Interview with Bee Schrull

Cleveland, OH (TFC) – Bee Schrull is a Cherokee/Blackfoot/Chiricahua Apache activist living in Cleveland

John: What sort of activism are you involved with?
Bee: I’ve started a campaign against the Cleveland Indians. I’m also involved in anti-racism and police brutality activism.

 

John: Tell me more about your campaign against the Cleveland Indians and how people interested could help support.

Bee: I’m trying to raise awareness and decrease support of the Cleveland Indians. The name, the mascot and the logo all need to change. I’m going to be handing out pamphlets, making t-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers, as well as holding demonstrations on my own and joining the protests during baseball season. I’m going to be targeting sponsors of the team as well. Calling for boycotts and starting a letter writing campaign. I haven’t even lived in Cleveland for a year, yet. But living here is pretty rough on my psyche. I can’t leave the house without seeing a ridiculous, racist caricature of my people as someone’s mascot. It does real harm to my people and I want people to know the harm it does. Anyone who wants to help out, either visit my Facebook group, “Kill Wahoo”, or simply educate anyone and everyone they know who supports the teams that use my people in this manner. Education is the key. People need to know how it’s affecting us.

 

John: What do you see as alternatives to modern policing, or solutions to the root of police and state oppression?

Bee: I think training courses need to be put in place across the board. Re-train our cops on de-escalation. Force these officers to spend real time in the neighborhoods they’ll be policing, and get to know the people who live there as PEOPLE. I would like to see body cameras implemented nationwide, and police accountability needs to be the responsibility of the taxpayer. What I would like to see is an independent committee in every neighborhood form to act as police oversight. Volunteer for live body cam footage monitoring. Really make police see that we’re watching their every move and listening to their every word. I also think that all police departments need to be mic’d up and recorded at all times. Inter-departmental corruption is a problem that police clearly aren’t going to solve themselves. We can’t trust the police to police themselves. It’s up to us.

 

John: Do you believe a revolution of some sort may be necessary before we can have a truly just society? Is a just society even possible?

Bee: A revolution is absolutely necessary. Until all oppressed people join together and actively work to change things, we aren’t going to see or experience a just society. I do believe a just society is possible, but that requires a lot of work in our communities. Actively working to involve ourselves and our neighbors in politics as well as community service will go a long way. Most of us feel we just don’t have the time, but we have to make the time somehow. We have to do what we can to change how this world looks and we have to start at home.

 

John: So what sorts of things can people do to help build hyper local community that helps to build resistance and alternatives to the current system?

Image Source: Elle Ko, Flickr, Creative Commons angry injun these were to go on top of Braddock, PA ads depicting an "indian" family. but the ads are gone.

Image Source: Elle Ko, Flickr, Creative Commons
angry injun
these were to go on top of Braddock, PA ads depicting an “indian” family. but the ads are gone.

Bee: There are so many ways in which we can all get involved in our communities. Mentoring young people is among the most important. We need to be making sure our kids have intellect as well as heart. It takes a village and if a child is in need of guidance, or inspiration to really get active in their community, I think the onus is on all of us to make sure that they get it.

I would also like to see business owners holding re-education seminars for their employees on the topic of microaggressions and racial awareness. Too many people just don’t realize that the way they think is detrimental to all of us. Racial bias is very real, and deprogramming needs to happen.

Lastly, and most importantly, we all need to look deep within ourselves – especially those of us in positions of power – and really examine our feelings about our fellow humans. We need to make sure that the least among us has everything they need, and we need to be asking ourselves why we’re not willing to provide that.

There are so many things that we can all do to change how things are. We just need to be willing to look at the real needs in our communities and be willing to meet them.

 

John: What are your thoughts on alternative labor models?

Bee: I think they’re necessary. In the preamble to the Constitution, the importance of collective bargaining is made clear, but certain kinds of workers aren’t protected with the right to unionize. I really think every single employment position ought to be protected by a union. Fair pay for fair work is something America has somehow lost sight of, and it’s something we all have a right to. The organizations encouraging and bringing forth alternative labor models are actively working to protect the rights of workers. They’re truly heroes.

 

John: What is the most inspiring activism story you’ve experienced?

Bee: I’ve found that when it comes to fixing the problems that some people create, the generosity of man is limitless. Activism requires money. Signs, buttons and t-shirts for a particular campaign can be costly. People are more than willing to donate whatever they can spare to help educate others. I’ve seen people helping and supporting each other. This solidarity gives me hope for the future.

 

John: What can men do to help fight patriarchy?

Bee: I personally feel that men need to be having conversations with other men. When a guy is standing around with his buddies and his friends start making objectifying comments or sexist jokes, they need to allow their conscience to speak up in those situations. Men need to worry a hell of a lot less about what other men think of how much of a man they are, and start worrying a hell of a lot more about what kind of human they are. If a man looks deep within himself and finds that he doesn’t feel women are his equals, he needs to sit down, write all of the reasons why in a letter and send it to his mother.

 

John: What do we do to fight secterianism?

Bee: We have to focus on unity. None of us are going to accomplish anything without solidarity.

 

John: What are some of your favorite radical media sources and artists?

Bee: My activist friends who report absolutely every single thing happening in their area and those they hear about in other areas. Honestly, my Facebook news feed is like a beginner’s guide to activism.

As far as artists go, native hip hop heads are my addiction. I have to say Frank Waln, for one. He’s a very talented artist and also an activist for our people. Also Supaman. He’s a fancy dancer as well as an incredibly talented artist. His music is his activism. Really really cool dude.

 

John: Any tips for activists?

Bee: Start your own campaign if there’s something you care about. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to come to you. Make your own fight. Find solidarity and support from activists friends, then go out and do the damn thing.

 

John: Any shout outs you’d like to make or final thoughts?
Bee: Shout out to everyone helping me with my campaign to change the Cleveland Indians’ name and logo. Anyone interested in donating (every dollar counts!!!) can visit.