Spirit of my exploring heart, help me walk where deep-rooted questions rise through the firm hard ground, the pathway that has led to war and injustice for centuries. Bare-footed and trembling, let me feel the pain that inhumanity has tramped into the earth. Let me face the unknown, assured that all my questions are natural and blameless. Help me learn how to live peacefully when war and anger rage, how to do justice while greed consumes resources that could sustain us. Bruised and battered, let my feet feel holiness rise through the ground of my being. Let that holiness fill me with confidence, that I might find alternatives to the well-trod roads to destruction. Grant me the wisdom to do as Moses did on that sacred mountain, when he was told “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Shick, Stephen (2009). Be the Change: Poems, Prayers and Meditations
for Peacemakers and Justice Seekers
(Kindle Locations 388-394). Skinner House Books. Kindle Edition.
My heart is so full today. I cannot begin to express what this day means for me. So much of Tyler’s life is a struggle… for him as well as for his mama. To see this young man I grew from my own body coming into his own… to have members of my beloved community come to me and tell me they were honored to have been on the review panel when he had his interview…
Those of you on my Facebook know I’m reading Gregory Boyle’s book, Tattoos on the Heart. With as many excerpts as I’ve copied from my kindle, I don’t know how you could miss that tidbit. So in keeping with that theme, here’s another gem.
Unitarian Universalists believe that all religions should and can be accepted. A Unitarian Universalist believes in equality for all religions and every race. Unitarian Universalists often believe that religion is a search for meaning. It is more of an openness to new experiences rather than a set of beliefs. Religions help us to realize that every piece of our lives is related to the others.
Some Unitarian Universalists often think of religion as a time consumer for Sunday. Some Unitarian Universalists think of religion as a way of life, a sacred search for meaning and understanding. Some Unitarian Universalists believe in God, some don’t. Some believe that the theory of God is used to bully other religions and some think that God is a force, a feeling that flows through us and connects us to one another. To seek God would be to seek yourself and your surroundings.
Ho Mitakuye Oyasin. This means, I am related to all things and all things are related to me. I don’t believe in God I believe in love and faith. No matter what the situation is I will stand on the side of love, which means I care for the equality of all living things.
I mean, we already talk because the bottom line is if you don’t talk to them, Lil Wayne‘s going to talk to them. So, I mean, really.Somebody’s going to talk them – I love New York – somebody’s going to talk to them. So the point is, who’s going to talk and what’s going to be said? And I like what he did because what was said needed to be said. It was from personal experience. I’m anxious for part two, okay? There’s nothing like being able to share with your daughter what you went through, you understand? Because she’s looking – my daughter’s looking at me. You know, she may like Michelle Obama, she may like her grandmother, but she’s looking at me.
Let that last sentence marinate… I mean, really, really marinate. When our daughters are looking at us, what are we showing them? Regardless of what we tell them, what do they see? Read more…
Cathleen Falsani: Anam Cara: Praying for Our Kids and Their ‘Soul Friends’ via Religion on HuffingtonPost.com by Cathleen Falsani on 9/13/10
Cathleen Falsani is journalist, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, including the memoir Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace, and the forthcoming The Thread: Faith, Friendship and Facebook.
An Anam Cara is someone with whom you share your deepest loves, fears, dreams, doubts, joys and sorrows. That soul friend will know him and love him for exactly who he is. He or she is a friend who will uplift him, reflect God’s love for him, and draw him toward his Creator, not away or astray.
I prayed that, in the words of William Shakespeare, my son would take his soul friends into his heart and “grapple them to [his] soul with hoops of steel.”
Sounds From Mexico’s Bicentennial via NPR Programs: Tell Me More on 9/16/10
Alfonso Andre, drummer for the Mexican band Jaugares, talks about the band’s remake of the song La Martiniana for a new album that commemorates the Mexican Bicentennial. Andre also talks about his conflicted feelings about celebrating Mexico’s history.
A good sex education might delay sexual activity. In fact, a good sex education will ideally delay sexual activity. But that’s not the main purpose of good sex education. The main purpose of sex education is to support lifelong healthy sexuality. We must take the long view here. Sex education should not be designed to keep a student from having sex in high school – that is far too short sighted.
Sex education must be designed to address individuals across their lifespans – to give them tools, skills, knowledge, and strength to understand their bodies, to be both introspective and appropriately communicative about their own desires, respectful about other people’s desires, and both safer and reverent about the entire process.
White Feminists and Me: a Fable of Solidarity via Womanist Musings by Renee on 9/14/10
I’m a 23 year old Sinhalese woman in Minnesota by way of Dubai by way of Sri Lanka. I am a Womanist, and part of my womanism is figuring out how to be in solidarity with my transnational sisters worldwide. I’m a daughter, a sister, a partner and a writer. I’m a brown girl who knows Shakespeare by heart and devours anything Toni Morrison. I believe in radical, revolutionary
A report from the Massachusetts-based Schott Foundation paints a bleak picture of how young black men fare in school: fewer than half graduate from high school. And in some states, like New York, the graduation rate is as low as one in four. The foundation’s John Jackson and David Sciarra of the Education Law Center discuss what’s needed to improve educational attainment among African American children.
Middle Schools Are Disciplining Kids by Throwing Them Away via Colorlines by Michelle Chen on 9/14/10
Talk all you want about improving our nation’s schools, but the fact is, students can’t close the “achievement gap” when they’re not allowed into the classroom. Yet school suspension rates are climbing and potentially stifling educational opportunity for disadvantaged middle-schoolers, according to a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Activists have long warned of the school-to-prison pipeline–sort of the opposite of the honors track, steering poor kids of color into troubled adolescence and eventually the criminal justice system. The SPLC explains, “Disciplinary tactics that respond to typical adolescent behavior by removing students from school do not better prepare students for adulthood. Instead, they increase their risk of educational failure and dropout.”
Conflating “Ethnic” and “Curvy” via Sociological Images by gwen on 9/15/10
(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)
We’ve noted the fetishization of Black women’s butts before, and the conflation of non-White and curvy (also here). Yes, some non-White women have large butts and cleavage. So do lots of White women. And lots of women in all groups don’t have either, or have just one or the other, or have them but don’t still somehow manage to be very thin and toned overall. But having this body type is, in this case and many others, so identified as “ethnic” that White women who have boobs and hips become examples of “ethnic” beauty, not simply a version of female beauty. Notice that Scarlett Johansson’s body isn’t described as having “European curves” or, I don’t know, “British-American curves” or whatever her ethnic background might be in the way that Jennifer Lopez’s curves are perceived as an ethnic marker. It’s a great example of selective perception: women of all racial/ethnic backgrounds share body shapes, but certain physical features, such as hips, are seen as a group characteristic only for some women.
‘Values Voter Summit’ Will Likely Be Missing Jewish Voters: Conservative Conference Coincides With Yom Kippur via Religion on HuffingtonPost.com by Amanda Terkel on 9/15/10
Yet it’s unlikely observant Jews will be able to attend the event, since it’s being held on Yom Kippur — the holiest Jewish holiday — which begins at sundown on Friday, Sept. 17 and ends at sundown on Saturday, Sept. 18 — right when the majority of the action at the conference is happening (including the Israel panel). In 2009, the Values Voter Summit took place during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. “Does the FRC think Jews don’t have values?” wondered Salon’s Washington Correspondent Mike Madden last year. “Or was this just the only fall weekend they could get into the Omni Shoreham hotel?”
Anti-Defamation League spokesman Todd Gutnick said his organization didn’t see much of a problem with the conflict in timing. “Since these are all Christian groups involved, Jews wouldn’t be attending anyway,” he told the Huffington Post. Some conservative groups, however, are trying to make inroads with the Jewish community, recognizing that although some on the right consistently accuse progressives of being anti-Israel or even “anti-Jew”, Jews still overwhelmingly vote Democratic. On Monday, FreedomWorks, which helps organize many of the Tea Party gatherings around the country, told reporters that it was launching “a new initiative to reach out to racial, ethnic and religious minorities” — beginning with Jews, to coincide with the High Holidays.
The Huffington Post contacted FRC Action for comment but did not receive a response.
This Week in Blackness: White People and Black People Are So Different via Womanist Musings by Renee on 9/17/10
Elon James has come up with a new This Week in Blackness, and of course I absolutely had to share it with you. This week, Elon talked about the fact that Blacks and Whites experience the same event differently because of racism. Whiteness has been taught to ignore this because it has been normalized therefore; it is quite easy to believe in a universal perspective. There is a large difference
Angela Himsel: Excuse Me, Are You…? via Religion on HuffingtonPost.com by Angela Himsel on 9/17/10
On Yom Kippur, when I stand in synagogue for hours and recite the prayers, striking my fist against my chest to atone for my sins, and as I become more and more tired with the lack of food, water and more importantly, caffeine, it’s then that I feel a kind of certainty that God sees and loves each one of us in all of our totality, even the parts that we hide from one another and from ourselves. Wherever we are, whoever we’re with, God recognizes us and never needs to ask, on Yom Kippur or any other day, “Excuse me, are you Angela?”
Off and Running Toward My Own Identity [Racialigious] via Racialicious – the intersection of race and pop culture on 9/7/10
by Guest Contributor Collier Meyerson, originally published at Be’Chol Lashon
At 13 years old, in the planning stages of my Bat Mitzvah, my Hebrew School teacher called a meeting at his home to discuss details. He opened his door to see me, my father who is an Ashkenazi Jew and my black mother. Upon seeing my family, without asking, he regrettably informed us that the synagogue, would not allow me to perform the right of passage in their temple because my mother wasn’t a Jew. My wily mother, coyly and smarmily responded “oh, but her mother is Jewish.”
Yes, it turns out my biological mother is a white Ashkenazi Jew.
And with these words, my Hebrew school teacher, as though I was caught in the Woody Allen version of my own life as a film, threw his hands into the air and exclaimed “it’s Bashert [it’s destiny] then! You’ll have your Bat Mitzvah in the Temple!” In that moment I felt a definitive rage. I wanted desperately to be a part of the Upper West Side’s most exclusive and popular clique, Judaism, but felt what would prove to be an indelible stake in this idea of blackness, something pitted against Jewishness. And so there it was, in the home of my Hebrew School teacher that the two were separated, like oil and water.
I was Black and Jewish but I couldn’t be both, I couldn’t be a Black Jew.
Preparing My Kids To Be Able To Run Through Walls via Racialicious – the intersection of race and pop culture on 9/7/10
by Guest Contributor Paula, originally published at Heart, Mind, and Seoul
I think about the walls that threatened to thwart my growth when I was younger and how completely ill-prepared I was to handle them. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I realize that perhaps I’ve been far too generous in assessing how well equipped I was to deal with the very real walls of racism, prejudice and discrimination throughout my life. I have no doubt that my parents love and concern imparted upon me the knowledge that they were always there for me – and yes, that is huge in it’s own right – but as an Asian girl/adolescent/young adult, I recognize now just how unprepared I was in terms of not having the right language or effective strategies to be my own best advocate in my racially isolated world.
Bloggers Unite – International Literacy Day: Reducing Illiteracy in the Prison Population Benefits ALL of Us! via THE INTERSECTION | MADNESS & REALITY by Joanna on 9/8/10
An estimated 20 percent of the adult population in the US is functionally illiterate. That figure SKYROCKETS to over 60 percent when you examine the literacy rates of the inmate population in jails and prisons across the country. And even more appalling is the fact that over 85 percent of juvenile offenders have literacy issues.
Considering that illiteracy commonly leads to lengthy and repeated bouts of unemployment (over 75 percent of unemployed adults have some problems with reading and writing) the low rate of literacy among the inmate population is a recipe for explosive recidivism rates. After all, if an ex-prisoner is unable to find or keep a job due to literacy issues, where else can he turn but back to the behaviors that landed him in jail in the first place?
Although a lot of people take the “lock them up and throw away the key” attitude toward prisoners, and would rather REDUCE the services available to prisoners, there is PROOF that literacy programs in prison CAN and DO help reduce the rates of recidivism, and can lead to an overall reduction in incarceration rates.
Us (Moms) vs. Them (Teens) via I am the Glue by Laura on 9/11/10
This will be an 18 year round/fight.
Keep it clean…your language…your room…etc.
At the end of the match, the winner will be decided by who is left standing, or not in jail, or rehab.
I am taking bets now.
I got some insider information…shhh…this is on the down low.
Us moms are the best bet because we have been there and done that.
Got a teenager to show for it.
What I Did On My Summer Vacation…or Why Water Communion Makes Me Uncomfortable via East Of Midnight by Kim on 9/14/10
Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D.: Overturning the Texas School Board Madness? It’s Possible via Religion on HuffingtonPost.com by Michael Zimmerman, Ph.D. on 9/14/10
Voters in Texas’s 5th District have the opportunity to put an end to the embarrassing and anti-intellectual actions that have diminished education across the state, and that’s an opportunity that will likely impact text book choices around the rest of the United States. I, for one, hope that they opt to do just that by replacing Ken Mercer’s madness with Rebecca Bell-Metereau’s thoughtfulness.
Charges That a Civil Rights Hero Was an FBI Spy Shouldn’t Shock Us via Colorlines by Barbara Ransby on 9/17/10
These stories remind us not only that our government has routinely violated the basic civil liberties of so many black activists over several generations, but it reminds us of the complexities and limitations of presumed racial loyalty. The Black Press was given access to movement events and meetings in the 1960s that white reporters were not. Why? It was assumed that a level of racial solidarity and loyalty existed. Maybe that was true. But maybe it wasn’t. We continue to project false expectations onto politicians and self-appointed race leaders because of phenotype rather than politics, ideas and other more tangible markers of “loyalty” to oppressed people. Everyone who looks like “us” is not a friend, and everyone who looks different is not automatically the enemy. This is a simple lesson that some of us still have to learn.
Promise of a better life leads to the nightmare of sexual slavery – CNN via articles.cnn.com on 9/18/10
Many people associate prostitution with women walking the streets in shady areas and being picked up by johns. But Claudia says the prostitution ring for which she was forced to work had a long list of clients who knew the price they had to pay, who to call and where to go. It’s a well-organized and lucrative underground industry. Luis CdeBaca monitors human trafficking at the U.S. State Department. He says there are no reliable figures on the scale of the problem, but forced prostitution from Mexico and Central America is a big part of it.
- Teens report high exposure to sex education (washingtontimes.com)
- Most Teens Receive Formal Sex Ed (webmd.com)
- A Bleak Picture For Young Black Male Students (npr.org)
- CDC: One-third of sex ed omits birth control (msnbc.msn.com)
The title is a little misleading; while this was day one for many who stood on the side of love that day, my community has been living under SB1070 for two years this coming February… under 287(g). Please note that when I say my community, I don’t mean my county or even my city. I mean, MY NEIGHBORHOOD. The student body at my son’s high school is 71% Hispanic, 22% Black. 4% White, 2% Native American, and .6% Asian. When Sheriff Joe “Bull” Arpaio does an immigration sweep, it’s not in Scottsdale or Paradise Valley, it’s in neighborhoods like mine that are going to give him the biggest bang for his buck… the highest numbers of “suspected” illegal immigrants for his media whoring.
Unlike PurpleCrayon, friend and member of my church fam, I was neither shocked nor surprised by the show of force from the good Sheriff. It’s funny to me that the Sheriff’s Posse always seems to strike in the hours just before & after dawn or dusk, but there’s nary a Posse to be found in the wee hours of the morning as I lie in bed listing to what I hope is random, rather than intentional, gunfire. Don’t worry about those gangs of urban terrorists Joe… you go on and russle up some landscapers and day laborers instead, cowboy.
I have been trying for a couple days now to sort through everything that happened during the National Day of Non-Compliance and throughout the weekend. How do I summarize all that I witnessed, everything I felt? There are so many different facets that I’m struggling to organize them, and I’m starting to think this might be a multi post series. Read more…
I touched on issues surrounding the term illegal alien* a couple weeks ago in Walking the (color)Line, when I mentioned a couple ways I suspected this term has affected my children’s perceptions of the Latino community. There was a part of me that wondered whether I was reading too much into things… but let’s just say that’s no longer a concern. Within the last week or two, I read a blog or article about multiracial girls being asked what color their husbands would be. I wondered if Halle had ever heard or been asked something like this. I made a little note to self to bring it up, but Thursday night in the car, she raised the subject. She was talking about how she was going to date a boy for one year when she grew up, and asked if that was too long. I told her it depended on the boy; with some boys, a year might be too long, with another, a year may not be long enough. She suddenly started talking about whether this boy might be white or black and something about so and so… I interrupted and asked if people asked her that, and she confirmed. Then I asked, “Do you guys talk about that?” and she responds matter of factly, “Oh, yeah.” I asked if that was something that had just come up this year, and she said no, it was last year too. I asked how it came up, and she said, just when they talk about who they think is cute. She continued with her story…
“Anyway, so and so asked me once, and I said he would probably be Black or White, but not Mexican, but then I met Tristan, and I like him and I think he’s cute, and he’s Mexican…”
Her voice trailed off.
I asked why she hadn’t thought she would date someone who was Mexican before Tristan.
“Well, cuz they do a lot of bad things. I mean, they’re always on the news cuz they’re criminals… and stuff.”
cue my breaking (anti-racist) heart.
Needless to say, we had an immediate conversation about perception, stereotypes, racism, media bias, and Bull Connor Jr. Nickel Bag Joe Sherrif Arpaio. And we will continue to have these conversations (and others, like how there are a lot more people in the world than just Black, White or Hispanic), because this IS a big problem. And it’s not because this flies in the face of what I believe personally, but because the seed of racism is finding roothold in the heart of THIS child.
This is my UU, social justice, civil action child. This is the child who drew the line with her peers over the n-word. This is the child who has volunteered to mentor special needs kids or served in student government or both for three of the four years she’s been attending her current school. This is the child whose teacher has made it a point to contact me no less than three times so far this school year to express his gratitude to and praise the way Halle had befriended a new ESL student, which makes me wonder that my daughter’s unreserved offer of friendship is already rare by the age of 10. This is the child who took the initiative, unsolicited, and went to a Spanish-speaking teacher to get a “cheat sheet” of basic conversational phrases, and carried two spanish english dictionaries with her every day for the first two months of school.
“Now think carefully about what I’m saying, and why it matters. Here was a woman who no longer could recognize her own children; a woman who had no idea who her husband had been; no clue where she was, what her name was, what year it was; and yet, knew what she had been taught at a very early age to call black people. Once she was no longer capable of resisting this demon, tucked away like a ticking time bomb in the far corners of her mind, it would reassert itself and explode with a vengeance. She could not remember how to feed herself. She could not go to the bathroom by herself. She could not recognize a glass of water for what it was. But she could recognize a nigger. America had seen to that, and no disease would strip her of that memory. Indeed, it would be one of the last words I would hear her say, before finally she stopped talking at all. “ ~Tim Wise, White Like Me
When one refers to an immigrant as an “illegal alien,” they are using the term as a noun. They are effectively saying that the individual, as opposed to any actions that the individual has taken, is illegal. The term “illegal alien” implies that a person’s existence is criminal. I’m not aware of any other circumstance in our common vernacular where a crime is considered to render the individual – as opposed to the individual’s actions – as being illegal. We don’t even refer to our most dangerous and vile criminals as being “illegal.”