Sermon: Thirst

waterA Sermon by Joyce Hollyday. Given at Circle of Mercy: February 28, 2016

My friend Jeanie Wylie-Kellermann died on New Year’s Eve of 2005 of brain cancer. In the aftermath, her daughter Lydia claimed me as one of her two honorary mothers. One of the ways I’ve taken that beautiful tribute seriously was to be present to help catch her son Isaac when he was born three years ago.

Last month Isaac’s brother, Cedar, came into the world. I wasn’t present for his birth, but I had the delight of meeting him when he was ten days old and staying with him, Isaac, and their mothers for a few days. My main task was entertaining Isaac. I read a lot of books, put together countless puzzles, and played endless rounds of the game “Goodnight Moon.” Continue reading “Sermon: Thirst”

Willful Blindness

FlintFrom economist and Wayne State University Law School professor Peter J. Hammer who recently submitted written testimony to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission as part of their hearings on the Flint Water Crisis titled, “The Flint Water Crisis, KWA and Strategic-Structural Racism.” Click here to download the report:

The problem is the often willful blindness of people in positions of privilege and authority (Knowledge-&-Power) to the needs, perspectives and interests of others, particularly when the “other” is from a community that differs from their own in terms of race or class or ethnicity. The problem is that the information and beliefs held by people in authority often reinforce that blindness and permit the unquestioned projection of policies and programs on others, even when it is clear that those policies are inappropriate or have harmful consequences. The problem is that vulnerable populations are often subject to exploitation that strategically manipulates the very vulnerability created by express racism, structural racism and unconscious bias, and yet this exploitation finds ready shelter in the very forces it exploits.