Monthly Archives: August 2013

Walking differently

I walk through the world differently
than other people do.

Privilege unearned, unasked, undeserved
but given to me for factors beyond my control
shapes my steps along the trail of life.

Based on
race
sexual orientation
gender
economic status,
health.
place of living
and more,
privilege
accompanies me,
always accompanies me.

I pray for the wisdom to realize my privilege,
the grace to recognize when my privilege comes into play,
and the courage to use my privilege
to walk through the world differently
than other privileged people do.

The Shire on the Hudson
22 August 2013

The image of walking through the world differently to reflect on privilege came from the video “Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy, A Trip to the Grocery Store.” My thanks to Dr. Joy DeGruy for sharing her story. My thanks to Margaret Aymer Oget for posting the video. My thanks to

 

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A special family

20130821_122412On Wednesday, 21 August, Rachel Lee and Esther Lee visited the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations – where I work. We took a tour of the UN and had great conversations.

I had never met Rachel and Esther before Wednesday, but I am friends with their aunt – the Rev. Dr. Hyunju Bae – and their uncle – the Rev. Dr. JC Lee.

Hyunju and JC arranged my trip to the Republic of Korea.

In May, JC brought a Doctor of Ministry class to New York and we had a great visit.

Wednesday brought another blessed day and another blessed visit.

And now I am friends with more members of this special family!

I look forward to see who I meet next.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Friends, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations, United Nations

Purple flowers, Annapolis 3

Purple Flowers Annapolis 3 22 September 2012 (1024x768) (800x600)

On a quest,
a bee climbs a
purple mountain.

Annapolis, Maryland
22 September 2012

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Baseball, Brooklyn style

The Dodgers have long since left Brooklyn, although my friend Jose insists they will return. That may happen someday.

photo (46) (800x421)But baseball  – part of our past in so many ways – remains part of our present in Brooklyn. A couple of strong throws and good relays away from Coney Island’s famed Cyclone, the Brooklyn Cyclones play. Affiliated with the New York Mets, the Cyclones play in the Class A Short-Season New York-Penn League. Interestingly enough, teams come from seven states, not just New York and Pennsylvania.

The Cyclones were league co-champions in their first season, 2001. They have not achieved such success since.

The team puts on a show: four mascots (as opposed to two umpires), cheerleaders, hot dog races, and more entertain fans between and during innings. Promotional giveaways happen often. I got a hat and a drawstring bag tonight. MCU Park puts fans right on the edge of the action. It also provides views of Coney Island rides, the beach, and the ocean. An awesome atmosphere.

And they play baseball.

Tonight, at the invitation of one of my summer interns, Marissa, and her father Bill, I joined members of Fourth Avenue Presbyterian Church and Bay Ridge United Church and watched the Cyclones beat the Vermont Lake Monsters 6-4.

Each team manufactured their runs from base-hits (and a couple doubles) and aggressive base running. Two spectacular catches took place in the outfield with a Cyclone player running into the wall and holding the ball. Errors and walks also played a role. The Lake Monster outfielders threw out two Cyclones at the plate. A Cyclone outfielder, trying for a play at third, threw the ball into the stands.

Vermont opened the scoring. The Cyclones came back and took the lead. I the eight, Vermont scored three times and went ahead. The Cyclones answered with three runs and retook the lead. They then held on defense to win the game.

They play baseball. And that is very, very good.

See you along the Trail.

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Walking to end violence against women and girls

I have posted before about my upcoming participation in CongoSwim, a unique and inspiring collective action which will culminate on August 25th to send a WAVE of LOVE to women and youth groups working for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  With apologies to my father (he taught me to swim), I will not swim. But I will walk – 1,000 steps for each mile across Lake Tahoe for a total of 22,000 steps – and I will pray.

You can support me by making a tax-deductible donation in my name.

CongoSwim FLYER 8.5 x 11 JPEGMost of us directly benefit daily from the minerals mined in Congo as they are essential to the functioning of our laptops, phones, cars and many other products.  CongoSwim is one way we can support work to end the suffering millions of families are enduring in the international scramble for Congo’s minerals.  CongoSwim takes place on an Orange Day, a call to action from the United Nations campaign to end violence against women and girls.  The specific focus for August 25 is sexual violence in conflict.

If the fundraising effort goes well, up to sixty different Congolese community groups doing vital work, often with extremely limited resources, will be able to receive a grant from Global Fund for Women and Friends of the Congo.  The benefiting groups focus on initiatives to end violence against women and girls, human rights education and advocacy, support to women run businesses, increased girls’ education, youth leadership development and services for people living with HIV/AIDS.  Some of the funds raised also will also benefit the USA Swimming Foundation’s mission of saving lives and building champions-in the pool and in life.

One of the main requests from Congolese youth and women leaders is that we urge our government to demonstrate the political will to support peace and sustainable development in Congo.  Millions of people have died, endured tremendous violence and/or been displaced from their homes as a result of the conflict in eastern Congo. UNHCR reported 13,000 people arriving in one day alone to a single refugee camp after attacks in July.  CongoSwim has developed a simple Advocacy Action for peace.

In support of my participation, please

  • Donate generously.  Every amount matters!  Be sure to specify my name as the participant you are supporting.  You may also mail a check payable to Friends of the Congo with CongoSwim and my name in the memo line.  Every amount matters!  Mail to:
    Friends of the Congo-CongoSwim
    1629 K St., NW Suite 300
    Washington, DC 20006
  • Send a quick, yet critical message to Secretary of State Kerry
  • Ask at least 3 other people you know to donate and advocate through CongoSwim

I am proud take part in CongoSwim because it provides us all the opportunity to address the violation of women’s rights.  I am honored to take part with an amazing community, the youngest is age 3 and the oldest is 92.  Participants include Coco Ramazani, a Congolese survivor of extreme violence who now lives in the US and is speaking out with CongoSwim.

Thank you in advance for supporting this effort.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Exercise, Human Rights, United Nations

I need to try again

Communities of accountability have a way of intersecting.

The same people often appear in different communities to which we are accountable. A person may play a key role in one community and stand on the periphery of others. Or a person may hold a key place in several communities.

Make rosters of my communities of accountability and you will find Merdine T. Morris on many of those lists. A few years ago, I described her in these words:

Merdine T. and I have been friends for more than 20 years. Friend really does not do our relationship justice, she is my mentor, teacher, challenger, comforter, disturber of my peace, guide, anchor . . . the list goes on.

Today I add, Merdine T. Morris is practically a one person community of accountability for me.

Three years ago, Merdine T.’s health failed and I reflected on what I thought might be our last visit.

Merdine T. recovered.

On Tuesday, Tricia, Eric and I went to see her. We arrived and told the receptionist we wanted to visit Merdine T. She paused a moment and said, “I don’t think Merdine T. is here.”

She checked a list and informed us that Merdine T. had gone to lunch with a group. On the one hand, this was disappointing. On the other, it was great, good news.

I carry Merdine T. in my heart and head and will always do so. But I give thanks to know that she can get out and around.

And I need to try to see her again before I leave for New York.

See you along the Trail.

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Purple flowers, Annapolis 2

Purple Flowers Annapolis 6 22 September 2012 (1024x768) (800x600) (2)

 

A bee enjoys
the nectar
of a purple flower.

Annapolis, Maryland
22 September 2013

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Purple flowers, Cleveland Heights 1

Today’s walk – 11 August 2013 – involved viewing and photographing a number of purple flowers.

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See you along the Trail.

 

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End violence against women and girls in the Democratic Republic of Congo

CongoSwim FLYER 8.5 x 11 JPEGWomen face violence in many forms and in many places – domestic violence in the home, sexual abuse of girls in schools, sexual harassment at work, structural violence that demeans and limits and excludes, rape by partners or strangers, economic violence that values and rewards men at higher levels than women, assault in refugee camps or focused violence, physical and sexual, as a tactic of war.

Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo know violence well. Conflict and war has ripped parts of the country since 1996. During the conflict, hundreds of thousands of women and children in the eastern DRC have endured sexual violence.  In some instances, the sexual violence is a byproduct of the war. At the same time, the violation of women and girls is systematically and strategically used as a weapon.

Such an atrocity, in the DRC or in other places, is an affront to decency and an abuse of human rights. Around the world people organize and work to end violence against women.

Here’s a way you can help end sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Support the CongoSwim on August 25.

Organized by the Congo Team of the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church in California, CongoSwim provides an opportunity to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in terms of sexual violence against women and girls. August 25 is an Orange Day – a day to witness and work for an end to violence against women and girls. CongoSwim participants are encouraged to raise funds for the Congolese grassroots groups receiving grants from Global Fund for Women and Friends of the Congo. Some of the funds raised will also benefit the USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative, to prevent children from drowning in the US. Swimming is not the only way to take part.

Presbyterians are participating in several ways. Zephyr Point Conference Center will offer free lodging for the participants who swim Lake Tahoe. White Plains Presbyterian Church will mark the day with a slip and slide on their lawn. I will engage in prayer and walk to support this effort.

Learn more and register your participation.

Make a donation.

Find your own way to work for an end to violence against women and girls! It is past time – well past time.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, United Nations

Walking – without Charley

CharleyI am in Cleveland Heights for a week of vacation with Tricia. Eric is here; Sean will be in town for a few days as well.

My walking has involved the streets of Cleveland Heights. Often this takes me places where I used to walk with Charley.

I walk. I remember. And I smile.

See you along the Trail.

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