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Flying Focus Video Collective

February 2023 Newsletter

a project of Peace and Justice Works

PMB 248     •     3439 NE Sandy Blvd     •     Portland, OR 97232

(503) 239-7456     •     (503) 321- 5051 (call/text)     •    ffvc@flyingfocus.org

NOTE: You can also see/dowload this newsletter in PDF format!


Remembering Yvonne Simmons:
Peace Activist, Video Maker, Rabblerouser

[Yvonne 1946-2022] Former Flying Focus associate and producer, activist, musician and friend of animals Yvonne Simmons died on July 2, 2022. At a virtual memorial held on September 25, friends and colleagues remembered Yvonne through her music, photos, videos, and stories shared by participants. In "Yvonne Simmons (1946-2022) A Life of Loving Activism" (VB #125.11&12) viewers get a sense of Yvonne's eclectic life, dedicated to ending violence against women, rescuing animals, teaching children peace, and supporting nonviolent struggles worldwide.

Clips from some of the 25 or so programs Yvonne made with Flying Focus illustrate the survivor- empowering Clothesline Project, people opposing a US spy base in Yvonne's native England, Yvonne's work to bring aid to war-torn Yugoslavia, the Women in Black movement, and assisting people living on a garbage dump outside Lima, Peru.

Video for the virtual event was provided by Open Signal / Portland Community Media's Production Services, and the show was produced by Dan Handelman, who co-hosted with Yvonne's friend Desiree Hellegers.

This show can be seen streaming at https://www.flyingfocus.org/YvonneMmrl_streamingpage.html

Continuing the Tradition,
FFVC Looks at Our 31st Year on the "Busiversary "

Flying Focus prides itself on long-form programming, giving people working for social change more time to talk than the sound bites given to them (if at all) on the mainstream media. Once a year, we look back at the shows we produced using shorter, two-to-three minute clips to give people a sense of what the longer shows are like. The "Thirty-First Busiversary" (VB #125.7&8) includes clips from 14 shows produced between November 2021 and October 2022.

In part 1, three shows address the climate catastrophe, one delves into population issues, and another includes an event with a former Guantanamo guard working for change. Rounding out the first half-hour are clips from a protest for Black and Indigenous lives, and a show about the committee advising Portland Police about people with mental illness. The second half includes shows about justice rallies for Patrick Kimmons (who was killed by Portland Police), people advocating for universal health care, Russia's war on Ukraine and two shows on banning animal cruelty products such as foie gras and fur. Two other shows delve into foreign affairs, with one show about Israel's occupation of Palestine and another with a retired army colonel discussing the US and NATO.

Several of the shows were partially or fully recorded using computer connections, while eleven of them include footage recorded by Field Coordinator PC Peri. The clips are introduced by producers Barb Greene and Dan Handelman. This show is streaming at tinyurl.com/31stBusiversary.

Confronting Environmental Villains at the Gate

Zenith Energy is an oil storage and transport company based in Texas. Their facility in NW Portland has 84 above-ground tanks that can hold a little over 1.5 million barrels of oil. From 2019- 2022, the company increased its oil-by-rail transport nearly 17- fold. The Zenith operation is a huge creator of fossil fuel emissions, and those have been growing. Studies have shown that the effects of a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake on the six-mile stretch of oil storage tanks along the Willamette River would be catastrophic. In addition, hundreds of dangerous oil trains, like the one that overturned in nearby Mosier in 2016, travel through northern Oregon and Portland all year round.

Under pressure from community groups, the City of Portland has rejected Zenith's requests for expansion since 2019. Zenith files appeal after appeal and continues to operate.

"Doom or Bloom: It's Up to Us" (VB #124.6&7) covers an action by Extinction Rebellion and other environmental groups on Zenith's doorstep on June 4, 2022. The show includes speakers, chants, art, interviews and music -- all designed to encourage Zenith to leave Portland.

See a --Video--short clip from this show.

Portlanders Speaking Truth to Power

Three participants in a September protest outside Portland's City Hall talked about their reasons for being out on the streets, speaking truth to power. The action was part of a rotating weekly event organized by BLM Arbor Lodge in Portland. In the show "On Every Corner... Truth to Power," (VB #124.5), an indigenous woman talks about her personal experiences with racism, the power of being among her own people during a trip to South Dakota, and how important it is for people to be visible to make change. One man speaks about the history of excluding Black, Indigenous and People of Color from capitalist societies in the US and worldwide. Another man expresses the range of tactics people might decide to engage in for making sure things don't stay the way they are. The interviews were conducted by Flying Focus Field Coordinator PC Peri. This show was produced and edited by Dan Handelman.

See a --Video--short clip from this show.

How the US and NATO Are Militarizing the Pacific Rim War

Col. Ann Wright, a former Army officer and state department official who quit her job in protest of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, spoke on a livestream hosted by the Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group in June, 2022. In addition to addressing the United States' military shift from the "Middle East" to the western Pacific, and the ongoing neglect of Hawai'i and the US military bases there, Col. Wright addressed other issues related to US foreign and domestic policies. These included Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, and the environmental impact of militarism. Full of facts and a healthy edge of cynical humor, Col. Wright's talk is engaging and informative. In part two, she shares a video poem presented by indigenous activists opposing the huge military exercise known as RIMPAC, Rim of the Pacific.

Flying Focus producer Dan Handelman edited "Retired Col. Ann Wright: US & NATO's Pivot to Asia" (VB #124.10 &11) from the livestreamed YouTube file and a screen capture of the original call to create a better viewing experience. The Flying Focus version can be seen streaming at flyingfocus.org/ AnnWright_streamingpage.html.

Remembering Palestinians' Plight

[Rally at City Hall for Palestinian rights]

In 1948, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes to make room for the creation of the state of Israel. Known as the "Nakba" (catastrophe), this injustice is remembered around the world each May. On May 15, 2022, Portland State University's Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER) organized an event promising "Resistance Until Liberation and Return." Starting with a march to City Hall, the two-part show "Nakba 2022: Forced Relocation of Palestinians" (VB #124.2&3) follows the participants as they speak out about impacts on their own families, and local connections to current Israeli policies. The march resumed and ended up at the PSU Park Blocks, where other speakers drew connections to grassroots struggles against dispossession of land for indigenous people in the US, as well as anti-imperialist struggles such as in the Philippines.

This show was produced by Dan Handelman using footage gathered by FFVC field coordinator PC Peri.

See a --Video--short clip from this show.

Reasons to Ban the Sale of Fur

[Dani Rukin]

While many of us thought wearing fur went out of style decades ago, apparently the wealthy still think it is fashionable. Perhaps they do not understand all that is involved. Research has shown that people who have power suffer brain damage, and it's been evident recently that being rich does not equal being intelligent or educated. This is not acceptable to caring, compassionate people in Portland.

In "Portland Needs to Ban Fur" (VB #125.1&2), Flying Focus Field Coordinator PC Peri interviews Dani Rukin of Compassionate PDX, who discusses the group's campaign to convince the City of Portland to pass a ban on the sale of new fur and describes the cruelty inherent in factory farming of fur- bearing animals. Rukin explains how ordinary citizens can help put an end to this abomination. The program also includes footage from various community members giving testimony at City Council about the issue.

See a --Video--short clip from this show.

People Are Talking About Flying Focus

A long term supporter wrote us in December to say "Thank you for the work you do preserving the collective memory of our city and beyond. It's a tremendous gift and community legacy." Then the Tetley Art Gallery in England asked us for footage from one of Yvonne Simmons' shows, writing "I'd never actually come across you before, probably being from over the pond, all the way in Portland!! But I love the videos that I found of yours online."
[FFVC Streaming Flyer]
If you also value the work we do, please make a donation and/or order a video on physical media or donate for "streaming rights." You can donate to us through Peace and Justice Works' Network for Good page (remember to put FFVC in the "Designation" field), or send a check / money order in the mail (a must if you want a DVD or flash drive). Thank you for helping us make video for social change!

New Streaming Shows Flyer!

Download and post copies of this new flyer from Flying Focus with a small sampling of shows you can find streaming online! The flyer can be found at tinyurl.com/FFVCstream.

posted 2/5/23, last updated 2/24/23

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