Eight years ago my oldest daughter and I watched three movies in three nights. The first was a documentary called Central Park Five. The second was Fruitvale Station, and the third was 12 Years a Slave. Thus began my journey into what I didn’t know and what I still need to learn about race in … Continue reading A Necessary Burden
“There’s really no such thing as the voiceless. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” Arundhati Roy I opened my email this morning to find a message from a friend who I’ve known and worked with for over ten years. The message was asking me to weigh in on a public service … Continue reading On Viruses
The picture shows a perfect patriotic parfait: blue jello, white whipped cream, red strawberries. Above the perfect parfait was a sign that read “Patriotic Parfait. These Colors Don’t Run!” Click the mouse and there’s another version – blueberries, whipped cream, strawberries, more whipped cream. Red.White.Blue.Red.White.Blue – the colors echo through the dessert. And indeed, it is gorgeous. … Continue reading On Patriotic Parfaits and Competing Loyalties
The peach looked beautiful. It had the feel of a peach that was ripe but not too ripe and it smelled perfect. Inside it was rotten to the core. I discovered this as I was cutting it into slices. So beautiful on the outside, so rotten on the inside. How like the United States, with … Continue reading A Friday Prayer
As a public health nurse working with underserved communities in Massachusetts in cancer prevention, I’ve been greatly challenged as we look at racism and inequality in communities that we serve. We are doing this because the evidence of health disparities in non-white communities is overwhelming. One of the ways to begin to address this is … Continue reading A Life Overseas – “But they aren’t as smart as I am”….
In the United States, Charlottesville, VA has occupied the top news for over 48 hours. This is not a cause for celebration, but a tragic reality where a rally largely controlled by alt right racists turned violent and ugly. The city is now mourning the death of a young woman who died needlessly as the … Continue reading From Privilege to Responsibility
Last night I went to an Iftar celebration. It was sponsored by the Greater Boston Muslim Health Initiative – a group that periodically meets to focus on specific health needs of the Muslim community in the area. It was an eclectic group of people, each of us with strengths in different areas, community members and … Continue reading You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught
I’m delighted to welcome Michael Pollock to my blog today! Michael is a fellow ATCK, but he’s also a friend and someone who “gets” this journey. Read more about Michael at the end of the post. ON BEING LOCAL I was fascinated by Taiye Selassi’s Ted talk, “Don’t ask me where I’m from, ask … Continue reading On Being Local – A Guest Post
“Is your Soul Restless?” The sign is written in bold white letters on a red background Underneath the words is a quote from Saint Augustine: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” The sign is well placed in a subway stop at Davis Square. It advertises … Continue reading Is Your Soul Restless?
I wrote this piece in August of 2014 after Michael Brown was shot. The town of Ferguson was in a state of shock and confusion. Peaceful protests eventually turned violent. It lasted for days. That was two years ago. Last week Alton Sterling was shot dead by a police officer on July 5, 2016 in … Continue reading For Love of Little K–a re-worked repost
These past two days I’ve been at a summit on race and equity. Specifically, A Call to Government and Community. The conference goes across spheres and participants represent housing, justice, immigration, education, the arts, and health. It has been full of stories and ideas –ideas that I agree with and ideas that I don’t agree with. … Continue reading Unequal Treatment
While living in the Middle East, we would often quote Islamic scholars and proclaim that we were “learning the language that we’ll all speak in Heaven.” We were not joking. With its rich phrases and flow, Arabic is a beautiful language. After five minutes in a taxi in an Arabic speaking country, the beautiful sound of Oum Kalthoum’s voice will … Continue reading Beware: the Language of Heaven is Hell for the Passenger
What happens when a bitter racist is transformed? In the movie Gran Torino, Walt Kowalski (played by Clint Eastwood) is a bitter old man living out his years in a neighborhood that has changed from working-class white to Hmong and Chinese. He does not like it and makes no pretense of civility and no apology … Continue reading Donald Trump, Walt Kowalski and Hope for Transformation
“Did you hear? Did you hear what they did about immigration?” My friend’s eyes were big and troubled. “No.” I said. Janira is originally from El Salvador. She has been living in the United States for over 15 years. She works at a hospital, pays taxes, and tries to get by. She is a U.S … Continue reading Truth Echoes
Yesterday I sent Marilyn an email. Words rushed over the keyboard past the constraints of grammar and spelling. I was so angry and so very upset. Even this morning I don’t trust myself to write–about gun control, about mass killings, about climate change, about forgotten Syrian refugees, about the NRA—I’m not sure if I could … Continue reading Insomnia–Advent’s Distant Cousin
[Poem is attributed to KARUNA EZARA PARIKH @karunaparikh http://www.dailyo.in/politics/pray-for-paris-isis-paris-attacks-prayer4paris-islamic-terror/story/1/7368.html%5D I was off-line most of yesterday and so it wasn’t until late in the day that I saw the news about Paris. Horrific news of multiple attacks throughout the city — a rock concert, a stadium, gun attacks at the center of the city in a … Continue reading Paris is White, Lebanon is Brown, Mizzou is Black
Dear Mr. Graham, I’d like to introduce you to some friends of mine. The first friend is Golnaz. Golnaz is a bright and beautiful young woman from Iran. My husband first met her while working on a project at Harvard University. It was an instant friendship and soon after he met her, he invited her … Continue reading Dear Mr. Graham, Let me Introduce you to Some Friends….
I sit in a row of cubicles toward the front of a large building in downtown Boston. One of my cubicle mates is a man from Malawi that I’ll call Paul. He is a handsome, intelligent man and we have become good friends in the past few years. Today he asked me if I had … Continue reading For my Friend and the Kids he’s Raising