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Happy Birthday Medz Mairig

nancyandmariam

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MEDZ MAIRIG! My Armenian grandmother Mariam Kodjababian Kricorian (1904?-1985) did not know her birth date, which was written in the family Bible that was left behind in the house in Mersin during the 1915 “Deportations.” My grandmother and her family were driven from their home as part of what later came to be called the Armenian Genocide. Her parents did not survive the forced march into the Syrian desert, and as an adult she chose April 1st as her birthday.

 

Nancy Kricorian


How I Learned to Type

beigeselectric

 

In high school, I earned an A in Mr. Finn’s typing despite the fact that at the end of the year I was still using the hunt and peck method. My mother, who had worked as a secretary until my younger sister’s birth, typed all my papers starting in fourth grade through high school. When I was in college, many of my professors accepted handwritten assignments because my printing was regular, legible, and even elegant. When typing was required, I paid an administrative assistant in the Anthropology Department to do it for me.

As the first person in my family to go to college, aside from my mother’s two years at secretarial school, I had a fear that I would get stuck in the pink collar ghetto typing other people’s writing. I would never have said that I wanted to be a writer, because although writing poetry and stories was something I had always done since I could read, being a writer was too outlandish an ambition to admit even to myself. Growing up I knew women who were teachers, nurses, and secretaries, but no writers.

I followed my heart, however, and ended up enrolled in the Writing Division at Columbia University for a graduate degree in poetry, the least lucrative form of writing possible. When I arrived in New York, I registered at a temp agency and the first thing they required was a typing test. I scored, if I remember correctly, a miserable twenty words a minute because of all the mistakes I made. So they sent me to stuff envelopes with elderly volunteers at the Combined Jewish Philanthropies. A few weeks later, through a connection in the Writing Division, I was offered a job working as a part-time assistant for writer Susan Sontag.

Susan Sontag called, and it was not as exciting as I thought it was going to be. She is basically looking for a typist, and I am not sure that my typing will be good enough. I know that if I really want this job, I am going to have to psych myself into the best typing I have ever done in my life. It is a draft of a manuscript that will have to be done once or twice more, and she needs to be there. In any case, I will get to meet her. I am going to do some positive thinking and visualizations about typing her manuscript.  ~ Journal entry, 15 October 1984

She liked me despite my typing transpositions. We worked on an article about Jean-Paul Sartre that was very interesting. THINK GOOD TYPING.                  ~ Journal entry, 18 October 1984

These were the only two entries I found in my journal about the typing problem and Susan Sontag. But I remember how stressful it was sitting at her desk with her standing behind me peering over my shoulder as I typed on her IBM Selectric. The more nervous I was the more mistakes I made, and although I believe she liked me and was trying to be her approximation of kind, her exasperated comments were withering.

I signed up for a typing class at a secretarial school in the basement of the New York Penta Hotel across the street from Madison Square Garden. Under the glare of fluorescent lighting in a room filled with rows of IBM Selectric typewriters humming and clattering away, I finally learned how to type. Soon I was able to produce a sentence without looking at my hands and with no mistakes: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Without that skill, I can’t imagine how I would ever have been able to write my first novel.

Nancy Kricorian


Written About Nancy

citation

My grandmother’s Armenian Bible is falling apart—its cardboard covers are worn, the spine is broken, the first 48 pages are missing, and until recently it was held together by a thick rubber band. When the rubber band cracked and crumbled, I tied a bright satin ribbon around it to hold it together.

The pages inside are covered in tiny Armenian letters that I can read, but barely. There are colored pen marks throughout where my grandmother underlined verses that were meaningful to her—Psalms is a riot of color—and she made some marginal notes in an Armenian script that I can’t read.

When I was cleaning my study recently, I untied the ribbon and flipped open the Bible. It had been more than a decade since I had looked at this book. Inside was a large red satin bookmark celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America. At the top of the bookmark there is a gold sketch outline of Mount Ararat and below is a poem, “I Am Armenian,” written by the Reverend Vartan Hartunian, who was the minister at the First Armenian Church in Belmont, Massachusetts from 1959 until 1998.

“I am Armenian/ I belong to an ancient race/ Whose roots are in the subsoil of history…”

I remembered having seen the bookmark in my grandmother’s hand, but when I flipped through the pages of the Bible, towards the back I found a yellowed newspaper clipping from the Watertown Press that I had never come across before. The headline read “Nancy Kricorian cited at Dartmouth,” and it was basically a pro-forma press advisory that Dartmouth College sent to a student’s hometown paper when the student did something noteworthy. My accomplishment was having received a citation—a special mention—in a creative writing class. “In citing Ms. Kricorian, her professor noted that her poetry ‘was remarkable for its clarity, its depth of feeling, and the evocative precision of her language.’”

My grandmother had glued the clipping to a small mailing envelope and printed across the top in Armenian, “Written about Nancy.”


Remembering the 1988 Armenian Earthquake

 

Armenia Earthquake Destruction

 

December 7, 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of the Spitak earthquake of 1988. This natural disaster in Armenia killed as many as 50,000 people and injured as many as 130,000 in the northern regions of Lori and Shirak. I wrote this poem in the weeks after the tragedy. 

 

The Survivor

 

All this pain is for which of our sins?
~ Catholicos Vazken I, December 1988

 

In this dream you walk past
the school’s sheared facade;
from their desks the children
call and wave. A teacher
points at a map of Armenia.
The ceilings drop like eyelids.

You wake to another dream
of soot-stained faced around
a fire fueled by broken chairs.
You wish the earth would
swallow the rows of coffins
in the playing field. The living

search for what they want
not to find; their eyes catch
like hooks at your skin.
You should have been the
hand of God reaching into
the school–the children

could have climbed onto
your palm that would hover
over the town until the earth
was still. But instead they
line up to write their names
in the book at heaven’s door.

 

 

Nancy Kricorian

Originally published in PARNASSUS: Poetry in Review (1992)


Bourj Hammoud: Fiction as Preservation Project

altar

Sanjak Camp, Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon, 7/12

 

 

My working method as a novelist has become clearer to me with each new book. Like a bird building a nest, I collect scraps and fragments of stories from people who have lived through a particular historical moment. A memory is encoded into narrative, and the narrative is anchored in a specific place and time. The historical moments that fire my imagination are, for better or worse, times of collective upheaval and violence—the Armenian Genocide, World War II, and now the Lebanese Civil War. I’m also always interested in the marginal detail, the outsider’s voice, and the version of the story that calls into question the prevailing narrative. While I love writing, I love even more the research—and the part of the research that is the most completely engaging is hearing from people their individual accounts, and then placing those personal and idiosyncratic stories within a broader historical context.

When I was in Paris researching my third novel, ALL THE LIGHT THERE WAS, which is set in the Armenian community of Belleville during the Nazi occupation, my friend Hagop served as my fixer. He arranged meetings for me with surviving Armenian members of the French Resistance, and other compatriots who had lived through the war years in Paris. But Hagop also introduced me to his circle of friends, all of them Armenians from Beirut, most of them from Bourj Hammoud, who had immigrated to France during the Lebanese Civil War.

The novel I’m working on now, about Armenians of Bourj Hammoud who immigrate to the United States during the Lebanese Civil War, was inspired by conversations I heard between Hagop and his friends while I was in Paris. They were the children and grandchildren of Genocide survivors who had reconstructed their lives and their communities in Beirut. Armenians, who benefited from the unofficial Lebanese policy of “integration without assimilation,” thrived in Beirut for several decades. The Armenian community in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in Beirut experienced an intellectual and artistic flowering—a plethora of literary magazines, newspapers, publishing houses, theaters, plays, and folk music. Hagop and his friends were writing, directing and acting in plays; composing and singing songs; and studying painting, sculpture and architecture. And then in 1975 the Civil War erupted tearing the fabric of the Armenian community yet again. (I must say here as an aside, recent photos from the precincts of Aleppo are devastating in the way that they reproduce images from the Lebanese Civil War.)

So I see Bourj Hammoud as one of a long series of places that are not just simply locations, but are also markers of dispossession and exile. For Armenians since the Genocide, it’s a difficult task to preserve a place, or at the least to hold onto some of the public buildings, homes and other landmarks that make a neighborhood or even a city. But it turns out that what preserves those spaces the most, at least for this seemingly permanently wandering community, are the stories that people tell. So I think of my novels as kinds of preservation projects, allowing us to return to those places while acknowledging their evanescent quality. Perhaps by telling stories from their past we can gain the power and consensus to help preserve their present.

In the case of Beirut, when I started asking people about their memories of the Civil War, fully expecting that the narratives would date to 1975, I was startled by the number of people who wanted to tell me what happened among and between the Armenians of Beirut in 1958, as though a comprehension of that earlier conflict was necessary to an understanding of the later one, and the position of “positive neutrality” that the Armenians adopted in 1976. Even people who were too young to have witnessed the events of 1958 told stories that had been recounted to them by their parents—family members and friends who had been killed during that fratricidal few months, women who defiantly defended a church surrounded by militiamen and troops, and a grandfather who was framed and imprisoned for a murder that someone else had committed. Then there were the anecdotes from the early days of the Civil War in the mid-seventies. One man told of watching from the highway during the massacre at Karantina in 1976, and how the scenes he witnessed that day haunt him still.

Sometimes it seems as though my work is to walk among ghosts—the ghosts of old villages, the faded photographs of lost churches, and the long-ago stories of our dead handed down from generation to generation. In July 2012 my guide in Bourj Hammoud led me across the highway overpass to what was left of Sanjak Camp, the last Armenian refugee camp in Lebanon. Half the neighborhood had already been demolished and there were trash heaps in empty lots, but there were also small scenes of nostalgic beauty–on the balconies of the houses that remained there were potted plants and several homes had family altars hanging from their facades. I was witness not only to the lives of Sanjak Camp’s present inhabitants—people without running water, many without electricity—who were being pressured to leave so a new shopping mall could go up at that location, but I could also imagine amidst the narrow streets and crumbling staircases what the place had looked like soon after it was built in the late 30’s by Armenian refugees. Shouldn’t someone save what was left of Sanjak and restore the old wooden houses, making the place a living memorial to those resilient, hard-working survivors? My guide shrugged. Too much money, no interest, and too late. But maybe what we can do is to tell the stories, and in our stories these people and these buildings will be preserved.

 

Nancy Kricorian, NYC, 11/13

 

A version of this piece was presented as a paper at BEIRUT NOW: A PANEL ON URBAN LANDSCAPE’S CONFLICTING DESIRES–on Nov. 7, 2013 at the CUNY Grad Center and on Nov. 12 at the American Institute of Architects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Equality Armenia

 

I am proud to have been part of a global coalition that drafted, signed and disseminated this statement in support of LGBT rights in Armenia. You can read the full text and the list of signatories below. (And you can watch an interview about the issue that I did via Skype with Civilnet Armenia TV.)       N.K. 

 

FamousArmenians-300x245

 

More than two-dozen prominent Armenians in the Diaspora have signed a statement supporting equality and justice for all in Armenia. Among the signatories are poet Diana Der Hovanessian, filmmaker Atom Egoyan, actor and producer Arsinée Khanjian, musician Serge Tankian, and photographer Scout Tufankjian. This array of Armenian artists, intellectuals and professionals felt moved to release this statement in the light of anti-gay legislation that was recently proposed in Yerevan. “This anti-gay legislation is part of a disturbing pattern of intolerance for marginalized people and opposition voices in Armenia,” said publisher Veken Gueyikian. Writer Nancy Agabian said, “People of conscience must not stand by as our LGBT cousins are targeted and demonized.” The statement represents their collective commitment to human rights and to Armenia’s nascent civil society movements.

 

For more background see:

Armenian Gay and Lesbian Alliance Statement Against Armenian Police Proposal

Amnesty Documents Widespread harassment of Armenia’s LGBT Community

Human Rights Watch Letter to Armenian President Regarding Proposed Anti-LGBT Legislation

Armenian translation here.

 

STATEMENT

“In response to reports of draft ‘anti-propaganda’ legislation in Armenia, modeled on Russia’s recently passed and widely condemned bill, we, the undersigned members of the global Armenian community, say such attempts to codify anti-gay prejudice into law are contrary to our values. We believe in dignity, equality and the right to self-expression for all people regardless of religion, sexual orientation, gender, or race.”

 

SIGNATORIES:

Nancy Agabian

Mika Artyan

Arlene Avakian

Peter Balakian

Anthony Barsamian

David Barsamian

Eve Beglarian

Chris Bohjalian

Melissa Boyajian

Diana Der Hovanessian

Atom Egoyan

Dahlia Elsayed

Houry Geudelekian

Veken Gueyikian

Nonny Hogrogian

Aris Janigian

Nina Katchadourian

Nishan Kazazian

Arsinee Khanjian

David Kherdian

Nancy Kricorian

Micheline Aharonian Marcom

Neery Melkonian

Arthur Nersesian

Joan Aghajanian Quinn

Aram Saroyan

Serj Tankian

Scout Tufankjian

Hrag Vartanian


We Have So Many Stories

The Renault factories are working for the German Army. The Renault factories were hit.

The Renault factories are working for the German Army. The Renault factories were hit.

 

Last week I presented my ALL THE LIGHT THERE WAS slideshow at the Armenian Church of the Holy Ascension in Trumbull, Connecticut. The event was hosted by the Church’s Women’s Guild. Two sisters, Marie and Jean, who are members of the church and had already read the novel, spoke to me before and after my presentation. Jean said, “It meant so much to us that you have written this book. Everything was so familiar, and I have never read before our story.” They had lived in Issy-Les-Moulineaux, a working class suburb of Paris, during the war. Jean, the younger of the two, was born just before the war started and so her memories of the occupation were hazy, but her elder sister Marie told me the story of how her mother and other Armenian women had worked at the nearby Renault factory making nets to cover the tanks and trucks that were being manufactured at that location. Because of the German war work, the Allied bombers targeted the factory. One night, however, the Armenian women, who worked the shift that got out at 11 p.m., were at the factory when the Allied fliers mistakenly dropped bombs on their civilian neighborhood. The sisters’ building was badly damaged, but no one in the family was harmed. Their neighbor fared worse—while she was at work her husband and three children were killed. “You should have talked with us before you wrote the book,” they said. “We have so many stories.”

 

Nancy Kricorian


Howdy Doody, Jessica Rabbit and Dental Ethics

howdy-doody

 

Our dentist, call him Dr. A., was a cheerful man. His smile reminded me of Howdy Doody, and from a certain angle it could look almost sinister. His office was in a Midtown Manhattan commercial building filled with other dental suites as though dentists flocked like birds. The framed art posters on the white walls of his office were tasteful and bland, and the patter we exchanged while I was in the chair was friendly and bland. The receptionist was a chatty woman who kept photos of her grandchildren and a bonsai plant on her desk. The dental hygienist was careful and serious; she had photos of her two children hanging on the wall next to the sink. On the video screen that was suspended over the dental chair, fish floated serenely by, and the music was the kind of classical that demanded no attention. During routine visits Dr. A. gave me sunglasses to wear—“pretend you’re at the beach,” he said. As I had never yet had a cavity, the dental procedures were prophylactic. Finally after a decade in his practice, Dr. A. discovered a small hole in one of my molars, and although the whine of the drill was as unpleasant as a continuous mosquito in the ear, the procedure was surprisingly painless. I attributed this to Dr. A’s skill.

One day Dr. A. introduced me to his new colleague, call him Dr. T., who would be examining my teeth after my cleaning that day, I was told. Dr. T.’s eyes were an alarming blue and his medical coat was a little too small. While he peered into my mouth, Dr. T told me he was a former Marine and that he lived in New Jersey.

The next time I arrived at the office, Dr. A.’s grandmotherly receptionist was gone and in her place was a young, blonde Australian wearing an enormous engagement ring and with breasts so large it took effort not to see them. She reminded me of Jessica Rabbit. A tall older woman named Joan who wore heavy mascara, a long black braid down her back and snakeskin patterned leggings had replaced the regular hygienist. Joan informed me that she was crowned Miss New York State in 1961. There was spittle at the corners of her mouth. Dr. A. was nowhere to be seen, and at the end of the appointment when I asked the receptionist what had happened to him, Jessica, as I will call her, said, “Didn’t he tell you? He sold his practice to Dr. T. He’s not here any more.”

At my subsequent visit, the office had been painted a garish purple, and Jessica was on the phone rather loudly describing the new waterfront condo she and Dr. T. had bought, their wedding plans, and the various options they were considering for a honeymoon trip. As she cleaned my teeth Joan told me tales of the famous people—and she named names—whose mouths she had explored in her younger days. She talked while I sat with my own mouth filled with instruments, able only to occasionally respond with a grunt or a nod. When Dr. T. inspected my teeth after the cleaning, he informed me that my one filling needed to be replaced and that he had discovered a new cavity in another molar. I dutifully scheduled an appointment for the treatments he suggested.

In the middle of the night I woke and couldn’t fall back to sleep. The purple dental office played in my mind’s eye: the muscle-bound former Marine in a white medical coat, his blonde, boob-job girlfriend with a rock the size of a wisdom tooth, and the aging Beauty Queen hygienist with blood-red fingernails. It occurred to me that perhaps there was nothing the matter with my filling and that maybe I didn’t actually have another cavity. My mouth and the mouths of Dr. A.’s other abandoned and unwitting patients were underwriting Dr. T. and Jessica’s new home and upcoming wedding. But it couldn’t be true. Who would do such a thing? Was I naïve? Was I paranoid? I was unable to decide. Nonetheless I called a friend the next morning for a referral.

When I saw Dr. M., a third dentist, for a consultation he told me that my filling was secure and that there was no cavity in my molar. Dr. T. would have pulled out a good filling and put in a new one. Even more appalling—he would have drilled a HOLE in a perfectly healthy tooth.

I thought of calling Dr. A., and went so far as to look up his phone number. It turned out he was still practicing dentistry, but his office was now in the Westchester suburbs near where I assumed he lived. What would I say if I called him? “You sold your dental practice to a criminal and left us at his mercy.”  I thought of reporting Dr. T. to the Better Business Bureau. But I had no concrete evidence, and I imagined all the slippery stories Dr. T. might tell if confronted. So, shirking my responsibility to the other patients, I phoned Jessica to cancel my appointment and asked her to transfer my records to Dr. M.

A few days later Joan called to find out why I had left the practice. I was evasive—I was not going to tell her I believed that Dr. T. was a conniving swindler who was subjecting patients to unnecessary medical procedures for personal gain. But Joan confided, “They’re leaving the practice in droves. I think something fishy is going on here.” I was slightly relieved, but not entirely convinced, that she wasn’t part of the racket.

 

Nancy Kricorian


The Apartment

young poet

young poet

 

Our first shared apartment was on Amsterdam Avenue at 94th Street. It was a rundown walk-up tenement. We had cockroaches in the kitchen, ratty pigeons on the fire escape, and on Fridays the smell of the downstairs neighbors’ fish head soup filling our rooms. Several days a month we would be without heat and hot water until the landlord paid the overdue oil bill. 

The landlady was an elderly Greek woman named Evelyn who sat in front of the building in her beat-up aqua blue Pinto for hours each day. She could barely walk, but she drove in from New Jersey to keep watch on her property. She told the Korean grocers on the ground floor that I was her niece. I thought this was because I was Armenian and as a Greek she felt some affinity, but I discovered that the Koreans had been lobbying for the apartment that she rented to us and she needed an excuse. We learned from THE VILLAGE VOICE list of New York City’s “Ten Worst Landlords” that her son Tony was known as the “Devil Landlord” because of the terrible condition of the apartment buildings he owned in Harlem. He had once brandished a gun at a city housing inspector. 

I recently came across a photo James took of me at the time in my tiny study. Behind me are my poetry and theory books, as well as framed family photos. It reminded me of a poem I wrote during first days together in that apartment. 

 

 

The Apartment

 

We thought we were alone at last,
escaping housemates and their cats:
fresh paint, unscratched floors, empty cabinets,
a new mattress with no one else’s stains.

Until my mother showed up in her housecoat
and bare feet. She scrubbed the stove,
disinfected the garbage pail. If you want it done
well, she said, you have to do it yourself.

The next morning I heard splashing
from the bathroom. My father left puddles,
bits of hair and shaving cream in the sink.
My sister did grand pliés in the hall.

Next came Grandma and Uncle Leo,
then the in-laws. Old lovers waited
in line for the shower, comparing stories
about me, elbowing each other in delight.

My piano teacher blocked the stairway.
Cocoa the cat was on the fire escape.
I thought it couldn’t get any worse
and then the shrink moved in.

It’s like a circus, all jostle and roar.
The spotlights are hot, the props in place.
They throw peanuts, we jump the hoops.
We bow when they applaud.

 

 

Nancy Kricorian

 


FROM THE ARCHIVE: Direct Action and Street Theater

 

Dressed as a Pink Peace Officer (2007)

Dressed as a Pink Peace Officer (2007)

 

I wrote this piece in 2005 during my tenure as the New York City coordinator of CODEPINK Women for Peace, and presented it as a talk at a number of panels and conferences. It posted to the CODEPINK web site soon thereafter, and a version of it was subsequently published in Women’s Studies Quarterly in the Spring of 2006. (This is a slightly updated version from 2007.)

 

 

CODEPINK Women for Peace is a grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK was founded in November 2002 as a women’s peace vigil outside the White House. The name CODEPINK was chosen as a response to the Department of Homeland Security’s color-coded advisory system.  The government says Code Yellow for High Risk of Terrorist Attack and we say CODEPINK for Peace. In the past four years CODEPINK has grown to a national organization with over 100 local chapters.

CODEPINK employs a variety of tools and techniques for working towards positive social change, but we are known for our use of direct action and street theater.

First to define the terms:

Direct action is a political tactic of confrontation and sometimes-illegal disruption intended to attract and arouse public awareness and action. The Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 was an example of direct action that was successful in ending seating segregation on the public buses.

Street theater, sometimes called Guerilla Theater, involves the acting out of a social issue in a public space—that could be in a park, on the street or in a subway car. It is a form of direct action. There are a number of street theater groups here in New York, among them CODEPINK, the Billionaires for Bush, Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping. The Reverend Billy, for example, has performed exorcisms of cash registers in Starbucks stores to show his dislike of the corporate take-over of American life. After an exorcism in Los Angeles Starbucks obtained a restraining order against the Reverend Billy so he is not allowed within 250 yards of any Starbucks in the state of California.

Civil disobedience, which is another form of direct action, involves the nonviolent act of breaking the law to call attention to a particular law or set of laws that some people think are immoral or questionable. An example of civil disobedience from the Civil Rights Movement was the “sit-in” campaign by African-American students in the south. The students would sit at Whites Only lunch counters, trying to show that it was wrong to have a law enforcing that kind of segregated seating. They would remain in their seats, in effect breaking the law, until the police were called in to drag them out.

CODEPINK has used direct action on numerous occasions to make our opposition to the war in Iraq known—during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2004, during press conferences in Baghdad, outside Armed Forces Recruiting Centers here in Manhattan and during recent fundraisers for New York’s Senator Hillary Clinton, who was a consistent supporter of the war even as she criticized the way it was being managed.

Starting in late 2005 CODEPINK bird-dogged Hillary at her appearances in New York,; held vigils outside her Manhattan office; and showed up inside and outside of her speeches and fundraisers in cities around the country, including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Our LISTEN HILLARY campaign has had an impact on the Senator’s rhetoric on the war as well as her recent votes against war funding in the Senate.

CODEPINK women have been popping up all over the place with our pro-peace message—and you’ll often see us on the evening news.

Why direct action?

You know the old expression, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” Using direct action is a way of being a very squeaky wheel.

Huge media conglomerates control most of the information we see and hear about the world. Corporate-owned television outlets show us for the most part the version of reality that the current government wants us to know. For example, the Bush administration doesn’t want us to see the dead bodies of Iraqi women and children who are killed in U.S. military campaigns. They don’t want us to see the bodies of dead U.S. servicemen. These kinds of images are part of what turned public opinion against the Vietnam War and if we actually saw the devastation being caused with our tax dollars—and billions of our tax dollars—we might have something to say about it. By controlling the images we see they hope they can control our perceptions of and often feelings about the war in Iraq.

Direct action and street theater are ways to try to break through this control and have our anti-war message covered by the mainstream media. We believe that direct action works. A recent study on environmental activism by sociologist Jon Agnone showed that chaining yourself to a bulldozer is more likely to influence environmental policy than lobbying on Capitol Hill. And beyond having a direct influence on legislation, we believe that our street actions have an impact in our communities. It’s about educating people. It’s about making an alternative version of reality visible on the streets and on the news. We’re angry about what’s going on; we’re standing up for our beliefs and principles, and we’re strengthening our movement and ourselves by working together. And often we’re also having a great time.

 

Nancy Kricorian

Published in Women’s Studies Quarterly, Spring 2006