Flying Focus Video Collective
February 2022 Newsletter
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Flying Focus Celebrates 30 Years of Its Weekly Show
Celebrating 30 years of producing video for social change, Flying Focus presented its annual retrospective in November 2021 on its weekly series, the Flying Focus Video Bus. The "Thirtieth Busiversary" (VB #121.7&8) features program producers Dan Handelman and Barb Greene and field coordinator PC Peri discussing the 12 new shows (made up of 24 episodes) produced between November 2020 and October 2021. This program is designed to show viewers that we are just ordinary people producing video for social change and to explain why the shows matter.
In part 1, three shows cover multicultural issues (Juneteenth, Black and Indigenous Lives, Justice and Education Reform), three others cover police accountability (Training Advisory Council, Police Oversight and Shootings/Lawsuits). Part 2 covers foreign affairs/war and peace (American Iranian Town Hall, David Swanson on World War III), civil rights (Sarah Mirk on Guantanamo), Health Care (a 2019 conference/rally in Portland), environmental justice (Tom Hastings testimony on the Zenith 5 trial), and workers' issues (three May Day events on one show).
Despite -- or because of -- COVID, three of the shows were edited from footage recorded before the pandemic, five were recorded mostly using internet connections, and four were recorded in the field during the previous year and a half. The host segments were recorded in a classroom at Open Signal/Portland Community Media in Northeast Portland with input from remote connections in North and Southeast Portland. Director Moss Drake, who connected the remote sites together, has guest appearances on both parts. The Busiversary was produced and edited by Dan Handelman and can be seen streaming at flyingfocus.org/ThirtiethBusivStream.html.
In September, Flying Focus added security protocols to our website, so depending on your device you can now go to https://www.flyingfocus.org for a secure connection. We've made sure the text entry pages and the ones leading to our donations page meet security standards and are working to migrate the other pages as well.
"No matter how big a nation is, it is no stronger than its weakest people, and as long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you might otherwise." --Marian Anderson (1897-1993), Civil rights activist and the first Black soloist at the Metropolitan Opera
Local Black Farmer Gives a "Taste of Juneteenth"
On the show "A Taste of Juneteenth 2021" (VB#120.8&9), chef and activist Rachelle Dixon with Zenger Farms discusses the history of Juneteenth, food, cultural identity and more. She also talks about decolonizing cuisine, that is to say, going back to the origins of food that came from Africa before being changed in the Americas. It also includes indigenous people's food on this continent. Zenger Farms held a special event on June 26 (so as not to overlap with other Juneteenth celebrations on June 19) and raised issues including the Black Codes, laws that were put in place to limit the abilities of formerly enslaved people.
This show was recorded by PC Peri, who interviewed Dixon, and produced by Barb Greene with editing assistance from Dan Handelman. --Clip--
Police Violence and Its Human and Financial Costs
Do you ever wonder how much police misdeeds cost the people of Portland? Join Flying Focus and Portland Copwatch member Dan Handelman and KBOO Radio's Jasmin for an hour-long conversation about some of the most horrific police misconduct cases which have caused the largest payouts by the City to victims or their families. The cases include shootings and other acts of brutality, while the overall review of lawsuit settlements also includes more minor misconduct such as the police damaging people's fences, homes and cars. Most of the show "Police Shootings, Misconduct and Lawsuits" (VB #102.12 &13) focuses on the top 25 settlements between 1993 and 2021, and also more broadly the questions of whether officers are ever held accountable, how often police use deadly force in Oregon, and how many Portland Police have been involved in deadly force incidents.
David Swanson Thinks the US Wants a New World War
David Swanson, Executive Director of World Beyond War, is an author, activist, journalist, radio host and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. On June 24 he spoke from Virginia at a Portland, Oregon-based livestream event covering a variety of issues including the illegality (and madness) of making war, how environmental and police issues are part of the same sphere of policies that need repair, and how the United States seems determined to spark a third World War. He also talked about the way remote killing by drone is making the decision to wage war easier, and answered questions including about how to keep the peace movement strong.
The original 90 minute video was presented on Zoom via Youtube by Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group. The event was hosted by local media personality Ani Raven Haines. FFVC producer Dan Handelman, also a PJW member, produced the original and Flying Focus' two-part, 60 minute edited version. "David Swanson: Prevent, Don't Provoke, World War III" (VB #120.4&5) can be seen online at flyingfocus.org/ DSwanson2021_streamingpage.html. --Clip--
"The diversion of money into war preparations that make people less safe, not more safe, kills more people than have been killed in all the wars thus far. It does this by depriving us of things we could have spent the money on. Things like food, water, medicine, shelter, clothing, etc. War fuels hatred, bigotry and racism. War and preparations for it devastate the natural Earth." -- David Swanson in "Prevent, Don't Provoke, WW III" (VB #120.4&5).
Nonviolence Expert Part of Successful Necessity Defense for Climate Activists
In 2019, five Extinction Rebellion activists, known as the Zenith 5, planted a garden on railroad tracks in Portland to protest against oil trains. As noted in earlier newsletters, in a historic development, a February 2020 Portland jury received instructions to consider the "choice of evils" that violating the law to protect the climate was necessary. The result was a hung jury with one for conviction and five against, and no retrial was held-- a win for the environmental movement. Flying Focus' PC Peri was chosen to be the pool videographer for the trial.
One of the expert witnesses who provided testimony that led to this important decision was Tom Hastings, PhD, professor of conflict resolution at Portland State University. In "Zenith 5 Trial: Tom Hastings Testimony" (VB #121.3&4), Hastings discusses nonviolence, the elements of a winning movement, and what makes civil disobedience necessary. This is the kind of information we don't see in the mainstream media, because their corporate overlords would not allow it. This show is a companion piece to VB #115.6&7 featuring the testimony of Professor Deke Gundersen, and VB #116.5&6 which feature lawyer Nicholas Caleb. --Clip--
FFVC Receives Grant
Flying Focus thanks Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission for a small grant that we used to buy blank hard drives, DVDs and videotapes to archive old shows and produce new ones.
Medicare for All
During the COVID-19 pandemic, 15 million Americans lost their employer-sponsored health insurance, adding to the 87 million who were uninsured or underinsured before the crisis. Proponents of Medicare for All held a rally at Shemanski Park in Portland on July 24, 2021, along with dozens of cities around the country holding events calling for universal, public healthcare -- free at the point of service and guaranteed for all.
In "Medicare for All" (VB#121.11), Flying Focus Field Coordinator PC Peri interviews nurses, a social worker and others who explain the problems with the current fragmented US health care system and how the new system would work.
Give a Little, Get a Lot!
We often are amazed that we've been able to produce about 1000 programs over thirty years on a budget of around $5000 a year. This is the result of our being all-volunteer, relying on second-hand equipment which still functions, and having the support of community members like you. While there are many causes to support, your donations to Flying Focus help get the word out about so many issues-- war and peace, police accountability, health care, environmental justice, animal rights and so much more. While we want those of you who are already donating more to keep doing so, we're hoping those who don't donate often will consider sending just $10 to Flying Focus. If everyone on the mailing list did that, we could easily fund all of our expenses to create and share videos for the whole year!
You can also support us by ordering any of the shows you see here (or in our full catalog, online at flyingfocus.org/catalog.html) on DVD or USB flash drive. If you're willing to invest in a title to make it available to everyone who can watch video online, donate $75 and tell us which show you want us to post ($125 for larger institutions). DVD orders can't be done online, but regular donations or donations for streaming can be done through our secure Network for Good donation page, accessible through our site at https://flyingfocus.org/donateonline.html. We thank everyone who's kept this organization doing its important work for thirty years. One supporter called in after watching the new "Busiversary" to say "I celebrate with all my heart the concerted work you have all done and your determination and success at communicating and being a collective of wonderful brothers and sisters who do good work!"