Feed the People

It’s a practice born of our very species. Help each other.

We would not survived as long on this planet without helping one another; considering the collective’s well-being; lending a hand to those in need.

Across cultures, across religions, across time, this practice has been at the core of human existence.

I accept this behavior and underlying belief far above the opposite attitude: looking our for yourself; taking advantage of others; even practicing violence against others to get what you want.

So today, and especially, during this time of year as holidays are celebrated that include generosity and togetherness as central themes…

Let’s re-ignite our desire and our commitment to helping others whenever possible…

Let’s remember that we are at the most prosperous time in human history…

Let’s feed the people.

Jesuit Martyrs of El Salvador

Quoting James Martin, S.J., as we remember these brave men and women who were murdered 30 years ago this weekend, because they stood for social justice, social change for the people.

“These men and women paid the ultimate price for standing with the poor and marginalized in the name of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:30). AMDG

— Read on :

On November 16, 1989, Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J., Joaquín López y López, S.J., Amando López, S.J. and Elba Ramos, a housekeeper for one of the local Jesuit community’s, and her 15 year-old daughter Celina Ramos, were murdered at the University of Central America in San Salvador, El Salvador.

The lives and loss of these martyrs have significantly influenced the Ignatian family in the United States and throughout the world. Jesuit institutions have re-defined what it is to be universities, high schools, parishes, etc. in light of the martyrs, discerning new ways of addressing issues of social justice locally and abroad. Across the Ignatian family new ways of proceeding have developed over the course of twenty-five years. ISN is a direct product of the spirit of the martyrs, forming in response to their tragic deaths at the hands of many individuals who received training at the former U.S. Army School of the Americas.

Is This What it Means to be White?

Two white journalists consider their journey, exploring the murder of a white minister by group of white men in the segregated deep south of Alabama, United States, in 1965.

#gratitude

@chipbrantley

@andrewbeckgrace

https://www.npr.org/about-npr/719940814/white-lies-nprs-civil-rights-cold-case-podcast-solves-who-what-killed-james-reeb

one.npr.org/i/776399329:776566928

Thank You, Cokie

She passed on Tuesday at the age of 75.

Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs.

The story goes that her older, 3 year old brother couldn’t pronounce “Corinne” when she came home from the hospital, he called her Cokie, and that was that.

She had a keen, life-long deep understanding of politics, especially here in the United States.  She grew up in politics — her father, then her mother both held seats in the US House of Representatives from Louisiana — and chose the path of chronicling the many stories around public affairs rather than governance.

Not only did she choose a life in the “fourth branch”, but her voice and balanced, thorough analysis of issues — and broad public appeal therein — guided her to become one of the “Founding Mothers” of National Public Radio, and more broadly, one of the women in leadership roles in public journalism.

She was so good on NPR that commercial leader ABC hired her as well. She reported from both outlets for more than three decades.

Her voice remained steadfast and consistent in our public discourse, and even in recent years as she had begun to step back, I always felt a certain calm and certainty of what was true when I heard her speak on whatever the topic of the day was.

I was shocked when I heard the news of her passing on Tuesday morning while driving to work.  On the commute home at the end of the day, I was fortunate to hear on another public radio station, Classical KDFC, the afternoon DJ Robin Pressman pay tribute to Roberts with a dedication of the first 5:00pm Commute Song (what KDFC calls “The Island of Sanity”), Felix Mendelssohn’s “On Wings of a Song 34 #2”.

Cool to hear that peaceful, uplifting music anytime, especially as nod to one of the great voices of our time.  Thanks for your insights and wisdom and positive effect on our national conversation, Cokie.  

Would that we can honor you as Rachel Martin suggested on Up First today, when she closed with what was perhaps your simple credo for living:  “Do the work. Be fair. Be kind. And lift each other up.”   

AMEN.

More on Cokie Roberts found here.

More on Cokie Roberts as one of the Founding Mothers found here.

 

 

Labor Day 2019

I think about Labor Day and a lot of different thoughts go through my mind.

What’s the origin of the holiday in this country?  “Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor, ” according to Wikipedia.

What, if any, is our U.S. Labor Day’s association with International Worker’s Day on May 1st?  Turns out that “May Day” is linked to an ancient traditional festival time in Europe, and similar labor movements in that region selected that date to also associate with honoring and further the cause of workers. That occurred around the same time in Europe that it did here in the U.S.

I think about the early 20th century novel, “The Jungle,” and the fictional account of very real working conditions in the meat packing industry in the northeastern U.S. around that same time period.

How far have we come with regulations and minimum wages in that time, to give rank and file workers safer conditions and enough income to live a reasonable life?  Lots of data, some objective results, but plenty of subjective opinion on those topics to be had, for sure.

Then I consider the hardest, most physically demanding jobs and who does that work.  Think about the people that work in extreme physical conditions, so that others might benefit from seasonal produce or the freshest catch.  How difficult is that work?  How much do those folks make?  Would I want to do that work?

I think about people I know that do white collar work and make good income; some are associated with organized labor, some are not.  I consider the various aspects of work today, and the manner in which plenty of white collar, high-skill workers also can be exploited and might benefit from organizing. 

Throughout the world we can say that collective bargaining has been good for workers in the industrialized world over the last one hundred and forty-odd years. We can also say that wages have increased, working conditions have improved, and society on the whole enjoys a higher standard of living along that same period of time.

Sure there’s still more work to do.   But I’ll spare you the red star or the fist clenched in the air.  We have to say that the owners and the governments and society in many countries have supported the workers’ cause, to everyone’s benefit.

In my humble view, Labor Day should be a day when we remember and appreciate all those workers, of all shapes and sizes and trades, all the rank and file whole make our economy churn.   Those that, through there hard work, make our country a better place to live.

We should appreciate, and honor labor, on Labor Day,  and everyday.

labor-day-750

More on:

Labor Day

May Day

The Jungle

AFL-CIO

Collective Bargaining

Freedom isn’t Free

When we talk about personal freedom — or that as a nation — it’s important to remember that freedom only comes with effort, vigilance, and fortitude. 

Whether it’s liberty we enjoy in the United States and celebrate this week, or freedom from worry and personal struggles, they both require work. Everyday. It doesn’t just happen.

I (for one) forget this simple fact from time to time, especially with respect to my own challenges in daily life. Remember you have to fight for your freedom everyday. It’s up to you. Protect your self, your family, your dreams and goals.

Same with our country: if we want things to change, to be different, hopefully better, we have to fight. Hard. And protect what we believe in, what we hold most dear.

Freedom isn’t free. But it’s worth fighting for. 

Tears With No Refuge

Following is a guest blog post from a close friend, originally shared via Facebook.  Powerful, important words from deep within.  Please read, and share if you feel so moved.  My thanks to Kim for offering her personal perspective.

Tears With No Refuge by Kim Brown Montenegro

I have struggled to put words to my emotions around the shootings in South Carolina.

I am a Methodist Pastor, a woman of color, family roots in the South, my heart has been broken. It is broken by the destruction.

My stomach churns and I can’t quite find my equilibrium. Nothing quite sits right. After this shooting, I was in the sanctuary with my four-year-old daughter who was innocently playing. My mind started to run with scenarios about how I would escape with her if someone were to come in and start shooting.

I was reminded, Rev. Clementa Pinckney and the nine others at “Mother” Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church were not shot because they were Christians, they were shot and killed because they were Black. It was a planned and orchestrated assassination on Black people.

I write this, to you, White people. I beg of you to listen to me. Please stop debating the merits of this unarmed Black person being shot or another unarmed Black person being shot.

And for the love of God, please stop killing People of Color because:

They went to the store at night (Travon Martin)
They called they police to stop a robbery (Duane Brown)
They are waiting in their car for their children (Manuel Loggins Jr.)
They Have Asperger’s (Stephon Watts)
They are Intoxicated (Johnnie Kamahi Warren)
They are selling cigarettes on a corner (Eric Garner)
They are holding a toy gun that is sold in the store in which you are shopping (John Crawford III)
They are walking in a dark stairwell (Akai Gurley)
They are playing outside (Tamir Rice)
They are driving an unregistered car (Walter Scott)

Or

They are Attending a Bible Study (The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Cynthia Hurd, The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lance, Susie Jackson, Depayne Middleton Doctor, The Rev. Daniel Simmons, Myra Thompson)

No one should be killed for doing any of these things. The residual pains of these events affect our whole nation. This is the difficult conversation about privilege that we continually want to disengaging from in this country.

My question to you is: how has privilege affected your life? Have you examined yours? Have you used your power and privilege as a tool to help others?

It is difficult work, but it is essential to us living up to our pursuit of liberty, and justice for all.