The DIOP Circle V.35

March 15th, 2020


Coy McKinney

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's Coy McKinney. Our 1,188th customer, he likes Amar so much he's copped it twice. And he's going to tell us how he imagines a better world.

“Basically, if you’re not a utopianist, you’re a schmuck.”

- Jonathan Feldman

I grew up in a politically active family that, from birth, exposed me to the perennial struggle for justice humans all over the world have been engaged in for millennia. For the first 22 years of my life, I was mostly an observer, and an occasional participant. That all changed in the basement of an extremely ordinary house in Vancouver, Canada, where I had an epiphany, and declared myself “all-in” in the quest for collective liberation.

That climatic moment in the Vancouver basement had been a long time coming. Years of international travel, hundreds of hours of Congressional meetings and functions, and a front row seat to how the mainstream media, political elites, and well-funded interest groups can misguide, abandon, and defeat pursuits for truth and justice. What took so long? Good question. I’d guess the level of cognitive dissonance growing up Black and relatively privileged took some overcoming.

It all started in 2001, with the September 11th Attacks. My mother, Cynthia McKinney, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress from Georgia, had been a Congresswoman for nearly a decade at that point. And let’s just say, she did not have a reputation for just going along to get along. In today’s terms, she was the 1990s/early 2000s equivalent of “The Squad”- un-bought, un-bossed, and unapologetically about truth and justice. Not exactly the characteristic that makes a lot of friends on Capitol Hill.

Nonetheless, my mom had some questions about the Bush Administration’s knowledge on what happened on that fateful day, and did not buy the Administration's “They hate us for our freedoms' ' explanation.

What ensued was a ferocious all-out attack that included all kinds of unpleasant and false statements about my mom from just about everyone. It was pretty nasty and heart-wrenching to see this happen to anybody, let alone my mom. I never remember her being fazed by it, though.

It certainly wasn’t enjoyable, but her heroes, from members of the Black Panther Party to Civil Rights Icons like her father, who was also in politics and one of the first Black policeman in Atlanta and picketed the department by himself, had shown that the true test of an ethical backbone is walking upright on your path of truth and justice, regardless of the obstacles that are placed in front of you.

Me on the other hand, I was like “What the fuck is this?!” For me, seeking the truth and doing your job wasn’t worth the death threats, defamation and smears. My backbone was non-existent or amorphous, at best. This, in combination with my recent experience of spending a few weeks in Italy the two previous summer at a soccer camp, led to my exodus from the country for greener, less stressful pastures. My mom had found a family in Torino, Italy that was willing to let me stay with them, so in the middle of 10th grade, I moved to Italy, and finished high school there. In short, Italy was great: I picked up Italian, learned how to appreciate family, life, and how to live la dolce vita.

After Italy, I still wasn’t ready to come back to the States, and ended up going to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Another life decision I’m not at all mad at myself about. My memories of Vancouver are of it being the most beautiful city I’d ever been to, let alone lived in. The international diversity, how the city harmonized its infrastructure with its surrounding nature so seamlessly turned me into an environmentalist without even knowing it. Surrounded by friends with a variety of deep curiosities of the world and BC bud at my fingertips.

My mom always made sure I had an inbox full of articles to read. While reading one of those articles, which I don’t remember being all too mind-blowing, but was probably about corporate greed, it all finally made sense to me; why my mom was so committed to justice, why the pushback against her had been so strong, and why so many others had chosen to be apathetic. It’s how the system of oppression and power works. At that moment, I committed to read more and do more.

Since then, I went to law school in Washington D.C., joined an environmental group that introduced me to anti-oppression, collective liberation, environmental justice, and non-hierarchical group dynamics. This led to me finding my passion for urban agriculture: where I could be in touch with nature, but also part of a social justice issue that affected people of all backgrounds. I got my law degree, but I refused to be a lawyer.

Instead, I adopted the anarchist philosophy, and entitled my last legal paper, An Anarchist Theory of Criminal Justice. In 2013, I attended Burning Man, where I realized all the possibilities of a free and cooperative society were possible. And now, I teach urban agriculture to high school students in a food desert, run a community garden in my neighborhood, and am part of a community group that organizes and advocates for an anti-racist, equitable, and environmentally sustainable neighborhood.

 

At some point, it’ll be time to move to Abbeville, Georgia. Abbeville is where my family has 76 acres of land, which we’re hoping to do something transformative with. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How To Be An Antiracist, says, “In order to be truly antiracist, you have to be truly anticapitalist.” I'd like to encourage everyone to invest their time and energy into anti-capitalist strategies and tools like worker cooperatives and community land trusts.

The most effective way to dismantle oppressive inequitable systems is to build ethical, equitable cooperatives that place the power in the hands of the most dispossessed.


The DIOP Circle V.35

March 15th, 2020


Coy McKinney

Every Sunday, we publish a story from a member of the DIOP community. Because each and every one of you is on a journey and we're right there with you.

This week, it's Coy McKinney. Our 1,188th customer, he likes Amar so much he's copped it twice. And he's going to tell us how he imagines a better world.

“Basically, if you’re not a utopianist, you’re a schmuck.”

- Jonathan Feldman

I grew up in a politically active family that, from birth, exposed me to the perennial struggle for justice humans all over the world have been engaged in for millennia. For the first 22 years of my life, I was mostly an observer, and an occasional participant. That all changed in the basement of an extremely ordinary house in Vancouver, Canada, where I had an epiphany, and declared myself “all-in” in the quest for collective liberation.

That climatic moment in the Vancouver basement had been a long time coming. Years of international travel, hundreds of hours of Congressional meetings and functions, and a front row seat to how the mainstream media, political elites, and well-funded interest groups can misguide, abandon, and defeat pursuits for truth and justice. What took so long? Good question. I’d guess the level of cognitive dissonance growing up Black and relatively privileged took some overcoming.

It all started in 2001, with the September 11th Attacks. My mother, Cynthia McKinney, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress from Georgia, had been a Congresswoman for nearly a decade at that point. And let’s just say, she did not have a reputation for just going along to get along. In today’s terms, she was the 1990s/early 2000s equivalent of “The Squad”- un-bought, un-bossed, and unapologetically about truth and justice. Not exactly the characteristic that makes a lot of friends on Capitol Hill. Nonetheless, my mom had some questions about the Bush Administration’s knowledge on what happened on that fateful day, and did not buy the Administration's “They hate us for our freedoms' ' explanation.

What ensued was a ferocious all-out attack that included all kinds of unpleasant and false statements about my mom from just about everyone. It was pretty nasty and heart-wrenching to see this happen to anybody, let alone my mom. I never remember her being fazed by it, though. It certainly wasn’t enjoyable, but her heroes, from members of the Black Panther Party to Civil Rights Icons like her father, who was also in politics and one of the first Black policeman in Atlanta and picketed the department by himself, had shown that the true test of an ethical backbone is walking upright on your path of truth and justice, regardless of the obstacles that are placed in front of you.

Me on the other hand, I was like “What the fuck is this?!” For me, seeking the truth and doing your job wasn’t worth the death threats, defamation and smears. My backbone was non-existent or amorphous, at best. This, in combination with my recent experience of spending a few weeks in Italy the two previous summer at a soccer camp, led to my exodus from the country for greener, less stressful pastures. My mom had found a family in Torino, Italy that was willing to let me stay with them, so in the middle of 10th grade, I moved to Italy, and finished high school there. In short, Italy was great: I picked up Italian, learned how to appreciate family, life, and how to live la dolce vita.

After Italy, I still wasn’t ready to come back to the States, and ended up going to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Another life decision I’m not at all mad at myself about. My memories of Vancouver are of it being the most beautiful city I’d ever been to, let alone lived in. The international diversity, how the city harmonized its infrastructure with its surrounding nature so seamlessly turned me into an environmentalist without even knowing it. Surrounded by friends with a variety of deep curiosities of the world and BC bud at my fingertips.

My mom always made sure I had an inbox full of articles to read. While reading one of those articles, which I don’t remember being all too mind-blowing, but was probably about corporate greed, it all finally made sense to me; why my mom was so committed to justice, why the pushback against her had been so strong, and why so many others had chosen to be apathetic. It’s how the system of oppression and power works. At that moment, I committed to read more and do more.

Since then, I went to law school in Washington D.C., joined an environmental group that introduced me to anti-oppression, collective liberation, environmental justice, and non-hierarchical group dynamics. This led to me finding my passion for urban agriculture: where I could be in touch with nature, but also part of a social justice issue that affected people of all backgrounds. I got my law degree, but I refused to be a lawyer.

Instead, I adopted the anarchist philosophy, and entitled my last legal paper, An Anarchist Theory of Criminal Justice. In 2013, I attended Burning Man, where I realized all the possibilities of a free and cooperative society were possible. And now, I teach urban agriculture to high school students in a food desert, run a community garden in my neighborhood, and am part of a community group that organizes and advocates for an anti-racist, equitable, and environmentally sustainable neighborhood.

At some point, it’ll be time to move to Abbeville, Georgia. Abbeville is where my family has 76 acres of land, which we’re hoping to do something transformative with. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, author of How To Be An Antiracist, says, “In order to be truly antiracist, you have to be truly anticapitalist.” I'd like to encourage everyone to invest their time and energy into anti-capitalist strategies and tools like worker cooperatives and community land trusts. The most effective way to dismantle oppressive inequitable systems is to build ethical, equitable cooperatives that place the power in the hands of the most dispossessed.


Coy McKinney

Follow Coy McKinney on Twitter @ecoylogy

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.


- Coy McKinney


Follow Coy McKinney on Twitter @ecoylogy

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DIOP.