POA People

protect our activists characters

Team

Juliana Barnet, founder and director of Protect Our Activists, is a social justice activist, writer, anti-colonial anthropologist, musician, and educator. 

Juliana Barnet, POA Coordinator

Juliana

Eeba Ali picture

Eeba

Eeba Ali is an undergrad and world traveler who considers herself a student of activism. As a Muslim, she is fueled by her values to pave the way for more representation to fight harmful stigmas and give back to her community. Her passion is to advocate for environmental justice, minorities, and protecting our protectors by working with POA to promote a safer activist culture.

Sophie Barnet picture

Sophie

Sophie Barnet-Higgins is the creator of most of the figures and faces appearing in the Protect Our Activists’ graphics (including the ones on this page).  She is also co-author/illustrator of Rainwood House Sings.

Lifelong artist and current art student, she also happens to be Juliana’s daughter.

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Hope

Hope Kahn is a student at the University of Maryland pursuing a B.A. in journalism with a minor in nonprofit leadership and social innovation. She believes the work of writing and journalism is essential in preserving and protecting the stories of people and places. Her goal is to act as a catalyst for change while exploring the intersection of journalism and activism. 

Cesar

Cesar Menjivar is a Salvadorean immigrant who is pursuing a B.A. in Social Work. When he came to the United States, he was exposed to many injustices against the immigrant community, and his passion is to help the community to 

Emeritus POA Team Members

Moved on but still connected!

Bridget Duggan picture

Bridget

Bridget Duggan studies Sociology with minors in English and Sustainability at George Washington University. She has worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations, including ARC, which protects arts activists around the world. She is passionate about activism and the pursuit of social change, and worked with POA from March – August 2020.

Advisers

Folks assisting Protect Our Activists:

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Alejandro

Website designer Alejandro Vargas has advised and coached Juliana on technical and design points throughout the process of creating the Protect Our Activists site, using the site builder Elementor.

Characters

Why characters? Well, they showed up, introduced themselves, and stayed, that’s why.

And, in the words of Detective Drunella, Why not?

Detective Drunella

Detective Drunella

Detective Drunella asks questions, especially why, and delves into what’s behind and underneath what’s apparent. 

Drunella makes an “appearance” as the invisible detective friend in Rainwood House Sings.

granny gus protect our activists

Granny Gus

Granny Gus is a story-collector and story-teller, a griot, seeking inspirations and examples to illustrate activist life in the belly of the beast and in the liberated zones we carve out to begin making the new world now.

Granny Gus has a part in Rainwood House Sings, pretty much as herself. 

sour puss protect our activists

Sour Puss

Sour Puss noses into conflict and emotional turmoil, and doesn’t let us get away with evasion or obfuscation.

Sour Puss turns up in Rainwood House Sings…as a wall clock!

Juliana Barnet

JB

JB is Juliana’s alter ego, capable of certain things Juliana has yet to master, such as traveling on the reality|fiction continuum.

So far she hasn’t shown up in the Rainwood House  story, but you never know…

 

Beast

The Beast

The Beast represents our unjust, cruel system based on greed, oppression and disdain for life. The Beast is the whole range of societal wrongs that activists resist and challenge daily, the social structure that promotes wealth and power for some, at the expense and detriment of everyone else, and of the Earth herself. 

Activist Community Connections

POA is built on connections that Juliana Barnet and colleagues have with a wide range of organizations, initiatives and movements in the activist community, as organizer, member and/or participant observer. Here are some of them:

Juliana

“IPS is a progressive think tank dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society. In partnership with dynamic social movements… We believe everyone has a right to thrive on a planet where all communities are equitable, democratic, peaceful, and sustainable. Our intersecting programs and initiatives, led by a diverse group of expert staff and associate fellows, are helping to shape progressive movements toward this vision.”

Juliana Barnet is developing the Protect Our Activists project as an Associate Fellow at The Institute for Policy Studies.

Embassy Protection Collective

The Embassy Protection Collective stayed in the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC for 37 days in March-April 2019, to defend Venezuelan democracy and sovereignty from US imperialism and a rightwing coup attempt, which, though it failed in Venezuela, besieged the embassy in DC to illegally take it over for self-appointed, Trump-announted “president” Juan Guaidó. The trial of four EPC members illegally arrested at the embassy ended in a mistrial and, later, a plea to a much lesser charge with no jail time.

Juliana spent many days and nights at the Venezuelan embassy, including nearly two weeks under siege. Click logo and scroll down to April-May 2019 to see views of the embassy protector action and right-wing mob surrounding and harassing the embassy, as well as the subsequent tale of illegal arrest and trial of four protectors. The struggle continues until the US Government ceases to make war on Venezuela’s people and legally elected government, and on all peoples who choose independent paths, even if they choose–gasp!–socialism.

Code Pink

CodePink is… [organization description pending]

Juliana has been a friend and participant with CodePink for a number of years, sometimes in the halls of Congress and the colorful Code Pink House, more often in the streets, and always signing on to their on-point petitions and campaigns calling for peace and an end to imperialist foreign policy.

jb collage

Asociación Cultural de Ayuda a la Comunidad

The Cultural Association for Community Assistance, ACAC, is an organization started in 1982 by a group of young people in Mexico City, all of whom other than Juliana were Mexican workers and students. ACAC worked for many years in legal aid, music, sports, journalism, poetry and other areas of culture, consciousness-raising, democratic education, basic needs and political and economic mutual aid with poor and working people in Mexico City and elsewhere in the country.

Juliana is a founding member and member of the ACAC Coordinating Committee, and for years was chief fundraiser and well as musician and more.

Prince George's People's Coalition

The Prince Georges People’s Coalition brings together activists from the sprawling urban-suburban-rural Prince George’s County, Maryland, on the southeastern border of Washington, DC. The Coalition has taken on many local issues but has particularly focused, for many years, on the police violence rife in this majority Black county.

Juliana lives in Prince George’s County, Maryland, participating in PGPC and in other local initiatives focused on combating racism and other injustices in the county.  

Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional

The Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional is a revolutionary coalition of popular organizations who together fought for years against an authoritarian rightwing dictatorship in the small Central American country of El Salvador. Despite the staunch military and financial support of the US government, the popular movement brought the dictatorship to an end, negotiated a new government, was elected to head this government for 10 years, and continues to fight for justice for the Salvadoran people in Central America as well as in the Salvadoran diaspora. 

For decades Juliana has participated in Latin American solidarity work, particularly with the popular movement in El Salvador, while living in Mexico and in the US. She is a member of the FMLN Committee of Maryland.

Cesar

The FMLN was one of the main participants in the Salvadoran Civil War. After peace accords were signed in 1992, all armed FMLN units were demobilized and their organization became a legal left-wing political party in El Salvador. 

Cesar is an active volunteer who works in the communications teams. Recently, he assisted in picking up food donations and help with food distribution for families affected by COVID.

At Casa Rutilio many activists from the Washington DC area and beyond, from many different organizations, find a space to express themselves through cultural activities. 

Cesar is an active volunteer whose main role is to ·provide technical services for fundraising, cultural, and recreational events–chiefly setting up the sound and video systems, but there is always something different to do!

Hope

What started as a class project grew into so much more. We are working as activists to bring free menstrual products to the University of Maryland campus. We have been conducting research and testing our project to prove that providing these products for free in campus bathrooms improves the lives and education of anyone who menstruates. Because no student should have to choose between their health and their education. Period.

Hope co-founded Get Ovary It in the Fall of 2019 during a Do Good Now course at the University of Maryland. She has helped petition, write grant proposals and given pitches to help earn more than $1,500 to put toward free and accessible menstrual products.

GenERAtion Ratify, the youth-led movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, was founded in July of 2019 by a few 15-year-olds at a public library in Arlington, Virginia, spurred by the fight to mobilize youth to help make Virginia’s the final YES vote needed to ratify the ERA and correct the historical exclusion from our Constitution of women and people beyond the gender binary.

Hope’s involvement with GenERAtion Ratify includes phonebanking, textbanking and other advocacy. 

Sophie

El Cambio was a weekly high school club where students discussed socialist ideals and how they could apply them. Together they attended the Socialism ‘16 Conference in Chicago, along with members of a local socialist organization. At the conference they got to explore socialism in its many facets as well as meet actors like Wallace Shawn, who was holding a book signing. As a club they helped organize a school wide walkout in protest against Donald Trump’s racist policies, with participation of many students–over objections of the administration.

The history teacher who led El Cambio sometimes had guest speakers, including Juliana, who spoke to the club about her experience at the Standing Rock Water Protector’s encampment.

Sophie and the other members did their best to keep the club afloat–however, by her senior year she and her friend were the only members!
Culture Keepers was an art club led by Sophie’s art teacher and an activist colleague, focused on Black history and culture. Students learned about black artists and activists, and club members created art with that knowledge. Sophie and fellow club members held an exhibit called “Through Their Eyes,” at a local African American Cultural Museum, along with the Culture Keepers of a sister high school nearby. They also attended a conference about black power, revolution and culture at the University of Maryland, where they presented their research. Culture Keepers helped out at local farmers markets and did other community-based work with their art.

Our favorite fiction is full of police and superheroes. And activists?? Not so much. Let’s seek out stories with activists, the courageous first responders against injustice! And let’s look into why there aren’t more of them.

We’ll ask why activists–when they do appear–are so often shown as unappealing stereotypes, not real people.

Does this matter? If so, what can we do about it?

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RAINWOOD HOUSE SINGS, a social justice mystery for youth and adults, paints a truthful (with a hint of magic) picture of activists taking on gentrification, police violence, worker rights and cultural divisions; tackling mysteries large and small with creativity, humor and collective action.

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The POA Fiction Featuring Activists List is a compilation of works of fiction in which activists and activism play a significant role. Use this form to:

  • Share info for books, movies, TV shows and narrative games with activist characters and stories.
  • Review fiction with a focus on how fully and fairly it portrays activists, using Protect Our Activists’ FFA Test.
  • Nominate a work of fiction featuring activists for our 10 Best and 10 Most In Need Of Improvement Awards!