Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Invisibility of Asian Americans: the Feminist Wire

Thanks to Grace Ji-Sun Kim for this reflection on the invisibility of Asian Americans in the news media. She provides examples of how this happens and reflects on why.

Grace Ji-Sun Kim

Headshot4_small-300x225 Kenneth Bae source:

There is too much racism within our society.  Here is my latest for the Feminist Wire.  So thankful to everyone at the Feminist Wire but especially to Tamura A. Lomax and Aishah Shahidah Simmons.

As we reflect on racism….let us continue to pray for Kenneth Bae and his family.

Where is the public face of Asian Americans in our society? As we follow the case of Kenneth Bae, the only Asian American faces we see on the television news are those of Kenneth Bae and his family. Relatively few Asian American analysts, commentators or advocates (with the exceptions of Connie Chung, Julie Chen, Ann Curry, Sanjay Gupta, and Kaity Tong) appear on the news media.

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Dakota 38

Thanks to my friend and colleague Irv Porter who pointed me to Dakota 38, a video about the Dakota Wokiksuye Memorial Ride remembering the 38 Dakota men hung in Mankato after the U.S.-Dakota War and working for healing and reconciliation. Check it out!

See you along the Trail.

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Reconciliation Park, Mankato, MN

Driving from Estherville, Iowa (where I did a presentation for First Presbyterian Church) to Minneapolis-St. Paul (where I will meet with youth at House of Hope Presbyterian Church, meet with a group working to end human trafficking, and attend the NEXT Church Conference), I noticed a sign to Mankato. I decided to follow and see what I might see.

December 26, 1862 – in the largest mass execution in U.S. history, 38 Dakota were hanged in Mankato, Minnesota. The U.S.-Dakota war, as it is named, began in August 1862 fueled by hunger and broken promises. When the fighting ended, the Dakota people were driven from Minnesota.  392 Dakota were tried, 303 were sentenced to death, and 16 were given prison terms. President Lincoln reviewed the transcripts and reduced the number of death sentences to 39. One man received a reprieve at the last minute.

I discovered Reconciliation Park, a simple park near the Minnesota River and across from the Mankato Branch of the Blue Earth County Library. The park features a white limestone buffalo that marks the spot of the executions.

IMG_4242It includes a memorial created to resemble a leather scroll. One side bears the names of the 38 men; the other has a poem and prayer. Benches with the inscription “forgive everyone everything” surround the memorial. The memorial was dedicated in 2012 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the execution. Indian Country Today Media Network reports the dedication came at the end of “a year of lectures, discussions, exhibits, newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, concerts and commemorations in the state of Minnesota acknowledging the history of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.”

At the simple memorial, I pondered what I know and what I need to learn of past expressions of racism, oppression, and violence. I pondered contemporary manifestations of racism and oppression and yes, even violence from time to time.

And I added my silent prayer that the day might soon come, and that I might have grace and strength to work for the day, when all our relatives live in community.

See you along the trail.


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Purple flowers, Estherville Presbyterian Church

Estherville purple flowers

Present for Lent?
Present always?
Purple flowers grace the front of the sanctuary at the
First Presbyterian Church of Estherville.

28 March 2014
Estherville, Iowa

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Why I like New York 37: courage

The pipes.

Some people hate them. Some people love them.

The pipes.

Even those of us who love them concede that some songs sound good on them. Some do not.

The pipes.

Scotland the Brave sounds good on them. Stairway to Heaven does not.

The pipes.

Some hymns work on them. Some do not.

The pipes.

Amazing Grace sounds good on them. How Great Thou Art does not.

But the lone piper of the Grand Central 7 train subway chose that hymn.

As poised as the lone piper who closes the tattoo, he played. How Great Thou Art.

I put two dollars in his cup.

To honor his courage.

See you along the Trail.


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Purple flowers, Republic of Korea 7

Eunhaesa Buddhist Temple 28 March 2013 (1024x683)


28 March 2013
Eunhaesa Buddhist Temple
Youngcheon, Republic of Korea

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Purple flowers, Republic of Korea 6

King Suro's Tomb 28 March 2013 (2) (1024x683)

Purple in white,
flowers point to the royal presence.

28 March 2013
Tomb of King Suro
Gimhae, Republic of Korea

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Purple flowers: guest collection #5

photo (60)


8 August 2013
South Loop, Chicago

Martha Shout Brown

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Purple flowers: guest collection #4

2009 6-7-09 006


6 June 2009
Glen Ellyn, Illinois

Grayson and James Van Camp


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When ten minutes equals a day

How often do you use your smartphone during the day? How long passes between each usage? If you are like me, you may not know.

Over the past ten days or so, I have become a bit more aware of my phone usage as I have participated in the UNICEF Tap Project. This project invites us to go without your phone to help children in need of clean water.

For every ten minutes you don’t touch your phone, UNICEF Tap Project donors and sponsors can fund one day of clean water for a child in need.* It’s that simple.

Here’s how to take part:

  1. Visit on your phone.
  2. Begin the challenge right away to see how long you can go without your phone.
  3. The application will tell you how long you have done so and how many days of water the donors and sponsors will fund.

Of course this is not the most efficient way to provide water for children. The donors and sponsors could and should simply provide the funds directly. I could and should make a direct contribution.

I know that. But I take part anyway. The act of not using my phone serves to remind me of my brothers and sisters who live day after day after day without access to necessities.

I make no comparison. Not using my phone is a choice about a luxury. As UNICEF notes when it comes to water:

No one can survive without water, and yet 768 million people around the world do not have safe, clean water to drink. 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a proper toilet.

It isn’t just inconvenient – it’s lethal.

Every day, 1,400 children die from diseases directly linked to unsafe water or a lack of basic sanitation facilities.

The UNICEF Tap Project helps me remember. It challenges me to act with compassion and to seek justice so that water will roll down for all.

Here’s some more details on the project:

UNICEF works in more than 100 countries to improve access to safe water and sanitation facilities. Whether by restoring access to clean water after a disaster or promoting safe hygiene practices in schools and communities, UNICEF is on the ground helping children in need.

What is the UNICEF Tap Project?

The UNICEF Tap Project is a nationwide campaign that provides clean water and adequate sanitation to children around the world.

With just $5, UNICEF can give one child safe drinking water for 200 days.

Since 1990, more than 2.1 billion people have gained access to clean drinking water thanks to the work of UNICEF and its partners.

Founding Agency Partner Droga5 and Media Sponsor MediaVest are supporting the UNICEF Tap Project once again this year. The project is also supported by:

National Sponsor

Giorgio Armani Fragrances
For the fifth year, Giorgio Armani Fragrances returns as national sponsor of the UNICEF Tap Project through its Acqua for Life campaign. Read more.

National Media Sponsor

Since 2008, MediaVest has been a proud supporter of the UNICEF Tap Project, producing a national pro bono media campaign to build awareness throughout the month of March. Read more.

Premier Supporter

UNICEF’s Next Generation
A diverse group of young professionals with a shared commitment to UNICEF’s future, UNICEF’s Next Generation joins the UNICEF Tap Project as time sponsor this year.

*Subject to the pledged limits from our generous donors and sponsors. See for more information. Standard data rates will apply.

See you along the Trail

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