Mothers Against Pepper Spray (MAPS)

When did it get to be ok to pepper spray a line of university students in a peaceful sit down protest right in the face and mouth?   Occupy is a dynamic movement for social change whose time is overdue. I remember sitting in protest when the national guard came to Kent State University in Ohio—that would be here in the United States— and fired shots, 4  died from lines of sit down protesters in the 1970’s. I remember a group of us driving south to march in the Martin Luther King rallies and sitting in ‘white only’ lunch counters that had an attitude toward their ‘niggers’ I remember walking into a black women’s toilet and getting fired for doing so. At that time there were ‘white only’ and ‘black only’ toilets in every public building.  I remember when the Kennedys were shot down, when the King was shot down. I remember the violence, oppression and suppression and lies. I remember the awful aftermath of apathy and hopelessness that followed. I was a teen then. I am an elder now. What has changed?

What has changed is the world wide web. Connection is immediate when chaos and violence happens. What we are seeing is a pattern. That pattern is one of national punitive justice practice that needs an overhaul. The justice system, like many other systems, is broken. It is time the broken be trashed, or renewed, or recycled or whatever we do with things broken. It is time to change that which does not serve humans in a dignified, balanced, restorative, transformative, way. It has to go. Why?  Because the impact of business as usual is tearing the fabric of sane civilization, sane government, sane world systems apart to the point the whole planet—Mother Earth Herself—(and all Her children) are suffering. Perhaps we have waited too long. There is a profound price to pay for the lack found in most lives in every nation. Dr. Rosenberg of NVC said, in essence—‘we are in tragic expression of unmet needs’. We humans suffer and act out when our basic human needs are not met especially the spiritual ones. Humans need respect and kindness. Humans need love and peace. Humans need a sense of unity and justice.

Well, if we are to act out lets do it well and with respect for life. Lets act out with fierce love, with passion, with purpose, with a clearly defined goal. My goal for MAPS is for  Mothers, Grandmothers, and their helpers form a line of protection, be it a physical line or one of soul,  between those who choose to harm and their children. Since everyone has a mother that would apply to all who are being violated in a punitive way. The police are hired to protect us, the public. They do a good job.  Their job is hard. We get that. We the public appreciate all they do. But PEPPER SPRAYING OUR PEACEFUL PROTESTERS IS NOT PROTECTION!  Yes I just rose my voice. What I am asking all mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, friends and their helpers (that would be all you men) to simply write a letter, get in their face, vote them away, be present at city hall meetings, PTA meetings,march in rallies, make signs, contact mass media, anywhere there are people who need to hear this message  and say, “You do not have my permission to harm my children.”  A follow up question would be, “Did your mother give you permission to pepper spay my child?”

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Grace E. Reed

I have a MA in Conflict Resolution, a BA in Drama Therapy am a mediator, published writer (Negotiating Shadows and Needs) a broadcaster for radio on disability awareness. I work with street youth, the homeless, addicted people, and have been a social activist for over 35 years. Occupy WS Portland, Oregon is a passion. Eagles World Studio is up and running. My heart responds to poetry and my head hears it in everything I do. My motto is 'stay curious, be kind and keep moving'. My new book 'Negotiating Shadows: Journey to the Sun' published by George Ronald Publisher, Oxford England and available through my website.