(An interview for Tony Botello of tonyskansascity.com )
AN INTERVIEW WITH KANSAS CITY ACTIVIST TONI BONES
What do I do/Who am I?
As far as activism goes, I’m really not out to change peoples minds, anymore. The information is out there and I really feel it is everyone’s personal responsibility to venture out and come to their own conclusions. I find myself focusing on getting information out there, encouraging critical thinking and to facilitate self ownership, which I’ll get into more later. I certainly didn’t wake up one morning and find myself in the state of mind I am today.
Most of you are just now hearing my name for the first time but some of you may have seen me tinkering around with different projects such as KCNORML, The Libertarian Party, The Liberty Restoration Project, Show Me Cannabis Reform, Occupy KC, etc and so forth. These days I find myself investing in my most important and challenging venture of raising and nurturing my 3 little ones and tend to work behind the scenes organizing, networking and researching. I really feel my efforts have led me into a more serious and sustainable direction.
These last few months, especially, I have really found myself at a metamorphosis as far as activism and personal growth is concerned. While exciting and even unnerving, I definitely feel I am heading into a more positive direction as I switch up gears and hone in on different priorities. Don’t get me wrong, though, you’ll still catch me engaging people on the streets distributing resources, holding signs and attending events I deem valuable to awakening the public as well as leading a positive direction whether I agree whole heartedly with their message or not.
A lot has changed these last couple years for me as far as political preference, or lack there of, and my the affinity I’ve gained in regards to transparency, sustainability, holistic medicine and personal responsibility. As a libertarian activist that put her time in registering voters, gathering signatures, organizing events, marches and rallies and trying to work within our political system to realize how much good I was doing politically- which was absolutely nothing. Don’t misinterpret me, however. The people I’ve reached out to, met and encouraged has never been and will never have been a waste and I am truly grateful for every one of those conversations and encounters, good and bad. Without them, I would not have encountered and understood the voluntaryist philosophy I’ve adopted and nurture today.
One of my biggest transformations has been my evolution from a a Ron Paul loving, cannabis crusading libertarian to what I consider a plant hoarding, cop blocking anarchist. Now before you cower in revolt to the term anarchist and lash out about tin foil hats and chaos, allow me to better explain. Anarchy, or voluntaryism, is merely the belief that no other person has the right to commit force or fraud against another person and all human interaction is to be voluntary. This includes the idea that taxation is theft and the notion of governance by any group of people, legislated or not, is illegitimate.
We follow the Non Aggression Principle and violence is especially frowned upon and deemed illegitimate; except for in one instance, which is the protection of self, property and family. So don’t get voluntaryists confused with pacifist hippies as they can, and will, defend their families, themselves and their property without hesitation. It would be a huge mistake to confuse a voluntaryist as an easy target. In fact, many tend to be big supporters of open carry- just sayin! Don’t take my word for it, do your own research. It may be as positive and life altering as it was for me.
I am only 24 years old and admittedly new to the philosophy. There are others far more knowledgable on the subject than I. I can honestly, and whole heartedly say, however, that everyday I have followed this philosophy I have found myself a more responsible, honest person and a better parent.
When did I get started?
I’ve had an inquisitive mind and a lust for truth for as long as I can remember. It is rather difficult to pinpoint where I got started. One experience and early memory sticks out in my mind, though, so I suppose I will dive into that a bit. From an incredibly early age I had always questioned theology. While things never quite added up in my head as far as creationism goes and even before I really understood what I was questioning, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the unspoken, underlying notion that it was not to be questioned. I, and many others I’m sure, grew up just ‘knowing’ it wasn’t up for debate or questions, it simply was. I think this is what most intrigued me most with the subject and thus began my silent curiosity.
The mere thought of sitting around the Thanksgiving table with my family and even questioning this belief system as a young mind sends chills down my spine to this day. It is not that my family members were mean, bad people, or anything of the sort. It was just not an approachable acceptable subject and would appear to render one, almost immediately as some sort of unspeakable, clearly immoral outcast. Obviously, I don’t feel this way now but this is merely a view point I can recall as a young child. I remember one day mustering up the courage and sitting on my Mom’s lap and asking her the question, ‘Mommy, where do people come from?’. Predictably she responded with, “Well, god made us.” I then retorted, “Then who made god?. I can’t tell you what her response was to that question but I can say this was definitely probably one of the more profound moments I had in regards to defining myself as the inquisitive, critical thinker I still am today.
What motivates me?
Most obviously what motivates me the most are my children. I would not and could not be able to sleep with the knowledge I’ve accumulated knowing that I did not do something, anything, everyday to help snap our society out of the this embarrassing apathetic mess of ignorance and dependence that has been chosen for ourselves knowing that I have brought precious people into this world.
Less obviously, 3 things stand out in my mind as far as inspiration to the current direction I have chosen. I’ll try to briefly outline each of them without getting too carried away.
The first was my last pregnancy and birth. I had a holistic midwife and also a home water birth. While there are many aspects of that experience I would do differently in the future, for the whole it was a beautiful and memorable learning experience. As I mentioned earlier, the more I dive into horticulture the more interested I become in holistic medicine. This experience showed me how incredibly powerful a healthy understanding of herbs and nutrition can play into all aspects of your life, particularly pregnancy. I was able to not only maintain my health but improve it, dramatically lower and manage my blood pressure and gain the confidence I needed to step out of societies mold of constant medical intervention. Pregnancy is not an illness and I gained the confidence I needed to dive into the incredible world of plants, the relationship we’ve developed with them over these last ten thousand years or so and how to apply them to my families everyday life.
The second instance that sticks out to me was this last November. I was laying on my bed, slipping into a counter productive depression when a good friend of mind walked in and told me to get my ass up and go on an adventure. She insisted on watching my kiddos, handed me my keys and told me to get out of the house and find an adventure. I remember looking at my face book events and narrowed it down to two things. One was one of my favorite bands, Primus, being in town and the other than stuck out to me was the Music City Liberty Festival in Nashville, TN. While Primus was closer and definitely easier to pull off I felt a pull towards Nashville and ran with it. I packed a small bag and hit the road onto my 9 hour journey before I could change my mind. That decision changed my life for the better forever.
While in Nashville, I came across some great ideas, excellent music and even better people. Two of the bands that really stuck out were little known Hart Sawyer with her beautiful voice, almost classical music and brilliant lyrics. I’m not easily impressed, but that chick blew me away. The other was Rebel INC, incredible lyrics and brilliant dudes, definitely worth a listen, as well. I really enjoyed hanging out with these guys and finding out we were on the same wave length ‘politically’, I also had the privilege of meeting the founders of www.copblock.org, Ademo Freeman and Pete Eyre. Both are really great, principled guys I am grateful to have been able to meet. Pete and I continued to talk afterwards and turned me on to my next inspiration, The Unschool Bus.
This family is incredible. They ride around spreading an encouraging message and teaching their children how to live happily instead of just function in society. I’ve really been inspired through their you tube channel and philosophies in regards to parenting, for sure. They have renovated a school bus, which they lovingly call the Unschool Bus, and document their travels. Their adventures and courage has really motivated me to take my family in what I feel is a much more healthy and meaningful direction. All in all, all three of these things have really solidified my decision to focus on family, sustainability and creating life long memories. I’m still in the brainstorming stages with this but don’t be surprised if you see me documenting our travels and adventures in the near future.
The next year…
Over the next year you can plan on seeing me taking steps towards the above mentioned . Also with the only collection of activists I claim to be actively a part of right now, which is MO and KS very own chapter of Copblock. This particular effort is near and dear to my heart for so many reasons. Police brutality and misconduct are not isolated incidents and we see it happening more and more everyday. While it also strongly ties into my personal philosophy, transparency and accountability is also so very important. Especially when it comes to individuals claiming extra rights, operating on your stolen money and kidnapping people for victimless ‘crimes’, to say the least. Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t hate police. I don’t believe a badge grants you extra rights, either. I encourage everyone to check out www.copblock.organd look into our first upcoming meeting with co-founder Pete Eyre, on Feb 2 at The Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill. Don’t be shy, I look forward to meeting with other like minded folks and discussing how we can create a healthier better Kansas City without fear of our so called protectors.