Posts tagged Occupied Cascadia

The Red & Black is surviving. Help them flourish.

So a couple months ago I put up a note about the emergency fundraising campaign for The Red & Black in Portland, Oregon:

If you’re not familiar, the Red & Black is a worker-owned co-operative restaurant in Portland, Oregon. The food’s all vegan; the ingredients are mostly organic, and either locally sourced or Fair Trade. The worker-owners are organized as an IWW shop, and directly manage their own workplace. It’s also an important hub for the anarchist community in Portland, providing a venue for regular talks, films, and other community events. I just sent $50; which is more than I can really afford right now, but the Red & Black, and places like it, matter. A lot. Any mutual aid you can send their way — or anyone you can tell about this situation — will really help.

As a follow-up, here is a note that the folks at Red & Black posted a few days ago to their website and to their Facebook page. I’d link directly, but it appears that the permalinking on their website is broken; so instead:

A little over a month ago we alerted our friends and allies that the Red & Black Cafe was in trouble. We had reached a crisis point, were unable to pay our mortgage, and we made the difficult decision to stop paying ourselves. We’re happy to say, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. At this point we’re treading water and are figuring out when we can pay ourselves again.

This is due to our own grit and determination to survive and because of the outpouring of support in the form of donations and increased business. But also in the form of help. Help with things like design work, cutting our ingredient costs, & setting up amazing events…

The Red & Black clearly matters to a lot of folks!

We’re a quarter of the way to our goal of $20,000. So we’re kicking up our fundraising drive and we need even more help to reach outside of our immediate communities. We also have some awesome project ideas and could use help getting them off the ground. If you’ve got some skills, and/or know of someone who can help us out, contact us! Spread the word.

Tell your friends, family, co-workers, and that person you just met why you think we’re special!

Here are some suggestions but please do add your own:

  • 100% vegan food & drink. We are a space that is unapologetically for animal liberation. We regularly host fundraisers, prisoner letter writing nights and animal lib speakers and workshops. We’re also friendly to omnivores and, we hope, informative and not preachy on the subject.
  • Safer space: We’re committed to supporting survivors of sexual assault and relationship abuse. We are also committed to confronting and disrupting oppressive language and behavior in the cafe and we encourage the same from you or anyone else who sees it.
  • The Red & Black is welcoming to folks who are houseless. Whether or not you have an address you are welcome to: use the bathroom w/o buying something first, have free wifi, charge your phone, use the free computer terminals, get hot water, come to events or meet your friend. We are working with Sisters of the Road to explore the possibility of accepting EBT (foodstamps/snap) from houseless folks, people over 60 and people on SSI! It’s not a sure thing but we’re making every effort to figure this out.
  • Environmental stuff: We pick up coffee and supplies by massive, amazing bike trailer. Our produce is local, organic and bike delivered! We serve food from the lowest trophic level!
  • Labor movement & co-op stuff: We’re an Industrial Workers of the World closed shop (100% union members), we’re worker owned, there’s no boss and we’re all paid the same wage for the same work. Every participates in the day to day restaurant work as well as the behind the scenes work. We act in solidarity with labor every chance we get. This includes buying authentically fair trade coffee from Equal Exchange, another worker owned co-op. We participate in regional and national worker co-op efforts through the USFederation of Worker Co-ops.

Thank you so much for your support! <3

Please donate if you can (anything helps), and share widely! If the “DONATE” button below does not take you directly to the Red & Black’s PayPal page, please log in and enter “general@redandblackcafe.com” as the recipient.

Follow us on Twitter @redandblackcafe & ‘Like’ us on Facebook and get regular updates at facebook.com/redandblackcafe (please also hover over the ‘Like’ button on our page & check “show in news feed”)

Stay tuned: we’re organizing a volunteer days to make major improvements to our space.

Book your event with us! This is huge; we need your awesome events! Keep in mind that we do music, film, workshops, fundraisers for cool groups, game nights, art openings etc. For selected events, we will stay open til Midnight! It’s easy just go here: redandblackcafe.com/event-booking.

Cops are here to help you: Tacoma, Washington police Officer Ryan Koskovich and Officer Michael Young taser, handcuff and imprison a deaf assault victim for not obeying commands that she could not hear.

In Tacoma, a few months ago, a woman called 911 seeking protection when a fight with a guest turned violent. Unfortunately, when you call 911 they send the cops, and government police are not interested in protecting you; they are interested in controlling the situation. The victim in this case is a black woman who has been deaf since birth. The cops were told ahead of time that she was deaf, but what with a situation to control, when they showed up at the apartment they tortured her with a taser, handcuffed her, and hauled her off to jail for running at the police in an assaultive manner. She was running outside to meet the police, so that they could protect her from the person that was beating her up. Instead, a white police officer, Ryan Koskovich, screamed at her, whipped out his taser to drive her to the ground with a painful electrical shock, and then handcuffed her and arrested her, all because she didn’t stop running immediately when they bellowed commands at her that she could not hear. The police claimed, in reports that they wrote up after the fact, that they had also held a hand out. Other people in the neighborhood were watching and nobody else says they saw the cops hold a hand up. Of course, it’s possible that nobody saw it because it was 11:30 at night and dark; but then, that might be a reason for the police to think that someone might not necessarily be able to see their hands, and might not necessarily be able to hear their bellowed commands, and perhaps they ought to adopt a different strategy from maximal confrontation and Taser first, ask questions later. But that of course is only the sort of thing that you do if you give a damn about not torturing and imprisoning innocent people.

Officer Ryan Koskovich, Tacoma, Washington
Tasered, handcuffed and imprisoned deaf assault victim Lashonn White
Photo from NY Daily News

Police use Taser on deaf crime victim

TACOMA, Wash. — KIRO TV’s investigative unit has discovered Tacoma police used force to arrest and handcuff an innocent deaf woman after she called 911 for their help.

Instead of an apology, she ended up bloody and in jail for nearly three days without an interpreter before a prosecutor declined to press charges.

After months of digging, investigative reporter Chris Halsne found significant discrepancies in the official police version of events leading up to Lashonn White’s arrest.

Late in the evening on April 6, White said she called for police assistance after a guest reportedly attacked her in her own apartment.

. . . Computer-aided dispatch (CAD) logs show Tacoma police officer Ryan Koskovich and his partner, Michael Young, were outside White’s apartment complex in about six minutes.

It also reflects that officers received texts along the way stating, Person doing the hitting is a Sophia and Vict. is Lashonn White.

In addition, it appears from internal police records obtained by KIRO Team 7 Investigators, Koskovich and his partner were repeatedly given information that the victim could not hear a thing.

. . . To her, what happened next defies common sense — especially, for a woman with no criminal record, no arrests and just one minor driving violation on her record.

Within seconds of running outside to meet police, Officer Koskovich pulled his Taser and fired a two-barbed electric wire into White’s ribs and stomach.

All I’m doing is waving my hands in the air, and the next thing I know, I’m on the ground and then handcuffed. It was almost like I blacked out. I was so dizzy and disoriented, White said.

Witnesses said White began bleeding heavily from her knuckles and the right side of her face swelled up immediately after she hit the pavement following the Taser jolt.

Pictures acquired by Team 7 Investigators also show injuries to her cheek, chin, ribs, neck and arms.

Worse yet to White was the incredible confusion that came with suddenly being handcuffed, under arrest and without the ability to communicate with Tacoma officers, who had no sign language skills.

The next thing I know, they took me to jail. Told me to stand up, you’re going to jail. I said, What? What have I done? I couldn’t figure it out. I had no idea what was going on, said White.

. . . Margaret Sims’s apartment is right over the spot where White fell to the ground after being tased. She said it was around 11:30 at night and dark, but she heard Lashonn screaming in pain and ran to the balcony.

I hollered down and said, She’s deaf and can’t speak!

Sims says she went down to the street and spoke with officers while Lashonn was still in handcuffs. She told us during an on-camera interview that the police officers at the scene admitted there was a misunderstanding.

They had tased her because he thought she was coming at him, but what she was doing was running to him. But he said, stop and he didn’t put his hand up. He just said, stop and she couldn’t understand that, replied Sims.

Another apartment tenant, Geraldine Warren, said she also heard the commotion and talked to police.

They just told her to halt. She kept running, she can’t hear—she’s deaf. I said, Aren’t you supposed to say halt like that? asked Warren holding up her right hand.

Tacoma police arrested Lashonn on two criminal charges, simple assault and obstruction of a public servant (law enforcement officer). Then they carted her off to jail. She spent 60 hours there[1] – also without an interpreter- before a city prosecutor reviewed her case and asked that charges not be filed at all. . . . White said despite her repeated requests to police for a certified ASL interpreter, one was never provided.

— Police use Taser on deaf crime victim, by Chris Halsne, for KIRO TV 7 (5 August 2012)

The Incident Is Being Investigated. But Police Officer Naveed Benjamin has already said that the actions of the officers do not appear to be outside of policy. Probably not. And what does that tell you about the policy?

This is of course not the first time this sort of thing has happened. See for example GT 2007-12-07: Law and Orders #4: Wichita cops take control by shocking a deaf man for not following orders he couldn’t hear, GT 2007-11-11: Taser first, ask questions later, AP 2005-03-22: Autistic Teenager is Beaten by Deputies After Being Mistaken for a Prowler, GT 2008-02-05: Rapists in uniform, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseam.

  1. [1] [In other words, a crime victim was imprisoned for nearly three days, because police could not speak her language and chose to respond to her with escalating brutality before they knew what was going on. —CJ.]

Support needed for The Red & Black in Portland

I just read this note from the Red & Black Cafe’s page on Facebook. If you’re not familiar, the Red & Black is a worker-owned co-operative restaurant in Portland, Oregon. The food’s all vegan; the ingredients are mostly organic, and either locally sourced or Fair Trade. The worker-owners are organized as an IWW shop, and directly manage their own workplace. It’s also an important hub for the anarchist community in Portland, providing a venue for regular talks, films, and other community events. I just sent $50; which is more than I can really afford right now, but the Red & Black, and places like it, matter. A lot. Any mutual aid you can send their way — or anyone you can tell about this situation — will really help. (The website doesn’t seem to have a post about the current situation yet; but you should be able to use the PayPal donation buttons in this post. I just attached a note to the donation asking them to put it to use wherever it would be most helpful.)

From the Red & Black collective, via Facebook:

The Red & Black is in trouble. Our finances have reached a crisis point. This situation has been brewing for many months as our cash flow slowly dried up. To be blunt: we are unable to make our mortgage payment on time and we’ve bounced checks to some of our vendors and staff. A couple of days ago at our collective meeting we contemplated shutting our doors for good.

So what happened? Like many other local restaurants after 4+ years of recession (depression?): we need more business. In this economy many people have less money to eat out. Our situation is compounded by the fact that we have never had anything near a comfortable amount of working capital. We attempted to raise sufficient capital during the fundraising drive we held when we decided to buy our building. While we did raise enough money to make our down payment, we were far from our goal. This left the collective financially vulnerable to the point that a slow month could bankrupt us. . . .

While there are several things we do that don’t make a lot of business sense, financially, they are things we refuse to compromise on. We are welcoming to unhoused folks who often can’t afford to spend money at the cafe. We make most of our food from scratch which is labor intensive and because our ingredients are (mostly) organic, they are more expensive.

We are also much more than just a restaurant. We are a community space; specifically we are a radical, queer-positive safer space; an important hub for many overlapping grassroots political projects, a cop-free zone, an amazing vegan restaurant, a music venue, a hangout and meeting space for Industrial Workers of the World union members, a low income collective household upstairs— the list goes on.

In order to meet this challenge head on we’re making changes that we believe will not only avert catastrophe, but put us on a path of financial sustainability. The most dramatic and immediate change is that we’ve decided to work without pay until we can turn this situation around. This decision is both difficult and easy to make. Difficult because we, as individuals, can’t afford it for long and because we are a closed union shop with the goal of paying ourselves a living wage. But the decision is also easy because the alternative is something none of us want: losing the Red and Black.

So we are fundraising $20,000 in donations, gift certificates and merchandise sales. This amount would not only cover our current obligations, it would mean having an adequate amount of working capital for the first time. We would be able to afford to go back to a paid wage, to purchase adequate equipment, fix the window, and keep the building. This is a crucial time for the Red and Black and we need your help! . . .

Please visit our website www.redandblackcafe.com to donate and Twitter @redandblackcafe for updates on our hours and menu. . . .

Wednesday Lazy Linking

Don’t forget.

  • The world is awesome.

  • People are awesome. You don’t need plans, or politics, or power. Put them up against people, and people will win every time. People came up with that video. Also, other people came up with this.

  • Technological civilization is awesome. (In case you’re wondering, it’s awesome because it’s made of people.)

  • Books are awesome. Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times (2009-05-29): Some Thoughts on the Pleasures of Being a Re-Reader

  • To-day is awesome. It’s an anniversary. My love and I were married three years ago today. If the normal online rounds are held up for a while, well, that’s why.

Solidarity.

  • In memory of George Tiller. feministe (2009-05-31): In honor of Dr. Tiller (if you would like to donate in memory and in honor of Dr. Tiller’s work). Among others, the National Network of Abortion Funds has established a George Tiller Memorial Abortion Fund.

  • IQSN, L.A. I.M.C. (2009-05-27): Solidarity with Queer Bulgaria on 27 June 2009. A day of international actions in solidarity with the LGBTQ Pride march in Sofia, Bulgaria. Last year’s march was attacked by neo-Nazi groups who decided to Keep Our Children Safe with a campaign of roving basher gangs and by slinging molotov cocktails and small explosives at the marchers. International Queer Solidarity Network calls for a European mobilization, with support from the United States, that will stand in solidarity with Queer Bulgaria for this year’s march.

News.

Comment.

Historicize.

Communications.

ALLies on the Airwaves

(From Portland ALLy Shawn Wilbur 2009-02-18.)

From Occupied Cascadia, Kyle Burris recently interviewed Portland ALLies Shawn Wilbur and William Gillis for KBOO-FM’s program Radiozine:

Market Anarchism: Government regulation and the financial crisis.

What roll [sic] did government regulation play in the current financial crisis? Is more regulation what we really need? What would a truly free market look like? And is there hope for radical reform, beyond the failed Marxist model?

KBOO’s Kyle Burris speaks to local anarchist activist William Gillis, and historian Shawn Wilbur, about the theory know as Market Anarchism, or Left Libertarianism. They discuss the roll [sic] government plays in the current economy, and also take a historical look at government’s affect on unions and health care in the US.

More information on the subject can be found at the website Invisible Molotov.

— KBOO.fm (2009-02-17): Market Anarchism: Government regulation and the financial crisis.

Congratulations Shawn and William!

An mp3 of the interview is available for download at the KBOO.fm website.