AudiOasis: “Deeper Connection”✲♡”*•.¸¸☼ with Chris Gongaware!
AudiOasis: “Deeper Connection”✲♡”*•.¸¸☼ with Chris Gongaware!
Aloha Bringer of Light✲♡”*•.¸¸☼
Did you know that Obama’s Surgeon General said that the greatest public health crisis is isolation? Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy:“we live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization, yet rates of loneliness have doubled since the 1980s.” Doubled ~Yowza! This is why I’m so happy that Chris Gongaware is our presenter for our March 23rd AudiOasis . . . entitled “Deeper Connection” . . . during which we’ll be connecting in with ourselves & each other, guided by his skilled leadership & creativity . . . & experience how amazingly supportive it feels to be among those who are being their authentic selves while we are also!
This month we’re back at Ong King. We’ll have a potluck dinner & a meet-up over the dinner hour of 6 to 7 pm, especially for those in our Facebook Hawai’i CryptoTribe group to meet in person & discuss the current state & rapid evolution of the “token market” . . . and how to identify the quality projects that embody our values and will help create the more equitable and abundant economic system we dream of.All are welcome!
We’ll continue our Free Store (~let me know if you want to help set that up!), so bring what you no longer need (& take what you do!). And how about our Healing Sanctuary? . . . healers please come forward to share your skills!? (~I’d also love a new co-ordinator for this wonderful offering).
And, by the way, the speakers at our “Day of Empathy for Incarcerated Persons” at the Capitol last week were inspiring. Please check out Will Caron’s speech below . . . I know we can make a difference as we continue to make our voice heard!
me ke aloha nui loa, Ka’imi
VibeTribe’s AudiOasis: “Deeper Connection” with Guest Presenter, Chris Gongaware
. . . concentrate on well-being, Peace, the beauty of the day, on whatever health, financial Abundance, Love, and reassurance you have in your life, and give thanks for these, with all your heart.Then extend that wonderful feeling of stability, calm, Peace, and reassurance to the Earth and humanity in all their current transformation and transfiguration. . . . Yes, even to those who are making a concerted effort to keep you in fear! Send it to them most of all. Your love will surprise, disarm, and direct them to realize there are other ways to exist in this Universe than the way they were trained to exist. . . . Indeed, co-Creators—do you wish for All to be Well? Then visualize and give thanks, as if that were the case everywhere in the world. You may feel that “my small vibration will not carry very far!” and yet, we assure you—it is no small vibration. It has created worlds, and it is re-Creating your own world, at a phenomenal and miraculous rate. ~the Ascended Masters, Galactics, Earth Elementals, Faery Elders, Angels and Archangels known as the Collective via by Caroline Oceana Ryan, March 12, 2018
. . . feel the freedom of finding peace, to live out this amazing adventure of life on your terms, to find true joy and fulfillment in every aspect of your life. To be able to look back on this challenging time as an extraordinary opportunity that was presented to you to take your power back, raise your vibration, and elevate your consciousness. To be a pioneer of the New Earth and have countless generations look back at you as one of the elders that helped heal humanity. ~Mike Picione
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Day of Empathy Speech ~March 6, 2018, by Will Caron
@ the Hawai’i State Capitol
Palolo Neighborhood Board, Social Justice Action Committee Chair, Young Progressives Demanding Action – Hawaii
Aloha and welcome to the Hawaii Justice Coalition’s Day of Empathy Rally. Before we get started I want to acknowledge that we are standing on occupied land. I feel it is particularly important to recognize the occupation of Hawaii at our rally because of the ongoing trauma this has caused to Hawaiians, who are grossly over-represented in the criminal justice system and who suffer from disproportionate rates of houselessness, illnesses and low educational and occupational attainment levels.
We are here today to raise awareness of the damage that incarceration does to people and communities, and to highlight some of the ways in which we can move forward toward a better system. Before our speakers share their personal narratives with you—stories that serve to illustrate why criminal justice reform is one of the most important human rights struggles of our time—I wanted to frame the discussion in the larger context of privatization of public goods. Because, today, we face a serious threat to the concept of an open and free democracy.
Our government of, by and for the people has undergone a decades-long shift toward plutocracy, a form of society that is defined by control of wealth. In this system, corporate money buys influence in politics, and the politicians who benefit from this influx of private money then create or tear down laws to boost the bottom lines of their corporate patrons. This results in a concentration of wealth and power among a handful of wealthy and connected elites and causes systemic inequality and injustice throughout the world. This process has been spurred on by an ever-mounting privatization of public goods like education, healthcare and natural resources. This consolidation of wealth and power is aimed at freezing social mobility and cementing the status and power of the ruling oligarchy.
Assaults on public education include Betsy DeVos’s so-called “school choice” program, which is nothing more than a thinly veiled plan to dismantle funding and support for public schools and to manufacture a new kind of segregation based on income and status. This scheme seeks to rob working class, immigrant and under-privileged students of any hope of advancing themselves socially.
At the same time, our public universities have seen their budgets slashed as states buy into the conservative myth that private funding improves educational outcomes, expands access to higher education and saves the government money. In fact, the exact opposite is true. This has left public universities with the painful choice of either raising tuition and saddling students with ever-mounting debt, or entering into private contracts with corporations that convert our schools into their R&D wings for pennies on the dollar.
The result of this private interference in our educational system is a widening educational attainment gap as the democratization of intelligence shrinks and learning becomes a commodity that only the rich can afford. With diminished educational outcomes and a system that favors test-taking over critical-thinking, corporate control is made easier.
The situation in healthcare is the same. Every year, insurance companies, pharmaceutical corporations, health consortiums, private research centers and health product manufacturers make billions of dollars through the privatization of another public good: health. These companies then invest millions into the political campaigns of politicians that turn around and block any and all effort to reform the system and democratize healthcare. The result is a growing number of Americans left uninsured, in debt, and suffering from diseases and afflictions that could be remedied multiple times over in an equitable system.
A third example of privatization’s harmful effects on people is the criminal justice or correctional system. As a society built upon laws, we have agreed to live according to these laws, and to be subjected to state-sanctioned punishment when we violate them—with the understanding that this system will act justly and fairly toward all of us. But when commercial interests insert themselves in this system, the policing, adjudicating and incarceration of citizens becomes a tyranny.
The history of America’s correctional system begins with the 18th century idea of “Enlightenment.” The penitentiary was meant to replace corporal and capital punishment with an attempt at personal growth. At the time, incarceration was a progressive idea. And yet, by the time the Civil War was over, privatization had given rise to a burgeoning Prison-Industrial Complex.
The creation of Jim Crow laws that sought to recreate the social dynamics of Slavery in the Antebellum South lead to an explosion in the construction of incarceration facilities with for-profit motivations designed to house the rising number of minority citizens targeted by these laws and other racist policies. After slavery was outlawed, Southern plantation owners and the politicians that benefited from their patronage used Jim Crow laws and the American penitentiary setting as a means to recreate the free labor they enjoyed under the Slave System. Under this new Prison-Industrial System, laws were written specifically to target African Americans, then Mexican Americans and then other immigrants and people of color, to increase the contact between these people and the criminal justice system and to establish a large incarcerated population from which the state would then lease unpaid laborers to plantations and other businesses: Slavery by another name.
And so the history of America’s Prison-Industrial System is rooted in racism. Although much of Jim Crow was later outlawed, the effects persisted in other racist policies like the War on Drugs, mandatory minimums, the Three Strikes policy and other “Tough On Crime” stances.
Even as violent crime was on the decline all over the country in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Ronald Reagan presided over the largest increase in the construction of prisons in the history of the United States, first while Governor of California, and then while President. During his tenure in these positions of power, California constructed more prisons than it had in its entire history prior. This trend was mirrored nationally, and new prisons were privately constructed, managed and operated all over the country. Between 1970 and 2010, the number of people incarcerated in the United States grew by 700 percent. We now incarcerate almost a quarter of the prisoners in the entire world, while representing only 5 percent of the world’s population. At no other point in U.S. history—including when slavery was legal—have so many people been deprived of their liberty.
When states enter into contracts with these corporations, they pay them a fee per bed that is filled. It is, therefore, in the direct interest of these prison companies and their shareholders to incarcerate as many people as possible, which is why companies like CoreCivic and Geo Group spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and more lobbying politicians each year to secure a continuous supply of inmates and an uninterrupted profit stream. Plutocracy at work.
We now know for a fact that this trend toward privatization is, in fact, costing governments at all levels millions in taxpayer monies; we know that it destroys lives, families and communities; that it actually endangers communities and erodes the social fabric of our cities. We know that, when it comes to the correctional system, this privatization recreates cycles of oppression and that it perpetuates artificial barriers to attainment and quality of life among working class people, especially minorities and, increasingly, women. We know that it is the continuation of the racist system of slavery.
Why is this important here in Hawaii right now? Because the conditions that have led to over-incarceration exist in our island home as well, and they have created an overcrowding situation that the state government intends to “address” through further expansion of the Prison Industrial System. The Ige Administration and its Department of Public Safety have both signaled support for the concept of an at least partially-private facility to house incarcerated people, many of whom are pre-trial, non-violent and/or are simply too poor to afford bail. At the same time, a pair of bills are advancing through the legislature this session that would create a public-private partnership authority to manage projects that rely on the privatization model. These projects inherently possess a profit motive and, although these bills do not expressly mention incarceration, they could easily open up the doorway for privatization of the proposed new jail facility on Oahu. SB2705 and HB2581 represent acquiescence on the part of our elected officials to corporate interests and capitulation to the privatization of public goods.
As you will hear in the stories of the subsequent speakers today, incarcerated people do not deserve to be treated as commodities. They are individuals deserving of human rights. They are not one-dimensional caricatures; they are complicated beings and products of their environments. Exploitation, inequity, racism, poverty, violence, cultural erasure, exclusion and rejection from the socioeconomic elitism that privatization has created within American society leads to often unavoidable mistakes. But the difference between just punishment and the further exploitation, violence and rejection that has become widespread within the correctional system is a vast chasm that an increasingly porous and tenuous social safety net has long-since been able to adequately cover.
When incarcerated people are treated with dignity and respect, they are far more likely to heal from the injuries of privatization, poverty and cultural erasure. When they are able to heal through restorative justice programs, they are more likely to return to their communities stronger than when they left. This is a deeper kind of democracy; of compassion, engagement and community strength. When they are forced to endure the harassment of a militarized police force, the legal injustices inherited from Jim Crow and the brutality of the prison system, they often emerge worse off than they were before: bitter, depressed, lost—incapable of re-integrating into society. This creates an enormous cost, both in terms of dollars as well as social capital, that we as a society collectively end up paying, all while corporate elites continue to profit from the pain and suffering of oppressed human beings.
That’s why we gather each year for a Day of Empathy: to acknowledge the humanity of these people, to challenge the privatization narrative perpetuated by these elites and manifested in the Prison Industrial Complex, and to renew our support for the creation of a democratized and just system where every human being has equal access to public goods and the opportunity thrive, and where no corporate entity is permitted to profit from suffering, poverty, inequality or violence of any kind. Let us alu like—strive together—to move our society toward to a more just, compassionate future: one in which, I hope, we will no longer have a need for prisons because public goods rest securely in the hands of people, not corporations and democracy is once again genuine and true. Mahalo.