04 April 2013

Protecting Civil Rights

In The United States America, we pride ourselves in protecting citizens' rights. We tell ourselves all citizens not incarcerated for crimes have the right

1. to fair housing practices
2. to fair hiring practices
3. to love those they love
4. to representation in government
5. to need-based assistance with food, shelter, and medical attention
6. to personal safety protected by military and police forces
7. to equal rights despite age, race, or beliefs

One has but to walk in any US city or impoverished rural area to learn that we are failing on those counts. Is our empathy declining?

In 1991, the then governor of California opted not to pass legislation that would potentially protect some of our citizens from housing discrimination. This led to a protest in one California city that led to a riot in which a state building was vandalized.

Bob Ostertag composed a work, All The Rage, inspired by and incorporating recordings of that riot. It was performed by Kronos Quartet and is available to you at Ostertag's website. Libretto by Sara Miles. [Originally Elektra-Nonesuch 79332-2]

There was a lot of despair ultimately that we weren't saving our friends lives, that we weren't bringing about the change that we expected to bring about, that 70% of the country still thought it was okay that we should be denied our jobs and denied places to live and treated to hate crimes and generally excluded and ignored as our community was dieing.

The Veto Riot emerged out of that long period of cultural ferment.

-- Gerard Koskovich, co-organizer of the protest that led to the riot heard in All The Rage

license: assumed all rights reserved by artist

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