Tag: protest

Rambo

How David Morrell and ‘Rambo’ Helped Dissolve the USSR

You may already know all about David Morrell, the legendary bestselling author of First Blood (the 1972 novel that the entire Rambo franchise is based on.) What you may not know, however, is that Rambo actually had a pretty big part in dissolving the USSR

 

David Morrell and Sylvester Stalone

David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone | Image via IMDB

 

Now, Morrell (AKA: Rambo’s Father) hadn’t actually set-out to achieve something so historic; he never could’ve known the power his words might hold while he was putting them on the page. And he didn’t actually learn about Rambo’s involvement in the dismantling of the Soviet Union until about fifteen-or-so-years after the initial Rambo adaptation was released.

 

At Thrillerfest this past weekend, Morrell recounted the story of how Rambo‘s influence in Poland came to his attention. 

During the early 2000’s, Morrell was visiting Poland on a book tour and noticed straight away that he was being treated, well, differently

 

David Morrell

Image Via davidmorrell.net

 

The flag that maybe things weren’t exactly as they seemed was that Morrell was visiting Poland at the same time as then-President Bill Clinton, and they happened to be staying in the same hotel. Despite the fact that the literal President of the United States was currently staying there, David Morrell was the one the hotel staff decided to place inside the Presidential Suite; Bill Clinton stayed in the second-best room, the suite usually left for authors.

 

Morrell thought that this was strange, but assumed that maybe there was a glitch in the system or something, so he didn’t really think too much about it…that is, until things got even stranger

 

The next clue was that, like clockwork, journalists were lining up to interview and speak with him, just one after the other in a seemingly-never-ending cycle:

 

It seemed like fifteen minutes would go by before a new journalist approached me…it got to the point where, eventually, I was being interviewed by this nice Polish woman, about thirty-five years old or so…and I just asked her, ‘what’s going on? why is everyone so excited to meet me?’

 

The woman informed Morrell that, during the late eighties and early nineties, while Poland was struggling to cut-ties with Russia, the Soviet Union had banned the Rambo film from entering the country. So, the people did what any citizens trapped within the confines of a fascist-ruled state would do; they smuggled copies of the film into the country, hosted illegal viewings, and soaked up every bit of activism, justice, and rebellion they could, before taking to the streets. 

 

In fact, demonstrators speaking out against the USSR found Rambo so inspiring that they drew from his speeches, wardrobe, and the entire energy he encompassed to make their protests that much more powerful.

 

The journalist looked at Morrell and stated,

 

So, you see, people love you here because Rambo helped dissolve the USSR.

 

It’s incredible just how powerful books and films can be, and the influence art can have on us; people have used music, novels, artwork, poetry, and more to protest injustices since the beginning of time.

 

So, let’s all take a piece of advice from David Morrell by creating the things we feel compelled to create, fearlessly and without a second-thought; we never know just how important they may turn out to be.

 

via GIPHY

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Variety

Marsha P. Johnson

17 Quotes from LGBTQ+ Trailblazers

It’s Pride month!

 

Now is the time for freedom, celebration, liberation, and love! The LGBTQ+ community has fought hard (and is still fighting) against societal and systemic oppression every single day (especially the Transgender community; here’s a list of all the lives that have been lost in 2018 alone).

 

This month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come, to acknowledge the oppressions and inequalities that are still so prevalent, and to keep marching toward and fighting for the revolution we need.

 

It is also a time to recognize and remember the activists who got us here. We wouldn’t have rights, Pride, or any of the freedoms we get to experience day-by-day if it weren’t for their bravery, selflessness, and perseverance. 

 

Here are seventeen quotes from incredible activists who paved the way!

 

Marsha P. Johnson:

Now they got two little nice statues in Chariot Park to remember the gay movement. How many people have died for these two little statues to be put in the park for them to recognize gay people? How many years has it taken people to realize that we are all brothers and sisters and human beings in the human race? I mean how many years does it take people to see that? We’re all in this rat race together!

 

Harvey Milk:

If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.

 

Laverne Cox:

It is revolutionary for any trans person to choose to be seen and visible in a world that tells us we should not exist.

 

James Baldwin:

Everybody’s journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.

 

Barbara Smith:

Remember, goals are stars to steer by, not sticks with which to beat ourselves.

 

Audre Lorde:

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

 

Bayard Rustin:

When an individual is protesting society’s refusal to acknowledge his dignity as a human being, his very act of protest confers dignity on him.

 

Andrea Gibson:

It is untrue that bravery can be measured by a lack of fear. It takes guts to tremble. It takes tremble to love.

 

Barbara Gittings:

As a teenager, I had to struggle alone to learn about myself and what it meant to be gay. Now for [48] years I’ve had the satisfaction of working with other gay people all across the country to get the bigots off our backs, to oil the closet door hinges, to change prejudiced hearts and minds, and to show that gay love is good for us and for the rest of the world too. It’s hard work—but it’s vital, and it’s gratifying, and it’s often fun!

 

Jennicet Gutiérrez:

Immigrant trans women are 12 times more likely to face discrimination because of our gender identity. If we add our immigration status to the equation, the discrimination increases. Transgender immigrants make up one out of every 500 people in detention, but we account for one out of five confirmed sexual abuse cases in ICE custody. The violence my trans sisters face in detention centers is one of torture and abuse. The torture and abuse come from ICE officials and other detainees in these detention centers. I have spoken with my trans immigrant sisters who were recently released from detention centers. With a lot of emotional pain and heavy tears in their eyes, they opened up about the horrendous treatment they all experienced. Often seeking asylum to escape threats of violence because of their gender identity and sexuality, this is how they’re greeted in this country. At times misgendered, exposed to assault, and put in detention centers with men.

 

Frida Kahlo:

I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.

 

Sylvia Rivera:

I was a radical, a revolutionist. I am still a revolutionist…I am glad I was in the Stonewall riot. I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought, “My god, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here!

 

Martina Navratilova:

I never felt I had anything to hide. I never felt being gay was anything to be ashamed of, so I never felt apologetic. I didn’t have issues with it, didn’t grow up with any religion, so I didn’t have any religious, you know, issues to deal with as far as homosexuality is concerned. So, I accepted it very easily. For me, it wasn’t that big a deal.

 

Mabel Hampton:

I, Mabel Hampton, have been a lesbian all my life, for 82 years, and I am proud of myself and my people. I would like all my people to be free in this country and all over the world, my gay people and my black people.

 

Christine Jorgenson:

Everyone is both sexes in varying degrees. I am more of a woman than a man.

 

Brenda Howard:

Bi, Poly, Switch—I’m not greedy, I know what I want.

 

Janet Mock:

Self-definition and self-determination is about the many varied decisions that we make to compose and journey toward ourselves…It’s okay if your personal definition is in a constant state of flux as you navigate the world.

 

 

via GIPHY

 

via GIPHY

 

 

Featured Image Via Famous Biographies

Teachers in protest

Teachers Across the Globe Struggling With Low-Budgets

Teachers need our appreciation now more than ever. All across the globe teachers today are struggling with painfully low budgets, making it nearly impossible to supply their classrooms with the materials they need, give their students the attention they deserve, and create a safe and steady learning environment. 

 

Last Friday, teachers in Arizona returned to work after a six-day strike protesting the state’s budget cuts. The strike ended because legislative lawmakers agreed to give the teachers a 20% pay raise, along with a budget increase. The only catch, however, is that the new budget will be coming from a tax raise for those living in low-income school districts. Meaning, these tax raises will only really affect working-class and middle-class households and will not affect the wealthier households directly.

 

A strike against a decrease in school budgets also took place last month in Oklahoma City, where tens of thousands of teachers gathered in protest. They were fighting a system that has decreased their schooling budget by more than 30% over the last decade, leaving their school infrastructures in such a bad state indoor volleyball games are often cancelled due to rain that pours down from the ceiling and their textbooks are crumbling to pieces. 

 

Crumbling textbooks

Image Via The Daily Dot

 

Teachers aren’t just struggling with unrealistically low budgets in the United States, however; In England, a survey was released today showing that 90% of teachers claim to have taken money from their “pupil premium” funds in order to fill in the holes of the budget. The pupil premium funding is a resource meant to help students from low-income households strive in school. Teachers are frustrated they’ve had to dip into these funds on multiple occasions in order to afford the supplies they need; worried about how this will negatively affect the students relying on these sources.

 

Statistically speaking, school budgets began to decline in 2009, immediately following the recession. Since then, there’s been a steady decline in budgeting for schools. In 2017 alone, schools cut budgets by more than 7%. These budget declines have led to curriculums and after-school programs being cut, teachers and other faculty being laid off, and classrooms being overpacked with students.

 

Budget Graph

Image via Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

 

Budget cuts don’t just negatively affect teachers; the entire school faculty is being negatively affected. Librarians have been fighting hard to keep their positions within schools; as have coaches, band directors, theatre directors, and more.

 

Last September, this list detailing the ways schools can help fight budget cuts was released. Still, despite their best efforts, it’s impossible for anyone to do their job correctly if they aren’t given the means to do so.

 

So today, make sure the teachers in your life know just how much you appreciate their endless compassion, selflessness, and support. Stand beside them in the fight. Teachers are a necessity. So much of our future as a society depends upon the quality of our schools. Without steady schooling, children aren’t being given the opportunity for a fair and proper education. We need to listen to our teachers; they know what they need.

 

You can donate to classrooms here

 

“Listen to one another like you know you are scholars. Artists. Scientists. Athletes. Musicians. Like you know you will be the ones to shape this world. Show me how many colors you know how to draw with. Show me how proud you are of what you have learned. And I promise I will do the same.”

 -Sarah Kay, Mrs. Ribeiro

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Liberation News

Books Not Bullets Sign March for Our Lives

The Best Literary Signs at the March for Our Lives

This weekend, activists took to the streets all over America to call for immediate and effective gun-control legislation, in the wake of the Valentines Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which seventeen students and teachers were killed.

 

Celebrities including Paul McCartney and Patti Smith joined the New York City march, while others such as George Clooney, Jimmy Fallon, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, and Demi Lovato turned out in for marches nationwide. One of the most exciting elements of mass peaceful protests such as the Women’s March and March for Our Lives is often the brilliant and creative signs carried by marchers. Inspired by Teen Vogue’s article ‘”Harry Potter” Signs Were Everywhere at the March for Our Lives, we’ve put together a list of some of the best literary signs (including several Potter ones, of course) spotted at various Marches for Our Lives this weekend. 

 

 

Image Via Boston University News Service

 Image Via Boston University News Service 

 

Image Via Popsugar

 Image Via Popsugar

 

 

Image Via Pinterest

Image Via Pinterest 

 

Image Via Boston.com

 Image Via Boston.com

 

 

Image Via ThisIsInsider.com

Image Via ThisIsInsider.com

 

Okay, so this one’s not technically literary-inspired by Mean Girls was based on a book, so… 

 

Image Via Yahoo

 Image Via Yahoo

 

Featured Image Via Boston.com