletries, and back packs. The wonderful caravaner Ann has left to return to the Bay Area, leaving us with the truck as our only mode of transportation until we pick up the van.

Our hosts make us yummy green smoothies as we hold our first debriefing and planning meeting over midnite black donated  Peets coffee and slightly toasted Noah's bagels plus abundant fresh fruit. We talk about what worked last nite at Black Lives Matter and what didn't. We discuss improvements for our presentation, honing our talking points, and logistics for picking up our 8 seater van.

Finally packed up and ready to go, four caravaner womyn head to public transport themselves on the train to Irvine, while two of us - and Mujasi - jump into the front of the truck (one - our relief driver - slithers into the back to sleep) and navigate thru Los Angeles traffic toward our Lake Forest rendezvous with not a van but an expedition (as the husband of the owner insists we call our vehicle!)

We get to Lake Forest a couple hours later than planned - not due to the infamous L.A. traffic but do to the time we need to gather all our things and head out. Picking up the van is easy, hooking up with the rest of our crew so simple - the train station is literally 2 miles away.

Our caravan complete - except without Zakyia and Toni and their special RV, tearz - late in the afternoon, we head to Palm Springs.