Defund the injustice.
In 2011 I learned that my life was causing incredible injustice, inequality and destruction through my relationship with money. I was furious. But I was also motivated to change my existence to contribute to justice and equality for humanity and Earth.
I learned that my investments and retirement funds were aiding and abetting corrupt corporations including fossil fuel and cigarette companies. I divested 100% of my money from all of these investments in 2012.
I learned that the money in my bank account was being used to fund destructive projects that pillaged the environment and took advantage of people who were deemed less important. My money was in Chase Bank, one of the most destructive, along with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup. In 2014, I took my money out and put it into a local credit union that benefited my community and didn’t invest in destruction.
I learned that the federal income taxes I was paying were being used to “legally” murder innocent people around the world through unjust war. I learned that I was paying for the military industrial complex and the prison industrial complex. I was paying into systemically racist systems that police brutality and mass incarceration are part of.
I paid federal income taxes for the last time in 2015 and I’ve made a lifetime commitment to never pay federal income taxes again. I do this legally by living simply and earning less than the federal poverty threshold, which I’ve committed to for life.
But of course, this isn’t just about defunding injustice. It is about funding justice and spreading my resources to contribute to a more equal society.
In 2015, I vowed to donate 90% of my media income to environmental and social nonprofits, for life.
In 2016, I changed my commitment to 100%. I have donated about $50,000 so far.
This year 100% of my speaking income is being donated to Indigenous and women-led nonprofits.
I have set myself a personal tax system, one that truly benefits THE PEOPLE, not the 1%, not the corrupt politicians, not the greedy corporations.
My money will be used to empower and uplift the people who do the work for THE PEOPLE.
If I was paying federal income taxes right now I’d be paying for police brutality that is being inflicted, as I type, onto good-willed human beings on the street. I’d be paying for the mass incarceration that has two million people behind bars. I’d be paying for the laws being created, repealed or ignored in a systemically racist system. I refuse to do this.
I support drastically reducing funds to the police, prisons and military and distributing those funds among systems that create true safety for the people. I support using funds to meet people’s basic needs including safe housing, healthy food, clean water, connection to nature, physical and mental healthcare, education, dignified jobs, and financial security. I believe if we really take care of people, then police, prisons and military will be far less needed.
Money is just one part of it all. But is an important part for all of us to recognize and dismantle within our own lives. Racism, inequality and injustice is not just our thoughts or our direct actions. The times we live in just aren’t that simple. Racism, inequality and injustice comes through all of our daily actions.
I have worked to dismantle the ways that I was unknowingly or indirectly doing what I never would have done knowingly or directly. There is still work to do and I will keep doing it. I invite others to call me out when I need to be called out. I will listen. I will keep changing for the better with the goal of living a truly just and equal life.
I stand with all humans working to take down the current system and replace it with a just, equal and sustainable system. I am here listening and learning.
I believe radical change is needed if we want to truly talk equality and justice.
I stand for radical change. Radical change doesn’t generally happen overnight though. It starts for most, as it did for myself, with conversations, with education, with small changes, and a brick-by-brick laid foundation to a radically different existence. I am here to help others begin their journey to radical justice, equality and sustainability, both as a radical example myself and as someone who can relate to not knowing where to start and feeling frozen. I am here in service both to those who are waking up and ready to change and to the communities and people that deserve better, who deserve equality and justice.
In truth I know there is nothing truly radical about this. It’s only radical in this absurd system we have found ourself in. What myself, and those who feel like I do, are really asking for is simply for all humans to be treated like humans, for basic common sense, for decency. This shouldn’t be a radical stance.
Yet it is in 2020 in the United States.
So this is where I will stand, along with the millions of others standing strong.