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Photos and stories from first US Uncut Day of Action -- Next Day of Action March 12

A new grassroots group challenging corporate tax dodgers had its inception point on February 26 when US Uncut launched a significant national Day of Action via facebook and twitter. Inspired by the success of UK Uncut, the group formed spontaneous protests mostly at Bank of America branches around the country. Aside from its role in mortgage fraud, Bank of America is among the top tax evaders — the company paid $0 in income tax for 2009 or 2010 — using offshore accounts, bookkeeping gymnastics and loopholes to evade paying any taxes in the country where they do business. If corporations like BofA paid up, the deep cuts in social services being forced upon citizens at state and federal levels would be unnecessary.

I participated in the action in front of the BofA branch in downtown LA. About 40-50 enthusiastic people turned up on a cold and early morning, including a young girl of around 8 years old who led us all in chants of “change” “now.” Photos I took were selected for the cover of The Nation’s slide show as well as Yes! Magazine’s photo essay. Protests were held in 50 cities around the country and a few — such as the one in Washington D.C. — shut down the branch for the day.

The next US Uncut Day of Action is Saturday, March 12 — this time the action in LA is happening in Glendale: 2420 Glendale Blvd @ Siverlake. More days of action are planned for the coming months. For more information, find US Uncut on the web, facebook, or twitter (@USUncut).

Galleries and stories below:

My photo was used for the cover of The Nation’s slide show:

Slide Show: America’s Day of Action: US Uncut and Solidarity with Wisconsin

On Saturday, February 26, progressives carried out a major day of action as protesters from coast to coast joined Wisconsin workers in solidarity against right-wing attacks on union organizing rights, and in fifty cities across the country, the grassroots organization US Uncut debuted as a serious, mobilized effort to fight corporate tax dodging. The combined energy of these protests has fueled a rebirth of impassioned activism, with demonstrators demanding a new focus on economic justice to replace the “cuts, cuts, cuts” mantra the right has used to dominate the national conversation for years.

Another one of my photos was included in Yes! Magazine’s photo essay:

US Uncut: Standing Up to Corporate Tax Dodgers

Inspired by the British movement against corporate tax dodgers, the new grassroots group US Uncut held protests around the country on February 26, most of them in front of Bank of America branches. Why? The bank paid no income taxes in 2009 and 2010. US Uncut is calling out large corporations that find loopholes or use offshore tax havens to evade paying taxes in the country where they do business. If corporations paid up, activists point out, many of the deep cuts in social services happening at the state and federal level wouldn’t be necessary.

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Heal the Money 2011 Colors Calendar: Know Oneself Through Beauty Part Three

February exercise week 4: Honor a good lesson you’ve learned

I was delayed in posting my blog last week as I was relearning a good lesson about pain and beauty — my lower back has been hurting so I couldn’t sit long at the computer, plus I’ve had a cough — oh, how appropriate considering the week’s exercise :) . More on that in a moment.

I mentioned in my first post on February’s theme that many of the lessons we learn on the planet tend to involve pain. Heartbreak, loss, remorse, injury, betrayal … these gut-wrenching experiences often have us scrambling to throw together bucketfuls of conclusions about the world we experience. These conclusions lead to beliefs about what this world is like and decisions on how we navigate the waters of life so we don’t put ourselves through THAT again.

When we start to unpack complex lessons of heartbreak or betrayal, at the bottom of the pile of the pain-avoidance strategies can be decisions such as: “I’m not going to expect love again” “I won’t trust anyone” “I’ll hold love at arms length” or “I’m not deserving of love.” A subconscious belief of being “undeserving” can affect all aspects of someone’s life — from finances, to health, to relationships. The key realization — we may have made these grand decisions when we we’re all of three years old. Why keep them?

I relearned last week the power forgiveness has to release these kinds of buried beliefs and completely transform seeming disaster. Forgiveness is really a decision to let go of pain you’re holding onto on an energetic level — that’s as simple a way as I can explain it. Forgiveness is an act of self love even more than it is an act of outward compassion. By letting go of your own attachment to the pain that has occurred, you heal. Holding onto pain holds in place the belief of undeserving that leads to yet more pain. If you can take a step back from it, the pattern of recurring pain is like a flag on a Google map showing you an area that needs to be cleared out. Who to forgive? Sometimes that is not even clear. Start with yourself. Expand it to include everyone involved and everyone in your life. You are simply letting go of pain you are holding. It has nothing to do with anyone else. Once your attachment to the pain goes, the energy of acceptance appears and deeper healing can occur.

Paradoxically, there is often resistance to completely releasing pain and the beliefs that underlie it. It raises a question we don’t like to face: “Who am I without this pain?” Our subconscious or ego can use pain and the story that goes with it to define us — it becomes “my story” instead of just “something that happened” at one point in time. The trauma or pattern or cycle is how we’ve come to know ourselves. Have compassion for yourself in this process! (Believe me — says the girl finally clearing intense back pain — I know it can be utterly frustrating!) Once an intention is made to clear away the area where the pain flag was raised, the road blocks can dissolve to experiencing yourself through beauty, even if you don’t know exactly what that even means.

You can purchase a printed copy of my Heal the Money 2011 Colors Calendar to brighten a corner of your world!
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