Marc Solomon on Winning Marriage and the Fight for Same-Sex Rights Tonight

Categories: Activism, Books

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Same-sex marriage was the hot topic of the summer, with Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall following in the four-decade-old footsteps of her predecessor Clela Rorex, who'd issued the first same-sex marriage licenses in the country back in the mid-'70s. But with the U.S. Supreme Court's deliberate inaction this fall, same-sex wedding bells are now ringing all over the country. And tonight, Mark Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, will be in Denver to talk about Winning Marriage: The Inside Story of How Same-Sex Couples Took on the Politicians and Pundits -- and Won.

See also:
Clela Rorex Planted the Flag for Same-Sex Marriage in Colorado Four Decades Ago

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You Don't Have to Consider Yourself an Activist to Send a Message in the Streets

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Your peace is deadly.
I've never considered myself an activist. I've never thought that I have done enough, voiced enough of my concerns or actively offered enough public support to those in need to be considered an activist. I am like many people I know -- I don't make much money, but I donate several times a year to various organizations representing marginalized communities. I vote, I read and gather news daily from various sources and I engage in debates with my friends. I write a lot about current issues of social injustice that people like me and people I know face. But I am not an activist.

Like many, I have had my eye on Ferguson since Michael Brown was shot to death. Yesterday, I found myself tethered to my computer for most of the day, waiting for the Grand Jury's decision on whether or not to indict Darren Wilson. When the decision finally became public, I was mad as hell. I tweeted furiously, sharing my thoughts and retweeting activists, reporters and other people on the ground's shared thoughts of anger, outrage and despair. But after two hours of this I thought, now what?

See also: Ferguson, ISIS and the Ice Bucket Challenge: What Happens When We Choose Our News

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Five Political Martyrs You Should Know But Probably Don't

Categories: Activism

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Courtesy of Denver Anarchist Black Cross
The Martyr's Ball is the annual fundraiser for Denver Anarchist Black Cross.
Every cause has its martyrs. Christians had Jesus. The civil rights movement had Martin Luther King Jr. The American right had those who died at Waco and Ruby Ridge. And every year, Denver Anarchist Black Cross hosts The Martyr's Ball, a fundraiser for the organization that celebrates those who have died fighting for their cause. Attendees are supposed to dress up as their favorite martyrs, and to help them avoid coming as the some predictable cast of characters, we've put together a list of five anarchist and leftist martyrs that you may not have heard of -- but should know.

See also: Ricardo Flores Magon Academy: Why Was Embattled School Named for Anarchist Writer?


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Rudy Gonzales on Servicios de la Raza's Four Decades of Work and its New Home

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Servicios de la Raza's Executive Director, Rudy Gonzales.
After providing community health and services in Denver's Sunnyside neighborhood for decades, Servicios de la Raza moved this week to a new home at 3131 West 14th Avenue. To do so, the organization had to sell its buildings at 41st Avenue and Tejon Street, which meant the removal of the "Privavera" murual, which had been a landmark there for more than three decades. But the move should be a good for Servicios, says executive director Rudy Gonzales, who spoke with Westword about its work and about the challenges facing the population its serves -- as Denver neighborhoods continue to change.

See also: Jerry Jaramillo's Sunnyside Mural, "Primavera," Is Gone But Not Forgotten

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Hickenlooper and Udall Get Out the Vote at Auraria Today

Categories: Activism

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Brandon Marshall
John Hickenlooper at the Tivoli student center on election day.
If you haven't voted yet, stop reading now and do so: You can drop off your ballot until 7 p.m. tonight, and if you don't have your ballot, you can go to one of the city's 25 vote centers and get a replacement. For that matter, under the state's new voting laws you can still register to vote for two more hours.

That new voting law helps explain why so many Democratic politicians showed up at the Auraria campus at noon today to get out the vote.

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ARC Calendar Project Strikes a Few Iconic Poses

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Cassandra Zink Photography
The return of Lady Day, courtesy of LaFonda.
If, as Fred Allen once suggested, a celebrity is someone who works hard at not being recognized, then the folks featured in the soon-to-be-released 2015 calendar put together by The Arc Pikes Peak Region are true superstars. The models -- all people with developmental disabilities and Arc clients -- have managed to recreate some of the most recognizable celebrity images of the twentieth century with such uncanny verisimilitude, masking their own identities in the fame of their subjects, that it's easy to get confused over which image is the original, which the impersonation.

Last year the Pikes Peak office did a feel-good calendar that depicted clients celebrating the seasons in Colorado. This year advocacy specialist Craig Severa wanted to take a different approach: drawing on volunteer talent and props and wardrobe borrowed from ARC thrift stores to restage some of the most iconic photos and posters of modern times.

See also: Ralph-Michael Giordano Recreates Classic Hollywood photos With Colorado Actors

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Mountain to Mountain Author Shannon Galpin on Bicycles and Violence Against Women

Categories: Activism, Books

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Shannon Galpin
Breckenridge resident, women's right activist and avid cyclist Shannon Galpin (whose adventures we featured in the July 2012 cover story, "Peak Performance") has quite the story to tell in her just-released autobiographical tale, Mountain to Mountain: A Journey of Adventure and Activism for the Women of Afghanistan, which chronicles the launch of her nonprofit organization, Mountain2Mountain, and her strange path as an advocate for women bicyclists in Afghanistan. She'll sign Mountain to Mountain at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 6, at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street, and on Wednesday, October 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street in Boulder. In advance of those appearances, we chatted with Galpin about how she wound up riding mountain bikes in Afghanistan and how her own experiences with violence as a woman help her connect with other women.

See also: Ten places to ride your bike this summer

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Americas Latin Eco-Festival Builds the Latino Environmental Movement

Categories: Activism

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La Santa Cecilia
Grammy Award winning band La Santa Cecilia opens this year's Americas Latin Eco-Festival.

Writer Irene Vilar came from a political family. Her mother, who devoted herself to the struggle for Puerto Rican independence, spent decades in prison for political actions. Her family had two Episcopalian priests involved in liberation theology, a Latin American religious movement whose followers read the Bible as a Marxist text and struggled for social justice. Steeped in politics, she had no idea how much her vision of the world would change when she moved to Boulder in 1980 and learned about the environmental movement.

Universal demands for clean air, water and food inspired her. She thought that the struggle for the earth could unite communities with different experiences and political concerns.

See also: Favianna Rodriguez talks sexual liberation, immigration, racial justice and art

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Ferguson, ISIS and the Ice Bucket Challenge: What Happens When We Choose Our News

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Depending on how you curate your news, you may or may not have seen a version of this image hundreds of times.
The other day, while talking with a friend, I referenced how some media outlets had botched coverage of Ferguson, half expecting said friend to agree with me. Instead, he asked me what Ferguson was.

I'm used to this kind of interaction: most people I know don't spend all day on the Internet reading every newspaper and blog's version of the same story, whether it be about politics, sports, music, pop culture, activism or some combination there of. But to not be aware of one of the most important civil rights dramas to take place in the United States in the past couple of decades (and something that is being reported on daily, more than two weeks after Michael Brown was murdered,) seemed embarrassingly ignorant to me. How could you not know about the news in your own country affecting your own country?

Because we choose what we see. We curate our own newsfeed and control our own current events awareness, and it is to our detriment.

See also: On the Death of Robin Williams and Why Sadness and Depression Are Not the Same

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Anne Pasternak on Socially Engaged Art and Making the Change They Want to See

Categories: Activism, Art

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Kara Walker, Dominio Sugar Factory Project
Creative Time's current exhibition is Kara Walker's Dominio Sugar Factory Project.
Today and tomorrow, artists working at the intersection of social justice and the art world will gather at Anderson Ranch outside Aspen to discuss their projects as a part of Making the Change They Want to See. The artists are as varied as Steve McQueen, director of 12 Years a Slave; Laurie Jo Reynolds, who used creative organizing strategies to shut down a supermax prison in Illinois; and Mel Chin, who addresses issues of ecological destruction and cultural displacement through collaboration at non-traditional sites: at toxic dumps, on prime-time television and through video games.

To learn more about the event and the state of socially engaged public art, we spoke with Anne Pasternak, the seminar's curator and the president and artistic director of Creative Time, a New York-based public arts organization.

See also: Michael Mayes on Dead Man Walking, Cut and Shoot, Texas, and Social-Justice Opera


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