Hello fellow travelers-
What a time to be together, traveling forward towards what we hope will be a changed and more just world. So much is afoot it’s hard to keep up, and know what to share, as the rate of change is rapid and our place on the curve always moving. As the world opens, the news speaks much of the second wave of Coronavirus, which in itself presents waves of new decisions. This article from one of my favorite reporters does a good job of laying out some markers and suggestions to consider as everyone confronts choices about how and when to engage in activities and when to exercise caution.
And yet even as we “re-open,” so much of our brokenness is still laid bare. Here are some voices and stories that instructed and inspired me this past week:
*This article from the Texas Standard with filmmaker Ya’Ke Smith, who recently became the first Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the Moody College for Communication at UT, was a great reminder of the centrality of listening as we learn to be better allies. The article is excellent, and I highly encourage you to watch Ya’Ke’s heartbreakingly beautiful short film “Dear Bruh.” It’s quite short (9 minutes), but full of gorgeous images and personal text.
*Listening to the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Jericho Brown share his wisdom, faith and experience in this article is a treat, and his voice and perspective are both unique and powerful. It’s a long article, so I won’t say more except GO FOR IT! Andthe embedded video of him delivering his poem “Foreday” is a total bonus.
*This article about answering common questions from the White Community about the Black Lives Matter movement is insightful and important.*NBC delivered this helpful piece that clarifies what “defunding the police” might look like, providing examples from cities around the U.S. to address social issues directly and non-violently without police intervention when and where it’s unnecessary.
*This young adult went right out and opened up a compassionate space for questions and dialogue here in Central Texas. His courage and kindness inspire me!
*This offering from the Irresistible Podcast was so helpful to me last week as I try to understand what we are experiencing collectively right now. Roshi Joan Halifax does a beautiful job of sharing insights and learning about dealing with “Grief in a Time of Unknowing” and I highly recommend it.
*Immerse ourselves in stories that instruct us. The Austin African-American Book Festival is coming up June 27th and has an amazing line-up which can be enjoyed from anywhere in its’ virtual format.
*Ibram X. Kendi shared this “Antiracist Reading List” almost exactly a year ago, and the commentary that accompanies many selections is a beautiful study in how one constantly acknowledges bias and learns through the experience of others.
*Our project centers on the lives and longings of young adults, and this young voice rang out as clear as a bell to me this week, with such love, grace and wisdom. Casey Jones, a student of religion in the Santa Barbara, shared a beautiful call and reminder to us about the importance of “bearing witness” and that to “hold brokenness and to be broken” is an essential stop on the road to the spiritual transformation required for healing.
*Many of us (as reflected in this piece from the LA Times) wish Oprah would re-consider a bid for the White House, but in the absence of that campaign, I am so grateful she is offering this reflection which considers “Where Do We Go from Here?”. It will air this week through multiple outlets (broadcast details are in the article).
*Let’s get outside as we can. Here is a stunning poem by Ross Gay to leave all of us with some food for thought about “A Small Needful Fact.”
May we hold all these questions close, wonder at both the challenge of the work and the incredible possibility, and take courage on our way.
Grace and peace-