In Memory

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In memory of Emmitt Till, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and too many others.‚Ā†
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If this poem resonates with you, please post of your compassion and tag me or leave a comment so I can be filled up with your words Or, feel free to share this one.

Speaking out against bigotry

I was never a fan of George W. Bush when he was our U.S. President. In fact, I was very angry with him at the time. Time changes things.

Five or so years ago, I saw him and President Clinton speak together at a forum about education. Bush was not only likable but funny and quick witted.

Today, George W. has spoken out against bigotry and white supremacy.

“Our identity as a nation, unlike other nations, is not determined by geography or ethnicity, by soil or blood. … This means that people from every race, religion, ethnicity can be full and equally American,” he said during remarks at the George W. Bush Institute in New York City. “It means that bigotry and white supremacy, in any form, is blasphemy against the American creed.”¬†

“We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism — forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America,” Bush said. “We see a fading confidence in the value of free markets and international trade — forgetting that conflict, instability, and poverty follow in the wake of protectionism.”

¬†“Bullying and prejudice in our public life sets a national tone, provides permission for cruelty and bigotry, and compromises the moral education of children, the only way to pass along civic values is to first live up to them,” he said.

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He never mentioned the current President by name. But it was there, between every line.

Way to go, Mr. Bush. Way to go!

To see the speech, click here.

 

Yet She Rose

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She believed in something greater

no concern for self or rules

nothing would abate her

as she fought for open schools.

She spoke of female rights,

opportunities, a claim

for education she would fight

but then, they learned her name.

 

On a dusty bus they found her

where she spotted weapon drawn

and everyone around her

thought the shot, her final song.

An unexpected outcome passed

forgotten sorrowed woes

as people of the world, aghast

Witnessed as she rose.

Yes, we watched her as she rose.

 

 

Photo credit of  Malala Yousafzai

 

Judgment in disguise

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If told to cast the first stone

do you think that I’d obey?

Scar another person

just to please the crowd’s melee?

Those who dress in daily judgement

long in tongue, they criticize

and peel the souls of others,

while cloaked in self-disguise.

Is there any single person

who has never romped astray?

No, I did not think so.

And no, I won’t obey.

A creek with flowing water,

harmonic overtones

a place to sit beneath the Oaks

A better use of stones.

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Author’s note: Photos taken and words written while waiting for my husband to come out of eye surgery. (He’s fine) ūüôā

 

daily prompt: Disobey

top photo credit

 

A plea for humanity — Will you join me at the river?

It wasn’t a Sunday morning. It was a Thursday evening.

I sat on a wooden pew where, beneath my feet in the 1800’s, slaves had congregated to worship in a hole made of dirt. On April 27th, at that same location, I was inside the Simpson Methodist Church erected in the 1930’s.

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I haven‚Äôt been a church-goer in a long while.¬†I was not there to worship.¬†Yet, inside, a hymn came to me – ‚ÄúShall we gather at the river, the beautiful, the beautiful river.‚ÄĚ

In my past, I’ve held workshops on tolerance and celebrating diversity. I taught my early childhood staff how to teach bias-free education to our young children. I paired kindergarteners from east Austin to the kindergarteners from west and gathered the 800 or so children together at Burger Center to enjoy the music of Kinderman.

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I‚Äôve done many things to teach tolerance and acceptance of others and each one has made me proud. Yet,¬†each time we step out of our ‚Äúcomfort zone,‚ÄĚ we learn something new. This meeting was no exception.

We were¬†not there to worship. Nor were we¬†there to hear a lecture. We were¬†there for the unfolding of a ‚Äúwarm‚ÄĚ conversation on diversity and equality.

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Reverend Robert Waddle was strong in appearance and gentle in manner. He led the group Рaround 15 warm souls- in prayer. Then, our local president of the NAACP, Nelson Linder and Dr. Guner Arslan, a Muslim from Turkey and director of the Dialogue Initiative Austin, began the discussion.

Here is a bit of what I learned, re-learned and processed:

We, as human beings, have always strived for identity — both¬†within ourselves and within a group (or tribe). Identity is core to our ‚Äúhumanness.‚ÄĚ

But here’s the problem–

When¬†we don‚Äôt attempt to understand or appreciate ‚Äúdifferent‚ÄĚ identities, an ‚Äúus vs. them‚ÄĚ scenario is created. So imagine how¬†having 4200 religions around the world could easily contribute to this unfortunate scenario.

As we struggle to understand ourselves, and who and what we identify with, we often reject the identities of others.

Unless we expand our awareness.

Have you been integrated as a person? Who are the folks you struggle with?

Nelson Mandela once said, ‚ÄúEveryone has a seat at the table.‚ÄĚ

How round is your table?

‚ÄúLove is the absence of judgment‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Dali Lama

How much do you love?

What are you fearful of?

Try being comfortable being uncomfortable.

Mr. Linder and Dr. Arslan told us, “Find excuses to bring people of ‘differences’¬†together¬†to discover commonalities.”

So, the small group at Simpson Methodist Church became our small group. We had metaphorically gathered at the river, “the beautiful, the beautiful, river“.

 

Folks, this river is wide. And there is plenty of room for everyone. Yes, let’s gather at that river. Or any other place where thoughtful hearts are shared.

I was not there to worship, but I did. There are many ways to worship Great Love for Humanity.

Please join us at this round table for a warm discussion on diversity, acceptance and love. I will bring the water for your parched throats but there will be no need for food. Our hunger will be satiated by the breaking of bread in our open and honest dialogue.

I hope you choose to be part of the discussion.  Because, if you do, and as the song says, “Soon our happy hearts will quiver with the melody of peace.

I would be most grateful if you would leave a response, a personal experience, even a link to similar posts or articles related to this topic.

See you at the table.

The Ultimate Sign of Compassion

As many of you know, I consider myself more “spiritual” than religious. I have not attended a church, for various reasons, in many years. I did grow up in a Lutheran church – baptized, confirmed and married in the same one. I also know that every¬†religion teaches us¬†something.

In the Bible,¬†Jesus’ washing of his disciples feet¬†is a wonderful metaphor of how we need to treat others. No matter how powerful, important, confident (or lack thereof) we might think we¬†are, humbling ourselves and serving others can only be a good thing.

 

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painting by me, CD-W

If you are a Christian

As I sit here researching human rights, including the treatment of immigrants, the poor, the oppressed, I am reminded of my spirituality and the religions that are based on LOVE. One Christian song goes like this:

Jesus loves the little children

All the children of the world

Red and yellow, black and white

They are precious in his sight

Jesus loves the little children of the world.

If you are a Christian, do you believe the meaning of these words?

If you are not a Christian, what religion of love do you worship and celebrate? 

I know there are many and, for that, I am grateful.

With love,

Carolyn

I need your help. Seriously.

No matter your walk in life, we have all been affected by racial diversity. Some find it threatening. Others find is socially and culturally mesmerizing and exhilarating. For the purpose I am pursuing, let’s narrow it down to the white and African American culture.

While starting my new novel, my¬†fear is the voice inside my head. It says,”How can you, a white woman, write about the African American experience in 1963? How could you possibly understand?”

Here’s my goal. To write an entertaining novel for all age groups but especially for young adults¬†who may not know important¬†historical facts about the Civil Rights Movement- which I will weave into the novel. I want the reader to take pause, reflect, and think about their actions going forward.

Big goal, huh? But I sincerely believe that understanding the past will put us in a better position for the future.

Here’s the premise to the novel:

In 1963, while staying with the unhinged friend of her deceased grandmother, a 14 yr old white girl from Texas meets a teenaged ‚ÄúNegro‚ÄĚ boy from Alabama and learns first hand about racial injustice.

 

I am doing tons and tons of research. I have read “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin and The Fire¬†Next Time by James Baldwin.

So here’s how¬†you can, hopefully, help me.

  1. Is this a reasonable goal?
  2. What suggestions do you have for reading material that may help my accuracy?
  3. What experiences have you had that led you to a racial awareness/enlightenment?

I appreciate any and all suggestions!

Thank you for reading and responding!

Carolyn

Oh, and if you decide to write on this topic, MAKE SURE YOU LET ME KNOW. I promise to reblog unless it is offensive to humanity.