Category Archives: ACLU

Fight, Resistance and Basics

I was in tenth grade, relaxing with friends in my high school quad, when two rival gang members hurtled toward us. Of course I had seen school yard brawls, but this was different. These two were muscular, raging, violent, and they knew how to hurt each other. Fear has an odd influence on memory, and I carry the next few minutes as disjointed still life photography. I remember their haircuts. I remember the crowd screaming. I remember that both wore jeans. I remember the thud of pounding meat, each time a fist connected. I remember when the winning hit smashed his opponent’s face, and the explosion of bright crimson. I remember my surprise because the “winner” was the smaller of the two.

More than a decade later, I enrolled in a women’s self-defense class called “Basics.” Most of us had never thrown a punch, and we didn’t have a clue how to fight. Our two teachers worked together, coaching us. During every “assault,” one stood by our side shouting instructions, while the other “attacked” us, dressed head-to-toe in protective gear so we could fight without sending him to the emergency room.

Until that point, whenever I had watched a fight — TV, movies, plays — I saw only chaos. Flying fists, flailing kicks, careening bodies. To my complete surprise, by the second self-defense class, I could break down the maelstrom into structured pieces. I could spot openings, moments when I could step in to protect myself. Every class, our teachers repeated the basics: when you find an opening, commit 100%.  Don’t give up, ever. It’s okay to be scared. Even if you’re fighting by yourself, you’re not alone.

Now, more than 25 years later, I find myself entering a different kind of battle, facing an unprecedented situation in my homeland. I look around and see my fellow citizens under assault, and I will not be a passive bystander. As a woman, I too am under assault. But I know self-defense and even in this unfamiliar arena, stepping forward with non-violent resistance, those “basic” teachings are more relevant than ever.

Wait for your opening.  When you step in, commit 100%. Different people choose different ways to fight, but you’re still on the same team. Yes, you might get hurt in the struggle but no, that doesn’t mean the fight is over. If you’re knocked down, you can fight with equal strength from the ground. You can fight through pain. A fight, especially a prolonged fight, is emotionally and physically exhausting, so don’t forget to take care of yourself. It’s okay to be scared. You’re not alone. Don’t give up, ever.

And from that gang fight in high school so long ago: the smaller fighter, in the end, can still triumph.


Amy’s Novels:

Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable

Caroline Black, 15 years old, leaves her wealthy prep school for her local high school, which opens her world. At Hollywood High, she finds a large immigrant population speaking over 40 native languages. Although frightened and intimidated as she navigates this new territory, Caroline thrives in the diversity of her new school.


Caroline Black, 10 years later, navigates her first year of training as a therapist. Chapters in her treatment of a talented but troubled young man are interspersed with chapters of her own personal history. This book explores how the individual and community mutually influence each other, and the importance of becoming your own full person.

Visit Amy’s Author Page to check out reviews, read Amy’s recent blog posts, purchase a book.



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Filed under #ShePersists, ACLU, California Rural Legal Assistance, great teachers, Planned Parenthood, resistance, self-defense, social justice, Southern Poverty Law Center, Uncategorized

Donating Profits From Book Sales


ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union)
CRLA (California Rural Legal Assistance)
Planned Parenthood
Southern Poverty Law Center

I’ve published 2 novels, and this month — February 2017 — I’ll donate all profits from book sales to these organizations, dedicated to full rights and equality for all. Please spread the word! For each book sold, you, your family members, your colleagues and your friends will be contributing.

Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable

Caroline Black, 15, leaves her college prep academy for the local public high school, which opens her world. I wrote this novel in reaction to seeing gay students bullied.


This novel continues to follow Caroline Black, now a rookie psych intern treating her first patient — a stormy, brilliant, troubled young man who grew up in the circus. I wrote this novel in support of same-sex parents, as a voice against the stigma of therapy, and from my deep respect (actually awe) for the human capacity to heal.

Both novels are available on Amazon as ebooks. They can be put on a Kindle, or any electronic device using Amazon’s Free Reading Apps. The novels cost $2.99, and each book sale helps! I’ll donate 100% of my profits for this month to the American Civil Liberties Union, California Rural Legal Assistance, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center.

Together, we can make a difference!

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Filed under ACLU, California Rural Legal Assistance, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, Uncategorized