My Own Awakening

AlexanderFrom an Onbeing interview with Michelle Alexander (April 21, 2016):

I was raised to believe that there had been extraordinary racial injustice in our history, but that we are on the right path. And we may have a long way to go, but we are on the right path, headed, albeit too slowly, towards that promised land that Dr. King spoke of so eloquently. And in many ways, I think my own parents, being interracially married, felt they had to believe in that, they had to believe that by bringing mixed race children into this world they were bringing them into a world where there was hope for their future.

And so I was really raised on that narrative that we were overcoming. And when I became a civil rights lawyer and was a baby civil rights lawyer, just starting out, and I saw that sign stapled to a telephone pole saying, “The drug war is the new Jim Crow,” yeah, I thought that was hyperbole. I shook my head and said, “Yeah, the criminal justice system is racist in a lot of ways, but it doesn’t help to make such absurd comparisons to Jim Crow. People will just think you’re crazy.”

And then I hopped on the bus and headed to my new job as director of the Racial Justice Project for the ACLU in California. And it was really only through those years of representing victims of racial profiling and police brutality, and investigating patterns of drug law enforcement in poor communities of color, and attempting to assist people who had been released from prison as they faced just one unimaginable barrier after another — not just to their so-called “re-entry,” but to their basic survival after being released from prison — that I had my series of experiences that led to my own awakening that we hadn’t ended racial caste in America. We had just redesigned it.

Dan Berrigan: ¡Presente!

BerriganFrom the prophetic mouth of the late Dan Berrigan, on the 1st anniversary of 9/11 (An Interview with Amy Goodman on DemocracyNow, September 11, 2002):

An anniversary like this induces—seems to me, induces silence rather than a lot of words, but I’ll try. A few minutes after this horrid event a year ago, the phone rang. I was working at something. And a friend from North Carolina said, “Something terrible is happening in New York City.” And I said, “What?” and so on and so forth. And my first reaction was, I guess, right out of the gut rather than the heart, and I blurted into the phone, “So it’s come home at last.” Sympathy and tears came later, but that was the beginning. And I had a sense that that came from a very deep immersion in what I might call a hyphenated reality of America-in-the-world, hyphen in-the-world. Continue reading

New Online Class for Parents-to-be and Seekers

f60ead_73c06bda70bd49c3947f23dc638eaacf~mv2.jpgBy Chelsea Page

Childfree Not Carefree

Years before I created my new online class about the virgin Mary’s motherhood journey and the reproductive justice ethics led by women of color, I wrote to a friend:

My decision not to birth a child and, later, not to adopt a child, has been so lengthy, messy, and labor-intensive that I feel astonished that I have literally nothing to show for it. I hoped that at least I have cleared space for a different kind of family or community in my life. I await it with some of the eager impatience that I imagine my infertile sisters feel when they long for a child. Continue reading

From Immigrant to Immigrant Justice Organizer

moisesTomorrow night in Santa Monica, CA, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity will celebrate of the work and witness Moises Escalante (right), legend in the work of immigrant justice and immigration reform.  This is an excerpt about Moises’ life from “From Immigrant to Immigrant Justice Organizer: Moises Escalante,” in Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice by Matthew Colwell and Ched Myers:

In 1988, Moises was asked to come to the Salvadoran village of Morazan to observe the pastoral work taking place in that impoverished war zone. When he first received the invitation, he thought this was crazy. “You want me to go to a place where guerillas control the area and are under attack?” As he thought it over, he recalled the words from Ephesians that God wants the church to “awaken!” Reluctantly, he agreed to travel to Morazan for a ten-day trip. Getting there was no easy feat. After flying into San Salvador, he was put on a bus and told to wait until a person came up to him and asked, “How’s your house?” That person would be his next contact. Continue reading

Pondering on Baptism

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Our pile of rocks beside the Detroit River.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann, co-editor of http://www.radicaldiscipleship.net

After the service ended, the rocks began to pile up. Grandparents brought stones from beloved places far away and the kids waded into the water gathering rocks and adding them to the pile. We left that day, but the pile of rocks still sits beside the river as the waters pass through the Huron and toward Erie down the Detroit River.

We had just baptized Cedar Martin and his cousin Ira Cole. We read Joshua 4, where the Israelites cross the Jordan and Joshua tells them to leave a pile of rocks by the river because “One day your children will ask, “what do these stones mean?’ Continue reading

Lunch with the Law

joyceBy Joyce Hollyday

Three-year-old Enrique’s favorite toy—a plastic helmet with a dark face shield, emblazoned with the word “POLICE”—was parked on his head. As he toddled up to our burly, 6-foot-8 county sheriff, with his mother Rosita watching nervously, the irony just about did me in.

For three hours every week a group calling ourselves Mujeres Unidas en Fe (Women United in Faith) gathers at a church just over the mountain from my home in Western North Carolina. A dozen Spanish-speaking women and an equal number of us English speakers share Bible study, exchange language lessons, and enjoy a potluck lunch. Fear has been running high since executive orders out of the White House targeted North Carolina as a state for increased action against undocumented immigrants, and recently our group’s activities have included the heartbreaking work of getting legal papers in place for the care of their children if any of the mothers are deported.   Continue reading

Dear Little Men

8400446437(1).jpgBy Laurel Dykstra, Salal and Cedar

Dear Little Men,

Thank you. I was completely baffled by the book that you sequel, Little Women. My mother loved it; she wanted me to love it. Girly classmates adored it and tried to enjoin me in their effusing in a “you like books and I like this one book so we totally have this thing in common right?” way. Continue reading