Sunday, April 27, 2008

Structural Violence

Here's a link to a great article from the Tribune by Jamie Kelvin, whose wife, Patricia Evans, was assaulted in 1988 while jogging along Lake Michigan. She is white and her assailant, who was never captured, was African American. Jamie says members of the media who interviewed him expected him to be vengeful and seek "restorative violence". Instead, Jamie moved in the opposite direction and began a quest to understand men who fit the profile of Patricia's attacker. He began planting gardens with residents of the Robert Taylor and Stateway Garden homes and was soon doing lots of justice and advocacy work. Here's a quote from the article.
"There are large violent acts, I have written elsewhere, but no large healing acts. The work of healing is a matter of small acts of attention and care sustained over time. Is this perhaps among the things Dr. King tried to teach us by his insistence on nonviolence in theory and practice? A commitment to nonviolence constantly forces you back to the bedrock realization that structures of inequality and exclusion are enforced by particular blows to particular bodies inflicted by particular hands. And it challenges you to seize the occasions for resisting violence that are all around you. In mysterious ways, more by grace than design, it too has the power to rearrange your molecules—to make you more whole, less afraid, more alive to human possibilities."

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Double Bind

Marcie Curry gave me this book last week with a post it note that said, "You have to read this!" I took a day off yesterday and went to Starved Rock to pray and reflect. I had a great day hiking and praying. At about 2:00 it started to rain so I decided to pick up the book to read for awhile. I read it straight through without putting it down until I finished it at 9:30! I can't really tell you about it without giving it away. I'll just repeat Marcie's words... You have to read this!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Our Kids Are Dying

More than at Virginia Tech, more than at Northern Illinois, one by one our boys and girls are dying on the streets, victims of gun violence. Twenty-four Chicago Public School children have been murdered so far this year. Rev. Renaldo Kyles, Interfaith Director for the Chicago Public Schools, spends much of his time going to funerals and consoling the families of the victims.

"My faith gets weak, it gets low. I should be spending more time partnering churches with schools to do more after-school programs, mentoring programs instead of spending my time going to funeral homes," said Kyles. He fears the city has become hardened to the losses.

Over the weekend my daughter, Monica, called me and said, "Mom, you should tune in WGCI. They're talking about the student killings and the kids are calling in to say what they need. They are saying they need safe places to go, to hang out and play basketball and dance."

I'm more motivated than ever to get our Breakthrough FamilyPlex built. That's exactly what the kids in our community need. Safety, activities, educational and job opportunities, sports, music, art and dance lessons. It is a matter of life and death for our kids.

Racism and Chicago Baseball

Here's a link to a Sun Times article about the hottest selling item in Wrigley Field that mocks the Japanese. Very sad!!
"The image feeds not only ugly, arrogant and ignorant Japanese stereotypes, but also the stereotype of the obnoxious, profane, drunken, booing, garbage-throwing Cubs fan."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

King's Final Crusade

Thanks to Tawnya for sending me the link to this CNN article about what Taylor Branch, the author of Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire and At Canaan's Edge, says King was planning when he died. He was planning a Poor People's March on Washington DC.
King called his crusade the Poor People's Campaign. He planned to march on Washington with a multiracial army of poor people who would build shantytowns at the Lincoln Memorial -- and paralyze the nation's capital if they had to.
I like the final statement of the article.
"You can't take a person's life who's already given it up."