“When the Trees are Gone” by Marius

When the Trees Are Gone 6-16
“A National Geographic special hosted by Birutė Marija Filomena Galdikas, a famous Canadian orangutan specialist, underscored the terrible fact that if much more of native Indonesian forests are cut down [hence, the stumps in the image], then there will no place left for the orangutans to live. Galdikas is one of the very few biologists who extensively study these intelligent and often solitary apes, and has run a rehabilitation center to care for and then release young orangutans orphaned by poachers and hunters.
She says that extinction is a very real possibility, especially if the practice of converting forests into commercial tree farms is not stopped. She made a powerful plea to all of us as consumers that the palm oil sold on the international market was a driving force for the destruction of the last native forests that serve as the only habitat for the few remaining orangutans in the world.
The orangutan means old man of the forest in Malay and one cannot survive without the other. I never want to accept that it’s too late to make changes. That kind of thinking is lay and self-indulgent. We owe it to ourselves and to future generation to be more than that. What is worthwhile is worth fighting for.” -Marius

Tona Brown: Trans Hero Series by Marius

Tona Brown 6-16
“Tona Brown is a mezzo soprano and violinist and was the first transwoman of color to perform at Carnegie Hall In New York City as part of an LGBT Pride presentation. She played pieces from her debut album, “This is Who I Am,” a tribute to African American composers. The concert was entitled, “From Stonewall to Carnegie Hall” and featured music and spoken word presentations.”

New Painting and Message from Marius

Leonard Peltier 6-16

“Leonard Peltier is making an appeal for executive clemency to the Obama administration having already served 40 years of his sentence and being in poor health. He is a great asset rather than a threat to society. I urge people to join me in petitioning President Obama for clemency before the end of his term. I hope so much that this elder statesman for the Earth will be allowed to return home to his loved ones.”

-Marius Mason

For more info: International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Marius’ Statement for the DC Convergence!

DC convergence

Greetings to all the good folks who are coming together on this day to fight together against an important Environmental Justice issue. It inspires me to see that friends in the environmental movement and friends in the prison abolition movement are seeing some essential common ground, to join forces and visions in their work.

Many, many years ago in Detroit, I and a small group of neighbors got together to oppose a trash incinerator that was being built in the city, in our neighborhood. At one of the many public hearings, I accosted an EPA official who had signed off on a report that said that the fatalities due to the operation of this monstrosity would be about 40 people. His answer to me, was that was only if people were exposed to the toxins coming from the stack every day, all day. His assertion was that most people would go away from the area, either by moving or for vacation or for work…..but this was a false assumption. The poor people of my neighborhood were stuck there, many were house-bound elders or small children, and most of us who were able to work did so minutes away from the faculty. We were in essence a sacrifice community, deemed expendable because of our poverty or our race. We eventually lost our fight, for the most part. But were able to get them to put the state of the art capture technology on the Incinerator that would NOT have been put in place had it not been for our intense struggle. Direct action really does get the goods, but you have to be in it for the long haul.

No one is more locked into one spot for the long haul than are the prisoners incarcerated in the United States; so many for decades on end. Many are prohibited from transfer and would certainly be exposed relentlessly to any toxic source that was on the premises. And as recent litigation has proved..hardly anyone is less likely to be served as to their medical needs. So the curse of a toxic facility on a prison population is doubled by the lack of access to any monitoring or treatment. Given that the prison population is overwhelmingly people of color, trans and queer folks and poor people – the result is a great human rights tragedy as well as the thoughtless destruction of an environment that is literally coming apart, unable to withstand the damage that our society is inflicting on it.

As an environmental and animal rights activist, as a trans prisoner of conscience, as someone whose choice and whose voice are so often taken away by the system – I am infinitely grateful to all of you who are here today to insist that we want a world that cares and respects all beings and this Earth. Thank you for speaking for so many who cannot. I wish you strength and success in your campaign.

We are all in it for the long haul, love and solidarity,

Marius Mason